A Late Grate Harvest

The sun is still shining brightly and the temperature is hovering in the mid 80’s. It must be November in wine country. The harvest is over – for us, and only because we ran our room to hold any more grapes. A bumper crop of high quality fruit has made vintners happy across the state, and many of growers who are able to find a home for their grapes are still picking. (HOLD THE PRESS! I just got word we are taking in 45 tons of Russian River Valley Chardonnay for neighbor John Balletto next Monday.) We start bottling clients’ wines the week after next and will go full speed ahead until Christmas. We are already excited out our 2018 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc and our 2018 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir, which will be bottled the first of the year.

We were pleased to see the Taft Street 2017 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc win the BEST SAIVIGNON BLANC FOR THANKSGIVING by the @getharvestcard’s panel of local culinary stars. We are also looking forward to Route 116 Wine Club Appreciation weekend, November 17 – 18; when members of neighboring wine clubs can take advantage of wine club pricing at all participating wineries. This is a great way to stock up for the Holidays.

I enjoyed a visit to the New York market last month, where we met old friends and established a number of new accounts. Mike Martini will stop in Louisiana this month to plan for our future in that area.

We are currently putting together our 2019 budget, which will include upgrades in the Tasting Room and patio areas. This will result will only add to the Taft Street experience – already exceedingly pleasant!

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street

Melissa with grapes!

Rush to the Finish

With rain forecast for the next several days growers are stepping up the pace on picking. Tomorrow we will bring in Pinot Noir for rose and a good portion of chardonnay. The storm is not expected to be a major threat to the vintage, but betting on the weather is never a sure thing.

There are still a number of long days ahead but the harvest has by and large gone smoothly. Everyone is excited about the quality of fruit; very little mildew and healthy yields.

The crush pad is not the only busy spot in the winery. Kaitlyn and company begin distributing wine club fall six packs on October 1st.

The next weekend, October 5 – 7, we pour at the annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair, where our 2017 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc won a GOLD MEDAL. Then on October 14th we have our fall Wine Club Party, with live music, terrific good, and of course lots of good cheer.

On the sales side, we have picked up a distributor in Oregon, a market we have not been in for 15 years. I am on my way back to New York this weekend to work with our friends at Vision Brands.

After a couple of days of showers the skies should clear and the temperatures should return to the mid-80’s. Perfect time to go wine tasting, play bocce, and have a picnic. We know just the place!

Cheers,

Mike Tierney

President, Taft Street

Harvest No. 37. Here we come.

After a very warm June and early July the weather turned decidedly cooler, with daytime temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s instead of the more usual mid 90’s. This has delayed harvest anywhere from 1 -2 weeks. This is the first Labor Day in five years we have not harvested our own grapes. We have used the extra time wisely, however, and have made it through last minute bottling, machinery and barrel cleaning. Our first grapes are not scheduled for 10 days, unless…

Overall it appears the harvest will be larger than last year’s, and the grape quality seems very good, especially since the grapes are experiencing more time on the vine.

The Tasting Room staff is taking a breather after completing Season #7 of A Little Street Music. We enjoyed the largest crowd of the season yesterday with the Vokler Strifler Band. Our Autumn Flame Maple trees were in full color and the temperature in the high 70’s; a memorable day to end the concert season.

This week we will take some current releases over to the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, where they will be judged against the best wines of Sonoma County. Winners will be announced later this month in time for the actual fair itself, which occurs on the first weekend of October. We’ll keep you posted.

As summer season ends, harvest begins. Our best weather is approaching, wine is being made, life is good. Come join us.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Good Ole Summertime

Summer is officially in high gear, and indications thus far show a larger that average harvest. When growers describe things as “not too bad,” they usually are just the opposite. The tragic (and all too common) fires in Mendocino and Lake Counties will undoubtedly affect North Coast grapes this year, but fortunately for us the wind direction has kept much of the smoke and ash away from Sonoma County. A month to go… and counting.

All of Taft Street’s wines have been bottled as scheduled, and the cellar crew is busy bottling for custom crush clients and preparing equipment for harvest.

The Tasting Room is busy entertaining summertime visitors. Last week we had our biggest concert ever with good friend Danny Sorentino playing before a packed crowd. This month we have the popular group Gator Nation (August 12) and our own Greg Abel (August 26).

Future events include the Taste of Sonoma at the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University on September 1; and the annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in September and October.

We will be making wine from about Labor Day into October. Stop by, have a glass of wine, and enjoy the action.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Extreme Conditions

We have already had our second hundred degree heat spell and our second major fire, and it’s not even the 4th of July yet! Spooky. However, early reports from the vineyards indicate a healthy and hearty crop.

Melissa and crew are in full bottling mode, working with numerous clients and their packaging needs.

It is all hands on deck in the Tasting Room, where summertime activities abound. We enjoyed Grill 116 in the 100+ heat last Saturday, followed by the Nina Gerber concert the next day under cloudy and cool skies. Bottle Shock joins us this Sunday (July 8th), and my favorite, Danny Sorentino will be here on July 22nd.

David Gast has left the winery to pursue other opportunities. The two Mikes and Jake will split up his responsibilities with the Henry Wine Group, our California distributor.

Critics remain enthused about Taft Street wine. Our 2017 Taft Street Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc won a GOLD MEDAL at the recent Orange County Fair. Sonoma Magazine had an article about the rise in popularity of rose wines. It had this to say about Taft Street’s offering:

Riverside Rose: Taft Street 2017 Pinot Noir Rose. Unscrew the cap, pour into your stemless plastic wine glass, and toast summer as you float down the Russian River with a bottle of Taft Street’s rose made from pinot noir grapes grown just a few miles from this iconic Sonoma County river. With its high acid and low sugar, it’s a dry wine with bright notes  of raspberry, watermelon and strawberry. It’s a destined crowd pleaser.

We could agree more. Try it soon!

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Summer in West Sonoma County

In Sonoma County summer is not just the three months from late June through September. Here we add a month at each end, because the days are warm, the evenings cool, and the grapes keep on getting sweeter. This year is no exception, with early indications that this could well be a bountiful harvest.

In the winery, Melissa and staff are busy bottling – mainly custom crush clients’ wines. This will continue for the next couple of months, while we continue to check the maturation of our own wines in tanks and barrels.

David Gast and I just finished a quick tour of California, with trade tastings in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. Mike Martini is off to Chicago next week to work with our distributor there.

The Tasting Room continues to boom. We had our busiest day ever at our President’s Club party May 12th and visitors continue to check us out. Our first concert of the season with Annie Sampson & Her Band was a huge success, and we are looking forward to June performances by Danny Click and the Hell Yeahs, and Chris Weber and Nina Gerber. If that were not enough, we will also participate in Grill #116 on Saturday June 23rd with our neighboring wineries.

Don’t miss out on the fun. Get on up/down/over to Taft Street and enjoy some of Sonoma’s finest wine while relaxing on our patio, our picnic area, or bocce court.

See you here.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Summertime Grill – Gochujang Style

Memorial Day is history, and we have now officially entered grill season. It’s time to clean the grates, break out some charcoal or propane or hardwood, and fire up your cooker.

We are going to start the season with a new favorite – grilled pork chops with gochujang barbecue sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • ¼ cup sriracha
  • 4 thick pork chops, bone in
  • salt and pepper

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare high heat grill with indirect heat. Bring vinegar, brown sugar, gochujang and sriracha to a simmer in a small pan; cooking for 12-15 minutes. Set aside to cool, and transfer half the sauce to a bowl for table service.
  2. Season pork with salt and pepper. Grill both sides about 3 minutes, until nicely browned. Continue cooking and turning, basting with half the sauce to create a glaze, another 5-6 minutes. When internal temperature reads 145 remove from grill and let rest 10 minutes.
  3. Slice and serve with reserved sauce.

Our 2016 Medallion, a blend of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, is a particularly good choice here.

Glory Days

It really doesn’t get much better than this. A wet April has resulted in lush green hills, and the 70 degree weather with clear blue skies has made Sonoma County even more idyllic than usual (and it’s usually pretty idyllic).

In the winery Melissa and her team are tending the new wines, putting them in barrel when appropriate, and are starting blending strategies for a number of wines. Preparations are also being made for a very busy schedule of summer bottling.

Kaitlyn and crew are setting up for the spring Wine Club Party, this year to be held on Saturday, May 12th when members can pick up their allocation while dining, tasting and enjoying live music. Later on this month, on Sunday May 27th  we kick off our 7th summer music series – A Little Street Music 2018 – with the very popular Annie Sampson Band.

Last weekend we had a party honoring our 36 years of existence. To memorialize our longevity we have released a set of 35th Anniversary Wines:

  • 2016 Russian River Valley Chardonnay Catie’s Corner
  • 2016 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Skikos Vineyard
  • 2016 Alexander Valley Zinfandel Wasson Vineyard

All these wines are bottled with our original label, created by well known artist and relative Maureen Bragdon. The wines will be available only in the Tasting Room and will sell for $35/bottle. There is much going on at Taft Street these days as we crank up for the visitor season. Come see us and enjoy the wines, the people and the beautiful Sonoma County countryside.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

A Little Street Music 2018

A Little Street Music continues with our seventh season at Taft Street Winery. Join us Sunday’s starting in May for great local music and wonderful wines.

Free Events:

  • May 27 – Annie Sampson & Her Band
  • June 10 – Danny Click & The Hell Yeah’s
  • July 8 – Bottle Shock
  • July 22 – The Sorentinos
  • August 12 – Gator Nation Band
  • September 2 – Volker Striffler Band

Bring your favorite lawn chair and be sure to pack a picnic. Enjoy wines by the Glass or bottle and please no outside alcoholic beverages.

For the first time, we’re excited to announce two Songwriter Shows, with featured local artists and seated listening. Tickets are $15 at the door. Seating opens at 1 pm, with music starting at 2 pm.

  • June 24 – Chris Webster & Nina Gerber. Solid Air Duo opening.
  • August 26 – Greg Abel. Doug Jayne opening.

Aging Gracefully

On April Fool’s Day Taft Street Winery turned 36 years old. A beautiful day it was indeed – an Easter Sunday with clear skies and temperatures in the high 70’s. We celebrated as we usually do – with good friends, good food, and lots of Taft Street wine.

In the winery Melissa and team are taking a quick breather after bottling up a storm during the month of March. We have begun tasting some of the wines from the 2017 vintage, and it’s heartening to see that 2017 will be known for more than just devastating fires. The wines are delicious across the board!

April will see a fair amount of market visits. Jake recently returned from a successful visit to the New York market; I’m off to Boston next week. David Gast has returned from Louisiana and will tour Southern California and Michigan in the weeks to come.

Closer to home Kaitlyn and crew will participate in the Route 116 Wine Club Appreciation celebration this weekend, April 7 – 8. Two weeks later we will pour our wines at Sebastopol’s annual Apple Blossom Festival. It must be springtime!

The season has begun. Hills are green, skies are blue, weather is warm – join the fun. See you at Taft Street.

Cheers,

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery