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.


Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Spring Anyone?

With blue skies, temperatures in the 70’s, and green fields covered with mustard; it’s hard to believe we are not in the middle of springtime. Historically (and hopefully) we still have a few more rainy days ahead, but the warm weather sure feels good.

It’s back to life as we know it in the wine business. We have bottled our 2017 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir and our 2017 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Yesterday we introduced the wines to our Tasting Room staff, and the response overwhelmingly positive.

We also got the results from the San Francisco Chronicle 2018 Wine Competition – the largest competition of American wines.

Not too shabby!

This month in the Tasting Room Kaitlyn and staff will participate with local wineries hosting SWEET 116– a celebration of our locale (Highway#116) and Valentine’s Day. As is tradition for us, we will introduce our 2017 Rose of Pinot Noir to compliment Valentine’s Day offerings. After that, it’s time to start preparations for this year’s Barrel Tasting – held this year on the first two weekends in March.

So things are definitely picking up. Join the fun and stop by for a taste of the new releases and enjoy West County hospitality.


Mike Tierney

President, Taft Street Winery


A new year has begun; one full of hope, determination, and willingness to do what it takes to succeed. Although rainfall (and snowpack) remain woefully below average, we at least have the fire season behind us, as light rain continues to keep hillsides damp. Our friends in Southern California have some much needed rainfall in their weather forecast, and we hope that occurs. Here’s to a benign 2018!!

After breaking for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, our production crew is back to work. Among the first things on their agenda is the bottling of two of our favorite wines. Starting next week, our 2017 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir and our 2017 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc will be put into bottle. These stainless steel fermented beauties will be released over the next several months, with the Rose earmarked for a Valentine’s Day premier. Speaking of releases, we are now offering our 2016 Sonoma County Merlot and our 2016 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir to our local and national markets.

Welcome back Kaitlyn! This week marks the return of Kaitlyn Callagy  from maternity leave, where she has been tending her growing family since late August. We look forward to her smiling face and strong leadership in the Tasting Room and beyond. Next week she will lead our participation in the 26th annual Wineroad Winter Wineland (January 13 – 14, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm). Here visitors can meet the winemakers, sample limited production wines, and get the stories unique to each winery.

Now is the time to keep Sonoma Strong. Visit a winery (like Taft Street), enjoy a meal at a local restaurant, and buy local. See you at the Tasting Room.


Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Compeition

2017 Chronicle Wine Competition Golds!

After tasting 7,000 entries from 28 states, the results of the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition are in. Taft Street is proud to be taking home some hardware:

We’ll be pouring these award winners at the 2017 Chronicle Wine Tasting February 18, 2017, at Fort Mason, San Francisco. Join us for this awesome tasting or swing by the Tasting Room to stock up for the new year!

Holiday Cheer at TSW

Winter Season’s Wishes

This winter morning, on a beautiful, between storm-day in Sonoma County, I saw my first post-harvest pruned vineyard of the season, signaling yet another vineyard year has ended. This may be the 35th we have experienced, but they are always a cause on wonderment. With much heavier than normal rain in the North Coast this fall, our hopes are high for the new year.

TSW Winter 2016

In the cellar, we are watching the wines finish fermentation. When appropriate we are getting wines ready for barrel ageing, and we are preparing some wines for bottling. After the Holidays, we will bottle our 2016 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris, our 2016 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, and our 2016 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir. These wines will see an early spring 2017 release date.

It has been a banner year for direct sales. We have already met our budgeted sales figure for the year, with a full month yet to go! Both Tasting Room sales and on-line sales have far outperformed expectations. In addition, our distributor sales also exceed that of last year.

Looking ahead, the 25th anniversary of Winter Wineland takes place January 14 – 15, 2017. All participating Sonoma County wineries will highlight a Vintage, Varietal or a Vertical tasting for the weekend. This is a great opportunity to taste limited production wines and meet the people responsible for making them.

This Holiday Season is an especially good time to stop by the winery. Early rains have turned the hills lush green, there is still some foliage on the trees, and the crowds are gone (almost). Stock up on your favorite Taft Street wines, and above all have a safe and wonderful Holiday!

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street

Cracked Crab & Dipping Sauce

It’s that time of year again folks. After a disastrous crab season last year, it looks as though things are back to normal. The rainy season will be compensated this year not only by the play of the Golden State Warriors but also by the delicious treat of Dungeness crab (and Taft Street Chardonnay).


  • 1 teaspoon garlic, chopped finely
  • 3 green onions, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, chopped finely
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 cooked/cleaned/cracked crabs (4 – 5) pounds)
  • 1 loaf good French baguette


  1. Heat a large frypan over medium-high heat. Add all ingredients except crab and stir-fry for 2 – 3 minutes. Take off heat and let cool.
  2. Arrange crab pieces on a large platter. Provide bowl for shells. Divide dipping sauce in several small bowls around the table.
  3. Enjoy! This can all be a bit messy as the best work is done by hand. Bowls with water/lemon are helpful.

Don’t forget plenty of Taft Street Chardonnay. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Serves 4 – 6

The Storm Doors Are Open in the Russian River Valley

October was a historic month in at least one way; it rained as much as any October on record (save one). In Sebastopol and the Russian River Valley over 7 inches of rain fell, and at my home in Dry Creek Valley we had over 13 inches for the month. This storm bodes well for dry Northern California, although the southern part of the state is still in the midst of severe drought conditions. The vines sure like the stormy weather.

Despite the storm, October was a busy month for the winery. We poured our GOLD MEDAL wines at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair; I had a successful sales trip to New York; Mike Martini hit the very important Texas market, and David Gast concentrated on establishing rapport with our partners at Henry Wine Group.

The pace continues this month. This weekend (November 5 – 6) the Wine Road celebrates its annual Wine and Food Affair. This year will show off our 2014 Russian River Valley Chardonnay  paired with Cream of Chicken with Wild Rice Soup. Hours are 11:00 – 4:00, Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, November 19th join us for the Taste Route 116 semi-annual Member Appreciation Day, whereby any club member from a local winery enjoys the discount structure of all the wineries of Route 116. A good time (and deal) is had by all.

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and Christmas will not be far behind. You do not want to be without a sufficient supply of Taft Street for the Holidays, so come on by the winery and stock up!


Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Apple Cake

Apple Sour Cream Cake

Here is a seasonal dessert that makes a natural contribution to the holiday table. It’s not too sweet, so a medium-bodied red like the Taft Street 2013 Alexander Valley Merlot would be an appropriate complement.


  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 – 4 cups chopped apples


  • 1 cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 pan.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add to liquid mixture, incorporating the sour cream as you go.
  4. Stir in chopped apples and add to mixture. Spread into greased pan, and sprinkle nut mixture on top.
  5. Bake 35 – 40 minutes.

 Serves 10 – 12

Short and Sweet

Harvest 2016 is officially over here at Taft Street, the result of a fast and furious burst of activity by growers to bring in their remaining grapes before the first rains of the season fell last week. Our cellar crew worked night and day for most of September, and the efforts appear to be worth the toil. The grapes all arrived in perfect condition, fully ripe and balanced. While the grapes are currently undergoing fermentation, winemaker Evelyn White is optimistic that Vintage 2016 will be a memorable one. Counting our custom crush clients, we processed almost 1,000 tons of grapes.

Our wines in the marketplace are also of note. The 2016 Sonoma County Harvest Fair took place last weekend at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, and GOLD MEDAL wines were poured at a public tasting. Taft Street was well represented, as three of our wines won the coveted GOLD MEDAL:

Whatever your favorite – red or white or rose – Taft Street has you covered.

We are not sitting around resting on our laurels. I just got back for a week’s work in the New York City area; Mike Martini is off to Dallas, Houston and Austin this week; and David Gast has been in daily contact with our California distribution team.

It is also a beautiful time of the year in the Russian River Valley. Days are still warm, the leaves are changing, and fall is in the air. Stop by our Tasting Room, where Kaitlyn and staff will share some of our award winning wines.


Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery


Fall Fig Bruschetta

At our recent annual Tomato Tasting we found ourselves long on a few items – French bread, fresh figs and pears. We had also just discovered a great local cheese called Flower Power; a fresh lactic cow cheese speckled with bee pollen. This was the result – a big hit!


  • 1 baguette
  • 12 fresh figs
  • 2 ripe pears
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ pound fresh cheese (cow, sheep or goat will work)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil


  1. Slice baguette into ½ inch round and bake in oven at 350 degrees until browned and crisp (10 -12 minutes).
  2. Chop figs and pears into ¼ inch dice and mix in walnuts in a bowl.
  3. Spread fruit/nut mixture on baguette slices and top with shaved cheese. Sprinkle balsamic and olive oil on top.

Serves 6 -8 as an appetizer. Works with all Taft Street wines.