Spring is Right Around…

We thought we are done with the rainiest winter in ages, but the precipitation has not left us alone. Cloudy skies with intermittent rain are forecast for the next few days. I took a few days off and lounged around Palm Springs, where the 85 degree days and shirtsleeve evenings were a welcome change. It appears we are going to wait a bit before we see those conditions in wine country.

Spring is Right Around the Corner.

Spring is Right Around the Corner.

Back in the winery, we are busy firming up contracts and commitments for this year’s harvest. We have our usual sources of fruit from the Russian River Valley, and we foresee an increase in production to meet market demands. The custom crush side of the business will see healthy growth as well; it appears 2017 will be a busy one for Taft Street.

Our 2016 Russian River Sauvignon Blanc is now being sold in all our markets, and the 2016 Russian River Rose of Pinot Noir is available in the Tasting Room and online. The next wine to be released will be the 2015 Russian River Chardonnay, sometime in May.

In April we will host visiting distributor representatives, celebrate our 35th Anniversary(!!!), and participate in a Taste 116 wine club event. We will also spend time sprucing up the picnic and concert grounds in preparation for another busy summer. Next month starts the music and outdoor fun in the sun. Join us.


Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street

Springtime At Taft Street

I have just returned from a ten day trip to New York City, where spring has finally arrived. Back in Sonoma County signs of summer are already in place, with the hills turning brown and the vines covered with a full coat of leaves.

April was a hectic month, with lots of travel and the start of our outdoor entertainment season. We kicked off the bar-b-que season by roasting two 35 pound goats – a welcome addition to our smoking repertoire! Mike Martini was then off to Nashville, to be followed this month to a visit to out Chicago market. I spent a very profitable week in New York, and Evelyn and Jake Martini are making plans to follow up later this month. We had our California distribution team – Vintage Wine Marketing – here last week. I hope to return to the Southern California market later in the month.

Good news again from the wine critics. This month’s WINE ENTHUSIAST (June 2015) awarded our 2013 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc an EDITORS’ CHOICE award, noting “… this wine celebrates the virtues of fresh squeezed citrus and peach while floating through clouds of air . . . all at a more-than-fair price.”

This weekend we celebrate our new President’s Club spring release, featuring our newest Medallion Cuvee IV – a Bordeaux blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Just 170 cases of this were produced.

Later on this month the eagerly awaited summer concert series – A little Street Music – kicks off with the popular Daniel Castro Band (May 24th).

Come join us at Taft Street. There is always time to sit back and enjoy a glass of wine.

Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street

A Little Street Music 2015

A Little Street Music is back for a fourth season with another incredible summer line-up.

Join us the second and last Sundays of the month, starting in May. The events are free, the tasting room is opens at 11am with music from 3-6 PM.

Bring your favorite lawn chair and be sure to pack a picnic. We’ll have bottles and wines available by the glass; please no outside alcoholic beverages.

Enjoy the summer, Taft Street style.

Best of Class! 2014 Sonoma County Harvest Fair


With more than 1,000 wines entered, the Sonoma County Harvest Fair’s Professional Wine Competition is always a local favorite. After 3 days of blind tastings the winning wines have been announced and Taft Street is excited to receive eight awards, including three Double Golds and a Best of Class!

  • Best of Class Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2013
  • Double Gold Taft Street Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2013
  • Double Gold Taft Street Garagistes Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2013 (Coming Soon)
  • Double Gold Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2013
  • Gold Taft Street Garagistes Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2013 (Coming Soon)
  • Silver Taft Street Merlot Alexander Valley 2012
  • Silver Taft Street Pinot Gris Russian River Valley 2013
  • Silver Taft Street Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2013 (Coming Soon)

A big congratulations to our winemaker, Evelyn White, for such an incredible line-up. Be sure to swing by the Tasting Room to sample these wonderful wines.

Summer at the Winery

The summer growing season is now in full swing, with daytime temperatures reaching the 80’s and 90’s; then dropping thirty degrees overnight. This is the pattern that produces world class grapes – one’s that sweeten to maturity while keeping a fresh acidity. Only in Sonoma County (OK, and a few other places as well). It looks like this year is shaping up to be another early and big crop. Most growers are reporting big grape clusters and many of them.

The production staff will take a break from Thursday on this week to celebrate July 4th. In the meantime they are bottling a number of wines for our custom crush clients. Our 2013 Russian River Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will go into the bottle later this month.

Our summer entertainment calendar is full. Last weekend we entertained two groups. With our neighboring wineries we hosted Grill 116, a food and wine pairing where we smoked brisket of beef (check out this month’s recipe in Mike’s Kitchen). On Sunday we enjoyed the music of the fine local band Blue Moon and finished off the brisket. This month it’s Lazy Man (The Steve Pile Band) on July 13th; and The David Luning Band on July 27th. Our concert series – A Little Street Music – has established itself as a mainstay in the West County summer entertainment scene.

This month’s big news on the employee front is the wedding of our Tasting Room manager, Kaitlyn Healy. On July 26 she will wed local all around good guy Patrick Callagy. Do not expect her at the Tasting Room that day!

With summer in full swing there is no reason not to enjoy visiting the fine wineries of the Russian River Valley. The river, the redwoods, the wine…the good life. See you here.



Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Taft Street’s Smoked Brisket

Summer means barbeque and there are not many things better than smoked brisket. We usually go with the traditional Taft Street Zinfandel, but on very hot days a well chilled Taft Street Russian River Valley Pinot Gris hits the spot. This was a big hit at our recent “Grill 116” – wine and food pairing event we hosted with our neighboring wineries.


  • 1 beef brisket (5-6 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 cups oak or hickory chips soaked in water


  1. Combine chili powder, salt, sugar, pepper and cumin. Rub the mix over brisket, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Set up grill for indirect grilling and heat to low. Place ¼ wood chips on top of heat source.
  3.  Place brisket, fat side up, in an aluminum pan away from heat.
  4. Cook until tender with an internal temperature of 185. Replenish chips every hour for the first 4 hours, and spray meat with the apple juice-olive oil mixture to keep moist.
  5. Remove brisket and let rest for 20 minutes. Slice against the grain, pour the pan juices on top, and serve.

Makes 10 – 12 servings



Blackberry Rose (of Pinot Noir) Sorbet

This one has summer written all over it. Fresh blackberries (any berry will do), our favorite Rose (currently the 2011 Taft Street Sonoma County Rose of Pinot Noir), and simple syrup add up to a refreshing end to any meal. It’s also great by itself.


  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 2 cups Rose of Pinot Noir (only Taft Street will do!)
  • 2 cups simple syrup
  1. Cook all ingredients for 10 minutes. Cool. Pass through food mill to extract most of the seeds. Refrigerate for an hour.
  2. Put into ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze.