Sunset Celebration Weekend coming to CornerStone in Sonoma! May 14-15

With the recent relocation of Sunset Magazine headquarters, Sonoma County also inherits the 18th Annual Celebration Weekend! sunsetcwJoin editors, celebrity chefs, vintners, craft beer brewers and renowned lifestyle experts at Cornerstone in Sonoma, CA, for this two-day series of culinary, wine, garden and lifestyle events. Enjoy the grand opening of Sunset’s Test Gardens and Outdoor Kitchen, as well as an all-new, high-design Airstream Village.  More event information at Sunset Magazine.

VIP ticket holders will experience
even more at Celebration Weekend, including:
Early entry at 10am
Welcome gift bag
Unlimited tastes from wine, beer, and spirits purveyors
Exclusive VIP lounge access, including live entertainment, featured regional wines, refreshments, catered meals and snacks
Purchase you tickets HERE!

See what Celebration Weekend has in store for you
in this video montage!

International Chardonnay Symposium on May 12-14

I am getting ready for another trip to the lovely Central Coast.  This time for The Chardonnay Symposium, May 12 through 14, in the coastal resort towns of Pismo Beach and Avila Beach.

I will be moderating the seminar Taste the Difference: Exploring California’s Distinct Chardonnay Regions on Saturday (10am to 11:30am) at Edna Valley Vineyard, where I will talk about how climate, soil and elevation influence each of these five world-class regions and how to determine the origin by simply nosing and tasting the wine.

However there will be a fabulous selection of events and locations to attend starting on Thursday, here is the list, with more details on each HERE:

Vintners Wine Tech Symposium (9:00am–4:00pm)
Sommelier Chardonnay Challenge (10:00am–3:00pm)

French Forum: Exploring The Wonders of French Chardonnay-lunch included (11:00am–1:30pm)
Wente Clone Comparative Tasting (2:00pm–3:30pm)
Pét-Nat, Sparkling Wine & Oysters Gala (4:00pm–6:00pm)
La Paulée Dinner and Vintners Awards Ceremony (7:00pm–10:00pm)

Hone Your Chardonnay Blind-Tasting Skills (10:30am-12:30pm)
What’s Oak Got To Do With It? (11:00am–12:30pm)
Pairing Chardonnay & Artisanal Cheese (11:30am–1:00pm)
Saturday Grand Tasting (1:00pm–5:00pm)
Winemaker Dinners (7:00pm–9:00pm)

Hope you are able to join me for this exciting event!
Cheers, Christopher


Final Resolution in French Laundry Wine Heist

FLheistAs reported in the April 30 issue of Press Democrat, federal prosecutors indicted two California men in the heist and two other Bay Area wine thefts.

This infamous 2014 burglary involved about 100 bottles of wine valued at roughly $300,000. Read the full story by Julie Johnson:

Suspects Indicted in French Laundry Wine Theft-Spree

The Annual Paulée dinner at Arista, April 30th

To celebrate the SoCo Barrel Auction, the Russian River Valley Winegrowers and Arista Winery in Healdsburg will be hosting THE ULTIMATE WINEMAKER DINNER on April 30th.

The Annual Paulée Dinner is timed to coincide with the Sonoma County Barrel Auction.  In the spirit of the Paulée tradition, which originated in Burgundy, the Russian River Valley Paulée brings winemakers and collectors together to enjoy an elegant multi-course meal paired with rare and favorite wines from winemakers’s & guests’ personal cellars, in a family style seating which fosters the spirit of community and an ideal format for the shared love of great wine.

Purchase Tickets!

paulee dinner
Savor specialties from Russian River Valley chefs:
Tim Kaulfers of Arista Winery, Duskie Estes of ZAZU kitchen & farm, Dustin Valette of Valette Restaurant and Cheyenne Simpkins of Wine Country Feasts.

Enjoy the Wines of Arista Winery, Bacigalupi Vineyards, Balletto Vineyards, Benovia Winery, Davis Bynum, Davis Family Vineyards, Dutton-Goldfield, Gary Farrell, Gordian Knot, J Vineyards & Winery, Joseph Swan, MacPhail Family Wines, MacRostie Winery & Vineyards, Martinelli Winery, Migration, Ramey Wine Cellars, Sonoma-Cutrer & Viszlay Vineyards.


2016 North Coast Wine Challenge Results!

The fabulous panels for the 2016 North Coast Wine Challenge.
The fabulous panels for the 2016 North Coast Wine Challenge.

Spectacular finish to the North Coast Wine Challenge with some of the finest wine judges in America. Our team sent the top red & white wine winners to the final round and the 2012, 2013 & 2014 vintages were brilliant.

Enjoying the fabulous Judges Dinner at MacMurray Ranch in Russian River Valley.
Enjoying the fabulous Judges Dinner at MacMurray Ranch in Russian River Valley.
My fellow judges and two of my favorite people in the wine industry: Traci Dutton, Manager of Wine & Beverage Studies at the Rudd Center at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, and Master Sommelier Fred Dame.
My fellow judges and two of my favorite people in the wine industry: Traci Dutton, Manager of Wine & Beverage Studies at the Rudd Center at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, and Master Sommelier Fred Dame.

The big winners have been published in the Press Democrat in this article by Diane Peterson:

Find the entire winners’ list is HERE!
Cheers! Christopher


Welcome to Wine Judges Corner!

winejudges-300x180Wine Channel TV has a new digital online wine lifestyle community called Wine Judges Corner dedicated to wine competitions, award-winning wines and wine judges!

Not only does the site provide extensive competition information for both past and future events, but it also offers the inside scoop from competition organizers, exclusive interviews with renowned judges and extensive wine reviews by experts in the field.

Start your exploration by reading up on yours truly,
follow that up with details about the site!

Wine Judge Christopher Sawyer

Meet me in Telluride, CO! June 23-26

tell_banner_2016_whiteTime to start planning that summer trip!   Join me at the 35th Annual Telluride Wine Festival, June 23-26.  I will be organizing and hosting some of the seminars that you can attend!  There will be many other events to enjoy as well.

Meanwhile check out the site for details,
updates coming soon!

Cheers! Christopher

Hospice du Rhône is almost here! April 14-16

Too late to buy tickets online, but sales at the door are worth the trip to Hospice du Rhône in Paso Robles, CA!  Be sure to check the website for more information.  And play “Where’s Chris?”  you can find me roaming about.

hdr16bHospice du Rhône is located on the Central Coast of California, operates to improve the business conditions of the grape growers and wine producers of Rhône variety wines and grapes throughout the world.

The Wine-pocalypse: Fact or Fiction?

beltane ranchBy now the California Drought is common knowledge.  Residents are working to conserve, but hoping for at least a nudge of relief from the current El Nino, results of which are eagerly being awaited.  In this interesting Forbes article, my friend Greg Hittelman examines the grapes to see just how wineries are being affected and what the outcome will be on the 2015 vintage.

Dry State: Will California’s Drought Trigger a Wine-pocalypse?

Sad Grapes by Mai T. Trinh
Sad Grapes by Mai T. Trinh

Join the Mt. Veeder Spring Tasting – Thursday April 21st

I will be moderating the fabulous Mt. Veeder Spring Tasting yet again this year in San Francisco on Thursday April 21!  The event is from 5–7pm at The Presidio Golden Gate Club, on 135 Fisher Loop, SF.

MVSF 2016Twenty Mt. Veeder wines will be featured with gourmet small bites from Presidio Foods Catering and assorted artisan cheeses, charcuterie, crackers and breads.  Don’t miss out…it’s the only time of the year you can TASTE and PURCHASE Mt. Veeder wines ON SITE…most of which are not open to the public.

Purchase tickets HERE, visit
or call 707-266-1296.

Cheers! Christopher