Wine & Poetry: Litquake: October 15, 2015

Litquake arrives in San Francisco on October 9th this year, departing October 17th, so don’t forget to join me for my 6th Annual Flight of Poets on Thursday October 15th!  Featured wineries include Gundlach Bundschu, Hess Collection, Three Wine Co., LaFollette Wines, Tin Bar & Breathless.

To whet your palate,  enjoy this poem by my friend Dean Rader, who is in the Department of English at USF, that was a finalist in the Caldwell Vineyard – Rocket Science Label Contest 2014.

Red is landing and launch,
Orbit and origin, both cork and
Crush. It’s motion, evolution,
Kinesis. It’s fire and flight.
Every color moves, but red
Takes off, it rockets through
Space, through science. Look: the
Capsule is in your hand. Explore.
Imbibe sun and skin, drink the
Earth. You too can discover the
New world; for in this realm, in this
Cosmos, in this universe,
Everything is wine.

And while you are feeling the wine vibe, chew on this little extra from Dean as well!

Take me

over tongue over teeth
over cusp cut and rim
over skin

Peel me
back and push
me down I want
to go deep

below body and bone
beneath darkness and dirt

and there raise
me up to
mouth on mouth
on lip on tip

I want to go deep
I want to be squashed
quashed and quelled

I want to be crushed

Petaluma GAP, McEvoy and the great wines of Autumn

Winemaker Blake Yarger speaks at the inagural Summer Winemaker Dinner at the McEvoy Ranch Chinese Pavillion.

Love this great article by Linda on the Salvation Sisters blog about the Petaluma GAP and first ever winemaker dinner, McEvoy Ranch Summer Winemakers Dinner — the McEvoy Ranch Chinese Pavilion and the Petaluma Gap American Viticultural Area (AVA)Leslie Sbrocco and I are featured in this story as well:  See us in action at the Gloria Ferrer Glorious Bites Appetizer Challenge event this Saturday October 10th.

That evening I will also be attending another culinary event at Jessup Cellars so look for my posts from the Surreal Harvest Dinner with gastronaut Bob Blumer!

The elegant, dry, and refreshing Rose from #McEvoyRanch, #PetalumaGap.


Mix your wine with charity this weekend!

bless1If you aren’t feeling the pull, like I am, to the Sierra Nevadas this weekend (see The Big Crush), then perhaps you can enjoy some local sips to support worthy North Bay causes?

On Saturday October 3rd you can Raise the Roof  along with an assortment of farmers, wineries, restaurants, hoteliers, insurance agents, realtors, event planners, civic leaders, local law and fire department personnel, and many other local Sonoma County businesses.   Proceeds go to help victims of the recent Valley fire in Lake County.

roof2Attend the event and participate in the silent auction while enjoying delectable wines from the most sought after wineries and sensational bites from featured chefs including Dustin Valette, Duskie Estes, Guy Fieri, Nicolai Lipscomb to name a few. Tickets are $100 pre-sale or $125 at the Sonoma Jet Center doors in Santa Rosa.

On Sunday, October 4th is the 15th Annual Blessing of the Animals at St. Francis Winery. Bring your best furry friend to the Winery to be blessed and spend the afternoon helping raise money for the Sonoma Humane Society.

Admission is FREE! Winery Dog of the Year Contest entry is $10. Wines by glass, raffle tickets, silent auction all contribute to funds raised for animals in need.

Glorious Bites Appetizer Challenge @Gloria Ferrer – Oct 10th

For the first year, Gloria Ferrer and Top Chef star, Brooke Williamson, have teamed up and are on a mission to discover the most glorious appetizer recipe in the country at the Glorious Bites Appetizer Challenge.

GFsonomabrutAll appetizers will be judged by Williamson and an expert panel on originality, perceived taste appeal and perceived ability to pair with the Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut. In addition to Williamson, final event judging panelists will include: myself, Christopher Sawyer, founder of, Sondra Bernstein, Proprietor of the girl & the fig and ESTATE in Sonoma & the fig café & winebar in Glen Ellen, CA, and Steven Urberg, Winemaker for Gloria Ferrer. The cook-off will be emceed by award-winning author, speaker, wine consultant, and television host Leslie Sbrocco.

The regional finalists will participate in a live cook-off on Saturday October 10th, 11am to 2pm, that will culminate at the National Finals at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards in Sonoma, CA.

Get your tickets to attend the “Glorious Bites Challenge” Finals now!

My Big Crush in Amador County, Oct 3 & 4

Finally getting a family trip away and you know there will be wine!  We will be trekking to beautiful Amador Wine Country just in time to experience Big Crush Harvest Festival on October 3 & 4.  It will include 42 Amador Wineries that open up their cellar doors and tasting rooms with ultimate hospitality paired with music, food and fun.  Presale tickets will be sold online until September 29.

amadorBC2015The BIG CRUSH is your ticket to the Shenandoah Valley and Fiddletown appellations, historic main streets of Sutter Creek, Amador City, Plymouth, and beyond!

Two days of bountiful cuisine, world-class wines, along with sounds of acoustic to rock & roll music wafting from every crush pad in the county.  Scenes of teeming vineyards, trudging tractors, bustling crush pads await!

Find me at a winery or follow my social media posts on Sunday Oct 4th to join in on the adventure!

Harvest Fair Photos and Database of Winners

Here are a few candid shots from my days judging with the 2015 Harvest Fair. Before you jump into the Press Democrat Database of Winners, get primed with this article published on Sunday that features an interview with me, Harvest Fair wine entries impress judges.

Judge Christopher Sawyer checks the color of a zinfandel at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair wine competition. (JOHN BURGESS / The Press Democrat)
Judge Christopher Sawyer checks the color of a zinfandel at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair wine competition. (JOHN BURGESS / The Press Democrat)

Harvest Fair Wine Database
There were 1,189 award-winning wines, given in the categories of Best of Class, Gold, Silver and Bronze. A total of 629 silver and 205 bronze medals were awarded. Among 1,254 entries, only 65 wines received no award.

Fabulous Sonoma County Harvest Fair Judges Dinner hosted by the Gallo Family at the Frei Ranch in Dry Creek Valley.
Fabulous Sonoma County Harvest Fair Judges Dinner hosted by the Gallo Family at the Frei Ranch in Dry Creek Valley.
With my co-judges Liz Thach MW and wine writer Mike Dunne.
With my co-judges Liz Thach MW and wine writer Mike Dunne.
Getting ready for the Sweepstakes Round of the judging at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.
Getting ready for the Sweepstakes Round of the judging at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

International Grenache Day (G-Day) – September 18th!

G-DAY is the chance to go out and enjoy some great Grenache wherever you are – anything, anywhere, any budget, with anyone. Get started with this animated video that I narrated for a lesson on the Origin of Garnacha:

This year, G-Day is on Friday, September 18th.  Wherever you are, make sure to include some Grenache-based wines in your day or week and share your adventures via social media where you will find me circulating.  Twitter handles to follow are @Grenache_Global and #GRENACHEDAY.

Cheers! Christopher

Amazing Weekend for Sommelier Stars at SWCW!

Not only did Sonoma Wine Country Weekend raise an amazing amount of money for local charities, but it was lots of fun too! Read the details in this Press Democrat article, enjoy a few candid shots and plan to join us all next year. . .

Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction breaks records with $4.5 million haul

Giving a new meaning to photo bombing with my fellow team members of #SommStars 2015. Special thanks to photo guru George Rose for taking this dynamic action shot!
Colorful characters: Chris Donatiello of C. Donatiello Wines and Jean-Charles Boisset of Buena Vista Winery, Deloach Winery and Boisset Estate Wines.
Lot 5, the Super Bowl Experience for four guests with Benovia and Kosta Browne wineries, sold for for $160,000!
Honoring the charitable contributions of Bob Stone and his family through the years during the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean Winery, MC Squire Fridell of Glen Lyon Winery, SVVGA Executive Director Maureen Cottingham, and Carolyn Stone.

Pure Luxury Transportation supporting Sonoma County Adventures

Just sending a shout out to Pure Luxury Transportation for their tenth year of partnership with the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Association!

What began in 1991 as a chauffeured ground transportation business with one vehicle, has blossomed into the premier Bay Area transportation provider with the 17th largest fleet in the United States. Gary and Jennifer Buffo, owners of Pure Luxury Transportation, have been consistently dedicated to our local community while their company continues to grow.

Pure Luxury Transportation is dedicated to supporting SVVGA’s programs so that we can continue to increase consumer and trade awareness and subsequently, the financial value of wine grown and made in Sonoma Valley. Not only is Gary Buffo serving as a Board Director, but Pure Luxury is proudly supporting many of the SVVGA programs such as the monthly Concierge Tours, Reserve Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Wine Country Weekend.

black-limoBest of all you can reserve your own personal Sommelier Tour, featuring myself, with Pure Luxury Transportation, offering explorations in various locations throughout wine country.  Schedule your adventure with me by calling 800.626.5466 today!

40 Years with Jordan Winery!

The Jordan 1976 vintage was tasting outstanding with lively notes of red fruit, olive, mineral and herbs.

Last week I attended a very special luncheon in Alexander Valley to honor Jordan winemaker Rob Davis. Here is a link to the Jordan blog and some of my photos that explain the significance:

Celebrating Rob Davis’ 40th Harvest as Jordan Winemaker

At the Rob Davis 40th Harvest Luncheon at Jordan Vineyard & Winery: Rob with his daughter Andrea (named after his mentor Andre Tchelistcheff) and Rob’s other mentor UC Davis professor emeritus Dr. Ann Noble, the creator of The Wine Aroma Wheel.


SF Giants coach Bruce Bochy holding a bottle of the famed 1994 vintage we enjoyed with special guest Jean-Claude Berrouet of Chateau Petrus.


Me with my good friend Leslie Sbracco and SF Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper.