What Are Wine Preferences of Different American Generations?

(Based on excerpt from Vineyard & Winery Management article entitled Wine Generations.)

Generations

American Generations from WMC Study

There is an old adage that as people age, they drink more wine. In many cases, research has validated this concept. Yet in the early 2000’s, members of the Millennial generation turned 21 and began adopting wine in large percentages. This has continued over the past 15 year, until in 2016, the Wine Market Council reported that US Millennials consume more wine (36%) than Baby Boomers (34%). At the same time, Gen Xers, now in their 40’s, have still not adopted wine to the extent that Millennials have.

So why are there these generational fluctuations when it comes to wine, and what differences are apparent in the various American generations? The fact that the newest Generation Z (also called the iGeneration) just turned 21 in 2016, makes this a more compelling issue for the wine industry.

Vineyard & Winery Management magazine published one of my articles, written with Dr. Chang, describing our recent study on this topic. This posting is an excerpt of some of the highlights in the study. Millennials were divided into Older (30 – 38) and Younger (21 – 29), due to previous research showing that as Millennials age and obtain jobs with higher income, they drink more wine.

Overview of the US Generations

Though there are different definitions regarding the names and dates of American generations, we will use those provided by the Wine Marketing Council; illustrating age ranges in 2015. We have also included characteristics of each generation:

  • Swing Generation – aged 70 – 82. Currently around 30 million Americans. Grew up during several wars and part of the Great Depression. Considered to be cautious, disciplined and self-sacrificing. They are drinking less wine due to health reasons.
  • Boomer Generation – aged 51 – 69. Currently around 77 million Americans. The largest generation in history. The first TV generation. Started the “free love movement. Considered to be optimistic and driven. Currently buying and drinking a lot of  wine in America.
  • Gen Xers – aged 39 to 50. Currently around 44 million Americans. Called the “latch key” kids because they were often the children of divorce. Skeptical, individualistic, but also community minded. Primarily a cocktail generation, but now drinking more wine.
  • Millennials – aged 21 – 38. Currently around 70 million Americans. Also called Gen Y and Echo Boomers. Grew up with the Internet, and parents who told them how special they were. Optimistic, team-oriented, assertive, and believe in work/life balance.  Buying and drinking a lot of wine.
  • iGeneration – aged 6 – 20. Currently 61 million Americans. Also called Gen Z. Born into a period of terrorism. Grew up with cell phones. Very technology savvy. Entrepreneurial, seek face to face interaction and honesty. Unclear of their wine interests at this early stage, but very interested in healthy food. 

Consumption Frequency:  Boomers and Older Millennials Drinking the Most Wine

The results showed that Boomers (41%) and Older Millennials (43%) drink wine more often, but Older Millennials actually scored significantly higher than the other generations in terms of drinking wine on a daily basis. This suggests that Older Millennials are an important segment for wineries to focus on, especially as Boomers continue to age and may not be able to drink as much wine in the future due to health reasons.

Table 1: Frequency of Wine Consumption by Generation

Generation Daily Several Time Per Week Occasional

(Once a week or less often)

Younger Millennial 12% 39% 49%
Older Millennial 22% 43% 35%
Gen Xer 16% 39% 45%
Boomer 13% 41% 46%

 Major Findings:

  • Preferred Wine Types – All Generations Love Red Wine, but Disagree on Other Types
  • Involvement: Millennials Much More Involved With Wine than Other Generations
  • Risk Taking: Millennials and Gen Xers Much More Willing to Try New Wines
  • Price: Millennials Willing to Pay More for Wine
  • Purchase Locations: Wine Shops and Grocery Stores Preferred by All, but Older Millennials Most Likely to Purchase Online

Social Media & Ecommerce Findings

  • Social Media: Agreement on Facebook, but Younger Millennials Prefer YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest
  • Social Media to Discuss Wine: Older Millennials Talk About Wine the Most, and Boomers the Least
  • Wine Apps: Used Most by Millennials, but Boomers Like Wine Searcher

Table 2: Percentage of Generations Using Wine Apps

Use Wine Apps Vivino Hello Vino Delectable Wine Searcher
Young Millennials 32% 18% 14% 10% 14%
Older Millennials 44% 29% 25% 18% 19%
Gen Xers 30% 13% 15% 10% 15%
Boomers 13% 3% 3% 2% 9%

 Key Take-Aways

Though it is not possible to list all implications of this research here, there are a few key take-aways that may be helpful to wine marketers and strategists who are trying to sell wine to the different generations:

  1. Respect the Boomers: This generation is still drinking  a lot of wine in America today, so though they may spend less than Millennials, they are still an important segment to target. However wine strategists need to develop contingency plans to prepare for the aging of Boomers and the probable likelihood that they will drink less in the future due to health reasons. Traditional marketing channels will still work with this generation, but Facebook and WineSearcher seem to be good ways to connect with them online.
  2. Don’t Ignore Gen Xers: Though this is a smaller generation, and seemed to prefer cocktails over wine when they were younger, their wine consumption behavior has increased as they’ve aged. They also appear to enjoy trying new wines, and do go online to get information about wine. They have almost as high a usage of Twitter and Youtube as the Millennials, and are willing to pay more for wine than Boomers.
  3. Target Older Millennials: This generation appears to be highly engaged in wine and is willing to pay more for it. What may be challenging is that fact that they know so much and are very technology savvy. Wine marketers need to learn how to connect with this cohort across promotion channels, but especially online. Both innovative and intellectual methods are necessary to keep this group engaged with a brand.
  4. Innovate for Younger Millennials: This younger cohort has lower income, but are willing to spend more on wine than Boomers. However, they enjoy trying new wines, and varietal is not as important to them. This points to a need for new innovation wine styles and options for this group, as well as online advertising that is more focused on Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest.
  5. Study Needs of iGeneration: It’s difficult to believe that the iGeneration turned 21 in January of 2016, but very little is known about their wine drinking perceptions. The fact that they are very interested in healthy food and nutrition suggests that focusing on the natural way in which wine is made, especially sustainable, organic, and biodynamics wines, could be useful.

References

FOR A COMPLETE COPY OF THE STUDY, CONTACT VINEYARD & WINERY MANAGEMENT magazine: Thach, L. & Chang, K. (2016). Wine Generations: A new survey looks at consumer wine preferences. Vineyard & Winery Management, Vol. 42, No. 1, pgs. 124-128.

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SSU Millennials Wowed by the Flash and Fun of Buena Vista Wines

FullSizeRender (2)Contributed by Itze Monserrat Peña-Andrade) A huge crowded gathered at the recent SSU WineSense tasting, lured by the “flash” of the flamboyant Buena Vista Winery, and the “fun” of tasting its newly released wines. The meeting was led by Hospitality and Tasting Room Associate, Amber Lesniewski, who wowed the audience with stories about the winery’s amazing history, as well as the products they offer.

Buena Vista Winery – The Oldest Premium Winery in California

The history of Buena Vista Winery is quite interesting to say the least. Self-proclaimed “Count of Buena Vista,” Agoston Haraszthy, a vivacious immigrant from Hungary and lover of grapes, founded Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma County in 1857. This makes Buena Vista the oldest premium commercial winery in California.

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Renovated Wine Caves at Buena Vista

The Count first settled in Wisconsin, where he planted both hops for beer-making. This made him one of the founding fathers of the American beer industry, as well as wine. But the harsh winters in Wisconsin weren’t ideal for planting grapes, so he decided to move to San Diego, California. Here he became the first sheriff, and then marshal, of San Diego. Eventually he made his way north to San Francisco in 1852, and then to Sonoma in 1856, where he acquired 800 acres and set the foundation for the successful Buena Vista Winery.

Buena Vista Today – Renovated by Jean-Charles Boisset

Fast forward to the present, where the winery sits on its original property and is currently owned by Boisset Family Estates, led by Jean-Charles Boisset, who purchased the winery and the historic property in May 2011. Since that time, Jean-Charles had made many improvements, including renovating the old caves, adding a museum, updating the tasting room, and creating the famous “White Room,” filled with priceless antiques and chandeliers.

The original hand-dug caves are still on site and after reconstruction; they have been re-opened to visitors for tours. The visitor center, located inside the old wine press house, provides access to the original champagne cellar as well as many other amenities. Boisset continues to make the winery the best it can be, and the efforts he has brought forth have surely been noticed.

A Tasting of Three Famous Buena Vista Wines

FullSizeRenderrAmber led the members of WineSense club through a tasting that featured three Buena Vista wines. The included a 2014 Buena Vista Chardonnay, a 2012 Buena Vista Pinot Noir, both from Carneros, and a 2013 Sheriff. The latter was a powerful wine brimming with personality and a bold combination of Cabernet, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Grenache. Amber walked the students through the characteristics of each wine tasted, and then encouraged them to visit the winery to taste many of their other special varietals.

Favorite Wine of the Evening – A Bow to the 2013 Sheriff

At the conclusion of the meeting, club members were asked to vote for their favorite wine of the evening. Each participant could vote once and with a unanimous vote, the 2013 Buena Vista Sheriff was clearly not only the favorite, but the winner of the evening. It was an enriching night and a wondeful educational tasting that students will not forget any time soon.

 

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SSU Wine Sense Club Welcomes Korbel – The Oldest California Champagne Cellar Dating from 1882

IMG_5379(Contributed by Itze Monserrat Pena) The SSU WineSense Club kicked off the Spring 2016 semester with a delicious tasting of sparkling wine and port to celebrate the romantic month of February. Obviously Korbel Champagne Cellars was a “natural” choice to invite to campus for an educational and fun tasting.

A Little Bit of Korbel History

Korbel & Bros. Inc. has an interesting tale that dates back to 1862 where believe it or not, the three Korbel brothers: Francis, Anton and Joseph founded Korbel to make cigar boxes in San Francisco, California. It was an immediate success, which led them to become involved in the export of hardwood and timber. That attracted the brothers to the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. Over time, they began to plant vineyards on the Russian River property.

By 1882, the brothers were producing up to 30,000 gallons of wine. Due to their success, they decided to devote all their attention to their vineyards. In 1884, they invited Frank Hasek, a champagne master, to assist with production. Hasek brought forth the Methode Champenoise approach to make sparkling wine, and spent the next decade blending the results of different grape harvests to produce the distinctive Korbel style.

Why California Champagne on Label?

Today Korbel is the fourth largest Champagne producer in the United States, and reserves the right to use the term “California Champagne” on its labels. This is because in 2005, the EU and US agreed that the US would no longer use European wine region names, such as Champagne, Sherry, Chablis, etc. on its labels, unless it was a producer that had been doing it for a long time. Korbel fell under these grandfathered rules.  For more info, read.

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A Tasting of Four Korbel Wines

Justin Shushek, a part-time hospitality rep at Korbel and full-time SSU Wine Biz major, led the tasting. The more than 40 people who showed up for SSU’s Wine Sense Club meeting enjoyed a selection of 4 delicious Korbel wines:

  1. 2012 Korbel Natural from the Russian River Valley,
  2. Korbel Brut Rose Romance, a limited edition
  3. Korbel Sec
  4. Korbel Port

Justin walked the students through the characteristics of each wine we tasted and explained that the level of sweetness in a sparkling wine is determined by the dosage, which is added after the wine finishes second fermentation in the bottle.

Favorites Wines of the Evening

FullSizeRenderAt the conclusion of our first meeting, the club members were asked to vote for their favorite wines of the evening.  Each participant could vote once with many going back and forth over their two favorites but in the end, the winner of the evening with not too many votes behind was:

  • SelectorBottles_Natural2012 Korbel Natural from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma

It was a wonderful night and a great way to kick of the start of our Spring 2016 WineSense club with old members and new. The educational tasting is one that students will not forget any time soon and we can’t thank Justin enough for leading us all through the first meeting!

 

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Keller Estate and Muscardini Cellars Join SSU in Ugly Holiday Sweater Wine Tasting

Contributed by Sophia Fish – SSU Wine Sense Club ended the semester with a bang, hosting Keller Estate and Muscardini Cellars for an Ugly Holiday Sweater Wine Club meeting! 

Ugly Holiday Sweater Wine Tasting at SSU

Ugly Holiday Sweater Wine Tasting at SSU

 

 

About Keller Estate – A 25-Year Love Affair

The development of Keller Estate has been a 25-year love affair of Arturo and Deborah Keller. The two first fell in love with the estate while driving through Sonoma County. They soon decided to make it the site for a world-class vineyard, as well as their home.

The La Cruz vineyard took root in 1989 when the first chardonnay vines were planted. The first vintage produced by these grapes were sold to Rombauer Vineyards, who quickly saw the amazing potential of the land. In 2000 Keller Estate officially began its own label, and the construction of the winery began.

The Terroir of Keller Estate – The Petaluma Gap!

The Keller Estate is technically located in the Sonoma Coast AVA, but the winery’s terroir is characterized by the Petaluma Gap. If you are a Sonoma County local, you may know a little about a petition recently submitted to establish the Petaluma Gap as a formally recognized AVA.

Keller Estate in the Petaluma Gap

Keller Estate in the Petaluma Gap

The Petaluma Gap is influenced by the San Pablo Bay to the south and the opening in the coastal hills to the northwest (the gap), which allows fog from the Pacific to flow through the Petaluma Valley. These two unique influences generate a lengthy, cool growing season for the vineyards, which is perfect for pinot noir and chardonnay to thrive.

Six Petaluma Gap Wines from Keller Estate 

We tasted six amazing wines from Keller Estate.

  1. 2014 Rose of Syrah: Salmon in color, with aromas of dried cherries, strawberries, citrus and green apple.
  2. 2011 La Cruz Chardonnay: A bright, crisp chardonnay with a touch of acidity and minerality.
  3. 2011 Oro De Plata Chardonnay: Flavors of honeydew and green apple, with a crisp yet creamy finish.
  4. 2012 La Cruz Pinot Noir: Aromas of ripe cherry, spice, orange peel and earth.
  5. 2011 El Coro Pinot Noir: Aromas of raspberry, plum and vanilla. Accented with notes of spice and pine.
  6. 2011 Rotie: A syrah and viognier blend. Flavors of dark berries, earth, spice with leather and tobacco notes.
Keller Estate Wines

Keller Estate Wines

The two favorites from Keller Estate:  2011 El Coro Pinot Noir and 2014 Rose of Syrah

About Muscardini – Italian Heritage

It all starts with Emilio Alchera, born in the village of Calliano in Northern Italy. Emilio came to Ellis Island in New York in 1909. He then settled in San Francisco and saved enough money to buy and run a small grocery store. There he sold bulk wine and when he had time, he made a red table wine for his family. This business eventually developed into the St. Helena Napa Valley Wine Company.

Muscardini Tasting Room

Muscardini Tasting Room

A New Generation of Winemaking

Now Emilio’s grandson, Michael Muscardini, has returned to the family’s winemaking roots. The first sangiovese vines were planted in May of 2000. While the vines grew Michael began studying winemaking. He did this by picking the brains local winemakers. He also took courses at UC Davis and Sonoma State. Now, many years and vintages later, Michael has produced award-winning wines which we are sure Emilio would be very proud of.

Five Delicious  Wines from Muscardini 

Muscardini presented us with five delightful wines:

  1. 2014 Rosato di Sangiovese Alpicella Vineyard: Bright floral notes with red berries and apple.
  2. 2012 Sangiovese Alpicella Vineyard: Dark aromas of blackberries, plum, strawberries, earth and spice.
  3. 2011 Tesoro: Enriching aromas of black cherries, plums, cherries, cacao and spice.
  4. 2013 Merlot Sangiacomo Vineyards: Aromas of dried cherries, licorice, plum and roasted walnuts.
  5. 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon B Wise Vineyards: Enticing flavors of ripe berries, sage, tobacco and leather.
Wines from Muscardini

Wines from Muscardini

The two favorites from Muscardini: 2013 Merlot Sangiacomo Vineyards & 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon B Wise Vineyards

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A Glimpse into the Life of Bordeaux Buff Dewey Markham

Dewey Markham

Dewey Markham

Contributed by Itze Pena-Andrade – This past Thursday, the WineSense club was very fortunate in that Dewey Markham Jr., an author and wine scholar, lead the club through a wine tasting of fine Bordeaux wines. It was an enriching and educational experience!

Dewey Markham’s Wine Journey

Dewey was born and raised in New York City where he attended and graduated from New York University, with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s degree in Cinema. During his late twenties, Dewey’s professional direction turned to cuisine. After having worked as a cook for some time, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America.

From 1986 to 1989 Dewey lived in Paris, where he was a director of the French cooking school L’Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne and while there, he introduced a wine studies program to the curriculum. This led to his next journey in his life, from cuisine to wine and the passion he has for it.

Upon his return to the US, he worked in two of New York’s leading wine shops and in addition to this; he worked as an Associate Director of the Swiss Wine Information Council. During this time, he was invited back to the Culinary Institute to teach a series of wine courses where he wrote his book Wine Basics.

Now and since 1993, Dewey has lived and worked in Bordeaux. He hosts private wine tours and serves as an ambassador for many amazing Bordeaux wines held all over the world.

Tasting of Five Bordeaux Wines

IMG_0933Dewey presented five different red blends for the attendees to taste:

  • 2012 Château Lilian Ladouys
  • 2012 Château Haut-Bages Liberal
  • 2012 Château Bellevue De Tayac
  • 2012 Château Bernadotte
  • 2012 Château De Panigon

Favorite Wines of the Evening

Of the wines presented, the favorites of the night were:

2012 Château Bellevue de Tayac is a blend consisting of 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 70% Merlot and 10% Petite Verdot, from the Margaux appellation.

2012 Château Haut-Bages Liberal is a blend consisting of  70 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, from the Pauillac appellation.

We cannot thank Dewey enough for his educational presentation, the selection of wines, and lastly for this once in a lifetime tasting experience!

SSU WineSense Club with Dewey Markham

SSU WineSense Club with Dewey Markham

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A Tasting With Boutique Wineries Three Sticks and Hamel Family Vineyards


Contributed by Sophia Fish
– The SSU Wine Sense Club was honored to host two unique boutique wineries this week – Three Sticks and Hamel Family Vineyards, both located in Sonoma Valley.

20151105_191655Even better was the fact that both wineries have hired SSU wine business students. Katie Boyer now works at Three Sticks Winery and our Wine Sense President, Rachel Minor, works as an intern at Hamel Family Wines.

Overview of Three Sticks Winery

Three Sticks is a winery that succeeds with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Bill Price purchased Durell Vineyard in 1998, and went on to found Three Sticks Winery in 2002. The winery began producing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from it’s 111 acres.

Source of the Name: The name Three Sticks came from “Billy Three Sticks,” a nickname given to Price by surfing friends who teased him about his formal name, William S. Price III.

Winemaking: Three Sticks winemaker is Don Van Staaveren, a former winemaker for Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood. Its winemaking team has recently grown this year with the addition of Bob Cabral as the label’s director of winemaking. Cabral is a gifted winemaker who previously spent 16 years as winemaker at Williams Selyem.

Three Sticks wines are made in very small quantities and are available by allocation only – but don’t fret. If you would like to taste these exclusive wines you are welcome to visit Three Sticks tasting room called the Adobe. The winery recently restored the historic Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe in downtown Sonoma, used for private tastings daily by appointment.

We tasted four wines from Three Sticks:

  • 2013 Durell Vineyard Sonoma Valley Chardonnay: Aromas of ginger, citrus, roasted almonds, sandalwood, with a creamy complex finish.
  • 2013 Durell Vineyard Sonoma Valley ORGIN Chardonnay: Notes of lemon blossom, fresh fig, citrus and summer peach.
  • 2013: Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: Essence of blackberries, mushrooms, soft leather, dark cherries and earth.
  • 2013 Gaps Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: Aromas of raspberry, cranberry and black cherry, with a wonderful balance of spice and fruit.

Hamel Family Wines – A Family Affair

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Hamel Family at Winery

Hamel Family Wines was founded in 2006, when George Hamel Jr. and his wife, Pamela, looked to Wine Country as a place to escape the summers in San Francisco. It all started when the Hamels purchased a home on the Tres Palmas Vineyard in Kenwood. After that it quickly became a family affair, with John Hamel II as the winemaker and George Hamel III as the managing director.

The Lowdown on the Logo:You may be wondering about the unique label chosen for the brand. There are many reasons why this logo was chosen, but the most significant is the family’s three generations of University of Wisconsin graduates; George, George Jr. and John Hamel II. The schools mascot is a badger. Go Badgers!

The Winemaking: One thing that is special about Hamel Family Wines is that everything is grown on its estate, meaning it has full control over the quality of wine produced. The winery’s land is certified organic, and it expects to its biodynamic certificate in two to four years. It originally produced 290 cases, and increased to 4,500 this year. These wines are sold exclusively at its Sonoma Valley tasting room, as well as some upscale restaurants such as The French Laundry and The Girl & The Fig.

We tasted three wines from Hamel Family:

  • 2014 Sonoma Valley Estate Rose: Aromas of white peach, red berries, orange zest, and ginger.
  • 2012 Sonoma Valley Isthmus: Notes of tobacco, dark fruit, earth and cassis.
  • 2013 Sonoma Valley Estate Old Vine Zinfandel: Aromas of strawberries, apricots, dark berries and cocoa

Favorite Wines of the Evening

IMG_0612 (1)IMG_0613After voting for the two top favorite wines, the winners were:

  • 2013 Gaps Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
  • 2013 Armor Plate Estate Zinfandel
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Enriching Wine Tasting with La Crema and Murphy Goode Wineries

Halloween Wine Tasting

Halloween Wine Tasting

Cheers to our fourth WineSense Club meeting of the Fall 2015 semester!  We were very excited to welcome back alumni Kate Hansen from La Crema and Emily Creaven from Murphy-Goode to come speak with us about what their wineries offer.

A Little Bit of History on La Crema and Murphy-Goode Wineries

La Crema Vinera meaning the “Best of the Vine,” founded in 1979, is a family owned and operated winery that focuses exclusively on the exploration of premier West Coast cool-climate appellations.  When La Crema was first founded, the Russian River Valley had yet to establish itself as one of California’s most important regions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  However, as time passed, La Crema expanded its collection of vineyards to include some of the most esteemed sites that include: the Sonoma Coast, Green Valley, Fort Ross-Seaview, Mendocino, Carneros and Monterey.

The tale of how Murphy-Goode established itself is quite original! In 1985, during a friendly game, Tim Murphy, Dale Goode and Dave Ready decided to make their love of fine wines official.  They first began with two wines, they created Fume Blanc and Chardonnay from Murphy Ranch and Murphy-Goode Vineyard in Sonoma County.  Now, Murphy-Goode has over 20 vintages.

Kate and Emily Lead a Wine Tasting at SSU

Featured Wines of the Evening

Featured Wines of the Evening

La Crema’s vineyards are all harvested by hand and their winemaking techniques are primarily traditional to ensure that the wines are true to both the variety and the terroir.  We were fortunate to try a selection of 6 wines from both wineries.  We tasted three wines from La Crema: a 2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, a 2013 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and a 2013 Green Valley Pinot Noir.  We also tasted three wines from Murphy-Goode: a 2014 Russian River Single Deck Chardonnay, a 2012 Snake Eye Zinfandale, and a 2011 Terra A Lago Cabernet Sauvignon.  

Favorites Wines of the Evening

At the conclusion of our fourth meeting, the club members were asked to vote for their favorite wines of the evening as they do for every meeting.  Each participant could vote a total of two times and the two winners of the evening were:

  • 2013 La Crema Russian River Valley Chardonnay
  • 2013 La Crema Green Valley Pinot Noir

It was a great meeting, costumes and all, that the members will not forget any time soon!  We can’t thank Kate and Emily enough for coming!

 

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