Wine Wednesday

Weekends of Wine and Music 

Event round-up for wine enthusiasts and music lovers for the weekends of Sept 9 and Sept 16 in the Mountain View/ Los Altos areas.

In addition to the WineWalk and the Art & Wine Festival, we’re highlighting a brand new type of event, premiering at the Los Altos Tasting Room on Sept 16: A wine pairing like no other.

If you have followed us for any length of time you know we have an affinity for wine and music. So we’re pretty excited about these big events coming up in the next two weekends.

1. Mountain View Art & Wine Festival (Sept 9, 10)

This two-day event takes over Castro Street from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 9 and 10.) Lots of good music, gourmet food and of course, wine and artwork. For us, we’ll be on the job interviewing local wineries for our WineWednesday web cast series.

Admission is free. More information is available here.

2. Wine Walk (Sept 16 — daytime)

Downtown Los Altos stores will be hosting some of your favorite local wineries at the Downtown Los Altos Late Summer Wine Walk 2–6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16.

You can enhance your shopping experience with wine tastings from a number of local vineyards.

Wines will be available from Portola Vineyards, Russian Ridge, Fernwood, Creekview, Domenico, Greyscale, Wildeye, PRIE, Wrights Station, Roudon-Smith, Guglielmo, and Muccigrosso.

Tickets are $35 in advance through or call 650–949–5282.

This event is organized by the Los Altos Village Association.

3. Wine and Live Music Pairing Experience (Sept 16 evening)

How does music affect your wine tasting experience? Find out

On Saturday, Sept. 16, we’ll be hosting a very unique night at the Los Altos Tasting Room, 366 Main Street, Los Altos. It will be an interactive show with a small to medium audience. A tasting is included in the ticket price. As we taste the wines, we will guide the audience through pairing the wine with music. Byington Vineyard & Winery’s award-winning wines, our cross-genre acoustic live music, and a fun experience for everybody.

And each ticket includes:
 — Wine Tasting (flight of 5)
 — An additional glass of wine of your choosing
 — A free copy of our album “Perfect Strangers”

Tickets are $40. Or for more information, you can click here. Hope to see you there!

Here’s our WineWednesday episode at the Los Altos Tasting Room:

About the Los Altos Tasting Room:

The Tasting Room is owned and operated by the Byington Vineyard and Winery. We will be partnering with the Byington team to bring you a very unique night.

About us:

We are a Los Altos based jazz-pop duo. Our sound is an eclectic mix of jazz, pop, classical and rock influences. We’re often compared to early Norah Jones, James Taylor, and The Civil Wars.
We also host the following shows:
- WineWednesday show on YouTube
- Bay Area Musician on KZSU 90.1 FM

Weekends of Wine and Music was originally published in WineWednesday on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Wine Wednesday, S.2 E.9: Fernwood Cellars 

Matt Oetinger, owner and winemaker. Photo courtesy of Fernwood Cellars.
“The wonderful truth about drinking wine is that every bottle has a story. Every winemaker pours a little bit of their soul into a very handcrafted product.”
— Matt Oetinger

There is more to Fernwood Cellars’ wine than technique and terroir. Hints of history with, perhaps, notes of tradition. Located on the historic Redwood Retreat Road, the estate had several incarnations since Charles & Annis Sanders first bought it in 1836. From cabin to Victorian hotel, to lodge, to personal dwelling, each generation inheriting the property started a new chapter, culminating in a spectacular winery with acres of vineyards.

Matt Oetinger’s passion for winemaking was first sparked by learning from his dad. Matt went on to study viticulture at UC Davis and managing another winery before establishing Fernwood Cellars in 1999. Built on the property that has been in his family for five generations since 1863, the winery remains a sacred place where the past generations’ work on the land and family traditions continue to influence the wines that Matt produces each year.

What will make the best possible wine? According to Oetinger, this question drives every decision. Using estate-grown varietals exclusively, Fernwood is among only 7% of wineries to do so. This practice gives the winemaker more control over the entire process. From farming techniques to barrel choices, nothing is left to chance. Oetinger points out that he does not use “oak alternatives”, preferring instead to use real oak barrels of the highest quality.

Producing only 3000 cases per year, Fernwood Cellars prides itself in handcrafting excellence in every bottle, using 6–7 estate-grown varietals planted over 100 acres on the property.

Below is our interview with Lani Dorff, who represented the winery at the Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival.

The winery is open for tastings the first and third weekend of every month.

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider recommending it (click the heart), leaving a comment, bookmarking it, etc. It helps other people find the show AND it’s free ;) Even better: share it with your wine lover friends. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel or follow us on Medium :)
For more information about the winery, go to
WineWednesday is hosted by George Paolini & Sherry-Lynn Lee in association with 23rd Hour.
For more information:
The complete back-catalog of WineWednesday episodes are available here

Wine Wednesday, S.2 E.9: Fernwood Cellars was originally published in WineWednesday on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Wine Wednesday, S.2 E.8: Martin Ranch Winery 

You might think that two business partners with distinctive approaches to their craft would have very little desire to work together.

But at the Martin Ranch Winery, nestled 600 feet up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, just west of Gilroy, the two winemakers on staff have appreciably different styles and opinions, and yet they get along just fine. Good thing, too, since they’re married.

Thérèse and Dan Martin have been producing wines now for about 20 years. And while they do everything together, from managing the business, to working in the vineyards, harvesting, crushing and fermenting the grapes, they have very distinctive tastes for the outcome.

Thérèse and Dan Martin, owners and winemakers at Martin Ranch Winery, Gilroy, CA.

“They are like yin and yang,” says Martin Ranch’s Bonnie Randall, with a laugh. “And for that reason we actually have two different labels.”

Dan is very interested in creating wines that appeal to a large number of people, says Bonnie. His JD Hurley label experiments with blends, apparently with success. His 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, includes Martin Ranch and Santa Clara Valley grapes. It won Best of Class of Region and was awarded 95 points at the 2017 California State Fair.

Thérèse Vineyards, on the other hand, reflects Thérèse’s intent on producing single-varietal “showcase” wines. Her 2012 Estate Cabernet took Gold in the San Francisco Chronicle 2017 wine competition. This is just one of many accolades her label has garnered.

In any given year, Dan and Thérèse, who dry farm their vines and are avid practitioners of green production, deliver some 22 different wines.

“They are, in my opinion, crafted lovingly and exceptionally well,” says Bonnie.

The winery is open to the public the first and third weekend of every month on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“Bring a picnic,” suggests Bonnie. “It’s a very family friendly and dog friendly atmosphere at Martin Ranch.”

For our Wine Wednesday show we decided to pair Thérèse Vineyard’s 2012 award-winning estate Cabernet with an old Duke Ellington song “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” Not that we’re choosing sides or picking favorites. We’re pretty sure the tune would go fine with one of Dan’s blends as well.

Wine Wednesday, S.2 E.8: Martin Ranch Winery was originally published in WineWednesday on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Wine Wednesday S. 2 Ep. 7: Domenico Winery 

Dominick Chirichillo says he got the “passion, the bug, the love and the tradition” for wine making from his grandfather, who introduced him to the craft by making a barrel at a time using a hand-crank press.

So it seems only fitting that when Dominick decided to move from the East Coast to California to pursue his hobby on a commercial scale, that he would name the winery after his grandfather, Domenico. Located in San Carlos, CA, Domenico Winery also carries on the family’s heritage with over 20 different wines, many of them fermented from grapes grown in the Golden State from rootstock brought in from the Old Country.

We caught up with Dominick, the owner and winemaker at Domenico, at the recent Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival. Domenico was one of seven vintners present at the event in early July.

We met up with Dominick Chirichillo, owner and winemaker at Domenico Winery in San Carlos, CA

Dominick is completely self-taught in the art. While running his own real estate development company, he also started a wine making school. He sold both businesses before he and his wife, Gloria, moved to the sunnier climes of the San Francisco Peninsula.

They purchased a 25,000-square-foot facility in San Carlos, where they make and store their wines, as well as run a wine tasting room and events — everything from weddings to corporate team building exercises.

They are in the process of expanding the facility with a separate wine tasting room and osteria, an Italian style kitchen with a pizza oven.

He sources grapes from Napa Valley, Sonoma’s Central Coast, Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Amador County and the Lodi District. And he is a member of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, where he sources Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.

But Domenico’s also grow their own grapes, with 5 acres of Syrah and 3 acres of Primitivo up in Amador County in the Sierra foothills.

We noted what we see as a resurgence in Italian varietals in California and Dominick agrees. “It’s great that California growers are willing to plant (Italian vines),” says Dominick. “They are making wines very typical of the wines from Italy. It’s close to my heart.”

And he enjoys sourcing these grapes to make small batches for his label. “It goes back to my days of making one barrell at a time,” he says.

Domenico Winery, 1697 Industrial Road, San Carlos, CA 94070, is open to the public on weekends and hosts live music every third Sunday of the month.

The Wine Wednesday Youtube episode is available here:

We highlight wines from boutique wineries around the San Francisco Bay Area and pair them with music. If you enjoy this post, please click the heart and/or follow us. You can also share it via email or Twitter and tag us (23rd Hour). It helps a lot. Thanks! :)
For more info about us, go to

Wine Wednesday S. 2 Ep. 7: Domenico Winery was originally published in WineWednesday on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Wine Wednesday S. 2, Ep 6: Naumann Vineyards 

Becky Naumann told her husband, Don, he needed a hobby. So he put his horticulture degree and career in viticulture sales to good work. He started Naumann Vineyards.

Today, the boutique winery, perched 2,000-plus feet above Cupertino, CA, in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, produces about 750 cases a year and specializes in Merlot blends.

Naumann Vineyards, 16505 Montebello Rd., Cupertino, CA 95014

We caught up with Don at the 38th Annual Los Altos Art & Wine Festival last weekend. It’s Naumann’s 11th year at the festival, one of Don’s favorite events.

And, although he’s proud of all the wines he produces, he highlights the Rose Merlot as one of his more unique creations.

“There’s only one other winery in the state that does the Rose Merlot. We’re pretty proud of that,” he says. This particular blend was something of an innovative way to make use of juicier grapes on his property. Although he dry farms his crops, a natural spring runs under one section of his grapes.

“I didn’t want to blend that in with the traditional Merlot,” he says, noting that the Rose Merlot is aged in stainless steel, while the rest of his blends are aged in French oak barrels.

Don Naumann on the deck of Naumann Vineyards, overlooking the Santa Clara Valley.

We explained our process of pairing a wine with a song, and Don says he prefers light country and light rock. So we think we have come up with the perfect combination for our latest Wine Wednesday episode below. We hope you enjoy it.

And if you’re free this Saturday from noon till 5 p.m., Don’s winery will be open as part of the Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Growers Association Passport Days.

It’s one of only five days a year his winery is open. In addition to the four Passport Days each year, he holds a release party for his latest vintage. This year’s party will be held on Aug. 26. “We’re really small,” says Don, “the release party is basically on my deck overlooking the valley. This year we will be opening the 2014 Merlot, which has been aging in oak.”

Sounds like a perfect setting and an ideal vintage. Hope to see you there. Naumann Vineyards is located at Naumann Vineyards, 16505 Montebello Rd., Cupertino, CA.

Wine Wednesday S. 2, Ep 6: Naumann Vineyards was originally published in WineWednesday on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Wine Wednesday, S. 2, Ep 5: Byington Winery 

Nestled in the hills above Los Gatos is a magnificent estate known as the Byington Winery. But we only traveled one mile from our Los Altos home to sample the fruits of their labor. That’s because a few short weeks ago, Byington opened the first tasting room in downtown Los Altos.

We recently caught up with Benny Madsen, the owner of Byington, at the light-filled and modern-style space, where the paint is practically just drying and a few more shelves and other fixtures are yet to be installed. The outlet serves multiple purposes, says Benny, and it fills a niche between a coffee shop and a full bar.

“We wanted to create alternatives. A place you can come to in the afternoon or have a small business meeting and enjoy the wine. But we also want to create awareness for Byington, to be able to sell directly here to customers rather than asking them to drive up a winding road all the way to the winery.”

We take a moment for a selfie with Dre Council, wine tasting associate at the Los Altos Wine Tasting Room.

He notes that the tasting room will also be available for corporate events, such as team-building exercises.

Benny, who has had a very successful career in high tech, entered into the wine business less than five years ago. He must be a quick study. Not only has he acquired and significantly improved the operations at Byington and opened the Los Altos Tasting Room, he has also acquired another winery in the Pine Mountain-Cloverdale AVA (American Viticulture Area) in the heart of the Alexander Valley.

“I think Santa Cruz has some fantastic grapes. It’s just that the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA is not very well known outside the area. We needed something that was easier to recognize as a famous AVA.”

In addition to the expansion of brand marketing, the second vineyard complements the grape varieties quite well. While the Santa Cruz location provides an abundance of Pinot Noir, the Alexander Valley locale supplies Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay and Petit Berdot.

Pairing Music and Wine

Music, we are pleased to note, is a big part of Byington’s event calendar. “We do music (at the winery) every Sunday come rain or shine,” says Benny.

He sees live music as a great way to not only provide a pleasant ambiance for the winery, but to help musical artists establish themselves.

“There’s a lot of synergy in working with musicians. It’s a great way to create an audience for lesser known bands, but we also want to draw on some of the fan base to come up and experience the winery and we hope some of these fans will stay and become fans of the winery.”

Benny knows a thing or two about music, as an amateur big band trombonist from his college days. But choosing his favorite big band composer is as futile as choosing a favorite wine from his vineyards.

“I like them all,” he says with a laugh.

This inspired us to make the hard choice of pairing Byington’s exclusive “Liage” white blend with a classic Duke Ellington tune: “I Got it Bad (And That Ain’t Good”). You can watch our latest installment of Wine Wednesday below.

The new tasting room is open this weekend for the 38th Annual Los Altos Art & Wine Festival, which runs Saturday and Sunday, July 8 and 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. We’ll be there. And we hope to see you as well.

Wine Wednesday, S. 2, Ep 5: Byington Winery was originally published in WineWednesday on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Wine Wednesday S. 2 Ep. 4: La Honda Winery 

Redwood City is a town of contrasts. This oldest of jurisdictions on the San Francisco peninsula has among its distinguishing characteristics that it is only deep water port in the Bay Area. On any given day, cranes and ships are in view as tons of commodities in liquid and solid form are being unloaded and loaded. To add to this image, a nearby recycling plant and concrete plant spew smoke and steam reminiscent of the big industrial cities of long ago.

But, as is the case with many bedroom communities in Silicon Valley, Redwood City has become home to a bevy of high tech companies, including Oracle, Equinix, Silver Springs Networks, Electronic Arts, Shutterfly and Box, among other notable brand names.

And, to expand the juxtaposition of old and new tech is another business that is an integral part of the California economy. Amid the industrial-looking grid of streets just south of a revitalized, robust downtown, lies this most unlikely enterprise: a winery.

To be sure, there is not a grape vine within a mile of this little building occupied by La Honda Winery, which takes its name from the nearby town in the foothills (where many a vine can be seen on neighboring hillsides).

But La Honda Winery is a very unique business. Partnering with its sister company, Post & Trellis, the two businesses cultivate and harvest grapes grown in a variety of locations throughout the Bay Area peninsula. And these sites can be anything from a revitalized vineyard to a residential front yard.

We stopped in on La Honda Winery during a recent weekend and the tasting room was bustling. We chatted with the amiable owner, David Page, for just a moment, as he juggled pourings, the cash register (well, an iPad with Square) and all the other things a manager of a successful winery must deal with on any given day.

We sampled the roster of wines on the menu and took quite a liking to the Chardonnay, which we paired with Neil Young’s Heart of Gold.

It was just a line in the chorus that echoed the name of the tallest trees in the world that gave us the idea. But we think it works well.

By the way, we are playing in Redwood City on July 1 at Angelica’s. We’d love to see you there. More information can be found at:

23rd Hour - Shows

Wine Wednesday S. 2 Ep. 4: La Honda Winery was originally published in WineWednesday on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Big Dog Vineyards 

Wine Wednesday: Season 2, Ep. 3

The suburbs surrounding San Jose, CA blur seamlessly together, with their cookie-cutter high-tech office parks, nondescript apartments, condos and generic single-family homes. The streets and avenues look pretty much the same, too.

We chat with Big Dog Vineyards wine maker Mark Campagnolan and Daisy

You don’t really know when you’ve left one town and entered another. Milpitas, just north of San Jose, qualifies on all those counts. It’s squeezed in between I-880 and I-680 — in one of the country’s most congested areas — yet that’s about it for personality.

But head due east of town and within literally minutes you are traversing little country roads that snake up through the foothills of the Diablo Range (which separates the Bay Area from the massive San Joaquin Valley).

Silicon Valley is just below the bucolic hills of the only winery in Milpitas

After a few miles and a climb up to about 1,200 feet, you are a world away from the Bay Area. Amid rolling hills and ranches with grazing cattle, llamas and horses, you will discover Big Dog Vineyards. Greeting all new visitors, not surprisingly, is the establishment’s mascot, Daisy, who happens to be calmest, coolest and most cordial Great Dane you’re likely to meet.

Inside the winery’s tasting room, the place is bustling. But owner Mark Campagnolan possesses the same cool, calm demeanor as Daisy (or maybe it’s vice versa), as he takes time out of his busy schedule to show us around the place and fill us in on the winery’s history.

The family-owned, boutique winery opened in 2009, 12 years after they had planted their first vines. With about 5 acres in Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab Franc, they bottle and sell everything they produce.

“We originally thought we would plant 5 and see how it goes. And then we had an opportunity to plant another 10 or 15. And after planting 5, it was so much work (and a lot of fun) we thought, ‘nah, we’re OK with 5,’” he says, with a chuckle.

The soil and climate, he noted, are perfect for the Cabs that they grow.

“Nature decides,” said Mark. “We did soils and weather analysis and it turns out we’re just perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab Franc. “

But, like most vineyards, these days, there is a vast cooperative of growers who work their land for what is most suitable and source from others for the grapes that grow better in different micro-climates. With a sister winery in the cooler Santa Cruz Mountains, Big Dog has an ample supply of grapes for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot. They also blend the best of the two mountain ranges with their brand-named Montage, a blend of the Merlot, Cab Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. They are still experimenting with this blend, so each year is unique.

The sister vineyard “is at the, same elevation, but it looks out over the Monterey Bay,” notes Mark. “That ocean influence is better for cooler climate variety like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.”

We described to Mark our concept of pairing wine with music. He likes the idea, but has his own concept of pairing music: with a day.

“I always think of music in terms of moods that pretty much align with the time of day. My progression would be going from lighter and easier, maybe even some classical in the morning, then to something easy but with a little rhythm, maybe some jazz. And by afternoon or certainly by evening, something with a little bit of energy.”

We’re pretty sure that energized music at the end of the day will also pair nicely with Big Dog’s estate-growned Cabs.

Big Dog Vineyards was originally published in WineWednesday on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

WineWednesday Ep. 14: Picchetti Winery 

Our little hatchback chugged up the steep grade of the crumbling road in the foothills of Cupertino, CA. We rounded yet another hairpin turn, where we were saluted by some airborne creature the size of a turkey taking flight directly in front of our windshield. Good thing we were moving at a snail’s pace or we might have hit it.

As we know, turkeys have long since lost their ability to take flight. This bird, we would learn, was il Pavone, a peacock, and the official mascot of the Picchetti Brothers Winery.

It seems that the fraternal siblings who founded this establishment decided to bring two things with them when they emigrated from Italy to California: grapevines and the aforementioned, colorful feathered friends.

The winery is one of California’s oldest and has a rich history. And it is in a rather unusual setting. The property was acquired by the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, part of a vast network of hiking trails and natural wilderness throughout the Bay Area. The winery is still privately run, but as part of the preserve, you can hike in the hills to your wine tasting.

Our wine steward, Andrew, was helpful and knowledgeable about Picchetti’s wines and the vintner’s history

It was a blustery afternoon when we arrived and so we were thankful to arrived by motorized vehicle and to have the warmth of the tasting room in which to sample a glass or two of Picchetti’s refreshments. The place was bustling; not one table was empty.

We mosied on up to the one bare spot we could find and met Andrew, a friendly and enthusiastic wine steward. He filled us in on the history of the place and provided a sampling tour of the winery’s offerings. They range from a Chardonnay and the White “Pavone” blend to a variety of reds, including a Pinot Noir, a Sangiovese, a Zinfandel and, of course, a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Hiking trails around the winery

These are topped off by both a white and red port, providing you with a complete meal’s worth of beverages from appetizers through to dessert. (The red port certainly helped to shake off a bit of the outside chill.)

Picchetti is one of the oldest wineries in California

All of the wines are either grown on the premise or sourced locally. The Sangiovese grapes, for instance, were picked in nearby Morgan Hill. It was a nice comparison to the Sangiovese we had sampled the week before from Vino Noceto, up in the foothills of the Sierra Madre in Amador County. Both worked equally well.

We decided to pair the Pavone White Table Wine with a song for this week’s episode. And given the blustery day on which we sampled this vintage, we decided on Bill Wither’s classic “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

For Bay Area wine enthusiasts, you can’t go wrong with Picchetti. Especially for those of us in the South Bay, it’s just a short hop for a wine tasting, convenient if you’re not in the mood or don’t have the time for the trek to Sonoma or Napa.

Just keep an eye out for il Pavone on the drive up.

WineWednesday Ep. 14: Picchetti Winery was originally published in WineWednesday on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

WineWednesday Ep. 13 — Vino Noceto 

A little dirt road ambled through the vineyard in the foothills of the Sierra Mountain Range and tempted us to to pull the car over over to shoot our video for Wine Wednesday. It was a beautiful spring day, not a cloud in the sky and a light breeze. We got out our mandolin and guitalele (a kind of guitar and ukukele combined) and did a version of the Gershwin classic, “Summertime.” We had just finished recording when a car pulled over and the window rolled down.

“Uh oh,” we thought. “We are probably on private property and are about to be asked to leave.”

A kindly gentleman leaned over to the open window. “Would you like me to take a photo?” he said.

This was Jim Gullett, the owner of Vino Noceto Winery.

Jim Gullett, proprietor of Vino Noceto Winery

We were by now quite accustomed to the wines and friendly atmosphere of the boutique Vino Noceto Winery, having just sampled their offerings in the tasting room and having spent a good amount of time discussing the vintner family’s labor of love with Jim’s daughter, Lindy Gullett.

In our conversations with both Jim and Lindy, we learned quite a bit about the business.

They have been up and running for over 30 years, having produced 27 vintages of Italian varietals, mostly based on the Sangiovese (Italian for “blood of Jupiter”) grape.

Jim and his wife, Suzy, bought the 40-acre property in the town of Plymouth in the Shenandoah Valley while they were still living in the Bay Area. The land sits smack in the middle of the fast-growing Amador County wine region. A grove of walnut trees on the property gave them the idea to name the place Noceto, which means walnut orchard in Italian. The town of Noceto, Italy is the sister town of Walnut Creek, CA, where Suzy was raised, adding support to their decision on the new brand.

Chatting with Lindy Gullett, VP Sales at Vino Noceto Winery.

Jim and Suzy did their homework before planting their vineyards. They studied the climate (long, dry, hot summers), elevation (1,400 feet) and soil (sandy loam with granite particulate) for their property and took a trip to Italy when their sons were just toddlers and before Lindy was born. It was there and then that they decided to plant a version of the classic Italian Chianti.

The winery started as a weekend project, with Jim and Suzy and the kids making the trek from Lafayette, CA to the vineyard.

“They thought it was a great hobby and then realized you can’t run a winery from somewhere else and it can’t be a hobby,” says Lindy, with a laugh. And the rest is history, as they say.

What we especially appreciated about Vino Noceto, the beautifully balanced wines aside and amicable family members aside, was their love of wine combined with music.

“The music you listen to actually has an effect on the taste of the wine,” says Lindy, who attended a seminar on the very subject of music and wine.

Remember, she says, “Wine tasting is not just about the wine. The wine can be wonderful, but it’s also about having fun.”

Try drinking a very hearty red with the Beach Boys and the music will seem discordant, she notes. “Try a muscato, light and bubbly, with the Beach Boys and it will taste fabulous,” she notes. “There are all kinds of outside factors that affect what you taste in the wine.”

Andrea Boccelli, the renowned tenor, apparently is suitable for any of the Vino Noceto wines, she adds.

We sampled a bit of Vino Noceto’s Rosso Tuscan blend. It’s 90% Sangiovese, and 2% each of Barbera, Syrah, Petite Syrah and Aglianoco.

“It’s the kitchen sink of blends,” says Lindy, who calls the vintage the “ode to Amador” for its big fruity, robust flavor.

“Most of our wines are really light, bright, Italian style. “This is much more Amador style.”

So how about the Gershwin song we mentioned. How would it fare with the Rosso?

“Quite well,” says Lindy, with enthusiasm.

On that bright, sunny day amid the fragrant vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley of California, we couldn’t have agreed more.

WineWednesday Ep. 13 — Vino Noceto was originally published in WineWednesday on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


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