2019 Meeting Notes

May 2019: LENNE Estate Winery presented by Eric Bruce


Eric Bruce (pictured left of his dad SDWG Director of Programs Brad Bruce) is the Hospitality and Sales Manager at Lenné Estate in Yamhill, Oregon. Founded in 2000 by Steve and Karen Lutz and named after Karen’s father Lenny. Lenné Estate is family-owned and operates from a comfortable rustic tasting room nestled in the heart of their 20-acre vineyard. Lenné is situated on exceptionally rocky marine-sedimentary soil, and their wines are produced exclusively from estate-grown fruit. Their annual production is approximately 1800 cases, chiefly of Pinot Noir with a smaller lot of Chardonnay. The vineyard is in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, at the northern end of the Willamette Valley. Notable neighbors include Willakenzie and Ken Wright Cellars.


Eric joined Lenné in 2017 as the first full-time employee. Eric and Steve collaborate on tasting room operations, and Eric also handles Lenné’s event planning, social media, website, and winery outreach. Prior to joining Lenné, Eric was the manager of Tertulia Cellar’s tasting room in Dundee, Oregon, pouring big reds sourced from Walla Walla. He has a WSET 2 certification, and visits dozens of tasting rooms and tastes hundreds of Oregon Pinot noirs each year, strictly for research purposes.


Wines for Tasting: (Retail - SDWG cost)

  • 2014 Lenne Estate Pinot Noir $40 - $28.00
  • 2015 Lenne Estate Pinot Noir $40 - $28.00
  • 2016 Lenne Estate Pinot Noir $40 - $28.00
  • 2017 Lenné Chardonnay $48 - $33.60
  • 2015 South Slope Pinot Noir $55 - $38.50
  • 2016 South Slope Pinot Noir $55 - $38.50
  • 2016 Karen's Pommard Pinot Noir $58 - $40.60

April 2019: Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars presented by Marcus Notaro. 


The San Diego Wine Guild is thrilled to announce that our April 10th program was feature Marcus Notaro, Winemaker for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley.


Marcus Notaro was named winemaker for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in May, 2013, bringing with him close to two decades of expertise and passion for producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines.


The winery was founded in 1970 by Warren Winiarski and released their first Cabernet Sauvignon in 1972. Their 1973 Stag’s Leap Vineyard (SLV) Cabernet Sauvignon, would go on to beat world-famous first-growth Bordeaux châteauxes at the 1976 Judgement of Paris.

For most of the 20th century, nothing from nowhere could beat the wines of France. The 1976 Judgment of Paris wine tasting changed all that. In one fell swoop, two California wines soundly beat the best France had to offer.


The Judgment of Paris was a wine competition organized in May 1976 by Steven Spurrier in which French judges carried out two blind tasting comparisons: Chardonnays in the white wine category and Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California in the red wine category.


California took on the best of Bordeaux and Burgundy and won on both battlegrounds, taking first place with the 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon and the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-Ks-XI7XAk


In 1996, a bottle of the history-making 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon was placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.


We tasted the following wines: (retail)

  • 2017 AVETA Sauvignon Blanc - $26
  • 2017 KARIA Chardonnay - $35
  • 2016 ARCADIA Chardonnay - $65
  • 2016 ARTEMIS Cabernet Sauvignon - $69
  • 2015 Cellarius Cabernet Sauvignon - $125
  • 2015 FAY Cabernet Sauvignon - $150
  • 2015 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon - $175

March 2019: The Wines of Santa Lucia Highlands presented by Gwen McGill


The Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans, an organization of growers and wineries producing wines from the beautiful Santa Lucia Highlands, for a tasting of the region's top Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah.


The Santa Lucia Highlands AVA is in Monterey County and is part of the larger Monterey AVA. SLH spans 22,000 acres with 6,400 acres of vineyards, some as high as 1,200 feet in elevation. Pinot Noir is the predominant variety with over 3500 acres planted followed by Chardonnay with about 2200 acres. Syrah and Riesling varieties are also grown here.


The region enjoys cool morning fog and breezes from Monterey Bay followed by warm afternoons. SLH has earned its place among the state’s most prestigious appellations producing some of California’s best Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.


Gwen McGill is armed with a Journalism degree from one of the country’s top schools. Gwen moved to Napa Valley in 1997 and applied her messaging and media savvy at a leading boutique wine country public relations firm that specialized in wine, restaurants, cookbooks and food products.  Gwen struck out on her own in 2013, taking more than a decade of experience in global public relations, marketing and events to her clients. She joined the Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans as Executive director in 2017


Wines poured:

  • 2017 Morgan Pinot Noir 12 Clones - $35
  • 2016 Mansfield-Dunn Pinot Noir SLH - $36
  • 2017 Hahn SLH Chardonnay - $25
  • 2016 Bernardus Chardonnay Sierra Mar Vineyard 93 Pts. Wine Enthusiast - $50
  • 2016 Siduri Pinot Noir - Rosella’s Vineyard $55
  • 2014 Miner Family Pinot Noir, Rosella's Vineyard - $60
  • 2017 Morgan Syrah G17 - $25
  • 2016 Alexander Smith - $50

February 2019: Oak Farms Vineyards presented by Dan Panella, Co-Owner and Winemaker.


Dan has a long-standing love for agriculture and farming. Dan is a third-generation American farmer.


His agricultural roots trace back to the days of riding a tractor through his family’s cherry and walnut orchards. Dan spent time exploring other vocational fields, but his attraction towards growing and harvesting fruit consistently led him back to agriculture. He later began harvesting and farming his family’s grapes.


After growing a foundation and love for the industry, he blended his passion for wine with a desire for involvement as the end result. In pursuit of that goal, Dan began training under highly regarded winemaker Chad Joseph and took classes at UC Davis’ winemaking extension. Over the years, Dan has gained a deeper understanding and passion for the artistic sector of the winemaking process. Dan states, “It’s really a fusion of agriculture and art that has allowed me to be creative and allow the grapes to show their strengths.”


When Dan isn't working at Oak Farm Vineyards, he loves spending time with his family. He is an avid movie fan, loves to travel, and enjoys music, having played the guitar since grade school. He resides on property at Oak Farm Vineyards in Lodi with his wife and Co-Owner, Heather Panella, and their four children.


Here's are Oak Farm Vineyards wines we tasted:

  • 2017 Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2017 Albariño
  • 2017 Chardonnay
  • 2016 Barbera
  • 2017 Zinfandel (Mohr-Fry Block 417 Vineyard)
  • 2017 Primitivo (Estate Grown)
  • 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Estate Grown)
  • 2016 Petit Verdot

January 2019: J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines presented by Jeff Meier 


 For more than three decades, Jeff Meier has been an integral part of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, working closely alongside Jerry Lohr, and the Lohr family, to build one of California’s most respected estate programs, and a world-renowned portfolio of wines. Today, as the president and COO for J. Lohr Winery, Jeff oversees marketing, operations and production, while also working with the Director of Winemaking, to ensure the stylistic direction of all J. Lohr wines. His staunch commitment to making the absolute best wines is reflected in the flavorful depth and diversity of the J. Lohr portfolio, which includes J. Lohr Estates, J. Lohr Vineyard Series, J. Lohr Gesture and J. Lohr Cuvée Series.


Wines that we tasted:

  • 2017 Gesture RVG
  • 2016 Vineyard Series October Night Chardonnay
  • 2015 Vineyard Series Highland's Bench Pinot Noir
  • 2017 Gesture Zinfandel
  • 2016 Gesture Syrah
  • 2016 Vineyard Series Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2014 Cuvee POM
  • 2014 Cuvee St. E