2021 Meeting Notes

2021 Holiday Party — Silver Gate Yacht Club


There was a lot to celebrate this year with the return to the Silver Gate Yacht Club and our Hollywood Holidays Bubbly Party. Even with COVID restrictions there was a lot to celebrate!


Our evening began with appetizers and bubbly on the patio with a gorgeous view of the bay. Many boats already were decorated for the season which provided a lovely backdrop. It was obvious that our group has missed this opportunity to dress to impress, as there were many stunning ladies and gentlemen, I must say we all clean up well!


Our surf and turf plated dinner added elegance and was enjoyed by all. The overall opinion of those in attendance was the food was exceptional, and it was nice to have dinner served rather than our usual buffet option.


Throughout the evening, you could find many of our members at the outdoor bubbly bar enjoying sparkling wines and champagne from a variety of amazing wineries. Thanks to the creativity and generosity of those in attendance, there were opportunities to taste bubblies from all over the globe. The discussion and critiques throughout the evening were fun and informative.



November 17, 2021: DOCG Imports


The November meeting with DOCG Imports will be a very special meeting. The focus will be on tasting wines from small production, family-owned vineyards in Tuscany, Northern Italy, and Sardinia.


The owner of DOCG Imports, Marina Elettra Snow (aka Nina), is a native California girl of Italian heritage who has lived in Italy for over 15 years. Her focus, as an Italian-certified, second level Sommelier, is to select and import hard-to-find varietals. With one foot in San Diego, and the other in Sardinia, DOCG Imports has two homes.


We will either have Petra Belliti, Italian Wine ambassador, Wine educator, and Wine specialist as our presenter, or Nina, the owner of DOCG Imports

or both!


In keeping with the holiday season, she will start  


We poured:

  • 2020 Julia’s Pinot Grigio - $26
  • 2020 Cantana – Viognier-Pinot Grigio - $26
  • 2019 Barile Chardonnay - $32
  • 2017 Brunello di Sangiovese - $58
  • 2016 Big Fred’s Red - $29
  • 2016 Concerto - $38
  • 2017 1886 Liberta Syrah-Cab Sauvignon/ Cab Franc/Merlot - $50
  • 2015 Vecchio Frate – Lagrein - $50 

October 20, 2021: Robert Renzoni Vineyards


 The Robert Renzoni family purchased the Temecula property in 2006 and 2007. They opened their doors to the public in the spring 2008. In May of 2014 they moved into the existing beautiful facility. 


The family story started well before then. In 1886, when Great Grandfather Federico began working in vineyards in Fano, a small Italian village on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Federico and his father then began making wine for family and friends. 


Their Tuscan- villa features a restaurant, wine laboratory, wine club facilities, beers on tap, and other treats. Their winemaker, Olivia Bue is a graduate of UC Davis, who started at the winery in 2014, after winemaking experience in Australia and Napa. 

This will no doubt be a great meeting presented by General Manager Phil Randall, who has experience in most aspects of the hospitality business in both food and wine. Phil is an excellent speaker with vast knowledge of both wines and the winery business. 



We poured:

  • 2020 Julia’s Pinot Grigio - $26
  • 2020 Cantana – Viognier-Pinot Grigio - $26
  • 2019 Barile Chardonnay - $32
  • 2017 Brunello di Sangiovese - $58
  • 2016 Big Fred’s Red - $29
  • 2016 Concerto - $38
  • 2017 1886 Liberta Syrah-Cab Sauvignon/ Cab Franc/Merlot - $50
  • 2015 Vecchio Frate – Lagrein - $50 

September 2021: AWS  National Wine Tasting Project - Croatian Wines


So, you always wanted to be a “wine judge”.
Well, now’s your chance. 


Our very own Brad Bruce will lead us through the judging process using the AWS / UC Davis 20-point system. Brad will provide an overview of the scoring methodology and then each person will taste and score the wines using the AWS score sheets. 


This year the AWS National Tasting Project is a study of the Croatian and Bosnian Wine regions, ancient winemaking practices, and the indigenous varieties grown there. We will be tasting the six wines from the Croatian region.


We poured: 

  • 2018 Terra Madre Pošip Premium
  • 2019 Volarević Plavac Mali Rosé La Chic 
  • 2017 Rizman Tribidrag 
  • 2016 Terra Madre Plavac Mali Premium 
  • 2016 Komarna 7 Plavac Mali 
  • 2015 Volarević Plavac Mali 


2021 Summer Party & Grand Tasting - La Casa Nicholas


This year’s party was held at the incredible “Casa Nicholas”, an upgraded private residence venue located in the Scripps Ranch area of San Diego. The fun started at 4:30 pm and continued until long after most guest went home….


So, you say, what is this annual party all about?  Well, first off, it’s about wine. Lots of it! We had bottles from such famous wineries as Schug, Eberle, Oak Farm, Lazarre, Domaine Artefact, Halleck Estate and Reustle Prayer Rock. As well as wines from Australia, Portugal, Italy, Germany, and France.  


Then there was the food to pair it with. A fully catered heavy appetizer menu included kabobs, salads, baked goat cheese pita pizza, dips with pita and vegetables, spanakopita, smoked salmon pita, grilled Loukaniko sausage, beef tri-tip croustinis, and desserts. 


The tables were laid out in a fashion that promoted conversation, tasting wines of a type, and plenty of room to indulge in the amazing fare that accompanied the liquid refreshments. All in all, everyone had a wonderful time and are still talking about it. Several remarked that the summer party committee will have a very tough time topping this years event. To that I say, Cheers! And good luck, we all await with bated breath to hear next year's details.

July 2021: Schug Winery - Claudia Schug


Schug Estate has been in Carneros since 1989 but the winemaking experience has been around for over 60 years. You will be surprised to find out  what a remarkable winemaker Walter Schug was, the founder of Schug Vineyards. Walter Schug moved to California in 1959 from Germany where he was a winemaker. He studied for two years at UC Davis and began working in the wine industry. He got a break in 1966 when Julio Gallo made Walter the Head of Grower Relations and Quality Control for Northern California.


The wine tells us that in 1973, Walter was sought out by Joseph Phelps to establish Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa Valley. Walter worked at Joseph Phelps where he oversaw 10 vintages as Vice President and Winemaker. 


 Sometime around 1980, Joseph Phelps ceased production of Pinot Noir thinking there was no significant market for it. Walter as we are told wanted to continue working with Pinot Noir so he reached an understanding the Joseph Phelps that Walter would continue working for Phelps, but Walter could create his own Schug private label. It took Walter three years to be successful enough to leave Phelps so he could further build his wine brand. As if Walter is ever done and thinking long term, in 1989 he purchased 42 acres in Carneros (Sonoma County) which they call it “the heart” of the business today. 


Our presenter is Winery partner and Director of Education Claudia Schug (daughter of Walter). She spent 29 years in Germany where she ran her own wine import and distribution company before she transitioned to consulting and managing the European export market for the winery. Claudia has a BA in Economics from Stanford University and attained the WSET Diploma in Wine & Spirits in 2009. She immediately entered the prestigious Master of Wine program, passing the notoriously difficult Theory Exam on first attempt! 


This is what we poured: 

  • 2019 Rose $26 
  • 2019 Sauvignon Blanc $25 
  • 2019 Chardonnay (Carneros) $35 
  • 2019 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) $35 
  • 2018 Pinot Noir (Carneros) $35 
  • 2018 Pinot Noir (Sangiacomo Vineyard) $52 
  • 2016 Merlot $35 
  • 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma Valley) $38 


June 2021:  Zoom Meeting - Halleck Vineyard


Jennifer was instrumental in bringing Halleck Vineyard to life. While their first son, Connor, was an infant, Jennifer researched rootstocks at local nurseries. Stumbling upon a single line entry in the yellow pages, she met John Caldwell, who set the cornerstone for Halleck Vineyard’s success. He introduced Jennifer to the Dijon clones. During the 1992 Napa Valley Wine Auction, Ross and Jennifer tasted barrel samples of Pinot Noir from Saintsbury to discover the Dijon clones 667, 777, and 115. These were purchased from John. With the vineyard and three children underway, Jennifer delved into the wine world, which quickly became a passion. Working in the cellar at Tandem Winery with Greg Lafollette, she then moved into the tasting room at J Vineyards and Winery, followed by a job in sales representing Kosta Brown. All her experience, with her love of agriculture, confirmed that producing Halleck Vineyard wines was her calling.  She now wears many hats, among them sourcing vineyards, wine production, hosting charity events, mounds of emails and, of course, creating many great wines.  By 1999 Halleck became the first Sebastopol winery. 


Halleck Vineyard, known for their award-winning Pinot Noir’s, is a family journey of business partners Jennifer and Ross Halleck. “They planted the Halleck Vineyard in 1993, the very first in the hills of Sebastopol, in western Sonoma County. Intended as a college fund for their infant son, two more sons and six years later until their first harvest, this seemed a flight of fancy.”  “A one- acre site, Halleck Vineyard is perched above the Russian River watershed and flanked on the west by the slopes to the Pacific Ocean. It commands an expansive view of the rolling Sonoma County hills to the northeast. A passion for Pinot leads the charge of the Halleck wines.”  “In 2019, Halleck Vineyard was again judged “BEST OF CLASS” in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition in North America. Sunset Magazine anointed the Halleck Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc “BEST OF CLASS” in the United States, and the California State Fair judged the Halleck Dry Gewurztraminer "#1 White Wine in California.”


Wines we tasted: 

  • 2019 Little Sister Sauvignon Blanc ($39)
  • 2019 Not Your Mother’s Dry White Zinfandel ($29)
  • 2019 Calandrelli Vineyard Dry Gewurztraminer ($45)
  • 2017 Three Sons Cuvee Pinot Noir ($45) 
  • 2017 Hillside Cuvee Pinot Noir ($45) 
  • 2017 Clone 828 Pinot Noir ($69) 
  • 2017 The Farm Vineyards Pinot Noir ($79)

Jennifer Halleck • 707-738-8383 • jennifer@halleckvineyard.com

May 2021: Zoom wine tasting - V. Sattui Winery


V. Sattui Winery was originally founded in 1885 in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. Vittorio Sattui immigrated over from Carsi, Italy – a small town outside of Genoa with his wife in 1881. After running a bakery and boarding house for a few years, he decided to get into the wine business. He would source his grapes from Saint Helena and transport via horse and buggy for 2 days down to the city where they were crushed, fermented and bottled. He would deliver his wine door to door in demijohns – the original direct to consumer! He closed down the winery due to prohibition.  


In 1976 his great grandson Dario Sattui, decided to reopen the winery on the Saint Helena land that it resides today. Still family owned and operated, we currently produce 72 wines. With only direct to consumer, they do not distribute at all  taking us a unique experience in the Napa Valley. One of the most visited wineries in the valley, we boast an artisanal Italian deli, beautiful picnic grounds, award winning wines and the backdrop for gorgeous private events from weddings to corporate groups to exclusive members parties. They have yet again been named “Winery of the Year” from the Monterey Wine Competition and received several “Best of Show” and “Best of Class” wines in the San Diego International Wine and Spirits Challenge and the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition!


Marc Golick is about to complete his first decade at the winery; he wandered in on a cold and rainy-day longing to be with good people and great wine. Almost ten years later “V. Sattui feels like a home away from home.” A regular wine tender at many of our venues including and especially the reserve tasting featuring the finest of our reserve, current and library vintages nestled in our Vittorio room. Marc also birthed and manages our growing wine and food pairing program featuring his extensive knowledge from his local culinary background. 


These “edutainment” experiences shepherd guests through five to seven courses paired perfectly with our reserve stock wine selection. It is without a doubt one of the unique experiences to be had in Napa Valley. “There’s no job here” he’ll say with a wry smile. “I’ve never worked a day in my life at V. Sattui” More detailed history with timelines and videos



April 2021: Zoom Meeting - Domaine Artefact


Mark & Lynn Robinson, they have built the Estate from the ground up, sharing all responsibilities beginning with the vision of the estate to planning, planting, and management. Domaine Artefact winemaker, Mark, has taken his love of Rhone varieties from a part time love to a full-time job and has managed to keep the love intact in the process. 


Over the last 30 years, Mark and Lynn have immersed themselves in the world of oenology and viticulture. Their travels abroad have provided the great fortune to experience wine from some of the best wine regions of the world. 


Lynn imbues Domaine Artefact with her warm spirit, generous hospitality while Mark, the self-taught winemaker, brings his evolved palate, know-how, and passion to craft wines for Domaine Artefact. We invite you to join us on their wine journey! 


Recently retired Mark and his wife Lynn have planted their vineyards and placed their winery on the western end of Highland Valley Road. You will understand that it is the sweet spot on the hill when you taste these wines.


We poured:

  • 2019 “Caroline” Viognier (Estate)
  • 2019 “Les Beaux Blancs” White Rhône Varietal Blend (Estate)
  • 2020 “Les Printemps” Rosé (Estate)
  • 2018 Grenache Noir (Estate)
  • 2018 Mourvèdre (Estate)
  • 2018 As the Crow Flies (Estate)
  • 2018 Petite Sirah
  • 2016 Vin de Paille Dessert Wine  (Estate)

March 2021: Zoom Meeting - LaZarre Wines


As you can imagine, this was one of the most fun, funniest, and memorable virtual wine tastings we had so far in 2021. From Hat contest, to a memorial presentation to Robert Whitley, to hosts who made one-in-a-lifetime offers to bottle large formats for members at request. This was a meeting you should have attended, and missed a great one if you didn't.


Adam LaZarre is a veteran winemaker with nearly 30 years of experience making wine. Previously, he was the Vice President of Winemaking for Hahn Estates winery in Monterey County. Adam has produced wines for a number of Central Coast and North Coast wineries as well as participated in the production of wines in Chile and in Spain. He has also served as Enologist/Technical Services Representative for the France-based ecological research and manufacturing firm of Laffort. In addition to his duties supporting the production of LaZarre Wines, he serves as Director of Winemaking for the Wine Hooligans, a large Santa Rosa-based start-up wine company producing several popular brands with international distribution. 


Adam is one of the most accoladed winemakers in California, with Best-of-Show wins at the most prestigious wine competitions in the world including the L.A. International Wine Competition where he is the only three-time winner of this respected wine competition. In 2005, Adam was named “Winemaker of the Year” in the Sacramento Bee and was also named “One of the Top Five Winemakers” in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2006. Earlier in 2012, Adam was ranked #69 on IntoWine.com’s “100 Most Influential People in the US Wine Industry”. Many of his wine projects continue to win high accolades regularly. He also holds the WSET level 3 certification and will be continuing his wine education with passion until death does he part. 


Angie LaZarre has been in the wine industry for over 20 years. She has participated in every aspect of wine, from providing hospitality, to picking grapes, doing punch downs, to bottling and selling wine and spirits all over the world. She has also created wine clubs for a number of wineries. In addition to managing LaZarre Wines, she has studied and earned her level 1 certificate in the Court of Master Sommeliers program, all while raising her 3 wild loving children. 


Wines Poured:

  •  2019 Albariño - Edna Valley 
  •  2018 Sauvignon Blanc - Santa Barbara 
  •  2018 Moshina White Blend 
  •  2019 Vin Gris Rose (Malbec Rose’) 
  •  2017 Pinot Noir – Central Coast 
  •  2017 Merlot – Paso Robles 
  •  2017 Moshina Red Blend - Paso Robles 


February 2021: Oak Farm Vineyards -  Dan Panella, Owner & Sierra Zeiter, Winemaker 


When you think of Lodi, big jammy Zinfandels and high-alcohol Cabs come to mind however, this family-owned winery is anything but this. 


With 60 acres under vine, Oak Farm Vineyards produces a wide range of award-winning estate and selectively sourced wines including Cabernet, Zinfandel, Cab Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Grenache, Sangiovese, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Albariño, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and many more. 


We tasted a selection of wines inspired by Dan’s Italian heritage. This is different from the last presentation from their property that focussed on the other wines they make. We also got to taste one of their single vineyard zinfandels and compare it with their Primitivo. 


Wines we poured:

  • 2019 Estate Fiano - $26 
  • 2019 Estate Rose - $26 
  • 2019 Estate Sangiovese - $35 
  • 2018 Estate Barbera - $35 
  • 2018 Mohr-Fry Zinfandel - $35 
  • 2019 Estate Primitivo - $35 
  • 2017 Estate Raffaele - $40 

January 2021: Zoom Meeting - Gary Eberle:  Wine Enthusiast's “American Wine Legend 


When was the last time you met a true “American Wine Legend”? Well… now’s your chance… virtually that is. 


Wine Enthusiast magazine will be honoring Gary Eberle, the “Godfather” of the Paso Robles AVA, as an “American Wine Legend” at their Annual Wine Star Awards, a distinction only bestowed five times in the last twenty years. 


Gary Eberle, a graduate of the Enology and Viticulture Doctorate Program at UC Davis. After finishing his coursework, Gary moved to Paso Robles and began his career by co-founding the Estrella River Winery in 1973. 


Later he decided to pursue his own project and acquired nearly 64 acres just down the road from Estrella River Winery. Gary released his first Eberle wine, the 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon and opened the winery and tasting room in 1983. 


Since then, he has earned recognition for many firsts including recognition for co-founding the Paso Robles Appellation in 1983, the first to use Paso Robles appellation on his wine label, the first to produce a 100% Syrah commercially, amongst many more. 


In addition to being named Wine Enthusiast’s 2020 American Wine Legend, Eberle earned the 2019 Robert Mondavi Hospitality Award, and the 2015 Wine Lifetime Achievement award by the California State Fair. Gary is the only American winemaker to be awarded all three distinguished honors. He was also named Wine Industry Person of the Year from the California Mid-State Fair and the Wine Industry Person of the Year from the PRWCA


Wines to be presented: 

  • 2019 Viognier – $26 
  • 2018 Barbera – $36 
  • 2018 Cotes-du-Robles – $34 
  • 2018 Syrah – $32 
  • 2018 Estate Cabernet – $50 
  • 2019 Muscat Canelli – $24