Happy Wife, Happy Life… “Yes Dear”

   “YES DEAR” – On October 5th Jenifer and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Gerry and Rosie just celebrated 63 years of “Marital Bliss”. The advice they have always given us is to say “Yes Dear” and “I Love You” to each other as much as possible. I share that advice and enjoy each time I see a couple on our property exploring our beautiful grounds in anticipation of their wedding day. I challenge the groom-to-be to see if he is worthy of the bride’s love. “What are the two most important words to a long term and successful marriage?” I ask. It is amazing some of the responses are: “I’m sorry,” “I apologize,” “you’re right,” “I do.” The smart ones say “Yes Dear”. I explain that if you say “Yes Dear”, you do not have to say those dreaded aforementioned words. I immediately turn to the bride-to-be and say “It is just as easy for you to say Yes Dear as it is for him”. Marriage is indeed a 60-60 relationship.

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My wife and many of her friends, my sister Libby and sister-in-law Deanna love Rombauer Chardonnay. It is oaky, smoky, smooth, and of course very expensive. Jenifer had asked several times, “Why don’t you make a Chardonnay I like?”  So as any good husband would do, I asked our winemaker that very question. He said our existing Chard was the style he preferred to make and he felt it expressed the true characteristics of the chardonnay fruit. I asked if we could possibly make a Rombauer style Chardonnay. He said to get a bottle and he would dissect it chemically. He worked his chemistry magic and then uttered the dreaded words no husband wants to hear: “ We can do it, but it’s going to cost you.” Dang it, of course it is, I said. Isn’t it always the case that if your wife wants something? He proceeded to tell me that we will need to do barrel fermentation, preferably in French Oak (big bucks) to bring out the soft vanilla notes. We will need to do malolactic fermentation to bring out the butter notes. We needed to age it longer to give it better mouth feel, as the list went on and on. Of course my direction to him was “Get er done, happy wife equals a happy life.”

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He worked with the ladies of Wilson Creek and Jenifer taste it throughout the process. The first vintage was amazing. Jenifer was so happy and so proud. The first year we made the Chardonnay Jenifer’s way, I was at the tasting bar with a couple and broke out an unlabeled bottle. I explained how it was created to please my wife and he excitedly said “Oh my gosh, You have to name it Yes Dear! Wow, he was spot on and the rest is history.

All was good in the world, but not for long… The next year the winemaker missed a key step. He did not get my wife’s input or any Wilson ladies input of approval before bottling. He just bottled and labeled it Yes Dear. Whoa is me. Jenifer was not happy. The Chardonnay that was made was incredible and the wine writers, judges and critics loved it. I mean they really loved it. It won all sorts of awards. But it just was not the style my wife liked. So now we make sure that we get Jenifer, Libby and Deanna to put their stamp of approval on the Yes Dear wine before it goes into the bottle.

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We now make two styles of Chardonnay, one labeled “Yes Dear” from Happy Wife Vineyard, and the other Chardonnay whatever style the winemaker sees fit.  So if you want a soft, easy drinking Chardonnay and just want to make your wife happy with a fun label, buy a bottle of the Yes Dear and tell your spouse

I LOVE YOU…..                 

Cheers! 

Bill Wilson

Variant Series Cabernet Sauvignon and White Cabernet

Announcing the new Variant Series

Actually…it’s not “new.” Our popular White Cabernet and Duet have a fresh new look!

Variant Series Cabernet Sauvignon and White Cabernet

Variant Series Cabernet Sauvignon and White Cabernet

Variant: ‘verēant/noun:  1.  A form or version of something that differs in some respect from other forms of the same thing or from a standard.

Cabernet Sauvignon, the world’s best traveled red wine varietal, whose regional names span from Bidure to Vidure, attest to the adaptability and variability in wine making styles of this nobel grape. The Variant Series showcases the amazing array of possibilities when a craft winery can control all aspects of creating a wine from vine to bottle. The Variant Series Cabernet is similar in style to our Duet blend of lightly oaked, soft tannin and fruit forward Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Zinfandel to support the fruit and give a zip of spice. This is the red wine for those who thought they did not like reds. All the complexity and layers of a rich Cabernet but softer on the palate and can be chilled.

The poster-child for variant behavior is our White Cabernet Sauvignon which is now appropriately in the Variant Series. The White Cabernet Sauvignon is an extreme example of the possibilities of vineyard and cellar influence on a wine, turning a traditionally rich, tannic, dark red wine into a white wine with aromas of fruit and melon, yet still retaining the rich mouthfeel of a classic Cabernet Sauvignon. The “White Cab” still resides in its classic cobalt blue bottle but now with a clean silk-screened label and shares this new look with its fellow rebel, the Variant Series Cabernet Sauvignon.

Variant Series White Cabernet bottling line

Winemaker, Gus Vizgirda and team member, Mikayla, bottling the Variant Series White Cabernet.

Variant Series Cabernet Sauvignon

Formerly known as Duet, the new Variant Series Cabernet Sauvignon is being bottled.

A Winemaker’s Journey

I recently returned from my vacation, which was a wine pilgrimage of sorts. We first visited a most unique and beautiful wine-growing region located on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. The wines were unique in many respects. Most spectacular were many of the vineyards that clung to impossibly steep limestone slopes that started several hundred feet up at the top and nearly reached the Adriatic Sea at the bottom. This is the home of the Plavac Mali CachedSimilarYou +1’d this publicly. Undo

Grape, which is genetically identical to our California Zinfandel. The vines are not irrigated and depend on what moisture their roots can find deep in the limestone soils. The concentration of these red wines is incredible. Some are so dense that they must be blended with wines produced from vineyards located in less stressful conditions to make an approachable wine. A delightful fragrant white wine made from the Posip grape comes almost exclusively from island of Kortula. The grapes are grown on the island and shipped by boat to wineries on the mainland. Through the hospitality of our hosts, Andro Crvik and his family (Crvik Winery), we were able to visit many of the wineries in the area.

The next part of our European wine adventure was is the Rhine region of Germany. This time we were taken in and hosted by Heribert and Sybille Erbes. Their winery in the village of Spiesheim (Weingut Erbes, Rheinhessen) has been in the family since the 1600’s. I learned a great deal about German wines from Heribert. Like in Croatia the perhaps most important element in making top quality German wines results from the meticulous care of the grapes. In our travels we were treated like family by our winemaker hosts and established relationships that will last a lifetime. The most important lesson I learned as a winemaker is that no matter where you make wine, producing the best grapes is the key to making the best wines.

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Etienne Cowper (lft), of the U.S., and Heribert Erbes (rt), of Germany, meet for the first time, face to face, after years, 37 to be exact, of corresponding back and forth about wine and life. Here is an article (in German) about the two winemakers: http://www.allgemeine-zeitung.de/region/alzey/vg-woerrstadt/spiesheim/12237466.htm