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.

Explore With Us

We, as wine enthusiasts, have a certain passion for life.  A passion for having unique experiences, making discoveries and then introducing and sharing those discoveries with our friends and family.

We in the wine business are a lucky bunch. We have the delightful responsibility of keeping abreast of trends in the industry. This often requires us to travel to different regions visiting vineyards, meeting with fellow winegrowers and tasting wines. Small wineries like to help each other by sharing what we’ve learned.

We really don’t see each other as competition, but rather brothers in arms trying to battle against Mother Nature in the vineyards and tame the mysteries of biology in the cellar. We know that there’s plenty of space in the world for great wines from different places. We all share the common bond of trying to emphasize the uniqueness of a particular varietal, grown in a particular place.

It’s this last idea, a particular varietal, grown in a particular place that is the cornerstone of a new series of wines we’re bringing exclusively to our Wine Club members. As part of our education we’ll blind taste five wines from five regions. For example we’ll taste Chardonnay from our estate, from wineries in Santa Barbara, Monterey, Napa and Sonoma.

What we’ve learned over the years is that there is no single best Chardonnay. There can be many best Chardonnays, just from different regions. Each is a unique expression of Chardonnay because of the terroir from the place it’s grown and the way that the winemaker chooses to emphasize that terroir.

A vineyard view of the Santa Rita Hills.

A vineyard view of the Santa Rita Hills.

Our new Explorer Series of wines will give our Wine Club members the same chance we at the winery have had to examine wines that are grown in other regions. Behind the scenes we’ve been partnering with growers and a custom crush winery up North to grow grapes and produce wines to our specifications. We’ve been making these wines at the highest quality level to deliver to you archetypal examples of a particular varietal, grown in a particular place. Each wine will be only be available for a limited time in limited quantities and then we’ll move on to another varietal from another place.

Greg sifting sediment during a coastal county trip.

Vineyard Manager Greg sifts sediment with his hands during a coastal wine country trip.

Gus sampling wine on coastal trip.

Wilson Creek’s Winemaker, Gus, sampling wine during a recent trip to the coastal wine country.

You will have fun comparing and contrasting the wine with a wine we already make here from our estate, like Chardonnay. In your special release July shipment you’ll get our 2014 Russian River Valley Chardonnay which is an archetypal cool climate Chardonnay. This wine will be exciting to compare to our brand new barrel fermented 2014 Family Reserve Chardonnay from our estate. We bottled both of these wines this past May and we think they’re both going to blow you away!
In other cases we’ll share with you a wine we don’t, or can’t, grow here at Wilson Creek – like Pinot Noir. Our Mediterranean climate isn’t well suited to growing Pinot fruit, so we’ve sourced some of the best stuff out there from Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara. The cult wines from this region are some of the most highly rated and you’re going to love our 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir.

It’s taken us some time to get these wines together and you’ll see more of them in the fall. Without giving away all our secrets, get excited to taste things like intense and powerful Petite Sirah from the Sierra Foothills, crisp and fruity Sauvignon Blanc from Santa Barbara, Sparkling Shiraz just in time for the holidays, and even an Oakville Cabernet around a year from now.  We hope you join us on this journey of exploring great wines from great places!

How to survive Valentine’s Day

With only a couple days left til February 14th, I hope you’re not fretting about what to do. If you do happen to find yourself in that situation just remember one thing, KISS.
That’s right, KISS – keep it stupid simple!
Don’t know what I mean? Ok, let’s try this…

Beautiful day? CHECK! (if you happen to live in sunny SoCal you’re in luck, otherwise this one can be modified)

Large blanket? CHECK!

Mood music? – CHECK! Whatever floats your boat, or hers for that matter. (Long gone are the days of carrying around a boombox. Now we flip out our phones or tablets and VOILA!)

Basket? – CHECK! Filled with goodies of course. (baguette, crackers, cheese, grapes, strawberries, chocolate truffles)

2 stemmed glasses? CHECK!

Bottle of wine? CHECK! (or two)

Not sure what wine to get? No problem! These suggestions will help…
For white wine fans try,
a chilled bottle of Wilson Creek 2013 “Yes Dear” Chardonnay – afterall it is Valentine’s Day, “Yes Dear!!…”

For those who enjoy the sweeter side of life try,
a beautiful, chilled blue bottle of Wilson Creek 2014 White Cabernet Sauvignon

For those who are red hot at heart try,
a bottle of Wilson Creek Family Reserve 2012 Syrah

Fans of bubbles should try,
a chilled bottle of Wilson Creek’s new Sparkling Rose – she’ll be tickled pink!

and finally, if you enjoy the rich, luxe life try this extravagance in a bottle,
NV Late Harvest Chardonnay – a sipping delight!

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There you have it. Valentine’s Day done right. Just remember, KISS!
1 happy lady? CHECK!
1 lucky man? CHECK! (Well, maybe, the rest is up to you)

Life’s Little Instructions: Mind Your “Manors”

It seems that when we get busy we tend to forget about what’s most important to us. We forget to smile, to appreciate and enjoy the world around us. So here are some simple “instructions” to help you get that little kick back in your step. And always, always Mind Your Manors!

Sing in the shower. Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated. Watch a sunrise at least once a year. Leave the toilet seat in the down position. Never refuse homemade brownies. Strive for excellence not perfection. Plant a tree on your birthday. Learn three clean jokes. Return borrowed vehicles with a full tank of gas. Compliment three people every day. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them. Leave everything a little better than you found it. Keep it simple. Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know. Floss your teeth. Ask for a raise when you feel you’ve earned it. Be forgiving of yourself and others. Over-tip breakfast waitresses. Say “Thank you” a lot. Say “please” a lot. Avoid negative people. Buy whatever kids are selling on card tables in their front yards. Wear polished shoes. Remember other people’s birthdays. Commit yourself to constant improvement. Carry jumper cables in your trunk. Have a firm handshake. Send lots of valentine cards and sign them, “someone who thinks you’re terrific.” Look people in the eye. Be the first to say “hello.” Use the good silver. Return all things you borrow. Make new friends but cherish the old ones. Keep secrets. Sing in a choir. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life. Wave to kids on a school bus as they pass by. Be there when people need you. Plant flowers every Spring. Have a dog. Always accept an outstretched hand. Feed a stranger’s expired parking meter. Don’t expect life to be fair. Never underestimate the power of love.  Drink champagne for no reason at all. Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation. Don’t be afraid to say, “I made a mistake.” Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Compliment even small improvements. Keep your promises (no matter what). Marry only for love. Rekindle old friendships. Count your blessings. Call the Manor to make a reservation…951.699.9463

Wilson Creek Manor

A stay at the Manor makes a great gift!

Farm to Table for Your Tummy

locally grownThe Creekside Grille is committed to providing nothing but the best for their customers. The Grille is a dedicated ‘farm to table’ restaurant. Farm to table refers to the elimination of processed, unhealthy foods and bringing a focus back to healthy, fresh, creative, simple yet tasty dishes. Partnering with local companies allows the Grille to place emphasis on using locally-sourced, sustainably produced, seasonal ingredients to bring you the best in healthy, tasty, environmentally-friendly dining. Browse the menu and you may notice the names of companies next to produce or other ingredient. These are the companies that we work with to provide a true farm to table experience for you.
Crows Pass Farms supplies the Grille with the highest quality organic produce, hitting your plate within 24 hours from being pulled from the ground. It also helps that this farm is as local as you can get. It’s located right here in Temecula Wine Country.
Wings Shadow Hacienda is part of a local Community Supported Agriculture program. They also supply the Grille with high-quality organic produce.
Sage Mountain Farms – Unlike most cattle, Sage Mountain beef steers are “green fed.” They get to feast on an organic salad bar buffet of fresh watermelon, eggplant, onion, potatoes, tomatoes, butternut squash plants, alfalfa, wheat grasses and other forages.
The result is beef that is healthy and nutritious with a flavor that can’t be matched by any other cattle grower.
Harris Ranch provides the Grille with a true, organic, no-hormone product. Harris Ranch has a uniquely integrated beef production system where cattle are sourced, fed and humanely processed exclusively by Harris Ranch. Few, if any beef companies (other than Harris Ranch), can claim they control all aspects of production.
Shelton Farms supplies the Grille with high quality, free-range, and hormone-free chicken. They will only distribute their produce to restaurants or companies within a 200-mile radius.
Cook Pigs Ranch is not a large commercial farming/ranching business. Located in neighboring Julian, they maintain a small, boutique ranching operation, which allows their pigs to be free range and grow slowly in a beautiful and humane environment. Their pigs feed freely on grass, roots, natural herbs, acorns and nuts. No hormones or non-natural supplements are used to speed up the growth process.
Chef Steve Stawinski is a true farm to table chef. By using extremely fresh, local, natural ingredients, he creates dishes that are not only savory and good for you, but good for the planet, too.
Join us for brunch or lunch and see for yourself!

GF and Happy

Wine & Dine Gluten-Free at Wilson Creek Winery’s Creekside Grille.

Whether you are celiac, gluten intolerant, or gluten-free (GF) by choice, we understand your need for a strict gluten-free diet as well as your desire to eat tasty and healthy GF food. My wife, Deanna, and I have celiac disease. In our own attempts to dine out and eat GF, we have been mistakenly “glutened”, like many of you, I’m sure. We understrand, and we want to provide a place for you to experience SAFE and DELICIOUS GF options (usually it’s one or the other).

It all started in 2008 when I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I had symptoms for over 15 years, but like many others, I was misdiagnosed during that time. So when I learned I had to eat GF the rest of my life, I started to research and read as much as I could on the subject. During this research process my wife decided to get tested and she found out she also had celiac disease. What are the chances of that? We are now referred to as the “celiac poster couple”.

We quickly became frustrated in our search for good GF food and healthy/tasty dining options. We dined at restaurants that had claimed to offer GF dishes, but more often than not we would eventually get sick. As our dining-out options shrunk, we resigned to cooking all of our meals at home. At that time, we started brainstorming with our Creekside Grille Executive Chef on how we could serve good GF selections. Together, we researched cross contamination, GF storage, wait staff protocol, places where gluten can hide (sauces, rubs, dressings, certain cheeses, etc.) purchasing separate GF utensils (pans, knives, colanders, toasters, cutting boards, squeeze bottles for condiments, and GF staff training). We wanted to do it well or not at all.

In 2009 we decided to go for it and we launched our first GF menu. We came up with the idea to have black plates for all GF dishes to help all the wait staff (and guests) know that those items are GF. We also got rid of all soy sauce and replaced it with GF tamari sauce. We trained the staff in GF preparation and the needs of the GF guest. The word traveled fast (the GF community is pretty network and tech savvy), and many visitors now come to enjoy the expanded menu with a variety of delicious options.

Corky Beginnings

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, as an employee of Wilson Creek winery is that you will not find a surplus of corks floating around the Creek; Wilson Creek that is. Have you ever wondered what we do with all that popped cork?

On any given day bottles of wine and champagne are opened and shared among visiting guests looking for the ultimate tasting experience. Many of the wine corks are taken by the next future Mrs., to be transformed into a creative centerpiece for their wine country themed wedding reception.  Wondering what else do we do with leftover corks, just ask Event Manager, Jeff Littrell. Every year in the spring, the wineries in Temecula Valley compete in a cork sculpture contest, during the “World of Wine” tasting event. And every year Jeff wows us with his cork masterpieces! This year he created a giant, cork wine glass that continuously pours red wine. Last year Jeff created the winning cork sculpture, a fierce lion coming out of the top of a wine barrel with paws and claws ready to pounce. The year before that he constructed the leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s amazing what you can do with a little cork, glue and imagination.

We’ve had our fair share of fun with the used corks but by far the most authentic idea was fashioned by the matriarch of the winery herself, Rosie Wilson.  The story as Rosie tells it was in the summer of 2000 at the Balloon and Wine Festival, at Lake Skinner, in Temecula CA. It was the first year the Wilson family was able to share their newly vintage wine.  The popped corks from these bottles had not yet served a purpose until the Wilson kids came across some yarn, had decided to make cork necklaces to give to anyone who tasted their wine that day. This gesture sparked conversation about their life changing decision to quit their day jobs, move to Temecula, make wine and the opening of their new winery. The guests were told that if they stopped by the winery wearing their cork necklaces they would get a free wine tasting.

To this day Rosie Wilson makes hundreds of cork necklaces for guests who are celebrating a special occasion. The next time you find yourself at the winery and are celebrating your birthday or anniversary, let the Wilson Creek staff and family help you celebrate. After all, Rosie Wilson thinks everyone deserves to get corked on their special day! -by Barb Hilde, Wine Club Mgr

The creator of our cork necklaces wearing a few on her birthday. Rosie still makes all of our cork necklaces by hand.

The creator of our cork necklaces wearing a few on her birthday. Rosie still makes all of our cork necklaces by hand.

Bacchus Loves Biology

Environmental Sustainability and Improved Winemaking

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Greg Pennyroyal, who Bill Wilson, of Wilson Creek Winery, dubbed “Bio-Man”, is the Enology and Viticulture Coordinator at Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards.

At Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards we recognize that environmental sustainability and improved winemaking go hand-in-hand.  In a major new initiative, winemaker Etienne Cowper, and owners, Bill and Mick Wilson, have created a new position of Enology (winemaking) and Viticulture (wine grape growing) Coordinator.  Traditionally Vineyard Manager and Assistant Winemakers have been separate positions.  Etienne Cowper realized the best way to elevate winemaking in the Temecula Valley was to bring the art and science of winemaking more directly into the vineyard. To that end Greg Pennyroyal, a former medicinal plant agronomist (crop scientist) with over 25 years experience in biological agriculture, was chosen for the unique position of Viticulture and Enology Coordinator, to increase the biochemical complexity and consistency of the grapes through increased biological techniques of vineyard management.  In just six months vineyard cultural practices have changed substantially.

Cowper and Pennyroyal have reduced synthetic fertilizer inputs by 50% and will be using 100% sustainable biological nutrient inputs in the vineyard in one year. Cover crops of oats, barley, peas and vetch have replaced the valley’s standard practice of between row tillage and wild flowers have been planted to attract beneficial insects. This not only reduces erosion but the peas and vetch will provide natural sources of nitrogen for the grapes. In-row herbicide use is being reduced by 75% with the addition of seaweed extracts, and fish emulsion to increase the herbicide effectiveness and most importantly, to decrease the time for natural decomposition of herbicides by up to five times. With improved microbiological soil balancing and natural nutrient supplementation it is the goal of the vineyard management to eliminate all herbicide use within two years.  We are also switching to a program of all natural fungicides. Powdery mildew and bunch rot are a major problem in all grape growing regions. We are now employing natural fungicides including dormant oils, sulfur, calcium carbonate, and biological inoculation. Often, natural fungicides are not strong enough to stop fungal infection so we are initiating a program of compost tea foliar feeding (feeding plants through the leaves as opposed to the roots) which will not only minimizes the need for synthetic chemical fungicides but also improves the density and complexity of the fruit leading to improved wine quality.

 

Wilson Creek Winery to Host Formal Wedding for Triple Amputee Couple

Marine Cpl. Juan Dominguez and Wife Alexis Will Celebrate Wedding Vows April 27

ImageTemecula Wine Country—Wilson Creek Winery is pleased to become the latest in the group of organizations and people who have helped make the life of Marine Corporal Juan Dominguez a little bit better.

On Saturday, April 27, Wilson Creek Winery will host the “formal” wedding of Juan and Alexis Dominguez. The wedding will be held in the Tuscan-inspired gardens at the winery followed by a reception for about 150 guests, all as a part of Wilson Creek’s Giving Back to the Community Program.

“Our family has always been strong supporters of our troops,” says Bill Wilson, President and CEO at Wilson Creek Winery. “And those who have been wounded are very special to us. We do anything we can to thank them for their service.”

Cpl. Dominguez lost an arm and both of his legs when he came upon an Improvised Explosive Device while on patrol in Afghanistan in mid-October, 2010. He returned home a triple-amputee whose life would be forever changed. But not all of that change was bad. He met his wife, Alexis, at a home coming event for his Battalion the following April. A year later they were married in a civil ceremony in San Diego and that same year he became a candidate to be a recipient of a new home by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation.

“When the foundation approached me about building a house, I had to choose a location,” says Juan. “Temecula looked like a great place to live and it was close to where I go for therapy in San Diego and I have some roots in L.A. so it was perfect.”

In January of 2012, actor and musician Gary Sinise asked the Temecula City Council if he and his Lt. Dan Band could play a benefit concert at City Hall to help his foundation (Gary Sinise Foundation) contribute to building a house for a wounded veteran who wanted to move to Temecula. The concert was held in March and along with other donations raised enough money to build Cpl. Dominguez and his wife Alexis a “smart home,” in Temecula.

“During the concert one of the people from the foundation approached us and said that Bill Wilson would like to donate their Wilson Creek Winery venue for our wedding,” recalls Alexis. “It was very kind and we are excited about having our wedding there. We can’t thank them enough.”

Wilson Creek Winery offers regular specials for military personnel including a standard military discount for wines and wine tasting. The winery is proud to be “the unofficial /official winery of the US Navy “filling special orders of custom labeled wine for many of the Navy ships visiting San Diego. In addition, each year Wilson Creek honors the Navy’s “Sailor of the Year” Awards Program at the Winery.

“Honoring the military is a tradition at Wilson Creek,” says Wilson. “When I heard this very special couple wanted to someday have a formal wedding, I didn’t have to think about it. We are all looking forward to the wedding, and I promise that it will be an event to remember.”

Wilson Creek Winery offers a full-service wedding facility featuring delicious wine-country cuisine, fine wines, and breathtaking views of the vineyards, mountains, and gardens. There is a dramatic open-air gazebo for ceremonies and an expert staff of wedding professionals is available to coordinate every aspect of the special event.  The facility welcomes up to 400 guests per event.
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