National Wildlife Day

#NationalWildlifeDay focusses on endangered species, preservation, and conservation efforts around the world. Zoos, aviaries and marine sanctuaries provide a variety of ways to get involved, so we want to share some information about our partnership with Global Conservation Force.

Global Conservation Force is dedicated to saving wildlife from extinction through education, anti-poaching and conservation efforts. It is the 11th hour for many species of wildlife and GCF is stepping in to make an impact working with local and international communities to pursue success in its missions.

Here are 2 new articles to read about their Anti-Poaching Units

Learn about the addition of horses to the Anti-Poaching Team

Learn more about their new Team of Puppies training to help track poachers

 


 

JOIN US FOR THE 4TH ANNUAL WILDLIFE GALA

Global Conservation Force is hosting their Annual Gala here at Wilson Creek on October 5th. Enjoy a beautiful evening celebrating wildlife protection and conservation efforts around the world. An evening of fine dining, live music, wine, live auction, and a short presentation by the GCF team providing updates on past, current, and future projects. More Information Here

 


 

With every purchase of our Special Labeled Global Conservation Force wine, you are supporting “front-line” wildlife conservation efforts to literally protect and defend rhino, elephant, giraffe, vultures, and many other species at risk. See below for a peek at our Wildlife Wines and a little info on the animal it helps protect.

Honey Badger Nectar ~ Almond Sparkling Wine

Honey Badgers are one of the most fierce creatures in Africa, yet they have a sweet tooth. The Ratel, as it is known in Afrikaans, has been known to take down lions and cobras. Although they are not commonly sought after by poachers, we like to symbolize the ferocity of the honey badger as we fight to protect other endangered species within their home range.

 

Brut But Elegant ~ Brut Sparkling Wine

Elephant tusks are highly sought after by poachers. The social history of ivory has created a deeply sentimental market that is devastating to the elephants of the world. We are currently losing an elephant every 8 hours to poachers. Global Conservation Force works alongside rangers fighting to protect elephants from extinction.

 

Rhino Crash Crush ~ Rosé Sparkling Wine

Rhinos around the world face the same challenges: poaching for the international rhino horn trade, habitat loss, and civil unrest. Only five species of rhinos remain in the world. Many cultures believe a rhino’s horn has medicinal properties or it is used a status symbol; however, rhino horn is composed of keratin, the same protein that composes human hair and fingernails.

 

Tall Blonde ~ Chardonnay

Giraffes also face challenges from civil unrest, and human encroachment on their habitat. The main causes of giraffe population decline are habitat degradation and poaching. The giraffe’s global population has declined more than 40% population decline in 15 years.

 

Old World Red ~ Cabernet Sauvignon

Vultures are natures ‘clean up crew’, ridding the environment of diseases on nearly every continent. Vultures serve as a barrier to prevent diseases from proliferating in dead animals and spreading. No other animal can perform this service quite like a vulture can. They are now the most threatened group of migratory birds on the planet.

 

Combo Pack ~ Get All 5 Wildlife Wines

Combo Packs are available if you want to collect them all! Get 18% off when purchasing all 5 bottles together (usually a $98.95 value)! Contribute to saving the honey badgers, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and vultures all with one purchase!

 

For more information on Global Conservation Force, visit their website at www.globalconservationforce.org.

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

Cellar Notes…from the Winemaker

 

I was fortunate enough to wiggle in some vacation time at the
end of the 2015 harvest, being as small as it was. Even more fortunate
to be on the “Enchanted Rhine” river cruise with a number of Wilson
Creek wine club members. We were cruising down river and drinking
wine. “What do you think of this one?” was commonly asked of
me by our California wine drinking friends as they struggled to
understand the wines.
Winemaking style in Europe is quite different then that of
California, being more acid based and food driven, and less fruity
than the California style. As a result of this revelation or in some
cases confusion, I began comparing wine to pizza.
We are all very familiar with pizza, there is the New York style
having thin crust and the Chicago style with thick crust as well as
the California style with all types of unusual toppings. Pizza truly
reflects on the region of its inception for example: Hawaiian pizza
with ham and pineapple. Pizza reflects on the regions temperament,
ethnicity and favorite ingredients. We may have a style that we
prefer but we can also appreciate the other styles. As Americans we
look at pizza as a whole meal and feel that we own it. Yet pizza is
Italian, and it’s made and viewed quite differently there.
Wine is very much the same as pizza in this respect. In Europe,
wine is viewed a an integral part of the meal. It reflects on the
temperament, growing conditions, and viewpoint of the region.
The soil minerals, sunshine and the flavors come through in its
wine. As a result, the wines have pronounced acidity followed by
fruit. They tend to be lower in alcohol and thinner in body. These
wines truly shine with a nice lunch or dinner as the French and
Germans think it should.
The world of wine is as vast as the wine growing regions
themselves. Styles, flavors and approach to winemaking is a true
reflection of that uniqueness. Similar in respect to pizza with thick
crust or thin, tomato sauce of white, and the vast amounts of
toppings that are offered.
I found myself anxiously awaiting the next stop along the
Rhine to try its wines and order pizza with anchovies!
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!

Craftsmanship & Craft Wines

“Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.” -Johannes Brahms

For those of you who have been able to join us for a tour of the winery and vineyards, you know that we describe ourselves as a “Craft Winery.” For those of you who have not yet gone on a tour, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??  The tours are about an hour in length, with numerous tastings for the same price as a normal tasting. A great deal and a great deal of fun!
Craftsmanship in winemaking is the artistic approach to making wine that achieves a unique expression in not only sensory qualities of  taste, smell and texture, but recognizes that the process encompasses and influences many aspects of community and ecology. Craft wines tell a story about where they came from and the people who made them. It may be impossible to define exactly what a craft wine is, but here are some aspects of people and place:

Authenticity: Family wineries are all the rage with marketing folks who want to put a personal touch on a business. This is an aspect that I don’t have to explain to anyone who has been to the winery. Gerry and Rosie Wilson, the elder statespersons of hospitality, infuse this place with such warmth and caring that it is not only a defining characteristic of the winery experience, but they make working here like having your coolest grandparents at work every day. The entire family works and plays here all the way down to Sarah Wilson, daughter of Mick and Deanna, who is our summer wine and soils lab assistant (at 9 years old and is a darn good assistant).

Passion: We are passionate about what we make because we know that you are passionate about what you drink.  We also know that you share our passion when the wine education classes, pairing events, and dinners sell out. Like us, you can’t learn enough about wine.

Character: Our wines have character because they are made by a collection of colorful characters. Come by and say “hi” to the winemaking or vineyard team and you will see what I mean.

Place: We are not making lowest common denominator wines to please the middle of the bell curve of the mass market. We make the most beautiful expression of Temecula Valley wines that we can and, in the process, expand the definition of what is possible from Temecula vineyards and cellars.

Community: Our definition of community is encompassing to include not only all of the people in our region but the ecosystems that support us all. Our commitment to biologically sustainable vineyard practices are specifically targeted at the improvement of wine quality, but are also part of our long-term commitment to being valuable contributors to the sustainability and improvement of quality of life for all of our fellow community members.

I hope you can come join us for a glass of the 2013 “Yes Dear” Chardonnay which is developing a beautiful smooth texture, our 2013 Muscat which may surprise you by its amazing bouquet but is drier than most Muscats, the new Duet which has been getting rave reviews from our cellar tastings, or our rich blend of fruit and soft tannins from the 2011 Malbec. The vineyard is setting fruit nicely this year, the cellar is flowing with great wines, and the winemaking team is overflowing with our enthusiasm for the opportunity to share our passion of the people and place we express by sharing a glass of wine with you.

Wishing you warm days and cool nights, Greg, aka, Bioman

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.