Ceja Vineyards

Ceja Vineyards

”Vineyard Workers to Award-Winning Vintners” by Ceja Vineyards

We have been growers in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys for forty-seven years and we have a profound respect for farming. With Armando Ceja at the helm, we practice sustainable agriculture, use integrated pest management strategies and cover crops. We match vines to terroir, planting each variety where it grows best. We have a traditional and contemporary UC Davis understanding of the winegrowing process, and we know firsthand that wine is made in the vineyard. We have 115 producing acres that yield balanced and beautiful grapes consistently. Some of our prominent clients are: Acacia, Robert Craig, Rombauer, David Bruce, Mumm, ZD and La Crema. Previously, we have sold our grapes to Saintsbury, Signorello, Cosentino, Beringer, Domaine Chandon and Domaine Carneros.

 Ceja Vineyards. Source: www.CejaVineyards.com/About/our-vineyards

Ceja Vineyards. Source: www.CejaVineyards.com/About/our-vineyards

Ceja Vineyards, our wine production company, was founded in 1999. The principals are: Amelia Morán Ceja, President; Martha Ceja, Vice President; Pedro Ceja, Secretary; and Armando Ceja, Treasurer. Ariel Ceja, Amelia and Pedro Ceja's son, was named General Manager in September 2006, and Dalia Ceja, Ariel’s sister, was appointed Director of Sales and Marketing in October 2008. Our mission is to produce world-renowned wines that reflect our vineyard sites, our farming practices, and our gentle approach to winemaking. They must be food friendly, true to varietal and must age well.

Amelia & Pedro Ceja: "Love on the Vine"

We released award-winning wines under the Ceja label in 2001, and our current vintages are: 2011 Carneros Pinot Noir, 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Carneros Merlot, 2012 Carneros Chardonnay, 2012 Sonoma Coast Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Sonoma Coast Syrah, 2010 Vino de Casa (a blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah), and 2009 Dulce Beso Late Harvest White Wine. 

 Amelia Ceja. Source: www.CejaVineyards.com/About

Amelia Ceja. Source: www.CejaVineyards.com/About

President Amelia Morán Ceja – first Mexican-American woman to be president of a wine production company – studied history and literature at the University of California in San Diego. Amelia worked in the wine industry for eight years, and 16 years ago, she left her job to concentrate all her energy on Ceja Vineyards. Amelia wears many hats: she is the contact person, a wine salesperson, a public relations person, the executive chef, a compliance specialist, a bookkeeper, a wine delivery person, a wine shipping person, a grape picker, and whoever else she needs to be. Under her leadership, Inc. Magazine selected Ceja Vineyards “Entrepreneur of the Year 2004” (one of seven) in the January 2005 issue. In addition, Ceja Vineyards was named “Best New Winery” in 2002 by over 90 of the world’s most prestigious wine writers, case production has increased from 750 cases to 10,000 cases per year, Ceja wines have received numerous awards and extensive media coverage, and Ceja wines are offered at some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the United States such as the French Laundry. Her contributions to the wine industry were recognized on March 15, 2005, when she was named "Woman of the Year" by the California Legislature. 

Amelia is a great role model for the next generation of Latinos. She has not only broken the glass ceiling in a very competitive business but has earned respect throughout the wine industry.
— Senator Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata)
 Armando Ceja. Source: www.CejaVineyards.com/About

Armando Ceja. Source: www.CejaVineyards.com/About

Celebrated winemaker and Treasurer Armando Ceja began his winegrowing career at seven years old, and he made his first Cabernet Sauvignon barrel at 18 years old. After high school, he studied enology and viticulture at UC Davis, and he is a respected vineyard manager in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Armando takes our wines from the vine to the bottle handling the fruit gently to create our limited collection of handcrafted wines that are complex, perfectly balanced and memorable. Our Ceja wines are a reflection of his talent as a winegrower – they speak of their birthplace – our vineyards.

 Pedro Ceja. Source: www.CejaVineyards.com/About

Pedro Ceja. Source: www.CejaVineyards.com/About

Secretary Pedro Ceja is an engineer with a great sense of humor, and a fountain of artistic inspiration. Pedro's input during the Ceja label development defined us. His "vinum, cantus, amor," contribution is our common link to our commitment to produce wines that speak of the place where the grapes are grown. During the day, Pedro works as an engineer for ThermoFinnigan. At night and on weekends, Pedro assists Armando with wine production, and Amelia with sales and marketing to promote Ceja wines. During the harvest and pruning seasons, Pedro takes time off from his day job to help with these tasks

Ariel Ceja was born in Hayward, California, to Amelia and Pedro Ceja, and he spent his first 18 years in beautiful Carneros working and playing in the vineyards. After high school, he attended Occidental College in Pasadena, CA, where he majored in Film Production. He graduated in May 2005, and he worked for one year at Domaine Chandon. He joined Ceja in 2006 and his vision is to sell more wine direct-to-consumer other than the traditional three-tier-distribution system. Due to Ariel's input, Ceja Vineyards opened a second wine tasting salon in Sonoma.

 Dalia Ceja. Source: www.CejaVineyards.com/About

Dalia Ceja. Source: www.CejaVineyards.com/About

Dalia Ceja was born in Hayward, California to Amelia and Pedro Ceja, and like Ariel, she spent her first 18 years in beautiful Carneros working and playing in the vineyards. After high school, she attended San Francisco State University in San Francisco, CA, where she majored in Communications with an emphasis in Marketing. She continued her education at Sonoma State University and she received her Executive MBA in 2012. She was appointed Sales and Marketing Director at Ceja Vineyards in October 2012.

We strongly believe in women being active participants and having leadership roles in the wine industry, although sadly, there are few Latina women in this business. At Ceja Vineyards we all have key roles and we work as a team to establish our place in this industry.

Go behind the scenes with the dynamic mother-daughter duo of Ceja Vineyards. Meet Dalia and Amelia Ceja as they share their passions of wine and food. Learn how to make Salmon Ceviche paired with Ceja Vineyards estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

We love to cook and our wines are a perfect complement to all types and styles of food. Our Pinot Noir is made from a minimally irrigated vineyard and it has a dense and silky palate with a long and lovely finish. Our Merlot is opulent with bright fruit flavors and a hint of black cherries and cassis overtones. The slow, cold barrel fermentation and extended contact with the yeast gives our Chardonnay a complex character. It has tropical fruit, lemon oil and mineral concentration aromas, with crisp and refreshing viscous mouthfeel on the palate. Ceja purposely inhibits malolactic fermentation, thus retaining the natural acidity and fruit character of the grapes. Our 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in 100% French barrels (15% new, 85% neutral) and the fruit comes from our vineyard near the Silverado Trail just south of the Stags Leap District. It is brilliant ruby, fruit balanced with a hint of currant and black cherries. It is youthful, yet silky and mature. Its palate is both powerful and delicate with velvety soft tannins that are tightly packed and long lasting.

The History

Amelia Morán Ceja was born in a small village in Jalisco, México. Her parents are Felipe Morán and Francisca Fuentes Morán. Her father visited the United States in 1947 for the first time and finally in September 1967, Felipe brought Francisca, Amelia and her sister Maria de la Luz to Rutherford, in the Napa Valley. Amelia's parents gave her unconditional support because they knew that women and men needed to be educated to succeed in this society. Her father was a mechanic at a local vineyard management company and her mother was a farm worker at the same company. During the summers and Christmas break, Amelia worked there as well.

Pedro and Armando Ceja are brothers and they were born in Aguililla, Michoacán. Their parents are Pablo Ceja and Juanita Castañeda Ceja. Pablo, after many years in the brasero work program, immigrated to the United States with his family in 1967. The family settled in St. Helena in the Napa Valley, and on weekends, the entire family worked in the vineyards. Juanita and Pablo worked at local wineries and they encouraged their children to go to college because they understood the importance of having an education. They taught their children to work hard and to love the land with the hope of having a parcel of their own someday.

Our children are the third generation. They have grown up amongst the vineyards working and playing together. We have emphasized, as our parents did, that education is empowering and will give them the freedom to follow their dreams.

We are grateful to our parents for having had the vision to bring us to this great land of opportunity to search for “our American dream.” Our history and our combined experiences have shaped our collective consciousness in that we have the passion and the tools to meet all future challenges. We are the new chapter of the California wine industry – we are the present and the future!


We'd love to see your Ceja wine experiences in the VAULT29 app. Use hashtag #Ceja or #CejaVineyards when posting! Cheers!

Brief #Harvest15 Update from #Sonoma & #SantaBarbara County #Wineries

Brief #Harvest15 Update from #Sonoma & #SantaBarbara County #Wineries

Harvest 2015 update!  To fully appreciate the art of winemaking, VAULT29 is taking you behind the scenes during the busiest - and most exciting - time of year in wine country. Two boutique California wineries, Stomping Girl in Sonoma County and Pali Wine Co. in Santa Barbara County, have called the 2015 harvest season "a wrap." Let's take a quick look...

STOMPING GIRL

Husband and wife duo, Uzi and Kathryn Cohen, craft superb boutique pinot noir and chardonnay from top vineyard sites like Hyde in Carneros. Harvest 2015 was a wrap in late August where the grapes from Hyde Vineyard were picked and pressed marking this harvest the earliest to date. Learn more about this dynamic duo and Stomping Girl Wines.


PALI WINE CO.

With the weather being so warm it’s another early harvest season for Pali Wine Co. They began getting grapes in mid-August! One of their highlights is that they picked their first ever harvest from their Pali Sta. Rita Hills vineyard. The staff went out before sunrise for the first pick and harvested about one ton of Pinot Noir grapes for Rosé. Learn more about this boutique winery from Santa Barbara County.

From Costumes to Decor to Appetizers - A #Halloween Party for the #Winelover

From Costumes to Decor to Appetizers - A #Halloween Party for the #Winelover

HALLOWEEN PARTY IDEAS | VAULT29

Looking for a quick DIY wine costume, a duos "pairing" costume, or a "I'm-not-the-dress-up-kind" of wine lover costume? We've got you  covered with costumes that are sure to be a hit without breaking the bank.

6 COSTUMES FOR THE WINE LOVER

1 - GRAPES - As seen on Pinterest

What you need: balloons, safety pins, and leafy headband from a local craft store.

2 - WINE BOTTLE - As seen worn by Lady Gaga in this SNL skit

What you need: A dress or appropriate top/bottom, craft cork, grapes, leaves, scissors, safety pins

3 - THE DISTRIBUTOR - As seen on Pinterest

What you need: Box wine, tape, a backpack, dixie cups, and dixie cup holder.

4 - WINE & CHEESE PAIRING (for a duo) - As seen on Amazon

What you need: Approximately $40

5 - GLASS OF BUBBLY - As seen on Pinterest

What you need:  

    • The "bottle" - Green (or pink for rosé) table cover, floral sheeting, and paper
    • The "bubbles" - Small white (or pink for rosé) balloons and fake pearls on wire
    • The "cork" - Bubble wrap and gold tissue paper for the
    • A glue gun to put it all together

    4 - TRICK OR TREAT FOR WINE T-SHIRT (for the "I'm-not-the-dress-up-kind) 

    Hers: As seen on crazydogstshirts.com  & His: as seen on Amazon

    What you need: Approximately $20


    A party isn't a party without decor,  good eats, and, of course,  WINE! If you're hosting a party, we have simple suggestions making sure your Halloween party is a hit!

    DECOR FOR THE PARTY

    PUMPKIN WINE CHILLER - As seen on Pinterest

    What you need: Multiple punpkins (for multiple bottles of wine), pumpkin carving kit, ice

    HALLOWEEN WINE GLASSES - As seen on Etsy  - up to $80

    Hint: Red solo cups may work for your budget too

    VAMPIRE BLOOD SIPPERS - As seen on Pinterest

    What you need: plastic syringes and red wine

    BLOODY TABLE CLOTH - As seen on Home Designs

    What you need: white fabric, red food coloring or red sharpe marker, and a table cloth

    HALLOWEEN WINE BOTTLES - Trio (pinterest); Mummy 

    What you need:

    • For the trio: (empty) wine bottles (one clear for the ghost), orange & black spray paint, Silver and black sharpe/marker
    • For the Mummy: wine bottle, cloth (medical) tape, googly eyes, and glue

    APPETIZERS FOR THE PARTY

    SCARY MEAT HEAD PLATTER - As seen on Women's Day

    What you need: plastic skeleton head, thinly sliced ham and proscuitto, olives w/pimento

    SNACKS, SMALL BITES & DESSERT


    We'd love for you to share your Halloween Wine experiences in the VAULT29 app. Use hashtag #VAULT29Halloween on each post (itunes only).  Don't have an iphone, no worries. Simply tag @VAULT29app on your Instagram posts using hashtag #VAULT29Halloween & sign up for the android release here.

    Hint: It's OK to Trick or Treat and ask for wine! We will be giving away a bottle of wine to a lucky winner, selected at random November 1, 2015 (must be 21 & live in the US). Post away & Happy Halloween!

    "#Wine and Sacrifice" - A #Winemakers View

    "#Wine and Sacrifice" - A #Winemakers View

    WIne Blog | VAULT29

    I’ve just wrapped up the 2015 harvest, my eighth.  Perhaps more than any previous year, the word that comes to mind is sacrifice.  When I was a young cellar rat working 16 hour days, I was giving up my time, but, really, where else did I have to be?  I was fortunate enough to be working for a winemaker who would share bottles of Dagueneau, old Williams-Selyem, and countless great Burgundies at lunch and dinner (and make late night Chinese runs for the crew), so who was I to complain?  I was learning a new craft that I was obsessed with, and loving every minute of it.

    That love has never left me; if anything, my passion for wine has only grown.  This year, however, there is so much at stake, and so many sacrifices to be made.  My wife and I have invested everything in our own label; we have a newborn son; we have day jobs managing other wineries.  Something is always being sacrificed.  I miss time with my son to check on fermentations or do night punchdowns.  My wife and I pass out at 8 pm because we’re completely spent from sorting grapes on our days off, and still wake up at 4 am to feed the baby.  

    And we’re not alone.  “Harvest widow” is a phrase for a reason; most winemakers are ghosts to their family for that 25% of the year.  Thus, a great bottle of wine is imbued not only with a sense of place, but with a sense of sacrifice; the willingness to go beyond what most consider sane for their personal lives, to exchange short term frivolity for a future expression of artistic labor, is a common thread among the world’s best winemakers.  

    Perhaps the greatest challenge is finding the balance between home life and work.  This is not a dilemma unique to wine, though harvest certainly magnifies the issue more than in many other fields. The artistic impulse doesn’t always congeal with the needs of family, but ultimately, it is our family that we make these sacrifices for.  Wine is a cornerstone of the dinner table; wine is a catalyst for conversation; and as winemakers, everything that goes into that bottle is a part of our legacy as a human being.  Have I made a wine in 2015 that will hang in there for my son’s 21st birthday?  Who knows.  I hope so; I hope the sacrifice was worth it.  


    About the author: Cameron Porter is an Advanced Sommelier and Owner/Winemaker of Amplify Wines, He also plays a role on VAULT29's Advisory Team! Stay connected to Amplify by following them on FacebookInstagram & in the VAULT29 app.

    Winemakers: Share your "Wine & Sacrifice" with our community. Simply download the VAULT29 app and share your winemaking experiences now! Use hashtag #winemaking.

    Lamborn

    Lamborn

    Howell Mountain Winery Makes Harvest a Family Affair!

    Harvest 2015 is underway!  To fully appreciate the art of winemaking, VAULT29 is taking you behind the scenes during the busiest - and most exciting - time of year in wine country. This week we take a look into Angwin winery, Lamborn Family Vineyards (Howell Mountain AVA in Napa Valley), who is gratefult for another successful harvest as a massive widfire erupted near Cobb, California - 100 miles north of San Francisco and ~30 miles from Angwin. The third most destructive wildfire in California's history, the Valley Fire burned over 75,000 acres and came within two miles of the Lamborn winery who were fortunate to have escaped any damage. The hard work and dedication of harvest is a family affair at Lamborn with the forth generation partaking in the events. 

    The view on Howell Mountain is gorgeous, the picking bins are prepped, and this experience from the winery's perspective can bee seen in the VAULT29 app!

    Lamborn Family Vineyards harvest prep | VAULT29

    It's "GO TIME!" Harvest 2015 kicks off at 4:30am.

    Lambrn Family Vineyards | VAULT29

    One is never too young to learn the family business. The forth generation partakes in the harvest festivities and have fun doing so!

    Harvest 2015 is officially over. An annual tradition of a Budweiser toast to a successful harvest season with the family patriarch, "Papa."

    Successful Lamborn Harvest | VAULT29

    Lamborn Family Vineyards are producers of elegant Howell Mountain wines, including cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel, artfully crafted by extraordinary winemaker, Heidi Barrett. Do yourself the favor and get acquainted with this lovely family and brand!

    Phantom Rivers

    Phantom Rivers

    Phantom Rivers Winemaker in Harvest Action  

    Harvest 2015 is underway!  To fully appreciate the art of winemaking, VAULT29 is taking you behind the scenes during the busiest - and most exciting - time of year in wine country. Here's a simplistic behind-the-scenes-look at the steps Phantom Rivers (Paso Robles AVA) winemaker, John Thunen, takes during harvest once the grapes are pulled from the vines.

    Step 1: Sorting

    Best wines are produced by best grapes. But what about all the other stuff  that comes from harvesting (ie leaves, twigs, unripe fruit, and even bugs)? Once the grapes are harvested off the vines, they are transported to the sorter where only the quality fruit will be brought into the winery. 

    Phanotm Rivers-Sorting-Harvest15 | VAULT29

    Step 2: Destemming, Crushing, Fermenting 

    Once the grapes have been sorted they are destemmed and crushed. and dropped into 1,000 lb fermentation bins. Winemaker, John Thunen, transports the bins where they will ferment for 7-10 days.   

    Phantom Rivers Winemaker, John Thunen- Paso Robles | VAULT29

    Step 3: Pressing 

    After 7-10 days of fermenting, the fermentation bins are poured into the press. The juice collects in a big stainless steel tank. 

    Step 4: Pumping, (More) Fermenting, and Aging 

    Finally, the juice from the stainless steel tanks are pumped into barrels for the completion of fermentation and aging. It is racked after about 8-12 weeks and again a few months later. Then, it goes to "sleep" for 18 months.

    Phantom RIvers Winemaker Pumping | Harvest15 | VAULT29

    For more information about Phantom Rivers click here and/or download the VAULT29 app and search "Phantom Rivers."

    Emeritus Wines

    Emeritus Wines

    Harvest 2015 is underway!  To fully appreciate the art of winemaking, VAULT29 is taking you behind the scenes during the busiest - and most exciting - time of year in wine country. Check out the perspective from Emeritus, as we take a quick look into night harvest effort of pinot noir at Hallberg Ranch in Sonoma County's Goldridge.

    Why harvest at night? Because the dark sky brings cool temperatures which protects the compositional integrity of the fruit. Generally speaking, bringing in the grapes at night when they are cool allows for better aromatics, acidity and sugar levels. Picking at night is also much more pleasant for harvest crews, minus the lack of sleep, who can suffer from dehydration and/or fatigue on hot days. 

    Champagne toast on the last day of harvest – still lots of work to get wine into barrels but the cellar crew is toasting the last fruit coming into the winery.

    For more insights into Harvest 2015 at Emeritus, click here.

    VAULT29 & Girls Inc.

    VAULT29 & Girls Inc.

    Wine Buzzin' with VAULT29

    We hope everyone has been enjoying our Harvest 2015 updates! A big thank you to the awesome wine teams who have given the VAULT29 community behind the scenes access.  And thank you to all winelovers who have posted their summer wine experiences using the VAULT29 app!

    What we’re up to….

    A few weeks ago, Naya and I were introduced to a wonderful organization called Girls Inc, headquartered here in Downtown Oakland.  As two female entrepreneurs, we strongly believe in giving back and supporting the Girls Inc mission: to encourage and motivate underprivileged girls to pursue their dreams via higher education.  In a few weeks, Girls Inc will host their highly anticipated annual fundraiser, TASTE.  Oakland’s celebrity chefs and restaurateurs will treat business leaders, celebrity sports figures, and individual donors to a special evening of culinary delights.  In support of this great organization, VAULT29 has been honored to introduce award winning, female owned and operated wineries to Girls Inc.  Naya and I would like to give special acknowledgement to Windracer Wines (Jackson Family Wines and Sally Drews), Trombetta Family Wines (Rickey and Erica Stancliff), and Erin E. Wines (Erin Bush) for their gracious support and participation in this event.  

    To learn more and for ticket purchases, please visit the link here. 

    In the Russian RIver Valley Vineyards @TeacMor - #Harvest2015 Update

    In the Russian RIver Valley Vineyards @TeacMor - #Harvest2015 Update

    Harvest 2015 is underway!  To fully appreciate the art of winemaking, VAULT29 is taking you behind the scenes during the busiest - and most exciting - time of year in wine country. Here's a visually rich insider's look at the events taking place in Russian River Valley (Sonoma County) at Teac Mor.

    (Photo credits: Beth Deutsche)

      Teac Mor Pinot Noir wait in anticipation of being picked. The winemaker and farmer work together to decide when to harvest.

    Teac Mor Pinot Noir wait in anticipation of being picked. The winemaker and farmer work together to decide when to harvest.

      Decisions about trellising and training of the vines impact the way grapes grow and ease of harvesting.

    Decisions about trellising and training of the vines impact the way grapes grow and ease of harvesting.

      Months of fastidious attention to the vines results in plump, gorgeous Teac Mor Pinot Noir berries

    Months of fastidious attention to the vines results in plump, gorgeous Teac Mor Pinot Noir berries

      This wouldn't be possible with constant vineyard companion, Dweezle, who takes part in his 10 harvest.

    This wouldn't be possible with constant vineyard companion, Dweezle, who takes part in his 10 harvest.

    Learn more about Teac Mor and find out about purchasing wine by emailing christine@teacmor.com


    Take a look inside the family-owned and operated winery in the Russian River Valley appellation of Sonoma County. Learn what "Teac Mor" means and get to know Steve Moore's (winemaker/vineyard manager) biodynamic approach to producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from their estate grown grapes. Read more here.

    #Harvest2015 Update Highlighting @DRNKwines

    #Harvest2015 Update Highlighting @DRNKwines

    Harvest 2015 is underway!  To fully appreciate the art of winemaking, VAULT29 is taking you behind the scenes during the busiest - and most exciting - time of year in wine country. This week, we take an insider's look at what winemaker, Ryan Kunde, and DRNK's crush crew is up to.

      Pinot grapes picked at Hallberg Ranch (Sonoma County; Russian River Valley) are ready for the sorting table

    Pinot grapes picked at Hallberg Ranch (Sonoma County; Russian River Valley) are ready for the sorting table

     
     The Setup:   On the right is the hopper which has an auger to push out the grapes, and they fall on to the sorting table. Then the grapes go into the destemmer, which separate the berries from the stem cluster.

    The Setup:  On the right is the hopper which has an auger to push out the grapes, and they fall on to the sorting table. Then the grapes go into the destemmer, which separate the berries from the stem cluster.

     
      The crush crew at DRNK. (Left to right) Ryan, Sonoe, and Michael.

    The crush crew at DRNK. (Left to right) Ryan, Sonoe, and Michael.

     
      Winemaker, Ryan Kunde,    pumping wine into a barrel. This batch of pinot noir was processed and fermented on the skins. First, we put the free run (aka   the juice that was extracted on its own) into barrel. Then, the grapes will be pressed and its juice put into a separate barrel.

    Winemaker, Ryan Kunde,  pumping wine into a barrel. This batch of pinot noir was processed and fermented on the skins. First, we put the free run (aka the juice that was extracted on its own) into barrel. Then, the grapes will be pressed and its juice put into a separate barrel.


    We encourage you, if you haven't already, to get acquainted with this gem. Join their mailing list and check out experiences which have happened at the winery by searching "DRNK" in the VAULT29 app - it's FREE - Cheers!

    #Harvest2015 Update: NEW #Wine Brand @ErinEWines

    #Harvest2015 Update: NEW #Wine Brand @ErinEWines

    Harvest 2015 is underway!  To fully appreciate the art of winemaking, VAULT29 is taking you behind the scenes during the busiest - and most exciting - time of year in wine country. New wine brand, Erin E., hit the scene with a 2013 Sonoma Stage Pinot Noir and is now in the midst of harvesting syrah with fellow friend and wine maker, Carolyn Craig. Here's an insiders look at the 2015 harvest of syrah which will be made into a rosé.

     Hillside fruit. Must pick with caution!

    Hillside fruit. Must pick with caution!

    It's a family affair! Friend and wine maker, Carolyn Craig, checks in on the vineyard site. Erin's husband, Karl, and father-in-law, John, walk through the vines one last time before harvest begins. Karl and Erin's children, Patrick and Cameron, walk through the Syrah vineyard checking the brix with Carolyn.  

     Syrah grapes are looking good - 22 brix! 

    Syrah grapes are looking good - 22 brix! 

    Below: Erin uses an "old school" refractometer to check the brix (sugar levels).


    We highly encourage you to get to know this newcomer! Her 1st vintage pinot noir is from Sonoma Stage Vineyard which is located in the newly founded wine territory between Petaluma and Carneros at the southern end of the Sonoma Coast AVA known as the Petaluma Gap. Read more about Erin E. in "Building of a Brand."  

    #Harvest2015 With #Sonoma Coast #Winery: Alma Fria

    #Harvest2015 With #Sonoma Coast #Winery: Alma Fria

    Harvest 2015 is underway!  To fully appreciate the art of winemaking, VAULT29 is taking you behind the scenes during the busiest - and most exciting - time of year in wine country. This week, Sonoma Coast knock out, Alma Fria, gives us an insider's look at the 2015 Doña Margarita Pinot Noir. 

    #winewithsoul

      First Pinot off the vines this seaaon. 4 am "pisca" at Doña Margarita Vineyard, Freestone CA.

    First Pinot off the vines this seaaon. 4 am "pisca" at Doña Margarita Vineyard, Freestone CA.

    #terroirexpression

      Sign of the season: tiny clusters, many smaller than this. 4 am "pisca" at Doña Margarita Vineyard.

    Sign of the season: tiny clusters, many smaller than this. 4 am "pisca" at Doña Margarita Vineyard.

    #coolclimatepinot

      Up close and personal with pinot noir from   Doña Margarita Vineyard, Sonoma Coast  

    Up close and personal with pinot noir from Doña Margarita Vineyard, Sonoma Coast 

    #westsonomacoast

      Farming isn't the only risk, hauling the fruit downhill was quite the challenge.

    Farming isn't the only risk, hauling the fruit downhill was quite the challenge.

    #handcrafted

      Fiist punchdown of 2015! 

    Fiist punchdown of 2015! 

    If you haven't already, get acquainted with Alma Fria: A family owned/operated boutique winery crafting beautiful wines from the remote ridgetops of Annapolis (Sonoma Coast AVA).

    Harvest2015

    Harvest2015

    Harvest 2015 is underway!  To fully appreciate the art of winemaking, VAULT29 is taking you behind the scenes during the busiest - and most exciting - time of year in wine country. This week, Central Coast favorite Laetitia Vineyards & Winery gives us an exclusive look at the 2015 Sparkling Wine production. 

    The first fruit of the season, Chardonnay, arrive at the winery and are destined for sparkling wine production.

    The harvest workers are shoveling the fruit to make for even pressing

    The fruit is being pressed in Coquard basket presses, the only two of their kind in North America

    When the Cuvee valve is open, that means that is the cleanest juice or the first press Otherwise known as the cuvee.

    VP of Production and Sparkling Winemaker Dave Hickey checking the brix (sugar levels) on the juice to make sure it’s where he likes it.

    The fruit after it is pressed, will next head back to the vineyard to be used as compost.


    Learn more about Laetitia on our Wine Mic Monday series and check out experiences happening, in our app, at the winery and beyond! Search by the winery name "Laetitia", as well as by hashtag: #Laetitia -- Cheers!

    Winemaking

    Winemaking

    "Wine Mic Monday" is a VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog...because every glass and bottle of wine has a story. Last week, we revisited four wine brands and what they've learned and how they've grown in "Building of a Wine Brand" Season 2, part 2. This week in Season 2, part 3, we look back at wineries and their approach to winemaking. Get to know Cuvaison & Brandlin -- two Napa Green estates. DRNK uses state-ofthe-art technology (UAV's) to image vineyard sites. and Frey Vineyards focuses on producing high quality organic and biodynamic wines without adding synthetic chemicals or preservatives. 

    For many years, Cuvaison, located in the Carneros AVA,  has been regarded as an iconic winery and brand in Napa Valley, consistently producing beautifully balanced Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  In 1998, Cuvaison purchased a historic Mount Veeder property owned by Chester Brandlin. Located on a 1,200 foot ridgeline – this is one of Napa Valley’s most difficult but acclaimed mountain regions for grape growing. Both estate vineyards, Carneros and Brandlin, are certified Napa Green, meaning the company has been recognized for their work in reducing the impact on the environment. Read more here.

     

    Get to know DRNK and their aerial imagery approch to winemaking! Grapegrowers and winemakers have been experimenting with grapegrowing and winemaking practices for millennia, this is not something that’s going to change; the technology DRNK uses for experimentation does, and constantly. Ryan Kunde has been experimenting and using UAVs to image vineyards and orchards for 5 years now. He was initially inspired to do so by listening to other inventors and their experiences with the technology and to my professors at Davis and their experiences in research and learning about the most important factors that affect wine quality over time. Read more here.

     

    Frey Vineyards is America’s Pioneering Organic Winery. Founded in 1980, we have always been family owned and operated and it is our mission to produce highest quality organic and Biodynamicwines without the addition of synthetic chemicals or preservatives while fostering environmental stewardship and social equity. Our vineyards are located at the headwaters of the Russian River in beautiful Mendocino County in Northern California.  As three generations of organic farmers and winemakers, we find that our care and respect for the earth is reflected in the expression of purity and true terroir in our wines. Read more here.


    You can find Cuvaison, Brandlin, DRNK & Frey wine experience in our app! Smply search by winery name! We'd love to see experiences from your perspective too!. #GetV29app

    #WineBuzzin': Race Cars & Wine Collide at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

    #WineBuzzin': Race Cars & Wine Collide at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

    A very cool story coming out of Sonoma!  

    La Pitchoune Winery has partnered with the championship winning race team K-PAX Racing. Two of the McLaren 650S GT3's will be sporting the winery's logo!  

    Congratulations to La Pitchoune Winery Co-Founders Tracy & Peter Nielsen, and our friend and Master Winemaker of La Pitchoune Winery, Andrew Berge! Don't miss it sports fanatics!

    Pirelli World Challenge Race schedule at Sonoma Raceway:

    • Qualifying: Saturday, August 29, 12:30pm
    • Race 1: Saturday, August 29, 4:50pm
    • Race 2: Sunday, August 30, 10:55am

    For tickets to this weekends races please visit: racesonoma.com

    Don't forget to capture your wine experiences using the VAULT29 app

    #Giveaway 1: FREE #WINE! Here's How To Win Bottles of Amplify...

    #Giveaway 1: FREE #WINE! Here's How To Win Bottles of Amplify...

    Our first of many giveaways has arrived and we invite all winelovers -- consumers, wineries, winemakers, wine bars, restaurateurs, chefs, wine shops -- to participate! Giveaway starts on Wine Wednesday, 8/26/15 at 8am PST and ends on Tuesday, 9/1/15 at 11pm PST. Winner will be announced via social media on Wine Wednesday, 9/3/15, at 5pm PST and must claim within 24 hours. Follow the simple rules (below) for your chance to win two bottles of one of our favorite limited production wines from Amplify Wines --. Good Luck!

    A bit about Amplify: Meet Cameron and his wife. Together, they make up Amplify, where their goal is to capture not only a sense of site, but a sense of self. A sip of Santa Maria pinot noir sparked Cameron's curiousity about wine. He started as a cellar rat at Tantara where he learned the art of blending. At Dierberg, he expanded his farming knowledge and the natural approach of winemaking. In his first attempts, Cameron passed the Court of Master Sommeliers first three levels in just NINE months, and holds the title Advanced Sommelier. He is currently studying for his Master exam while he crafts exceptional small production wine. This duo has never been fans of cliques or been interested in being part of the cool kids club (but we think they are awesome!)  They are content to work in their little world, chipping away at a long-held dream. Amplify proves dreams do come true...

    Get to know VAULT29. We are a growing community of winelovers capturing wine experiences all around the world. For those who have already been sharing experiences, we 'Thank You' and appreciate your continued support. For new users, we look forward to you joining our community! 


    Apple Icon

    APPLE USERS:

    Complete all three steps:

    1- FOLLOW @VAULT29 + @AmplifyWines & TAG 2 friends in the comment section of our Instagram giveaway post.

    2- DOWNLOAD the latest version of the VAULT29 app in the App Store - It's FREE!

    3- USE the latest version of the app to capture the world of wine as you see it. Use hashtag #iWineVAULT29

    For extra chances, SHARE your VAULT29 app post(s) to Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter! Don't forget the hashtag #iWIneVAULT29


    Android Icon

    'DROID USERS:

    Complete all three steps:

    1- FOLLOW @VAULT29 + @AmplifyWines & TAG 2 friends in the comment section of our Instagram giveaway post.

    2- SIGN UP (here) to get notified of our Google Play release.

    3- Use Instagram to capture the world of wine as you see it. USE hashtag #iWineVAULT29

    For extra chances, SHARE your Instagram post(s) to FB and/or Twitter! Don't forget the hashtag #iWIneVAULT29


    Must be 21+ and show proof to claim. Giveaway starts on Wine Wednesday, 8/26/15 at 8am PST and ends on Tuesday, 9/1/15 at 11pm PST. Winner will be announced via social media on Wine Wednesday, 9/3/15, at 5pm PST and must claim within 24 hours. Claim directions will be provided during winner announcement. By participating in giveaway, you validate you are of legal drinking age. Must live in the U.S. to win free wine (Utah, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia excluded). If you are of age in your country (or in an excluded state in the U.S) feel free to add your experiences in our app. We will show you recognition through our social media channels. *PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY* 

    #WineMicMonday: An Insider's Look at Building a #Wine Brand

    #WineMicMonday: An Insider's Look at Building a #Wine Brand

    #WineMicMonday on VAULT29

    "Wine Mic Monday" is a VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog...because every glass and bottle of wine has a story. Last week, we recapped "Dynamic Duos" in Season 2, part 1. This week in Season 2, part 2, we look back at our stories focused on unique individual backgrounds and their pursuit of creating extraordinary wine brands. Prioprietor Julie Arbuckle, of Anthem Winery, covers "The Top Five Inside Facts I Have Learned in the WIne Business." In the story of Vineyard 36, three friends are brought together by a mutual love of hockey and wine. Check out how Uproot Wines appeals to the next gneration of wine drinkers and how Erin E. is shaping her brand from her experience in wine hospitality.

     

    Team Anthem was founded in 2009 with a mission to produce small quantities of handcrafted wines from the most distinctive and promising mountainous vineyards in Napa Valley. Anthem's winemaker is the talented Jeff Ames - 2008's Winemaker to Watch - while industry renowned John Truchard oversees duties as vineyard manager. The gorgeous bottle-wrapped label is a topographic map displaying the contour of the land around the winery, with a star pinpointing Anthem's exact location. Read more here.

     

    Meet Jason - co-proprietor of Vineyard 36 - a Napa Valley winery created by three friends with a mutual passion for friendship, wine and hockey. The story begins with Jason's first visit to Napa Valley and a private, guided tour with Dave Del Dotto himself. It was this particular wine experience that changed Jason's life and led to his first winery venture, Tobacco Roads Cellars. Eventually, he would befriend Cam and Tim - two professional hockey players in the NHL - who had a shared love and appreciation for wine. In this exclusive piece, Jason shares how these three came together to chase one shared dream - Vineyard 36 - and the stories behind the wine labels, UnMask and Cross Check. Read more here.

     
    Uproot_social_IG.png

    Uproot was started in 2011 with a very specific goal in mind: To make the highest quality wine for the next generation of wine drinkers. They wanted a label that would epitomize their values and to be as transparent and open as possible. Each bottle would give the consumer a taste before they even took a sip. This is how their signature Flavor Palette label was born. Each of the color blocks represents an aroma or tasting note. Together, the blocks make up a Flavor Palette that’s unique to each varietal and each vintage. Read more here.

     

    Erin E. has spent most of her career in the wine industry on the hospitality side of the business which, for anyone in the DTC (direct to consumer) market, is as important as the quality of your wine. The opportunity arose to make her own wine and create her own brand, She wanted to integrate the importance of hospitality and quality into her wine and brand. Sure anyone can come up with a catchy name and label design. They key is coming up with a name and label design that you, the creator, 100% believe in. Read more here.

    #WineBuzzin': #Winetasting Extravaganzas!

    #WineBuzzin': #Winetasting Extravaganzas!

    It's every winelovers dream: imagine one large room, with 100 wineries pouring over 500 incredible wines to taste. With a limited window of time, where does one start? And how does one pace themselves? 

    Family WInemakers SF - #Taste15 via VAULT29

    Throughout the year, we have the privilege and opportunity to attend such wine tasting extravaganzas. Typically, there is an underlying theme: a specific varietal (Pinot Days); a specific region (Taste of Mendocino); or Family Winemakers of California. 

    We love these events because it gives us the chance to reconnect, catch up with our winery friends, and taste newly released vintages. But most of all, it's a great opportunity to discover new smaller, lesser known brands who are just starting out in the industry. Many of these wines won't be found in your local grocery store or wine shop because they don't yet have representation behind them. Not to worry, though. We've got you covered with a few of our favorites! 

    • Center of Effort (Arroyo Grande, SLO County, CA)- Located in Central California, the wines are crafted with Edna Valley grapes. Don't miss the refreshing Pinot Noir Rose for long, summer days! #CenterofEffort
    • Wren Hop (Windsor, Sonoma County, CA)- We love everything about this newcomer! The wines are excellently crafted with care and Jim's passion shines through as he walked us through the tasting. Bonus points for the creativity behind their labels which are designed as book covers. #WrenHop
    • Mattina Fiore (San Luis Obispo, SLO County, CA)- Andrea and her husband Scott got the wine "bug" after crafting 2 barrels of Syrah, and quickly expanded their portfolio to include their popular Albarino and GSM blend. It also helps to have one of California's hottest winemakers, Robert Hensen, at the helm! #MattinaFiore
    • Barber Cellars (Petaluma, Sonoma County, CA) - Be on the lookout for Mike and Lorraine's tasting room in Petaluma coming soon, thanks to their cool Kickstarter campaign! Passion packs a punch with their awesome Zins! #BarberCellars
    • Flying Goat (Lompoc, Santa Barbara County, CA)- Kate is a gem and owner of Flying Goat Cellars., along with her husband/winemaker Norm. Their focus is on making vineyard designated pinot noir and sparkling wine. Tasting room in the "Lompoc Wine Ghetto."
    • Pech Merle (Geyserville, Sonoma County, CA)- We loved meeting Bruce and hearing about his passion about these small lot wines, like his 2012 Laguna de Santa Rose Pinot Noir. 

    Download the VAULT29 app to see more of our experiences at the 2015 Family Winemakers of California event. Simply search by location ("Palace Hotel"), hashtag "Taste15", or by winery hastag (ie #WrenHop). If you're interested in attending future events, feel free to reach out to us for more information.

    Cheers! 

    Dynamic Duos

    Dynamic Duos

    Wine Mic Monday: Dynamic Duos

    In Season 2's Recap #1, we take a look back at husband and wife duos. All four couples followed their passions and let curiosity guide them, which ultimately lead to chasing wine dreams. From fateful trips in Europe, to specific winemaking techniques and beliefs, these four stories highlight wine and it's ability to influence lives, inspire, and create incredible pieces of art with each vintage.

    Amplify: what we love about this piece is how Cameron so carefully and perfectly articulates what wine is to him. To Cam, wine is so much more than the traditional rules and the places in which the grapes grow. To take ones undying passion, translate into a profoundly personal expression of art, and inspire conversation is what makes wine the most meaningful. Read more here.

     

    Waits-Mast: We love this story because wine has the power to really capture curiosity. For some, we casually drink with family and friends and create a lifetime of memories with wine as the backdrop. For others, like Jennifer and Brian, it's all about the details. Read more here.

     

    Caliza: The theme in this story is a true, unwavering commitment to winemaking. Carl and Pam see this firsthand with their fateful trip to Italy after 9/11, and dedicate years of education and preparing the land until the timing was right and the wines were exactly aligned with "sense of place." Read more here.

     

    Kukkula: Paula says her husband Kevin doesn't know the meaning of a small hobby - and their wine journey is proof! From Beaucastel, France to the rolling hills in Paso Robles, Kevin shares their winemaking adventure! Read more here.

    #IntoxicatingRuminations: Punk #Wine of the Peasants

    #IntoxicatingRuminations: Punk #Wine of the Peasants

    #IntoxicatingRUminations v5 | VAULT29

    Punk.  Born from a primal desire for raw expression, bands like The Stooges and The Ramones used what little they had- cheap amps, thrift store guitars, minimal technical knowledge- to create something new and powerful, simple yet soulful, a pure distillation of youthful energy and boundless creativity.  The most exciting wines happening around the world today, particularly here in California, share this punk spirit.

    Young winemakers are using their economic shortcomings to their advantage, finding inspiration in unlikely sites or obscure grapes.  Varieties like Valdiguie, Semillon, Carignan, and Verdelho, to name just a handful, have become de rigueur.  Places like the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the savanna-like eastern stretches of Santa Ynez, and the granitic slopes of the Sierra Foothills have been infused with fresh passion and care. 

    In many ways it’s akin to peasant food- winemakers are taking the “scraps” and finding creative ways to spice them up, seeking the most delicious way to channel their origins.  Necessity is the mother of invention, and it has birthed many distinct takes on grapes, or vineyards, once thought pedestrian.  Take the Semillon of Cotiere: winemaker Kevin Law takes old vine fruit grown in the gravel of Santa Ynez’s old Buttonwood Vineyard and shapes it into something that recalls the best qualities of both Hunter Valley and Graves, with highwire acid allied to a broad texture and waxy, exotically spiced aromatics. 

     La Clarine Farm's Vineyards

    La Clarine Farm's Vineyards

    Or how about La Clarine Farm’s Jambalaia Rouge- an oddball blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, Marsanne, Fiano, and Arneis, this wild wine is full of juicy joy, so vibrant it feels like it might leap out of the glass.  Winemaker Hank Beckmeyer knows a thing or two about punk, having played bass in one of the most primalcavemanBUZZKLANGPOW!awesome bands ever, Half Japanese.  In his wines, one senses that spirit has never left him; it’s simply found a different creative outlet.

    Most of these wines are meant to be enjoyed now- while the ability to age may be present, these wines are about pleasure and gulpability, their immediacy taking your mind and palate on a joy ride.  They are the 10-songs-in-18-minutes setlist; they are Iggy Pop snarling “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”  They still have a lot to say- perhaps more than most wines- they’re just saying it fast, and loud.  Hey, ho, let’s go.


    Winemakers: Share your "punk spirit" with our community. Simply download the VAULT29 app and share your winemaking experiences now! Use hashtag #winemaking.

    About the author: Cameron Porter is an Advanced Sommelier and Owner/Winemaker of Amplify Wines, He also plays a role on VAULT29's Advisory Team! Stay connected to Amplify by following them on FacebookInstagram & in the VAULT29 app.