Answer: Hand refractometers take Brix sugar readings right in the vineyard and only need a drop of juice. Brix is the percentage of sugar in the grape juice. A Brix level of 23.1 potentially results in a wine with 13.1% alcohol.
Then you need look no more. Join First Crush this month and do one of the coolest new things to do in Paso Robles wine country. So what are you waiting for, stay cool and register today!
August is normally warm in Paso Robles, but as most of you know, this has been an unusually cool summer. The Paso wine industry is all abuzz about how this weather is impacting fruit development and how it will impact harvest. If you’d like to hear it from the horses’ mouths, don’t miss our August Winemaking Workshop: Brix & Bins featuring Tassajara Cellars winemaker Craig Reed and First Crush viticulturist, Lowell Zelinski, Saturday August 21 from 9:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.
If the winemaking workshop is too cool, or not cool enough for you, try our Blending Workshop featuring Chuck Treatch of Treatch Cellars that same day (August 21) from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
There’s nowhere else you can enjoy an experience like these – and nothing cooler to do in Paso Robles this month!
Brix & Bins
This is a super cool way to spend a morning in wine country. You’ll get to go beyond the tasting room to tour the winery and vineyard and find out what’s going on as the growers and winemakers get ready for harvest. At this three hour workshop, Craig is going to take you on a tour of the winery and talk to you about the equipment we use to process the grapes and let you explore the process from bins to yeast.
Out in the vineyard, Lowell’s going to show you how to use a refractometer and let you actually sugar sample some of the grapes. You’ll also have a chance to taste them and decide for yourself how ripe they are.
You’ll also have the chance to barrel sample our First Crush 2009 wines and discover for yourself what a difference an oak barrel can make. We’ll top off the day with a tasting of Craig’s Tassajara wines paired with some artisan cheeses.
August Blending Workshop
Want to be a winemaker for a day? You can with First Crush. Join us for our “Winemaker Blending Workshop” series on August 21, 2010 from 2 – 4 p.m. This month, we’re featuring Chuck Treatch of Treatch Cellars.
Chuck is one of Paso’s newest rising stars. He’s a great guy and we think his wines are fabulous. His 2007 vintages have been winning awards around the state, and Chuck says his 2008’s are even better. The best part is that you’ll get to taste both if you join us for the blending workshops.
Our First Crush blending workshops are information and fun. You get to learn about the history of wine blending, why winemakers blend and how they do it, and introduction to wine sensory analysis. We give you 2008 premium Paso Robles wine varietals and all of the tool necessary so you can create a unique blend to compliment your unique style.
At a First Crush blending workshop, you can create a custom blend that you will be proud of and want to take home to share with others. And with First Crush, you actually can…take it home and share it with others. At the end of the workshop, you’ll have an opportunity to purchase your private blend that you may custom label and enjoy for years (or months) to come. Workshop Includes wine and cheese pairing.
2010 Harvest dates are: September 4, September 25, October 2, October 9, October 16. More informationRegister
Answer: Eberle Winery
Play our “Wicked Game” and you’ll have the chance to win tickets for two front-row seats to see Chris Isaak live at Sunset’s “Savor the Central the Coast” Grand Finale celebration, Sunday October 3, 2010 at the Avila Beach Golf Resort.
This is a golden opportunity you won't find anywhere else! You can enjoy a FULL weekend of fun on California's beautiful Central Coast with First Crush, Sunset, and Chris Isaak. Register for our October 1-2, 2010 Harvest Grape Escape and be automatically entered in the drawing to win!* What more could you ask for? How about an unparalleled, first-class wine country experience to go with it! First Crush's Grape Escape Harvest Getaways are an authentic, one-of-a-kind adventure that lets you pick, crush and stomp wine grapes, then enjoy professionally-made wine made from the grapes your harvest experience. Each weekend is fun and unique and first-class. Our October 1 winemaker dinner will feature Martin Croad, the winemaker from down-under at the beautiful Croad Winery and Vineyard. For those of you who haven't heard of Chris Isaak before, his successful career as a Grammy nominated singer-songwriter and actor has carved out a unique niche in American pop culture. As a musician, Chris' sly sense of humor and raw charisma have colored the popular songs he's written over the years - and he's written some classics, from moody ballads like "Wicked Game", to rockers like "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing."
This talent has translated into a wall full of platinum albums and a loyal audience who back his shows, knowing they'll be treated to great songs, an inspired performance, and always a few surprises.
As an actor, Chris has graduated from cameos to leading roles in films and mini-series. In 2001 he became the star of the Showtime backstage series, The Chris Isaak Show, which brought together the two parts of his career into a brilliant and entertaining whole.
Now you ask; how can I become a part of this and win two front row tickets to see Chris Isaak perform live? Imagine spending an incredible time in beautiful Paso Robles wine country with First Crush, then topping off the weekend front row at Chris Isaak’s headlining performance at the gorgeous Avila Beach Golf Resort.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on this one-time opportunity for a truly unforgettable weekend and register now! To register call (877) 82-CRUSH or visit our website at www.firstcrushwinemaking.com.The winner will be drawn August 20, 2010. For more information, please give us a call at (805)-434-2772.
We hope to see you soon and good luck!
*Registrants are automatically entered but there’s no purchase necessary to win. To enter without registering for a First Crush Harvest Grape Escape, submit your name, complete address and telephone number along with the words “Wicked Game” by mail to 3850 Ramada Dr. B-1 Paso Robles, CA 93446. Entries must be received by August 20, 2010. Must be 21 to enter.
2010 Harvest dates are: September 4, September 25, October 2, October 9, October 16. More informationRegister
Simply put, the aroma is developed during the pre-fermentation and fermentation processes and are generally used to describe young wines. The bouquet of a wine is developed during barrel maturation and bottle aging and are generally used to describe older, more complex wines.
Wine Aromas: General Classification
Wine aromas may be classified into three major categories:
To be precise, when a wine specialist talks about a wine’s aromas, he is referring to that wine’s primary and secondary aromas (i.e. varietal aromas and vinous aromas). When he talks about a wine’s bouquet, he is referring to that wine’s tertiary aromas.
To put it even more simply, while it is true that there are three main aromas in wines, only the primary and secondary aromas qualify as “aromas” in wine lingo; the tertiary aroma is referred to as “bouquet.” That, in a nutshell is the difference between aromas and bouquet.
Wines owe their bouquet to the post-fermentation and the maturing process. The bouquet is developed only during the post-fermentation stage and in the wine bottle itself. Aldehydes and esters are formed during the oxidation of the fruit acids and alcohol in the wine bottle. As such, bouquet takes time – years, actually – to develop.
A good, mature wine will have a complex bouquet. After all, a wine’s bouquet is a combination of aromas bundled together to form new aromas (you could call it perfume, if you want).
I have here a list of the common tertiary aromas found in wines. Again, I would like to emphasize that these aromas qualify as bouquet aromas because they are developed in the post-fermentation and aging process:
By Becky Zelinski
When you blend grape juice and yeast, you get wine.
When you blend milk and bacteria, you get cheese.
When you blend your own wine with a group of friends, you sometimes get a little machismo.
A fun, friendly competitiveness is exactly what developed last weekend when a group of friends came back to bottle their 2008 blends. In developing First Crush, I’ve had to anticipate a lot of things but this rivalry was not one of them.
This group – that I fondly call my ’08-ers – have been together since their First Crush in September 2008. Most of them did not know each other. They met in the vineyard, picked and crushed their grapes together and have watched the fruits of their labor develop into a fine wine over the past 18 months.
Up until this point, it was still an all-for-one, one-for-all relationship. In May 2009, they met to create their private blends, and when they met last weekend and took the first sip of their wine, that’s when things changed.
“Did you taste our wine?” asked Chris Kuntz of Manteca, California. “This is the best wine ever! I am a damn-fine winemaker.”
Of course, the others didn’t agree. Every couple or individual thought his or her wine was the best. What’s so amazing is the fact that they were all made from the same 2008 Paso Robles wine varietals. Another interesting thing is how many different wines can be created out of these same varietals. With the ’08-ers, everyone blended their wine from the same 2008 varietals, each of them taste different, and each person likes theirs the best. Are you beginning to see a pattern here?
Our 2008 vintage is the first for First Crush. We’ve been doing the blending workshops now for the past six months. It has been fun to watch and taste all of the wines that have developed. It’s has been even more fun to help people create their own custom wine, share the experience with them, and then see their excitement when they taste the finished product.
But the most exciting part is that you can do this too! Whether you do it alone, or with a group of friends, creating your own custom-labeled, private blend is easy and fun. All of our wines are professionally made. You can make as little as two cases of wine (an amount of custom wine that’s essentially unheard of in this industry), and we do all of the hard work and let you enjoy the fun of making your own wine.
When we talk about First Crush with our industry friends here in Paso Robles, most of them say the same thing: “Oh, you mean your customers get to enjoy the romance of making wine.”
Yes, it’s true. Your First Crush winemaking experience is truly the romantic version but the end result is the same. You get to enjoy a great wine with your label on it that you’ve helped create. You can also learn about winemaking along the way if you want.
So how about serving up some custom wine and a little machismo at your next party? Call First Crush and register for a harvest experience or blending workshop today!
About Harvest Experiences First Crush’s Grape Escapes Harvest Experiences are a great way for wine and nature lovers to fall in love with wine in a truly unique way. Join us this fall and discover the fascinating world of Paso Robles terroir and wine making, reconnect with nature, and enjoy first-class cuisine and wine among the vines.
First Crush’s Harvest Experiences begin Friday evening with a luxurious welcome reception and winemaker dinner. They are followed on Saturday with a delicious Champagne continental breakfast in the vineyard, harvest training and meeting the grape grower. Afterward harvest begins and participants roll up their sleeves and harvest, de-stem, sort, and crush the fruit. Harvest is followed by a gourmet lunch and wine tasting in the vineyard with a featured winemaker. And finally a berry stomp competition finishes the fun-filled day.
After Harvest, winemaking participants can return to sample the fruits of their labor and experience the evolution of grape to wine. Following barrel aging, returning guests are guided through the blending process by a winemaker to create several wine blends and finally one that pleases the their palate. Then, participants are invited to return for a bottling and labeling party or First Crush can do that for them. The whole process takes 12-18 months to go from berry to bottle. In the end, participants have had a hand in picking, ageing, blending, creating a custom label, and bottling their own wine.
Brix is a measure of the percentage of sugar in the grape juice or must.TA or Titratable acidity is the measure of the amount of total acid in a must or wine, expressed as its tartaric acid content.
So simply put, the Brix:TA ratio is the ratio of sugar to acid. It is said to be a better indicator of ripeness and quality than sweetness or tartness alone.
According to researchers at the University of California at Davis, wines are the most in balance when the Brix:TA ratio is between 30:1 and 35:1.
A wine has to have at least 75% Cabernet Sauvignon to be called "Cabernet Sauvignon".
The 2007 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon, on sale today contains: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petite Sirah, 1% Sangiovese, and comes from five appellations: 50% Monterey County, 41% San Luis Obispo County, 5% Madera, 3% San Benito County, 1% North Coast.The First Crush 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon.
I had the privilege of spending two days in Southern California for Ian Blackburn’s Stars of Paso Robles’ tasting. It was great fun. We met some interesting people, made new friends and got to help educate wine lovers about wine aromas, as well as Paso Robles.
But I also learned something too. I learned that many people still don’t realize who we are. Other than some people actually thinking we “added” fruit flavors to the wine, the two questions or comments I heard the most were:
1) "So where is Paso Robles?"2) "I didn’t realize you produced Cabernet Sauvignon in Paso Robles"
Needless to say, I was astonished that most people didn’t know we produced Cabernet Sauvignon. Especially since it’s the varietal we grow most. Apparently we’ve done such a good job at telling people that we are the new-world Rhone, we’ve forgotten to mention the other great varietals we produce in Paso Robles.
So to set the record straight: we grow just about every variety you can imagine in Paso Robles. Albeit , (in my humble opinion) we produce some better than others, but nonetheless, we grow everything from Albarino to Zinfandel and everything in between.
Paso Robles is home to more than 26,000 acres of wine grapes grown by more than 120 growers. Commercial vineyards range in size from a few acres to thousands. But the big news (I guess) for many folks is that we produce more Cabernet Sauvignon in Paso Robles than any other variety.
Approximately 38% of our wine grape production is Cabernet Sauvignon, and much of it is transformed into some fabulous award-winning wines such as the Cabernets made by Chuck Treatch of Treatch Cellars.
Chuck Treatch is going to be our featured winemaker for our Winemaker Blending Workshop series on August 21, 2010. We’ll all get a chance to taste his Gold medal award-winning 2007 Agape (a blend of Cab Sav and its Bordeaux buddy, Cab Franc), as well as a sneak preview of a few of his releases: 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2008 Zinfandel. All of Chuck’s 2007s won awards. I personally love Chuck’s wines and can’t wait to share them with you. Chuck also promises to have a few surprises for us.
So don’t miss this great opportunity to taste Chuck’s award-winning wines, savor a great PasoRobles Cab (or two), and experience blending your own premium Paso Robles’ wine.
August 21 2pm-4pm Blending Workshop featuring Chuck Treatch of Treatch CellarsCreate your own custom blend with winemaker Chuck Treatch of Treatch Cellars. Join First Crush at our beautiful Silver Horse location. Taste some award-winning Treatch Cellars wines, learn about blending, and have the opportunity to put your name on a bottle. No winemaking experience necessary - First Crush makes your custom winemaking experience simple, and fun! Includes wine and cheese pairing. Reservations recommended. Groups welcome. Cost: $40/pp or $32/pp for Crush Club members. Register here for the Blending Workshop with Chuck Treatch
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Winery/Office: 2975 Limestone WayPaso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 434-2772 Fax (805) 434-3337