Siduri Lemoravo Vineyard Pinot Noir

•January 19, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Adam Lee is the talented, colorful winemaker and founder of Siduri Winery in Santa Rosa, California. His wines are typically unfined and unfiltered, and I like to say that he also tends to speak that way. Adam is a Texan who moved to California over 20 years ago to pursue his passion for Pinot Noir. He and his wife, Dianna, founded Siduri, named for the Babylonian Goddess of Wine. I am extremely fortunate to sell the Siduri wines in California and I would like to elaborate on Adam’s efforts in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, in general, and the Lemoravo Vineyard specifically.

Adam makes Pinot Noir from six American AVAs: Willamette Valley, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands and Sta. Rita Hills. (Technically, Adam also makes a Pinot Noir from Chehalem Mountains AVA within Willamette Valley AVA).

SID_16_Lemoravo_PN_FIn Santa Lucia Highlands, Mr. Lee creates six single vineyard Pinot Noirs, including Soberanes, Sierra Mar, Rosella’s, Gary’s, and Pisoni. Lemoravo is the sixth and newest, and it sits at the southern end of Santa Lucia Highlands, almost directly below Sierra Mar Vineyard. Adam had been driving past Lemoravo for many years, checking out the grapes on the way to Sierra Mar. When he heard that some Lemoravo fruit was available, he started sourcing it in 2015 and used the grapes for the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA blend. He was so happy with the quality that he made it a Lemoravo Vineyard designate in 2016. Lemoravo gets its name from the crops originally planted at the site: lemons, oranges and avocados.

Here are Adam’s tasting notes for the 2016 Siduri Lemoravo Pinot Noir:

“The Lemoravo Vineyard is planted to multiple clones and, as much as I thought it would ripen (by clone), I actually found that it ripened from northwest to southeast following the sections most exposed to the wind off of the Pacific ripening quickest. We picked the vineyard in four passes, each one moving progressively southeast. The 2016 Siduri Lemoravo Pinot Noir shows a fairly classic Santa Lucia Highlands profile, with loads of concentrated red and black fruits, along with slight hints of dried herbs and even a slight dusty, earthy complexity. The wine is more seamless than heavy, with superb balance and a longer, lingering finish with just the slightest hint of finishing tannins (but good acidity). This wine drinks very well right out of the gate, but should certainly age for a few years with no problem whatsoever.”

I hope you enjoy this Pinot Noir; there are only about 150 cases available for the initial release.

When you are traveling in Sonoma, there are two distinct ways to experience the wines of Siduri: at the winery in Santa Rosa and at the “Wine Lounge” in Healdsburg, where you can also enjoy small bites and micro-brews on draft. Both venues are a treat—you can plan your trip at


Trockenbeerenauslese and Crljenak Kaštelanski!

•January 14, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Spectacular vineyards in Germany’s Mosel region (Anbaugebiete) above the Mosel River.

I recently sat for the Society of Wine Educators’ Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) Exam, which covers anything and everything associated with the production of wine around the world. It had been quite awhile since I had taken a deep dive into the wines of Germany, Austria, Greece and Eastern Europe, but the exam covers the globe and I soon had to be re-emerged into these diverse and exciting wine regions. I thought it would be fun to share some of the definitions and terminology from these unique areas that are included in the CSW curriculum.

Germany has 13 recognized wine regions called Anbaugebiete. They are further divided into smaller and more exclusive areas: Beriche, Grosslagen, and Einzellagen.

In Germany, this is the highest quality level designation. These wines must be produced from the 13 Anbaugebiete.

Subcategories of the Prädikatswein are based on grape ripeness and Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) translates to “selected dried berries.” These gems are considered to be among the world’s greatest dessert wines.

Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP)
The Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates was founded in 1910 to create the country’s first classification of vineyards. The four levels are: VDP Grosse Lage, VDP Erste Lage, VDP Ortswein, and VDP Gutswein.

Riesling is the most widely planted grape in Germany, but Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) is the most widely planted red grape and the third most planted variety (Müller-Thurgau is second).

Moving into Austria, the country’s Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) vineyards are divided into three Weinbauregionen: Weiland Österreich, Steierland and Bergland.

Within Austria’s three Weinbauregionen, there are four Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) regions called Weinbaugebiete.

Niederösterreich is one of the four Weinbaugebiete. The other three are: Burgenland, Steirermark and Wien. These regions are further divided into 18 sub-regions, which include nine Districtus Austriae Controllatus (DAC), considered to be the highest quality level in Austria.

Crljenak Kaštelanski
Croatia’s indigenous Crljenak Kaštelanski is thought to be the same grape taken to the United States and called Zinfandel, as well as in Italy, where it is called Primitivo.

Xinomavro, Agiorgitiko, Mavrodaphne
Three of the top red grapes in Greece, where over 300 indigenous grapes are planted. Moschofilero, Assyrtiko, Roditis are three of the top white grapes.

Onomasía Proeléfseos Eleghoméni (OPE)
This is considered to be the highest level for sweet wines in Greece. There are eight OPEs and they are indicated with a light blue seal placed over the bottle opening.

Onomasía Proeléfseos Anoteras Piotitos (OPAP)
This is considered to be the highest level for primarily dry, unfortified wines in Greece. There are 20 OPAPs and they are indicated with a light red seal placed over the bottle opening.

This white grape is the most windily-planted varietal in the country of Georgia, which has over 154,000 total acres under vine. Rkatsiteli is also the most widely planted grape in Eastern Europe.

All of this information (and more from the countries mentioned above) is included in the CSW curriculum which includes Australia/New Zealand, France, Italy, North America, South Africa, South America, Spain, Portugal, Grape Varieties, Tasting/Service, Viticulture, Wine Culture, and Wine Production. The Society of Wine Educators provides a wide variety of study materials and resources and I encourage you to reach out to them at

Brewer-Clifton: Distinctive Wines from Sta. Rita Hills

•July 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton met in 1995 and created Brewer-Clifton with their inaugural bottling of 240 cases in 1996. They built their first stand-alone winery in 2000 in what later would become Lompoc’s “Wine Getto.” Sta. Rita Hills AVA was approved as an American Viticultural Area that same year and in 2001 Robert Parker announced that Brewer-Clifton was his “single greatest revelation of all of his 2001 tastings.” He put them on his list of 2001 wine personalities of the year and went on to declare that, “…their Burgundian styled Chardonnays and extraordinary Pinot Noirs from the cool micro climate of Santa Barbara, particularly those from the new appellation called Santa Rita Hills, are astonishing.”


3-D Vineyard: Brewer-Clifton’s first planting in Sta. Rita Hills AVA

After Brewer-Clifton was acquired by Jackson Family wines this year, Greg Brewer said, “The Jackson family maintains a commitment to world-class wines, a respect for nature and vision for uncompromising quality that’s very much aligned with our philosophy. I’m confident our collective strengths will further propel the Sta. Rita Hills on the global stage of fine wines.”


Brewer-Clifton Tasting Room at 329 North F Street, Lompoc, CA 93436

I am personally thrilled to have the opportunity to sell these distinctive wines and work with Greg Brewer and his team to share the Brewer-Clifton story and the unique terroir of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA.

Penner-Ash Wine Cellars

•July 23, 2016 • Leave a Comment

4.5 ton open-top fermenters at Penner-Ash Winery in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA of Oregon.

The Triple Bottom Line of Sustainability

•April 30, 2016 • Leave a Comment

In 1994, business author John Elkington coined the phrase “The Triple Bottom Line” and  used it in his 1997 book “Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business.” Elkington proposed that companies should acknowledge three bottom lines instead of just focusing on finance. He argued that social and environmental impacts should be considered alongside the economics of running a business.

This principle has also been called “the three Ps: people, planet and profit,” “the three pillars of sustainability,” “TBL” and “3BL.”

Today, this philosophy is the foundation of sustainability and is graphically represented as the intersection of the three bottom lines in the diagram below (from California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance)      Three E’s of Sustainability Image

Practically, the triple bottom line argument indicates that a company specifically, and society, in general, cannot survive unless workers (including their communities) and the environment are protected, while profits are maintained to pay for it all. They are interconnected and the only way to pass everything along intact (and hopefully improved) to the next generation is to maintain all three bottom lines. This, in a nutshell, is sustainability.

Jackson Family Wines Wins Green Medal Leader Award

•April 24, 2016 • Leave a Comment

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (April 21, 2016) – Jackson Family Wines announced today that it was awarded the prestigious 2016 California Green Medal Leader Award for sustainable winegrowing leadership.

The Green Medal Leader Award was presented by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, the California Association of Winegrape Growers, Wine Institute, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Valley Vintners, Sonoma County Winegrowers and The Vineyard Team (Sustainable in Practice). The Green Medal Leader award is given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates excellence in balancing the three E’s of sustainability: environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically viable. The Leader category is the exemplary achievement in all of the three categories.

“We are honored to receive the 2016 Green Medal Leader Award and to be recognized for Jackson Family Wines’ long standing commitment to sustainability, which has been deeply rooted since the beginning,” said Katie Jackson, VP of Sustainability and External Affairs at Jackson Family Wines. “I am proud to be part of a family that is so devoted to quality, land stewardship and responsible practices and to be part of a wine community that embraces opportunities to make a positive difference. My family hopes to lead in sustainability in a way that will inspire meaningful conversations about improving how we all make wines.”

Jackson Family Wines was an early adopter of healthy land management practices since its founding in 1982 by Jess Jackson. The Jackson family’s commitment to formalize a sustainability strategy in 2008 was deeply rooted in the family’s multi-generational vision of good stewardship and dedication to innovative water and energy management initiatives.

Today, all of the Jackson family’s vineyards and wineries in California and Oregon are certified sustainable and the family pays a premium to growers for their certified sustainable fruit. At the heart of the Jackson family’s long-standing dedication to sustainability is leaving a large portion of their lands wild to preserve biodiversity, collaborating with innovative companies such as Tesla to reduce energy demand, pioneering industry-first water conservation and giving back to the communities where they live and do business. Additionally, the family implemented social initiatives to improve employees’ well-being, including a Jackson Family Wines volunteer program and foundation to serve as a safety net for employees in need. In 2016, Jackson Family Wines became the lead generator of solar energy in the United States wine industry.



Certifying Organizations for Sustainable Winegrowing in California

•November 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The words sustainable and sustainability are thrown around a lot but the average person still has a hard time understanding exactly what these words mean and their impacts on society in general and agriculture in particular. I would like to help clarify sustainability as it relates to the wine industry and I want to initially analyze California wine production and identify the formal process for producing sustainable wine there. The most common certifying organizations for sustainability for the wine industry in California are Sustainability in Practice (SIP), Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW), Napa Green, and Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing. Each organization has developed its own guidelines and certification process. Some wineries and winegrowers have chosen to seek multiple certifications from these bodies, as they are not mutually exclusive. Let’s take a closer look at each body and how they define (in their own words from their Websites) their certifications.

SIP IIISustainability in Practice (SIP) Certified is a rigorous sustainable vineyard and wine certification with strict, non-negotiable requirements. We are committed to standards based on science and expert input, independent verification, transparency, and absence of conflict of interest. We pride ourselves on the program’s rigor and integrity, which have earned SIP the reputation as being the gold standard for sustainable certification. It’s why we can offer you great wines and you can trust that they are made in a way that protects the people and the planet.

SIP Certification is dedicated to the 3 P’s of Sustainability – People, Planet, Prosperity. We are committed to our ‘3 P’ approach, ensuring that both natural and human resources are protected, all of which means you can enjoy wine that has been grown for the greater good. We realize that how we farm impacts things beyond our fence line, so we independently verify and certify practices that protect our community, our workers, and our environment.
•Social Responsibility – We offer competitive wages, medical insurance, training, and education because each worker is a valuable resource.

•Water Conservation – We regularly monitor soils, plants, and weather, irrigating vines only when needed.

•Clean Water – We keep water clean by growing grasses to reduce erosion and filter storm runoff.

•Safe Pest Management – We introduce beneficial insects, attract raptors, and plant enriching cover crops to keep vineyards healthy.

•Energy Efficiency – We minimize tractor use to reduce our carbon footprint, and use alternative fuels and energy sources like solar and wind.

•Habitat – We create wildlife corridors to give animals access to traditional watering holes and food, helping to maintain biodiversity.

•Third Party Audit – We verify adherence to SIP’s strict Standards through third party documentation and onsite inspections.

•Improvement – We annually update and regularly peer review the farming Standards as Best Management Practices evolve with new science, technology and research.

CCSW IIThe Sustainable Winegrowing Program’s mission, vision and values best describe the combination of factors that motivated the California wine community to design, develop, implement and report on a comprehensive sustainability program.

The long-term mission for the Sustainable Winegrowing Program includes:

•Establishing voluntary high standards of sustainable practices to be followed and maintained by the entire wine community

•Enhancing winegrower-to-winegrower and vintner-to-vintner education on the importance of sustainable practices and how self-governing will enhance the economic viability and future of the wine community

•Demonstrating how working closely with neighbors, communities and other stakeholders to maintain an open dialogue can address concerns, enhance mutual respect, and accelerate results

The vision of the Sustainable Winegrowing Program is the long-term sustainability of the California wine community. To place the concept of sustainability into the context of winegrowing, the program defines sustainable winegrowing as growing and winemaking practices that are sensitive to the environment (Environmentally Sound), responsive to the needs and interests of society-at-large (Socially Equitable), and are economically feasible to implement and maintain (Economically Feasible). The combination of these three principles is often referred to as the three “E‘s” of sustainability.

These three overarching principles provide a general direction to pursue sustainability. However, these important principles need to be translated into the everyday operations of winegrowing and winemaking. To bridge this gap between general principles and daily decision-making, the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices workbook’s 15 self-assessment chapters translate the sustainability principles into specific winegrowing and winemaking practices.

This program is guided by the following set of sustainability values:

•Produce the best quality winegrapes and wine possible

•Provide leadership in protecting the environment and conserving natural resources

•Maintain the long-term viability of agricultural lands

•Support the economic and social wellbeing of farm and winery employees

•Respect and communicate with neighbors and community members; respond to their concerns in a considerate manner

•Enhance local communities through job creation, supporting local business and actively working on important community

•Honor the California wine community’s entrepreneurial spirit

•Support research and education as well as monitor and evaluate existing practices to expedite continual improvements

napa_green_winerynapa_green_landNapa Green and the region’s landmark environmental programs are the most stringent and comprehensive in
the wine industry. Focused on environmentally sound, sustainable practices, Napa Green is a voluntary program that is third-party, independently certified and meets and exceeds 20 local, state and federal land or production best practices. Napa Valley wineries and growers participate in farm-specific plans tailored to protect and enhance the ecological quality of the Napa Valley, or in production facility programs that reduce energy, waste and water use for an overall goal of pollution reduction.

History of Sustainability
Napa Green builds upon a strong tradition of environmental leadership and stewardship that began when Napa Valley became America’s first agricultural preserve in 1968 and results today in our wine region being the most highly regulated in the world:

• For every acre of vineyard land in Napa County, 1.47 acres of land are certified or pending certification in the Napa Green program.

• More than 66,000 acres of land are enrolled in the program with more than 37,000 acres having been certified.

• 18,900 of the certified acreage is vineyard land, which is more than 40% of the total vineyard acreage in Napa County (45,000 acres/18,200 hectares).

• Napa Green provides individually-tailored, sustainable farm plans to help land owners:

—Enhance the watershed by preventing erosion and meeting regional sediment  discharge requirements

—Reduce or eliminate chemical use

—Restore wildlife habitat

• Independent certification is granted by the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Napa County Agriculture Commissioner.

• A majority (90%) of the Napa River watershed is in private ownership and public/private partnerships making Napa Green vital to the sustainability of our community.

Napa Green Certified Winery

• Nearly 5 million cases of wine are produced by Napa Green Certified Wineries each year.

• Napa Green Certified Winery uses a set of sustainable and green business practices developed specifically for wineries.

• Participants receive comprehensive energy, waste and water assessments for their facilities, ensuring that all operations are optimized for efficiency.

• Certified wineries demonstrate a commitment to conserving water and energy, reducing waste and preventing pollution with the overall goal of reducing their carbon footprint.

LR_SmallVersion-300x300  The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing is California’s original  sustainable viticulture certification program. Our certification process is rigorous, based in science, voluntary, and third-party audited. Lodi Rules certified growers make up an innovative community with a history and commitment to farming quality winegrapes through the implementation of viticulture practices that balance environmental, social, and economic goals. The Lodi Rules was designed to communicate our commitment to sustainable agriculture to wineries and the general public.

The Lodi Rules has two key components. First, the Lodi Rules promotes winegrape grower adoption of 101 sustainability practices, which we term “standards”. The standards were collaboratively developed by a team of Lodi winegrape growers and viticulture professionals, and were accredited by Protected Harvest in 2005. The Lodi Rules standards are the backbone of the program, and are organized into six chapters: 1) business management; 2) human resource management; 3) ecosystem management; 4) soil management; 5) water management; and 6) pest management. The standards meet three criteria: first, they are measurable; second, they address at least one of the three aspects of sustainability (environmental health, social equity, and economic viability); and third, they are economically feasible to implement. We believe that the Lodi Rules standards are the most thoroughly and rigorously vetted set of sustainability practices in California’s viticulture industry. All standards have been peer reviewed by third-party scientists, members of the academic community, and environmental organizations. Certified growers are required to implement a minimum of standards.

The second key component of the Lodi Rules is the Pesticide Environmental Assessment System (PEAS), which is unique to the Lodi Rules. PEAS is a model used to quantify the environmental and human impact of all pesticides applied in a vineyard. The PEAS model generates an Environmental Impact Unit (EIU) for each pesticide, which is based on the pesticide’s impact on: 1) acute risk to farm workers; 2) dietary risks from acute and chronic exposure to people who consume the product; 3) acute risks to small aquatic invertebrates; 4) acute risk to birds; and 5) acute risk to bees and pests’ natural enemies. Pesticide use by Lodi Rules certified growers must fall below a specified level of PEAS impact units.

A vineyard qualifies for certification if it meets several criteria. First, growers accumulate points through implementing sustainability practices and must sum to at least 50% of the total points available in each chapter. Growers must accumulate at least 70% of the total points available across all six chapters. Implementation of some standards is mandatory. Such standards are those that the program designers believe are imperative for sustainability. Finally, the EIUs for the pesticides used in that vineyard for the given certification year cannot exceed a specified threshold. Certification is awarded to an individual vineyard on an annual basis. Certified vineyards must pass an annual independent audit to verify the implementation of sustainability practices.

For more comprehensive information on each program, please visit their Websites: