On September 29, First Crush Savored the Central Coast with Sunset wine editor, Sara Schneider and a group of eager new Crush-tomers. After a sipping and picking about a 700 lbs. of Silver Horse Vineyard Syrah, the fun-loving group enjoyed a fabulous lunch prepared by Chef Julie Simon of Thomas Hill Organics paired with the wines of Chamisal Vineyards. Great wine and food, set to the melodious tunes by the Belmores and beautiful panoramic views from the Silver Horse Vineyard made for a fabulous day.
The First Crush "Berry-to-Bottle" tour was one of the tours featured as part of Sunset's Savor the Central Coast hosted by the San Luis Obispo County Visitors' Bureau. It was an abbreviated version of the Crush Encounters only available from First Crush in the beautiful Paso Robles wine region. Savor is a three-day event that highlights the best of the best of the Central Coast giving guests a chance to taste wines, visit attractions, enjoy farm and agriculture tours and much more.
First Crush enjoyed being a part of this fabulous event and having a chance to showcase its fabulous, fun and educational hands-on winemaking experiences. There's no other wine experiences like the First Crush available anywhere else. For the fall 2011 season, there are two remaining Crush Encounter winemaking weekends. They include Oct. 15 at the Cass Vineyard & Winery and Oct. 22 at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery.
Harvest is finally underway in Paso Robles. Things have been getting off to a slow start and yields are low, but spirits are high. Regardless of the trials and tribulations, harvest is by far the most beautiful and exciting time in wine country. And only First Crush puts you up front and center in all of action with our hands-on, educational, fun and fantastic Crush Encounters!
So what are you waiting for? There's still time to come to the beautiful Paso Robles wine region this fall to LEARN, SEE and DO a real wine grape crush! There's nothing else like it anywhere else, and it only happens once a year, and it's only available from First Crush! If you register by this Friday, Oct. 7 for either of your remaining Crush Encounters, you can bring a friend for half off. (See website for details.)
If Vines Could Talk...
They'd tell you they've had a really tough year! Due to the late spring frost, many growers and winemakers are seeing less than 50% of their normal yield come in from the field, and due to an unseasonably cool summer, it's coming in later. Growers are hoping that the lower yields will be compensated by higher quality, and increased fruit prices in 2011. Bulk wine supply has definitely dwindled with 2009 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon vanishing faster than Houdini. And with slim pickin's this season, I think growers are right to be optimistic about 2012.
For First Crush, harvest is nearly half over. With three successful Crush Encounters under our belt, we head into the home stretch. So far, the weather and the grapes have been beautiful, and our Crush-tomers have all had a great time.We have two Crush Encounters left: one at Cass Vineyard & Winery on Oct. 15 and one at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery on Oct. 22. Don't miss these last two opportunity to enjoy a fun and fabulous Harvest and Wine Grape Crush in Paso Robles this fall.
Don't be Crushed
Despite the woes in the field, things are still busy in the winery. We are fermenting our first-ever First Crush Syrah Rose, which was harvested with loving hands by our Crush-tomers on September 24 from the Silver Horse Vineyards. The Rose is coming along nicely and has almost finished its primary fermentation. Our Savor Crush-tomers and Calypso Crush-tomers harvested Syrah on September 29 and 30, and it too is making its magical transformation from berry to world-class wine.
Savoring the Central Coast
Harvest Wine Weekend
There's a lot happening in Paso Robles in October, and the Harvest Wine Weekend is one way to check in on some of the action. It's three days of tasting, touring, wining and dining. Wineries all over the region invite you to visit Paso Robles and host parties, dinners and more.
First Crush is no exception. We've teamed up with Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery to offer you three great days of winemaking fun. You can experience it in one or two days, and are invited to kick off your weekend FREE OF CHARGE at the Pomar Junction Train Wreck, Friday, Oct. 21 from 5 p.m. – dusk when you register for a one or two-day Crush Encounter. You'll enjoy VIP treatment at the TrainWreck, see and learn how wine is made with First Crush and Pomar Junction on Friday, and then get to bottle wine to take home on Sunday.
For a limited time, you can enjoy all of this for as little as $175/pp. A full day of wine making education, great food, music and fun for about the price of ONE winemaker dinner.For details and information about everything going on Harvest Wine Weekend, visit pasowine.com.
When someone talks about wine culture, most of us think about how our society is influenced by the highly regarding beverage we all love so much. But to real winos, wine culture takes on a whole new meaning.
Cultured wine yeasts are widely used in both home and commercial winemaking. They have been a boon to the industry and give winemakers control over the taste and development of the wines we drink. Most wine drinkers probably aren’t even aware that winemakers choose yeasts for their wines like women choose the right shoes to match their outfits. Nor do they know the important role these microscopic transformers (a mere 8/25,000ths of an inch long) play. There are literally hundreds of cultured yeast strains available for wines. Each of them have their own distinct characteristics – just like the grape varietal they are used on – and can significantly impact the taste and style of a wine.
Andre Austin, owner of CellarWise (a winery supply store in Paso Robles) is a 15-year veteran in the industry and he knows his yeasts . He will be the featured guest speaker at the July First Crush winemaking workshop: “Yeasts & Yields,” Saturday, July 23 from 2-5 p.m. at the First Crush Wine Workshop.
Austin will talk about proper yeast re-hydration, how to select yeast strains and conduct a comparative tasting with wines made with different types of yeasts. (To read the rest of the story, follow the read more link below)
Believe it or not, blue cheese isn’t just for dessert anymore. It pairs well with both red and white table wines and some of the best cheeses for pairing with table wines are born in the U.S.A.
I love wine and I love cheese. But what I really love is a great wine and cheese pairing so I’m also looking for excuses to come up with new ones. When I came up with the idea to create a Red, White & Blues party some people thought I was crazy. I had one cheese expert tell me “you can’t pair blue cheese with white wine.”
Well, I am crazy but don’t ever tell me I “can’t” do something! I sipped and sampled for several days so that I could prove the wine and cheese pairing experts wrong…and I did. So…this Fourth of July I am declaring my independence by hosting a “Red, White & Blues party and celebrating the freedom to pair whatever wine we want with blue cheese. But all in good taste, of course.
Through this experience, I learned a lot about blue cheese and came up with some great pairings. To learn more about blue cheese and my findings.
But the best part, I’m going to share the fruits (or in this case, cheeses) of my labor with you. This Sunday, July 3, join us out at the First Crush Wine Workshop for our “Red, White & Blues” party. We’ll help get your 4th of July celebration off with a bang! You can taste our great wines with some creamy cheeses (and other goodies) enjoy cool blues and have a great time.
A true blue tradition
Just like America, it is thought that blue cheese was discovered by accident. Fittingly, for our Fourth of July celebration, blue (or in some cases, bleu) cheese is mired in tradition and has a rich history. Gorgonzola is one of the oldest known blue cheeses but it is the British that have perfected and protected the high standards of blue cheeses primarily made from cow’s milk. Roquefort is said to have been invented in 1070 AD, but it wasn’t until the 11th century that it received it acquired its blue veins that cheese lovers know and love.
Our 2011 Wine Grape Escapes are better than ever. Every Grape Escape lets you experience wine country during our most exiting and spectacular time of year -- CRUSH! You'll get a taste of winemaking while having a fantastic time in the vineyard and the winery. You'll enjoy fabulous wine country cuisine, premium Paso Robles wines and learn about the region, its wines and how they're made from the people (growers, winemakers, and chefs) that actually make Paso Robles one of the hottest wine regions in the country.
HERE ARE SOME EXCITING NEW (& OLD) FEATURES:
1, 2 and 3-day programs with new pricing and featuresSunday Brunch & Bottle lets you bottle and take home wine that weekendAll-inclusive hotel package options are back! You can once again purchase a "complete" Grape Escape Package with discounted hotel options from four of Paso's best hotels: the Paso Robles Courtyard Marriott, the Holiday Inn Express, La Quinta and La Bellasera Inn & Suites. These are great rates that are only available from First Crush with the purchase of your Wine Grape Escape.
So....sip, crush and stomp your way into a wine lover bliss in the beautiful Paso Robles Wine Country this fall. Space is limited and early registration discounts are available so don't delay, register today!
DETAILS & AVAILABILITY
Download registration form
Can you really tell the difference between a “brilliant” wine and a clear one? Do you know what tannins really taste like or how the different percentages of alcohol really feel like on your tongue.
If you've answered no to one or all of these questions and you'd like to be able to answer yes, join First Crush for our Pruning & Palate Building Winemaking Workshop next Saturday, March 5 at 2:00 p.m. You'll get to really see wine like the experts and taste for wine constituents such as acidity, alcohol, tannins, sugar and more. This is a great class that you don't want to miss!
This class was originally scheduled as our February winemaking workshop but due to the threat of snow, we postponed it until March 5. That's good news for those who were interested in attending but didn't get the chance to sign-up.
As always, our Winemaking Workshops also includes a viticulture session. At this one, you'll not only get to learn from our viticulturist how and why wine grapes are pruned, you actually get to see how it's done and try your hand at pruning some Silver Horse Estate Syrah.
It's going to be a great day in the vineyard and winery. And as always, we end with a wine and cheese pairing!! Yum & Fun!
$55/pp - $44/Crush Club Members
First Crush owners, Lowell and Becky Zelinski, will join Master Sommelier Michael Jordan and wine expert Mike Horn on the “The What’s Cookin’on Wine Show,” Monday, February 28, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. PST. The show will be broadcast live on CRN 1 Live from the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Pasadena.
Each week Mike Horn discusses what’s going on in the world of wine from around the globe. This live international wine show reaches wine lovers everywhere and features winemaker interviews, latest news, views, trends and more.
“I met Mike at the SLO Vintner’s Harvest ball last November,” Becky Zelinski said. “He was intrigued with our concept and what we’re doing and invited us onto the show. We’re excited about this opportunity to share First Crush with the world on live, digital radio.”
If you’re in the So-Cal area, First Crush invites you to join Becky and Lowell for the live broadcast. Otherwise, you can tune in to What’s Cookin’ on Radio America. You can also call CALL (800) 336-2225 to join the conversation. Ruth’s Chris Restaurant is 369 East Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena.
Your first glass of a great 2011vintage wine is being made right now. I know, I know…you hear it all the time: “great winemaking starts in the vineyard.” But is really is true, but more importantly, great grape growing begins with pruning. And there’s no better way to get an appreciation for what it really means than to experience it.
Pruning is the heart of grape growing and the process on which everything else depends. Training and pruning vines to establish a good fruiting framework is pivotal to producing premium wine grapes – the ones you rely upon for a great glass of wine.
It’s pruning season in Paso Robles right now. All over the AVA, you can see the spindly jungles of vines transformed into neat, well-groomed rows of soldier-like trunks standing at attention just waiting for their next orders.
ANSWER: Malolactic fermentation is the natural process of converting malic acid to lactic acid.It occurs naturally by letting remaining bacteria feed on the wine’s malic acid. It is typically encouraged in most red wines and some whites like Chardonnays. There are several reasons a winemaker may encourage this process. But as a wine drinker, the main effect you will notice in wines that have undergone this process is a “softening” of the wine’s mouth feel. This process effectively reduces the wine's overall natural acidity, thus reducing its crisp and tart characteristics, thus creating a softer, seemingly sweeter wine. Malolactic fermentation can also reduce or remove other undesirable flavor components.
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Winery/Office: 2975 Limestone WayPaso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 434-2772 Fax (805) 434-3337