Support Hurricane Relief Efforts in Puerto Rico w/ City Winery

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On January 29, City Winery’s sending 125 of our management to Puerto Rico, spending two days in the middle of the island, where we’ll work with farmers to rebuild their property. This includes planting seeds, removing debris, and rebuilding barns, sheds, and farms. Hurricane Maria took a horrific toll and decimated the agricultural industry, which normally acts as the main food supplier for the island.

Chef Cuevas of Restaurant 1919 and the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel acts as the leader in the farm to table movement in Puerto Rico and is collaborating with City Winery to help those in need.

The City Winery employees will be making the trip with duffle bags filled with supplies. Thanks to American Airlines, who will be waiving the excess baggage fees, the company will be able to bring necessities including ground coffee, shovels, extension cords, dehydrated milk, and much more.

To supplement the rebuilding efforts, City Winery will be leveraging its extensive customer-facing business with a campaign to help raise additional funds, allowing the company to bring much needed cash down for distribution directly to the farming and food-creating community.

With over 300,000 email subscribers and a strong social media presence, the 125 managers participating – separately from the campaign – are striving to raise over $250,000 between now and their departure.

Would you be willing to help support by donating product or funds
? We are looking for partners that can offer supplies, cash, and support in our efforts to continue to rebuild Puerto Rico. In return, we will make sure your brand is mentioned on all materials sent to the media and we will have photographer (Getty) documenting the entire effort and you are welcome to use those as you wish. Our PR team can also connect and collaborate with you directly as they will be doing appropriate outreach.

We’re doing boots on the ground efforts to help those affected, and together we’ll make a real difference, please join us by donating at http://www.citywinery.com/puertorico or emailing us at puertorico@citywinery.com

North Bay Fire Relief – How You Can Help

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The news out of California has been devastating as fires have ravaged Napa, Sonoma and beyond. As residents and businesses struggle to recover and rebuild, we want to support them in any way we can. There are several ways we can help:

DONATE: A North Bay Fire Relief fund has been set up and you can donate directly here: www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief

DROP OFF: City Winery is collecting items for those in need through October 30th and we ship these items to the North Bay for distribution. Please consider donating:

Non-perishable food
Pet food
Packaged underwear
Shoes
Phone chargers
Blankets, yoga mats, air mattresses
Face Masks for breathing
Sweatpants & sweatshirts
Sweaters and other warm clothes
Amazon & Target gift cards

DRINK NORTH BAY WINES: We can help wineries, winemakers, vineyards, and others in the wine industry get back on their feet by supporting their businesses. Drink Napa, Sonoma, Mendicino and Lake County wines. Stop by City Winery and ask our staff for our special “Support North Bay” wine list.

Wine Wednesday Has Commenced

Starting today and every Wednesday, Buy One Get One 50% Off of any of our retail wines! These are the only wines made in downtown Nashville. Drink local.

Our Urban Winery is located in the heart of downtown Nashville, and our winemakers are always busy working on producing top quality wines for your enjoyment. We have varieties for all occasions and tastebuds. All wines listed are the only wines made in downtown Nashville.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Hills, Lake County

Equinox $29

Deep violet in color and aroma, this wine exemplifies aromas violets and strawberry jam, with a distinct earthiness on the palate, quintessential to Cabernet Sauvignon. The firm tannin structure allows for a strong finish, nicely complementing this single-vineyard selection.

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino County, California

Roundabout Red $23

Tart Montgomery cherries and pomegranate drive the aromatics of this wine, with notes of rich coffee, herbal sage and violet on the back end. This medium-bodied wine boasts balanced tannins and a fresh, long finish, with bright acidity, which makes it a perfect companion for a variety of foods

2014 Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Carneros, CA

Music City $28

Aromas of raspberry, blackberry and baking spices dominate in this Pinot noir from scenic Carneros region in California. The subtle spiciness on the palate, along with the silky tannins on the finish, makes this Pinot distinctly bold, yet still approachable and fruit-forward.

2014 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, California

Two Rivers Chardonnay $18

Bright acid and round mouth-feel are well-balanced with this wine. Ripe fruit, green apple, baked pear play into the slight baking spice flavors. Fresh, easy-drinking Chardonnay.

You may pick up retail bottles at the concierge desk or ask your sommelier, server, or bartender for more information. We are open 11am-10pm on Wednesdays, and self parking is available until 5 PM. Stop by and see us!

This offer will be valid in-store only and cannot be combined with other promotions or used on previous purchases, refunds, or exchanges. The discount will be applied automatically at checkout. Sale is limited to one transaction. Growlers are not included. Must be 21+ to purchase.

The Beast – Our New Press

As mentioned previously, our first shipment of grapes this fall was accompanied by our new 12hl (317 gal) press, affectionately known as the Beast. Well, last week we let her loose. She is more than double the capacity of our old press, and with the ability to be programmed, the operator is now free to press more grapes, rather than buttons. Pressing grapes is actually a complex, multi-step process. It must be done very slowly, building up pressure gradually so that juice extraction is maximized. With each stage of the pressing, there is an interval of relief to allow juice to flow through open channels in the pomace. Without this, the channels would close and much of the juice would be trapped in pockets. Our current process builds up hydraulic pressure in 10 bar increments (one bar equals one atmosphere, or 14.7 psi). We go up to about 90 bar this way. This is actually the pressure of the hydraulic fluid, not that on the pomace, which tops out at around 4.5 bar.

The first step is to bleed juice from the tanks beginning the day before, so that when the door is opened, there is not a gushing flood. The wet pomace is then shoveled out of the tank into half-ton bins that can be moved by pallet jack to the loading dock. The empty press basket is removed from the press by forklift and placed just below the loading dock to be filled. After pressing is complete, the process is reversed: the dry “cake” is removed from the basket and shoveled for a third time into composting bins. The pressed wine is divided into two parts: light press and hard press. Usually, only the light press is aged in oak barrels. If you look in our barrel cellar, most of the wine from each vineyard is marked as “FR” for free run (the wine which freely flows out of the fermenter during the bleed) and “LP” for light press. The hard press is stored in stainless steel kegs and used for a variety of purposes.

Use of the Press Wine

As you might expect, the press wine is rich, dense and as Robert Parker might say, “backward”. It lacks the aromatic complexity of the free run and is fairly harsh and unbalanced all by itself. It is also slightly sweeter than the free run. Some of the sugars locked up in the pulp are released by pressing, and often the press wine will resume alcoholic fermentation until this residual sugar is consumed. The dried pomace has some alcohol left in it as well: this can be distilled into Grappa or the french l’eau de vie de marc most notably. As our wines are aged in oak, they are constantly evolving. Our head winemaker, David Lecomte, monitors each wine assiduously in barrel right up to bottling. Sometimes press wine is added to the free run if he wants to add a bit more depth or structure. Various combinations are tried until his palate is satisfied with the final result. Care must be exercised because adding too much of the press wine could produce harsh tannins and reduce acidity. This is where a winemaker’s talents play a critical role. Only after many years of experience can a winemaker taste a immature barrel sample and know what needs to be done in order to achieve a final result that is worthy.

Check out the gallery below for illustrations of the various steps mentioned above:

 

Our Big Crush Last Weekend

Close to one-quarter of our entire fall harvest arrived last Saturday. Needless to say, it was a long day for us, but it was also filled with high expectations. We were not disappointed. The grapes arrived in top condition ready to fill our hungry tanks. In the Pinot Noir department, we received grapes from the Bien Nacido vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley and the Bacigalupi vineyards in the Russian River. Petite Syrah and Zinfandel arrived from Lodi as well.

Assistant Winemaker Bill Anton delivered pallet after pallet of grapes to the loading dock where Sikou Nakate and his trusty pallet jack were waiting to lift and pull each one-ton stack to the loading station. In the case of the Petite Syrah, whose clusters tend to run somewhat large compared to other varieties, the stems had to be snipped into smaller pieces so that they would go through the destemmer properly. Working in shifts, the sorting table was kept busy all day long, with only short interruptions in order to move from one tank to the next. Purple hands and sticky fingers were in abundance.

With our second crush of the season now finished, three-quarters of our fermenters are already full.  It is now up to the hard-working yeast cells to transform all that sugary must into wine. We tend to them day and night making sure they complete their important task on schedule. This means regular pump overs, punch downs and temperature regulation. Our lab technicians are busy monitoring the progress and if all goes well, we will start to press and barrel down during the next two weeks. As you can see, timing will be very important so that tanks are available for more crop as it comes in. We are excited about breaking in our new press that will make this process more manageable. Stay tuned for updates.

 

 

World’s Fastest Winery

Last Saturday we had one of our largest crushes ever — 20 tons of grapes! Thanks to our dedicated members, staff and friends, it was processed in record time without a hitch. In fact, they managed to sort the grapes with such precision and care that David’s high standards of winemaking were held in the highest regard. In the time lapse video below, you will see most of the day’s effort compressed into two and a half minutes.

 

The World’s Fastest Winery from Hank S on Vimeo.

 

First Crush of the Season: 2012 Carneros Vineyards

This past Sunday we arrived in the pre-dawn hours for our first crop of the season: 6 tons of Pinot Noir grapes from Carneros. Within the Carneros AVA, these grapes were harvested from two vineyards: Poseidon and Beckstoffer. They were in excellent condition and the sweet aromas made us feel like a part of each vineyard came with them! As a matter of fact, if you closed your eyes on this quiet Sunday morning and felt the warm, bright sun shining on the pallets loaded high with moist grapes, you might have thought you were in the middle of a vineyard.

This delivery was more than just grapes, however. It included our new 5-ton press: we call it the Beast. It will allow us to dramatically increase the amount of grapes we can press in one day. Pressing is actually one of the most time consuming and labor intensive procedures. With our old press, which was quite a bit smaller and not programmable, it would take much longer to press a tank than to fill it with the crush. Below you will find our gallery of photos from the day.

 

Torbreck Wine Dinner With Winemaker Dave Powell

 

 

Last night City Winery hosted the irrepressible Dave Powell, owner and winemaker at Torbreck.

Here is Dave speaking  on the style he’s going for with his Woodcutter’s Semillon and Roussanne/Marsanne/Viognier whites: “I like wines with acidity and cut, not fat and flabby wines. Having just passed my 50th birthday, I can see fat and flab in the mirror anytime I want, I don’t need to see it in my wines.”

 

The Grapes are Coming! The Grapes are Coming!!

Poseidon Vineyard-Pinot Noir 2012

 

As I sit here at my keyboard in Soho, our first crop of the season is being hand harvested at the Poseidon Vineyard in Napa. These luscious Pinot Noir grapes have reached the point of optimal ripeness and will soon be on their way to City Winery. The small yellow bins that you see above will be stacked high in a refrigerated tractor trailer and covered with a protective blanket of argon gas to retard oxidation. If all goes as planned we will have them in our hands this Sunday! Six tons are expected and will make for a gentle opening to our fall crush (We have been known to crush as many as twenty tons in one day!).

The Poseidon Vineyard, situated in the Carneros AVA at the northern end of San Francisco Bay, was first planted by the Molnar family in 1973 where the cooling winds from the Pacific temper the summer heat. This maritime climate is ideal for growing Pinot Noir grapes so that they ripen slowly and develop phenolic ripeness at the same time as sugar ripeness. Phenolics are a vast group of organic compounds that are responsible for the color, tannins and complex flavors found in wine. Over the years, the quality of this vineyard has been so remarkable that many of the big names in Napa purchase grapes from it, including Joseph Phelps, Heitz Cellars, Sterling, Pride Mountain, Acacia, and Mumm (The PinotFile, Volume 9, Issue 11, September 11, 2012).

Those of you who read my last post know how busy we have been preparing the winery for the biggest crush of the year. Time is of the essence so that when the grapes arrive they are crushed and placed into fermentation tanks without delay. Today we finished cleaning and reassembling our conveyors and made sure the tanks are fully cleaned and sanitized. As you can see below, these are big tanks (6,500 liters or 1,717 gallons) and require a person to actually get inside to do the job thoroughly.

Sikou Nakate preparing to clean one of the 6500 liter fermenters

 

Cleaning a stainless steel fermenter in preparation for Sunday’s crush

 

Work schedules are being drawn up and provisions made to have the fermenting juice, pulp, and skins, aka the must, attended every day from early morning to late at night. For the next two weeks or so, it will be like incubating very precious farm eggs: keeping the temperature just right, making sure there is proper ventilation (or circulation in this case), and constantly monitoring the development. And this is only the beginning of what we hope will be our most phenomenal harvest to date!

 

City Winery Wins 5 Awards at San Francisco International Wine Competition

San Francisco International Wine Competition

City Winery recently entered various wines to be judged at The San Francisco International Wine Competition, which is one of the most prestigious international wine competitions in the nation. This summer the event was held at the distinguished Hotel Nikko downtown San Francisco, and the panel of judges comprised of the leading wine experts in the country.  The competition, just celebrated it’s 32nd anniversary of judging and awarding wine excellence saw over 4500 different wines from 26 different states and 29 countries.  There were many different categories of competition, including the “Best in Show,” “Portfolio of the Year,” “Winemaker of the Year,” “Winery of the year,” “Best of Varietal,” and the “Best of Nation.”

City Winery is very proud of our winemaking process, where we source our grapes from some of the finest vineyards in America as well as the world renown Catena Vineyards in Agrelo, Medoza Argentina. Because we are a winery in the middle of the city we have great resources to bring the most elegant and bold flavored fruits to our dining tables. We are pleased to announce that our 2010 Kosher Syrah Mendocino was awarded with a gold medal, and 4 others came back with silver and bronze medallions. The silver award winning wines included our 2009 Cabernet Franc, known for being a tannic and powerful wine which has a distinct taste of dark berries, and our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. Bronze medals were awarded to our 2010 Pinot Noir and 2009 Syrah. We look forward to another year of continued wine making success, and sharing our love for making fine wine.