Korbel ‘Champagne’ served at Inaugural lunch incites international incident (as well it should)

A menu served as part of the inaugural activities surrounding Obama’s re-election included a special cuvée made just for the occasion by California sparkling wine producer Korbel. The wine is listed on the menu as “Korbel Natural, Special Inaugural Cuvée Champagne, California.” (Champagne, California! Why haven’t I been there?) Now why on earth the President [...]

Harvest 2012 Begins With a Bang

Mumm staffers celebrating the first grape harvest or 2012

On Friday, Aug 10 at 11 a.m., a rubber-boot-clad army of eager employees gathered on the crush pad of Mumm in Napa Valley to welcome the arrival of the first grapes of 2012: pinot noir from the Gamefarm Vineyard in Yountville. Winemaker Ludovic Dervin celebrated the beginning of harvest by sabering a bottle of 2003 [...]

Can California Make ‘Champagne?’

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It’s a warm, sun-drenched late-summer afternoon in Sonoma and from the open-aired veranda that serves as the tasting room for Iron Horse Vineyards, one of California’s best sparkling wine houses, vines heavy with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes sprawl across hillsides in every direction. Joy Sterling, the founder of Iron Horse, is smiling as she [...]

Who Was First: The Champenoise’s Race for California Sun

Spakling Wines in California

In the 1970s, wanting a piece of the attention being showered upon the new kid in the wine world, some of the largest producers in Champagne came to California and began making copious amounts of sparkling wine. It seemed ridiculously easy, considering how warm it was here compared to the cold environs of Northern France, [...]