Friday, June 4, 2010

6/4 - Bruce Cakebread, Paula Kornell, Jeff McBride, Janet Viader, David Duncan, Larry Stone, Rebecca Stone,


Bruce Cakebread -  Cakebread Cellars -  Board President

Over 30 years ago, Jack Cakebread came to photograph the Napa Valley for a book and while here, he casually mentioned his interest in one day owning a vineyard to some family friends who had a ranch in Rutherford. When he returned home that afternoon, the phone rang and it was the family friends offering to sell their property. He headed back up to the valley that same afternoon to make his best offer, and Cakebread Cellars was born.  As the Cakebread family reflects upon the many profound changes in the wine industry over the last 33 years, such as innovative farming techniques and new methods of reaching out to consumers, they note that their key values have remained the same. Dedication to making the highest quality wines and a commitment to family has followed a continuum as their first small vineyard has grown into a thriving internationally distributed wine company.   Their first vintage--157 cases of 1973 Chardonnay--was sold to Phil Faight of Groezinger's Wine Shop in Yountville. He in turn sold to a small audience of premium wine drinkers who primarily drove up from the Bay Area on weekends to visit the country. "Two or three cars an hour would be on the road and we would all stop and look to see who was coming," said Jack as he thought of his original neighbors who became some of the "legends of the wine industry - Mondavi, Martini, Heitz, BV's Tchelistcheff and Christian Brothers "Brother Tim." Today, traffic is about 30 cars-a-minute as the world comes to visit the Napa Valley wine country.

Paula Kornell - Oakville Ranch Vineyards - Past NVV Hospitality Chair

In 1989, when Bob and Mary Miner purchased the 350-acre ranch, 55 acres of vineyards were planted to Chardonnay and Bordeaux varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Located on a sloping plateau that rises to 1,400 feet above the Silverado Trail on the East side of the Napa Valley, Oakville Ranch was one of the appellation’s pioneering vineyards. Since then, several other highly regarded and prestigious wineries have become neighbors, drawn to this hillside for its powerful, signature-red volcanic soils. Through the years, the vineyards have been meticulously tended. Additional small vineyard enclaves have been developed as certain sites have revealed their promise. The shallow and miserly rocky soils slowly release their Spartan nutrients, naturally limiting the grape crop to an intense few bunches per vine. With each vintage, the wines of Oakville Ranch speak clearly of their origin – a richly layered expression of its location, soil, structure, and heritage.

Jeff  McBride - Stag's Leap Wine Cellars - Hospitality Parties
A Napa Valley  First Growth - Founded by Warren Winiarski and his family in 1970.  Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is best known for our estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons—CASK 23, S.L.V., and FAY. Over the years, these wines have become some of the most highly regarded and collected wines worldwide. They are fashioned to express classic elegance, structure, and ageability, and to reflect the place in which they are grown.

Janet Viader - Viader Vineyards & Winery - Beverage Center

Janet Viader grew up in the Napa Valley on the vineyards of VIADER which was founded in 1986 by her mother, Delia Viader. Janet has been involved in the family business from a very early age and has witnessed firsthand the growth of the business and brand. Throughout high school, Janet spent summers working in the winery office and hosting winery tours. While in college, she represented VIADER at special events in Europe and across the United States. 

David Duncan - Silver Oak - Friday Chair
Great wine is meant to be savored with family and friends. This belief is at the heart of Silver Oak Cellars, where we have crafted extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignon for over 35 years. Designed to be deliciously drinkable from the day it is released, Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon grows more supple and luxurious over time. Our passionate commitment to winemaking excellence is reaffirmed at every step in the process. We carefully evaluate the grapes we select and the methods and equipment we use in our winery to create the ideal environment for our Cabernet Sauvignon. No detail is too small to escape our scrutiny – from the quality of our barrels and corks to the wineglasses we offer visitors in our tasting rooms.  The result is Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine with intense, opulent flavors, velvety texture and the balance and depth to ensure superb longevity.

Larry Stone -Rubicon Estate - Host of Friday Event

Mr. Stone may be the most highly honored sommelier in America. He became the first American to win the title of International Best Sommelier in French Wines and Spirits in Paris and remains the only American to have earned the title of French Maitre Sommelier from the Union de la Sommelerie Francaise. He is also an English-certified Master Sommelier, one of a handful who have passed the examination on the first attempt.  Larry has been the only two-time recipient of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service, once for Charlie Trotter's and once for Rubicon, and was Santé magazine's Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year 2000. Under his guidance, Rubicon has earned the prestigious Wine Spectator Grand Award annually since 1998.  One of the hallmarks of his influence at Rubicon is the legacy of mentoring, which has made the restaurant a learning institution for the sommelier profession. Many of the employees who are working here as waiters and bartenders, and even as cooks, are also pursuing their dream of passing the examinations of the Court of Master Sommeliers. "Graduates" of Rubicon include many of the top wine retailers and sommeliers in the city.  Master Stone has also been named to the Board of Directors of the Coppola Companies, and has worked with Niebaum-Coppola Estate as an advisor. He is currently also on the Board of the Kronos Quartet, a highly acclaimed group whose better known works include Pieces of Africa and the recent Sun Rings. In 2004, Larry was elected to the Board of Directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers as well. In March of 2005, Larry became a Trustee of the James Beard Foundation and is working to revitalize it with the new board.  Larry Stone has expanded his fascination with the grape by becoming actively involved in winemaking. He creates Napa Valley Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Merlot under the Sirita label, named for his daughter.

Rebecca Fine - Trinchero Napa Valley - Steering Committee
The winery is Bordeaux focused, and the combination of great grapes, great vintages, and great winemaker allowed me to enjoy one perfect wine after another. Tying the wines together was the winemaker’s choice to let the grapes be the star; showing finesse and grace, with fine tannins, perfect balance, all were smooth, round, and easy to enjoy, while positively full of flavor; but complex and layered, displaying subtlety rather that the explosive fruit bomb all too common elsewhere. Terrifically integrated. These are grown up wines. In addition to daily tastings from 10am – 5pm at $15 and $20, the tasting room offers special seminars by appointment.  On Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, guests can experience “A Taste of Terroir,” a horizontal tasting and evaluation of four Trinchero Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons; Atlas Peak, Mt. Veeder, Rutherford, and St. Helena. $40 per person.  On Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, guest can take part in “The Sensory Challenge,” featuring a test of your nose as you try to correctly identify aromas present in wines using the Le Nez du Vin aroma kits. Also included is a sit down tasting of currently released wines. $35 per person.