Friday, February 04

Wine.Wooters: Let's Party At Scott Harvey's Place In Napa Valley on Sunday, Feb. 20

by Scott Harvey

It seems a contingent of wooters annually go to the Petite Syrah tasting “Dark and Delicious” every year in February. So on the Sunday following the event, we along with our neighbor across Fulton Lane, David Fulton Winery, would like to invite the wooters in for fun and wine tasting. This year we have gone all out.

The event will start at 11:00 AM and go to 5:00 PM on Sunday the 20th of February.

Address: 830 Fulton Lane, St. Helena, CA 94574

RSVP by February 11 via phone to: 707-968-9575

Cost is $20 per person, unless you were one of the fortunate ones to have received one of the 30 “Golden Tickets” in the December case Woot offering. The $20 entry fee can be applied to a six bottle purchase of wine during the event.

My longtime friend and Master Chef Dean Weitz will be cooking up a storm throughout the event.

California State Fair Chief Judge Pooch Pucilowski will be conducting wine judging tests. This wine judging test is a mini version of the test I took to become a judge for the California State Fair Wine Competition back in 1980. I have been a judge ever since. The judging will be conducted every one and a half hours staring at 11:30 AM. So test will start at 11:30 AM, 1:00 PM, 2:30 PM and 4:00 PM. There is room for 12 people per time slot. If you want to participate, you need to call us here at the winery, 707 968-9575 and book a slot. First come, first served. From all those who pass the test, one will be drawn from the hat to judge as a guest judge on my judging panel at the California State Fair Wine Competition to be held this year on Wednesday June the 1st. Check out some previous years' California State Fair Wine Competition results to get yourself in the mood.

In addition, Pooch is running another competition called the Consumer Wine Awards. He will make the Consumer Wine Awards survey available for those people interested in judging at the Consumer Wine Awards Competition. This survey is also available online at ConsumerWineAwards.com.

We will also be hosting a “Guess the Vintage” tasting and a “Guess the Variety” tasting with prizes and discounts for the winners.

The wine cellar will be set up for a “Bring your own Cigar” tasting where the Angel Ice and Forte will be available for you to pair with your favorite cigar.

Remember to RSVP at 707 968-9575 by February 11th. This invitation is only open to Wooters at this time and will be open to everyone after the 11th. Look forward to seeing you there!

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Monday, December 13

Bitten By the Wine Bug

by Scott Harvey

Welcome back guest blogger Scott Harvey of Scott Harvey Wines, here revealing his origin story to the world.

When sitting around enjoying a glass of wine with a group of fellow wine people, the conversation invariably comes around to “How did you get bit by the wine bug?” or how did you get into the wine business? Drew Thurman aka WineDrew, a winedavid39 associate, was by the other day and after a few bottles of wine he asked. I told him over another bottle of wine and he goes, “You got to write it down so we can put it on the blog.” So here it is.

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Tuesday, June 23

Scott Harvey on Riesling: Sweet, Dry, Off-Dry?

by Scott Harvey

I cut my teeth on Riesling back in 1972 when I was an 18 year old AFS exchange student to Germany. When I got there, the first thing they did was welcome me with a wonderful refreshing glass of Riesling. I looked out the window of the second story farm house and as far as you could see where the beautiful vineyards of the Rheinland Pfalz. I got my German/English dictionary out and the first thing I asked them was “Does this wine come from those vineyards?” They said “Sure it does, do you want to see where it is made?” They took me down into the basement and I’ve been in love with Riesling ever sense. Last November on Thanksgiving Day I was again in that old farm house enjoying another glass of Riesling.

I guess Riesling is in my blood and it’s there to stay. Jana and I produce four Rieslings. Three are produced in what in German is termed Halbtrocken Kabinet and the fourth is an ice wine. We have or currently produce Rieslings from Michigan, New York and California. With Riesling in your blood, you have to produce a cold climate one now and then...

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Monday, March 30

Scott Harvey with more on pH and old vs. new world wines

by Scott Harvey

Guestblogger and winemaker Scott Harvey returns to fill us in on pH in wine-making and wine-drinking.

As promised in the last blog post on pH this post will explain how pH plays a role in developing either new world wines (Parker Wines) or old world wines (food wines). Both styles have their place.  Americans consume a lot of wines without food, thus creating a need for the higher pH new world style wines.  

When you sit down to dinner and take that first bite, it tastes so good...

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Friday, February 13

Scott Harvey Says: Wine and pH

by Scott Harvey

Schooled in winemaking in both Germany and California, winemaker Scott Harvey was crucial to putting Amador County on the California wine map in the 1980s. After years spent propelling such wineries as Santino, Renwood, and Folie a Deux to success, he launched his own Scott Harvey Wines with his wife Jana in 2004. We're thrilled to have him take over the regular Wine.Woot guest blogger position. See his first post here.

We as wine makers do not make wine, Mother Nature does. It is a natural process of fresh juice to vinegar. By understanding the biochemistry and the life cycles of the organisms involved we can direct and halt the process at the point where the human species likes to drink it rather than at the vinegar stage where the fruit fly prefers it.

Ever since Louie Pasteur figured out that it was yeast and bacteria that convert juice to wine and vinegar, we have been able to determine the conditions needed to foster the growth of the organisms we desire and the retardation of those we don’t desire for the production of fine wine.

One of the best tools in determining the environment we want to create for Mother Nature to do her job in creating fine wine is monitoring pH. Basically, pH is the measurement of free hydrogen ion concentration in the solution. For some reason, and I don’t know why, they chose 7 for neutral pH. Maybe some wooter out there does know why and can tell us. Everything above 7pH becomes more and more basic as the OH ions increase and everything below 7pH becomes more and more acidic as the positive hydrogen (pH) ions increase. Wine is an acidic solution that is produced in the range of 2.8pH to 4.2pH.

Not until the late 80s was the development and reliability of the pH meter such that we could use it in daily winemaking. Therefore, before that we relied on the measurement of total acidity to tell us what we needed to know. Today, still many winemakers make their decisions on TA rather than pH. It was a German winemaker Ed Friedrich, winemaker for San Martin in the early 70’s that showed Dr. Richard Peterson, then winemaker for Monterey Vineyards, how important pH was. Monterey was a new high quality wine region with a particular problem of producing grapes with extremely high malic acid levels thus forcing the winemakers to find a new way to evaluate the wine. Ed showed us when we are tasting acidity we are really tasting pH. pH will predict taste much better than TA ever has.

Up until 1996 I made wine based on TA. In 1996 Dr. Peterson (my mentor) brought me to Napa Valley to take over Folie a Deux winery. It was at Folie a Deux winery that I learned how to use pH in making my decisions on creating the right environment so that Mother Nature would transform those wonderful grapes into the wines we all enjoy.  

This blog is really an introduction to the next blog that will explain how pH plays a role in developing either new world wines (Parker Wines) or old world wines (food wines). Stay tuned.

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Wednesday, January 14

Meet Our New Guest Blogger: Scott Harvey

by Scott Harvey

Schooled in winemaking in both Germany and California, winemaker Scott Harvey was crucial to putting Amador County on the California wine map in the 1980s. After years spent propelling such wineries as Santino, Renwood, and Folie a Deux to success, he launched his own Scott Harvey Wines with his wife Jana in 2004. We're thrilled to have him take over the regular Wine.Woot guest blogger position. Peter Wellington will continue as an occasional contributor.

Since I’ve had such a good time participating on the Wine Woot blog, WineDavid asked me if I would submit fun and informational blogs like Peter Wellington has in his wonderful Random Ramblings. His will be a hard act to follow.

For the last week I’ve been working on getting label approvals from the TTB (Tax & Trade Bureau). All wine labels have to be inspected and approved by the federal government. As with most federal bureaus these days, they are extremely over worked. I have submitted labels they have previously approved, only to be rejected this time. It seems a lot is left to interpretation by the individual inspector. I have also had rejected labels, where I waited a month to send them in again, come back with the TTB stamp of approval. You learn not to argue with them. Just do what they ask and be very polite. Kind of like in-laws.

A good example is our fortified wine we call Forté. It is a fortified wine made just like you would make Port in Portugal from all Portuguese varieties. As a European trained wine maker I will not use European place names on our wines. So we call the wine “Forté” rather than Port. In 2004 when I first obtained label approval for this wine the back label said “A California Port Style Wine.” This time the term “A California Port Style Wine” was rejected. They said I had to use “Red Table Wine”. I said, “It is not red table wine, it is a fortified wine”. They said I could not use the word fortified on a wine label so therefore had to use “Red Table Wine” I pointed out to them that that would be lying to the consumer. They didn’t seem to care, stating that was the regulation.

Potayto, Potahto
Knowing that using “Red Table Wine” on this wine would be a marketing nightmare, I politely ask what other alternatives there were. TTB said I could list the varieties and their percentages. So I re-submitted the label with the percentages and the varieties. It was again rejected. I again politely called them and asked them why. They said one of the varieties “Sousao” did not exist in their list of accepted wine varieties. I’m thinking that’s odd, it is a fairly common variety in Portugal. I was thinking, it has to exist and kept questioning the inspector for a good 20 minutes, before I finally asked if he had a variety on the list spelled somewhat like Sousao. He looked at the list and said there is one spelled Souzao. I go great, I’ll re-submit with Souzao and it was finally approved.

Another example of a label coming before different inspectors with their telling me I had to do contradicting things is with our Napa Valley Old Vine Riesling. I moved the production of this wine to one of Cosentino’s Wineries in Lockeford which is near Lodi. I wanted the produced and bottled by statement on the back of the bottle to reflect that we are a Napa Valley Company. Rather than just saying “Produced and Bottled by Jana Winery, Lockeford, CA” I had the statement read “Produced and bottled by Jana Winery, Lockeford, CA for Jana Winery, Napa Valley, CA.” On the first bottling this statement was accepted. The next year when I sent it in the new inspector rejected it. Again, after a 20 minute polite phone call I finally got it out of the inspector why he was rejecting it. He decided that the place had to be a city not a place, so Napa Valley was unacceptable since it carries no postal address. Luckily, there is a town in Napa Valley by the name of Napa. So I asked him if I dropped the Valley off of it to read “Produced and bottled by Jana Winery, Lockeford, CA for Jana Winery Napa, Ca” if that was okay. I sent it in again hoping he would get the application and not the first inspector that approved the previous one. He got it and it was approved.

For another label story, more dealing with the development of our Angel Ice Riesling, check out this post on our blog about what we went through to develop the art work and name for the wine.

The regulatory world is quite complicated for wineries, and always a learning experience. Makes me glad I’m not a lawyer!

WineDavid, thanks for this opportunity to further reach out to the wine woot community.

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