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   Our last meeting was held on Friday night, March 27th at the Parish Hall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Walnut Creek.  It was the second Awards Night for the remainder of the wines from our January Professional Wine Judging.  There were over 40 people in attendance and 8 category winning wines were poured.  The hors d’oeuvres table was great as everyone attending brought along something to share as there was no host for this event. 

     Not to set a tradition or anything, but we started off the meeting by singing “Happy Birthday” to Susan Abbanat on the occasion of her 50th birthday.  She even got to blow out the special candles.

     All of the remaining category winners were in attendance and proceeded to pour their wines and then fill our ears with how they went about making their winning wine, along with a handout showing the numbers.  Everyone did a great job.  Cleanup went very well with lots of people helping out.  Thank you all.

     This weekend is the last one to take your California State Fair and Orange County Fair homewine entries out to The Valley Vintner in Livermore.  Mike Orton, the owner of The Valley Vintner has graciously offered to ship those entries for CCWG members for free.  That address is 5963 Graham Court, Unit #D, Livermore, inside of the Eckert Estate/Artisan Spirits tasting room. 

     Due to the fact that many of the Contra Costa Wine Group members will be attending the WineMaker Magazine Conference in Portland, Oregon, held at the end of May, the membership has voted to not have a meeting for the month of May.  That vote was made even easier as we actually had no host volunteer their home for a meeting.  St. Paul’s Parish Hall wasn’t available on May 15th and May 22nd was part of a 4-day Memorial Day weekend.  Be sure to not show up OR call me as to where the May meeting might be.  Thank you.

     Brand new member, David Buchanan of Berkeley, sent me this link to a very interesting article.  It’s worth a read.                       http://www.truthaboutabs.com/red-wine-benefits.html 

     The next meeting will be, Friday night, April 24th from about 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. or so at the home of Steve and Joyce Mirabito in Lafayette.  Try and carpool as I understand that parking is at a premium.  You will be asked to park below their home and you’ll be driven up the hill in the Mirabito 8 passenger van.

     Our speaker for the meeting will be long-time CCWG Professional Wine Judge, Jennifer Scott.  Jennifer is currently working for Huneeus Wines.  Unfortunately, I don’t know her new title at that company.  I know that it is a “high falutin’” one, worthy of her talents.  Huneeus represents some pretty impressive wineries and wines.  They include Quintessa-Rutherford; Illumination-Napa Valley; Flowers Vineyard & Winery that makes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast grapes; Faust-Napa Valley; The Prisoner Wine Company-a Napa Valley winery specializing in their Red Blend; Blindfold (not sure what they do); Saldo-high end Zinfandel; Neyen-Chile; Cuttings-a Cabernet Sauvignon based blend; Veramonte-Chile; Primus-Argentina & Chile; Ritual-Chile and Thorn-a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Malbec. 

     Jennifer’s presentation will be on the subject of “Judging.”  I’m not really sure what “spin” she’ll put on it, but, I’m sure that her talk will be of great interest to us as home winemakers and wine lovers.  Come one, come all.

DIRECTIONS: From I 680 both North and the South, take Highway 24 West toward Oakland.  Take the very first exit, the Pleasant Hill Rd. exit (#14) North.  After about 0.7 miles, turn left at the 3rd Stop Light onto Reliez Valley Rd.  Go through the 2nd Stop Sign about 1/8 of a mile and turn left onto Shangri La Rd.  The Mirabito home is located at 3432 Shangri La Rd., Lafayette.


Be sure to bring a jacket, a wine glass, a folding chair and a bottle of your best wine, or a commercial one that the group might enjoy, for the hors d’oeuvres table.   Again, Friday night, April 24th from about 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. or so.  I’ll see lots of you there!

Respectfully submitted,

Al Turner, Secretary, Contra Costa Wine Group