2010 picnic photo

Home About Us Newsletter Photos For Sale or Trade Contact



Auguse 2017

Our last meeting was held at the home of Daniel and Annemieke Howsepian in Lafayette.  It was a wonderful meeting on their outside deck overlooking their vineyard and the view beyond.  A wonderful spread of hors d’oeuvres was laid out for everyone.  There were right around 50 people in attendance at this meeting.  A wonderful turnout for the month of July!  We’d like to especially thank the Howsepian’s for hosting this meeting.

     Six of the eleven 2017 WineMaker Magazine International Amateur Judging medal winners made presentations on how they made their winning wines as well as giving us insight into how they selected their entries plus hints on what the judges back in Vermont were looking for.  CCWG member Bob Joakimson couldn’t attend the meeting so sent me the following thoughts on winning at WineMaker: 

1.  If you want to win a medal make a kit wine. Nothing is for sure but clearly kit wines do better than real wine at WineMaker.

2.  Make a sweet wine. I won 7 golds for sweet wine the last 3 years and a Best of Show for Dessert wine last year. Given how many golds go for sweet wine compared to red wines, sweet seems the way to go.  Dan Boykin took Best of Show-Dessert for his Port this year. 

3.  When making a wine don't cut corners, be very clean, heat is bad, oxygen is bad after fermentation, and get good grapes, you cannot make good wine from poor quality grapes. 

4.  The East coast judges don't like California reds as a generality.  I had 5 reds that won Best of Show and 4 gold medals in various competitions in California. They won nothing at Winemaker.

5.  You have to actually enter a wine to win a medal.

6.  Don't sweat not winning a medal.  Life will continue.

Bob Joakimson

Our thanks go out to all of those that gave us their insights into winning at WineMaker.

It’s time again to start gathering Host Homes for next year’s meetings.  Here is what we need:

Sat., January 20, 2018   CCWG 40th Annual Professional Wine Judging & Potluck Dinner

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1924 Trinity Avenue, Walnut Creek

Friday, February 23, 2018   Red Wine Winners Meeting  Need a Large Home

Friday, March 23, 2018  White & Dessert Winners (to avoid Easter April 1st) Large Home

Friday, April 27, 2018  Program TBD  Regular Home Meeting

Friday, May 18, 2018  Program TBD  Regular Home Mtg. (avoids Memorial Day wkend)

Friday June 29, 2018  Program TBD  Regular Home Meeting

Friday, July 27, 2018   Program TBD  Regular Home Meeting

August Outing – Likely at a Livermore winery-Date and time TBD

Friday, September 28, 2018   Program TBD  Regular Home Meeting

Friday, October 26, 2018  Harvest Report Program  Regular Home Meeting

Friday, December 7, 2018  Nouveau Night-Large Home needed. (To avoid Thanksgiving and Christmas, etc.)

     So next year we’ll have 6 “Regular” meetings with the host(s) being reimbursed $150.00 for Hors D’oeuvres and 3 “Large” meetings with the host(s) being reimbursed $200.00 for Hors D’oeuvres.  First come, first served.  Please give me a call at your earliest convenience to secure the meeting that you’d like to host next year.  Be the first on your block to help out your club!  My number is (925) 837-9384.

     The Treasurer’s report was presented at the last meeting.  We then took a vote on two things:  1) Raise the Host Reimbursement for a “Regular” meeting to $150.00 and to $200.00 for a “Large Meeting.  That passed by voice vote.  Then 2) Maintain the CCWG dues for next year at $60.00.  That too passed by voice vote. 

     The 2018 dues become “due” on August 31, 2017 and become delinquent on September 30, 2017.   That is just one day after the September meeting.  That allows little time to cut off the acceptance of dues checks and getting the invitation out to those that are currently on our Waiting List, now 17 families long.  We typically send off our membership names and mailing addresses to WineMaker Magazine no later than about October 10th.   Your dues include an annual subscription to WineMaker Magazine.

     Please consider bringing your 2018 dues check, made out to “CCWG” for $60.00 with you to Ehrenberg Cellars on August 19th.  Lee Wines, our Treasurer, will be there to collect your checks.  For better and easier accounting of dues, Lee asks that no cash payment of dues be made.  Checks only please.

     For those of you who are unable to attend either the August 19th or the September 29th meeting please snail mail your check to our Treasurer: 

Mr. Lee Wines,  1105 West K St., Benicia, CA 94510. 

Those who procrastinate and don’t get their check to our Treasurer in time will be placed at the end of the Waiting List for the CCWG.  Lots of people want into our award winning group!  No exceptions.  You have been warned!

Sixty-seven CCWG memberships have already RSVP’d for the Saturday, August 19th meeting at Ehrenberg Cellars in Livermore.  Thus far, 47 people have signed up to attend.  There will be 8 GENCO (Garage Enologists of North County)(Sonoma) members coming as our guests to the meeting as well.  That means that 18 CCWG memberships haven’t responded, one way or another.   That’s just over 21%.  I simply have to say that I am disappointed and leave it at that.  Oh, what a busy world we live in!  Just sayin’.

          I just received this email from Chris Ehrenberg’s Sister-in-Law, Victoria. 

This is what we suggest:

6 complimentary wine tastes of Graham Court Wines for each guest

20% off wine bottle purchase 

25% off wine case purchase


Further instructions: CHANGE:  Those with a last name between A and K need to bring along a Dessert, enough for 18-24 servings.  Those with a last name between L and Z need to bring an Hors D’oeuvres, enough for 18-24 servings.  If you’d like to bring the “opposite,” call someone in the other part of the alphabet, see if they’re going, and then switch it up.

Everyone should throw a folding chair in the trunk.  I don’t know how many chairs Ehrenberg Cellars will be able to provide.  Each family should bring a bottle of their best wine or an eclectic selection you believe they might enjoy.  Lastly, everyone should bring their own wine glass.  I’m bringing paper plates, plastic forks and spoons and napkins to the get together.  PLEASE SERIOUSLY CONSIDER PURCHASING AT LEAST ONE BOTTLE OF EHRENBERG CELLARS WINE.  Chris Ehrenberg is going to a lot of trouble to host this event.  Let’s treat him well.  Thank you all. 

DIRECTIONS:  From Dublin on Highway 580 East, go to Livermore and take the Vasco Rd. South exit.  After about 4 miles you’ll cross East Avenue that is also the main entrance to the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.  The very next right turn is Graham Court.  The address for Ehrenberg Cellars is 5963 Graham Ct., Unit B, Livermore.

Our event will run from about 3:00 p.m. until around 6:00 p.m.  If you’d like, you can arrive early, park your car in front of Ehrenberg Cellars, walk back out to Vasco Rd. and turn right.  Within about 50 yards are three very fine Livermore winery tasting rooms.  They are Nottingham Cellars, Occasio Cellars and Longevity Wines.

Right across the parking lot from Ehrenberg Cellars, inside of Eckert Estate Wines and Artisan Spirits (5963 Graham Ct., Unit #D) is the Valley Vintner, owned by CCWG members Mike and Sharon Orton.  They sell winemaking supplies and equipment, primarily to home winemakers.  Mention that you’re a member of either the Contra Costa Wine Group or GENCO and receive a 10% discount on your purchases.

Respectfully submitted, Al Turner, Secretary, Contra Costa Wine Group (925) 837-9384

WineMaker Magazine’s 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2017 International Club of the Year