August 2012 Contra Costa Wine Group Newsletter


     Our last meeting was held in the vineyard at the home of Sal and Susan Captain.  We had about 35 people in attendance for an absolutely beautiful afternoon outside.  Sal and Susan prepared a wonderful selection of hors d’oeuvres and there was lots of great wine to enjoy.  Our thanks go out to the Captains for hosting this great meeting.

     Our speaker was Marie Bourdilla of Artisan Barrels and Aubin Cellars, both located in Oakland, CA.  She brought along a bottle of Aubin Cellars French Colombard and a bottle of Pinot Noir that were quite nice.  Their fruit is sourced all over California and their prices range from only $12.00 to $33.00 a bottle, less if you join their club.

     Marie’s primary presentation though was about Artisan Barrels.  Her presentation talked about the various forests in France, Hungary and the State of Missouri.  She talked about the grain of the wood, toast levels available and what could be expected from each of their barrels and what typical wines they would be used for.  They have small barrels that range in size from 3 Liters to 113 Liters (30 gallons).

     Artisan Barrels also sells Vertical Oval “Egg” Maturation and Fermentation Tanks.  The smallest “Egg” that is available holds 177 gallons, is made of cement with 2” draining tri-clover ports, and has a 12” diameter top lid.

     I’d like to thank member Henry Kim for his perseverance in seeking out a speaker for this meeting.  Marie’s presentation was very well received and she answered a wide variety of questions about Artisan Barrel’s products.


     John Walkinshaw is trying to put together a presentation by individual members of the CCWG for the benefit of those that will be attending the Friday, October 26, 2012 meeting to be held at the home of Denis Beaman in Danville.  That’s over two months away!

     An earlier newsletter asked for people to contact John with those certain “little somethings” that we as home winemakers have devised and used over the years to make things easier for all of us.  Do you have a “gadget” that you devised for making your wine?

Any little thing, no matter how simplistic you think it might be.  Think!  What might you have in your home that you created that helps you in the winemaking process?

     I, myself, have something that might be of interest to those attending that meeting.  You’ll have to come to that meeting though to see what it is.  If we all really work on this, it could be an absolutely great meeting that would help out our fellow members, both novices as well as some of our “expert” members.  You just never know.  Call John Walkinshaw at (925) 933-8220 and let him know what you’ve got.  If you have nothing (which I find very hard to believe), then at least plan on attending that meeting.  I’m looking forward to it!  In addition to presenting these helpful devices, the October meeting is also traditionally the Annual Harvest discussion about how things went for everyone during the grape harvest.  All in all, this is going to be a great meeting!


     Next, due to a delayed re-modeling project, the CCWG finds itself in need of a Host Home for Nouveau Night, Friday, December 7, 2012.  There are typically around 60-70 people that attend that meeting.  There is no need for seating for that many people, just room for about three tables for the Nouveau wines that will be tasted that night and another table for the hors d’oeuvres served that evening.  Please call me if you can help us out.  Thank you all.


     Next is a “heads-up” for a “possible” change of date for our 35th Annual Professional Wine Judging and Potluck Dinner.  As of this moment, the meeting will be held, normally, on Saturday, January 26, 2013.  There is a distinct possibility that it may be changed to two weeks earlier, i.e. Saturday, January 12, 2013.  (It won’t be Saturday, January 19, 2013 as that is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend)  I’ll have more on that, if it comes up, in future correspondence to everyone in the CCWG.  


     After conferring with our Treasurer, Lee Wines, getting his recommendations, then discussing it with Bonneau Dickson, our Wine Czar, your CCWG Officers have decided to maintain the CCWG Annual Dues level at $65.00 per year and that will still include a subscription to WineMaker Magazine.    Your dues are “due” August 31, 2012 and become delinquent September 30, 2012.  At that time, if unpaid, your membership will be removed from our rolls and as it was voted upon at an earlier meeting, you will simply be placed at the end of the Waiting List.  This will allow some of the 3 families currently on the “CCWG Waiting List” the opportunity to join our great little band of fantastic winemakers.      

Please make your $65.00 checks out to: CCWG and mail them to our Treasurer, Mr. Lee Wines, 1105 West K St., Benicia, CA 94510.  You may hand me your check at the August meeting or Bonneau Dickson at the September meeting (I’ll be in Europe and New England-Awwww!) but, for record keeping purposes, Lee insists that your dues be paid by check.  I’ll be mailing our annual list and a check into WineMaker Magazine about the third week of October to either start or continue your subscription.  Please ignore any correspondence from them about your subscription.  There will be absolutely no “pleading” for your money in any newsletter.


Our next meeting is our annual “outing.”  This year, we’ll be going to the Thomas Coyne Winery in Livermore.  The date is: Sunday, August 26, 2012 starting at around 4 p.m.  As in recent years, we won’t be BBQing any meat.  If your last name starts with the letters A thru K; please bring a platter of Hors D’oeuvres, perhaps 16 individual servings.  If your last name starts with the letters L thru Z; please bring a dessert dish with perhaps 16 individual servings.  If you’ve absolutely, positively got to bring the opposite dish, please call a member who’s going to the Picnic in the “other” half of the alphabet and switch with them.  This is the reverse order of last year.  Everyone needs to bring their own plates, forks, napkins, wine glasses and a bottle of your best wine for everyone to share.  It would also be a good idea to bring along a jacket in case it turns cool plus a folding chair to be kept in the car unless there’s a huge turnout.  This event has been a lot of fun in the past.  Why don’t you make plans to come this year?  I know that I’ll be there, so I hope to see you then!

DIRECTIONS:  From Highway 580 East take the fairly new Isabel/Highway 84 Exit and drive South.  After 5 miles or so, turn left at the traffic signal at Vallecitos Rd.,  After about a mile, turn right into the winery which is located at 51 East Vallecitos Rd., Livermore.  Again, the meeting will be held on Sunday, August 26, 2012 starting at around 4 p.m.


Respectfully submitted, Al Turner, Secretary