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August 2015 Contra Costa Wine Group Newsletter
The 2015 WineMaker Magazine Club of the Year!


     The last meeting of the CCWG was held at the home of Dan and Marianne Boykin in Concord.  They had to put up with around 50 people showing up for the “Regular” meeting.  That is, by far, the highest turnout for a July meeting in my memory of the CCWG.  Typically July is all about vacations and conflicts.  I’d like to especially thank Dan and Marianne for hosting a very successful meeting and laying out a great spread of hors d’oeuvres.  Their patio was overflowing for the event.  Thankfully, also, was the fact that it was a wonderful evening, not like the previous meeting held at the Boykin’s when it was a real “cooker.”

     Maria Terry, assisted by Tom Olson made a truly memorable presentation on “Food and Wine Pairings” using various crackers and very nice cheeses.  The White wine (Chardonnay) was donated by Bill English and was paired with a Triple Cream Brie with Wild Mushrooms.  The Red wine (a Cab & Syrah Blend) was donated by Donna Guedon and was paired with Manchego and Quince paste.  The Dessert wine (Syrah Port) was donated by our host, Dan Boykin, and was paired with a Blue Cheese, Original Point Reyes Blue.  Maria provided a very nice handout that included several alternative cheese suggestions for the wines that were poured.   It also included other wine ideas for the cheeses that were served.  All in all, this was a very enjoyable program for which we truly thank Maria Terry whose support of the Contra Costa Wine Group has been fantastic and will, I’m sure, continue in the years to come. 

     The current Officers of the Contra Costa Wine Group have conferred and came to a meeting of the minds over the amount for next year’s dues.  Due primarily to the status of our “Treasury” (Good), our recommendation is that the dues remain exactly the same as they have been for at least the last two years.  So, for the 2015-2016 CCWG Year, the dues will be $65.00 per membership.  At the current time, we are “maxed out” at 85 memberships (actually 86 but I know that the Hardy’s are gone, having accepted employment in Oklahoma).  You may bring your check (Made out to “Contra Costa Wine Group” and No Cash for easier accounting) to the next meeting or the one after that on September 25th.  Our Delinquency Date is September 30th.   To avoid the late penalty, we must have your check in our possession by that date.  You may also mail a check made out to “Contra Costa Wine Group” for $65.00 to our Treasurer, Mr. Lee Wines, 1105 West K St., Benicia, CA 94510. 

  Speaking of our meeting site needs for the next year, I’m listing the dates and our requirements:

Sat., January 23, 2016      38th Annual Judging                             St. Paul’s Episcopal      Walnut Creek

Fri., February 26, 2016     Awards-Red Wines-Large Home                                                                                                             

Fri., March 25, 2016         Awards-White/Dessert Lg.Home                                                                                                 

Fri., April 29, 2016             Regular Meeting                                                                                                                           

Fri., May 20, 2016              Regular Meeting                    To avoid Memorial Day weekend                                                                                                                      

Fri., June 24, 2016              Regular Meeting                                                                                                                               

Fri., July 29, 2016                Regular Meeting                                                                                                                     

Fri., Sept. 30, 2016             Regular Meeting                                                                                                                          

Fri., Oct. 21, 2016              Regular Meeting                    To avoid Halloween party conflicts                                                                                                      

Fri. Dec. 2, 2016                 Nouveau Night-Lg.Home   To avoid Thanksgiving & Christmas

     Our August, 2016 function will be held on a Saturday or Sunday-Date & Site TBD 

     I’ll have the sign-up list above at the next gathering for people to volunteer their homes but, if you want to avoid the rush, call me ASAP at (925) 837-9384.  The CCWG reimburses our hosts $100.00 for a “Regular” meeting and $150.00 for the three meetings requiring a larger home.  Please avoid the “rush” and call me!  Step up and support your club.  Thank you.

     I had a call today from Mike Orton, CCWG Member and owner of The Valley Vintner in Livermore.  He told me that the Garre Winery in Livermore was “taking over” the Thomas Coyne “policy” of selling their grapes to home winemakers.  I don’t have any more information on that except for their telephone number.  That number is (925) 371-8200.                                                                               

     CCWG Member, Gerard Davidson, happens to work at Fenestra Winery in Livermore.  He sent me the following information about our group having our August “outing” at the winery:

     Yes, we can do Saturday, August 29th.   I will be taking the lead and will set up tables on the backside lawn.  I can lead a few tours, etc.   I may need a little help with clean up later.

     I will figure out several Estate Wines for tasting outside. Members can go to the Tasting Room in Small groups of 4-6 at a time to sample other wines.  It will be important that the Tasting Room doesn't get overrun.  We will be outside, and the Tasting Room closes at 5pmbut we will have Sales available until about 6pm We will have a good standard Inner Winery Discount available for member's wine purchases.

     I am working on having the winemaker, Aaron, on hand (but he maybe too busy with crush).  Aaron started at Fenestra two years ago as the Enologist and then took over as winemaker.  If we get lucky maybe Lanny Replogle can visit. That also depends. So no promises.        


     I am sure the members will appreciate the unusual varietals and the amazing prices - It will be important to note and mention that most of the current Fenestra wines were made by CCWG Professional Wine Judge Brent Amos (now working at Las Positas Cellars).

     I tasted a couple of the Fenestra wines that Gerard brought to the Boykin’s home.  They were absolutely outstanding!  I’m attaching the Fenestra price list as a “pdf” to this newsletter  (You’ll have to go to “View” and Rotate it clockwise to see properly).  Again, this event will be held on Saturday, August 29, 2015 from about 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. or so. 

INSTRUCTIONS:  At this event, after many years of “tweaking,” we have decided that it will be a potluck of sorts, but with only Hors D’oeuvres and Desserts being brought by the attendees.  Also, based on experience, we need more Hors D’oeuvres than Desserts.  Therefore, the letters A-J of the membership are to bring Desserts, enough for about 12-16 servings.  The letters K-Z of the membership are to bring Hors D’oeuvres, enough for about 12-16 servings.  If you want to bring the opposite of what you see above, you must call someone who is also going to the event, in the other part of the alphabet, and switch with them.  Let’s try to not have too many “store bought” items for this event.  Sorry.  Everyone is to bring a bottle of their wine, a wine glass for everyone, a folding chair and a jacket as it is unknown what the weather will be like.

     Those attending are highly encouragedto purchase wine while we’re enjoying the facilities at the Fenestra Winery.  I would encourage everyone to try and come.  This is usually a very well attended “off-site” gathering.

DIRECTIONS:  From Highway 580 heading to Stockton, take the Isabel Avenue exit and turn right, heading South.  After passing Campo di Bocce that will be on your left, the next signal will be Vallecitos Road.  Be careful as it really sneaks up on you and is poorly marked.  After making the left turn onto Vallecitos, the Fenestra Winery will be only about ΒΌ of a mile ahead on your left. 

I hope that LOTs of you can make it to this event.

This newsletter is thereby respectfully submitted.

Al Turner, Secretary, Contra Costa Wine Group