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December 2015 / January 2016

Our last meeting was held at the home of relatively new members, Doug and Mary Cefali in Pleasant Hill.  It was our annual Nouveau Night and the Cefali’s home worked out extremely well for the new wine tasting(s).  The hors d’oeuvres were great and the 45 people or so in attendance had a great time.  Thank you so much Doug and Mary for putting up with this rowdy bunch of wine samplers.

     There were 10 White Wine Nouveaus and 29 Red Wine Nouveaus to be evaluated during the evening.  The winners for the evening were as follows:

                                      White Wine Winners

3rd Place           Paul & Teresa Merrill                   Viognier

2nd Place           John & Eloise Pound                     Primitivo Rose

1st Place           John & Eloise Pound                     Viognier

                                         Red Wine Winners

3rd Place           Tom Olson                                   Cabernet Sauvignon

2nd Place            Paul & Teresa Merrill                 Cabernet Sauvignon                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

1st Place             Doug & Mary Cefali                   Petite Sirah

     Amazingly, all ten White wine entries received at least 5 points!  All but two of the Red wine entries received votes.  That, to me, just shows how far this club has come in their winemaking efforts.  We’re the 2015 WineMaker Magazine Club of the Year and we deserve it.  Congratulations to all of these winners.  Certificates “suitable for framing” will be presented at the Potluck Dinner on Saturday, January 23, 2016.


     In preparation for our next meeting, and to help out our new members, I’m going to lay out some of the criteria and rules that are in place for that meeting.  In order to enter a wine in the judging, you must be a member in good standing and have at least 5 bottles of each entry available.  If you’re planning on attending the Potluck Dinner, two of your bottles need to get “to the church on time.”  More on that in a bit.  If you cannot attend, three of those bottles need to be there.  First Place category winners attending the dinner will be telephoned, congratulated, and asked to bring a third bottle with them when they show up for the dinner.  The reason for this is that wines that have a temporary Blue Ribbon hanging on them somehow seem to get drunk first.  Go figure.  Those same First Place winners then have to bring two bottles of their wine, along with a one page summary of how their wine was made, to either the February 26, 2016 Awards Meeting or the March 25, 2016 Awards Meeting.

     The “committee” that determines the judging categories needs some time to make that determination after we know what all of the entries are.  So, as in recent years, your wine entries need to be delivered to one of three homes no later than 8:00 p.m. Monday, January 18, 2016 (Martin Luther King Day).  The Entry Fee this year will again be $10.00 per entry (not bottle).  Our Treasurer wants to avoid Cash for better record keeping and accountability so please make out a check to “Contra Costa Wine Group” and bring it to the drop off home with your entry(ies).  The only wines that cannot be entered into this competition are those that took a First Place ribbon at any previous judging.  Those receiving a previous 2nd, 3rd, or Honorable Mention award may go ahead and enter their wines again.  I would encourage everyone to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to have your wines evaluated by a distinguished panel of professional wine tasters.  Their very worthwhile notes will be compiled and made available at the February 26, 2016 Awards Meeting.

     Definitely call ahead!  Vacations, etc.  The three wine drop off homes are as follows:

North/Central Contra Costa County:  Ron Peck, 1662 Garnet Lane, Concord, CA 94519.  His telephone is (925) 685-1172.

West Bonneau Dickson, 2428 McGee Ave., Berkeley, CA.  His telephone is: (510) 845-8625.

South Contra Costa County:  Al & Michele Turner, 3776 Norris Canyon Rd., San Ramon, CA.  Our telephone is (925) 837-9384.

     Your wine label must have (at a minimum): Winemaker(s) Names; Vintage Year or Non-Vintage; Varietal Name(s) and percentages if a blended wine.  These percentages can be put on a piece of masking tape and attached to the bottle to maintain the integrity of your custom designed labels.  (Same for Winemaker(s) names if you have a winery name on your label.)  It would also be nice if the Appellation is on the label but is not required.  We will use a California appellation if none if present.  You must remove all capsules (tin or plastic) in advance.


     The 38th Annual Contra Costa Wine Group Professional Wine Judging and Potluck Dinner will be held on Saturday, January 23, 2016. 

SCHEDULE:  Doors of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall will be opened at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 23, 2016.   Judging will start at approximately 10:00 a.m.  The “Tasting Hour” starts at 6:00 p.m. (please no Early Bird sampling).  Appetizers need to arrive NLT 6:15 p.m. and placed on either Center Table #2 or Center Table #4.  Dinner will start at 7:30 p.m.

     This year, Sophia Kirtley has graciously offered to serve as our Potluck Dinner Coordinator.  You need to call herto let her know what you’d like to bring to the Potluck (Appetizers, Salads or Entrees) and the number of people attending.  I’d like everyone to bring 12 servings of food for each membership attending and another 12 servings if you intend on bringing 2 guests (the maximum allowed) for a total of 24 servings.   Guests are very welcome.  Again, only two persons per membership please.  Warning - If you wait too long to call her, she’ll TELL YOU what to bring!  We are aiming for approximately 40% Hors D’oeuvres (again, delivered to the Parish Hall NLT 6:15 p.m.); 40% Entrees and 20% Salads.  Give her a call soon at (925) 682-6828.  We are also limited to the first 120 people that call her.  That’s when we’re FULL.

          Plan on bringing your own place settings, silverware, wine glass, napkins, etc. to the dinner.  If you forget, there will be a minimal amount of plastic ware, paper plates and paper napkins available. The church also has a few crappy little wine glasses for your use.  Don’t forget about your guests!

     I continue to ask that everyone is made aware of “wine tasting etiquette” (that is woefully not adhered to by many people in wineries across America).  This quote is from Rosenblum Cellars and I find it especially apropos: “Be courteous to others who wish to taste.  After receiving your pour, please step back from the tasting table to do your personal evaluation.  Others can then step forward to receive a sample of the wine.”   Please be sure to inform your guests as well.  You don’t want to get yelled at, do you?

     Nicely, again this year we do not have to stack all of the tables and chairs or mop the floor.  Hooray!  People may leave the facility whenever they wish, but clearing of the tables after the Potluck Dinner shouldn’t start until 9:30 p.m. or so.  This is a social event for the membership and many members haven’t seen each other since the previous year.  The psychology of starting tear-down causes everyone to immediately start putting things away and making urgent plans to leave.


 DIRECTIONS:  From Northern 680, take the North Main St. exit.  EXIT 47 toward Walnut Creek.  Take the North Main St. SOUTH ramp.  Merge onto N. Main St. and go about 0.4 mi.  Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto N. CALIFORNIA BLVD. and go about 0.6 mi.  Turn RIGHT onto TRINITY AVE. for 0.2 mi. and the parking lot will be on your left.

From Southern Highway 680, take the OLYMPIC BLVD. exit.  EXIT 45B and turn right onto Olympic Blvd.  After about 0.4 mi. turn left onto S. CALIFORNIA BLVD.  After about 0.2 mi. turn left onto TRINITY AVE. for 0.2 mi. and the parking lot will be on the left.


No perfumes or colognes should be worn during the wine judging.  It interferes with noses!

Here is a refresher listing of Volunteers and their tasks for the day:

 Task                             Volunteer                                            Time Commitment

Computer Support               Brown, Wines, Kirtley                                 All day

Gopher (Go for this, etc.)    Tom Olson                                                    8 a.m. until Noon

Temp. Ribbon Placement     Al Turner    On all winning bottles + Pour Spouts on 1st Place winners as the categories are completed

(Reminder: These are only Temporary Ribbons and are not to be taken home!)

Glass Washers (1st Shift)    Walkinshaw, Warriner, Bill Rose                  10:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Glass Washers (2nd Shift)   Albrecht, Etzel, Pounds, Sabels                   1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Wine Pourers & Distrib.      Merrills, Bequette, Felton                   9:30 a.m. to end of judging

Lunch Runner                      Wayne Weible                                          Deliver by 11:30 a.m.

Dinner Setup                      Buchanan, Mortensen, Abbanats, Podrid            4:30 to 6 p.m.

Table Decorations               Bette Felton                                                    5:00 to 6 p.m.

Judge Gift Baskets             Sharon Orton                                  NLT 3:30 p.m. 1/23/16

Ribbons, Plaques, etc.          Donna Guedon                                  NLT 2/27/2015 Meeting

Table Cleanup & Removal     Everybody!                                        Start No Earlier than 9:30 p.m.

Of CCWG owned items

     As you can see, we need more Wine Pourers and Distributors.  Four people is just not enough. Even an hour here and an hour there will be of great help.   Please give me a call if you’re willing to assist your group.  Starting about January 13, 2016, I will be making calls to CCWG members appointing them into positions of need.  Please call me before I have to resort to that.


     We are still in need of two members to serve their group as part of our Program Committee.  That committee is given a $75.00 stipend twice for the group to meet at a restaurant of their choice for wine and hors d’oeuvres to come up with speakers/subjects etc. for 5 meetings of the CCWG to be held in 2016 that require a program.  Please give me a call at your earliest convenience.

Sorry for the lengthy tirade.  There’s a lot of info to get out.  Please step up and help your club.  Happy Holidays to you all.  This newsletter is respectfully submitted,

Al Turner, Secretary, Contra Costa Wine Group