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January 2013 Contra Costa Wine Group Newsletter


          Happy New Year everyone!  I hope that your holiday season was good for you and your families.  The Turner’s made it till midnight but the rush to bed soon after was a sight to see.


          Our last meeting was our Nouveau Night, held on Friday night December 7, 2012 at the home of Marv & Carolyn Schick.  As Carolyn is still recuperating from foot surgery, members were asked to bring along a plate of hors d’oeuvres.  That worked out well and a very nice selection was available.  Our thanks go out to the Schick’s for hosting this event. 


          We had 11 White Wine entries and 35 Red Wine entries for this competition.  There were right around 50 people in attendance at this meeting.  It was great fun, as usual.  The winners this year are as follows:

White Wines


3rd Place       Paul & Teresa Merrill                          2012 Sauvignon Blanc

2nd Place       David Hicks                                        2012 Viognier

1st Place      Mike & Sharon Orton                      2012 Viognier


Red Wines


3rd Place       Mike & Sharon Orton            2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

2nd Place       David Hicks                          2012 Sangiovese

1st Place      Donna Guedon                   2012 Petite Sirah


       Congratulations to the winners listed above.  Award Certificates (suitable for framing) will be handed out by Bonneau during the Potluck Dinner on Saturday, January 26, 2013.


          Here is a rendering of the CCWG meeting schedule for the remainder of the year:


      Meeting Mo/Date                      Meeting Type                      Host Family           City


Saturday, February 23, 2013     Awards-White/Des/Fruit           Orton              Livermore

Friday, March 22, 2013              Awards-Red Wines                  Tedmus            Pleasant Hill

Friday, April 26, 2013                Regular                                     Perera             Martinez

Friday, May 31, 2013                Regular                                     Mirabito         Lafayette

Friday, June 28, 2013               Regular                                     Koch               Alamo

Friday, July 26, 2013              Regular                                                     

August, 2013                             “Picnic”                                     Off-site           ????     

Friday, September 27, 2013      Regular                                    Walkinshaw      Walnut Creek Friday, October 25, 2013                   Regular                                     Regular                                     Felton              Danville

Friday, December 6, 2013    Nouveau Night


          Please mark your calendars for those dates.  Then, please seriously consider volunteering your home for the 2 meetings for which we have no host.  CALL ME!


          Our next meeting is the highlight of our year.  It will be the Contra Costa Wine Group’s 35th Annual Professional Wine Judging and Potluck Dinner.   The date is Saturday, January 26, 2013.  The venue is St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall located at 1924 Trinity Avenue in Walnut Creek.


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


          Task                             Volunteer                                            Time Commitment

Computer Support               Brown, Maas                                         All day

Gopher (Go for this, etc.)    Donna Guedon                                      8 a.m. until Noon

Temp. Ribbon Placement     Lee Wines    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)    Beaman, Ormonde                                  10:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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

Wine Pourers & Distrib.      Merrill’s, Hunt, Wines, Bequette                9:30 a.m. to end of judging

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

Dinner Setup                      Koch’s, Homen, Schoenfeld                     4:30 to 6 p.m.

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

Judge Gift Baskets Sharon Orton                                                       NLT 3:30 p.m. 1/26/13

Ribbons, Plaques, etc.       Donna Guedon (Trained by Ken Muehring) NLT 2/23/2013 Meeting

Table Cleanup & Removal  J & J Walkinshaw, Bob Bogardus             Start No Earlier than 9:30 p.m.

Of CCWG owned items


          In order for this to be a successful event, we can use all of the volunteers that we can get.  Walk-ins are gratefully welcome!  No dishpan hands for glass washers, so we could use some more, plus Jim & Bette Felton could use a hand decorating the tables.  We can always use more people as Wine Pourers.  At 9:30 p.m. or so, absolutely more people are needed to help clear the tables.  Bonneau also needs all the help that he can get to load his vehicle with CCWG owned items after the dinner.

          Nicely, again this year we do not have to stack all of the tables and chairs and 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.


SCHEDULE:  Doors of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall will be opened at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 26, 2013.   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.


          Please check and clear your schedules and call gracious volunteer and former CCWG President, Josie Fike, to 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.  Simply leave the details on her answering machine.  Guests are very welcome.  Again, only two persons per membership please.  Warning-If you wait too long to call her, she’ll call you back and TELL YOU what to bring.  Give her a call soon at (925) 942-0452.

          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 and paper plates available.  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.


             It would be really appreciated if you could get your wine entries dropped off soon.  We’re anticipating a lot more unusual blends this year.  John Kirtley will be helping us out from New York via Email in arriving at the categories.  The entry fee this year is the same as last year at $10 per entry.  Have a check made out to “CCWG” for the person accepting your wine entries.  For easier accounting, our Treasurer, Lee Wines, insists upon a written check, no cash.  If you’re coming to the dinner, we need two bottles per entry and if you can’t make the dinner, we need three bottles per entry.  Don’t forget that the “Drop Dead” last day to get your wines to one of the volunteer “gatherers of wine” is Tuesday, January 22, 2013.  There will be NO EXCEPTIONS!


The drop off homes and volunteer are as follows (Please call ahead):


  1. Bonneau Dickson, 2428 McGee Ave., Berkeley (510) 845-8625.
  2. Donna Guedon, 85 Collins Dr., Pleasant Hill (650) 888-0444
  3. Mike & Ann Koch, 215 Pebble Ct., Alamo (925) 552-7827


If your wine label inadequately describes your wine, and is unclear (redundant?), you will be asked to complete an Address Label with the pertinent information on it, on the spot!  We especially need to know the percentages of each grape in your blends.  Another requirement is the Appellation and Vintage (or non-vintage) of your wine.  Vineyard designations are very nice to know but will not be a requirement.  We also need the name(s) of the winemakers.  We simply don’t know everyone’s boutique winery name!  I believe that the more information that we provide to our fellow members on where your grapes came from, the better their decision-making in grape buying will be in future years. 


I have all 10 judges lined up for the judging on the 26th.     Those judges are:


1) Long time CCWG Honorary member and former wine judge, Tom Coyne of the Thomas Coyne Winery in Livermore

2) Maria Terry, former wine judge, Certified Sommelier, owner of La Sommelierre in Pleasant Hill

3) Jennifer Scott, former wine judge, Luxury Brand Manager for California with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

4) Dave Everett, CCWG Honorary member and former wine judge, Professor of Viticulture and Winery Technology at Las Positas College in Livermore

          5) Brent Amos, former wine judge, Head Winemaker at Fenestra Winery in Livermore.

          6) Lance Bellamy, former judge, Catering Manager at “Prima Ristorante e Negozio di Vini” in Walnut Creek.

          7) Charlie Kidd, former judge, Head Winemaker at Las Positas Cellars in Livermore.

          8) Collin Cranor, former judge, Head Winemaker at Nottingham Cellars in Livermore.

          9) Phil Long, new (for us) judge, Owner/Head Winemaker at Longevity Cellars in Livermore.

         10) John Bristow, DDS, new (for us) judge, U.C. Davis Enology graduate and long time home winemaker in Benicia.  There are over 30 partners in John’s winemaking group. Recommended to us by our beloved Treasurer, Lee Wines.


LOCATION:  St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 1924 Trinity Avenue in Walnut Creek.  There is a very large parking lot available for our use right across the street.


          DIRECTIONS:  From Northern Highway 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.


          Please note that any unopened bottles of wine remaining after the dinner will be donated to Rupert Perera’s charity function that is being held shortly after our dinner.


          That’s all that I have for right now.  I’m very sorry to say (again) that I won’t be at this years’ judging.  Due to some very poor communication skills on my part, I find that I’m leaving for a timeshare in Loreto, Baja California the very morning of the judging.  This newsletter therefore is respectfully submitted.


          Al Turner, Secretary, Contra Costa Wine Group