2010 picnic photo

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  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 6, 2013 at the home of Pat & Tyler Hunt in Lafayette.  It was a rainy night (hard to believe) but the meeting was still well supported with about 40 people in attendance.  The hors d’oeuvres layout was wonderful and much appreciated.  Our thanks go out to the Hunt’s for hosting this event. 


          We had 8 White Wine entries and 28 Red Wine entries for this competition, down from 11 and 35 last year.  It was great fun, as usual.  The winners this year are as follows:

White Wines


3rd Place (Tie) Jeff & Jennifer Vergen                    2013 Pinot Gris

3rd Place (Tie) Bob & Charlotte Keller                      2013 Livermore Chardonnay

2nd Place       David Hicks                                        2013 Orinda Chardonnay

1st Place    Bonneau Dickson                        2013 Amador County Viognier


Red Wines


3rd Place       Donna Guedon                       2013 El Dorado County Merlot

2nd Place       Donna Guedon                       2013 El Dorado County Syrah

1st Place    David Hicks                  2013 Lake County Petite Sirah


       Congratulations to the winners listed above.  Award Certificates (suitable for framing) will be handed out during the Potluck Dinner on Saturday, January 25, 2014.


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


      Meeting Mo/Date                      Meeting Type               Host Family                  City


Friday, February 28, 2014         Awards-Red Wines              St. Paul’s Church    Walnut Creek

Friday, March 28, 2014             Awards- White/Des/Fruit  St. Paul’s Church     Walnut Creek

Friday, April 25, 2014              Regular                              Mirabito                Lafayette

Friday, May 30, 2014                Regular                               Abbanat                Oakland

Friday, June 27, 2014               Regular                              Boykin                    Concord

Friday, July 25, 2014                Regular                               Davidson                Dublin

August, 2014                              “Picnic”                                Off-site                 TBD Friday, September 26, 2014                  Regular                              Felton                   Danville Friday, October 24, 2014     Regular                          

Friday, December 5, 2014    Nouveau Night             Large Home 


          Note that no one has volunteered their “large” home for the February and March Award meetings.  We’re renting the Parish Hall at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for$120 per meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. each night.  That’s “cheaper” than the $150 stipend to the large meeting “giver” so that’s a plus, but will have to ask members to bring a small plate of hors d’oeuvres to each of those meetings.  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 36th Annual Professional Wine Judging and Potluck Dinner.   The date is Saturday, January 25, 2014.  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, Merrill                                    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) HELP!!!                                       10:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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

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

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

Dinner Setup                   Rogan, Nunns                                      4:30 to 6 p.m.

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

Dinner Coordinator           Jennifer Vergen

Deep Safety                      Bonneau Dickson                                 Whatever is required!

Judge Gift Baskets Sharon Orton                                      NLT 3:30 p.m. 1/25/14

Ribbons, Plaques, etc.       Donna Guedon                                     NLT 2/28/2014 Meeting

Table Cleanup & Removal  Everyone!                                  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 can definitely use some more help there, 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.  I’ll need all the help that I can get to load my 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 25, 2014.   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 Jennifer Vergen, 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 for a total of 24 servings.  Change for 2014:  You may bring up to 4 guests to this event!  If you do so, you’ll need to bring a dish large enough for 36 servings. Simply leave the details on Jennifer’s phone.  Guests are very welcome.  Warning-If you wait too long to call her, she’ll call you back and TELL YOU what to bring and we’re cutting off the attendance at 120 people (even if you’re a member)!  First come, first served!  Don’t dally!  Give Jennifer a call soon at (815) 719-0951.

          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 winery tasting rooms 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.  The entry fee this year is the same as last year at $10 per entry (not bottle!).  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.  Please keep in mind that First Place winners will be called to bring another bottle to the dinner and then two additional bottles will be required from those First Place winners at either the February or March Award meetings.  Don’t forget that the “Drop Dead” last day to get your wines to one of the volunteer “gatherers of wine” is Tuesday, January 21, 2014.  There will be NO EXCEPTIONS!


The drop off homes and volunteers 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. Al & Michele Turner, 3776 Norris Canyon Rd., San Ramon (925) 837-9384


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 winemaker(s).  We simply don’t know everyone’s boutique(y) 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.  The last item is that all PVC capsules and/or tin capsules must be removed!  


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 the Contra Costa Interfaith Housing charity for their ‘Red Boots-No Place Like Home” dinner that is being held shortly after our event.  You may also bring additional bottles of your wine for donating.  There will be specially designated wine boxes for those donations.


          That’s all that I have for right now.  This newsletter therefore is respectfully submitted.


          Al Turner, Secretary, Contra Costa Wine Group