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October 2015 Newsletter

This newsletter is being sent a little early this month as I felt that it was better to do it now rather than later.  Michele and I leave for New England very early Wednesday morning and won’t return home until the 18th of October, only 5 days before our next meeting on Friday, the 23rd.  So, read about the next meeting closely and mark it on your calendars as there will likely be no other warning about it.  Leaf Peepers forever!

Our last meeting was held on a beautiful evening in Alamo.  We met at the gorgeous home of Mary Jo Gordon and Pat Dowd out next to the pool below the nicely tended vineyard.  Their crusher/destemmer was prominently placed on a “pedestal” overlooking the pool.  Their harvest was scheduled for very early the next morning.  I hope that it went well.  The hors d’oeuvres were wonderful and the 40 or so people in attendance had a very nice time.  Our thanks go out to Mary Jo and Pat for hosting this meeting.

          Our speaker was CCWG member, Michael Parker who talked to us about the various grapes that he’s brokered out in the Brentwood/Oakley area as well as a little on how to become a grape broker.  There was some discussion on this years’ crops and how well things went for him this harvest season.  We truly appreciated Michael’s presentation and thank him for getting up in front and talking to those assembled.

          The Contra Costa Wine Group is still in need of several meeting locations for the coming year.  They are as follows:

                   Friday, February 26, 2016  Large Home  Awards Night for Red Wines

                   Friday, March 25, 2016  Large Home  Awards Night White/Dessert Wines

                   Friday, April 29, 2016  Regular Meeting

                   Friday, July 29, 2016   Regular Meeting

                   Friday, October 21, 2016  Regular Meeting

Hosts for the Large Home meetings are reimbursed $150.00 for hors d’oeuvres, etc. and hosts for Regular meetings are reimbursed $100.00 for their efforts.  Please step up and help out your club.  Call me at (925) 837-9384 or our beloved Wine Czar, Bonneau Dickson, at (510) 845-8625 to sign up.  Thank you all.

          As the harvest is at least “almost” completed, I feel that I should mention our Nouveau Night meeting on Friday night, December 4, 2015 at the Cefali home in Pleasant Hill.  There are no end of November or end of December CCWG meetings to avoid the Holidays so please don’t call me to ask where the meeting is and when!  Instead, we hold an event that’s lots of fun as we semi-sort-of mimic the French Nouveau wine release that is held annually on November 15th (if I remember correctly).  Their wines are solely that of Beaujolais, supposedly to help wine buyers judge the vintage.  We will sample and vote on white wines and red wines that have been made from the 2015 harvest.  No “ringers” or dessert/fruit wines please.  You might want to get some oak on your red wines and prepare to draw off a bottles’ worth for this event.  All that’s necessary on the bottle is your name and the varietal.  Masking tape works quite well.  We judge the wines “blind” and vote upon the winners.  Suitable for framing certificates will be presented at the Potluck Dinner on the evening of January 30, 2016. 

          1) I will have a sign-up sheet for volunteers at the 38th Annual CCWG Professional Wine Judging and Potluck Dinner being held on January 30, 2016.  That event would be impossible if not for volunteers!  Mark the date on your new calendars and do definitely plan on giving at least a couple of hours of your time to that event.  2) Related directly to that event is the need for drop off homes where members can take their wines prior to the event so that we can get them logged, bagged and numbered prior to the morning of the event.  I believe that I can again convince Bonneau Dickson to accept wines at his Berkeley home (West) and I’ll again accept wines at my home in San Ramon (South).  We are in need of a drop off home in Central Contra Costa County.  Give me a call if you’re willing to perform that duty or hit me up at the next meeting.  The job entails getting the wines ready for the blind judging and delivered to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Walnut Creek at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 30, 2016.  I will provide the bags, masking tape, marking pens and rosters to those people.

          Our next meeting will be held at the home of Bette and Jim Felton, high in the hills of Danville.  This will be our annual “Harvest Report” meeting.  I’ll moderate and be asking those in attendance to tell us about their 2015 grape harvest and winemaking experiences.  This year, due mainly to the continuing drought, I believe that we’ll hear a wide variety on the conditions of this years’ grapes.  It’s usually an interesting evening and one that the membership seems to enjoy.  Be there!

DIRECTIONS:  From either direction on Highway 680 in Danville, take the Diablo Road exit and turn West.  Turn left at the “T” onto Hartz Avenue, the “main” street of Danville.  Take the first right onto West Prospect Avenue.  After about ½ of a mile, turn slight right and up the hill onto Sky Terrace.  The Felton home is on the right at 6 Sky Terrace.  If you get lost with these directions, give them a call at (925) 838-8348.  Again, the next meeting will be held on Friday night, October 23, 2015 at the home of Jim and Bette Felton in Danville. The meeting will start right around 7:00 p.m. with the “formal” part of the meeting starting between 7:30- and 7:45 p.m.

Things to bring:1) A folding chair; 2) a jacket; 3) a wine glass; 4) a bottle of your best for the hors d’oeuvres table.  If you haven’t made wine yet, bring along a commercial selection that you believe the attendees might enjoy;

This newsletter is hereby respectfully submitted,

Al Turner, Secretary, Contra Costa Wine Group