Monthly Archives: January 2015

Get Involved – Host a Board Meeting

Contact President J.D. Phelps at or call/text him at 916 295-9121.

SHW’s Executive Board meets on the first Wednesday of the month and is looking for members or supporters to host the board’s evening meetings. Business is conducted for 60+ minutes starting at 6:30 PM and is followed by appetizers and wines provided by the attendees.

Volunteering to host a board meeting is a fun way to give back to the Club.  Please contact J.D. if you’re interested in hosting a board meeting this calendar year starting with March 4.


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Unified Wine and Grape Symposium Exhibit Vouchers Available

Contact Lynn Keay at SHW has a few Unified Wine and Grape Symposium Exhibit vouchers still available to SHW members for $5.  The vouchers are for the exhibit portion of the symposium, Wednesday-Thursday, January 28-29. Contact Lynn if you’re interested.

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Recipes from Greek Wines Presentation

Contact Jacque Brown at

Jacque and Craig Brown volunteered for a second year in a row as coordinators for meeting hospitality.  That means they find monthly volunteers to bring the meeting’s snacks, and help set up  and clean up at the meetings.  Thanks to all who help them!

At last Wednesday’s meeting they also provide the table snacks and treated attendees to a delicious surprise of hummus, garlic feta dip, olive tapenade and toasted pita to complement the evening’s Introduction to Greek Wines presentation by Darrell Corti.

Some members have inquired and below are the recipes for the dip, tapenade and pita. The hummus was store-bought.

Thanks to Jacque and Craig for kicking up the meeting’s nibbles.  And thanking in advance those members who signed up to help with this year’s meeting hospitality.  If you missed the sign-up sheet and would like to participate, please email Jacque.

Garlic Feta Dip

Combine 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 2 cloves peeled garlic into the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly until smooth.  Season with salt and freshly grated ground pepper to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon of each) before serving.


Grate 2 cloves peeled garlic and combine in a food processor bowl with 3 cups pitted Kalamata or green olives, 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar.  Process until smooth; paste will be slightly granular.

 Toasted Pita Chips

Preheat oven to 375º F.  Cut pita bread into quarters and then cut each quarter in half for a total of 8 triangles.  Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake until crisp, turning once, about 5 minutes on each side.

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January 21, 2015 Meeting Recap

Jan 21 15 Greek WinesThe Club’s January guest speaker, Darrell Corti, shared an evening with us filled with Greek wine, history and geography.  Over 100 members and guests listened intently as Darrell talked about adapting to change:  viticulture and vinification of vines and wines, old vs. new techniques, location is key to thriving vines and selling wine, and looking ahead at California’s trending climate change and planning for it.

Darrell shared about the Santorini tomato.  Grown with very little water, the tomato is intensely flavored.  Check out Corti Brothers Market’s Holiday 2014 newsletter for more interesting reads about the tomato and other Greek food specialities, including the Monemvalsia wine that Darrell also mentioned.  If you weren’t hungry before reading Corti Brothers newsletters, you will be before you finish.

Four Greek wines were poured at the meeting:  the first 3 were whites and the last a red.  The second and fourth wines were from the same winery.  The wines can be found at Corti Brothers and are priced $16 – 24/bottle.   In pouring order:

Hatzidakis   2012   Santorini

Domaine Spiropoulos   2012   Mantinia

Hatzidakis   2009   Nyxtepi

Foundi   2006   Xinomayro

Here’s a label shot 0f the first wine:

Wine Label


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The Grapevine – January 2015

Contact J.D. Phelps, for meeting information and Gin Yang, for membership.

Here’s the latest SHW monthly newsletter for your reading pleasure.   This issue is packed with lots of info:  details on upcoming monthly meetings; thoughts from the Club’s 2015 President J.D. Phelps for you to help SHW deliver the best wine making education; and invaluable wine geek links and calculator.

If you’re planning to bring your 2014 white and rosé wines for the February 2015 meeting, and bottling with SO2, please do so very soon so to allow the SO2 to settle (this way we can taste your delicious wines).  Please provide two 750ml bottles of each wine for evaluation.

The January 21 general meeting features Darrell Corti sharing the evening with us on Greek wines.  The meeting starts at 7pm, upstairs at the Turn Verein located at 3349 J Street, Sacramento.

Grapevine January 2015

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January 21, 2015 Meeting – Darrell Corti: Introduction to Greek Wines

Darrell Corti, former SHW member and long-time Club supporter, returns this month to kick off 2015 with an Introduction to Greek Wines.  Darrell will also bring samples of Greek wines for us to taste through the evening.  Please bring 2 wine glasses for your own use.

If you had a wine(s) previously evaluated by Darrell and he asked you to bring them back at a later time, this is the time.  Please bring two 750ml bottles to share and contact JD Phelps at if you would like to have Darrell taste and discuss your wine(s) again.

There is no charge for SHW members and a $15 fee for non-members for the January meeting.  If you haven’t already renewed your 2015 dues or would like to join, please complete the 2015 membership form and remit with dues at the meeting.

The meeting starts at 7PM upstairs at the Turn Verein located at 3349 J Street in midtown Sacramento.  Thanks for helping set-up before the meeting, cleaning up afterwards, and consuming responsibly.

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South African Date Squares Recipe

The November 2014 SHW meeting featured member Barbara Bentley who shared highlights of her and Rex Johnston’s recent trip to South Africa.  They snapped scenic photos, shared adventures, and shipped back wine for us to taste.  Sweetly closing Barbara’s detailed presentation was a dessert wine made with marula that was accompanied by South African Date Squares.

SHW member Vickie Rosalli made those rich and chewy cookie bars.  Many of us asked for the recipe and Vickie offers it here.

The original recipe is published on the United Kingdom’s All Recipes website.  As we know, most US home kitchen recipes are in imperial-based quantities vs. the majority of the world’s metric-based quantities.  In adapting the recipe, Vicki meticulously converted the original quantities to imperial measurements.

Additionally, she interpreted and made minor adjustments in the ingredients so that we can make these cookies stateside.

Vickie offers hints for substituting easily available ingredients.  She writes:

“…recipes from other countries are always interesting.  Many of the recipes on this all recipes site have a link from the unfamiliar ingredients to a source to purchase them-that is how I knew what “Rich Tea Biscuits” were.  One brand is McVitie’s Rich Tea Biscuits that I could buy at Cost Plus!

… the tea biscuit package I found was 500 grams not 300 grams, so I used about 2/3 of the package.  Otherwise the proportions with the other ingredients aren’t correct.

…Desiccated coconut is a fine, usually unsweetened coconut, but I just used regular sweetened shredded coconut.”

Vickie Rosalli’s South African Date Squares

300 grams crushed tea biscuits (about 2/3 of a 500 gram package)

Generous 3 1/3 cups chopped dates

14 Tablespoons butter (1 cup minus 2 Tablespoons)

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup shredded coconut

Crumble the tea biscuits (put in a zip lock bag, then crush with a rolling pin, leave them a little chunky).  Mix together the tea biscuits and chopped dates in a big bowl.

Cook the butter and sugar together until it reaches 240° F, about 10 minutes (Vicki notes: because the regular white sugar likely does not dissolve as quickly as the caster sugar and I thought the mixture would be very grainy unless I cooked it).

Cool cooked mixture a while (not too long or the mixture will get too solid to mix with the dates and tea biscuits), then add a little of the cooked mixture to the beaten egg, mix it quickly so the egg does not cook, then added the egg mixture into the rest of the sugar/butter mixture. Add vanilla extract and beat until mixed well.

Pour mixture into the bowl of tea biscuit/dates and mix well together. Press the mixture into a buttered 9” x 13” pan and press the coconut into top.  The Date Squares can be eaten immediately but are more solid after several hours or even overnight.

Note:  while the egg is tempered into the hot butter and sugar mixture, the egg is not thoroughly cooked.

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