Monthly Archives: April 2018

Winkler Dinner – Support UCD’s V&E Student Clubs

The Winkler Dinner is the Davis Enology and Viticulture Organization’s (DEVO) only annual fundraiser with proceeds supporting student clubs within UC Davis’ Department of Viticulture and Enology.  The five-course dinner with wine pairings is on Saturday, May 19, outdoors in the Robert Mondavi Institutes’ Good Life Garden.  Each course is prepared by different chefs.  Click here to see previous year’s photos and  purchase tickets.


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Group Buy – Sangiovese, Bray Vineyards

Thad Rodgers has reserved 2 tons of Sangiovese from Bray Vineyards in Plymouth (Amador County) and  is looking for buyers to participate in a group buy.  Grapes are $0.90 per lb transported to a crush pad in Granite Bay.

Interested?  Contact Thad Rodgers at 916 715-3688 or


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Group Buy – Portuguese Varieties for Port-Style Wine

SHW member Thad Rodgers is coordinating a group buy of Portuguese port varieties from St. Jorge Winery in Acampo. St. Jorge grows several Portuguese wine grapes commonly used in port-style wines including touriga, tinta cao, tinta roriz, trincaderia, and souzao.

The varieties mentioned previously are 65 cents per lb except for the touriga which is 85 cents a lb.  Price per pound includes transportation to a crush pad yet to be identified.  We are hoping that all five grape varieties mentioned can be harvested at the same time.   SHW members only, please.

While this is not a focus group St. Jorge’s owner and wine maker Vern Vierra will be leading a vineyard walk tentatively scheduled for Saturday, May 12.  Vern will talk about his family’s winery and the Portuguese-centric varieties grown in his vineyards.  Afterwards, we’ll have a chance to taste St. Jorge’s ports.  

Whether you’re a seasoned port maker or that learning to make port is on your bucket list, this is an opportunity to access a variety of Portuguese grapes to create your own blend.  

If interested, please contact Thad Rodgers at 916 715-3688 or



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Malbec Focus Group

Malbec Focus Group – Facilitated by Donna Bettencourt and Sonia Baron

What is a focus group, you ask? A Focus Group is an intentional learning community around a particular wine varietal or technique. For instance, this is NOT a group buy which is an opportunity to buy large amounts of grapes with your fellow members in order to source quality grapes.

In this focus group, we will be studying Malbec. Each person who signs up must commit to attending the two focus group learning experiences, and commit to purchasing anywhere from 125 lbs to 300 lbs of Malbec grapes. Our grapes will be sourced from Sonia and Carol’s vineyard located within the Fair Play AVA in Somerset, El Dorado County. The price is $1650 per ton and the probable harvest date is September 9-10.

Preharvest, the focus group will have required readings provided by Donna, a pre-harvest Malbec tasting opportunity and a field trip to the vineyard where we will have lunch and barrel taste Sonia’s 2017 Malbec from her vineyard.  We will all meet at the vineyard for harvest; crusher will be available. After harvest, Donna will facilitate sharing of winemaking challenges and choices. Finally, we will all come together to taste each other’s wine next year.

If you are interested, please contact Donna Bettencourt at  Space is limited as we are limited to only one ton of grapes.

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April 18 Meeting – Corks + Closures, SHW Jubilee Wine Entries, El Dorado Contest

Phil Durrett, with ACIC  Cork and Closures, is this Wednesday’s guest speaker. He’ll be sharing lots of information on wine corks – how they’re made and protect your wine – along with discussion on alternative wine bottle closures. Meeting starts at 7pm upstairs at the Turn Verein located at 3349 J Street in Sacramento. Bring your own wine glass and a bottle to share if you’d like.

Jubilee wine entries will be accepted at the meeting (seek out Cellar Master Joe Morgan or Thad Rodgers).  Info: 

  • Your first wine entry into the 2018 Jubilee is at no cost, thanks to successful fundraising efforts.  Entries after that are $8 per. 
  • Enter with 1 bottle of 750 ml wine, completed entry info, and fees. 
  • Last day to enter is May 16 (entries will also be accepted at May 16 meeting).
  • Competition is open to current members only.  2018 membership form can be found here.
  • Find Jubilee competition details here and on right side of SHW’s website home page. 
  • This year’s Jubilee is the weekend of June 9-10.  The wine competition is on Saturday, June 9, and the Picnic – Awards cermony is on Sunday, June 10.  Picnic info and reservation forms are in the April 2018 The Grapevine.

On behalf of the El Dorado Home Wine Makers Association, Chief Judge Donna Bettencourt will also be accepting entries for the El Dorado County Fair’s Home Wine Competition.  Information on that competition can be found here.



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California State Fair 2018 Home Wine Competition Results

The California State Fair Home Wine Competition, this year with almost 850 entries, is one of the most fierce in the state.  SHW is a big part of the competition: pre-competition cellar management; involved in all aspects on competition day; and being a part of the post-competition awards cermony. 

Congratulations to all!

Check out the results here.

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For Sale: Winemaking Equipment

Winemaking equipment for sale:  

Three 5 – Gallon Carboy Better Bottles: $15.00 each

One 10 – Gallon white food grade bin with lid: $20.00

One 20 – Gallon white food grade bin with lid: $30.00

One 8.3 – Gallon neutral French Oak barrel: $50.00

Two cases used green 750 ml. wine bottles Free

Call Joy Smathers at 916 790-0927. Located in S. Natomas


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Group Buys for Harvest 2018

Spring is here and the growing season is well underway which means harvest is just around the corner. As you know, there is strength and buying power in numbers. If you don’t meet a growers minimum weight or you’d like to make a particular varietal but don’t have a source, Group Buys are a great way to go! We are actively looking for group leaders. Group leaders will be the point of contact (POC) for the group buy and the grower and be responsible for pricing and communication with the grower as it relates to payment, pick dates and other terms of the transaction. HW members David Ichikawa and Jerry Roark have volunteered to facilitate group buys. Contact David at and Jerry at for Group Buy Information.

To view potential group buy grapes available, click Group Buy Master List.

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The Grapevine – April 2018

SHW’s been busy! Check out the April 2018 The Grapevine to see what the Club’s been up to.

The Jubilee, SHW’s club-only wine competition is on Saturday, June 9 followed by the picnic and awards ceremony on Sunday, June 10. Thanks to generous supporters at Club fundraisers and the careful management of the Club’s budget, the first wine entry for each membership is at no cost and additional entries are only $8 each.

The Cellar Master will start accepting entries at the April 18 meeting. Competition rules and registration can be found here.

Also look for the picnic and awards ceremony information, with reservation form in the newsletter.

2018 Jubilee Rules and Classifications

Jubilee Registration Form



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Technical Help Needed: Wine Competition Software in MS Access

The SHW Jubilee database, in MS Access, is in need of updates and we’re hoping a SHW member can help make it better meet the Club’s wine competition needs. If you’re even mildly conversant in Access, we need your help! Please contact Jubilee Data Guru Bill Staehlin at bill.staehlin@sbcglobal or call / text 916 216-1753.


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