Category Archives: Winemaker Articles

Cold-Hardy Grapes in Central Oregon

SHW members Grant and Yoka Koch recently relocated from Loomis to Oregon’s Rogue River Valley. Grant writes:

“This is an article about a winery in central Oregon, Faith Hope & Charity, (named after the three sisters volcanoes), … it is a beautiful area and a fun place to visit so if anyone is planning to go to central Oregon, they should put it on their list. It’s close to the Bend and Sun River area. As soon as the next wines are available I will snag a few bottles and bring them on my next trip to California for the club to taste.”

Here’s the link to the article Grant refers to about Oregon wineries producing wines from cold-hardy varieties.

We await Grant’s visit!

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Bob Peak’s September 20, 2017 Fermentation Presentation

Wow!  What a fun night exploring and tasting some of the many foods and beverages created by fermentation!  

Some of you have asked for Bob Peak’s PowerPoint presentation.  Bob’s generously shared it with SHW.  The presentation it can be found on the bottom of the  Mentors and Speaker Resources page under the Member Resources tab on this website.

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Sacramento Bee Highlights Home Wine Making and SHW

At this year’s SHW’s Winemaking 101 workshop on July 22, Carolyn Wilke, Scacramento Bee’s science reporter, stayed cool as she busily interviewed the WM 101 crew, simultaneously asking questions and writing responses in her notebook.  The result is a well-rounded piece on the multi-faceted aspects of home winemaking – part science, part technical support, and all social.

The Bee published the print version (partial article) in their August 2, 2017 issue.  The full version can be viewed on-line.  Both are accompanied with the Bee’s photos of WM 101 hosts Ron and Kathy Loder in their vineyard and winery.



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Rick Kushman Talks SHW on NPR Cap Radio’s Insight Program

Rick Kushman, communications strategist for E&J Gallo, is a New York Times best selling author and an award winning journalist.  Rick is also the chief judge for the California State Fair commercial and home wine competitions.

His “Kushman by the Bottle” is a monthly segment heard on NPR / Cap Radio’s Insight hosted by Beth Ruyak.  Rick’s June 15, 2016 segment, in addition to other wine-related topics such as a $695 cork puller, highlights home wine makers and our very own enthusiastic Sacramento Home Winemakers.  Listen to the audio recording at this link:

Thank you Rick for the good vibes. and to member Helen Frisch for turning on her radio.

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Bottle Talk with Rick and Paul

Vice President Donna Bettencourt has found some fun stuff.

Rick Kushman and Paul Wagner and two crazy guys who know a lot and talk a lot about wine.  Rick’s a journalist and co-chief judge of the California State Fair wine competitions.  Paul is a wine industry guy who is focused on wine marketing.  Their show is called “Bottle Talk with Rick and Paul” and the programs can be streamed.  Click here to hear what they’re up to.

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Bob’s World of Wine – Portuguese Grapes

Bob Peak, partner with Santa Rosa’s The Beverage People and a guest speaker at SHW’s meetings,  writes “Bob’s World of Wine,” a wine-related blog published on WineMaker magazine’s web site. His latest blog post talks about the small acreage of Portuguese varietals planted in California.

Bob was delighted to discover that SHW members Carol Clark and Sonia Baron pursued their dream and recently purchased a vineyard in Fair Play (El Dorado County) and have named their new reality Bom Vinho! At SHW’s recent Harvest Dinner, Sonia excitedly conversed with Bob about the Portuguese varietals that are growing on Bom Vinho! and also about Shaker Ridge Vineyard’s Portuguese varietals (owners Andy and Elizabeth Standeven are also SHW members).

Bob’s see Portuguese wines maybe as soon as the next harvest!  Check out Bob’s blog.

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WineMaker Magazine Wants Your Gadgets and Innovations

Contact Dawson Raspuzzi at

WineMaker magazine is looking for home wine innovations for the Cellar Dwellers section of the magazine.  Some of you brought your bright ideas to the August meeting and some didn’t make it through the doors that evening.  If you would like WineMaker magazine to consider your invention or adaptation to share with magazine readers, please contact Dawson Raspuzzi, assistant editor at the magazine.   Let him know that you’re a member of SHW.

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Grapes for Sale – Tips for Buyers

Do you hear the rumble??

Harvest! and the SHW website is seeing increased incoming messages of “Grapes for Sale”.  We’ll try to post these “ads” as soon as we can.  You can find these posts on the SHW web site a couple of ways:

– on the right side of the SHW web page, click on “2015 Grapes for Sale” and you’ll find a chronological list of “Grapes for Sale” postings with the most recent post on top.  Please note that some grapes may go quickly.   * Check back often.

– click on the “Blog” sub-category of “Classified Ads”.  Here, you’ll also find informal grape availability – people looking to trade grapes for wine or to make grapes available through other arrangements.

Communication is key!  Whether you in it for large or smaller quantities or hoping to land an unusual find, please:

– contact DIRECTLY  the person and contact info at the top of each post.  If you respond instead to the “Comments” section of the post, we may not see it until harvest is over;

– ensure that you know what you are getting before you commit:  location, vineyard & grape history, mimmum quantities, who picks, destemmer-crusher or press available, first or second pick, directions, containers, payment.  Go ahead of harvest and check things out if necessary;

– once you commit, honor your promise.  Many growers are small family businesses who rely on both commercial and home winemakers for their livelihood.  Be respectful, build relationships –  keep opportunities open for home winemakers.


*  Grapes for Sale ads are posted throughout the day and available for viewing.  Notification of a new post(s)  lands in SHW members’ email boxes early the following morning.

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Steve Tankersley’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos Recipe

We swooned over them at the Jubilee and sought out the cook who brought the cheese-filled bacon-wrapped jalapenos.

Member Steve Tankersley fessed up – he’s the one who’s been playing around with these hot little guys.  He said he got the original recipe off the Internet where they’re known as Atomic Buffalo Turds or ABTs.  Steve writes:

“…I brought the bacon wrapped jalapeno’s, glad you enjoyed them.

They are easy to make if you have a smoker, if not I suppose a Webber might work if you can maintain low indirect heat for about 2 ½ hours.

I recently bought a new smoker and have been trying a lot of new stuff, this one seems to get attention.

·         Two dozen large fresh jalapeno’s sliced lengthwise and thru the middle of the stem (keep stem attached).  Remove seeds and ribs creating a “boat” for the filling.

·         Optional – soak jalapeno’s in Sprite, 7up or Squirt for 2 to 12 hours.  This reduces the heat factor of the chiles.  Longer the more mild the are.

·         Stuff with cream cheese, I used chive cream cheese last weekend.  Garden vegetable works well also.

·         Wrap stuffed jalapeno’s with thin bacon tightly – I used one slice per half chili, you can adjust.  Thin sliced bacon seems to work better.

·         Lightly sprinkle with a brown sugar & paprika based rub.  I used ½ cup brown sugar; ¼ cup of paprika; 1 tbsp. each of garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper & kosher salt, tsp generic chili powder, ½ tsp Cayenne. Lots of variations of the same thing.  It is also a good rub for ribs & chicken.

·         Place on rack w/small grates, I use a Bradley rack so they don’t fall through

·         Set smoker to 225 degrees for 2 ½ hours.  I used 2 oz. of  Hickory chunks (not chips) on an electric “Smokin-It”  brand smoker (works fantastic).  Any good smoker should work with fruit or hardwood.  Cut-up old oak barrel segments work well also.

·         Remove from smoker and enjoy…”

Not only is Steve a pro at the grill, he’s also does pretty nice work in his winery.  At this year’s Jubilee, his wines earned 3 double-golds and 2 silvers, and one of his double-golds won the Best of Dessert award.

We can hardly wait to see what Steve enters and brings to the next Jubilee…

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Karen MacNeil – New Video Series About Wine

Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible and The NEW Wine Bible (out Spring 2015), is launching a hilarious new video series about wine. “Bible Study with Sister Karen” will cover topics ranging from the taste of tannin to the sex life of grapes, and will be posted every Sunday (naturally) and Wednesday on Karen MacNeil’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

“Bible Study with Sister Karen” debuts this Sunday, April 6th–don’t miss it!  Subsribe to her YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Sister Karen 4

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