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Christmas Cookie & Wine Pairings

Posted on December 22, 2017 in Recipes

Traditions play a big role in making the holiday season so much fun! Here at Wilson Creek, we have a lot of fun with our traditional Wassail we enjoy every year. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser and very popular with our wine club family.

With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and many other reasons to gather with loved ones, having fun & fresh ideas are always a great compliment to those traditions.

Christmas Cookies are almost compulsory when it comes to the holiday season; one of America’s most popular traditions. Another very popular holiday tradition?… Wine, of course! So why not combine the two and make it that much more special!

Here are a few recipes that will delight your guest’s palates and warm their hearts.


SUGAR COOKIES with Vanilla Sparkling Wine or Brut Sparkling Wine

GINGERBREAD COOKIESwith Riesling or Almond Sparkling Wine

SNICKER DOODLE COOKIESwith Golden Jubilee or Meritage

BUTTER COOKIES COOKIES with Chardonnay or Coconut Sparkling Wine

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES with VS Cabernet-Zinfandel or Late Harvest Malbec-Merlot

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES with Decadencia Chocolate Port or Almond Sparkling Wine

OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES with VS White Cabernet or Angelica Cream Sherry 

CHOCOLATE THUMBPRINT COOKIES with Double-Dog Red or Rose Sparkling Wine

The great thing about traditions is that there is always room to make new ones. So while you’re enjoying the holidays with your loved ones, maybe try a few of these pairings and see if any are worthy of a new tradition.

We have a feeling you won’t be disappointed.

All of us at Wilson Creek Winery warmly wish you a Merry Christmas & a very Happy New Year!

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National Sangria Day!

Posted on December 20, 2017 in Recipes

It’s National Sangria Day & Wine Wednesday all on the same day! Go on, celebrate!

A perfect way to celebrate is with Wilson Creek’s special recipe used at our restaurant, the Creekside Grille.


3 bottles of VS Cabernet-Zinfandel

3/4 cup of VS White Cabernet

1/4 cup of Decadencia

1/2 cup of Sugar

1/4 cup of Orange Juice

Orange, Lemon, and/or Lime wedges for garnish


Add all wet ingredients into a pitcher. Wisk until blended. Add ice to your glass and pour in some delicious Sangria! Garnish your glass with your wedge of choice: orange, lemon, lime, or all three!


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Giving Back with Global Conservation Force

Posted on December 1, 2017 in Giving Back, Wine Musings

The holidays are all about giving back and loving on others. So this holiday season (and continuing afterwards) Wilson Creek is happy to contribute to the efforts of a great organization like the Global Conservation Force.

Global Conservation Force (GCF) is dedicated to saving wildlife from extinction through education, anti-poaching and conservations efforts.

On average:

  • 3 to 4 rhinos are killed by poachers a day for their horns
  • 96 elephants are killed a day for their tusks
  • Giraffe populations have declined by 40% in the last 15 years

This is preventable extinction, and GCF is fighting to protect the wildlife by supporting the people who do it.

With every purchase of our Special Labeled Global Conservation Force wine, you are supporting “front-line” wildlife conservation efforts to literally protect and defend rhino, elephant, giraffe, vultures, and many other species at risk. See below for a peek at our Wildlife Wines and a little info on the animal it helps protect.

Honey Badger Nectar ~ Almond Sparkling Wine

Honey Badgers are one of the most fierce creatures in Africa, yet they have a sweet tooth. The Ratel, as it is known in Afrikaans, has been known to take down lions and cobras. Although they are not commonly sought after by poachers, we like to symbolize the ferocity of the honey badger as we fight to protect other endangered species within their home range.

Brut But Elegant ~ Brut Sparkling Wine

Elephant tusks are highly sought after by poachers. The social history of ivory has created a deeply sentimental market that is devastating to the elephants of the world. We are currently losing an elephant every 8 hours to poachers. Global Conservation Force works alongside rangers fighting to protect elephants from extinction.

Rhino Crash Crush ~ Rosé Sparkling Wine

Rhinos around the world face the same challenges: poaching for the international rhino horn trade, habitat loss, and civil unrest. Only five species of rhinos remain in the world. Many cultures believe a rhino’s horn has medicinal properties or it is used a status symbol; however, rhino horn is composed of keratin, the same protein that composes human hair and fingernails.

Tall Blonde ~ Chardonnay

Giraffes also face challenges from civil unrest, and human encroachment on their habitat. The main causes of giraffe population decline are habitat degradation and poaching. The giraffe’s global population has declined more than 40% population decline in 15 years.

Old World Red ~ Cabernet Sauvignon

Vultures are natures ‘clean up crew’, ridding the environment of diseases on nearly every continent. Vultures serve as a barrier to prevent diseases from proliferating in dead animals and spreading. No other animal can perform this service quite like a vulture can. They are now the most threatened group of migratory birds on the planet.

Combo Pack ~ Get All 5 Wildlife Wines

Combo Packs are available if you want to collect them all! Get 18% off when purchasing all 5 bottles together (usually a $98.95 value)! Contribute to saving the honey badgers, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and vultures all with one purchase!

For more information on Global Conservation Force, visit their website at www.globalconservationforce.org.

Wilson Creek Winery is dedicated to helping our community here in Temecula Valley, as well as communities around the world. When you purchase our Water Project Riesling or any of our Global Conservation Force wines, you are giving back to a community in need. And that’s the best gift of all.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Wilson Creek Winery!

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Wine 101: Main Categories of Wine

Posted on October 20, 2017 in Wine 101, Wine Musings

Harvest is officially over for us, and all of our delicious grapes have made it through crush and into their tanks to start fermentation! I think I can speak for our Vineyard and Winemaking team when I say “phew!”. They have been working so hard to make sure we produce the best wine possible for this 2017 vintage, and things are looking great so far.

So, while over 300 tons of our crushed grapes begin fermentation, we figured we’d explain how this effects the next crucial process of winemaking.

There are six main categories of wine, all produced in slightly different ways. We are currently in the first phase of producing these different types of wine by the way we treat the grapes during fermentation.

Six main categories of wine:

WHITE: Wine made by crushing grapes and separating the juice from the crushed skins.

RED: Wine made by crushing grapes and macerating the crushed skins with the juice for an extended period of time. (Fun Fact: Most grapes have clear flesh. Red wine is made by leaving the crushed red skins in with the grape juice during fermentation).

ROSÉ: Wine made by crushing grapes and macerating the crushed skins for a very brief period of time. It could also be made by blending white and red wines together.

SPARKLING: Carbonated wine made by trapping carbon dioxide produced during alcoholic fermentation.

DESSERT: Wine made by arresting fermentation and keeping some residual sugars, resulting in a wine that is sweet and fruity.

FORTIFIED: Wine that is higher in alcohol, caused by fortifying the wines with neutral-flavored spirits.

After these basic steps are made during the fermentation phase, the real artistry of winemaking begins. So many methods can alter the profile of wine, including:

  • How long the grape skins are left with the grape juice during and after crush
  • If it is aged in steel tanks, oak barrels, or both
  • If it is a blend of multiple grape varietals

So as you can see, our winemaking team still has a lot of work ahead of them over the next few months. Luckily for them, it’s the fun part experimenting in the wine lab with different varietals, blends, aromas, and flavors.

Stay tuned for our 2017 vintage! It’s sure to be a great one.

“The Foundation.” How to Host a Wine Tasting The Complete Kit, Race Point Pub, 2014, pp. 6–7.

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Wine 101: Training Your Palate

Posted on September 29, 2017 in Wine 101, Wine Musings

Dry. Crisp. Acidic. Herbal. Floral. Astringent. Velvety. Balanced. Fruity. Sweet.

These are all common terms (among several others) that we hear when wine tasting. But what does that all mean? Who imagines what velvet feels like in their mouth, and of course its fruity it’s made from grapes. Right?

Well here at Wilson Creek we like to make wine experiences approachable and fun, so read on to see how these flavors and scents come to life within a good glass of wine.


Let’s start with a few of the main components of wine: Acidity, Tannin, Sugar, and Fruit. The more confident you feel about identifying these components, the more enjoyable the wine tasting experience becomes.


For wine, the term “acidity” is used to describe the tart or citrusy taste being recognized on the palate. This component is more common in white wines than it is in reds. Acid is important because it keeps the wine fresh and lively. It has a cleansing effect which makes it great for pairing with food.

Some descriptive words you will run into while tasting are: crisp, citrusy, lively, bright, vitality, tart.

Tip: In wine jargon, “sour” means spoiled or tastes like vinegar. So try to stay away from describing wine as “sour” if what you really mean one of the descriptive words above.

Train your palate : Combine freshly squeezed lemon juice into a tiny glass of water (you want mostly lemon juice to get the desired sensation). Take a sip and focus on where in your mouth you feel the acidity. It should mostly be felt in the back of your mouth at the base of your cheeks. Notice the way your mouth begins to water and tingle? This same sensation is what happens when tasting a wine higher in acidity.

Try it with wine : Our Grenache Blanc has a light golden hue with a vibrant herbaceous, floral and citrus nose. On the palate the acidity is quick to show but cascades into flavors of citrus zest, honeydew melon and peach. The firm acidity makes this a good food pairing wine. Examples of great acidity could also be found in our sparkling wines as well.


This one can be tricky to understand, as it is more something we feel rather than taste. Tannin is a component found in the skins, seeds, and stems of all grapes; as well as the oak barrels the wine is aged in. It’s most noticeable as a drying sensation in your mouth between your cheeks and gums. Tannin is recognized more in red wines, and help to provide structure and power. However, too much tannin can make wine taste bitter and overly astringent.

Some descriptive words include: astringent, dry, grippy, coarse

Tip: Pair wine high in tannin with heavier dishes. The tannin in wine helps break down proteins and fats.

Train your palate : Make yourself some overly-steeped plain black tea. Take a sip and concentrate on the drying sensation around your mouth, mostly between your cheeks and gums. This is the same sensation tannin creates in wine.

Try it with wine Our 2014 WS Syrah would be great for identifying tannin. On the palate you will find earthiness of leather followed by berry highlights of black currant and blackberries. The tannins are well-integrated, giving a full mouth feel and a long finish. Pairs great with anything off the grill, like BBQ Ribs and Rib-eye Steak.


Aromas and tastes of sugar, fruit, herbs, spices, and oak are easier concepts to grasp when wine tasting. We are already so familiar with these flavors.

Sugar : The higher the residual sugar (RS) the sweeter the wine will be. This can be identified by a pleasant, slippery sort of mouth feel.

Fruit : The fruit-like quality of a wine can be recognized by smell and taste. This doesn’t mean you will only detect the actual grapes, but also scents of citrus and berries. Other nature-driven aromas or tastes include floral, herbal, and grassy (specifically in white wines).

Oak : As for oak, this component in wine is caused by it being matured or fermented in oak barrels. Oak from different sources (i.e., French or American) will inflict different characteristics on the wine. In general, oak maturation gives aromas and flavors of butter, toffee, caramel, vanilla, and spice.

Train your palate : Experiment with strawberries, bananas, blackberries, lemons herbs, spices, flowers, and oak chips. Crush the fruit and herbs, then place these ingredients in separate wine glasses with a little bit of water. Sniff each glass to smell its aroma. Similar scents are what you experience when smelling the wine in your glass before sipping.

Try it with wine : Our White Cabernet is great for identifying fruit and sugar in wine, without being overly sweet. To practice identifying oak, our ’14 Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is great at giving off these characteristics. Aged in both French and American oak barrels, aromas of oak spice and vanilla prevail nicely.

Now you are ready to wine taste with some confidence! Just remember. As fun as it is to be knowledgeable about wine aromas and tastes, the primary purpose of wine is to be enjoyed!

Visit us in our Tasting Room (open everyday from 10am – 5pm) to enjoy some wine!

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