Wilson Creek Blog
Events, News, Recipes & more!

The Problem Child

Posted on August 17, 2017 in Wine Musings

Problem children are often the ones who make you the proudest of what they have become. My problem child is Block 14, Mourvèdre. Difficult to pronounce (mohr-VED-dra also commonly shortened to mohr-VED), difficult to grow, and easy to love.

Mourvèdre is late to start in the season and prone to over exuberant growth. However, at the same time, it catches every cold in the school and it just won’t commit to maturity until well after the rest of my blocks are in the tank (“Did you hear? – the Cabernet kids got into tank one, they must know the winemaker!”). But when it does finally decide to mature it produces a wine of complexity and subtlety that can only be forged in the crucible of an adolescent fraught with struggle.

In “A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties”, Jancis Robinson described Mourvèdre as a “high quality, heat-loving, dark-skinned variety most valued for its heady, structured contribution to blends”. In the old world, it is often used as a blending varietal. However, here in California it develops such complex balanced nuances it is often vinted as a standalone varietal.

So, what does this have to do with Temecula? Grapes like it hot. Wine Grapes, vitis vinifera, evolved in what is now Iraq and Iran. Winemaking moved north because if a wine gets much above 60°F it is prone to turning into vinegar. Therefore, wine regions proliferated where the subterranean temperatures remain below 60°F.

Refrigeration changed everything. We are now in an era where the vine is allowed to find its home to express its highest genetic potential. And if you look at wine regions across the globe, Temecula is of premiere potential for varietals that previously had to struggle in climates not suitable for production of the highest quality. Mourvèdre has been waiting 700 years to find alternate homes to show you what it can do. Don’t make it wait any longer. This is a wine I love to swirl, smell, and sip for hours as its rich, ripe, fruit-forward palate evolves to expose the beauty of integrated tannins and balance.

As you prepare your kids to return to school, stock up on some Mourvèdre. Then when you return from the inevitable parent-teacher conferences you can relax with a glass of wine with such poetic maturity that will remind you that all this effort will eventually lead to an adult conversation with your matured child; who, like the Mourvèdre, may have struggled in adolescence but will eventually develop such depth of character due to their nurturing environment. When that time comes, I would suggest sharing a Mourvèdre.

To all young and seasoned scholars embarking on this academic year we wish you all wisdom and balance that can only be achieved by patience and struggle.

~ Cheers from the Wilson Creek Vineyard Crew!

Our 2015 Family Reserve Mourvèdre is now available for our Wine Club Members online and in the Tasting Room! It will be released to the public early September, so be sure to stock up on this delicious varietal while it lasts!

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The Water Project

Posted on August 9, 2017 in Wine Musings

It’s fun when our passion to a be family business connects with our desire to make a difference in our world! That is why we made a wine that not only tastes amazing but will be used to tangibly change some lives. We connected with The Water Project which is one of the leading nonprofit organizations that is getting clean drinking water to needy areas in Africa. We connected with their passion and the amount of impact they have made. Plus, the more we learned of the water crisis, of the real needs of real people, the more we had to do something.

It was a miracle in the Bible to turn water into wine; and we are literally turning wine into water! A portion of the proceeds will go back to a specific project in a specific community that we can help impact.

We will pass along photos and updates on how these funds are impacting a particular community we will partner in helping.

Please go to The Water Project website and look at the statistics that tell of the need. The need is striking! The Water Project’s purpose is to “provide safe, clean, and reliable water in Africa and to restore hope one community at a time.” And we get to be a part of that by sponsoring and impacting one community. So as you drink this Riesling know that you are helping real people drink clean water… and you are helping turn wine into water! Pretty cool!

You can purchase the Riesling online or in the Tasting Room

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Alicante Bouschet?

Posted on July 13, 2017 in Wine Musings

Temecula is relatively a new California wine growing region. The first vineyards were planted in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Wilson Creek Winery is home to some of those early plantings, with a block of Cabernet Sauvignon planted in 1970. It is difficult to envision this valley before grapes, but prior to the 60’s this valley was home to Vail Ranch and lots and lots of cattle.

Temecula was a tiny little cattle town during the prohibition times, and certainly no grapes were grown here for winemaking. You would need to travel a little north for that, near the town of Wineville to find grapes.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t know Wineville, the town changed its name to Mira Loma in 1930 prior to prohibition and the grapes that grew in the area were no longer used for winemaking. As luck would have it, the area grew a fair amount of Alicante Bouschet.

Alicante Bouschet is a very unique grape in that its flesh is also red, an extremely rare trait in wine grapes. 

Other red varietals like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel have red skins but their flesh is white. In addition, Alicante’s skin is very thick and it is very resistant to rot. These features made this grape ideal for train shipments to the east coast, where people of winemaking descent would buy train loads of it for who knows what (wink, wink).

Some of these pre-prohibition grapes survive today in the Rancho Cucamonga, Mira Loma area. The advanced age of these grapes makes for a truly outstanding dessert wine when fortified. The late harvest and fortification process produces a wine with deep plum, chocolate, and black cherry flavors.

Temecula may be a young wine region, but Southern California is certainly not, with history going to pre-prohibition. Who knows, but I’m curious on how the unique wine history of Temecula will develop.

This Alicante Bouschet wine is so special we’ve included it in the special July shipment along with a Moscato D’ Piemonte found in the beautiful and famous region of Piedmont in northwest Italy. We also have the 2015 Petit Verdot, this wine originates from a beautiful and historic grape that is used as one of the red grapes in the prestigious wines of Bordeaux, France. We packaged the Petit Verdot with our Explorer Series from South Africa, the 2015 Pinotage. Pinotage is a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsault vines, truly a “foodie wine” made in the old world style. Learn more about these wines by watching the videos with our Winemaker Gus Vizgirda on our YouTube Channel!

Don’t miss out on next years Special Edition Shipment and many other fabulous amenities by joining our Extended Family Wine Club!

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Your Full Weekend In Temecula!

Posted on June 2, 2017 in Wine Musings

What is there to do in Temecula? The real question is, how am I going to fit everything in that this destination has to offer?  When considering Temecula, do you think of a weekend of leisure, physical activity, wine tasting, night life or shopping?  This city truly can turn an originally planned, boring weekend into a very fun and diverse experience for any preferences.

Conveniently located an hour drive away from San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties, the city of Temecula can provide an amazing weekend for any traveler.

All guests traveling to Temecula should plan to arrive Friday afternoon and begin with visiting one of the many wonderful lodging options.  If you’re craving an alternate to traditional hotels, consider the exclusive five-star retreat, Wilson Creek Manor.

This luxury mansion is a Full House Exclusive Retreat.  This beautiful property truly is like a home away from home with the addition of escaping the city feel, all while being immersed in the rich culture of wine county!

If your taste buds are desiring a traditional type of hotel, there are a couple of beautiful hotels in wine country that are sure to not only meet, but exceed your standards. After settling in to your weekend “resort”, it should be time for dinner.  South Coast Winery’s Vineyard Rose Restaurant offers an upscale, locally-sourced cuisine in a Tuscan-inspired dining room.  At this point, it’s approximately 7:00 and it’s the perfect time to head over to Miramonte Winery, conveniently located about 1/8 of a mile away. Here, you will come to discover a comfortable setting with spectacular views and live music, which is offered every Friday night from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.  This venue has become popular amongst the locals of Temecula.

Now is when you decide if you want the morning hike to be painful or should you get a good night’s rest?!  If you opt to continue your fun night out, be sure to head right down the street for a night cap at “The Bar Next Door”.  Another local favorite offering unique, progressive cocktail drinks with a low-key vibe and atmosphere that is perfect for winding down.

After hopefully enjoying a wonderful night’s sleep ( or not ???? ), you get yourselves out of bed by 6:00 AM to be able to start your nature hike at the famous Ecological Reserve, Santa Rosa Plateau (which is located at the southern end of the Santa Ana Mountains near the city of Murrieta).  This hidden gem offers fascinating glimpses into the history and ecosystems of the area.  The Reserve offers various trails for the individual who wants to enjoy the beautiful views to the avid hiker looking for a great workout. Bring plenty of water, snacks, a hat and sunscreen!  After taking in nature at its best, head back to your resort or hotel for a long, hot shower and maybe a quick power nap by the relaxing pool.

For the second afternoon in the “something for everyone” city, you absolutely don’t want to miss Temecula’s Old Town!  A charming, Old West heritage which has been successfully restored, yet still resembles the historic golden west of the 1880’s.  History buffs can wander the streets viewing rustic buildings, sidewalks and storefronts while exploring the museums, art galleries, antique dealers, exclusive boutiques, unique dining and if you get there early enough (forfeiting your time at the pool), you will be able to experience the weekly Farmer’s Market which features many local growers fresh produce, and more!  You can spend a couple of hours in Old Town or several hours if you decide (and we highly recommend) to create your own “Pub Crawl”.  There are many wine bars, restaurants/bars to entertain you into the night.  Several places offer live music so you can even fit in a little dancing if you wish.

Now it’s Sunday morning. Surely to be one of your highlights of the weekend is the hot air balloon ride!  Temecula is the perfect location for hot air ballooning.  As you’re winding down your weekend, you’ll be able to relax as you float over the SoCal countryside.  Temecula’s cool morning breezes, consistent weather and open land provide guests the best conditions for hot air balloon rides.  From picturesque views of wineries, vineyards and citrus groves to the breathtaking backdrop of mountains covered in snow you are sure to be impressed with the Temecula topography.

Since your balloon ride will end in wine country, you’ll want to make reservations ahead of time for Wilson Creek Winery’s Sunday Bubble Brunch, featuring a wide variety of tasteful entrees, seafood, delectable desserts along with omelet, waffle, and carving stations. The “bubble” title of course means several of our popular sparkling wines!  This truly is arguably the best brunch in town!

Finally, it’s time to wine taste. Of course, you can’t come to wine country and not wine taste!  While at Wilson Creek Winery, before or after your brunch, be sure to check out the tasting room and try the Reserve Wines, they are spectacular!

If you love red wines especially, make your last stop at Doffo Winery.  Known for their family run, Argentine and Italian heritage, you will be highly impressed with their handcrafted style of winemaking.  The low key environment on a quaint 12 acres, will be sure to help bring your Temecula weekend to a peaceful conclusion.

Cheers~ Kim DeAvila- Human Resources Director

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My personal wine journey, the passion of people, and wine

Posted on May 10, 2017 in Wine Musings

Robert Mondavi summed it up best when he said “Wine to me is passion. It’s family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It’s culture. It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living.”

The beginning of my journey into the World of Wine is not a proud one. It all started at the age of 19, in one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, Tuscany, Italy.  As a college student, I was too young and broke to drink anything other than the cheapest wine I could find.  For 2000 Lire, roughly $1.75 American dollars a bottle, I indulged myself in several bottles of Italian red that had more similarities to vinegar than a fine Chianti.  When I moved back to the states my wine pallet evolved to the Trader Joe’s new Two Buck Chuck, Cabernet Sauvignon, What a deal!

Starting to learn about grapes…

As a bartender in San Diego I learned the ABCs of wine. I learned the difference between a Cabernet and a Merlot and a Chardonnay and a Muscat… I was armed with just enough information to sell wine to a hungry dinner goer.  Although I loved selling wine, the passion for wine was still in the distant future. At that time, I started understanding the synergy that is created when you brought together good food, good wine and good company.  I could not explain it at the time, but there was an energy that was undeniable with a social practice that goes back in history thousands of years.

All coming together…

When I was hired at Wilson Creek Winery that same synergy I identified several years earlier, B.C. (Before Children), became my new exciting lifestyle and obsession.   I now had the opportunity to taste amazing wine and meet several amazing people daily.

Immediately a Passion, like a fire, was ignited.  I simultaneously opened a door into the world of wine that till this day fascinates me with a road of endless learning.  More importantly the people.  The people in my life had energy and passion, a purpose for family, friends and “the generosity of spirit” that all comes together like music notes played perfectly by an orchestra.

Now my life has wine purpose.  It fills my soul to see first-time wine drinkers drink our White Cabernet with a smile, to cook while drinking our Petite Sirah, my favorite, studying the history of Burgundy France while sipping a Pinot Noir or spending a rare mommy and daddy only weekend in Paso Robles with my wife, to experience new wine while chatting with local winery owners.

I must admit, having four kids should be an automatic acceptance to drinking lots of wine, but wine is more than that to me now…every new wine I drink is like a ticket to a new world, an unknown history, a passion for life, a passion for people.

– Ryan McCormick ~ Hospitality Sales Manager

Check out our Wilson Creek Extended Family Wine Club Video to experience the excitement, energy, friends and family feel that Ryan experiences here at Wilson Creek every single day!

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