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The Story of How Wilson Creek’s Almond Sparkling Lands Japan

Posted on December 22, 2020 in About

Shushi Shiraga, the Founder & CEO of a wine e-commerce startup SoCalization Inc (Tokyo, Japan |www.socalization.com ), was a regular customer at Wilson Creek during his 7 years of life in San Diego, working as an expat, then studying as a grad-student. He became interested in wine because of Wilson Creek’s signature Almond Sparkling.

SoCalization Shushi at Wilson Creek 

In 2019, as he graduates from Sports MBA program at San Diego State University, he went back to Japan to work as a consultant to projects at Rugby World Cup 2019 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

However, something was missing for him. It just felt wrong. Living a happy, stress-free life in a SoCal city changed his perspective so much. A workaholic, who was on international conference calls regularly until midnight, questioned “Why are people in Japan working so late?”, “Why are people here not enjoying their personal life?”, “Why are people not having a quality time with their family?”. He was culture-shocked to his own country.

That feeling just got stronger and stronger, every time he recalled receiving unconditional love and support from his American “family”, a Christian family in San Diego who had been accepting international students to live together at their home.

Shushi was intrinsically entrepreneurial as he built his career at start-ups prior to MBA degree. However, if he was to build a company, he wanted to do something impactful to the society. So, he founded SoCalization, to promote relaxed and loving SoCal people’s value to Japan through SoCal food culture.

“I need an ‘Ace’ product…” Shushi thought. Something that is unique and has potential to become nationally popular but also represents SoCal value. Wilson Creek Almond Sparkling wine, he thought. He flew back to San Diego and drove to Temecula without an appointment with us (Wilson Creek), January 2020. We welcomed his passion and agreed to do business once he incorporates and receives necessary licenses.

He came back with them, but the pandemic hits the US. With both of us patiently and carefully checking off the boxes, Almond Sparkling Wine landed to Japan for the first time in October 2020! 

Almond Sparkling is gradually gaining awareness and served at wine bars in Tokyo. Shushi and SoCalization promote family-first value to Japan through the taste of Almond Sparkling – like the “stick” of cuttings clones and shares Wilson Creek’s founding values through their branches and vines.

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For former SoCal-residents in Japan, below is the direct link to purchase our Almond Sparkling wine in Japan from SoCalization! (English check out process available from link below.)

https://www.socalization.com/en/collections/wilson-creek/products/wilson-creek-almond-sparkling

For those of you moving to Japan, now you know where to get us! ????

Celebrating his brother’s birthday at the first restaurant in Tokyo to serve Almond Sparkling

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Thanksgiving Wine Guide

Posted on November 19, 2020 in Wine & Food

We know how stressful the holidays can be, especially when you are the host. You want to be the Hostess with the Mostest, with that perfect Pinterest display! Our must have guide for choosing the perfect wines will leave you feeling confident for your crowd-pleasing Thanksgiving feast!

Rather than selecting one bottle of wine to compliment all of your dishes, we recommend getting a couple options. You have all of those flavors of tart cranberries, creamy mashed potatoes, brown sugared yams, stuffing with a combination of ingredients, white and dark meats, and you can’t forget that spiced pumpkin pie for dessert! As we always say, there are no wrong pairings. We believe that the best pairings are with the wines you enjoy drinking, but for Thanksgiving we recommend lighter bodied wine to compliment the flavors of your dishes.

Sparkling Wines

Bubbles are the perfect celebratory wine! As guests arrive serve Sparkling Wine to get everyone in the holiday spirit! Sparkling is also a great choice to enjoy with salty and cheesy appetizers. The bubbles cut through the salt to cleanse the palate leaving a refreshed feeling. We have 10 Sparkling Wines to choose from and any of them would be a great choice to get your holiday started.

If you plan to serve it with dinner, we recommend going with a dry sparkling such as Brut or Sparkling Rose.

 

White Wines

When selecting a white wine, think about pairing it with your lighter side dishes and salads. Try white wines with less oak and more flavors that are fruity and refreshing.

Viognier – Full-fruit-forward flavors of peach, green melon and hint of tangerine in the finish.

Roussanne – You’ll love this medium-body wine with exotic flavors of pear, melon, and herbal tea trickling into a citrus peel finish.

Golden Jubilee – The best traits of both a dry and sweet wine. The sweetness is tempered by tropical fruit aromas of mango, pineapple, and guava.

Yes Dear Chardonnay – Vanilla and French Oak aromas with a touch of butter on the palate.

 

Red Wines

Yes, Red wines are delicious with Turkey and not forbidden! You definitely want a lighter bodied red with moderate acidity to balance out the richness of your dishes.

Zinfandel  – Supple in flavor yet firm in structure with cascading layers of cherry, blackberry and raspberry.

Malbec – Clean, clear delicate fruit reminiscent of blackberries giving way to a medium bodied wine with jammy characteristics.

Ecclesia(Petite Sirah and Viognier Blend) Flavors of blackberry and leather spice with prominent tannins.

Syrah – Aromas of sweet oak, cherry, and raspberry with flavors reminiscent of cherry, cedar, and spice gives way to a soft tannic finish.

 

Dessert Wines

Get dessert going with an after dinner celebration of sweet wines! Bubbly is also a great choice to pair with pie if your guests prefer something less sweet.

Decadencia – A fortified dessert wine made from century-old “Old Vine” Zinfandel with a touch of natural chocolate making it even more heavenly delicious.

Angelica Cream Sherry – A truly world-class Sherry. Fortified with brandy. Perfect for sipping by the fire after a long day. Serve room temperature and enjoy!

 

Make your Thanksgiving Display Pinterest Worthy with our Fall items in the Tasting Room!

 

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Cooking with Chef Recipe

Posted on November 17, 2020 in Recipes

Gather your ingredients and learn how to prepare Kurobuta Pork Shank Colcannon with Chef Steve. Ryan McCormick pairs this delicious recipe with our Bourbon Barrel Zinfandel and Bill Wilson joins the cooking fun as the official taste tester!

You can view Chef Steve’s Cooking Demo on YouTube here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hViLoywoRQI&t=6s

Recipe below: 

KUROBUTA PORK SHANK COLCANNON (3-4 servings)

Pair with Bourbon Barrel Zinfandel 

Ingredients:

2 Kurobuta pork shank

Kosher salt & white pepper, or your favorite bbq rub

1 Tablespoon canola oil

½ cup Sliced leeks

1 cup green cabbage, cooked al dente and cut into 1” pieces(can be done 1 day ahead)

3 cups of mashed potato

 2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard

Directions: 

For the pork, season liberally with salt & pepper or bbq rub. Smoke in a smoker or roast in an oven slow and low until the meat can be shred. Shred the meat from the bone. This can be done 1-2 days ahead. If pork shanks are not available, you can substitute por shoulder.

For the Colcannon, heat the oil in a pan. Add leeks and cook until tender. Add cabbage and pork and cook until both are heated through. Add whole grain mustard and mashed potato. Mix to evenly combine. Check seasoning.

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Thanksgiving Pie + Wine Pairings

Posted on November 11, 2020 in Wine & Food

Thanksgiving is already here! With so much to be thankful for, we wanted to take time to thank all of our Wine Club Members and Guests who enhance our lives everyday! You are the reason we love bringing you fine winedelicious cuisine, and good times!

To celebrate you all and all the things we have to be thankful for, Wilson Creek put together a few wine pairings to go with your favorite Thanksgiving Pies! Because nothing says celebration like sweet treats and bubbly!

Apple Pie

Brut Sparkling or Chardonnay

Pumpkin Pie

Almond Sparkling 

Pecan Pie

Angelica Cream Sherry

Key Lime Pie

Coconut Nui Sparkling or Golden Jubilee

Lemon Meringue

Rose Sparkling or VS White Cabernet

Cherry Pie

Sangria Sparkling or VS Cabernet-Zinfandel

Chocolate Cream Pie

Almond Sparkling or Decadencia Chocolate Port

Blueberry Pie

Sangria Sparkling or VS Cabernet-Zinfandel

Peach Cobbler

Brut Sparkling or Riesling
Once again, THANK YOU!

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Rosé 101 & Giving Back

Posted on October 7, 2020 in Wine 101

Dear Somm, how is a Rosé wine made? I see so many and their colors are so different. Why?  – C. Watkins, Royal Oak, Michigan

This past summer, and now this fall, are times to experience the beauty of a good Rosé wine!

Firstly, a Rosé can be made from most any red grape. I have tasted Rosés from Nebbiolo, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Merlot, etc. This last summer we released a Cabernet Rosé that was tasty. It’s all about the skin contact. The color in a red or Rosé wine come from the anthocyanin pigment in the red grape skins. The more skin contact with the juice results in more pigment. One method of Rosé winemaking is maceration which is the time of skin contact with the juice. The longer the maceration, the more color will be in the skins. With a red wine, during fermentation the maceration can be from 5-15 days. With Rosé wines the maceration can occur prior to fermentation called a cold soak. The skins stay in contact for 6-12 hours in a chilled tank so any native yeast does not kick-start fermentation. The pink juice is then pumped away from the skins and then fermented in another tank. A Rosé wine is typically fermented cooler (at 42-48 degrees) vs. red wines ferment hotter at 80-100 degrees. A cooler fermentation retains the delicate flavors in a white or Rosé wine. This method is popular in Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon regions. The other method is called Saigneé (Sawn-yay) which is based on the French word for “bleeding”. The winemaker will bleed off about 10% of the juice from the red skins during fermentation. The remaining 90% creates a more intense red wine. The 10% of the bled wine is fermented separately into a Rosé wine. Typically, this method will produce a Rosé wine that is darker pink than the maceration method. We do both methods at Wilson Creek. Maceration will yield a lighter wine with more perfumed aromatics and delicate flavors. Saigneé will produce wines that are richer and darker in color. 


Mick Wilson 
Mick Wilson is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators.

Drink Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each of us knows a friend, sister, aunt, mother, daughter, or grandmother that has been affected by breast cancer. Wilson Creek Winery is joining the fight by donating a portion of the proceeds of each bottle of Rosé of Cabernet or Custom Labeled Rosé Sparkling Wine to an organization close to our hearts, Michelle’s Place Cancer Resource Center. 

Michelle’s Place Cancer Resource Center was created as a dying wish of Michelle Watson. Michelle was a 26-year-old victim of breast cancer. As a Temecula resident, Michelle was frustrated with the lack of local resources available to her while facing the challenges of cancer treatment. Sadly, Michelle succumbed to her disease on July 23, 2000. In the wake of Michelle’s passing came a mission of service to make it easier for others touched by this unrelenting disease. Family, friends, and the community have come together and created a mission to serve the local community. 

 

PURCHASE HERE AND HELP JOIN THE FIGHT

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