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Greenbar Distillery Solidifies Footing in Crowded Craft Distillery Space

10 May, 2017

Greenbar Distillery Solidifies Footing in Crowded Craft Distillery Space World’s largest portfolio of handcrafted, organic spirits unifies disparate brands under love brand Los Angeles, Calif. — May 9, 2017 — Greenbar Distillery, one of California’s original craft distilleries and home of the world’s largest portfolio of handcrafted, organic spirits, today announced that it has unified its seven core spirits lines under a new heart brand that evokes the company’s origins as a love story between the two founders, Litty Mathew and Melkon Khosrovian. In sharp contrast to how most distilleries design their packages to stand out within categories, such as vodka or whiskey, Greenbar Distillery’s new look echoes the maker-focused branding of craft brewers. "We’re at a turning point in craft distilling where we need to create emotional connections with customers from the moment they see our bottles and make it easy for them to choose anywhere in a store,” notes Melkon Khosrovian co-founder and spirits maker at Greenbar Distillery. “Compared with when we started, the shelves are increasingly crowded and we felt that we needed to simplify our message to continue to grow.”​ The distillery, based in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles, designed its new labels in house to reflect the founders love for each other, their fans, their city and its immigrant food culture, as well as the California’s rich agricultural bounty. With its high-design heart imagery, hand-drawn font and distressed look, the new branding reinforces the distillery’s emphasis on relaxed sophistication. Further connecting Greenbar Distillery to its home city’s cultural terroir, the logo harkens the Mexican Sagrado Corazón (sacred heart) iconography found throughout downtown Los Angeles, while capturing the gritty appeal of the graffiti art that defines DTLA’s cityscape. The rays symbolize Southern California’s ubiquitous sunshine, critical to the state’s inimitable flora that’s captured within each bottle. The individual labels play on the heart theme while serving as symbolic guides to what’s inside, playfully alluding to the ‘spirit’ of each spirit. IXÁ tequila’s label recalls the mountains of Jalisco, CITY Gin’s layout resembles skyscrapers, TRU Vodka reflects diamond purity and so on. Greenbar Distillery’s move to consolidate its labels under one clearly defined house aesthetic marks a departure from the traditional distillery trajectory of dissociating certain sub-brands. The company’s use of only real, organic ingredients, commitment to sustainability, and the resulting quality-to-value prices resonate with the public. Melkon and Litty are thrilled to launch the new packaging to help make Greenbar Distillery products that much easier for the home mixologist to identify and enjoy. About Greenbar Distillery Greenbar Distillery, Los Angeles' first since Prohibition, makes the world's largest portfolio of craft organic spirits, including TRU vodkas, CITY gin, CRUSOE rums, FRUITLAB liqueurs, IXÁ tequila, SLOW HAND whiskey, GRAND POPPY amaro and BAR KEEP aromatic bitters. Founded in 2004 by the husband-and-wife team Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew, the company seeks to make better spirits for a better planet. For press inquiries and images, please contact Kimberly Charles or Alexandra Fondren at Charles Communications Associates at press@charlescomm.com or 415.701.9463.
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Memorial Event for Bruce Cass

9 May, 2017

Memorial Event for Bruce Cass Thursday May 25, 2017  Bruce Cass 1948-2016 WHO: A celebration of the life of writer, educator, author and bon vivant Bruce Cass who passed away September 20, 2016.   WHAT: A Smackdown party in the tradition of Bruce Cass’ infamous annual gatherings at Ft. Miley on Ocean Beach in San Francisco after the Bay to Breakers run.  It will be an evening of conviviality, hedonism and friendship. WHEN:  The Smackdown celebration of Bruce Cass’ life will be held Thursday May 25th from 6:30-9:30 PM at the University Club of San Francisco.   Wine & appetizers will be served and guests are invited to bring a bottle of wine to share (please note Bruce’s wishes as it relates to the definition of “wine”[1] appropriate to bring to such an affair.) WHERE: The University Club of San Francisco 800 Powell Street.  We will have both the Black Cat Bar and adjoining room for the party.   Guests should RSVP to Kimberly Noelle Charles, DWS at kcharles@charlescomm.com.  Additionally, we will have a PA system. Those interested in speaking about Bruce should contact Michael Denny at  mike@dennyconnect.com to coordinate.  We expect many contributions regarding this extraordinary man.     MORE: For more information about Bruce and his life and work, we invite you to read more here and visit his website.   In addition, please see this lovely tribute from Jancis Robinson, MW his co-author for the Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America.    #   #   # [1] “WINE - Do not skimp on this half of the equation! In the NBA one does NOT go meekly into the paint! And neither should you come to the Smackdown with some weak, refinery product from the grocery store. Save bottles with cute animal names for Poker Night. The ironclad rule is each adult in your group must bring a bottle of wine costing at least $20. This crowd tends to be very wine savvy. Ribald, and a bit licentious, but very interested in rare and unusual wine tasting opportunities. Prominent wine personalities fly in from New York, Chicago, and Australia to talk trash at this event. Every bottle gets passed around to 15 or 20 strangers, so you don't want your name associated with any weak offerings. If you've been wondering when you are going to meet people worthy of that 15-year-old magnum bottle of South African Cabernet in your closet, this event IS the answer.”
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Greenbar Distillery Appoints Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

1 May, 2017

Greenbar Distillery Announces the Appointment of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits as California Distributor May 1, 2017 — Los Angeles, Calif. — Greenbar Distillery, one of California’s original craft distilleries and home of the world’s largest portfolio of handcrafted, organic spirits, today announced the appointment of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits as its distributor for its home state of California. The line had previously been with Epic Wines & Spirits for five years. “This shift represents a new chapter for our fast growing line of spirits, the culmination of expanded, state-of-the-art production capabilities, the addition of seasoned sales and marketing staff and new packaging under a unified Greenbar Distillery brand,” said Melkon Khosrovian, co-founder and spiritsmaker of Greenbar Distillery. “We look forward to working with the Southern Glazer’s team to reach a larger audience." “We’re proud to welcome Greenbar Distillery to the Southern Glazer Artisanal Group portfolio and to continue sharing its exceptional spirits with an increasing community who support local spirits made by passionate people,” said Joel Teitelbaum, Director, The Artisanal Group California, for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. About Greenbar Distillery Greenbar Distillery, Los Angeles' first since Prohibition, makes the world's largest portfolio of craft organic spirits, including TRU vodkas, CITY gin, CRUSOE rums, FRUITLAB liqueurs, IXÁ tequila, SLOW HAND whiskey, GRAND POPPY amaro and BAR KEEP aromatic bitters. Founded in 2004 by the husband-and-wife team Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew, the company seeks to make better spirits for a better planet. About Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits is North America’s largest wine and spirits distributor, and the preeminent data insights company for alcoholic beverages. The Company has operations in 44 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, Canada, and the Caribbean, and employs more than 20,000 team members. Southern Glazer’s urges all retail customers and adult consumers to market, sell, serve, and enjoy its products responsibly. For more information visit www.southernglazers.com. For press inquiries and images, please contact Kimberly Charles or Alexandra Fondren at Charles Communications Associates at press@charlescomm.com or 415.701.9463.
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Spring 2017 Client Update

3 April, 2017

San Francisco, CA, April 3, 2017 – As we at Charles Communications Associates (CCA) usher in the spring season, we would like to share our quarterly current client roster.   The list of CCA’s current clients is as follows:    Broadside Wines, Paso Robles, CA since 2013 Cangria, California* Cycles Gladiator, California since 2013 Crocker & Starr, St. Helena, CA Emeritus Vineyards, Russian River Valley since 2014 Fess Parker, Santa Barbara & Napa, CA* 2000-2007, 2017 re-engaged Gallica Wines, St. Helena, CA* Greenbar Distillery, Los Angeles, CA* Hourglass Vineyards, Napa, CA since 2011 Maison Corbeaux, San Francisco, CA since Onward Wines & Farmstrong, California* Parallel Vineyards, Napa Valley, CA Wine HooligansPaso Robles, CA  *Denotes new as of our last quarterly announcement    Please feel free to reach out to either Kimberly Charles or Alexandra Fondren via email at press@charlescomm.com or by phone at (415) 701-9463.     About Charles Communications Associates  Founded in 2003, Charles Communications Associates, LLC (CCA) is an independent creative marketing communications and public relations firm based in San Francisco, California, that helps local and global companies create, build, and launch brands. Recognized as one of the most effective marketing firms in the wine industry, CCA is also known for success in the gourmet, natural, and organic food and beverage categories, as well as for top shelf spirits and luxury products marketing. In 2013, CCA formed a strategic alliance with Cornerstone Communications Ltd in New York City to better provide clients with contacts and a network in two of the most important media and wine markets in the country.    Please socialize with us @CharlesComm on Twitter, and @AlltheSwirl on Instagram and Facebook.  
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Crocker & Starr Joins Third Annual Napa in Newport To Save the Lives of Children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

2 March, 2017

Crocker & Starr Joins Third Annual Napa in Newport To Save the Lives of Children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy   St. Helena, CA, March 2, 2017 – Crocker & Starr will join 30 distinguished wineries for celebration of Napa Valley wines to help save the lives of children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The much-anticipated Third Annual Napa in Newport Wine Auction will take place on March 4th at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Southern California’s premier wine event, Napa in Newport, unites more than 30 renowned vintners and wine enthusiasts to help find a cure for Duchenne, a fatal genetic disease that robs children and young adults of their muscle strength and claims their lives by their mid-20s. All proceeds from the evening will benefit CureDuchenne, the national organization committed to finding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.   Crocker & Starr will be pouring its 2015 Sauvignon Blanc and 2014 Cabernet Franc for more than 350 prominent guests, for an incredible night of support for CureDuchenne.   “Crocker & Starr is a small team that is very much like a family and we believe in giving back and helping other families. The reality is that Duchenne could affect someone in our lives at any time and we are grateful to have an opportunity to participate in such an impactful and meaningful event,” said Pam Starr, winemaker and co-proprietor of Crocker & Starr.   Napa in Newport will include a three-course dinner created by renowned Chef Amar Santana of the celebrated Broadway andVaca restaurants. Chef Amar has traveled the world collecting inspiration and accolades, including a position in the final round of Bravo’s Top Chef. His globally influenced menus include unexpected flavor profiles and artful presentations, reflecting his zeal for food and for life. Chef Amar will design an exquisite three-course menu exclusively for the occasion.    Napa in Newport kicks off with a wine tasting reception and silent auction at 4:30 p.m., and includes dinner, wine pairings and live auction. Tables, tickets and sponsorships are available now.  For more information and to purchase tickets visit:www.NapaInNewport.org.   About CureDuchenne CureDuchenne was founded in 2003 with a focus on saving the lives of those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease that affects more than 300,000 children and young adults worldwide.  With support from CureDuchenne, nine research projects have advanced to human clinical trials.  CureDuchenne also brings physical therapy and standard of care to local communities around the country through its CureDuchenne Cares program. For more information, please visitCureDuchenne.org and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.   About Crocker & Starr In 1997, Charlie Crocker and Pam Starr established Crocker & Starr on the Crocker Estate in St. Helena, resurrecting a world-class vineyard with roots dating back to the 1870s. The winery handcrafts a small production of exquisite wines from select blocks within the 100-acre vineyard. The vines are cultivated following organic principles, and the clusters are hand harvested, transformed into wine through cutting edge winemaking techniques, blending the best of Old World philosophy and New World fruit. Starr presides over the estate’s wines to capture the essence of the vineyard’s extraordinary terroir. The result is complex and balanced, elegant wines that express the aromatic profile of the Crocker Vineyard.
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Kazzit Announces Highest Quarterly Usership Growth to Date

12 January, 2017

Kazzit Announces Highest Quarterly Usership Growth to Date Q4 of 2016 marks online wine community’s best quarter on record since its 2014 founding   San Francisco, CA, January 10, 2017Kazzit, the wine industry’s most all-inclusive online community, has announced a bullish end of the year in terms of company growth. The fourth quarter of 2016 showed a 30% increase in unique visitors over Q3, and a 400% increase over the previous year. These results were fueled by a recently refreshed design, enhanced content and search capabilities, the launch of the Kazzit mobile app, and international expansion into 17 new countries.   In just three months, Kazzit has surpassed its established competitors in traffic and engagement according to global website rankings.[1] With over 50K unique users and 124K page views per month, Kazzit is now ranked at 342K globally, with a domestic ranking of 68K in the United States – a major feat for a wine-tourism website.   Still 100% free to consumers, wine lovers and curious epicurean travelers use Kazzit’s dynamic search capability to seek out specific wineries, discover new ones based on region or preferences (ie. wineries that specialize in specific varieties or styles), and also to find the perfect winery setting for events like weddings, corporate retreats, and educational seminars.    This micro-level of personalization to consumer search demand has positioned Kazzit as a leader in wine consumer data – a benefit that Kazzit’s winery partners are beginning to capitalize on at a B2B level. Aside from the user reviews, Kazzit’s elastic, open-ended search capabilities have unlocked an unprecedented amount of data that partner wineries can access; for example, the trendiest wine style in the month of September, the most popular types of winery events in the Finger Lakes, the demographic most likely to seek out white wine in winter, or the most searched wine regions overall.  Founder Babak Motamedi has plans to publish some of this data in a regular quarterly industry report launching in 2017.   No single platform has ever had access to this level of micro-data in the wine industry, and Kazzit is thus poised to take wine marketing to the next level, as boutique wineries find themselves now capable of unlocking a new level of exposure and engagement never before seen. Kazzit’s recently launched mobile app has helped facilitate more spontaneous searching on-the-go, and wineries can also now capitalize, publishing timely deals directly to the platform and utilizing Kazzit as a marketing partner arm to help opportunistically attract potential customers nearby.   Since its soft-launch in 2014, Kazzit now has a database of over 10,000 wineries (over 9,000 more than its closest competitor) across North & South America, Europe, Africa and Australia, and surpassed 60,000 unique users last month (adding 600+ per day on average).  With its 92/100 Google experience ranking, wine lovers and industry insiders alike are drawn to Kazzit for its ease of use, online reservation system, detailed winery information and reviews, and educational wine blog, written by sommeliers, which is updated almost daily.   Since 2014, the average organic visitor to Kazzit spends over 4 minutes and 7 seconds on the site (58 seconds is the standard), with a return rate of 30-40%. Return users average 11.5 minutes on return visits, clicking an average of 8.6 pages deep reading about wineries (a huge number by any digital marketing standard).   About Kazzit Kazzit stands out as the world’s most comprehensive online winery resource, serving as the ultimate all-inclusive online community, connecting wineries, vineyards, restaurateurs, collectors, sales people and enthusiasts, and helping them share services, products, experiences and consumer applications. Kazzit helps wineries connect with both trade and consumers by providing comprehensive winery profiles, winery ratings, photo galleries, maps, real-time social media updates, upcoming winery events and a means to book wine tastings and plan wine trips all in one place.    The brainchild of Phoenix restaurateur Peter Kasperski and serial entrepreneur Babak Motamedi, Kazzit was founded in February 2014 after the two wine-loving friends grew frustrated at the lack of comprehensive travel planning sites specifically built for wine tourism. The name Kazzit pays tribute to the friendship between founders Motamedi & Kasperski, which had its genesis at Kazimierz Wine Bar near what would become Kazzit’s headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.   For press inquiries and images, please contact Kimberly Noelle Charles or Alex Fondren at Charles Communications Associates at press@charlescomm.com or 415.701.9463.   [1] According to Alexa.com
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Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2016 Est Arrivé!

16 November, 2016

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2016 Est Arrivé! First Wine of the 2016 Harvest Makes Its Debut Across US New York City (November 17th 2016, 12:01 AM GMT+1) - There’s no annual wine tradition quite  like the November release of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, and wine lovers around the world collectively rejoice as the 2016 bottling is officially released today - the third Thursday of November, at 12:01am GMT+1 (Beaujolais time).   Beaujolais Nouveau symbolizes the end of the harvest season and represents an invitation to partakeof autumn’s bounty. The French have always enjoyed Nouveau as a sentimental wine to drink this time of year among family and friends - a reason to get together at the table in November when harvest is done, the weather is gray and the days are short. Since Georges Duboeuf first brought Nouveau to the U.S. in 1982, American wine lovers have come to mark its festive release as the unofficial harbinger of the holiday season, while associating its harmonious flavors as the perfect marriage for a Thanksgiving feast.   No other wine is released annually with such pomp, made and released as a finished wine in only six to eight weeks after harvest to literally put a cork in the end of the growing season. Beaujolais Nouveau represents the classic incarnation of the “harvest wine” tradition as it has been practiced for centuries in France, and this year’s label captures that spirit with its fanciful presentation of its signature Gamay grape’s journey – first from vine to bottle, and then off to wine lovers around the world.   The label also represents the first ever consumer-chosen label for Georges Duboeuf Nouveau – a process that was conducted entirely over social media (also unprecedented for the brand). What started as a competition among French wine distributors to deliver the first Beaujolais Nouveau to Paris has grown into a worldwide celebration. Released after the stroke of midnight on the third Thursday in November per French law, Beaujolais Nouveau is a bright, fresh red wine made from the Gamay grape. The 2016 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is 100% hand-harvested, using traditional vinification methods that include carbonic maceration. The estate released a 2016 harvest video to commemorate the vintage.    To celebrate this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau Day, second generation proprietor Franck Duboeuf will tonight uncork some of the first bottles at New York City’s Bouley Botanical, at a dinner prepared by Chef Daniel Eddy of Rebelle in NYC and formerly of Spring (among the most coveted reservation in Paris).  Georges Duboeuf has also partnered with hundreds of wine bars and restaurants around the country that are celebrating the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau, as well as harvest-themed parties thrown by the French-American Chamber of Commerce in cities including New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Houston, San Francisco, and Seattle among others. To find a Beaujolais Nouveau party near you, visit www.faccwinefestivals.com.   Retailing at $11.99 nationwide, the 2016 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau complements an abundance of holiday dishes, from savory roasts to cranberry sauce, with all its fresh aromas of red and black fruits, strawberry jam and hints of white peach on the nose. It is fresh, fruit-forward and flavorful on the palate with a deliciously satisfying finish. It is best served slightly chilled, between 62°F - 66°F, which is just slightly cooler than room temperature, to enhance the aromas and fruit flavors.   The region of Beaujolais’ deep, granitic soils are responsible for granting its Nouveau wines such immediately gratifying generosity of fruit, and the 2016 vintage saw near-perfect summer growing conditions. The ideal hot and dry crescendo to harvest enabled the resulting wines to exude what has been called a perfect combination of freshness and lively fruit character.   For more information about Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, visit http://www.duboeuf.com/ or www.facebook.com/GeorgesDuboeuf.     About Les Vins Georges Duboeuf Georges Duboeuf is a premium producer of award-winning French wines from the Beaujolais and Mâconnais regions of Burgundy and the South of France. Georges Duboeuf is the #1 selling brand of Beaujolais in the world and the world’s highest scoring French wine brand under $20, according to Wine Advocate (2009-2013).   Georges Duboeuf’s love affair with Beaujolais is no secret. His legendary palate, his ability to spot great wine and his enthusiasm continue to make him an emblematic figure in the wine industry. The wines Les Vins Georges Duboeuf bring to market are renowned for their consistency, quality and value. Georges Duboeuf currently works closely with hundreds of wine growers (over 400 in the Beaujolais region alone) to ensure the highest quality fruit from each region. They are sold in 120 countries throughout the world.   Les Vins Georges Duboeuf are imported by Quintessential Wines, based in Napa, California.   About Quintessential Wines Founded in 2002 by father and son, Stephen D. and Dennis Kreps, Quintessential is a family owned-and-operated import, marketing and sales company headquartered in Napa, CA.  It is dedicated exclusively to representing multi-generational, family owned-and-operated producers who have the same passion for winemaking as Quintessential has in strategically marketing and selling their wines.  These producers, from most of the top wine regions around the world, create wines that offer the best, most authentic expression of the grapes from their respective vineyards.   For press inquiries, images and samples please contact Kimberly Noelle Charles or Alexandra Fondren at Charles Communications Associates at press@charlescomm.com or 415.701.9463.
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2016 Beaujolais Nouveau Celebration at Mon Ami Gabi

8 November, 2016

MON AMI GABI PRESENTS: 2016 BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU CELEBRATION Featuring Les Vins de Georges Duboeuf Monday, November 21, 2016   WHO:  Celebrate the much-anticipated release of the 2016 Beaujolais Nouveau vintage at Mon Ami Gabi! The Reston, Virginia location of the classic French bistro is teaming up with the leader in the Beaujolais category, Les Vins de Georges Duboeuf, to bring you a special wine pairing dinner, showcasing four Beaujolais wines paired with a seasonal menu from Executive Chef Phil Frederick. WHAT:  Beaujolais Nouveau symbolizes the end of the growing season and an invitation to partake of autumn’s bounty. No other wine is released annually with such anticipation, made and released as a finished product only four-to-six weeks after being handpicked off the vine - literally putting a cork on the end of harvest.  November is the time to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau after it’s released (famously on the third Thursday of November) and wine lovers everywhere are counting down to the revelry around the wine that's as beloved with turkey and roast chicken as it is with good friends, rosy cheeks and boisterous shouts of Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!  #FirstWineOfTheHarvest   The pinnacle Nouveau Day event in the Washington, D.C. metro area kicks off at Reston’s Mon Ami Gabi with a thoughtfully paired tasting menu that includes:   Garlic Sausage & Creamed Brussels Sprouts with Dijon mustard  Shellfish Cassoulet with mussels, scallops, shrimp and white northern beans Spiced Red Wine Poached Pear & Brown Butter Tart with almond granola and vanilla ice cream   Click here for the complete menu and wine pairings.   The event is priced at $70 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Space is limited; please call Mon Ami Gabi at 703-707-0233 or email Melissa at mswaringen@leye.com to secure your spot.  A limited number of media passes are available, please contact Charles Communications Associates at 415|701-9463 or press@charlescomm.com.   Can’t make the dinner? Celebrate the Beaujolais release with Mon Ami Gabi all week with à la carte specials. WHEN:    Monday, November 21st from 6:30pm – 9:00pm WHERE:   Mon Ami Gabi,  11950 Democracy Drive,  Reston, VA 20190 703.707.0233   MORE:    Mon Ami Gabi is a classic French bistro from Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. The menu highlights traditional dishes including Onion Soup Au Gratin, Trout Almondine, Wild Escargots de Bourgogne and the trademark Steak Frites alongside seasonal specialties.  T o complement the food, an extensive selection of more than 80 boutique French wines – handpicked by renowned chef and owner Gabino Sotelino – are served from the restaurant's signature rolling wine cart.      Don’t forget to post your Nouveau experience to social media and follow the celebrations nation-wide!     Hashtag:      #FirstWineOfTheHarvest Facebook:        MonAmiGabiRTC @GeorgesDuboeuf Twitter:          @MonAmiReston @GeorgesDuboeuf Instagram:     @MonAmiGabiBistro @DuboeufWines   5 Beaujolais Nouveau Facts  Beaujolais Nouveau is the world's freshest wine - it takes about 60 days for its grapes to go from vine to glass, seeing no oak and only a short time in bottle. All Beaujolais Nouveau grapes must be picked by hand (Beaujolais & Champagne are France's only regions where hand harvesting is mandatory). Beaujolais Nouveau owes its fresh, juicy style to the winemaking process called 'carbonic maceration' which facilitates gentle, whole berry fermentation. Serve Beaujolais Nouveau slightly cool, at about 55 degrees (F). Even though it’s red, this fresh wine is most refreshing, fruit-forward & food-friendly when chilled. Beaujolais Nouveau Day was historically on November 15th until 1985. Now, under French law, Beaujolais Nouveau is always released at 12:01am on the third Thursday of November. The reason? It’s France's excuse to celebrate its 100+ Nouveau Day festivals over a four-day weekend, every year! CONTACT: For media inquiries and interviews, please contact Charles Communications Associates at 415|701-9463 or press@charlescomm.com
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Fetzer Vineyards Navigates the Road to Regeneration

27 October, 2016

                      Fetzer Vineyards Navigates the Road to Regeneration Sustainability Pioneer Convenes Thought Leaders for Celebration of Regenerative Practices Hopland, CA, October 27, 2016 – Over harvest this year, Fetzer Vineyards welcomed influencers to its Hopland estate for Road to Regeneration, an immersive day highlighting the nearly 50-year-old winery’s forward-looking sustainability practices. Seeking new and innovative ways to illustrate the benefits of a regenerative approach to business, Fetzer Vineyards capped off the day with an engaging presentation of “Beautiful Trash,” a collection of works highlighting recycled materials by Bay Area-based artist and previous de Young museum artist-in-residence Adrian Arias. “Coupling practical discussions of our sustainability practices with a presentation of Adrian’s artwork helped us extend the conversation around regeneration to a much larger context,” said Josh Prigge, Director of Regenerative Development, who spoke at the Business Forum at last year’s United Nations Climate Talks in Paris. “We think it’s essential that we find creative ways to communicate this broad and holistic approach to sustainability, so more organizations are inspired to take this approach predicated on giving back to the environment and communities through positive impacts.” Bringing Importance of Recycling to Life through Art & Performance Fusing a mixture of spoken-word poetry, video, a slideshow of previous works and performance art, Peruvian-born Arias created a totally unique environment for bringing to light the issue of trash floating in our oceans – along with problems arising from excessive waste in any locale. Prior to Arias’ presentation, Road to Regeneration guests witnessed Fetzer Vineyards’ Zero Waste production facility at work, enjoyed a locally sourced low-emissions lunch and sampled the flagship Fetzer wine collection with VP Winemaking & Winery Operations and 28-year Fetzer Vineyards veteran Bob Blue. Road to Regeneration guest Allison Jordan, VP Environmental Affairs at Wine Institute and Executive Director of CA Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, noted, “I’ve had the privilege of working with vintners and growers throughout the state on the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program and Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing for more than a decade, and Fetzer Vineyards has been one of the leaders since the very beginning. It was exciting to see first-hand so many of the winery’s on-the-ground examples of innovation in sustainable winegrowing and regenerative agriculture.”   Fetzer Vineyards’ recent sustainability milestones, highlighted at Road to Regeneration, include: Water Conservation & Re-Use Powered by Nature: Launching this year, Fetzer Vineyards’ Biofiltro BIDA® system will harness the power of worms and microbes to remove 99% of contaminants from winery wastewater. The system is expected to regenerate approximately 15 million gallons of water annually, reduce energy consumption and produce nutrient-rich compost for vineyards. Read more on the BIDA® system and Fetzer Vineyards’ water initiatives at fetzer.com/water.   World’s First Zero Waste-Certified Winery: “Our goal is to replenish what we take and revitalize the land to leave it healthier than we found it,” said Prigge. In 2015 alone, Fetzer Vineyards reintroduced 1,671 tons of grape skins, stems and seeds into vineyards as compost, and diverted 99.1% of all winery waste from landfill or incineration. Read more on Fetzer Vineyard’s zero waste practices at fetzer.com/commitment.   CarbonNeutral® Certification Furthers Emissions Reduction Mission: Fetzer Vineyards was the first U.S. wine company to operate on 100% renewable energy, back in 1999. In 2016, the winery took responsibility for its greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing carbon offset credits, becoming the first U.S. winery certified CarbonNeutral by Natural Capital Partners. Fetzer Vineyards supports the global fight against climate change as a member of Climate Neutral Now, an advocacy group founded by the United Nations Framework on Climate Change. Read more at fetzer.com/carbonneutral.   Upholding B Corp Values, from Vineyard to Glass: As the largest winery in the world certified as a B Corp – a standard considered by many to be among the most rigorous for corporate and social responsibility in business – Fetzer Vineyards takes innovative steps to enhance local ecosystems and empower employees and communities. Read more on B Corp values at fetzer.com/bcorp. About Fetzer Vineyards With nearly 50 years of experience in earth-first winemaking, Fetzer Vineyards is recognized as a leader in environmental stewardship and business ethics. Fetzer Vineyards was the first U.S. wine company to operate on 100% renewable energy, the first to report greenhouse gas emissions to The Climate Registry, and the first certified by the US Zero Waste Business Council. The world’s largest B Corp winery, Fetzer Vineyards strives to find the perfect equilibrium between earth, vine and communities to regenerate ecosystems and bring wines of quality and character to the table. In keeping with these values, the company has committed to becoming Net Positive by the year 2030. www.fetzer.com For press inquiries and images, please contact Courtney Cochran at courtney.cochran@fetzer.com or 707.670.0268. Otherwise, please contact Kimberly Noelle Charles or Hillary Lyons at Charles Communications Associates at press@charlescomm.com or 415.701.9463.  
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Robert Parker's Wine Advocate Brings Matter Of Taste Tour To Napa Valley

20 October, 2016

ROBERT PARKER’S WINE ADVOCATE BRINGS  MATTER OF TASTE TOUR TO NAPA VALLEY  Global Series of Exclusive Wine Experiences to Feature Top Rated Wines from Around the World on Saturday, November 5, 2016     San Francisco, CA (October 19, 2016) – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (RobertParker.com)the world’s most recognized authority on wine, is bringing its international Matter of Taste tour to Napa Valley on Saturday, November 5th at the elegant Meritage Resort & Spa Napa as part of a global series of exclusive events for RobertParker.com members, non-members and guests.   Coming on the heels of a sold out event in New York City earlier this year, this no-holds-barred wine tasting experience, Matter of Taste Napa is built around 150 of the most iconic wines from around the world. The globe-trotting Matter of Tastewalkabout tastings have celebrated different regional themes with every city, but the wine focus of Napa’s installment will be “Reviewers’ Choice: Icon Wines of the World.” Most of the reviewers on the publication’s expert team – led by Robert M. Parker Jr. himself – have nominated their favorite finds from throughout the wine world to feature at Napa’s Matter of Taste, all of which have been scored 90 points or above.   Events will include a VIP preview hour, the grand walk-around tasting as well as a selection of rare wine Master Classes. There will also be range of intimate, exclusive dinners on offer on the days surrounding the events, including a reviewer-hosted BYOB dinner at Meritage (see below) and a Château Cheval Blanc Retrospective & Dinner at La Toque, hosted by Robert M. Parker Jr. and Director of Château Cheval Blanc, Pierre Lurton. Several of these events sold out almost immediately upon release so anyone interested should book remaining tickets ASAP.   Held from 2pm-6pm, the walkabout will include an unrivaled line-up of some of the world’s most incredible wines, spanning a vast range of grapes, regions and styles. Rock star winemakers will be pouring their wines, including iconic names such as: Harlan, Larkmead and Shafer (Napa), Kistler, Chalk Hill and Sojourn (Sonoma), Brewer-Clifton, Ridge, Booker Vineyard and Paul Lato (Central Coast), Château de Beaucastel, Chapoutier and Guigal (Rhone), Max Ferd. Richter (Germany), Quilceda Creek Vintners, Gramercy Cellars and Force Majeure (Washington), Penfolds, Henschke and Jim Barry (Australia), and Two Paddocks, Schubert and Craggy Range (New Zealand) – just to name a few!   In addition to the Grand Tasting, five exclusive Master Classes will be offered for those who wish to delve a bit deeper. Wine Advocate Editor in Chief, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW will host ‘Top of the Class New School Pinot Noirs & Chardonnays,’ featuring 12 classic wines, including high-scoring examples from Cullen, Giant Steps, Kongsgaard, and nine other producers. Perrotti-Brown will also moderate ‘Australia’s Greatest Single Vineyards’ including 12 top wines from Torbreck, Brokenwood, Yangarra and Pewsey Vale, among others. Wine Advocate Reviewer Jeb Dunnuck will host a special ‘Titans of the Northern Rhone’ Master Class, where the region’s epic 2009 vintage will be showcased, with wines from M. Chapoutier, Delas Freres, Voge and Guigal, and neighboring blockbuster estates.  Dunnuck will also host ‘Sine Qua Non: One of California’s Greatest Wineries,’ featuring a select vertical of the famed estate’s Syrah & Grenache from 2004 – 2012. Finally, a very special Master Class will be hosted by Robert Parker himself, entitled ‘Napa Valley’s Next AVA? Robert Parker Explores the Singular Estates of Pritchard Hill,’ where he will delve into one of Napa Valley’s most sought after hilltops and its epic 2012 vintage.  A complete list of featured wines as well as tickets for both the Grand Tasting and all three Master Classes are available at a-matter-of-taste.com/.   The Matter of Taste walkabout tasting will be capped of by The Ultimate Hedonist’s BYOB Dinner on November 5th. As part of the Napa Valley installment of Matter of Taste events, the Robert Parker Wine Advocate review team will host a “La Paulée” style Finale Dinner BYOB event, where guests are invited to bring up to three bottles of their favorite “90 RP points or above” wines to share with fellow subscribers and reviewers. The dinner will take place on the Oakville Terrace of the Meritage Resort & Spa with a sumptuous sit-down, four-course haute-cuisine menu. Only 100 seats will be available on a first come, first served basis - a rare chance to participate in a true Hedonist’s Gazette dinner with vintners and Wine Advocatehosts Dunnuck and Perrotti-Brown.   “Matter of Taste is our way of saying a heartfelt thank you to our members who we know are the most passionate & knowledgeable wine lovers on the planet,” said Perrotti-Brown. “It’s a tasting for members to experience world-class wines in an entirely new way while meeting the winemakers and estate owners who craft them. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to welcome new members into the world of The Wine Advocate.”   The Matter of Taste series commenced in 2014 and has since traveled to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, London, Chicago, Miami, Manila, Jakarta, San Francisco and New York City. Following Napa, the tour will head to Zurich on February 4, 2017.   Annual members of RobertParker.com are entitled to discounted tickets ($150) to the Matter of Taste Grand Tasting. Non-member tickets ($180 through 10/21) include a one-year membership to RobertParker.com and access to over 500,000 professional wine reviews and articles. A limited number of early entry VIP passes are available for $300. All Master Classes prices vary between $90 and $300 depending on the class. Further details and booking information are available at a-matter-of-taste.com/.   About Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate            For more than 35 years, The Wine Advocate, and later RobertParker.com, has been the global leader and independent consumer’s guide to fine wine. The brand was established by world-famous Robert M. Parker, Jr., the only critic in any field to receive the highest Presidential honor from three countries – France, Italy and Spain. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocateprovides a wealth of information to its subscribers, including a searchable database of more than 500,000 professional wine ratings and reviews plus articles, videos, daily news content, online retail availability and pricing, an active, professionally moderated bulletin board, a mobile app for easy access to the comprehensive online database of reviews, and much more. For more information, visit http://www.eRobertParker.com.
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Bonny Doon Vineyard To Reschedule ‘Grapetionary A-Z’

13 October, 2016

San Juan Bautista, CA -   Grapetionary A-Z, the lively edutainment driven wine tasting event,which explores 26 wines crafted from grapes representing each letter of the alphabet from A to Z, will be rescheduling its October 29th Northern California event at Randall Grahm’s Popelouchum Estate Vineyard in San Juan Bautista, CA. Given the demands of the harvest season and the onset of the most welcome rains earlier than forecasted, the organizers including Grahm, Master of Ceremonies Jason Tesauro and special guest Dr. Jose Vouillamoz co-author of Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours, have confirmed and concluded that rescheduling the event for the spring of 2017 would best benefit all involved.  A date will be selected in the coming weeks and will be announced accordingly. Grapetionary is equal parts discovery and decadence, a bucket list event for every level, from novice to Master Sommelier. Forbes called the event “The Most Unique Wine Event I’ve Ever Experienced.”  Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine said of this event: “Looking at the list of wines Jason has assembled, I’m hugely impressed by the breadth of the selection.”    About the organizers    Dr. José Vouillamoz trained in grape DNA profiling and parentage analyses in the world-famous laboratory of Professor Carole Meredith at the University of California at Davis. Since 2004 he has been an independent researcher at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. He was the first to establish the DNA profiles of Near East grape varieties and to tackle grape domestication from a genetic point of view.  Randall Grahm is the founder, chief-winemaker and “philosopher king” of Bonny Doon Vineyard. He is perhaps best known for his pioneering work with Rhone varietals in California as the original “The Rhône Ranger,” and for his award-winning book, “Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology.” Grahm was an early proponent of transparent ingredient labeling on bottled wines, and has been a prominent advocate of terroir-driven wines and biodynamic practices. Most recently Grahm has focused on his project at Popelouchum Estate Vineyard to discover a new world Grand Cru.     Jason Tesauro is an author/sommelier/raconteur. He’s the recipient of two national writing awards, author of three books and father of five children. Tesauro co-authored The MODERN GENTLEMAN series and currently contributes booze / food/  culture journalism to The New York Times, Travel+Leisure, Men’s Journal and others. His latest feature was selected for Best Food Writing 2016.   To learn more about this vinous roadshow which has taken place in several cities around the U.S. please visitgrapetionary.com.      For media inquiries, please contact Kimberly Noelle Charles or Alexandra Fondren at Charles Communications Associates at 415|701-9463 or press@charlescomm.com 
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Bonny Doon Vineyard Presents "Grapetionary A-Z" October 29, 2016 in San Juan Bautista, CA

5 October, 2016

    Bonny Doon Vineyard Presents ‘Grapetionary A-Z’ Taste 26 wines representing each letter of the alphabet from A-Z at Bonny Doon’s Popelouchum Estate Vineyard in San Juan Bautista Saturday, October 29, 2016     WHAT   Swirl, Sniff, Savor. Repeat x 26.   Bonny Doon proprietor Randall Grahm invites you to stroll the vineyards, enjoy a harvest feast and taste the world via 26 wines representing each letter of the alphabet from A to Z – most of which you’ve never tasted before and might never taste again.   Oenophiles are eager to explore not only what’s new, but what’s rare, obscure or well under the radar. Bonny Doon Vineyard’s founder, winemaker and resident philosopher, Randall Grahm, and his very special guests will guide you from Albariño to Zibibbo in a sumptuous afternoon of sipping, feasting and vitaceous fellowship.   Featuring Master of Ceremonies, acclaimed epicurean author Jason Tesauro (bio below), and Dr. José Vouillamoz, the internationally renowned Swiss botanist, grape geneticist and co-author of Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours, who is traveling from his home in Sion, Switzerland for this exclusive event (which is based on his monumental tome). Grapetionary is equal parts discovery and decadence, a bucket list event for every level, from novice to Master Sommelier. Paired with this eclectic assemblage of wines is a multi-course farm-to-table feast prepared by Chef Alexander Ong (of San Francisco’s acclaimed Betelnut), according to seasonal bounty and the sun-kissed gardens at Popelouchum.   Forbes called Grapetionary “The Most Unique Wine Event I’ve Ever Experienced.”  Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine said of this event: “Looking at the list of wines Jason has assembled, I’m hugely impressed by the breadth of the selection.”   WHO   Dr. José Vouillamoz trained in grape DNA profiling and parentage analyses in the world-famous laboratory of Professor Carole Meredith at the University of California at Davis. Since 2004 he has been an independent researcher at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. He was the first to establish the DNA profiles of Near East grape varieties and to tackle grape domestication from a genetic point of view. Randall Grahm is the founder, chief-winemaker and “philosopher king” of Bonny Doon Vineyard. He is perhaps best known for his pioneering work with Rhone varietals in California as the original “The Rhône Ranger,” and for his award-winning book, “Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology.” Grahm was an early proponent of transparent ingredient labeling on bottled wines, and has been a prominent advocate of terroir-driven wines and biodynamic practices. Most recently Grahm has focused on his project at Popelouchum Estate Vineyard to discover a new world Grand Cru.   Jason Tesauro is an author/sommelier/raconteur. He’s the recipient of two national writing awards, author of three books and father of five children. Tesauro co-authored The MODERN GENTLEMAN series and currently contributes booze / food/  culture journalism to The New York Times, Travel+Leisure, Men’s Journal and others. His latest feature was selected for Best Food Writing 2016. WHEN   Saturday, October 29, 2016, 12:00 – 5:00pm   WHERE   Popelouchum Estate Vineyard 543 Mission Vineyard Rd., San Juan Bautista, CA (90 minutes from San Francisco or Oakland; 45 minutes from Santa Cruz, California) MORE   Tickets are $250 per person (Inclusive of sales tax & gratuity). 21+ years old only, please. To purchase tickets, please visit the Bonny Doon Vineyard store HERE. (Wine club members receive 15% off the ticket price). Email orders@bonnydoonvineyard.com or call 888-819-6789 and select option #3 for any questions.   Full details at grapetionary.com.   CONTACT   For media inquiries and interviews, please contact Kimberly Noelle Charles or Alexandra Fondren at Charles Communications Associates at 415|701-9463 or press@charlescomm.com      
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Bruce Cass, Noted Wine Educator, Author and Innovator has died

4 October, 2016

Bruce Cass, Noted Wine Educator, Author and Innovator has died   Grass Valley, CA – The wine industry has lost a luminary with the passing of notedauthor, writer, teacher and tireless advocate of all things vinous, Bruce Cass.  Cass died of natural causes at his home in the Sierra Foothills on September 20, 2016.   Achieving national acclaim as co-author of The Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America  published in 2000, Bruce was a perpetual student and an unforgettable teacher.   He reveled in the exploration of Californian terroir in recent years, taking his motorcycle on the backroads and byways of the various American Viticultural Areas.     Born in Minnesota on February 16, 1948, Bruce’s family moved to Menlo Park and later Whittier, CA where he attended La Serna High School.  His force of personality, wit and humor made him a memorable figure while attending Stanford University where he graduated in 1969 with a degree in Psychology.   He won a varsity letter as a member of the football team.  He played as wide receiver and tight end for a squad led by Jim Plunkett- the 1970 Heisman trophy winner.  He averaged 14 yards per catch during the 1968 season.     Early on in his career, Bruce was drawn to wine and was among the first, as he was in so many cases, to formally launch a wine education company, dubbed Wine Associates.  He taught wine classes at Stanford, University of California Medical Center and University of California Berkeley.   As the nascent California wine industry became more established in the early 1970s, he was called upon by the Wine Institute of California, the trade association to the industry, to create the Wine on Campus curriculum.  Additionally he was one of the west coast founders of the bi-coastal team who created the Society of Wine Educators.     His deep passion for knowledge and fine acumen with the esoteric led him to initially publish The Winewright’s Register in1985, considered to be a formational book for small wineries in California who were advancing their understanding of viticulture and enology.    Quickly, he became a regular expert on the wines of North America being tapped by the likes of both Jancis Robinson as well as James Halliday to be the Managing Editor of 1993 James Beard Award winning book, The Wine Atlas of California.     A tireless student of wine, Bruce often traveled outside California to satisfy his thirst for knowledge.   His travels included working crush in the Yarra Valley at Coldstream Hills, to exploring the little known but emerging region of South Africa from a wine production standpoint long before it became known on a global stage.   His taste for the foreign and unexplored was also satisfied by jaunts to Uruguay, Chile Argentina, New Zealand and much of Europe.   After many years of calling San Francisco, CA home, ever the vanguard explorer, Bruce moved to the Sierra Foothills to tend his garden, immerse himself in the region’s wine life and continued with his teachings both there and in the Bay Area.   Jancis Robinson who wrote of his passing in her Purple Pages over the weekend,http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/farewell-bruce-cass reminisced working with Bruce on the Oxford Companion in 1999 stating “All of us contributors to the North American book were gathered by Bruce to discuss wine and show examples from all over the continent.  It was typical of him to insist on this collegiate approach.  He always had ideas of how to change the world for the better.” Bruce is survived by his sister, Janet Cass-Baxter and two nephews, Evan and Cameron Baxter. A memorial service is being planned for him in Northern California wine country later this fall.      
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Kazzit Set to Disrupt Wine Tourism Industry

14 September, 2016

Kazzit Announces Website Redesign & New Mobile App New Kazzit.com Features Refreshed Design, Enhanced Content & Search Capabilities and a Mobile App   San Francisco, CA, September 14, 2016 – Kazzit, the wine industry’s most all-inclusive online community, today announced the launch of a new, redesigned version of its website, www.kazzit.com.  Still 100% free to consumers, key features of the site include a sleeker, more attractive design, a more engaging user experience with enhanced search and navigation, and a new mobile app.   Kazzit is the brainchild of Phoenix restaurateur Peter Kasperski and serial entrepreneur Babak Motamedi, who founded the website in February 2014 after the two wine-loving friends grew frustrated at the lack of comprehensive travel planning sites specifically built for wine tourism. In 2015, the United States alone saw over 30 million travelers, or 17% of American leisure travelers, engaged in culinary or wine-related activities in the first decade of the 21st century, resulting in $3 billion spent on wine-related purchases while in wine country – a huge tourism segment that had been heretofore ignored.   Clearly, Kasperski and Motamedi were on to something. Since its soft-launch two years ago, Kazzit now has a database of nearly 10,000 wineries (over 9,000 more than its closest competitor) across the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, and Ireland, and will reach 50,000 unique users this month (adding 600+ per day on average).  With its 92/100 Google experience ranking, wine lovers and industry insiders alike are drawn to Kazzit for its ease of use, online reservation system, detailed winery information and reviews, and educational blog, which is updated almost daily.   Since 2014, the average organic visitor to Kazzit spends over 5 minutes and 18 seconds on the site (58 seconds is the general average for most sites), with a return rate of 30-40%. These return users spend an impressive 11.5 minutes on average on return visits, clicking an average of 8.6 pages deep reading about wineries (a huge number by any digital marketing standard).   With some of the most dynamic search capability out there, consumers can use Kazzit to seek out specific wineries, discover new ones based on region or preferences (ie. wineries that specialize in specific varieties or styles), and also to find the perfect winery setting for events like weddings, corporate retreats, educational seminars and even baby showers.    This micro-level of personalization to consumer search demand has positioned Kazzit as a leader in wine consumer data – a benefit that Kazzit’s winery partners are beginning to capitalize on at a B2B level.  Aside from the user reviews, Kazzit’s elastic, open-ended search capabilities have unlocked an unprecedented amount of data that partner wineries can access; for example, the trendiest wine style in the month of September, the most popular types of winery events in the Finger Lakes, the demographic most likely to seek out white wine in winter, or the most searched wine region overall (hint: it’s not Napa).  Co-founder Motamedi has plans to publish some of this data in a future quarterly industry report.   No single platform has ever had access to this level of micro-data in the wine industry, and Kazzit is thus poised to take wine marketing to the next level, as wineries find themselves now capable of unlocking a new level of exposure and engagement never before seen.  Kazzit’s aim is to democratize wine and lift all boats, from the mom & pop winery in Hornby Island, British Columbia who can barely afford a website with a fraction of Kazzit’s capabilities, to the most sophisticated winery operation in Napa, and help everyone answer that simple, but ever-elusive question, “What do my customers want?”   Beyond wineries, the wine trade has noticed Kazzit as well, with distributors and suppliers increasingly turning to the site’s sleek layout when calling on their vendors to pitch a portfolio. In an unintended side-effect of Kazzit’s straightforward, one-page layout of winery search results, wine salespeople no longer need to wade through ‘evocative’ labyrinthine winery websites for critical information, with their long, (sometimes musical) page-loads and unintuitive layout.  Kazzit instead pulls into its database all the relevant data that busy trade and consumers most want to access and puts it all in one place (without the music).   The upcoming launch of Kazzit’s new mobile app will help enable more spontaneous searching on-the-go, with an enhanced zip-code function that displays the closest wineries to a user’s current location, along with the review and reservation features as well as local winery events for opportunistic (or on the go) planners.  Wineries can also now capitalize, publishing timely deals directly to the platform and utilizing Kazzit as a marketing partner arm to help attract potential customers nearby.   With its leadership position in the wine industry already staked, Kazzit sought to take the site’s educational component to the next level, enlisting the expertise of internationally renowned Master Sommelier, Laura Williamson, MS, CWE, hiring her to its executive team in February 2015.  Before Williamson attained it in 2005, only 12 women had held the expert credential of Master Sommelier (MS) – the highest in the industry. She has since directed wine programs at three star Michelin restaurants while managing the (sommelier favorite) Terry Theise portfolio on a national scale, all the while remaining a highly-sought educator and speaker at international wine conferences.  With Williamson’s impressive credentials, Kazzit has plans to roll out a “Somm Content Engine” in 2017, which will have curated, personalized features to help even the most seasoned wine experts and lovers plan their next wine vacation.   Williamson said, “Kazzit provides so many different tools for learning, and allows consumers, skilled sommeliers and everyone in between to connect with a wealth of knowledge, taking the mystery out of wine and breaking down barriers in the wine world.”   About Kazzit Kazzit stands out as the world’s most comprehensive online winery resource.  Kazzit serves as the ultimate all-inclusive online community, connecting wineries, vineyards, restaurateurs, collectors, sales people and enthusiasts, and helping them share services, products, experiences and consumer applications.   Kazzit helps wineries connect with both trade and consumers by providing comprehensive winery profiles, winery ratings, photo galleries, maps, real-time social media updates, upcoming winery events and a means to book wine tastings and plan wine trips all in one place.    The name Kazzit pays tribute to the friendship between founders Babak Motamedi & Peter Kasperski, which had its genesis at Kazimierz Wine Bar near what would become Kazzit’s headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.   For press inquiries and images, please contact Kimberly Noelle Charles or Alexandra Fondren at Charles Communications Associates at press@charlescomm.com or 415.701.9463. 
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Crocker & Starr Winery Celebrates 20 Years

8 September, 2016

  Crocker & Starr Winery Celebrates 20 Years Estate St. Helena Property Celebrates with 20-Vintage Vertical and New Winery Facility   St. Helena, CA, September 8, 2016Crocker & Starr will mark its 20-year anniversary this September. The estate winery, located in St. Helena, Napa Valley has become renowned for its award winning Sauvignon Blanc (rated the “12th Best Wine in the World” on Wine Spectator’s 2006 “Top 100 List”), its sommelier-favorite Cabernet Franc, and distinctive Napa-style Cabernet Sauvignon. Established in 1996 by San Francisco entrepreneur Charlie Crocker and former Spottswoode winemaker Pam Starr, the winery has spent the last two decades cultivating the land to bring it to its fullest potential, and blending distinct blocks to define their own characteristic style founded on the estate’s deep Napa Valley roots. Though Crocker & Starr was founded twenty years ago, the estate has deep roots in Napa history which date back to 1875, when Irish-born James Dowdell first planted Zinfandel and Riesling there in the then budding wine region of St. Helena.  Dowdell sold grapes from this property (situated on what is now Dowdell Lane) during some of Napa’s most precarious years as a wine region, and can be partly credited for helping to keep the region’s wine industry afloat during at least one of its early economic downturns. The property has since become legend for its singular terroir, characterized by alluvial soils that proved almost unmistakable in any wine produced from its grapes. Today, Crocker & Starr handcrafts a small production of exquisite wines from select blocks within the 100-acre vineyard. Pam sees herself as a “soil-translator,” and her fidelity to the estate’s distinctive terroir has been evident in each wine she has made from the property. The vines are cultivated following organic principles, while the clusters are hand harvested and vinified through cutting edge winemaking techniques, blending the best of Old World philosophy and New World fruit. Between Charlie’s historic estate, that has grown grapes for over 140 years, and Pam’s winemaking expertise, vision, and business acumen, the partners have proved to be a spectacular match.   To celebrate this milestone, Crocker & Starr brought together select sommeliers, wine writers, and thought leaders in the industry for a tasting of the estate’s 20 consecutive vintages of Cabernet Franc and ‘Stone Place’ Cabernet Sauvignon to exhibit the progression of Pam Starr’s winemaking philosophy as well as the evolution of this exceptional estate.  Moderated by Christie Dufault, Associate Professor of Wine and Beverage Studies at The Culinary Institute of America (and renowned sommelier), the vertical elicited an overwhelmingly positive response from attendees, who applauded their trajectory. Fred Swan, San Francisco-based wine writer, educator and authority on California wines and wineries, summarized, “The 17-wine verticals of both Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon were remarkable. From beginning to end, each flight demonstrated Pam Starr’s gift for producing elegant, delicious wines which clearly reflect both the character and quality of Charlie Crocker’s vines and the unique signature of each vintage.” Christopher Sawyer, internationally renowned sommelier, wine educator and journalist, added “As a sommelier and wine writer, I've always believed the true expression of Napa Valley shines in wine made with grapes grown at special sites and handled by winemakers who think like farmers. As proven at the 20-year anniversary tasting, the simpatico relationship between vineyard owner Charlie Crocker, gifted winemaker Pam Starr and the pristine Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes grown on the historic estate near St. Helena make Crocker & Starr such an essential wine brand to follow for decades to come.”   The anniversary fortuitously coincides with the completion of the new, Taylor Lombardo-designed Crocker & Starr winery building, marking 2016 as the first vintage to be 100% vinified on site.  ‘Stone Place’ Cabernet Sauvignon is named for the original Dowdell stone architecture, which also forms the façade of the new winery.  Pam and Charlie officially celebrated its opening at the estate’s annual invitation only ‘Carnivus’ harvest party on Sunday, with over 300 wine club members and friends of the winery. Of the winery’s milestone, Charlie Crocker said, “Pam and I have had a great 20 year partnership, but we are really excited about the future, including the potential of our new winery and the great wines we plan to produce.”   About Crocker & Starr Crocker & Starr is located in the St. Helena appellation of Napa Valley, one mile south of downtown St. Helena. Established in 1996 by San Francisco entrepreneur Charlie Crocker and heralded winemaker Pam Starr, the winery is defined by its commitment to sustainable practices, preservation of Napa heritage, and to expressing the power and balance of the estate’s distinctive soil through its marquee Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Starr’s winemaking approach is a balance of technical know-how and intuition, using the most cutting edge tools to guide her in interpreting the character of the land, while consciously blending unique blocks to bring each vintage to its fullest expression.   For press inquiries and images, please contact Kimberly Charles or Alexandra Fondren at Charles Communications Associates at press@charlescomm.com or 415.701.9463. 
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