On August 10, the Court of Master Sommeliers awarded the Advanced Sommelier diploma to the following candidates: Peter Bothwell (Mandarin Oriental, New York City), David Castleberry (Guild of Sommeliers, San Francisco), Bill Elsey (Red Room Lounge, San Marcos, Texas), Morgan Harris (Corkbuzz Wine Studio, New York City), Samuel Huerta (Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Dallas), Jeffrey Kellogg (Redd, Yountville, California), Andrew Marshall (Charleston Grill and Charleston Place, Charleston, South Carolina), Grant Reynolds (Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, Colorado), David Yoshida (Acker Merrall & Condit/Yale University, New Haven) and Jill Zimorski (Volt, Washington, D.C.).
New Zealand producer Cloudy Bay is planning to release a new wine, 2010 Te Wahi Pinot Noir from Central Otago, later this year. According to winemaker Nick Lane, the wine will spend approximately 14 months in 40% new French oak, with roughly 1,000 cases released annually. Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are expected to be key markets for the launch. The release date has not yet been announced.
The Duncan family, owners of Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars in Napa Valley, California, has announced the acquisition of Sausal Vineyard and Winery, one of Alexander Valley’s oldest boutique wineries and vineyards. Sausal is home to blocks of Zinfandel, with some vines that are up to 130 years old.
Napa Valley, California’s Artesa Vineyards & Winery has appointed Dana Epperson assistant winemaker and lead winemaker for the Artesa’s Elements line. Epperson holds a bachelor’s degree in food science from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Her prior work experiences include serving as enologist for Edna Valley Vineyard and a winemaking position at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery.
According to the market research company Symphony IRI Group, the Washington State brand Chateau Ste. Michelle dominates wine sales in the $8–$10.99 tier, with $94 million in sales during the last year through July 8. California’s Cupcake Vineyards and Robert Mondavi Private Selection account for the second and third most sold brands at this value level, with $87.4 million and $75.4 million in sales, respectively.
DFV Wines has announced plans to open a new bottling plant in south Napa, California, this fall for its North Coast brands, primarily Black Stallion and Irony, as well as several other smaller brands. The new bottling facility, with a capacity of handling 1 million cases of wine annually, is part of DFV’s three-phase five-year plan to expand its grape-crushing capacity at its main winery near Manteca, California, by approximately 43% to 200,000 tons per year.
In connection with California Wine Month in September, Monterey Wine County Vineyards and Growers Association is releasing the Monterey Signature Series Wine Collection, a project that showcases four of Monterey’s American Viticultural Areas. Each wine is a collaboration between three wineries from the designated AVA. The collection consists of Santa Lucia Highlands AVA Pinot Noir, made by Paul Clifton (Hahn Estates), David Fleming (Paraiso Vineyards) and Steve Pessagno (Pessagno Winery); Monterey AVA Pinot Noir, made by Dave Nagengast (Scheid Vineyards), Steve McIntyre (McIntyre Vineyards) and Sabrine Rodems (Wrath Wines); Chalone AVA Chardonnay, made by Robert Cook (Chalone Vineyards), Michael Michaud (Michaud Vineyard) and Phil Woodward (Woodward Graff Wines); and Arroyo Seco AVA Chardonnay made by Karl Antink (J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines), Ivan Giotenov (Carmel Road Winery) and Karl Wente (Wente Vineyards).