About 10 days ago, I was up in Sonoma drinking some fine wine and hanging out with some friends in the vineyard. What I didn’t tell you last week was why I was up there and how important of a trip it really was for me and some very special people.

Last year through a “small world” connection, I met Bill, Mark, and Jeff who approached me and Koi Zen about a collaborative project; they were looking for a partner to help them turn some Sonoma fruit into wine for a really cool cause. Last year they brought down about 7,000 pounds of Sonoma Zinfandel and about 11,000 pounds of Sonoma Pinot Noir which we processed together.

The day after we got the Pinot into the tanks, Bill, who is an amateur winemaker, siphoned off about 18 gallons of Pinot Noir saignée and took it home to make some personal wine. Saignée is a French term which roughly means “to bleed” and is often used to make a Rosé.

Bill named his Rosé, “No Way Rosé” since the truck carrying the fruit (which Mark was driving) almost died in transit from Sonoma to San Diego. In fact, the truck did die as it pulled up to our back doors. Anyway, Bill entered his “No Way Rosé” into the Sacramento State Fair and took a DOUBLE GOLD BEST OF CLASS.  Good job Bill, et al.

Now I am super stoked about all of the barrels of the Pinot Noir sleeping at the winery right now.

This fall we will begin to bottle the Pinot Noir, which is tasting fantastic right now, and I am excited to have a Pinot Noir back on the menu. It is light and elegant and has all of those special qualities of a fine Pinot Noir.

Now the reason that Koi Zen is teamed up with these guys is very interesting and very moving. Bill is also a pilot who does a lot of charity flights, often for cancer patients.  He flies them to and from places they can’t readily get to. And Mark, Jeff, and Bill have a dream to drastically expand this charity work while having some fun in the process (such as a board meeting in a vineyard), but planes are expensive to rent and they are hungry for fuel.

This is where Koi Zen fits in – together (including you) we are going to turn “Wine into Wings”. There is so much more to this cool story and important mission which I will talk about soon. But for right now, start dreaming about some fine Sonoma Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

One more thing, we are going to be releasing new wines very soon. We have a new release of a 2017 Syrah from Paso Robles that drinks like silk with a great mouthfeel and texture. Also, back by popular demand, “Baby B2” – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec that is structured, complex and satisfying.

And for a final thought, the “Stave To Glass” program is going very well. People are really responding to bringing their own bottles (clean, dry and unlabeled) and filling directly from a barrel. You can also get barrel wine by the glass. This has been so popular that the Cab Franc barrel is about to kick. I think the next barrel will be “Amy’s Barrel” of Petite Sirah.

Hope to see you and your friends at the winery soon.

Cheers