Let's Talk Wine!

Sleight of Hand tasting at SDWS Solana Beach

Sleight of Hand LabelsIn mid-February SDWS members enjoyed an evening with Jerry and Sandy Solomon, owners of Sleight of Hand Cellars, the much talked about winery from Walla Walla, Washington. SoH opened their doors in Walla Walla in 2007 and since have received accolades for their seriously good wines and fanciful labels playing on magical themes.

SofH onwers & winemaker

Jerry & Sandy Solomon with winemaker Trey Busch

We tasted a full range of SofH wines, from a crisp 2014 Magician Riesling to their balanced, full bodied 2012 Illusionist Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine advocate and Wine Spectator have raved about the SofH wines, with WS giving 94 points to the 2011 Walla Walla Syrah The Funkadelic.

SofH bottlesA little quiz:  See if you can pick out the well-known actor who hosted this year’s Academy Awards in one of the labels shown above.

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San Diego customer loungeWe did it! It took a while but we finally finished our renovation of the San Diego reception area, transforming it from individual offices to a spacious, comfortable area to entertain our members and guests. We celebrated with an opening on Saturday, February 14th where customers checked out the new digs with a selection of fine wine and cheeses.

“We want all our facilities to be customer friendly, first and foremost” said Dermot Gilligan, one of the San Diego Wine Storage principals. “In both San Diego and Solana Beach, members can feel free to attend scheduled tastings as well as to simply stop by to share a bottle with friends and other members. The one thing that ties us all together is we love to share good wine.”

SD opening2SDWS has launched a series of Winemaker tastings in its two facilities, as well as events sponsored by major wine auction houses such as Hart Davis Hart and Spectrum Wine Auctions.

Customer lounge in San Diego



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San Diego Wine Storage hosted Red Stitch Winery, co-owned by former baseball world champion Dave Roberts, at our Solana Beach facility on February 4th. The event was packed as SDWS members got a chance to sample Red Stitch’s portfolio of wines from Napa and Santa Lucia Highlands.

Red Stitch teamDave was joined by his partner and former San Francisco Giants teammate Rich Aurilia to present their flagship 2011 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon along with an impressive selection of 2013 single vineyard pinot noirs and a crowd pleasing, minerally chardonnay from Santa Lucia Highlands. 

THE STEALThe SLH wines were just released so our SDWS members were the first to taste the vintage. In total Red Stitch produces only 700 cases of wine, so it was a real treat for everyone to not only taste these impressive wines but to talk a little baseball with Dave Roberts, enshrined by all Boston Red Sox fans for “The Steal” in game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship series that propelled the Red Sox to their first World Series title since 1918.

SDWS exterior & Red Stitch wines


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logoOur friends at Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas will be hosting a major wine event on Saturday September 6th. It’s their second annual Napa Valley Vintners Grand Tasting, and will feature wines from 8 to10 Napa Valley wineries and food from select local restaurants. There’s also a VIP wine pairing dinner in the evening at Bentley’s Steak and Chop House, which is located next to Meritage.

It looks like a great venue, great wine and excellent food. You can buy tickets for the tasting event, VIP dinner, or both at sales@meritagewinemarket.com or call 760-479-2500.

Meritage poster1


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SDWS and Spectrum Wine Auctions do Bordeaux

Spectrum Wine Auction and SDWS

San Diego Wine Storage members and guests turned out in late April to sample a phenomenal selection of top flight Bordeaux sponsored by Spectrum Wine Auctions.

Held in the SDWS Solana Beach facility, 40 tasters tried vintages from Chateaux Langoa Barton, Léoville Barton, Montrose, and Lynch Bages ranging from 2011 to 1990. We finished off the evening with an impressive 1998 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes. The clear WOTN  was the ’90 Lynch Bages followed closely by the ’05 Montrose.

It was a great event and we hope to do a repeat performance—this time with California Cabs—sometime in the future.

Lynch Bages

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Heat Kills!!It’s that time of year again!  Temperatures are climbing, coats and scarves are going back into storage, and we’re all looking forward to that first dip in the swimming pool.  But as much as we like the warm weather, your wine is another story.

If you’ve been collecting over the winter months and have cases stacked up in your garage or office, you need to take precautions so you don’t risk spoiling your investment.  Here are some simple, proven rules that you can use to make sure your wine doesn’t wilt:

1.    Heat kills wine.  Make sure your wine is stored in an area that doesn’t get much above 70 degrees.  And during the dog days of summer, it’s especially important to protect your wine from overheating.  Fifty-five degrees is the optimum temperature for wine.
2.    Keep the temperature steady.  Temperature fluctuations of more than 10 degrees can be more harmful than keeping the wine at a higher than recommended, but steady, temperature. 

3.    Older wines (more than 10 years) are more fragile than their younger brethren and are susceptible to spoilage if storage conditions aren’t right. Fine wines that are built to age are usually expensive, so you’re putting your assets at risk if you don’t store them properly.

4.    Avoid strong lights and vibration. The kitchen is out unless you have a wine fridge and even then you may subject your wine to more vibration than is healthy.

One last thing about home wine coolers: The rule of thumb is never put them in an area where the temperature climbs 30 degrees above the temp you have the cooler set to.  For example, if you have the thermostat set to 55F, the temp in the room shouldn’t get above 85F or you will strain the cooling unit and risk a blowout.  So forget the garage during the summer as it will get hotter than any other room in the house. Garages are good places t0 store lawnmowers, but not wine.

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Miracle Machine We thought we had heard everything until we read about the Miracle Machine, a work in progress from the folks who brought you the flash site Lot18.  The idea sounds simple:  just add water and some proprietary ingredients to a carafe shaped device that is small enough to sit on your kitchen counter, wait 3 days and out comes wine.  And not just plonk; the founders claim their wine will go up against premium cabernets and top flight merlots.  Okay…

From the video it sounds like the business is still in the start-up phase and the founders are looking for investment capital.  Assuming they succeed and take the product to market, it will be interesting to see what Parker and the other scribes think of 3-day old wine, even if it is a miracle.





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gas masks

Now for the third and final installment from the Drinks Business series Wine & Warfare.  If you missed anything here’s the first installment and the second installment.

Wine & Warfare Part XI — Beer and Madness

Wine & Warfare Part XII — Vineyards Under Attack

Wine & Warfare Part XIII – Divine Winds

Wine & Warfare Part XVIV — The Molotov Cocktail

Wine & Warfare Part XV — Marlborough Goes to War


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You gotta see this.  On January 21st in northern Italy three boulders broke loose from a cliff and roared down the mountainside.  One boulder ripped through an unoccupied part of the winery while a second stopped just inches from the main structure.  The building houses a catholic order, so it makes you wonder about divine intervention…







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Wine Barrels

Here’s the second installment from the Drinks Business series Wine & Warfare. We’ll post the third and final installment soon.  To read the first chapters click here.

Wine & Warfare Part VI – Death in BurgundyChampagne Bottle

Wine & Warfare Part VII – The Vivandières

Wine & Warfare Part VIII – Battlefield Medicine

Wine & Warfare Part IX – Le Salut au Pinard

Wine & Warfare Part X – Rum & Blood

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