Wine & Port Clubs
Get only the wines & ports you love!

COW & PLOW Club Mooosletter
July - September ~ Volume 2014, Issue 3

A Note from Jill & Bill Smyth

Dear COW & PLOW Club Members -

Your 3rd Quarter Ports will be ready to pick up (or shipped) beginning Saturday, July 12, 2014 (see details later in this newsletter).
COW/PLOW Fest 2014
Our June COW/PLOW Fest featuring the Marshall Law Band was fabulous! Many times during the event, COW and PLOW members jumped up on the stage and sang with the band. We even had a few members get up and play various instruments on stage. Over 150 members and guests plus some of our Westover crew attended.
Another highlight of the event was club member Marian Stevens. She brought her original COW membership card (when we issued cards) received when she first joined the club almost 20 years ago. Marian got up on stage, showed off her card and talked about how it has been to be a COW over the years. She also shared with everyone the early requirement to have a pillow fight in our pillow fight arena which we had at the time. Marian Stevens is our featured member this month.
It was such a good time that we have already booked the Marshall Law Band for the 2015 COW/PLOW Fest slated for Sunday, June 21, 2015 - Save the Date!
Award Winning Wines, Ports & Sparklers
We have not entered a wine competition for about five years. We have such a following and so many hundreds of awards, ribbons and plaques from previous competitions; we did not feel the need. In addition, it is expensive to enter wines in competitions and we would rather pass the savings on to our members.
However, we were offered the chance to enter our wines in the commercial competition at the Alameda County Fair this year without an entry fee. We submitted seven wines and won eight awards:

 ~ We won "Best of Show" for our 10-year Tawnies port. 
 ~ Our Je t'aime and Zinfandel won in the red wine category.
 ~ Our Tawnies Port won gold and our Petite Sirah Port won silver. 
 ~ Our Muscat won in the dessert category.
 ~ Our Cuvée La Pêche and Cuvée Close won in the Sparkling category.

We invite you to celebrate with us and enjoy these big award winners!
Westover Goes to Napa
In June, several of our Westover crew went wine tasting in Napa to see where we stand in taste and quality. We were pleased to confirm that being a Westover wine club member is a bargain with great wine.

 ~ Most Napa wineries charge tasting fees up to $30 per taster not applicable to wine purchases.
    At Westover Winery, members and guests taste free.
 ~ Wines were 2-6 times more expensive than comparable Westover & Palomares wines - Westover
    offers vineyard-designated wines $20 or less range. 
 ~ Many wineries have been purchased by large corporations and wines are made at one central
    location and exist 'locally' in brand label only. Westover bottles 100% of its wine on site and you
    get to be friends of the winemaker. 
 ~ Most Napa wine clubs do not offer the opportunity to switch wines - Westover offers its members
    to switch wines as you wish. 
 ~ In a blind tasting, our wines rated better than most Napa wines we tasted.

Our PLOWs & COWs are more than customers - you are members of our winery family. We deeply appreciate your membership and support. We look forward to your next visit and hope to see you soon!
William Westover (Bill) Smyth & Jill Smyth
Owners, Westover & Palomares Vineyards
Jill Smyth, Head of the Herd of PLOWs and COWs

3rd Quarter Club Wines & Ports

Summer COW & PLOW Club wines/ports will be ready for pickup in the tasting room (or shipped) starting on Saturday, July 12, 2014 or any weekend thereafter (Saturday-Sunday, 12:00pm - 5:00pm). The quarterly wines/ports will be available for tasting each weekend through August 10, 2014.


COW Club Q3 Selections

Your 3rd Quarter COW Club selections includes one bottle each of the following two wines. The total cost is $41.65 (including 15% discount and 9% sales tax) billed to the credit card on-file for your account starting July 8th. Orders shipped via UPS will also include a freight fee (California $15.00, Out-of-State $20.00).

2013 Ballet des Vignes, Livermore Valley
Ballet des Vignes means “dance of the vines” in French. We call it this name because it is a dance or blend of Chardonnay and Muscat. This vintage is comprised of about 93% Chardonnay from our Ione Westover Estate Vineyard and 7% Muscat. It is a dry white wine with a hint of fruit and incredible smoothness. COW Club: $16.96/bottle (retail $19.95/bottle).

2012 Early Burgundy (Abouriou grapes), Lodi
Abouriou, also known as Early Burgundy, is a black-skinned grape grown primarily Southwest France. Abouriou is used in the red wines of the Côtes du Marmandais, a region just inland from Bordeaux. The grape has low acidity and a high tannin content that makes it a useful blending component.

In the Côtes du Marmandais, Abouriou is often blended with Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot as well as more eclectic varieties such as Syrah and Gamay. At Westover, we used 100% Abouriou grapes in the production of this vintage. Abouriou vines grow with high vigor, producing high yields. They are also relatively resistant to disease, making the variety popular. They tend to bud and ripen early, which makes Abouriou suitable for cool sites without spring frosts.

In California, Abouriou was once widely planted. In the United States, Abouriou is referred to as Early Burgundy. California winemakers working with the grape have described it as having the aromatics and flavors of Malbec, with the structure of Dolcetto. This would suggest black fruits and spice on the nose, with a broad, possibly chewy mid-palate feel. In these Californian wines, the grape is usually used as a varietal, rather than blended. This vintage has a deep color, medium body, gentle tannins and a cellar life of up to five years. COW Club $21.25/bottle (retail $25.00/bottle).


PLOW Club Q3 Selections

Your 3rd Quarter PLOW Club selections includes one bottle each of the following two ports. The total cost is $52.34 (including 15% discount and 9% sales tax) billed to the credit card on-file for your account starting July 8th. Orders shipped via UPS will also include a freight fee (California $15.00, Out-of-State $20.00).

NV 10-year Tawnies Port
“Best of Show” Best of Bay/Alameda County Commercial Wine Competition

Our finest port was aged in a 30 year old Bourbon Whiskey Barrel made originally for Hiram T. Walker Whiskey, Chicago, Illinois. The port is crafted from the Portuguese grape varietals Tinta Madeira, Tinta Cao, Touriga and Souzão. This port is characterized by its extreme tawny or mahogany color. It is the finest of our wood ports and has an intense dried fruit flavor with a long toasty caramel finish. What more can we say. It is our best. Try is and you will know what we are talking about. PLOW Club $26.35/bottle (retail $31.00/bottle).

NV Rosé Port

Westover is one of the few wineries to do a Rosé style port. Rosé ports are often characterized as being light, delicate, smooth and easy to drink - perfect for summer evenings. Our Rosé port is crafted from a blend Petite Sirah and Chardonnay from Livermore Valley. PLOW Club $21.68/bottle (retail $25.50/bottle).


Upcoming Events

We are planning a full calendar of winery events for 2014! While we're still working out the details, we encourage you to save the following dates in your calendar:
Free Tasting at TwiningVine Winery
July 12th & 13th @ 1:00pm - 5:00pm

Our friends at TwiningVine Winery will be open for tasting this weekend - and they're showcasing four brand new wines. Stop by for a free tasting. Tell them you're a Westover Club Member and receive a 15% discount on all wine purchases!
TwiningVine is located at 16851 Cull Canyon Road, just 10 minutes from the HWY 580 (take Crow Canyon Road exit, turn Left on Cull Canyon, look for large Red Barn on your left). Questions? Call Keith & Teddy (510) 582-7391.

"Taste Our Terroir" - July 24, 2014 @ 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Westover Vineyards will be participating in Livermore Valley's annual quest for food and wine pairing excellence. The Taste Our Terroir Food & Wine event features winemakers partnered with Bay Area chefs to compete for honors.
Meet winemakers and chefs while sampling creations highlighting the valley's terroir. Wine and food judges participate in a blind tasting and present awards to the winning teams. Westover will be pouring our ports in the Dessert Room.
Held at Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery, this event is sponsored by the Livermore Valley Winegrowners Association. Tickets are $85 - 125 per person. A limited number of VIP tickets grant you access to the event an hour early. Event details and tickets available at
Petite Sirah Wine Futures Bottling - July 26, 2014 @ 12:00pm
Shareholders in the Westover 2012 Petite Sirah Wine Futures are invited to participate in bottling of this very unique and limited vintage. The wine received special treatment to bring out a very special Petite Sirah varietal flavor - it was aged with American, French and Hungarian Oak.
During a festive afternoon, futures owners will enjoy lunch for two as they bottle their own wine. Those who have purchased one futures share (12 bottles) will receive an additional 6 bottles FREE (that's 18 bottles total!). Each bottle will be individually numbered and signed by Westover's winemakers. Shareholders will also add their signatures to the barrel which will be taken out of service and memorialized in the tasting room. (When you RSVP, please let Bill know if you'd like to bring an extra guest or two for the bottling/lunch).
A limited number of futures shares are still available for $250 (which will entitle you to 18 bottles, participation in the bottling party/luncheon).
RSVP/Futures Details: Contact winery owner and winemaker Bill Smyth at (510) 537-3932, ext. 1 or (please let Bill know if you'd like to bring an extra guest or two for the bottling/lunch).
"Music in the Vineyard" - August 24, 2014 @ 2:00pm - 6:00pm
The Resistance will be rocking the winery to benefit Soroptimists International of the Tri-Cities. Enjoy a festive afternoon of Classic Rock, Pop, R&B and Motown favorites on Westover Vineyards' cool, shady patio while supporting a great cause!
~ Arts & Crafts Vendors
~ Silent Auction & Raffle
~ Dance, Dance, Dance!
Fill your coupe, truck or sedan with as many friends and family as you can fit (or buy an individual ticket which includes admission and a light snack). Bring your dancing shoes, a picnic goodies and non-alcoholic beverages (tables and chairs provided). Westover wines, champagnes and ports will available by the glass or by the bottle (no other alcohol is allowed). Carpooling is encouraged. Advance reservations required.
PLOWs & COWs: $40/carload or $18 individual
Buy Tickets: or call (510) 621-7482
All proceeds from ticket sales, raffle, silent auction and a portion of wine sales benefit Soroptimists' programs which assist women and girls in our community.

33rd Annual Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration
August 31, 2014 @ 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Westover Vineyards is one of over 40 wineries which will be showcasing our wines and hospitality during the 33rd Annual Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration. We will be pouring/celebrating at the winery the year (more details to come in August). Tickets & Event Information:
Port & Cigars - September 26, 2014 @ 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Bring your favorite cigars and, if you'd like, your favorite port-friendly nibbles. Savor a selection of cigar-loving Westover ports, cheeses, salumi, sweets and a port barrel tasting. Play a game of ping-pong or pool, or gather around the firepit. This casual event will be held outdoors - it may get chilly later in the evening, so bring a warm layer.
  PLOW Club: $20/person (members and guests)
  COW Club: $22/person (members and guests) 
Click Here to Purchase Tickets Online via Square Market 
All port lovers over 21 are invited. Advance reservation with payment required (sorry, no outside alcohol allowed and no refunds for no-shows). Questions? Contact


Member of the Month: "Your Great Website" 

Our Member of the Month is long time COW member Marian Steven, owner of Your Great Website. Marian has been a faithful COW Club member for almost 20 years. Her business services include:
~ E commerce
~ Website maintenance and design
~ Do it yourself solutions and content
~ Logo development
~ Brochures, marketing materials
~ Free first time consultation
~ 18 years of experience
Contact Marian at or 510-673-2154
Each quarter or month we highlight one PLOW or COW member business in our newsletter or mailings as well as special place at the winery to showcase your business to ~ 700 fellow Club members. This is a free service to Club members. Contact Bill Smyth for more information at (510) 537-3932 ext. 1, or stop by the tasting room and see Bill.


Wine Notes & Trivia: Ports

Jill and William Westover and Jill Smyth will be visiting Portugal later this month, so we have decided to talk about Ports and the Douro region of Portugal. While Westover Winery produces the largest variety of Ports of any winery in the United States, Portugal, Oporto and the Douro Valley are the most famous port regions in the world.
Port became very popular in England after the Methuen Treaty of. Many believe Port was created by British sailors by spiking the wine with brandy to avoid spoilage during the long voyages. This is debated and may or may not be true, but it certainly makes a lot of sense. More accurately, British importers could be credited for recognizing that a smooth, already fortified wine that would appeal to English palates and coincidentally survive the trip to London.

In 1678, a Liverpool wine merchant sent two new representatives to Viana do Castelo, north of Oporto, to learn the wine trade (Oporto is a port city located in northern Portugal about 1.5 hours from the famous growing and wine make making region of the Douro Valley).
While on a vacation in the Douro, the two gentlemen visited the Abbot of Lamego, who treated them to a "very agreeable, sweetish and extremely smooth" wine which had been fortified with a distilled spirit. The two Englishmen were so pleased with the product that they purchased the Abbot's entire lot and shipped it home.
Port Facts:
~ Ports are generally about 20% alcohol
~ Ports are wines fortified with brandy (a spirit distilled from grapes)
~ Quinta means individual vineyard
~ Colheita is aged for at least 7 years and single vineyard
~ Tawny ports are usually brown in color and older
~ Ruby ports are dark and ruby in color and usually bottled after just a few years
~ Tawnies is a tawny port aged for at least 10 years in wood
~ Many vintage ports are aged in glass 
Westover Vineyards is one of many U.S. wineries which are grandfathered and can use the name port on their labels - newer labels may be prohibited from using the protected word "Port."

Next COW & PLOW Club Releases: October 2014

The 4th Quarter Club Wines will be ready for pickup (or shipped) on October 11th. Your credit card will be billed during the first week of October. Contact Jill Smyth, PLOW & COW Clubs Director regarding changes to your credit card, expiration or billing information at (510) 537-3932, ext. 2 or  


COW Club Questions & Account Updates

Jill Smyth, Owner & Vice President
COW & PLOW Clubs Director
(510) 537-3932, ext. 2