COW Club Mooosletter
October - December ~ Volume 2013, Issue 4
Mooo Notes from The Head of the Herd ~ Jill Smyth
The benefits of being a COW club member are not just the wines. Coming up In December is the Holidays in the Vineyards and our annual COW Club Holiday Sale where COWs and their guests will receive up to 40% off all wine and champagnes and 50% on all ports and dessert wines.
With the holiday season fast approaching, we're pleased to offer COWs an added benefit: COWs receive significant discounts for parties, meetings, reunions, weddings and all other events held at the winery. Rent our picnic area or tasting room for as little as $10.00 per person (plus beverage package). You can even bring your own food or we're happy to refer you to some excellent local caterers (and DJs too!). For more details check out our website: www.westoverwinery.com For a personal quote or tour, contact Bill Smyth at (510) 537-3932 or email@example.com.
One more note for port lovers: due to popular demand, we're developing a new Port Club which will be launched in early 2014. The details are still to be finalized, but our vision for the club to offer unique port-focused experiences and exclusive access to select limited released and unique ports. This club will be separate from the COW Club, but COWs are welcome to be members of both clubs (note: COW Club members will still have access to and discounts to a wide array of ports as well). If you have some ideas about what would be your ideal port club, please share them with us. Contact Assistant Winemaker Ken Tatum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes from the Winemaker ~ William Westover Smyth
It's harvest season at the winery. Today, as I write this email, we are in the midst of crushing Petite Sirah and Chardonnay. In a few days, we will be crushing Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. I'm pleased to note that this year's harvest and crush are taking place under the watchful supervision of Westover's new canine mascot. "Water Spout" is a very happy and attentive young golden lab mix who was recently adopted by Phil Vogt, a member of our tasting room and winemaking team.
So, what does harvest and crush involve? We sample grapes in the vineyard until the sugar level reaches 23-25% sugar. This is also called brix or balling. A grape with about 23 % sugar produces a wine with about 12.5 % alcohol. A grape with 25% sugar produces a wine at around 14-15 % alcohol. After picking, we de-stem and crush the grapes. Crushed red grapes are put into 1/2 ton bins, then we add yeast for fermentation and other ingredients to make the wine darker and richer or adjust the tartaric acid in the wine to improve mouth feel.
After about a week, we have wine. The freshly fermented wine is settled in a tank then moved to oak barrels to complete fermentation. For the next two years, red wine concentrates, improves tannins and taste until it is bottled. White wines production is a little different. We de-stem and crush then ferment directly in a tank or barrel. There is a lot more to it, but after about 8 months, the white wine is ready to bottle.
Did you know?
This Summer Jill and I explored wineries in the southeastern United States. We experienced what it is like to go to areas where wine drinkers do not know much about the finer varietals with European origins. In this region, much of the wine is made from Native American varietals and is often sweet.
One of the wineries was in Mississippi and produced Muscadine. Muscadine is a grapevine species native to the American South that has been extensively cultivated since the 16th century. Its natural range is recognized in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The plants are well adapted to their native warm and humid climate; they need fewer chilling hours than better known varieties and they thrive on summer heat. We met the winemaker and shared what we do in California. We enjoyed our visit and the local wines.
After our trip, we took a case of Westover wine on a cruise to Mexico, Belize and Honduras. During the dinners, we would take our own wine and often shared it with others on the cruise. Most of these people were from the South and finally got the opportunity to taste truly great wine. Westover wines and ports were a great hit.
Wine and Health
Moderate alcohol consumption can have an immediate effect in decreasing the blood's tendency to clot in your arteries. The ability to increase the "good" HDL cholesterol develops more slowly after regular continued moderate consumption.
Quarterly Club Wines - Ready for Pickup!
Your Fall COW Club Wines will be available for pickup in the tasting room starting Saturday, October 12th (wines for "ship-to-me" COWs will be sent via UPS during the upcoming week).
As a result of the special bottling of our newest Methode Champenoise sparkling wine and the fact that we only bottled about 50 cases, we are offering members a choice of the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Pleasanton Ridge or 2011 "Methode Champenoise" as the first bottle. The second bottle will be our 2012 Gewurztraminer. As usual, you make the final decision and can always trade for anything on our entire list of wines, champagne, ports and dessert wines.
2010 Westover Cabernet Sauvignon, Pleasanton Ridge Vineyard
On a warm October Sunday morning in 2010, a group of Westover's tasting room staff joined professional pickers to harvest this Cabernet Sauvignon from our Pleasanton Ridge Vineyard. The sugar was 24% with perfect acid and PH. We added special enzymes to break the cell wall of the grapes to extract more color while we also added a pectinase to release more aromas and aromatic precursors. This vintage drinks very good now and is set up to grow in complexity and age quite nicely
The strong point is the great nose. Black currant, blackberry, spice and fruit abound. Substantial tannins and medium body make this a very approachable wine. The heavy tannins equate to a wine with great aging potential.
Pairing with Food
Prime Rib, New York Strip or Porterhouse steaks would be great. You might try lamb chops. Our resident vegetarian suggests hearty wild mushroom and barley stew. Rich creamy cheeses and intensely chocolate desserts will love this wine too.
Price and Availability
The COW club price for this wine is $19.51 per bottle (retail is $22.95). Only 100 cases were produced.
2011 "Methode Champenoise" California Sparkling Wine
This champagne was very limited. We took our Estate Chardonnay and blended it with 21 Pinot Noir and 24% Pinot Blanc and created a perfect Sparkling Wine. The fermentation took place in the bottle which is call Method Traditional or Methode Champenoise. Produced by adding yeast and sugar to our base wines in the bottles, called a dosage, creates CO2 (bubbles). This sparkling wine had a dosage of 2%.
This brut champenoise follows the Westover tradition of being very smooth and creamy on the palate. Apples, citrus, minerality and slight floral notes with a crisp finish. A very limited quantity of this sparkler was produced, so we are unable to do tastings (you'll just have to take our word that it's a yummy sparkler).
Pairing with Food
Our assistant winemaker, Ken Tatum suggests placing fresh strawberries in a flute of this sparkling wine. Place the drenched berries in your mouth and sip the champagne to really brings out the flavor. Enjoying this with the right woman or man will make for the perfect night.
Price and Availability
The COW club price for this wine is $19.51 per bottle (retail is $22.95). Only 50 cases were produced (LIMIT 1 PER COW CLUB ACCOUNT).
2012 Westover Gewurztraminer, Paso Robles
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. There is perhaps no better white wine to pair with the iconic holiday meal than Gewurztraminer. It is spicy (Gewurz means spice in German). It is perhaps the most recognizable wine in the world. Our Gewurztraminer is no exception and is made in an off-dry style which is not too sweet, not totally dry but just right.
Fruity but not sweet, with notes of lychee and spice balanced by a crisp minerality. Off-dry with medium body this is a very easy to drink wine.
Pairing with Food
In addition to roast turkey (and all the holiday fixins), this wine is the ultimate partner for traditional German fare featuring wild mushrooms or roast pork. Also a good partner for Persian, North African and spicy Chinese cuisine.
Price and Availability
The COW club price for this wine is $16.96 per bottle (retail is $19.95). Only 100 cases were produced.
Wines available for pickup starting Saturday, October 12, 2013.
Pickup Saturdays & Sundays 12:00pm - 5:00pm. Weekdays by appointment (call the winery).
Petite Sirah Futures Tasting Party
Saturday, November 23rd @ 6:30pm - 9:00pm
This exclusive tasting is of our 2012 Petite Sirah Wine Futures. It includes barrel tastings of the wine, hors d'ouevres and tasting of additional wines/ports. Why such an exclusive event? We crafted only one barrel of this specially oaked Petie Sirah (French, American and Hunarian oaks) - only 22 cases will be bottled. Each futures shareholder is entitled to one case of the wine, which they will have the opportunity to bottle in May 2014. Futures shareholders will also sign the barrel which, after bottling, will be displayed in the Westover tasting room. Futures shares are still available - this event is a great opportunity to sample and evaluate the wine. Bill Smyth at email@example.com.
This Futures Tasting is FREE to all current Futures Shareholders (2 persons share). $30/person for additional guests of shareholders or prospective shareholders who wish to sample the wine (note, if you choose to purchase a Futures share the evening of the event, this fee will be credited toward the purchase price). To RSVP for this event or for more information about the Futures program, contact winery owner Bill Smyth at (510) 537-3932 or firstname.lastname@example.org. (RSVP Required by November 17th).
Champagne & Chocolates
Friday, November 29th @ 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Escape the Black Friday shopping chaos at the Westover Tasting Room! Treat yourself to a special tasting of Champagne and Chocolates at Westover. Assistant Winemaker Ken Tatum will be pouring Grand Cuvee, Cuvee Close, Cuvee La Peche, Extra Cuvee Rosé Reserve and Pomegranate Sparkling Wine paired with a variety of decadent chocolates.
The tasting is FREE for COW Club members and up to two guests (normal tasting fee of $5 for general public). Wines, ports and champagnes will also be available for purchase by the glass or by the bottle. Feel free to bring a picnic (perhaps yummy Thanksgiving leftovers?), play some pool or ping-pong and relax. Open to the public - no RSVP required.
COW Club Annual Holiday Sale
Friday, December 6th - Sunday, December 8th
Celebrate the holidays with BIG SAVINGS and BIG FUN at Westover Vineyards! Our annual COW Club Holiday Sale offers extraordinary savings exclusively for COW Club Members and their Guests:
> Save 38-40% on all Wines and Champagnes!
> Save 48-50% on all Ports and Dessert Wines!
> Save 13-15% on all Non-Wine Merchandise!
The tasting room will be decked out with holiday decor and music all weekend long. On Saturday and Sunday, we invite you to enjoy a full day of holiday fun:
Jerome's Sensual Chocolates
AirsDream Deli Gourmet Goat Cheeses
Wine Themed Gifts, Gift Bags & Cards
Artisan Crafts Market
Holiday UPS Shipping
Free Winemaker Autographs on Bottles
Toys for Tots Collection Center - bring a toy, get a glass of champagne!
Hot Cider & Cookies
Friday @ 11:00am - 4:00pm
We're opening just for COW Club members who want to beat the weekend crowds. COW Club Holiday Sale order fulfillment only (limited tasting, not open to general public).
Saturday & Sunday @ 8:00am - 5:00pm
COW Club Holiday sale order fulfillment, crafts and food vendors 12:00pm - 5:00pm.
(8:00am - 12:00pm is for COW Sale order fulfillment only - sorry, no tasting or vendors).
Next COW Club Shipment: January 2014
The Winter Club Wines will be released for pickup (or shipment) in mid-January. Your credit card will be billed during the first two weeks of January. Contact Jill Smyth, COW Club Director regarding changes to your credit card, expiration or billing information at (510) 537-3932 or email@example.com.
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COW Club Questions & Account Updates
Jill Smyth, Vice President & COW Club Director
Westover Vineyards & Palomares Vineyards
34329 Palomares Road ~ Castro Valley, CA 94552
Winery & COW Club: (510) 537-3932
Tasting Room Open: Saturdays & Sundays, 12pm - 5pm ~ Weekdays by Appointment