Storrs Winery At The Annieglass Wine Bar This Saturday

1_362_Storrs-webWe love featuring the wines of local winemakers at our wine bar. There are so many interesting, committed, talented and passionate people creating world class — and delicious — wines in the Santa Cruz area. Including  my good friends, Pamela and Steve Storrs, who we will be hosting this Saturday, July 26th, from noon to 4:30pm in our Annieglass Wine Bar.

Pamela and Steve first made a splash in the wine world with their very first release — an excellent Riesling in 1988,  which captured a gold medal at the prestigious San Francisco National Wine Competition.

They both studied at the acclaimed Viticulture and Enology program at UC Davis. Steve focused on viticulture, while Pamela studied enology and food microbiology. They also they worked at a number of wineries including Domaine Chandon, Felton-Empire Vineyards, and Almaden prior to starting their own.

Together, they have developed their own unique style which is a combination of their education, experience at other wineries and their own experiences with their vintages. Their winemaking approach is less about manipulation and more like letting the wine become what it is, more of a Burgundian approach to winemaking. They believe strongly in allowing the grapes to mature fully. The wines are allowed to age with little interference, after which they are blended with great consideration, resulting in wines that are greater than the sum of their parts.

Their first vintage, total case production was 1,200 cases. Now, they have grown to a comfortable 12,000 cases, just right for two passionate winemakers. In 2001, Steve and Pamela realized their long-held dream when they purchased 50 acres in the Pleasant Valley district of Corralitos on the southwestern slopes of Mount Madonna. Since that day, they have slowly been converting the farm to sustainable/organic practices. In the spring and early summer of 2007, they planted their first 10 acres into selected Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clones and in time will expand their plantings to over 15 acres. In this endeavor, they are working to preserve wildlife corridors and habitat for the numerous animals that call Pleasant Valley their home — they are even considering Bio-dynamic certification to recognize their conservation efforts on behalf of wildlife, soil & water on their farm and their flock of Olde English Babydoll sheep that graze their vineyard during the winter months to promote a more balanced, self-sustaining system.

Their wines have been described as epressive, rich, round, honest, genuine, and warm — many of the qualities that these fabulous winemakers share as well! Come try for your self on Saturday.

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Social Media Trends For Weddings

file000567204299Social media has become such a big part of everything we do, from doing business to getting news and entertainment and of course keeping up with friends and family. At Annieglass, we are active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest — it’s a great way to share what’s going on and keep up with what our friends and customers are thinking and doing.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that social media is playing such a big part in weddings — both the planning and celebration. This week TheKnot.com  and Mashable released their #SocialWeddingSurvey, a co-branded social media and wedding planning survey, that tracked trends in how people are increasingly using social media tools to plan their  big days. ”We’ve seen a shift in how couples use social media around their weddings,” explained Carley Roney, co-founder of TheKnot.com. “While couples are plugged into mobile apps for planning and sharing photos of their wedding on social media, they’re looking to control what their guests are posting.”

Some of the interesting findings:

* 89 percent of couples download wedding planning apps to their mobile phones, up from 61 percent in 2012. To stay on top of their to-do lists, one in five couples (19 percent) download mobile checklist apps and 15 percent use organizational apps.

* 55 percent of couples use a wedding hashtag, up more than 40 percent from only 9 percent of couples in 2012, and 20 percent use it across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. (Ten percent of surveyed couples did not create a hashtag and wish they had.)

* 57 percent of couples are on board with guests posting photos from their wedding on Facebook or Instagram. However, 35 percent have mixed feelings about what their guests share, and nearly 1 in 10 (8 percent) couples do not like social photo sharing because they want to control which photos are public. These couples have guests turn off their phones during the ceremony, or ask guests to wait until after the professional photos have posted to share their own images on social media; 31 percent of couples limit guests from sharing on social media in some way.

* 15 percent of couples say they are sharing proposal videos

*  70 percent of brides-to-be create and pin to a Pinterest wedding board before getting officially engaged.

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Crab Stuffed Fish

This is an easy to execute, but completely dinner party worthy dish :Crab-stuffed Flatfish

1 pound cleaned and skinned flounder or other flatfish filets
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
2 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 tablespoons sweet butter
½ cup dry white wine
Salt and fresh ground pepper

According to Seafood Watch, Pacific flatfish such as sole, flounder and halibut are a “Good Alternative” to those from the Atlantic, where historical overfishing has reduced many populations.

Cut the fish into eight strips, about 1 inch wide.  Gently mix together the crabmeat, ½ of the egg whites, all the bread crumbs, and ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper. Lay the fish strips down skinned side up. Divide crabmeat mixture evenly between the eight strips of fish. Spread crabmeat to evenly cover about 3 inches of each strip. Place a bit of whipped egg white on the “empty” part of the flounder. Beginning with the end with the crabmeat, roll up each strip towards the egg white, and stand roll up so that the crab is on top. Place each roll in a lightly greased baking dish. Divide butter into eight pieces and place on piece on top of each flounder roll. Pour the wine into the  baking dish, surrounding the rolls. Bake at 375° for about 25 minutes, or until fish is cooked through and crab is lightly browned.

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Pours and Tours For Passport Day

SCMPassportLogo_jul2014Do you have plans for this beautiful weekend? If you are in the Santa Cruz area, remember that this Saturday is the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association Passport Day. You can find a full list of the wineries participating by clicking here. There are lots of local favorites pouring, including us at our Watsonville wine tasting bar!

These passport days, which happen four times a year, are a great way to meet and celebrate local vintners and growers of the Santa Cruz Mountain area, some of which are too small to have tasting rooms of their own regularly open to the public.  The region, which includes the three counties of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo, was first recognized as an official American Viticultural Area (or AVA ) in 1981 — though grapes have been grown and great wine has been made here for much longer than that — and it was one of the first AVAs to be defined  by it’s elevation and topography rather than strictly geographical lines or borders. This is because the grapes grown at these heights are very different than the same varietals grown at lower elevation. The AVA basically follows the fog line along the coast — the lowest points are 800 feet in the east and 400 feet in the west and the highest ridgetops are at 3000+ elevation, with most of the area at about 2,000 feet. The combination of fog, mountainous terrain, thin soil, often cooler temperatures, and different sun exposures makes for unique growing conditions and lots of microclimates. The region is known primarily for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but other varietals, especially Merlot and Zinfandel thrive here as well. The Santa Cruz mountains are home to some of the oldest and most acclaimed wineries in California.

Passports are $45 online or can be purchased at any participating winery. They entitle you to one visit to each winery but are good for 2 years from the date of purchase, so that gives you 8 chances to get to every winery!

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Ventana Sauvignon Blanc At Our Wine Bar

art-ventana-vydWe have some really amazing, mostly locally grown and produced,  Santa Cruz and Monterey County wines at our wine tasting bar this summer. Our wine tastings are every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 12:00 pm to 4:30 pm — you can taste 3 wines for  $6 or sit and enjoy a glass. And if you buy a bottle to take home, tasting fee is waived. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, and explore some great wines. To give you a peek at what is waiting for you in Watsonville, each week we are going to feature a wine from our tasting bar on the blog.This week, it’s the Ventana Sauvignon Blanc.

The Ventana Vineyards are in Monterey County’s Salinas Valley.  Ventana is part of the Arroyo Seco sub-region, one of nine distinct vineyard areas in the valley. The maritime climate here means that nights are cool and the vineyards are often shrouded in fog until mid-morning the next day. This weather is perfect for creating natural acidity in Sauvignon Blanc grapes and leading the fruit profile towards greater minerality,  herbaceousness, and more citrus aspects than the same grapes grown in warmer regions.

The Ventana Sauvignon Blanc is made and aged in stainless-steel tanks. It’s a medium bodied wine that nearly explodes with pineapple, citrus, and fresh-cut grass aromas. It’s got a crisp clean acidity, and a long finish. Come try it yourself this weekend!

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