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Dinner full of WINOs . . .

On Sunday night, Niels and I had the pleasure of attending a dinner in Sunnyvale put on by the Santa Clara chapter of the wine group WINO. For those of who are unfamiliar, WINO stands for Wine Investigation for Novices and Oenophiles. The organization was founded in the early 1970s in Orange County and has 5 chapters throughout the state. Each chapter holds WINO dinners once a month, featuring new wines paired with food and a good time. This month, Castoro was the featured wine for the Santa Clara chapter so Niels and I attended the dinner and educated the crowd of over 60 WINOs on each wine that was served along with a little history of the winery.

Many of the members in attendance have been part of WINO since the beginning and were very familiar with our wines. Some of them had even visited Castoro Cellars in the early 80s when I was but a dream and our wine was being stored in a converted chicken coop! It was a lot of fun hearing Niels talk with some of the people who had visited the chicken coop almost 30 years ago. A lot has changed since then but our philosophy is still the same and I got the feeling that many of the folks in attendance really liked that about our winery.

Since they have been having these dinners over 30 years, the event was a walk in the park and they knew exactly what they were doing! It was amazing how punctual and efficient the group was, not a single drop of wine went to waste! After the dinner we enjoyed a nice dessert coupled with our Muscat Canelli and let me tell you, it was delicious. As the WINOs finished up their dessert they made personal orders of the wines they enjoyed and submitted the orders on their way out the door. It’s really a great way to buy wine because not only were they able to try the wines with food, they were able to ask Niels and I questions about the wines, winery, vineyards etc.

All in all it was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing another WINO dinner again in the future. Nothing beats a crowd of people who love learning about and trying new wines . . . or for some, revisiting an old favorite.



20th Annual Zinfest March 17th-18th

It’s officially March, and you know what that means right? That means the 20th annual Paso Robles Zinfandel festival is right around the corner! Those of you who have attended in the past know how much fun this festival is and those of you who may be thinking about coming for the first time (you should definitely come) it’s amazing. Zinfest this year falls on the weekend of March 17th and 18th but the fun starts on Friday night at Castoro with our “All in for Zin” dinner featuring live music by the Brian Black Duo and a fantastic dinner prepared by chef Jeffry Scott. As expected, the dinner will feature food courses paired with varying Castoro Zinfandels. There will also be complimentary barrel tasting of our upcoming Zins for all to enjoy. Tickets are on sale for this dinner now through our tasting room and will sell out, so get them while you can!

If Friday night won’t work for you don’t worry, we will be celebrating this wonderful wine all weekend. Saturday and Sunday will both feature an open house at Castoro with barrel tastings, food vendors and live music by Sweetwater the Trio. To get an inside perspective on what to expect at Zinfest I spoke with our winemaker Tom and asked him what he was excited to share this year. He told me he will be featuring 4 different barrels for tasting, all Zins, and all a bit different. As of now there will be 2010 Primitivo (Italian clone of Zinfandel), 2010 Cobble Creek, 2010 Whale Rock and to freshen things up a bit the 2011 Primitivo. Tom said he likes to bring at least one barrel that is relatively young (2011) to show the difference and contrast between fresh young wine and wine that is approaching the bottle. I personally love to taste the difference because to me it really puts the art of winemaking into perspective. A lot of thought, time and care goes into making our wine what it is and this is one of the best ways to share that with you.

In our tasting room we will be featuring our current vintage Zinfandels as well as select Library Zins. When I asked Tom what to keep an eye out for this year he recommended the 2008 Primitivo as a wine that is really coming into its’ own right now and the 2010 Zinfandel Zinfusion as a wine that would be a great addition to any cellar. The Zinfusion, being fairly fresh in the bottle, will continue to get better and better as the year progresses making it a great wine to give as a gift or hold on to for a special occasion!

All in all we are looking forward to another amazing Zinfest weekend and we hope you are able to share this time with us. There aren’t a whole lot of things in life that are better than friends, family, food, music and amazing wine!

See you soon,

Luke and the Castoro Crew