There are those people who seem to remember every bottle of wine they have ever opened or tasted. They can reel off the winery’s name, vineyards the grapes came from, the vintage and the winemaker’s process for that year. Then there are those of us who remember that the “wine was really good” and forget everything else. Next thing, there we are wandering the wine aisle hoping to recognize the label, feeling intimidated by the woman who breezes past and confidently grabs a couple bottles.
“I should keep a wine journal,” you mutter to yourself.
The staff from Allegretto tasting room, the home of some of the best single vineyard wines in Paso Robles, have some easy tips for keeping a wine journal that is going to build your knowledge and appreciation of wine.
Starting your journal
You can buy wine journals that are ready to open and start writing, or you can create your own with an inexpensive notebook. Some experts suggest using a binder so pages can be removed and filed and new blank pages added as the journal grows.
If you create your own, here are topics that will help you get the most from your journal:
The description of the wine, vineyard, year and type of grape
Where you are when enjoying the wine
The date and location and if you like, the names of the friends or family members you were with. Sometimes you might find it helpful to record the names of people you talk to, and the names of the tasting room staff or server who helped you.
It can be helpful to write down what you might have eaten with the wine. Food greatly affects the taste of the wine.
What you like or not about the wine, including flavor, aroma and anything else that stands out for you.
Creating your own wine tasters glossary or downloading one from the Internet can help you remember terms like “best single vineyard wines in Paso Robles,” or what “estate wine,” or other terms mean.
If you are using a loose-leaf binder, type up a list of the topics and copy the pages. If you are using a notebook, make up some “cheater cards” with the topics you want to cover and insert them in various places in the notebook. Eventually you won’t need the cards as reminders, but in the beginning they might be helpful so you don’t forget to record something important.
Using the journal
The more wine you taste and record the more knowledgeable you will become, but is it practical to take your wine journal everywhere you go?
Enjoying and recording a new wine at home is uncomplicated. Open the bottle, kick back on the sofa and enjoy and write. Some people like to remove the label and keep it in their wine journal as an added source of information. Plus, some wine labels are miniature works of art and worth saving.
Opening your journal on the tasting room bar will most likely start interesting conversations with other visitors and the tasting room staff. You’ll probably make new friends and learn a lot about wine, too.
“Should I take my wine journal on a date?” That’s entirely up to you and how comfortable you feel. Then there’s the chance that your best friend will be annoyed because you spent part of her birthday dinner writing in your journal. Why not just take a few photos of the wine label and jot a few notes into your cell phone notes app? It’s not much different than taking a photo of your meal. You can transfer the information to your journal later.
Definitely take your journal with you when you visit the Allegretto Vineyards and Wine tasting room in Paso Robles. The tasting room staff is very helpful and always excited to talk about wine and wine tasting.
When and where you take your journal is entirely up to you. Of course, it makes sense to take it when you go wine tasting. Your goal is to keep track of wine you enjoy, to learn more about new wine, and to breeze down the wine aisle and know exactly what you want.
The tasting room at Allegretto Vineyard and Wines, home of award winning estate wines in Paso Robles, is hosting “Art Bar,” an afternoon of painting and wine. “This is a great opportunity for people to relax and enjoy some painting lessons from local artist, Heather Millenaar,” said Quin Cody, Director of Hospitality.
The first two Art Bars are scheduled for February 16 and May 11 from 1-3 p.m. both days. The paintings will focus on the beautiful scenery and surroundings that can be seen from the Allegretto Vineyard Resort and the tasting room. Under the skilled guidance of Heather Millenaar, participants will paint scenes that capture their fancy.
The class takes place on the Allegretto Wines patio and the fee includes a glass of Allegretto award winning estate wine from the Paso Robles vineyards.
Heather Millenaar is a local artist, based in Atascadero. Her work is well known for capturing a moment with textured brush strokes and vivid colors. “Being faced with the ever-changing challenge of capturing the scene with just a few colors and brushes is the greatest game while being surrounded by a crowd and rolling with a new environment and energy at every event,” said Millenaar. Among Millenaar’s notable work is the “Woman’s Republic” mural on El Camino Real in Atascadero. Property owner, Mike Zappas, commissioned Millennaar to paint two public murals for his El Camino Real properties.
The February 16 and May 11 Art Bars are the first ventures for the Allegretto tasting room. More Art Bars are in future plans and those dates will be announced as they are scheduled.
The fee is $50 and includes art supplies and the first glass of wine. The Art Bar is being held at the Allegretto Vineyard and Wine tasting room at 2700 Buena Vista Drive, #101, Paso Robles, CA. The class will move inside in the event of rain. Guests are invited to stay after the class and enjoy a snack or light meal ordered from the menu. For reservations and for more information, call Allegretto Vineyards and Wine tasting room at (805) 369-2526
The Allegretto Vineyard and Wines tasting room was recently featured in the San Luis Obispo County Visitors Guide. The wine menu tasting room includes flights of Paso Robles award winning estate white and rosé wines, and estate malbec, tannat, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon. Four different flights of award-winning wine are available. The tasting room is open Sunday and Monday 1 - 7 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday noon - 7 p.m. and Tuesday by reservation.
Allegretto Vineyards and Wines
2700 Buena Vista Dr. #101
Paso Robles, CA 93446
This press release is by Paso Robles winery and vineyard marketing company, Access Publishing, 806 9th Street, #2D, Paso Robles, CA 93446, (805) 226-9890.
As more vineyards are turning to biodynamic vineyard practices and biodynamic wine is gaining public attention, more people are asking questions.
Is biodynamic wine the same thing as organic wine?
What makes a vineyard “biodynamic?”
Is there a biodynamic certification?
The staff at the Allegretto Vineyards Tasting room, the home of award winning Paso Robles estate wines, has the answers to these questions.
Biodynamic vineyard practices are based in biodynamic farming or gardening practices that were developed by Austrian philosopher, Rudolph Steiner. Somewhat similar to organic farming, two things distinguish biodynamic farming from organic farming:
The use of a complex system of herbal sprays and composting techniques, known as 'preparations'.
The timing of the operations on the land, which are strictly regulated by the movements of the moon and planets, which make up the biodynamic calendar.
Is biodynamic wine the same thing as organic wine?
Both are similar in the sense that biodynamic and organic are based in practices that don’t use chemicals. The biodynamic principles take a few more steps than organic. Biodynamic farming includes the influences of the lunar calendar and astrology. Biodynamic farming principles consider the farm, or vineyard, and everything on it—other plants, insects, animals—to be part of a living organism. Biodynamic wine is one of the end products of these practices. The end result is wine—fine wine for all to enjoy.
What makes a vineyard “biodynamic?”
According to the Biodynamic Association, “Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition.”
Biodynamic farming, including vineyard management that results in biodynamic wine, is a set of farming practices that view the farm as a single organism. Each portion of the farm functions as a whole with each portion contributing to the next. The idea is that the practices create a self-sustaining system sustained by natural materials, composts, and soil. Animals such as ducks, chickens, horses, sheep live on the land, fertilize the soil, and create a rich fertile environment.
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are forbidden for the sake of soil fertility.
Biodynamic farming also seeks sustainability, or leaving the land in as good or better shape as they found it for future generations.
Farming practices, from soil preparation to harvesting, are controlled by the biodynamic calendar, which is influenced by the lunar calendar and the planets. Days on the calendar have specific tasks that are associated with the Earth’s four classic elements, earth or soil, air, fire, and water. Certain tasks, such as watering and harvesting, take place on certain days.
One of the foundations of biodynamic farming is preparing the land. This preparation involves special composting and field preparations. Even though crops may already be growing, these preparations can still be implemented to begin the biodynamic cycle.
The initial composting is know as the “cow horn” preparation. Specific composting compounds are prepared which include cow manure, herbs, and other plants. These compounds are placed inside of cow horns and buried in different locations on the land. Later, the cow horns are dug up and the contents spread on the land. The horn must be from a cow, not a bull or steer.
There are additional composting practices, using other composting compounds, that are practiced at different seasons.
This description of biodynamic farming and vineyard practices is very high level. One way to learn more of the interesting details is to visit the Allegretto Vineyard tasting room, enjoy some excellent Paso Robles award winning estate wine while discussing biodynamic vineyard practices with the tasting room staff.
Is there a biodynamic certification?
The Demeter Associaton, Inc. is the driving organization behind biodynamic certification for biodynamic farms and products in the USA Basically, the requirements for certification include meeting all of the certification requirements under the National Organic Program plus meeting the more extensive Demeter standards. These standards emphasize solutions for disease, pest and weed control, and specifications around water conservation and biodiversity.
In the case of vineyards and wine, grapes from a biodynamic certified vineyard are biodynamic grapes. But, the process to get to biodynamic certified wine the Demeter Wine Processing Standard must be met.
This standard has two labeling categories: "Biodynamic® Wine” (the most rigorous category), and "Made with Biodynamic® grapes.”
Both categories permit the use of a specified amount of sulfites, approved yeast nutrients, Bentonite for protein stabilization, and Biodynamic or organic egg whites for tannin fining.
Both prohibit the addition of outside aromatic yeast, malo-lactic bacteria, enzymes or tannins.
The “Made with Biodynamic® grapes” category also permits limited sugar and acidity adjustments and some variance allowing the addition of a neutral yeast strain in certain documented cases.
Never miss an opportunity to learn more
Wine, vineyards, winemaking processes, grapes, and harvesting are only a few of the conversations taking place at the Allegretto vineyard tasting room on any give day. Good conversation is part of the wine experience. Drop in for a unique tasting experience and good conversation.
The tasting room is located at 2700 Buena Vista Drive in Paso Robles. Hours are Sunday and Monday 1 - 7 p.m; Wed to Sat noon - 7 p.m. Tuesdays are by reservation only. Phone (805) 369-2526.
While wine tastings are temporarily unavailable, our Resort Tasting Room is open for bottle purchases and pick-up orders. We are actively staying up to date and in accordance with the guidelines for social distancing and sanitization during the COVID-19 epidemic. Please contact us with questions.
Stay up to date with what's happening in the vineyard and tasting room.