For A Sucessful Wine Business

Historic Grapevine Texas

We just got back from a fantastic trip to Grapevine Texas. Grapevine is situated north of Arlington and the DFW Airport. This quaint little town is a throwback to the early 1900s with a vibrant Main Street and town square. They also have several wineries (of course, why else would they call it Grapevine?). Grapevine is home to the premier Urban Wine Trail in Texas, as well as the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association and GrapeFest®, the largest wine festival in the Southwest, held annually in September. Texas is the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the U.S., and Grapevine has served as a trendsetter and leader with award-winning wineries and winemakers. There are 9 wineries or tasting rooms within just a few blocks.
Our first tasting room stop was at Wine Fusion. Wine Fusion was founded in October 2015 and is the newest addition to the Grapevine Family of Wineries. Wine Fusion was created to help fill the void between novice and experienced wine drinkers. The team is all about the fun experience that wine brings to all social gatherings. We were greeted by Marcin who set us up with a wine tasting. We focused on dry wines and were made from grapes not from Texas. We tasted a very nice Pinot Gris from Clarksburg (CA), a Chardonnay from Lodi, Fusion Red Blend from Russian River Valley, and a delicious Old Vine Zinfandel made from 63 year old vines from Lodi.


Fusion Winery also had a nice “sharable” food menu that ranged from Flatbreads, Chicken Taquitos, Pomme Frites, Texas Style Queso, Hummus and a tasty brownie!

Our next wine adventure was at Bingham Family Vineyards. Bingham Family Vineyards is a multigenerational farming family that planted grapevines in 2004 to help wineries around the state of Texas to produce great wine. With their 2014 Vintage, the Binghams began their own estate wine label to bring you a wide selection of varietal wines to enable you to explore the wine of the Texas High Plains AVA. They are one of only a hand full of Texas wineries that sell only 100% estate bottled wines. They currently own or manage over 200 acres of grapes in production in the Texas High Plains AVA.

BFV currently bottle six blends and thirteen of varietal wines with plans for more in future harvests.

Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Dolcetto, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Petit Verdot, Ruby Cab, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo. New plantings of Teroldego and Graciano spring of 2017.

Albariño, Gewürztraminer, Malvasia Bianca, Marsanne, Moscato Giallo, Roussanne, Sémillon, Trebbiano, Chardonnay, Vermentino, and Viognier.


Next time you pass through the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, be sure to visit charming Grapevine Texas!IMG_7947

Carneros Dream

One of our favorite wineries in Northern California is Napa’s Starmont Winery. Starmont is a newer winery on the south end of Naps, off of Stanly Road. The winery is a sister winery of Maryvale Winery in St. Helena.

We were met by Gail in the tasting room and she could not have been nicer! She welcomed us and offered us the opportunity to enjoy the Carneros Tasting with include 5 wines fur just $25. However, if you purchase 4 or more bottles, your tasting fee is waived.
Having begun with a single Chardonnay wine 25 years ago, the Starmont portfolio now encompasses the best of Carneros and Napa Valley with the addition of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé wines. Starmont prides itself in constructing a “green winery” where the it recycles 100% of winery process water, diverts over 98% of waste away from ending up in landfills and generates enough power each day to power over 250 homes.

Wines tasted offered included*:

2015 Pinot Gris, Carneros - This spicy Alsatian grape can set fire to rain and have you rolling in the deep after one sip. $28/bottle 240 cases produced.

2013 Pinot Noir, Lee Vineyard - Tasting is easy with eyes closed, Cherry and strawberry sweep across your palate like the Carneros breeze. Let me take you down, because we’re going to Strawberry Fields Forever. 55/bottle 400 cases produced.

2013 Pinot Noir, Court Clone - This floral and romantic single clone Pinot Noir reminds me of Bill Withers, just one sip and you know it’s going to be a lovely day. The 2013 vintage showcases red licorice, cherry cola and wild flowers. Better get it while you can because there’s no sunshine when it’s gone! $55/bottle 2014 cases produced.

2014 Syrah, Stanly Ranch Estate - Well you can tell by the way I drink Syrah I’m a Starmont man, no time to talk. The Bee Gees were the kings of disco and the godfathers of the falsetto. The 2014 estate Syrah dances with intense blueberry and wild flowers, boldly displaying it’s macho like a proud peacock. Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive. $45/bottle 280 cases produced

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley - This bold and aerobatic Cabernet Sauvignon smells like teen spirit, tobacco, raspberry, blueberry and ripe plum and is 100 times better that a heart shaped box of pennyroyal tea. A glass shared with a loved one will rule help you find Nirvana. $32/bottle

* Tasting notes provided by Starmont Winery

Wines Down Under

To finish off the year, we travelled to south Australia to visit wine country down under and the National Wine Centre of Australia. The National Wine Centre is located in Adelaide in the South Australia territory and is affiliated with the University of Adelaide and is situated on the stunning grounds of the Boantic Gardens.


You can spend an entire day at the National Wine Centre (NWC). The NWC venue combines eye-catching architecture with smooth functionality that showcases the Australian wine industry. Upon entry, you are greeted with a directory showing the wine tasting area called “Wined Bar”, restaurant, multiple concourses, theaters, meeting rooms, trade and exhibition rooms, wedding venues, wine terrace, cellar and “Wine Discovery Journey”.

The NWC’s 'Wined Bar' boasts Australia's largest tasting room experience with visitors able to sample 120 different wines thanks to the installation of state of-the-art Enomatic wine preservation and dispensing machines. The Wined Bar is part of the Centre's Cellar Door where you can choose, pour and taste every wine. Visitors are given a “credit card” that will track the wines tasted. There are also 3 types of pours that can be accessed from the Enomatic machines: a 3/4 ounce, 2 ounce and 5 ounce pour. The charge per pour varies depending on the bottle of wine. We tried several of the wines and price per pour ranged from $1.20 AUS to $20.00+ AUS. With all the best Cellar Doors in the one place, visitors are able to find the perfect wine to suit their taste and budget. Friendly, educated staff are on hand to help you discover the perfect drop.


Wined Bar Dining

The Centre's Cellar Door offers a seasonal menu featuring the finest fresh produce, sourced primarily from South Australia. The Tapas style menu is crafted by the Wined Bar Chef, Judyta Slupnicki, is ideal for the sharing over glass of wine, and is available from midday. We chose to “mix and match to create your own platter”. Included were a choice of three meats and cheeses for $18 AUS. The charcuterie was from Adelaide Hills Artisan Small Goods and the Cheeses were all South Australian Cheese. Our platter was served with house baked bread, quince paste, pate, Adelaide Plains Olives, muscatels and lavish.
Wine Discovery Journey

You can’t miss the free self-guided, interactive Wine Discovery Journey exhibition. The tour is ideal for wine novices and connoisseurs alike. It was very informative and helped us gain an insight into the issues Australian winemakers contend with. One takeaway was the quality vs price perception. Nearly every wine we tasted were very good to outstanding, however, the price per bottle was approximately 20% less than what a comparable bottle of wine from the US. Australian wines taste great and are a great value too!
The South Australia territory (Adelaide) features some of the best wine growing regions of the country including the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra. Other territories that have notable wine regions are Victoria (King Valley, Yarra Valley) and New South Wales (Hunter Valley and Canberra District).

The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar - Newport Beach, CA

Californians like their wine! We stopped in to visit The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar located in Newport Beach, California. Newport Beach, located in Orange County, is an upscale costal town and features a beautiful restaurant that boasts an immense wine list. bkgd
In addition to the amazing wine list, patrons can purchase a private wine locker to keep their wine at the restaurant. Each locker has a placard with the owner's name on it along with a wine book that is used to document wines that have been drank and with whom they have been enjoyed. A cursory visual indicated that the wine of choice was Kosta Browne. While no wine is actually produced on location, there is wine that was made by the owners on the list.. . . it is a Halter Ranch Syrah from Paso Robles.
Wine Lockers 1Wine Locker 2

We tasted their Chardonnay offerings which included a 2013 Raymond "Reserve", Napa Valley and a 2014 Raeburn, Russian River. The Raymond "Reserve" was by far the superior Chardonnay. The Raymond boasted wonderful citrus and mineral notes. On the other hand, the Raeburn had a lemon zest flavor with aromas of petroleum. If we lived in the OC, we would visit this cool wine experience regularly and "for sure" would own a wine locker!

Wine List

Carneros Inn And A Stop At Starmont Winery

Every so often, we visit Northern California wine country, however this trip we tried a newer resort and winery. Plumpjack Resorts recently launched the Carneros Inn on Highway 12, roughly 5 miles west of Napa. The resort features all the amenities you would expect from a 5 star hotel. The Carneros Inn features the FARM restaurant, the Boon Fly Cafe, a family and adult pool, a full-service spa, a market and a boutique featuring wonderful resort wear. Each "hotel room" is more like a small residence or cabin. When we checked in, we were offered a glass of Plumpjack wine and had a choice of Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.


On our first day, we took advantage of the complimentary bicycles and took a ride through wine country. Our greatest accomplishment was that we scaled the steep incline to the Artesa Winery. Here's Anne showing her might!

Carneros Inn Bikes

While we visited several wineries and producers, one of note was the Starmont Winery. Starmont used to be located at the Maryvale-Starmont location in St. Helena. Recently, Starmont broke away and moved south about 25 miles and relocated to Napa-Carneros border (they are still jointly owned). We had a wonderful tasting room experience and had the opportunity to try several Starmont wines that are not necessarily available anywhere but the winery. Their reserve selections were out of this world. The winery offered their wine club members a special seating area on their patio. If you get a chance to visit Northern California wine country, make sure you make Carneros a stop.

Starmont Member Area