Friday, November 19, 2010

FOW Annual Holiday Party

Ring in the holiday season with FOW at:

The Blue Pheasant Restaurant
2210 Stevens Creek Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95014

Thursday night, December 9th

Appetizers at 6:30
Dinner at 7:30
Games and Dancing 'til 11:00 p.m.

Live Music by The Lyratones!

$55 per person, all inclusive (food, wine, music, prizes)

Send your checks, payable to FOW, no later than 12/1 to:
Paul Skov
PO Box 895
Los Altos, CA 94023-0895

Indicate your choice of entree:
Chicken (with mushrooms and artichoke hearts)
Salmon (topped with dill sauce)
Prime Rib (au jus and fresh horseradish)
Pasta Primavera (fresh veggies over linguine)

Dressy Holiday Attire

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oktoberfest Quiz and Answers

1. How many liters of beer are consumed during Oktoberfest season?
A. 1 million
B. 10 million
C. 7 million
D. 5 million

2. The original Oktoberfest celebrated?
A. The marriage of Prince Ludwig & Princess Therese
B. The coronation of Prince Ludwig
C. The marriage of King Helmut & Princess Elizabeth
D. The success of the fall harvest

3. What event caused an interruption in the annual Oktoberfest celebration?
A. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand
B. The Napoleonic wars
C. The Great European Plague
D. The country wide famine

4. Why is Oktoberfest celebrated in September?

5. Most beer served at Oktoberfest is called_______________?

6. In what month was beer usually brewed and why?

7. What is the average attendance of Oktoberfest each year?

8. The following breweries are represented at Oktoberfest except for: (one)

9. Where is Oktoberfest held?
A. Berlin
B. Bavaria
C. Hamburg
D. Munich

10. How long does it take to brew an Oktoberfest beer?


1. C
2. A
3. B
4. Better weather
5. Marzen
6. It was brewed in March, cellared in the summer and ready to drink in September.
7. 6 million people; 85% from Germany
8. Heineken
9. D
10. 6 months, March-September

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

UpComing Event At Arcadia!

Do NOT miss the November event if at all possible, it's going to be one of 2010's highlights (based solely on my personal experience at Arcadia, and I've met Matt, a great winemaker).

Fernwood Cellars and Arcadia Restaurant at the Marriott San Jose

Join us for a luncheon featuring Fernwood Cellars owner and winemaker, Matt Oetinger.

When: 12:00 – 2:00 p.m., Sunday, November 14, 2010
Where: Arcadia, at the Marriott
100 W San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 278-4555


First Course:
Arcadia Salad with Fuji Apples, Candied Walnuts, Blue Cheese
Paired with 2008 Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Ahi Tuna Poppers with Wasabi Caviar, Ponzu Vinaigrette
Paired with 2008 Santa Clara Valley Riesling

Entrée Course:
Phyllo Dusted Sole with Herb Brandade and Sauce Dijon
Paired with 2008 Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Beef Short Ribs with Horseradish Whipped Potatoes
Paired with 2007 Mirepoix

Dessert Course:
Banana Tart with House Made Caramel and Rum Raisin Ice Cream
Chocolate Molten Cake with Salty Caramel Ice Cream and Hazelnut Praline
Coffee or Tea

Cost: Members: $50.00 per person – all inclusive
Non-members: $55.00 per person – all inclusive

RSVP: Please call for payment deadline and mailing address

Cheryl Markman
(408) 578-8315

Note: This date is firm. If the number of confirmed reservations is too low, the event will be
cancelled on November 5 in order to avoid being charged the minimum guaranteed amount.

Cheers! Stefania

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Concept in Stemware

Not everybody is hip to new ideas or concepts, but check this out:

This not yet patented stem design is available from Chevalier Collection in Beverly Hills, CA, for a fancy price tag.

The idea is that the wine is aerated within your glass rather than using other hand held devices.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Harvest 2010 Santa Clara Valley

I poked around some of the winery websites in the area and the consensus about Harvest 2010 so far is that it's behind "normal". At Clos La Chance, they are running about a week behind in veraison and anticipate the first grapes coming to crush in another week or so.

For Stefania Wine, the vineyards we manage in Morgan Hill and Los Altos Hills are on track, but running about two weeks past "normal". The grapes at the "estate" (our suburban home in South San Jose) vineyard are also about two weeks behind normal. The fruit we have growing in Woodside still has not yet started veraison. The cabernet sauvignon is likely a loss this year, or we harvest in's too soon to tell for sure.

Some of the other high altitude vineyards are reporting similar conditions and much of it has to do with the weather. The very wet winter was fabulous for the roots and quenched the vines from the past few drought years, but then the cool Spring got everything off to a very slow start. It would be great for everyone, tomato growers too, if we had some very warm days all through September and October.

Historically we have a cooling trend and sprinkles around the 1st and 2nd weekends in October so we'll see what impact that has on ripening this year.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 17th Event Summary

Join us for a day of touring and tasting in South County. We will visit five wineries, two of which
are FOW member wineries, and we will end our day with a pot luck dinner at one of our member
couple’s home

On the Agenda:
10:00 a.m. Sycamore Creek
11:30 a.m. Martin Ranch Winery


1:00 p.m. Solis Winery
2:30 p.m. Creekview Vineyards
4:00 p.m. Satori Cellars
5:30 p.m. BYOB Potluck in Gilroy

Grilled chicken with havarti cheese, bacon and avocado on whole wheat bread
Roast beef with blue cheese and caramelized onion on split crust bread
Tuna salad with cheddar cheese and dill pickle on rustic Italian bread

Cost: Members $15.00, Non-members $20.00
Please indicate your sandwich choice with your RSVP (or I will decide for you!).

RSVP with your check made payable to FOW
No later than Saturday, July 10
Cheryl Markman
4982 Collomia Court
San Jose, CA 95111
(408) 578-8315

To see full event details:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Castillos Winery Event, June 26th

From Roni Jo at Castillos:

Hello everyone,
This is a busy time of year and the weather is so unpredictable!! Please don't let it keep you from attending our first Comedy show on June 26. Flyer with all of the info is attached, although, we have added a third comic to the lineup, a gal named Shannon Gittens. You can send a check to the address on the flyer. We will be in Italy until mid June. Vivienne and I have the privelege to sing with the choir at the Vatican. We will be performing 6 concerts total, in Venice, Florence and, of course, Rome. So it would be greatly appreciated if you could have your reservation and payment made prior to June 6th, so that I can finalize all of the details before we leave. We don't return until June 22. We do have limited seating so don't wait. Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing from you.
Regards, Roni Jo 408 595-3145

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sips From the Board

Information from the board meeting held May 25, 2010.

  • FOW is in the process of becoming an associate member of the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley.

  • Welcome new member Jim Nash.

  • In order to proceed with the museum project, FOW needs volunteers to participate in various committees such as Fund Raising and Volunteers. Interested members can contact Marv Bamburg.

  • FOW members are urged to attend the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers’Association's 2010 Vintners' Festival "A Taste of the Mountains" which takes place over the first two weekends in June in lieu of an FOW monthly event.

Upcoming events include the following:

  • July 17 - a visit to Sycamore Creek Vineyards, Martin Ranch Winery, Solis Winery, Satorie Cellars, Creekview Vineyard

  • August 21 - a visit to Clos la Chance, Castillo Hillside Shire Winery, and Guglielmo’s Harvest Festival

  • September 18 - Annual meeting

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Silver Mountain winery needs your help

You may already have heard about Silver Mountain's fight to be allowed to open to the public. They are asking for help from supporters to call or write to the Santa Cruz planning department. Also if you're free on Wednesday May 26th in Santa Cruz it would be extremely helpful if you can attend the hearing in person. It will be held at 9AM in the Supervisors chambers in the County Building on Ocean Street in Santa Cruz.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Founding Member of FOW Obituary

Bro. Norbert J. Korte, S.J.

Resident of Los Gatos

Brother Norbert J. (Biz) Korte, 80, died May 12, 2010 in Regis Infirmary, Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, after a long illness. He was in his 59th year as a Jesuit Brother.

Biz was born December 23, 1929 in San Francisco and raised in Oakland. He graduated from St. Ignatius High School (Class of 1948) and attended Santa Clara University, 1948-51. Biz began his Jesuit life at Sacred Heart Novitiate in Los Gatos, in August of 1951.

With the exception of one year at St. Ignatius High in San Francisco, all of Biz' Jesuit assignments were at Sacred Heart Novitiate. In 1969 Biz began his work for Novitiate Winery, a job loved and for which he is known throughout the country. Over the years Biz became the public face of the winery. He promoted wine tastings and other events as the winery became more oriented towards the commercial wine market. When the winery closed in January 1986, Biz was on hand liquidating the inventory and locking up the door.

After the closing of the winery Biz did various in-house jobs at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center. Because of failing health, he spent his last few years as a resident of the infirmary at Sacred Heart.

Biz was a big man physically. He was gregarious and friendly, a man of great emotions and of high ideals. He was not afraid to express his opinion and you always knew where Biz stood on any given subject.

He was active in the Lion's Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and was a founding member of the Friends of the Winemakers, a group dedicated to preserving the history of wine making in the Santa Clara Valley. As a Lion, Biz acted as the group's chaplain and worked closely in support of the San Jose Blind Center and its teaching activities. For almost two decades he played Santa Claus at the Los Gatos Christmas Parade.

On the occasion of his Golden Jubilee as a Jesuit, Biz reflected, "my life has been full of God's graces; I have much to be grateful forfrom caring for the aged, typing invoices, knocking on the doors of countless parishes selling altar wine, to balancing the books of the community." All this was done with a generous heart.

Biz is survived by his brother George Korte, and his sisters Marla and Mary Norbert Korte.

The funeral Mass will be on Thursday, May 20 at 10:30 AM at St. Mary's Church, 219 Bean Ave., Los Gatos. Committal Service at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery will immediately follow the Mass.

Donations in Br. Korte's memory can be sent to the California Province of the Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 68, Los Gatos, CA 95031. Funeral arrangements by Darling-Fischer Chapel of the Hills, Los Gatos, CA.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on May 16, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wineries of Santa Clara Valley 2010 Spring Celebration

Saturday, April 24th
noon -- 5pm
Casa de Fruta Country Park
10021 Pacheco Pass Hwy
Hollister, CA (appx 15 miles East of Gilroy)

FOW members can buy tickets for $45. Guests or Non-members $50
Make checks payable to FOW by Friday 4/16 and mail to:

FOW Activities Coordinator
4982 Collomia Court
San Jose, CA 95111

Your ticket price includes wine tasting, steak bbq, and live music by The House Rockers.
Look for the FOW RESERVED picnic tables.

Rain or Shine; no refunds

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

January Event Rescheduled for April 3rd

The January event listed here:

Has been rescheduled

What: A Comparison of Old World and New World Wines
Pot Luck Hors d'oeuvres (preceding) and Pot Luck Dinner (following)

When: 4:30 – 8:30 PM, Saturday, April 3, 2010

Where: Home of Claire and Monty Boyer
Saratoga, CA

Cost: Members: $20.00 per person and a Pot Luck dish to share
Non-members: $25.00 per person and a Pot Luck dish to share

How: email to for directions and payment instructions

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February Event

FOW Members & Friends:

The FOW event for February features food, wine, socializing and a presentation from the FOW Museum Committee. You will bring food, wine in a brown paper bag and an open ear or two. It should be interesting. FOW for years has dreamed of establishing a museum to document the history of wine making in our local area--not a small task. Come and find out what the Museum Committee has been up to. The deadline for getting your check to Cheryl is Wednesday, February 24.

The event is Saturday evening, February 27, starting at 5:00 PM.


Wine Museum Project Proposal followed by
Blind Tasting of Chardonnay and Syrah and Pot Luck Dinner
When: 5:00 – 8:30 PM, Saturday, February 27, 2010
What: 5:00 – 5:30 - Welcome wine and Hors d’ouevres, provided by members of the FOW Board
5:30 – 6:30 - * Presentation by Marvin Bamburg on the FOW Wine Museum Project
6:30 – 8:30 - ** Blind Tasting and Pot Luck Dinner
Each couple brings: 1 bottle of wine** and 1 pot luck dish to share
Each single brings: 1 bottle of wine** or 1 pot luck dish to share
Where: Town and County Mobile Village Clubhouse
195 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose, CA 95123
Cost: Members: $2.00 each (plus wine and/or pot luck dish)
Guests: $5.00 each (plus wine and/or pot luck dish)
* The first Friends of the Winemakers Advisory Board was formed in 1975 for the purpose of preserving the art and history of winemaking in the Santa Clara Valley. An important part of their vision was to establish a museum to document this history. A possible site was selected but the project did not prove to be feasible. The group continued to explore new ways to recognize this dream and now has what appears to be an appropriate venue. The Museum Committee has developed some conceptual plans and a rudimentary business plan for this
project, a presentation of which will be made at this meeting. “Buy-in” by the membership is essential if this project is to proceed and succeed. Please plan to attend and express your opinions.
** This will be a blind tasting of Chardonnay and Syrah. The wines should be brought in a plain paper bag and preferably be a current release from a Santa Clara Valley or Santa Cruz Mountains winery. We’ll taste the wines blind, enjoying the pot luck dinner as we do, vote on our favorites in each category, and then the wines will be unveiled.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Event Postponed

FOW Folks Planning to Attend the January Event:
My apologies to all of you who were planning to attend the FOW event this Saturday. It is with much regret that I must cancel the event. Although our host's home is without power due to the on-going storms and the parking area is a virtual swamp (and therefore a sink hole for parked cars), an alternate site was arranged and we thought we could still make this happen - in spite of the wrath of Mother Nature.

However, our guest speaker informed me Wednesday night that his mother has just been hospitalized in serious condition, and the doctors say, "It is only a matter of time." Obviously she must be his first priority and he will be unable to be with us that evening. So, again with my apologies, I know you will all understand.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Joyce's Eggplant Recipe

Eggplant, Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Terrine
2 eggplants about 21/2# cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
1/3 cup olive oil
olive tapenade
3 red peppers roasted, skin removed
7 ounces soft goat cheese
Brush eggplant with oil and broil, 4-5 minutes/side and place on paper towel to drain.
Roast red peppers and take skins off.
Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap with overhang.
Arrange eggplant slices, olive tapenade, red peppers, goat cheese in several layers ending with eggplant.
Cover eggplant with plastic overhang.
Weight it down with canned goods.
Chill for 24 hours. Can be made 3 days ahead.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Board Meeting Update

FOW Members and Friends:

Friends of the Winemakers

Sips from the Board…

Here’s what was discussed at the board meeting held January 12, 2010.

  • Membership renewals were sent out in December. Members should send in their renewals as soon as possible.
  • Cheryl Markman, activities coordinator, is looking for volunteers to assist in the planning of events for 2010.
    If you have some fresh, new ideas for events or want to help with planning, call Cheryl.
  • The board plans to add a photo gallery to the FOW web site. Members with pictures of past events can contact Betty Skov or Joe Schaefers.
  • Anyone interested in helping develop a Facebook fan page for FOW can Contact Betty Skov.

Monday, January 11, 2010

January Event



Guest Speaker Reggie Narito, MS“Old World vs. New World Wines”

Reggie Narito is one of only 96 people in the United States and one of only three Filipino-Americans to hold the prestigious title of Master Sommelier. A native of Alameda, Reggie began his career in the restaurant business at the age of 17. He has worked for noted Bay Area restaurants such as Stars in San Francisco, Le Papillon in San Jose and the Plumed Horse in Saratoga. He has served as consultant on numerous wine programs throughout Northern California.

Reggie is currently employed with Southern Wine & Spirits of Northern California as the Director of Training & Prestige Account Specialist. We are very fortunate to have him as our guest speaker. He will discuss with us how two wines made from the same grape variety can be completely different depending on where in the world they originated. Reggie will also include a bit of food pairing to help us better understand the term “food wine”, which is how people in many old world countries view wine. It should be quite an interesting and illuminating evening.

What: A Comparison of Old World and New World Wines Pot Luck Hors d'oeuvres (preceding) and Pot Luck Dinner (following)

When: 4:30 – 8:30 PM, Saturday, January 23, 2010

Where: Home of Claire and Monty Boyer - Saratoga, CA

Cost: Members: $20.00 per person and a Pot Luck dish to share Non-members: $25.00 per person and a Pot Luck dish to share Please note – Seating is limited.

How: RSVP with check payable to FOW, to be received by Wednesday January 20, to:
Cheryl Markman

For payment information and directions please send email to :

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


The Mirassou story began when Louis Pellier came to California in 1849 and established a nursery in San Jose. He was joined two years later by his brother Pierre, who helped import a large amount of nursery stock from Europe, including many grape varieties. After a few years Pierre went to work for Clement Colombet on his winery in the east bay. Meanwhile Louis purchased over 300 acres in the foothills east of San Jose. Here he planted 150 acres of vineyards and built a winery.

Pierre took over management of the winery in 1861 and on the death of his brother in 1872, took outright ownership. With the untimely death of Pierre's son two years later succession fell to his daughter Henriette. She managed the winery until 1881, when she married Pierre Mirassou. Together they had three sons and two daughters - Peter, John and Herman, Denise and Theresa - before Pierre died in 1889. The following year Henriette married Thomas Casalegno.

At first the Mirassou boys helped Casalegno manage the Pellier Ranch. Then around 1910 Casalegno sold the ranch and moved to Oakdale. The brothers formed a partnership and together purchased around 100 acres on Aborn Road. This was planted with vineyards and a small winery was built to the northwest at Quimby and White (now a strip mall). The brothers also purchased land off Cypress Avenue which became an orchard and a ranch off McLoughlin Road. In 1918 the partnership was dissolved and the brothers split the holdings, with Peter taking the vineyards.

The family continued to grow grapes throughout Prohibition; these were shipped in refrigerated rail cars to home winemakers on the east coast or sold to other local wineries including Cribari. In the mid 1930s Peter Mirassou expressed a desire to retire and hand over to his sons, Edmund and Norbert. They decided to establish a bonded winery and, with their father's support, the winery opened in 1937.

The name changed several times, from Peter L Mirassou Winery to P.L. Mirassou & Sons before finally becoming Mirassou Vineyards. For the first 30 years the winery produced unblended, varietal wine in bulk. They specialised in white wines, growing Riesling, Sylvaner, Semillon, French Colombard and Pinot Blanc. Much of the production went to Paul Masson and Almaden and was made into sparkling wine. They also had some old Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignan and Mourvedre vines.

Towards the end of the 1950s the inevitability of development became apparent. The family looked around the state and eventually selected a 270 acre ranch in Salinas. At the same time Paul Masson purchased 800 acres nearby and the two companies worked together developing this new viticultural area. Together the brothers planted over 1,000 acres with ungrafted vines and installed a permanent sprinkler irrigation system, believed to be the first of its kind.

In 1966 Edmund's sons, Daniel, Jim, and Peter Mirassou, formed San Vincente Vineyards and Mirassou Sales. Together they began bottling the Mirassou Vineyard wines and selling them under the family brand. They eventually took over the winery in 1984.

In 2002 Gallo purchased the rights to the Mirassou brand name along with the current inventory, though not the property which remained in a family trust. David Mirassou still works for Gallo, the 6th generation of "America's oldest winemaking family". Brothers Daniel and Peter Mirassou launched a new label called La Rochelle in the old building, but in 2005 they sold the brand to their cousin Steven Kent Mirassou; he wanted to purchase the property too, but the asking price was too high. The La Rochelle wines continue to be made at his Steven Kent winery in Livermore.

The historic estate is now closed, awaiting redevelopment and economic recovery. A request for access was politely refused. The old winery building is visible from the road but all the equipment has been sold and the unoccupied property has apparently suffered from vandalism. The planned redevelopment includes provisions for the preservation of the main winery building as well as the Mirassou house, built in 1924.


History of Santa Clara County by Eugene T. Sawyers
Norbert C. and Edmund A. Mirassou, "The Evolution of a Santa Clara Valley Winery," an oral history conducted in 1985 by Ruth Teiser, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1986.
Closure of the La Rochelle winery reported on
Obituary of Edmund Mirassou on