Pop-Up Dinner at Ruby Wine, Monday 2/20

Hi, Everyone! It’s been a while, and I’ve been busy working on new projects. I wanted to let you all know about a pop-up benefit dinner I’m hosting/cheffing this Monday, Feb. 20th at Ruby Wine.

Ruby Wine has a small café next door called Provendor, and the last few Mondays there have been a variety of chefs using their kitchen for pop-up dinners. This Monday, Feb. 20th I am hosting a dinner there with 100% of the dinner profits going to an Oakland public school. The money will be used to purchase classroom supplies and books for the students at Fruitvale Elementary.

Come by Provendor at 1415 18th St, SF from 6pm-9pm to order your dinner. You can then take it next door to enjoy at Ruby Wine (or take it to go). Travis will be there pouring wines by the glass, or you can purchase a bottle to share with no corkage fee.

The menu includes options for meat lovers and vegetarians.
$20 per person.

Option 1:

Pasture-raised beef cheeks slow-braised in red wine and herbs
served over creamy polenta
Roasted rainbow carrots with rosemary
and a freshly baked sea salt chocolate chip cookie

Option 2:

Two sous vide pasture-raised eggs with wild mushroom ragout
served over creamy polenta
Roasted rainbow carrots with rosemary
and a freshly baked sea salt chocolate chip cookie

Let’s pack the house and raise a ton of money for Fruitvale Elementary. I’m pouring my heart and soul into this, so you know it’s going to be great. I hope to see you there!

Pre-Califermentation Pop-Up: Monday, Oct 17th @ 7PM

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Join Tala of Winelandia and Pamela Busch of The Vinguard this Monday, October 17th @ 7pm for a Pre-Califermentation Pop-Up at Ruby Wine in San Francisco. They’ll be pouring wines from a few featured producers, including AmByth Estate, Scholium Project, Petard Cellars, Sonoma Mountain Winery, and others.

Wines will be poured in a tasting flight or by the glass for $10-$15. Come hang out and get to know the organizers of Califermentation. Tala and Pamela be available to chat with you about the landscape of natural wine in California while you sip on some awesome local juice.

Monday, October 17th at 7PM
Ruby Wine
1419 18th Street
San Francisco

Peace!

Califermentation Recap

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California’s natural winemakers tend to be an adventurous lot, and with good reason.  They take great risks foregoing the pesticides and chemical manipulations that have become a benchmark of most of the large well known California wineries, but it’s a risk they think is worth taking in order to produce something that’s honest.  Apparently so do several hundred San Franciscans.

Califermentation filled both of the rooms in Soma’s pioneering natural wine bar Terroir this past Saturday, with crowds turning out to drink local wines and meet the people making them.  It’s a testament to the ethos of natural wine in California, really, the marked difference this event had to the sedated atmosphere of bigger, more traditional wine industry gatherings.  There were no airs of pretention, just a lot of people happy to be drinking natural wine, and proud winemakers eager to share what they do.  There’s a lot of talk about “Farm to table” in California, but this was vine to table at it’s most raucous.  The mountain of empty bottles towering over the recycling bins at the end of the night was a testament to that.

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Surveying the room, it was hard to miss the general enthusiasm for what was happening, and the lineup of participating winemakers was reason enough.  California’s natural wine movement isn’t as old as it’s European counterparts, but some of the region’s early pioneers were pouring interesting bottles that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else.  Gideon Beinstock from Clos Saron held court at the end of the bar, perched atop a stool to pour some of his older reds, including a rare magnum of his 1999 Pinot Noir.  Only 6 cases of these were ever bottled, so it was a hell of a gesture to bring out something that’s undoubtedly one of the last of its kind.  This presence wasn’t lost on the other winemakers, many of whom spent a great deal of the event crowded around one of the elder statesmen of California natural wine.

The afternoon was also an opportunity to meet a lot of small producers that aren’t yet on many people’s radar, and it was nice to see a wide diversity of styles (not to mention some grapes that don’t make many appearances in California).  A Pét-Nat made with Grenache isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when you think about San Diego, but Los Pilares are having a go at it, taking their inspiration from a deep love of Lambrusco.  Much closer to home are the wines of Noel Diaz, who turns out some interesting things under the Purity Wine label on Treasure Island from grapes grown in the Santa Ynez Valley.  His skin fermented Marsanne isn’t typical of what you’d find anywhere in California, and he even managed to sneak in a single bottle of the pleasantly dry Pét-Nat he makes with the leftover grapes.

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Old bottles and Pet-Nat experiments aside, there was something wonderfully buzzy in the air at Terroir, the sort of warm Dionysian glow given off from a large group of people enjoying themselves in a shared pursuit.  Wine is often categorized as an insider’s industry that’s closed off and secretive about its inner workings, so any opportunity to bring drinkers and producers together does a lot towards dispelling notions of exclusivity.  When asked why they don’t drink more wine, many people respond that they “…don’t know anything about it”.  Hopefully more events like Califermentation will pop up in the future to make sure that they get the opportunity to change that.  The nice thing about wine is that the best way to learn is by drinking it.

Not forgetting a quick shoutout to the two women who made Califermentation possible and wrangled together several dozen winemakers from across the state , Tala Drzewiecki and Pamela Busch!

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CALIFERMENTATION: A California natural wine fair – Nov. 12-13, 2016

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The Vinguard and Winelandia invite you to
Califermentation: The second annual wine fair showcasing California’s best in natural winemaking.
Saturday Nov. 12 – Sunday Nov. 13, 12- 4 pm

Terroir Natural Wine Bar and Merchant
1116 Folsom Street (7th), San Francisco

Unlike any other tasting before, Califermentation is featuring wines from California’s best producers dedicated to working without chemicals, with native yeast and using minimal sulfur. Not only are these methods better for the environment but also create more vibrant, expressive and terroir driven wines. More than 40 winemakers from across the state are joining us at Terroir, California’s original natural wine bar, for this exciting, second-annual fête. Hope to see you there!

Buy tickets here.

$45 each day or $80 for both days with 10% of proceeds benefitting Bay Area Hunger.

Participating Wineries:

AmByth Estate
Amplify Wines
Black Trumpet
Broc Cellars
Clos Saron
Coturri Winery
Deux Punx
Donkey & Goat
Enfield Forlorn Hope
Hardesty
Harrington
Hobo Wine Co.
Inconnu Wine
j.Brix
Krater Cellars
La Clarine Farm
La Onda Wine
Ruth Lewandowski
Living Wines Collective
Lo-Fi
Los Pilares
Methode Sauvage
Old World Winery
Petard Cellars
Preston
Purity Wines
Rein
Roark Wine Co.
Scholium Project
Sonoma Mountain Winery
Thistle
Two Shepherds
Unti
Unturned Stone
Verdad
Vesper
Vinca Minor

Follow us on social media:

Website: https://califermentation.com
Twitter: @califermentSF
Instagram: @califermentation
Facebook: http://facebook.com/califermentation

Organic Wine for Weddings and Events

Organic wine for weddings

Did you know that Winelandia can supply organic wine for weddings and events? We’ll work with your menu to create the perfect food and wine pairings for you and your guests on your special day. Whether you’re looking for crowd-pleasing standards like Napa Merlot or French Chardonnay, or fun & obscure wines such as sparkling Gringet from Savoie or Pineau d’Aunis from the Loire, we can get what you’re looking for!

Whether you’re planning a country-themed wedding at a local winery, or a modern event at a swanky hotel, Winelandia can help select wines that will perfectly suit the look and feel of your event. We can work within any budget and scale, providing affordable and delicious wines to suit your taste and menu. Best of all, we make sure your goods are delivered to the venue or caterer on time.

Most importantly, you can be sure all of Winelandia’s selections fit within our strict guidelines for sustainable & organic farming and production. We only sell wines that are made responsibly, in small batches, by real people. Check out our online store to get an idea of what we offer. We have organic and natural wine to fit into every budget.

Winelandia can deliver the wine for your wedding or special event within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco. Feel free to reach out to us and receive a free email or over-the-phone consultation! We can be reached at info@winelandia.com.

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Winery Visit: Wind Gap

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If you dig back into the annals of Winelandia history, you’ll find a few storied visits to Wind Gap – starting at their prior facility in Forestville, and moving with them to their brand new winery and tasting room at The Barlow in Sebastopol. We’ve known about Pax and his incredible winemaking skills for several years, and hope you all seek them out too! We are, it’s true, big fans.

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A few Saturdays ago, I went to check out the Wind Gap winery open house, to help them warm it (it was their first big event in the new space), and to try the new spring 2014 wines. Let me tell you, if you get a chance, check out a) the wines and b) the space. It’s a beautiful warehouse facility with high ceilings, metal beams, and concrete floors. Pax and Pam Mahle host this party annually, and it’s easy to attend – just add yourself to the Wind Gap mailing list from their website, and an invitation will come your way next April. I love this party so much, I bring guests every year – and compete with them to see how many oysters we can each finish. With Hog Island oysters, a special featured treat (this year is was pork belly buns), a variety of cheeses and meats, and pouring stations with the new wines for the season – not to mention live music! – it’s truly not to be missed.

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We tasted through 7 wines, but my top 3 are listed below:

  • The 2013 Trousseau Gris, which Pax is known for, and deserves a post in its own right. This light, acidic, and lively white wine from a nearly-forgotten varietal and vineyard in Sonoma County goes so well with the oysters Wind Gap serves alongside, I almost can’t imagine a better pairing. Except maybe a patio chair and an 80 degree day.
  • The 2013 Pinot Gris, which is skin fermented – Tala and I are crazy for these wines lately! This Pinot Gris is a deep copper color, with a hint of structure and spice, but it’s so clean and flawless that there’s a world of food pairings with this wine. Try it with mushroom dishes or salmon. I’m drinking it tonight with a “kitchen sink” dish of fregula, quinoa, green garlic, and baby artichokes. It doesn’t get lost in the complexity of flavors, and doesn’t overwhelm either.
  • The 2012 Sceales Vineyard Grenache is whole cluster, which gives it a nice amount of tannin, and some feral qualities. It’s never seen oak, so the flavor is pure Grenache – but this is an intense glass. It’s almost brooding, but not heavy.

You can try these wines at their tasting room, which is open Thursday-Sunday from 11am-6pm. Clocking in at just over an hour from San Francisco, it’s easy to get to, and offers plenty of exploration nearby. The Barlow is home to several other wineries, as well as a coffee roaster, distillery, brewery, and more. I encourage you to check it out, walk around, and taste through their portfolio! The wines – and the tasting room – are worth the drive.

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Winelandia’s Tropical Adventure

Hi friends, blog followers, wine lovers…

After six straight months of pounding the pavement to find you the most delicious wines in the world, I am taking a much needed vacation. I am going to do my best to “disconnect” while I’m away (I’m going to Oahu, for those who are curious), but I’ll be back on Tuesday! Until then, the blog will be mostly quiet, and any orders placed between tomorrow and Monday will not ship until Tuesday, April 22nd.

Do you think there’s any good wine in Hawaii? I’m going to try and find a wine shop selling some “local” wines. Perhaps I will find something drinkable. Maybe there’s some pineapple, starfruit, or other country wines out there. Do you think wine in Hawaii comes with a little umbrella in it? I will report back!

When I get back, I will be preparing our next wine club shipment. All six of the wines are in, just getting a little rest from their travels before making their way into your homes. We’ve selected some really cool stuff – Lambrusco, Txakoli, sparkling Gringet, fantastic rosé, and a gulpable Spanish red wine. Want to get in on the action? Join the wine club.

Winelandia’s Official Press Release

Now that Winelandia is out of BETA mode and the online shop has been battle tested, we are smashing into the local wine scene like the Kool-Aid man with our official Press Release!


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 10th, 2014
BAY AREA STARTUP LAUNCHES ARTISAN WINE DELIVERY SERVICE

San Francisco, CA – Winelandia is a new kind of wine retailer. It’s targeting busy, tech-savvy Bay Area wine lovers and startup office kitchens by delivering sustainably produced wines to their homes and offices. With no brick-and-mortar storefront and only an online presence, Winelandia is able to focus on customer service, product transparency, and convenience.

Initially launched in February of 2013 as a food and wine blog, Winelandia added a subscription-based wine club in November of 2013. In mid-February of 2014, Winelandia expanded its website and launched an online store that allows consumers to browse and purchase wines by the bottle. Within San Francisco and surrounding areas, delivery is done by hand – by the company’s founder.

The wines offered by Winelandia are curated by founder Tala Drzewiecki and blog co-author Colleen McGarry. Their selections are responsibly farmed, fermented with indigenous yeasts, and minimally manipulated in the winery. Tala & Colleen’s tastes showcase honest wines with elegance, texture, balance, affordability, and food friendliness.

Winelandia’s foundation is its wine club, which has grown to nearly 40 members since its launch. Winelandia develops recipes for each wine club shipment, along with food pairing recommendations and detailed production data for all of the included wines. Winelandia believes that food and wine go hand-in hand, and that they should be enjoyed together.

Whether consumers are just seeking to explore their palates, or if they are seasoned wine lovers that just want high-quality wine without any fuss, Winelandia is there to deliver.

ABOUT WINELANDIA
Winelandia was founded in 2013 by SF Bay Area native, tech escapee, and natural wine enthusiast, Tala Drzewiecki. Winelandia provides a curated wine delivery service to customers throughout California, focusing on small-production wines grown and produced as responsibly as possible. Winelandia is privately held and based out of Brisbane, CA and San Francsico, CA. Visit: https://winelandia.com/

Media Contact: Tala Drzewiecki
tala@winelandia.com
415-572-2493
Visit: https://winelandia.com

 

Recipe: Clams with White Wine and Shallots

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When Tala and I were planning Secret Wine Club: Loire a few weeks ago, we had very little idea of what we were going to drink or serve up until a few days before the event. The one thing that was certain, however, was that we would pour a Muscadet, and we’d pair it with clams. This pairing is off-the-charts successful, and we both recommend you try it – but the recipe and the wine do stand on their own as well. More of a technique than a recipe, I’ll tell you what you need and what to do.

Ingredients:

Clams – the smaller the better, cherrystone, manila, and littleneck are three types that come to mind. You’ll want around 1lb per person for an entrée, or somewhat less as a snack or an appetizer. (I would not be lying if I said I could eat 2lbs by myself if you let me. Just sayin’.)

Shallot – 1 or 2, depending on how many clams you’re preparing, chopped

Garlic – 2 cloves, minced

Butter – 2 tablespoons

Olive Oil – 1-2 tablespoons

White Wine – about 1 cup (anything dry will work, I used what I had open, which was a Chardonnay, but if you’re pairing the dish with a Muscadet, and you can stand to give some up, use that!)

Water – about 1 cup

Parsley – about 2 tablespoons, chopped

Crusty Bread, sliced

Rinse your clams under cold water just to make sure there’s no debris on the outside. If you’ve bought them from a high-quality seafood shop like Hog Island, you won’t have to worry about sand on the inside, either! Start by drizzling the olive oil and melting the butter over medium heat in a saute pan with a tight-fitting lid. Once the butter is melted, add in the chopped shallot and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until softened. You don’t want to color the shallots. When the shallots are softened, about 3-5 minutes, add in the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Turn the heat up to medium high, and add the wine and the water. Once the liquid is simmering in the pan, add the clams, spread in the pan evenly, and cover with the lid. Wait about 2-3 minutes, and check on the contents to see if the clams are starting to open. Give ’em a shake to redistribute. Cover and wait another 1-2 minutes. After about 5 minutes, most of the clams should have opened. If most are still closed, give them a bit more time. After 5-7 minutes total, turn off the heat, first transfer the clams to a serving bowl with tongs or a spoon, and then pour the pot liquor (all that delicious stuff with clam juice, wine, water, garlic, shallot, butter, and olive oil in it!) over the clams. This helps distribute the good stuff into each little clamshell, so that when you’re eating them, you don’t need to dig at the bottom of the serving bowl!

Make sure you serve the clams with an empty bowl at the table for the shells, and several slices of warm, crusty bread. Sourdough is great for this, as the tang and the sweetness and the fragrance of the clams all go together quite nicely. You can dip your bread in the pot liquor. That, my friends, is heaven.

Variations: This recipe is very flexible, and very forgiving. You can use a sweet onion, or even leeks instead of shallots. You can add some cubed bacon or pancetta or crumbled chorizo to the shallots and saute until cooked through. You can swap the white wine for a nice light, crisp beer. You can use a vegetable or chicken broth instead of water, for richer flavor.

Ever since I learned how easy it is, I almost never order them in restaurants, because I can make them at home in 15 minutes or less! This is one of my favorite things to eat when I’m alone, because it’s easy, fast, and delicious. Have you ever prepared clams? Maybe you were too nervous until now? Let us know!

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The Joys of Picking Your Own Fruit

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For the last 5 years or so, I’ve made a pilgrimage of sorts. I’m not a religious person, and to imply that I might be seems almost laughable, but going down to Andy’s Orchard in Morgan Hill, CA is a sublime experience that satisfies me to a degree that surprises me every time I go. Andy Mariani is a fruit grower extraordinaire, with a beautiful orchard just over 20 miles south of San Jose. It’s a long drive for me, coming from Oakland, but it’s so worth it. Every year, Andy hosts a few tasting events – generally, one in June, one in July, and one in August, to offer the public an opportunity to sample the abundance of his orchard, and his hard work developing, preserving, and evangelizing rare, precious, and fragile stone fruit varieties. (Stone fruit is anything with a pit: cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, and so on.) The August tasting always has a wide array of the larger, later-season fruits – peaches, plums, nectarines, and hybrids. This year, I’m sure we tasted at least 25 or 30, and if we’d been intrepid enough, could’ve tasted through at least 25 more.

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After you walk down row after row of sliced, delicately flavored and complex fruit, you get the opportunity to trek through the orchard with a box or a bucket, picking however much of whatever fruit you’d like to take home. This is a test of discipline and will for me. I am, after all, the crazy girl who has a peach tattoo, and setting me loose in an all-you-can-pick orchard is a dangerous proposition. This year, I walked away with only 25 pounds of fruit that I split with A, who joined me. We picked 3 primary varieties – the  Kit Donnell and Baby Crawford peaches, and the Silk Road nectarine. Types you’ll surely never see in stores because they’re so delicious, but so delicate and fragile that they didn’t even make the trip from the  tree to my house unscathed, let alone from tree to distributor to store to display to cart to trunk to your kitchen shelf. They last so few days once home, that consumers would never tolerate it. But trust me – the flavor, texture, and joy is totally worth the experience.

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If you’ve never picked a tree-ripened summer fruit from a branch, noticing that the sun has warmed its – and your – skin, you’re truly missing out. I recommend this experience to everyone. Being able to pull a piece off a tree and bite into it to tell what it is, and whether you like it or not, is something unmatched by even going to the farmers market. This is as close as I can get to my food, and for me, it makes it taste all the better. A and I agreed that the Silk Road may be the best stone fruit we’ve ever eaten. I decided to turn it into sorbet to preserve the beautiful deep goldenrod color, and the creamy, dense texture.

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Oh, so what did I do with those 25 pounds of fruit? Y’all know I like pie, right? Like I’m kind of obsessed? It’s still delicious two days later, even. We also made some peach brandy (hopefully I can tell you about it when it’s done, but that might be a few months,) peach ice cream, the aforementioned nectarine sorbet, and ate many out of hand – the best way to enjoy them.

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This event was the last one at Andy’s Orchard for 2013, but if you’re jealous, you can order some of Andy’s fruit and have it delivered to you in a foam-cushioned box. So, have you ever visited a you-pick orchard? There are tons! What did you do with your treasure?

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