Wine Resolutions: Try something new this year.

As a wine drinker, you probably know what wines you enjoy drinking. If someone asked you which varietal you prefer, more than likely you’d have an answer or two at the ready. While it’s great to have some favorites, it’s easy to get into a routine and miss out on some delicious wines. 
This year, why not try expanding your taste? We have a few ideas that will motivate you to drink a little more creatively. 

Blind Tasting

A favorite here at Regale Winery and Vineyards, a blind tasting is an excellent way to experience the subtleties of different wine varietals. Find a group of friends who are interested in learning more about wine and assign each person a different varietal. Each attendee brings their assigned bottle and the host conceals them (we like burlap wine tasting bags or using brown wrapping paper over the labels). Take turns pouring each wine and making guesses about the varietal and region. Then reveal the mystery wines.

Pro Tip: Want to make things a little more competitive? Assign points for each correct guess! The winner can take home another mystery bottle.

Change Up Your Shopping Routine

Each time you visit your local wine shop or winery, commit to purchasing one varietal that is new to you. If you typically go for a Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel, try a bottle of Petite Sirah or Sangiovese. If you prefer whites, veer off the path of Pinot Gris and give a Chenin Blanc or Viognier a try. You may discover a new wine that you love!

Pro Tip: Have a conversation with the owner or winemaker. Explain what you typically drink and that you’re interested in trying something new. Chances are, they’ll have a great suggestion for you.

Region-Themed Parties

Find a group of friends who enjoy drinking wine and have each person host a region-themed wine night. Start with some of the essential regions, like Tuscany, Napa, Rioja and Bordeaux. Everyone who attends the region-themed event brings a bottle from that wine region. Spend the evening discussing the nuances of each wine, noting what you enjoy.

Pro Tip: Take it a step further by having each person bring a fact about the region.

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The New Year and the Tradition of Champagne (Sparkling wine for us!)

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You may be surprised to know that the origins of New Year’s and Champagne date all the way back to Julius Caesar himself. However, it wasn’t tradition to celebrate at midnight until the 1800s, and it is well known that champagne was a big contributor to those parties since the mid-century.

At the end of the 19th century, it was uncommon to see something other than champagne served at a New Year’s party. In the years leading up to the turn of the century, champagne sales soared from 6 million bottles per year to nearly 30 million bottles. And during the 1930s, a popular New York restaurant dubbed it the most fashionable, upper class thing to drink.

Even during Prohibition, the champagne market wasn’t affected as much as people may think. The U.S. still imported champagne by identifying less direct routes. After Prohibition was repealed, champagne consumption returned in full, reaffirming its tie with New Year’s traditions. As we know today, the tradition of champagne toasts still holds true.

Our sparkling wine is sure to do the same. Give it a try for this year’s celebrations!

Exciting (and easy!) ways to pair wine for the holidays.

The holidays are an excellent opportunity to pair delicious foods with fine wine. While you may be juggling a variety of dishes and wine preferences, we’ve made a list of classic pairings that are sure to have everyone at the table satisfied.

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 9.31.03 AM.pngAppetizers and Desserts
Finding a wine to serve at the beginning and the end of your holiday celebration can be a challenge. Why complicate things? Our Merlot is a chameleon of sorts. It will pair fantastically with savory appetizers, as well as sweet desserts.

Traditional Holiday Dishes
Classic dishes like Turkey or Prime Rib, pair well with a versatile wine that can complement even the heartiest of plates. Our 2016 Petite Sirah does just that. It’s elegant, lush and bold characteristics allow it to hold up to traditional holiday dishes.

The Guest who Prefers White Wine
Finding a white wine that complements every dish you’re serving, from appetizers to main dishes and desserts, is no easy task. Our Reserve Chardonnay is uniquely well rounded, making it the perfect white pairing for each food you serve.

vw_festive_champagne_6869New Year’s Celebrations 
The drink of choice for New Year’s celebrations has long been coveted by champagne. This year, why not try something new? Our Methode Champenoise is a wonderful combination of fruit and toasty notes.

To purchase your holiday wines, visit us in the Tasting Room or give us a call at (408)353-2500.
Tasting Room Hours:
Saturdays – 11am to 4pm
Sundays – 11am to 5pm

Another delicious way to enjoy wine over the holidays!

One of our tried and true favorites this time of year, our Holiday Spice Mulled Wine, is soon to return to Regale’s Tasting Room. Its pleasant notes of cinnamon, honey, clove and nutmeg will warm you to the core.

Mulled Wine
Available at Regale Winery and Vineyards in the Tasting Room:

Saturday, December 22nd • 11am – 4p
Sunday, December 23rd • 11am – 5pm
We’re quite sure you will be wanting more. Here’s our recipe so you can enjoy our mulled wine throughout the season.

Get the Recipe:

  • 1/2 Bottle Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/2 Bottle 2015 Paso Robles Merlot
  • 2 Cups Apple Cider
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Juice
  • 5 Tbsp Honey
  • 3 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 Tsp Nutmeg
  • 4 Orange Slices
  • 2 Lemon Slices
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer at low heat for about 10 minutes. Then keep warm over very low heat. Pour into mugs and serve with optional garnishes: orange peel, cinnamon stick, star of anise. You can also prepare mulled wine in a crock pot. Follow all steps and leave wine on “Keep Warm” setting.
We hope you enjoy!

 

The Summer of Pizza Paella, and of course, Wine. Need we say more?

If you asked for a list of our favorite things, we’re pretty sure we’d include these three every time. Pizza, Paella and Wine—all of which we invite you to join us for this summer at Regale.

Between now and late September, we’ve planned a lineup of exciting events that you don’t want to miss. If you’re looking to enjoy summer like the Italians, spend a Sunday afternoon on the grounds enjoying wine during our Wood-Fired Pizza series. Perhaps a Spanish staycation is more your style? We have you covered with the return of our popular Paella Feast. And last, but certainly not least, if you’re new to wine, or looking to expand your palette and knowledge, sign up for a class in our new Wine Education Series!

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Wood-Fired Pizza Series

We are delighted to continue the tradition of Regale’s Wood-Fired Pizza Series this summer. If you haven’t experienced it firsthand, be sure to put one of these dates on your calendar soon. Held in our gardens, our very own wood-fired pizza oven is fueled with our estate’s oak cuttings to create the perfect wine pairing.

New this Year!
We’re excited to feature Santa Cruz’s Justin Wadstein of Sleight of Hand Pizza. With 13 World Champion Pizza Tosser titles, Justin delights guests with delicious pizza and his impressive pizza tossing tricks.

Sunday, Noon – 4pm

Remaining Dates: July 1st, July 15th, August 5th, August 19th, September 2nd, September 16th

No tickets required. Walk-ins welcome for smaller parties, and reservations are required for groups larger than 9 people.

*See below link for more event information.

 

Paella Feast  Paella

Paella Feast

In the art of entertaining, there’s very few dishes that can rival the aromatic, colorful presentation of paella. Take a quick Spanish getaway and join us for a savory evening featuring this traditional cuisine native to Spain. As our guest, you’ll get to see every step of the cooking process, from beginning to end. Watch as a team from Hola Paella prepares the meal right in front of you with only the freshest of ingredients.

Sunday, August 26 • 5:30 – 7:30pm

Tickets available online.

*See below link for more event information.

Regale-114 (2)  Wine Tasting

Wine Education Series – New at Regale

Interested in learning more about wine? This summer, we are excited to have launched our Wine Education Series! Whether you’re new to wine, or consider yourself a connoisseur, there is something for everyone to gain from this series.

Join us for a class led by Adan Ocegueda, a well-known, local sommelier and wine education professor at San Jose State University. Choose from a class focused on food pairings or an introduction to wine. Each class includes 45 minutes of lecture followed by 30 minutes of tasting and 15 minutes of Q&A.

  • An Introduction to Wine – Sunday, July 29 • 1:30 – 3pm
  • Food Pairing – Sunday, August 26 • 1:30 – 3pm
  • An Introduction to Wine – Sunday, September 30 • 1:30 – 3pm

Tickets available online.

*See below link for more event information.


*For more information on these events, visit our events page. To purchase tickets for the Paella event or Wine Education Series, click here.


 

 

Unique Rehearsal & Engagement Dinner Ideas

Are you planning an engagement or rehearsal dinner, but are looking for a more exciting and unique way to celebrate with family and friends? Between the bridal showers, engagement and rehearsal dinners, and the big day, preparing for these events can be hugely time-consuming. Regale Winery and Vineyards is working to not only make that task easier for you, but to ensure a truly unique experience, allowing you to interact with guests and be entertained without the stress that often accompanies these events.

Designed to reflect the old wineries in Italy and France, Regale’s setting provides an exclusive venue for rehearsal and engagement dinners, weddings and other special events. If you’re looking for an evening that stands out from the customary rehearsal or engagement dinner, we’ve got some fresh and intriguing ideas for you.

  • wine stompingGrape stomping competition: For a little friendly competition, match up the bridal party against the groomsmen in a grape stomping game. Regale offers this unique competition, which allows the bride and groom to compete in stomping grapes— a unique look into the history of winemaking, and a wonderful photo op!
  • Engaging wine and cuisine stations: Truly an interactive approach to the wining and dining of your guests, try creating themed stations with entertaining activities. Ideas like learning to saber a bottle of Champagne paired with oysters or a meat carving station perfectly paired with Merlot are sure to delight your guests.
  • Pinot Pong tournament and sushi rolling: New at Regale, the exciting game of Pinot Pong combines the competitive edge of Beer Pong with the elegance of fine wine. For a lively crowd, delight your guests with this exciting game combined with in-person sushi rolling provided by our local catering partners.
  • Wine blending competition: To make the “I Dos” even more memorable, hold a wine blending competition to create the bride and groom’s custom wine blend to be served on the wedding day. Regale even offers custom wine labels with the couple’s names and wedding date to commemorate their special day.
  • Wood-fired pizza and blind tasting: An instant hit with most any group, our wood-fired pizza oven offers a unique dining experience in the gorgeous gardens at Regale. Guests can test their knowledge of wine with a guided blind taste test and enjoy rustic, Tuscan-inspired pizza on the patio.
  • Wine and couples trivia: Create trivia questions with wine topics and split into teams. For each question answered correctly, reveal a funny, interesting or romantic fact about the bride and groom!
  • Sports and appetizers in the gardens: Looking for an idea with a little more action for an upbeat crowd? Regale’s sports package offers a variety of game options, including an in-house bocce ball court, badminton, Ping-Pong, cornhole, horseshoe and Giant Jenga, to name a few. Combine that with tray-passed and stationed appetizers, and your guests will be both highly entertained and well fed.

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  • Wine Bingo and picnic in garden: An ever-classic game, we’ve given Bingo an update with a fresh new twist. Guests learn the meaning behind wine descriptors like fruit expression, texture and minerality while playing along and enjoying a lovely picnic in Regale’s verdant gardens.

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For more information about events at Regale, or to request a proposal, click here. You can also contact events@regalewine.com or call (408) 353-2500.

Benefits of Joining a Wine Club

Have you considered joining a wine club, but aren’t sure of all the benefits a membership can offer? From winery to winery, benefits vary, but there are some key reasons you may want to join and ideas of what you can expect from most memberships.

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  • Great discounts. Members of wine clubs typically receive a discounted rate for bottle purchases. Here at Regale, we offer substantial discounts of 15 -20% off bottles, depending upon membership level.
  • Tastings and private space. Visit the winery to taste and take advantage of onsite benefits. Regale wine club members receive complimentary tastings and access to an exclusive, members-only tasting lounge.
  • Attend member-only events. Depending on the size of the winery, club members often have the opportunity to attend exclusive, member-only events like private release parties or live music. Regale members also receive priority booking for Regale-hosted events, like our popular summer Paella Dinners.

  • Get first access to special releases and member-only wines. Do you want to be the first to try new wine releases? Or have the ability to buy those limited production wines? Having a membership is the first step you should take to get access to such limited bottles.
  • Receive a regular supply of wine. Enjoy a variety of wines throughout the year. 27868088_10155772939322702_4486641456774762655_nMost wine clubs provide the option to pick up wine releases in person and enjoy a tasting, or have it shipped directly to you for convenience.
  • Learn more about wine. You can visit your wine club’s tasting room and sample the wines featured on their current menu (complimentary for you and up to four guests if you’re a member at Regale). You’ll have a chance to speak with the pourer or winemaker to learn about the varietals and what went into making the wines.
  • Expand your palate. A wine club membership will often open up your palate, introducing you to new varietals that you may not have tried on your own. Both seasonal and new releases are featured by wineries and allow you to expand your taste for different regions and grapes.

Regale Winery and Vineyards offers a number of educational, fun and cost-saving benefits for wine club members, including:

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  • Discounted wine purchases (15-20%)
  • 30% off additional bottle purchases of the varietal types included in shipments during pick-up on release weekends
  • Access to limited production, member-only wines
  • Complimentary tasting for up to four guests
  • Discounted spa services at The Spa ~ Los Gatos
  • Priority booking for events hosted by Regale
  • Access to members-only wine tasting lounge
  • Priority access to bocce court, patios and terrace areas

To learn more about Regale Winery and Vineyard’s wine club benefits and membership options, click here.

Team Building: Why it’s so important to your business.

Creating a cohesive team is often one of the most challenging obstacles companies face. While a large variety of team building experiences are offered today, a memorable experience that fosters engagement, motivation and performance is often hard to find. Along with the fact that employees should feel rewarded for their hard work during a team building event, there are plenty of reasons why it is important to a business, including the bottom line.

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Team building fosters collaboration.

  • It can boost creativity and innovation.
  • Allows employees to understand the strengths, weaknesses and interests of coworkers.


It motivates.

  • Your employees’ hard work should be both recognized and rewarded.


It boosts performance.

  • Put simply, team building helps people work better together. Once they bond on an intimate level, you may see an increase in productivity.
  • Employees may be more driven.

 

So, how do you team build successfully?

1. It shouldn’t feel like a regular day at the office. It’s ideal to go offsite for team building, which helps people to get out of the daily routine and interact openly. Select a location that will be memorable and exciting for employees.

2. Schedule during working hours. Employees shouldn’t feel like they need to spend after hours’ time or a weekend attending a mandatory work event.

3. There needs to be an experience that brings people closer together. Activities can help employees collaborate and develop trust. At Regale, we offer a number of out-of-the-box options, like blind tasting, cork engineering and wine trivia (just to name a few).

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4. Make it functional for everyone. Not every person on the team wants to do a relay race or scavenger hunt. Having options is a great way to accommodate everyone on the team. Regale provides a number of activities and packages to make sure all employees are engaged and comfortable.

5. Set expectations. The goal of the team building activity needs to be clear for employees. Communicate the intent of the event. Whether it is integrating different teams in the office, increasing communication among employees, or building relationships, results are more likely to be implemented if the team goes into the experience with a goal in mind.

6. Get feedback. Be sure to get a pulse for how receptive employees were to the team building activity (we like using SurveyMonkey, which allows employees to submit feedback anonymously). You should also thank everyone for their participation.

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Here at Regale, we provide a team building experience that is one of the most involved and entertaining in the wine industry. All team members feel at ease with our event planning team handling every last detail, from time management to the setup and structure of activities.

With an expanding list of packages to choose from, employees can bond over grape stomping, blind tasting, or our sports package, among other extensive options. We take pride in finding catering partners that provide interactive culinary experiences and elite service.

For more information on corporate events at Regale, visit our website, contact us at events@regalewine.com or call (408) 353-2500 (ext.103).

 

Why Wines Taste Different from Year to Year

Have you ever wondered why you might love a particular Pinot Noir from 2013, but may not be as fond of the 2014? If so, you’re not alone.

The answer is complex, just like the winemaking industry. Having an understanding of these variations will give you a greater appreciation of just how much goes into making that 2013 vintage that you love so much.

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Why does a wine differ in taste from year to year?
There are an endless number of variables that can have an effect on how a particular year’s yield will taste. However, there are two main factors that winemakers can confidently rely on being ever-changing.

  1. Weather and climate
  2. Winemaker’s growing, harvesting and aging process

How Weather & Climate Affect Wine
There are countless variables in nature that can have a major impact on the outcome of grapes. There are a few main factors that winemakers must pay close attention to.

  • Precipitation. The amount and timing of rainfall directly impacts a winemaker’s end product. If there is too much rainfall around harvest time, vines will absorb water, diluting the grape and causing an imbalance in flavor. Growers are looking for just the right amount of precipitation before harvest.
  • The land the grapes are grown in (soil). The soil that grapes are grown in can have an astounding impact on wine. For example, grapes that are planted in rich, fertile soil with lots of moisture will often produce light and fruity wine. However, the same grapes planted on a hill-side with broken up, dry soil cause the vines to work harder to get nutrients. This produces a more robust wine with higher tannins.
  • Temperature. The temperature that grapes are grown greatly impacts what kinds of varietals should be grown in a given region. Some grapes flourish in moderate temperatures, while others grow best with warm days and cooler nights. And some grapes grow best in extreme heat (for example, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel).


How Winemaking Process Affects Wine
To make great wine, it’s crucial to have quality grapes. But, how the grapes are harvested and processed also has a considerable impact on the end product. Among many factors, three of the most important that winemakers must consider include:

  • The date of harvest. The exact time that grapes are picked has a much higher impact on the overall taste of a wine than you might think. If grapes are harvested earlier, the wine they produce will have a lower alcohol content and higher acidity. Conversely, if grapes are picked later in the season, there will be more sugar present, which translates to a higher alcohol content and less acidity in the wine. The goal is to pick grapes when acidity and sweetness levels are balanced.
  • Aging process. Wine is aged in either oak or steel. The result? Oak-aged wine is more traditional and produces natural aromas like nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon. Steel barrels produce a zestier, more refreshing wine, like Pinot Gris. Wine aged in steel barrels has become more common in recent years due to its value proposition (reuse of barrels, easier cleaning, more control over oxygen exposure).
  • When it was bottled and how it was stored. What might sound like a very simple step in the winemaking process is another critical phase that demands a winemaker’s planning and expertise. Exposure to oxygen can make or break a wine during this important step. Winemakers must walk a fine line between aging (good) and oxidizing (bad) wine. This means wine must be stored at the right temperature in properly sealed bottles. Other factors include keeping the wine in a dark, consistently cool space, minimizing movement and knowledge of what wines usually improve with age.

 

These, among many other factors, all contribute to why that 2013 Pinot Noir was so outstanding!

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips to Learning More About Wine

Whether you’re new to loving wine, or someone who has been tasting for years, there’s always more you can learn. However, the seemingly endless pages of fine wine at nice restaurants, hundreds of ways to describe wine, and varietals changing from year to year, can make wine education intimidating.

So, where do you begin?

In order to handle the wine list with confidence, discover what wine qualities you like, or simply expand your taste, we have a few ideas for you.

1. Get a wine-centric group of people to form a tasting group.

Glass in Hand 2Find a group of individuals who have the same interest in wine and plan to get together once or twice a month to taste and discuss preferences. Try to mix up the wines you are tasting to expose your palette to as many wine varietals as possible.

If you live near vineyards, have everyone meet at a winery’s tasting room (visit us at Regale!). The pourers will be able to enhance your depth of knowledge and bring new perspectives to your tasting group. They’ll be able to tell you more about each wine you taste, including where it was grown, how it was barreled, and how long it was aged, among other factors.

2. Find a favorite local wine bar. Get to know the staff. Become a regular.

Stop by the wine bar once or twice a week for a glass of wine. Become acquainted with their menu by trying different wines each time you visit. This will help you to identify characteristics that you like and dislike in wine.

3. Host a dinner party with a themed wine selection.

Pick a wine that you would like to know more about (for example, Pinot Noir). Have everyone bring a bottle of Pinot Noir so you can taste and discuss multiple bottles.

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Take it a step further.
To take your themed dinner party to another level, have everyone bring a Pinot Noir from a different region. This will allow you to draw comparisons between wines produced in different types of land and soils (like the Willamette Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains). Take detailed notes to assess your preferences and compare with your guests.

Regale-99_preview4. Taste frequently.

(Our favorite tip!) Take advantage of the resources you have around you. Find a good local wine shop and get to know the people who work there. Each time you buy wine, ask for one bottle that is full bodied and one that is light bodied.


5. Follow wine experts.

Pay attention to what the experts are doing. This will encourage you to branch out from wines you typically drink and allow you to find new wines you never knew you’d like.
To increase your knowledge of wine, your best bet is to experience as much as possible. Each of these tips will help you to do so, but keep in mind that the very best way you can learn is to taste.

In addition to making these tips part of your wine tasting routine, be sure to have a few good resources to reference. This will keep you on top of wine trends and ongoing education.

Some resources we like:

  • Calwineries.com – A guide to wineries in California with information about terrain, history and more.
  • WineSpectator.com – A leading wine resource, with information on just about anything you ever wanted to know about wine.