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.

Cheers

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.

 

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5 Reasons to Have Your Wedding at Regale winery and Vineyards

1. The Foliage
It’s true that the most beautiful thing at a wedding is always the bride, but Regale’s multicolored array of flowers, towering trees, and greenery will only serve to complement and enhance her beauty. Your wedding photos will have the look of an Italian destination wedding without the cost. An added bonus: It’s virtually impossible to take a bad wedding photo when you’re surrounded by a gorgeous background.

2. The Bride’s Dressing Suite

The second-story room in our villa is the perfect spot for a bride and her attendants to get ready. It’s quiet, private, and has its own bathrooms and bar. With a working fireplace and an Italian fresco mural, it’s a lovely backdrop for any pre-wedding photos of the blushing bride and her ensemble, a first look reveal, or a touching mother-daughter moment.


3. The Romance
The Italians are known for their passion, and we’ve successfully captured that passion with our Tuscan-themed grounds. You’ll be swept away by our intimate garden vignettes, rich greenery and flowers, sparkling fountains, and open-air dining areas. These features are the perfect recipe for a romantic, memorable wedding that your guests will still be talking about years later.
4. The Weather
The weather in the Santa Cruz Mountains region is reliable and mild. Your guests will be able to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful surroundings during your ceremony without the threat of a sudden downpour.

 

5. Our Flexibility 
We understand there’s a lot of pressure to get everything just right for your wedding day. That’s why we only work with premier local caterers and DJs. And for the brides who are feeling overwhelmed, we can provide you with a list of trusted, reliable photographers, florists, bakers, and other vendors. No matter who you choose to work with, you can rest assured your wedding will be in good hands.
table set up and fireplace
If you’re interested in celebrating your special day at Regale Winery and Vineyard, visit our wedding page and full out an inquiry form for more information. You can also see more pictures of Regale weddings on Pinterest and Instagram.

 

Meet Rosie & Sangiovese

Our expert vintners are dedicated to the fine art of making wine. But they wouldn’t be able to fully devote themselves to their craft if they didn’t have some behind-the-scenes help from two of our most important employees: Rosie and Sangiovese!

Rosie 2.1

Rosie and Sangiovese (who prefers the less formal Sangio) help keep things at Regale running smoothly. Their most important job is patrolling our vineyard and chasing away unwanted pests.

Of course, vermin population control isn’t their only duty. Rosie and Sangio also have many important administration tasks, including napping on keyboards, napping in the middle of the office floor, napping on laps, and some occasional light filing.

Rosie

Rosie, the more outgoing of the pair, is a pretty little thing. Her white and grey coat is accented with soft, sunset-orange markings. She’s also quite the charmer. You can often find her meowing for pats and attention. In her spare time, Rosie loves “collecting” bugs and lizards (which she wants to share, much to our dismay).

While Sangio is more shy and reserved, he’s still a very handsome boy with a coat of grey and tabby markings. He also has quite the appetite and can sometimes be coaxed over with the promise of food. On his braver days, Sangio will visit us in the office to make sure everyone is doing their work and staying on task.  Sangio 1.jpg

If you’re interested in meeting Rosie and Sangio (and maybe even tasting some of our delicious wine!), visit our website tasting page for days, times and details.

The Santa Cruz Mountains: An Ideal Location for Growing Grapes.

At Regale Winery and Vineyards, we’ve built our core winemaking values on honoring the traditions of those before us: To always question and innovate. We push ourselves to transcend the everyday and create wines that are extraordinary.

When you visit our winery and take that first sip, you experience not only the fruits of the labor of our master winemakers, but also the labor and experience of our vintner forefathers, who first settled in the Santa Cruz Mountains in the late 1700s.Regale Pouring Wine

The history of winemaking in the Santa Cruz region spans over 300 years. It began when the priests at the Santa Cruz Mission planted grapes that were “rough and hardy – and made terrible wine.”[1]

It wasn’t until the 1850s that the Santa Cruz Mountains region revealed its true potential — some of the most influential pioneers in California’s winemaking history sought to seed the land with grapes of a much higher quality than their unrefined ancestors.[2] Early vintners included John Burns, John and George Jarvis, Charles Lefranc, Paul Masson, and John Stewart,  men who all made substantial, lasting contributions to the growth and success of the region’s commercial wine industry.[3]

But of all the places to build a winery, why would winemakers choose the Santa Cruz Mountains? Minimal rain, warm weather that encourages and accelerates ripening, and soil that is “fertile, alluvial and loamy in nature” are the key elements responsible for the success of the region’s wineries.[4]

Jon Bonné, former wine editor and chief wine critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, poetically describes the region’s influencing factors thusly:

The mountains are sliced in half by the San Andreas Fault. The North American Plate’s sandstone and Pacific Plate’s uplifted ocean floors are constantly grinding. The result? An utter jumble of shallow, rocky soils, not unlike portions of the Sonoma Coast.

Two converging climates are also at work — cool moderating influences of the ocean to the west, and a similar, if warmer, influence from San Francisco Bay to the east. Slightly warmer sites can ripen a subtle style of Cabernet, while delicate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive nearby.[5]

Wine Bottles

Santa Cruz wineries benefit from these ideal growing conditions. Winemakers aren’t at the mercy of unpredictable weather or stingy earth. This allows wineries to become “a perfect laboratory for winemaking not held hostage to fashion.” Santa Cruz’s vintners are free to stretch their wings and create wine that is intriguing and able to stand on its own merit, avoiding what Bonné describes as the wine industry’s “steroidal tendencies of the past 20 years.”[6]

The verdant, yielding land of the region, combined with indulgent weather, allows us to handcraft batches of remarkable wines every year. The grapes from our estate-grown Pinot Noir vineyard and other exceptional local vineyards give birth to wines that stand apart from the rest with finesse, provocative personality, and balanced acidity.

January Vines

We produce some of the finest Californian wine available, yet many wine connoisseurs and experts feel Santa Cruz wineries are overlooked compared to Napa and Sonoma.[7] This is the perfect opportunity for wine lovers to delight their palates with something new. Make the relaxing, scenic drive to Regale Winery and experience the charm of Old World wine country, tucked away in the mountains of Santa Cruz.

If you’re ready to taste all that Regale Winery and Vineyards has to offer — including Pinot Noir, Cabernet, and our popular Chardonnay — visit our website tasting page for days, times and details.

 

[1] Stacey Vreeken, “Uncorked: Vines to wines — History of grape growing in Santa Cruz County,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, Aug. 27, 2012.
[2] Ibid.
[3] CA Corks, “Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains.”
[4] Matthew Citriglia, “Bordeaux vs. California Cabernet — Why They Should Never Be Compared!” Winegeeks.com.
[5] Jon Bonné, “Santa Cruz Mountains wines reach a peak, quietly,” San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 28, 2010.
[6] Ibid.
[7] CA Corks, “Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains.”

Taking Team Building to the Next Level

We’ve all been to the corporate event with the scavenger hunt or the escape room. And if we’re being honest, it’s not the most exciting day on the job. At Regale Winery, team building activities are planned with a goal of creating a memorable and fun experience for employees; one that is unlike the corporate “puzzles” or “challenges” of years past. The beautiful, Tuscan-inspired vineyard is the perfect location for participants to enjoy fine wine and craft food with a genuine, rewarding bonding experience. The range of activities offers something unique for everyone, no matter the group dynamic.

From wine blending to grape stomping, you can pick and choose from a number of options to create the ultimate, customized corporate experience at Regale. In addition to the variety of activities, there are multiple event spaces to choose from on Regale’s stunning grounds, one of which is sure to fit your needs.


What kind of team building experience are you looking for?


If you’re looking for a relationship-building experience, you should try:

2017_regale_aroma_teamBlind Tasting: The good news is, there’s no need to be a wine expert in this challenge. Regale will test the group’s knowledge of different varietals under the guidance of one of our wine specialists. Individuals or teams work to identify wine varieties based on three basic senses: taste, sight and smell. Each member of the winning team receives two passes to a member-area tasting.

 

Grape Stomping Platform

Grape Stomping: Take a step back in time and experience the art of grape stomping. Find out which team can collect the most grapes and stomp out the most grape juice. Teammates will work through clues and challenges to gather grapes for their barrel. Grapes can also be won at the wine bottle ring toss, a hole-in-one putting competition and by figuring out answers to the wine trivia game. Continuous wine service is sure to break the ice during this challenge!

*Available late April through September.


If your team is very competitive, you should try:

engineeringCork Engineering: We all live in a digital world, but occasionally it’s worth getting back to the basics. In cork engineering, each team is given a supply of corks and rubber bands and is challenged to build the tallest cork tower.

Sports Package: With a wide variety of game options, including an in-house bocce ball court, badminton, Ping-Pong, cornhole, horseshoe and Giant Jenga, your group is going to get their game on. Break into teams for a healthy dose of competition amongst each other.

2017_regale_sports_pong

 Wine Trivia: New to wine? Not a problem. Learn the fundamentals of wine and the outstanding wine regions of California through Wine Trivia. Individuals will break into teams to get a basic understanding of wine terminology, where wine comes from and how to best taste them. Participants will then need to work together to come up with the best answers for each question. A Regale wine expert will reveal answers and award a winning team.


If you’re looking for an employee appreciation experience, you might consider:

Wine Blending: Become a winemaker for a day! Teams work together to develop a winning Bordeaux-style blend from traditional varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Beakers and graduated cylinders are used to create original concoctions, tasting blends as they go.

2017_regale_profile_stationSignature Black Glass Tasting Experience: If you couldn’t see the wine you were tasting, do you think you could tell if it were red or white? Put your senses to the test by sampling wine from a line of black glasses for varietal secrecy. A Regale wine expert will guide individuals through the experience to help describe and analyze flavors and aromas. Using your sense of smell and taste, you’ll try to identify what varietal you’re enjoying.

 
If you’re ready to take your corporate event to the next level, schedule a visit with our events team and see firsthand how unique and memorable your experience can be.

 

Back to our Rootstock: January

Although this January has been quite a lovely one here at Regale, with uncharacteristically sunny and clear skies, our Estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines are fully aware that winter is upon us.  After harvest in the Fall, when temperatures drop and the first frost comes, vines enter into a state of dormancy (or as I like to call it Winterruhe from the German term for “winter rest”).  January is arguably one of the quietest times in the winegrowing year, with few decisions to make as both the vines, and our winemaking team can rest and look forward to the coming growing year.  During this time of dormancy, neither frost nor rain, sleet or snow can bother these normally temperamental plants.   As we look forward to February, we will enter the time when decisions must be made about pruning the now fully dormant vines. But for now we will simply enjoy the beautiful days, crisp air and time off from vineyard management.

January Vines

January Vines Close

Regale Winery: The Best Wine Vineyards, California Style

Wine vineyards California
Regale Winery is one of the best wine vineyards California has to offer

When you’re seeking the best wine vineyards, California-based destinations can be quite overwhelming. This is especially true if you live in the Bay Area. If you live in San Jose or Los Gatos, you may not want to drive all the way to Sonoma or Napa.

But did you know that within the Santa Cruz Mountains – only 10 minutes away from downtown Los Gatos – is a visually breathtaking coastal winery located off of Summit Road?

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