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.

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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.

 

How-to: Blind Wine Tasting

Here at Regale, we love parties – Fresco Croppedespecially one with a good icebreaker, and, even better, something involving wine!  Might we suggest incorporating a little blind wine tasting to your family gathering, game night, company team building, or throwing a whole party aimed at getting your guests interacting with a fun blind tasting.  It will get people thinking, comparing notes, and most importantly… talking! If you are looking for a gorgeous locale as a bonus, come visit us for a private event at Regale and have a blind tasting hosted by one of our wine specialists.  It make your party an event to remember and is great to add to an offsite as a team building activity!

A How-To for a Blind Tasting Party:

The Setup

  1. Gather three-five bottles of wine (definitely throw a Regale bottling in there!) – ideally single varietal bottles from different regions and vintages. Alternatively guests can each bring a favorite mystery bottle to share.
  2. Cover and number your bottles – for our team building events at Regale we have snazzy burlap blind tasting bags printed with numbers, but you can use brown paper bags, decanters, or even wrap your bottles in aluminum foil! Remember- a bottle’s shape can be a cue towards the varietal, so keep this in mind when selecting how to disguise the bottle if your guests are wine savvy.
    IMG_1252    Blind Tasting
  3. Provide tasting cards so your guests can take notes and eventually submit their guesses.  Decide if you want to provide a key of the different offerings or leave them completely in the dark.Lepori_0383

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As guests are tasting, you can sound like an expert by reminding them of…

The Three Steps to Blind Tasting:

  1. Consider the appearance for maturity and other cues
  2. Consider the aroma for varietal cues
  3. Consider the mouth for taste, body, finish, overall quality

Step 1: Appearance – Color and Opacity

  • What color is the wine? Whites gain color as they age, reds are most vibrant when young and fade or take on a more brick color with an orange or brown hue.
  • How opaque is the wine? Can you read text through the wine or is it so opaque that light barely comes through it?

Step 2: Aroma – Smell and Physical Indicators

  • 1st Sniff – Does it remind you of varietals you have tasted in the past?
  • Shirt sniffs vs. long draws; swirling for aeration
  • Think about the descriptors:
    • F – Fruit
    • E – Earth
    • W – Wood
  • Physical reaction – Acidity (salivation), tannin (bitterness), alcohol (heat)

Step 3: Mouth – Taste, Texture, and Finish

  • Body – Light-medium, medium-full, full:
    • Pinot Noir                            Light to Medium
    • Sangiovese                           Light to Medium
    • Cabernet Franc                   Medium
    • Barbera                                 Medium
    • Zinfandel                              Medium
    • Merlot                                   Medium to Full
    • Malbec                                  Medium to Full
    • Syrah                                     Medium to Full
    • Petite Sirah                          Full
    • Cabernet Sauvignon          Full
  • Is the wine balanced?
  • Dry, off-dry, or sweet?
  • Alcohol – Prominent (riper/warmer region) or balanced (cooler climate region)
  • Tannins, if any- how heavy?
  • Length – Short, medium, or long (acidity and complexity)

Conclusion

  • What varietal could it be? Use your past tasting experiences and memory.
  •  Are there any varietals you can rule out?
  • The important part is the journey to reach a conclusion – don’t worry too much about the final guess!

The more you practice, the better you get – so cheers to that!

What’s so ‘Super’ about that Tuscan?

It is a matter of much debate who was the first to coin the now trendy moniker, although their origins are mostly attributed to the hallmark wines Tignanello and Sassicaia beginning in 1974, both marketed by Antinori. What is more clear about the history of these lovely wines is that Super Tuscans originated in Italy as wine estates aimed to make higher quality wines that didn’t necessarily fit the strict legal regulations in place for wine production as set out by the DOC.

It is hard to imagine in the relaxed landscape of California where we have some general laws about labeling appellation or varietal but otherwise are relatively free to experiment, blend, and proprietarily name to our delight. In Italy the DOC regulations mandated everything from which varietals could be grown in which regions including the strict percentages in which they must be blended (like the inclusion of white grapes in Tuscan red wine!), to precise accepted levels of alcohol, acidity, and extract as well as establishing viticultural regulations such as restrictions on yield and specific winemaking practices. These laws preserved the practices of low quality and high quantity. Wine estates that dared step outside the box were relegated to the lowest generic label of Vino da Tavola (or table wine) that had been historically the mark of bulk swill. These quality wines changed the ideology by wearing Vino da Tavola as a badge of honor, which began a revolution in Tuscan estates. With the goal of creating wines of more depth, intensity and body, estates began the previously unthinkable use of French oak barrels and blending with international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Regale Winery Super TuscanOur Regale Super Tuscan calls to mind that focus on quality that is present in all Regale Wines, and pays homage to the producers who dared to step outside the expected boundaries of the time. In classic Tignanello style, our Super Tuscan is a blend of predominantly Sangiovese with a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon. While we didn’t trek to Italy, our Super Tuscan grapes were sourced from the Napa Valley on the lower end of the Silverado Trail. With a smoky, earthy nose, ripe cherry and currant on the palate and a rich tannic finish, this wine definitely represents what you would expect from a classic Super Tuscan.

Now that you know a little more about the history of Super Tuscans, come taste at Regale to see just how super a Super Tuscan can be!

Back to our Rootstock: March

Our grape vines have settled in, confident tEstate Chardonnay Vineshat Spring is fully upon us, as they began the process of flowering.  I am sure their roots are thankful for any errant rain storms blowing through the mountains, as their leaves have truly fleshed out, soaking up the sunny days that have been far too ever-present in this multiple year drought.

After budbreak (which was quite early this year itself), the second main stage in a grape vine’s life cycle is flowering, which typically occurs after about a month of vegetative growth.  In this oddly early year, flowering began in our Estate Pinot Noir & Chardonnay vineyards in March.

Flowering VinesDuring flowering, vines develop tight bunches of tiny flowers, with each flower having the potential to form a single grape, together making up a cluster. During the flowering stage, there are a number of things that can damage the tender young shoots of our grape vines, from parasites to weather concerns of frost, wind, or excessive rain.

As the season progresses, the grape flowers will grow, and open allowing for pollination and fertilization to follow, after which the flower transforms into a grape.  Despite the early budbreak and all the concerns that come along with it, this year is still shaping up beautifully!

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

The Cabernets

One of the most common questions we hear in the tasting room is about our Regale Napa Valley Cabernet Franc, a wine that spurs much debate with its feminine body, subtle black cherry and tobacco filled out with varietally correct earthy notes. It is a unique grape that many people have not had the pleasure of tasting bottled as a singular varietal.  Given its quiet history in comparison to the better known Cabernet, Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s no surprise that people frequently think Cabernet Franc is either made from Cabernet Sauvignon, or the new addition to the Cabernet world.  In reality, Cabernet Franc has been around for quite some time, playing a supporting role to Cabernet Sauvignon, and predominately used for blending such as in California Meritage blends, like our Ovation, which take their cue from the world-renown Bordeaux blends.

Although Cabernet Franc has in recent times been dwarfed by Cabernet Sauvignon, with its brazen charms and easy growing vines, people are often surprised to find that Cabernet Franc was actually in existence first.  Indeed Cabernet Franc and the classic bright white Sauvignon Blanc bred Cabernet Sauvignon.  You might be tempted to believe that this was the plan all along, but in fact viticulturists believe this was a spontaneous cross of the two varietals – a wonderful act of nature.  This parentage was only confirmed in 1997 by researchers at UC Davis, which leads to further confusion as to how Cabernet Sauvignon ended up with a blend of the two names, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc when in fact no one even suspected the link to Sauvignon Blanc.  A mysterious coincidence indeed.

As lauded wine author and Master of Wine Jancis Robinson writes of Cabernet Franc, it is “subtly fragrant and gently flirtatious rather than massively muscular and tough in youth. Because Cabernet Sauvignon has so much more of everything – body, tannin, alcohol, colour – it is often supposed to be necessarily superior, but I have a very soft spot indeed for its more charming and more aromatic relative, Cabernet Franc.” Here at Regale, we have a soft spot for it as well.

Bottles

What Is Bocce Ball?

what is bocce ball
What is bocce ball you ask? Regale Winery has you covered.

What is bocce ball exactly? Is it bowling without pins? Are the rules similar to other outdoor games, such as shuffleboard and croquet? Everyone playing it always seems to be having such a great time. But what is bocce ball?

Bocce ball is a highly entertaining game that’s played by enthusiasts of all ages. Here at Regale Winery, we have a flat, beautifully raked playing surface compose of tightly packed dirt. Our regulation court is approximately 76 feet long by 10 feet wide. Here’s how our patrons play the game while enjoying the mountainside views and our pristine wines.

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Outdoor Wood Pizza Oven and Wines

Outdoor Wood Pizza Oven
Outdoor wood pizza oven creations and wine are a match made in heaven

There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as sinking your teeth into a warm, doughy, meat-and-vegetable topped piece of pizza. Combine this sensational, mouth-watering morsel with distinctive wines you can’t find anywhere else in the Bay Area and you’ve pretty much died and gone to heaven.

Thankfully you don’t have to visit the afterlife to enjoy a slice fresh out of an outdoor wood pizza oven. Regale Winery not only has pizzas to make any full-blooded Italian smile with satisfaction, but also we possess the wines and the location to make your next event a special one.

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