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Tuesday, September 29, 2015
September 29, 2015 | 11:19 AM

The Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon is taking place this year on Halloween. This end of  harvest and Halloween-themed race runs through the Alexander and Dry Creek valleys, and this week, Destination Races is doing a giveaway. Here are the details:

#‎HBwinehalf? Giveaway
Register for the October 31st Healdsburg Wine Half and be entered to win! Winner will receive a reserved spot at the Kendal Jackson Winery pre-race dinner on Oct. 30th and a RED FOX Wireless headset.

There are 2 ways to be entered to win:
1. Register for the October 31st Healdsburg Wine Country Half race between 9/24 - 10/3.
2. Tell us below your best running tip for race weekend!

Must be 21 to win and present at the post race wine and music festival to receive your prize. Register here:

Some events happening at wineries during race weekend include:

  • Welcome Reception @ Truett Hurst Winery
  • Pre-Race Dinner at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens
  • Finisher’s Celebration at Trentadue Winery: At Trentadue there will be a Wine & Music Festival with more than over 20 wineries and local breweries pouring, including: Carol Shelton Wines, Comstock Wines, Martorana Family Winery, Sbragia Family Vineyards, SIMI Winery, Thumbprint Cellars and Trentadue Winery. A Finishers celebration later in the day will be held at Trione.

See all events for the weekend here. Other winery partners for the weekend include:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
September 8, 2015 | 11:14 AM

Jasmine Hirsch of Hirsch Vineyards said this about harvest:

"We brought in the last grapes yesterday. It feels strange to be finished on September 7, which is often around when we start picking most years. The yields this year are painfully low, about 65% below average. The quality could be extraordinary - the wines will be high in acid, with intense fruit and great concentration. But there will be very little of them."


Thursday, September 3, 2015
September 3, 2015 | 4:15 PM

Cold, beautiful morning. Hands are freezing after the night pick. Great to see the sunrise. —Hirsch Vineyards.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
September 2, 2015 | 7:04 AM

Sovos Compliance, parent company of ShipCompliant, announced today that it has acquired WineDirect’s wine shipping compliance software from Wine Direct and will be integrating WineDirect Compliance into the ShipCompliant platform. The companies additionally have agreed to bundle each other’s products.

WineDirect has roughly 1200 customers on it's Vin65 ecommerce platform, while ShipCompliant has about 2,000, including not only wineries, but breweries, distilleries and importers. With the acquisition, the companies now have roughly 300 customers in common: 180 of those customers were already using ShipCompliant.

Wine Direct President & COO Andrew Kamphuis said the deal works and the time was right, particularly given ShipCompliant’s recent acquisition by Sovos Compliance. “Sovos has a massive legal team, and a massive tax attorney team: It makes sense to go with somebody who has the best of all the tax and compliance world and to bundle that together,” Kamphuis told

“Vin65 has the leading ecommerce platform – WineDirect is the leader in fulfillment, and ShipCompliant is the leader in compliance,” Kamphuis said. “Why compete with them on the compliance piece? This five-year partnership and bundle is going to offer wineries the best of all solutions, as opposed to having great e-commerce and a second place compliance team.”

ShipCompliant vice president of Compliance Jeff Carroll said there will be improvements to the integration between Vin65 and ShipCompliant - ensuring the most advanced features of Wine Direct’s Vin65 ecommerce platform are available to ShipCompliant users. Vin65 will also include a ShipCompliant account bundled into the package.

Carroll said the 180 customers who were already on both platforms will be “psyched” by improvements that were made to the integration between Vin65 and ShipCompliant that they’re not yet aware of. “They’re gong to get a much better experience, effective immediately,” he said.

Read more on ShipCompliant's blog post here.

Monday, August 31, 2015
August 31, 2015 | 11:22 AM

As harvest season kicks into high gear in Sonoma County's wine country, see how the winemaking team at Francis Ford Coppola Winery keeps it all together during their busiest time of year.

Click here to see the video.

Friday, August 28, 2015
August 28, 2015 | 1:16 PM

Harvest on DAOU Mountain in Paso Robles. 2015 vintage clusters being collected by hand at night.

August 28, 2015 | 10:56 AM
Thursday, August 27, 2015
August 27, 2015 | 10:23 AM

"First day of red grapes harvest. Beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon being sorted in the first optical sorting system in Paso Robles. Let's crush!" - Daniel Daou.

This is the MOG (material other than grapes) removed by the optical sorter:

For more information about optical sorters, check out Eric Stern's product review here. To see how optical sorters are being used at Columbia Crest Winery in Washington state, check out our December 2014 issue.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
August 25, 2015 | 11:08 AM

Toronto, Canada. August 25, 2015:

For the first time ever one of Canada’s most celebrated winemakers, Norman Hardie, will lead an exclusive food and wine journey through his South African homeland, this coming March. Epicurean South Africa with Norman Hardie is a brand new, gourmet experience curated by Quench Trip Design, Toronto’s most discerning destination experts, specializing in tailor-made travel. Over twelve-days, South African-born Hardie will lead his travelling gourmand and wine loving guests away from the tourist trail to explore his favourite wineries and eateries, from a winemaker’s perspective.

Hardie’s welcoming friends and pioneering colleagues – who happen to be the country’s best winemakers – will open their cellars to Quench guests, allowing them access to explore the many layers of the wine industry, like no other. For example, along the Swartland Wine Route, travellers are treated to a special tasting of winemaker Christa von la Chevallerie’s exquisite sparkling, Filia. Travellers will experience both boutique family producers like AA Badenhorst Family Wines and famous estates including Klein Constantia.


As much a celebration of food as wine, travellers will eat in South Africa’s top restaurants, like The Greenhouse, featuring Peter Tempelhoff, Cape Town’s first Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef, and The Foodbarn, headed up by Chef Franck Dangereux. Sample regional dishes like Perlemoen Sosatie, the South African name for an abalone, prepared on a skewer, and Kabeljou, a succulent local fish. In De Hoop Nature Reserve, one of Hardie’s favourite spots in the South African wilderness, travellers will dine around a traditional African starlit boma. De Hoop is a magnificent coastal reserve featuring deserted beaches, interesting rock pools, beautiful fynbos (uniquely diverse shrublands), a wetland with more than 200 bird species, and a number of small game. It also offers some of the best land-based whale watching in the world.

The journey has been crafted with a mix of seaside cottages, historic luxury retreats and family-run farm stays, all distinctly South African. Guests will also have time to explore South Africa’s dramatic scenery from Cape Town, the rugged Western Cape and Cape Winelands rolling farmlands, Chapman’s Peak and the Cape of Good Hope.

Epicurean South Africa with Norman Hardie is the newest addition to the 2016 Exclusively Quench collection, a series of fully-guided, small-group journeys hosted by some of Canada's most talented artists & winemakers and creative Quench guides. This is Hardie’s first trip with Quench Trip Design.

Rates are $6,975 CAD, based on double occupancy, and include:

  • 11 nights’ accommodation in luxury boutique hotels including breakfast
  • 4 dinners and 7 lunches with wine and tips included
  • Guided half-day tour in Cape Town
  • Full-day driving tour of Chapman’s Peak and Cape of Good Hope
  • Wine tastings at hand-picked wine estates in Constantia, Walker Bay, Cape Winelands, Swartland, and Elgin Valley, as noted in the itinerary
  • The expert guidance of trip host Norman Hardie
  • A full-time dedicated Quench Guide
  • Luxury group vehicle and driver throughout the trip
  • Return airport transfer to Cape Town International airport

For more information about Epicurean South Africa with Norman Hardie, visit or call (416) 366-2777.

About Norman Hardie

Norman Hardie is one of a select few winemakers who has mastered the art of tasting, growing and making wine in both hemispheres and in six wine regions around the world. In his early twenties he received his sommelier certification from the esteemed wine program at the University of Dijon in Burgundy and put his skills to work as a sommelier for Four Seasons Hotels for six years. His insatiable thirst to master the art of winemaking led him on a six-year journey apprenticing for the very best producers/winemakers of cool climate varieties in Burgundy, South Africa, Oregon, New Zealand and California. Located in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Norman Hardie Winery has established itself as one of Canada's premier wineries. It now has 25 acres of land under vine in Prince Edward County and continues to work with the most dedicated growers on some of the best sites in the Niagara Peninsula. His wines have received numerous accolades in both the local and international market

About Quench Trip Design

With 30 years experience roaming the world and a lifetime of travel stories, Quench is your global destination expert. Specializing in tailor-made travel programs for individuals, families and small groups, Quench turns dream trips into a reality. From private guides, boutique hoteliers, art historians, chefs, winemakers and more, Quench’s black book of personally cultivated relationships and local experiences covering the globe means that travellers get access to hidden gems and unique journeys that no travel agent or booking website could ever organize. The Exclusively Quench collection is a rotating series of fully-guided, small-group journeys curated by Quench and hosted by some of Canada's most talented artists & winemakers and creative guides. Their Quench Express itineraries offer travellers a diverse selection of predesigned journeys that are no less carefully conceived and are every bit as inspiring as their individually tailored trips. For more information, visit

Thursday, August 20, 2015
August 20, 2015 | 10:58 AM


Night Picking at Hirsch Vineyards, from Jasmine Hirsch.

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