VIDEO: TOM & SANDY MOLLER OF SATORI CELLARS

Meet Tom and Sandy Moller of Satori Cellars of Santa Clara Wineries. Tom is a techie-turned-winemaker, while Sandy is a yoga teacher and winemaker.

The Mollers started Satori Cellars over 10 years ago and have gone on to win awards for their wines. We spoke to them to find out how they got started with the winery and how they choose fun and unusual names for their wines.

The tasting room of Satori Cellars are open only on weekends. Please check their website for the timings.

Address2100 Buena Vista Ave, Gilroy, CA 95020

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VIDEO: GINO FORTINO OF FORTINO WINERY

Gino Fortino of Fortino Winery in Gilroy talks about Charbono wine, which is made out of an Italian grape varietal. There are only 80 acres of the Italian grape varietal Charbono grown in California and Fortino’s grows some of them. “Cult wine,” is often a phrase used when talking about Charbono.

Fortino Winery was founded in 1970 in Gilroy by Gino’s parents – Marie and Ernest Fortino. The winery is part of Santa Clara wineries, one of the oldes wine growing regions in California.

Address: Fortino Winery, 4525 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA 95020

Tasting Room is open from  10:00am to 5:00pm Tuesday through Saturday and on Sundays it is open from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm.

 

VIDEO: GENE GUGLIELMO OF GUGLIELMO WINERY OF SANTA CLARA WINERIES

Meet Gene Guglielmo, a third generation winemaker from Santa Clara county, the oldest wine growing region in California. Guglielmo Winery is the oldest continuously family owned and operated winery in Santa Clara Valley.

We sat down with Guglielmo to find out the history of his family’s winery and taste a couple of Guglielmo wines. Guglielmo shares how his grandfather Emilio Guglielmo came from Piedmont in Italy to the San Francisco Bay area in the early 20th. After working in San Francisco his grandfather bought a vineyard in the Santa Clara Valley. His grandfather started making wine and slowly grew the business. After World War II George Washington Guglielmo (Emilio’s son and Gene’s father)  joined the winery and expanded it by installing new machinery and steel tanks. Today, Guglielmo makes a mix of red and white wines.

This TV interview was aired in the US.

Guglielmo Winery is locaed at 1480 E Main Ave, Morgan Hill, CA 95037. The tasting room is open 10am to 5pm every day and there is a $5 tasting fee.

 

Photos courtesy of Guglielmo Winery

SEPTEMBER IS CALIFORNIA WINE MONTH

Kirigin Cellars

 

We are celebrating California’s wine month with a series of audio, video and blog posts. In the San Francisco Bay area we are surrounded by wineries and vineyards from Sonoma, Napa, Livermore to the wineries of Santa Clara county.

Santa Clara Valley is home to the oldest wine growing region in California. Tucked away in Silicon Valley’s backyard are a cluster of wineries that make a variety of red and white wines. And some like Fortino Winery also make fruit-based wines in addition to red and white wines. Once known as vinegar alley and known for its jug wines, the wineries now produce award-winning wines.

Earlier this week I went on a tour of 3 wineries in Gilroy: Satori Cellars Winery, Kirigin Cellars and Fortino Winery. While I have visited wineries in this region I have never visited any of them during their harvest season. The purpose of this trip was to fulfill my curiosity of what it takes to harvest and make wine. Tha making wine is a lot of hard work is a mild understatement.

September is the busiest month for wineries for this marks the starts of the harvest season. What I discovered is that some wineries were busy picking their grapes and crushing them, while others were getting ready to pick them.

Tom Moller, Satori Cellars, Santa Clara Wineries

 

“When you pick the grapes is a very important decision,” points out Tom Moller of Satori Cellars Winery in Gilroy. Essentially when you pick the grapes determines how your wine will turn out at the end. The sugar level in the grapes will determine when they get picked and crushed.

 

Santa Clara Wineries

 

At Kirigin Cellars I watched as the grapes were dumped into a huge steel crusher to extract the grape juice for making the wine. “They have been picking grapes since 6 am,” points out Dhruv Khanna, owner of Kirigin Cellars that is celebrating its centennial year. They picked about 7 tonnes of grapes in the morning and by 1 pm they had them all crushed says Khanna as we stood by the wine crusher with bees buzzing around us. Surprisingly nobody seemed to pay any attention to the buzzing bees.

 

Fortino Winery

 

Fortinos of Fortino Winery

 

My final destination was Fortino Winery where I met Gino Fortino and his father Ernesto Fortino. The winery was established in 1970 by Fortino senior, who focussed on making wines from varietals. Fortino Winery is one of the few wineries that grows Charbono, a rare Italian varietal. ” We have 3 acres of Carbon out of the 80 acres in California,’ points out Fortino. Besides their estate grown red and white wines Fortino Winery also make a variety of fruit-based wines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WINERIES OF SANTA CLARA VALLEY

Santa Clara Wine Trail

Santa Clara Wine Trail

Santa Clara county is not only home to many Silicon Valley companies, but is also home to some of the oldest vineyards in California. Some of the vineyards in Santa Clara Valley are over 100 years old. Surprised? So was I when I discovered the Santa Clara Wine trail, which is literally a few miles south of San Jose. Thanks to the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley Wine 2015 Fall Passport program I discovered a clutch of vineyards right in my backyard. And in the process also discovered a California champagne made from almonds.

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

Santa Clara Wine Trail

 

Nestled in the towns of Gilroy and Morgan Hill are a string of vineyards, where you can taste a range of red and white wines and champagne. Armed with maps and our passport booklets we drove down south to Gilroy in a fancy Tesla car for some wine tasting. No, the Tesla was not mine. This was a fun expedition and we hit the first vineyard within 20 minutes into our trip from San Jose. How cool is that?

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

Santa Clara Wine Trail

 

The first one we visited was Solis Winery that took us by pleasant surprise with its selfie spot. Whoever came up with that “selfie spot,” knows the power of social media and our penchant for taking those selfies and posting them on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Did we take a selfie? You betcha, we did!

 

Selfie Spot

Selfie Spot

 

We then visited Sarah’s Vineyards, Kirgin Cellars, Fortino Wineries and Guglielmo Wineries that was founded in 1905. We planned to visit more wineries, but ran out of time. What this means is that there is another trip that we need to make south of San Jose and explore the other wineries in Santa Clara wine trail. Stay tuned for that trip.

If you plan to visit the wineries of Santa Clara Valley do check out Gilroy Welcome Center and Santa Clara Wines for timings and other information. Plan on spending at 4 to 5 hours for your trip.

Disclosure: We were invited as guests by the Gilroy Welcome Center to the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley 2015 Fall Passport event.

 

Video: Sycamore Creek Vineyards in Santa Clara Valley

When you think of wine in California then the two places that instantly come to mind are Napa and Sonoma located north of San Francisco. Instead, if you drove down south of San Francisco into Silicon Valley area and a little beyond into the towns of Gilroy and Morgan Hill you will discover a wonderful wine trail of family-owned wineries. Santa Clara Valley is considered as  one of the oldest wine growing regions of California.

Santa Clara Valley is best for its start-ups and hi-tech companies and many are pleasantly surprised to discover  the wineries in this area. Guglielmo Winery is is the oldest winery dating back to 1925. Apparently in the 18th and 19th the wine grown in this region was used during sacrament by the California Missions. In the 20th the region witnessed an increase in vineyards, which petered out in the 1970s. In the past fews there has been a resurgence in vineyards and wineries in this area. In 2014 Santa Clara county unveiled the Santa Clara Wine Trail initiative to help promote the wines of this region.

Earlier this year, we caught up with a couple of folks from Santa Clara Wineries at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. We spoke with Sommelier Alicia Cuadra-Cuter of  Sycamore Creek Vineyards in Morgan Hill. In this video interview she offers helpful suggestions on how to judge wines. She walks us through a couple of Sycamore Creek Vineyards wines and helps us understand and discover their flavor profiles.

December Special: Food and Wine in Silicon Valley and Bangalore

December is the season to celebrate and we are doing just that with a series of interviews on food and wine in Silicon Valley and Bangalore. We are talking California wines and Chinese food in India. Now, that is a combination to think about.

Santa Clara county is home to many of Silicon Valley hi-tech companies. The area is also home to some of the oldest wine growing regions in California. Santa Clara Wineries are a hidden gem of this region and we spoke to 2 vineyards from the regions: Solis Winery and Sycamore Creek WineryBoth the wineries are located a few miles south of San Jose.

 

Solis WInery at Gilroy

Solis Winery, Santa Clara WInery

 

And from Silicon Valley wineries we zip across the Pacific Ocean to Bangalore, often known as “Silicon Valley of India,” to find out about the second most popular cuisine in the city. And what is the second most popular cuisine, whose influence has seeped into the local, traditional restaurants? Chinese. Yes, Chinese food is the second most popular cuisine in Bangalore. There is the Indian-Chinese cuisine and then there is the authentic Chinese cuisine. Chinese restaurants have been part of Bangalore from the 1960s. In the last 15  years Chinese restaurants have mushroomed all over the city, and Gobi Manchurian, an Indian-Chinese dish is now part of traditional restaurants that serve idli, dosa, vada and sambar.

What about authentic Chinese cuisine in Banglaore? For that we turned to Chef Tong Willaam of Memories of China at Taj Vivanta on MG Road in Bangalore. Chef William came from Hong Kong to India in the 1980s and has had a long association with the Taj Group of Hotels. We sat down to find out about his culinary journey into India, and also got a tour of his kitchen at  Memories of China. And after all that talking and touring we sat down to have an authentic Chinese meal courtesy of Chef Tong William.

So, stay tuned for our video interviews on wines and Chinese food.

 

Chef Tong William at Memories of China in Bangalore

Chef Tong William of Memories of China