Wine Writer Confidential | № 5

Dear Readers:

Welcome to my latest installment of Wine Writer Confidential, where I spill, thrill and chill you with all the news unfit to print about my world of wine writing.

Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2017

I’m still buzzed from my visit to Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2017 Premier Epicurean Event Grand Tasting this past Sunday.

For the uninitiated, Pebble Beach Wine & Food 2017 comprised an intoxicating blend of 100 celebrity chefs and 250 prestige wineries, VIP and golf events, cooking demos, and wine and food pairing dinners, plus some ultra-cool after-parties.  You can find out more here.

I attended to research Champagne producers, including Champagne Bollinger, Champagne Charles Heidsieck, Champagne Château de Bligny, Champagne Pol Roger, Champagne Ruinart, and Champagne Taittinger, but also made a point to swing by Oregon producers Kings Estate and Brooks Winery, as well as some familiar faces at New Zealand’s Mt. Beautiful and Argentina’s Achaval-Ferrer.

Truly a benchmark international premier epicurean event – great weather, too!

Special thanks to Janie Brooks Heuck of Brooks Winery for making this happen.

#wineStudio | Achaval-Ferrer | April 25, 2017 | 6-7 p PST

#wineStudio April 2017 Showcases @AchavalFerrerUS #artisan #wines of Mendoza, Argentina.


Think Argentina is all about Malbec? No!

Join me Tuesday, April 25, 2017 from 6-7 p PST for the final #wineStudio virtual featuring Achaval-Ferrer’s 2015 Cabernet Franc from Mendoza, Chile.

This concludes our tour of quality quaffs provided by Achaval-Ferrer of Mendoza, Argentina. While Argentina claims fame as the epicenter of Malbec production, Achaval-Ferrer crafts equally intriguing wines from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

For me, Achaval-Ferrer wines illustrate a singular mastery of the  ‘art of the blend,’ coalescing cuvées of supple strength expressive of their respective terroirs.

For those of you new to #wineStudio, it’s a virtual wine community and educational platform comprised of wine writers, industry professionals, and social media influencers who gather each Tuesday evening to connect about a featured wine of the month. Follow us: #wineStudio.

French Winophiles |  A Tour Through Burgundy | May 20th & June 17th 

The Way of the Cross – Domaine Romanée Conti, Côte d’Or – Burgundy. | Image: ©L.M. Archer

I’m super-excited to host another of my favorite ‘virtual’ tasting groups, The French Winophiles, for a Tour of Burgundy on May 20th and June 17th from 8-9 am PST.

May 20th, we’ll tipple through Chablis and the Côte d’Or, then continue south on June 17th for a taste of the Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais, and Beaujolais.

The topic is Burgundy, the focus food, wine and travel. Rumor has it we might also have a few “Guest Appearances” by some Burgundy food, wine and travel experts…

You can follow along on Twitter at #Winophiles.

Pssst….If you’re a wine writer, blogger or social media maven and want to participate, leave a comment below or IM me @binnotes. Cheers!

More Wine Writer Confidential:

Wine Writer Confidential № 4

Wine Writer Confidential № 3

Wine Writer Confidential № 2

Wine Writer Confidential № 1

Copyrighted 2017 binNotes | red Thread™. All Rights Reserved.

Villa Maria NZ | First Sip of Fall Happening Tonight

Villa Maria NZ | First Sip of Fall Happening Tonight

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about wine and taste makers.

By L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Villa Maria New Zealand | First Sip of Fall Happening Tonight

Kia ora! (Maori for ‘howdy!’) y’all!

Let’s get ready to throw down some holiday wine pairing options tonight at Villa Maria New Zealand’s 2015 Private Bin Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir Tweet-up.

When: Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Time: 5 pm PST

Hashtags: #SipNZPinot

Twitter: @binnotes

Why: Looking for pours that pair well with both light and dark meat, yet also plays nicely with a gaggle of unconventional vegans, or lashings of luscious pork loin lovers? Oh, and that fit any budget?

Well, tonight’s Villa Maria Tweet-up offers solutions to your problems, offering quality wines at affordable prices, well-deserving of a place at any seasonal table this fall and winter.

Join the fun on Twitter & Instagram – hope to see you tonight!



For those of you unfamiliar with Villa Maria, Sir George Fistonich founded the family owned winery in 1961, intent on producing fruit-fierce wines sourced from the country’s most exclusive wine growing regions. Named  among the top 10 most admired wine brands in the world in 2016 by Drinks International, this iconic winery hand-crafts their distinctive brands at state-of-art winemaking facilities in Auckland and Marlborough.

You can learn more about the story of Villa Maria’s at:

Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

WITWIB? Gourmet Grazing on the Green

WITWIB? Gourmet Grazing on the Green
Image: Courtesy Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group.

Greetings, dear readers~

“Sample the county’s best – and it’s all for charity.”

This Saturday, September 24th 2016  from 12-4 PM you can catch me at Aptos Village Park for Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group’s annual  Gourmet Grazing on the Green fundraiser, featuring over eighty local artisan beers, wine, and food purveyors-   plus live music!

It’s For A Good Cause!
Here’s the full line-up:

Hope to see you there…

You can also follow me along on Instagram @binnotes.


Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

WITWIB? WBC16 & More

WITWIB? WBC16 & More

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about wine and taste makers.

By L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML




Dear Readers:

This week join me on #WineStudio on 8/9/16 from 6-7 at Tim Hanni MW takes us behind the scenes of his groundbreaking book “Why You Like the WInes you Like,” in conjunction with this month’s #WineStudio topic: Wines of Italy’s Marche & Umbria Regions.


I’ll be gone 8/11-8/14 at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi, CA., where I’ll be giving a presentation on my artisan wine maker series, the redThread™, then off to Sonoma for a special tasting and tour on 8/15 at a top secret winery location…soon to be revealed…

You can keep up with the fun by following me on Instagram and Twitter @binNotes.


Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

WITWIB? #Red, White & Brew!

WITWIB? #Red, White & Brew!

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.

by L.M. Archer FWS, Bourgogne ML


Greetings from rainy Seattle, where tonight I’ll be attending Red, White and Brew media pre-event at Fisher Pavilion.

This trifecta of tastem hosted by Seattle Magazine in conjunction with Washington State Wine, features premium Washington wineries, breweries, and exciting eateries.

Attendees feel good as they eat, drink and enjoy live music in the shadow of the Space Needle, knowing that a portion of the proceeds benefit Northwest Harvest.

Follow the fun on Instagram & Twitter @binNotes

July 22, 2016  –  6-7 p PST


Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved.

redThread™ Exclusive | Pedroncelli Winery & Vineyards

redThread™ Exclusive | Pedroncelli Winery & Vineyards

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.

by L.M. Archer FWS, Bourgogne ML

Today’s Exclusive Interview:

Pedroncelli Winery | Sonoma

I’ll never forget my first trip to Dry Creek Valley. Splayed out silently in the early morning mist like gnarled soldiers on a battlefield stretched acres of old vines, mostly Zinfandel. Like other powerful moments in life, this one merited my full attention. So this is what struggle looks like.

Some struggles produce the sweetest rewards. Pedroncelli Winery understands this. Nearly ninety years of arduous vine tending and meticulous wine making distill down into soulful drams reflective of this thoughtful family’s site.

Recently, Julie Pedroncelli St. John shared her story with me – a story about family, sense of place, sustainability, and devotion to The Mother Clone.


Learn more about Pedroncelli Winery’s Rosé of Zinfandel 

June 21, 2016 |  6-7 p PST

Protocol Wine Studio’s Sonoma Rose Revolution 


I’ll be joining the discussion @binNotes


Pedroncelli Winery celebrates almost ninety years and four generations of wine growing in Sonoma. Talk a bit about John Pedroncelli, Sr., the patriarch who purchased the first Pedroncelli vineyard in Dry Creek Valley in 1927, endured Prohibition, and witnessed his sons John Jr. and James purchase the winery in 1963. What do you think he would make of the third and fourth generations today, which include 70% women, plus a woman winemaker?

I think my grandfather would be gratified to know his winery continue to grow. Having women at the forefront would make him very proud – he and my grandmother worked very hard in the early years to develop their business.

Montse Reece is our winemaker, and my sisters Lisa, Cathy and Joanna work with me at the winery in various capacities.

Let’s talk terroir. Pedroncelli Winery stands out for its sense of place. Pedroncelli’s estate vineyards include old vine Zinfandel vineyards in Dry Creek Valley, benchland Cabernet Sauvignon,Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, east of benchland Zinfandel, west side Sangiovese and Petite Sirah, plus sourced east Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc and field blend port varietals, south Dry Creek Chardonnay, and Russian River Pinot Noir. Anything you care to share with readers about what makes these particular microclimate(s), varietal(s), and/or vineyard(s) so essential in reflecting the Pedroncelli Winery ‘voice?

I think how our voice developed over the years (89!) is that each of these varietals is site specific. For instance, one of our Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards (five acres on West Dry Creek Road) was first planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in 1965; we were the first in the valley to do this.

We gained a lot of wisdom over the fifty years it has been planted to this grape, replanting ten years ago to add Malbec. We planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on estate vineyards, and they have given way to Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon as the ‘right’ varietal for the site. We now buy Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from growers in the southern/cooler end of Dry Creek Valley and solely buy Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley, where these grapes develop the best varietal characteristics.

Any favorite(s) site(s), vineyard(s), varietal(s)?

My favorite site is our Sangiovese vineyard because it was planted in the early 1990s and I have been able to follow the maturing of this vineyard and seeing how the wine has evolved from a very astringent version of the grape to a wine that shows fruit, acidity and balance.

Anything you’d like readers to know about the vineyards with whom you share long-term relationships?

Two of the vineyards stand out: Bushnell Vineyard has been in our family since my grandfather owned the land in the 1940s and sold to his daughter Margaret and husband Al Pedroni. Their daughter Carol and husband Jim now tend the twenty-two acres, and we buy all the fruit for our various wines.

Buchignani is another one although not family—Nivan (Buchignani) planted Zinfandel on West Dry Creek Road over fifty years ago and we have always included this old vine vineyard in our Mother Clone Zinfandel.

Pedroncelli Winery has long been ahead of the curve viticulturally, dedicating itself to sustainability long before Sonoma Wine Growers implemented the  Sustainable Sonoma Program in 2014.

Talk a bit about some of the best practices Pedroncelli Winery employs to reduce water, build healthy soil and protect the vineyard environment.

Over the years we have developed ways of conserving water by moving to drip system rather than overhead sprinkling, and conserve water even now by checking the soil and giving each vine the right amount to thrive. We are looking into solar panels as a way of alternate energy. Inside the winery have adopted energy-efficient lighting systems throughout.

Cover crops in the vineyard are very important and have evolved over the years, but are important to keep the vineyards protected. We have many riparian habitats across the properties, including owl boxes and naturally occurring oak and other trees. Part of our property on Dry Creek will be turned into a fish friendly area by participating in the Dry Creek Habitat Enhancement Project.

Does Pedroncelli Winery consider its vinicultural practices more Old World, New World, or a bit of both?

I think it is a bit of both. Old World when it comes to our style – Pedroncelli wines always have great acidity and tannins and are varietally correct- and New World when it comes to our focus on the fruit, without being overly ripe.

Talk about your team. Many family businesses fall apart as subsequent  generations fall prey to a sense of entitlement. What makes your family grow stronger and closer, rather than fragmented, over subsequent generations? How do you work to compliment strengths and remain ‘big picture’?

Great questions! I sometimes call us the ‘quiet’ Italians – we are very serious and hardworking, take pride in what we do, but egos aren’t inflated. We also had great role models in the form of the first and second generations. They are/were loyal, full of integrity, focused on doing the best for family.

I think we all have our own ‘work’ style and learning to rise above the family stuff is key (I am the oldest of four girls—like all families we had our own personalities and ways of dealing with things); and not every family member works for the winery as they were free to choose whether the winery fit into their goals/career choices.

As I look at the next generations I think we’ll encourage them to develop their talents and figure out where they best fit within the family business.

We are a family of introverts but something I learned early on was if I stayed quiet I would never sell wine. My dad had his ‘in the market’ persona and was known as “JP”(Jim Pedroncelli). I developed my extrovert style as a result of a public speaking class and learning to tell the family story from my own viewpoint.

We as a family are all part of the business in one way or another, and have been able to recognize our strengths and use them in this many-faceted business.

What does the team envision for the future of Pedroncelli Winery?

We envision a continuation as a family owned business by carefully curating how we do business now-not growing too large but also growing the production so it supports each of us who are involved.

Anything else you’d care to share with readers about Pedroncelli Winery that explains its success?

Longevity is a gift that began with my grandparents. Continuity came from all those years we’ve been making wine. People still remark about when they first had Pedroncelli wine, and are pleased we are still family owned – a testament to all of us working together.

Finally, if winemaker has taught the Pedroncelli family anything, it’s taught you…?

Patience! It starts in the vineyard but is a common thread throughout our history. We’ve learned to ride the waves so to speak.

PedroncelliMC VinePruned

Learn more about Pedroncelli Winery’s Rosé of Zinfandel:

Follow @ProtocolWines #WineStudio

Tuesday, June 21st from 6-7 pm PST

Join the Sonoma Rosé Revolution!


Thank you:

Julie Pedroncelli St. John | Pedroncelli Winery

Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved.

Thirsty for Pinot? Pinot Days SF 2016

Thirsty for Pinot? Pinot Days SF 2016

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.

by L.M. Archer FWS, Bourgogne ML

Pinot Days San Francisco | June 18th 2016

Pinot Days SF logo

Thirsty for Pinot? Join me on Twitter & Instagram @binNotes

Saturday, June 18th from 11:3 a – 1:3 p PST


 Pinot Days San Francisco at Bespoke at Westfield.

Currently the largest gathering of boutique pinot producers internationally, the event evolved in 2004 with a simple mission: “educate those who wish to learn more about pinot noir, from seed, to vineyard, to winemaker, to winery, to bottle, to table.”

Meet skilled winemakers worldwide from regions like Burgundy, Germany, New Zealand, Oregon, and California, as they share their passion and expertise about this compelling, complex varietal.

Click HERE to view the current list of participating wineries.

Wish me luck…It’s quite a line up.

(Pssst: If you’re in town, you can try to purchase tickets to this sold-out event here.)


Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved.