This week 55 managers from Total Wine & More stores from around the country made their annual pilgrimage to Napa and Sonoma to meet winery principals, tour vineyards and taste new releases. For several years it’s been our pleasure to host the group for an afternoon of tasting Amici wines, and we always enjoy our time with this consistently fun and gracious group of people. This year, when we heard that Total Wine & More was giving us a coveted slot on Wednesday night to host the group for dinner, we were delighted.
The temperature in Calistoga topped out at 96 degrees on Wednesday afternoon, so as the buses groaned up our steep driveway and the store managers filed out, they couldn’t wait to get inside the cool winery, where we tasted and discussed current and upcoming releases. We finished off our tastings with a side-by-side exploration of barrel and stainless fermented Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet which everyone found fun and educational.
The party really started when we walked down from the winery to the guest house grounds and were greeted by course after course of magnificent food from Chef Lars Kronmark (Senior Instructor at the Culinary Institute of America) and Chef John Fink (chef-owner of The Whole Beast). The Palisades Mountain range lit up in fiery oranges and purples at sunset, and the balmy evening was so pleasant that no one wanted the gathering to end. We said our goodbyes to our friends new and old as they got on their buses en route to their hotel, and are hoping for a repeat of this great night next year.
Guests are greeted with a glass of the 2011 Amici Sauvignon Blanc
Discussing current and upcoming Amici wines.
Samples of barrel-fermented and stainless-fermented Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet await tasting.
Chef John Fink and Chef Lars Kronmark discuss the evening’s menu.
Everyone enjoyed the views of the mountains at sunset.
Chef Fink serves his delicious fresh-caught roasted salmon
Relaxing and enjoying the balmy evening.
The gray clouds and rain moved in at just the right time on Monday morning, as out of town attendees for this year’s Auction Napa Valley were loading their bags into cars destined for the airport, and vintners were getting little extra sleep after another successful auction. The weather had been warm and beautiful during the weekend festivities, and everyone’s spirits around the valley are bouyed by the fact that the total auction proceeds this year are a whopping $8.1 million, up from last year’s $7.3 million.
At Amici we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly over this annual weekend of fun, wine and friends. At Friday’s barrel auction, Joel poured his 2010 Amici Cellars Gary Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. This single-vineyard wine from the famed Morisoli Vineyard on Napa’s Rutherford Bench was a huge hit with attendees and bidding on case lots from the barrel was active. The ten lucky top bidders will be receiving their cases next summer after the wine is bottled.
Bidding was also heated for our e-auction lot, featuring a weekend stay at the Amici guest house for three couples, private vineyard tour and barrel tasting, gourmet wine-pairing lunch prepared by our chef, and two cases of Amici single-vineyard reserve wines. The e-auction bidding was open for seven days, and reached its peak just before close on Sunday night as several bidders competed for the lot. We’re excited to host the winning bidders soon, and show them the time of their lives!
Fun was had by all at the barrel auction on Friday, held this year in the beautiful caves at Jarvis Winery.
We were thrilled to host the 2nd annual fundraiser for the Las Lomitas Education Foundation, a Bay Area public school district, last weekend. Over 150 people joined us to taste Amici’s latest releases, try barrel samples of the 2010 single-vineyard Cabernets and support their public schools. 25% of all wine sales from the event were donated directly to the school foundation, and we’re pleased to say that thousands of dollars were raised for the school district that evening. It’s a great event that supports a cause near and dear to us – the state of our public schools. If you would like to host a similar fundraiser for your local school, please contact us.