My Birthday Gift to YOU!

Dear Friends,

I don’t need any presents. Instead I want to give you one. TODAY on my birthday, I want to give you 10% OFF ALL wines in my store, and yes FREE SHIPPING ($500 or more) as well.

Just enter the code BIRTHDAY at checkout!

A Happy Birthday Wish from Me to You!

Most gratefully yours,
Frank Melis

How Much Sugar Is in a Glass of Wine?

How Much Sugar Is in a Glass of Wine?

Contributed By SOPHIE EGAN in the New York Times

Q. Some wineries add sugar to dry red wines after fermentation so that they taste “smoother” to the American palate. How can I find out how much sugar is in what I am drinking?

A. To find out how much sugar might have been added to a given wine, your best bet may be to contact the producer directly.

Winemakers employ a range of techniques to achieve desired properties and flavor profiles. The addition of sulfites, used as a preservative, must be listed on the label in order to notify individuals who might be allergic, yet more than 60 different additives can legally be used without being disclosed. With regard to sugar, regulations vary by state. In California, for instance, added sugar is not allowed at any point in the winemaking process. There, winemakers may rely on unfermented grape juice to tweak the sweetness.

“Wine is by nature somewhat acidic, and adjustments can help to balance the elements of sweet and sour,” Nancy Light, vice president of communications for Wine Institute, the main advocacy association for the California wine industry, said in an email. “Winemakers are permitted by government regulations to make sweetness adjustments after fermentation to achieve desired wine styles.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a five­ounce glass of red table wine typically contains about 0.9 grams of total sugar, while a glass of chardonnay contains about 1.4 grams. A sweet dessert wine, typically served in a smaller two­ to three­ounce glass, contains as much as 7 grams of sugar. Depending on where the wine was made, the total may include added sugar or sugar from unfermented grape juice, along with the sugar that occurs naturally in the grapes.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting added sugar intake to no more than 10 percent of daily calories, which is about 12 teaspoons, or 50 grams. The American Heart Association recommends limiting intake even further: no more than six teaspoons (about 25 grams, or 100 calories) per day for women, and no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams, 150 calories) per day for men.

Along with adding sugar for the purpose of sweetening wine, some producers add sugar before or during fermentation in order to achieve a certain alcohol level. This process is called chaptalization, and it is more common in cooler wine regions such as Oregon, where grapes ripen more slowly. Alcoholic fermentation occurs when yeast metabolizes a source of sugar (glucose, sucrose or fructose), turning it into ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide. In beer, the sugar comes from the starch in malted cereal grain, typically barley. In wine, it comes from grape juice. Grapes that are riper have higher sugar levels, but if available grapes are not as ripe, a winemaker may add sugar to aid in fermentation and achieve the desired amount of alcohol.

According to Tom Hogue, a spokesman for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, wine producers may provide nutritional details about their products on a voluntary basis, so long as they adhere to regulations from the bureau. So, while winemakers are not required to disclose nutritional information on the label, for those who choose to do so — whether for sugar or other ingredients — guidelines apply.

Sophie Egan (@SophieEganM) is the author of “Devoured“

For more info on sweet or dry wines and recommendations on the best wines to suit your palate, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 415-337-4083 or email!

Spottswoode Winemaker’s MUST HAVE White

Hourglass was created by Ned Smith in 1976, who loved making Zinfandel from this property.  In 1992 his son Jeff Smith took over the land and business and enlisted Robert Foley as his winemaker.  They started Hourglass 2.0. by making Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc from this amazing property.  Jeff since purchased what is now the Blueline Vineyard as well.  Since the estate only produces a very small amount of SB some longterm contracts were signed as well.   As of a couple of years, Tony Biagi (formerly with Spottswoode) has taken over the reigns at the winery.

Hourglass 2016 “Estate” Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
Retail 46.00 – GGWC 43.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code HOUR during checkout

The 2016 Hourglass Sauvignon Blanc is a blend of three contrasting vineyards and clones. The Larkmead Lane vineyard is on the same mineral rich alluvial gravel beds just down the street from our Blueline Estate. As such, this site elicits a vibrancy and stony minerality akin to the minerality expressed in our reds from Blueline. Crisp, tangy Granny Smith apple with overtones of tropical fruits are the hallmarks of the vineyard. By contrast the 57-year-old head trained vines of the Varozza vineyard in St. Helena yield intensely rich, pure fruit with a noticeable white peach character. In 2016 Hourglass added Semillon from the famed Gamble ranch in Yountville for more midpalate texture to balance the vibrancy of the crisp Larkmead fruit. Between these vineyards and three fermentation techniques (stainless steel, seasoned oak and new oak), we make up to 7 distinctly different wines, then blend them to create a complex and layered Sauvignon Blanc that is both vibrant and rich at the same time.

The addition of Semillon in 2016 adds an extra layer of dimension and complexity. Primary aromas of lemon and lime zest, orange blossom and Granny Smith apples are followed on the palate with flavors of limeade, cut hay, white peach, pineapple and vanilla bean. A noticeable wet stone minerality from the Larkmead fruit provides a wonderful counter balance and vibrant tension to the pure fruit expressions from the Varozza and Gamble vineyards.

Click here or on the links above to order!

A Real Napa Valley Gemstone by Thomas Rivers Brown

The Gemstone Vineyard 2013 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 100% estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon (93%) and Petit Verdot (7%), sourced from several micro-blocks and distinctive clones from Gemstone’s16-acre vineyard. This big, bold, intense and savory wine reveals notes of lush black currants, juicy black stone fruits, bitter-sweet chocolate and a touch of mocha and spice.  This youngster exhibits gripping tannins with great depth and structure.  The wine is powerful on the mid-palate with lots of structure and character.  It should drink well for 20+ years.  When drinking, I suggest a good (double) decanting about 90 minutes prior to consumption.  Only 600 cases produced!

Gemstone 2013 Cabernet “Yountville” Napa Valley
Retail 155.00 – GGWC 149.99
Use code GEM during checkout

Robert Parker 96 Points: “A barrel sample of the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot) reveals textbook notes of blackcurrants, tobacco leaf, licorice and fruitcake, a stunningly rich, long finish and a beautiful, medium to full-bodied mouthfeel. It should drink well for 15+ years.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

LAST CALL for 95 Point Syrah Gem … 12.5% Alc. for those who want “lower” alcohol wines

Many of Wind Gaps’ vineyards are planted along or are directly influenced by one wind gap or another.  These geological breaks in the coastal hills funnel wind inland and strongly influence the growing and ripening of the grapes.  It seems only fitting that their name should celebrate the forces of nature that are shaping their wines.

Wine lovers will know the name Pax Mahle from his first winery – PAX – which garnered high scores and much notoriety.  Though he has always been influenced by French styles of winemaking, it was the bold, powerful Syrahs that first brought praise and attention to Pax in his new chapter as Sommelier-turned-Winemaker.

Wind Gap 2014 Syrah “Armagh” 
Retail 55.00 – GGWC 49.99
Use code WINDGAP during checkout

Saturated with savory elements including iron, anise, plum and brown spice on the deep dark aromas of this dense red wine.  This is definitely the scary side of Syrah…meat jus, seared meat, iron. Blackberries and spicy stem notes create a classically structured Syrah that is built to improve in your cellar for many years to come.”

Anthony Galloni 95 Points: “The 2014 Syrah Armagh Vineyard is the richest and deepest of these Syrahs from Wind Gap. Ferrous notes open up first, followed by a host of dense, meaty, peppery notes that add character. There is wild, feral quality to the Armagh that I find especially appealing. Dense and powerful, but in the classic Wind Gap style, the 2014 Armagh is fabulous today.”

Winemaker Notes: “The Armagh Vineyard saw one of its most successful seasons in a few years, more reminiscent of the 2010 or 2008 versions of this wine, this 2014 is rich, textured and loaded with ripe, succulent fruit, spice and savory Syrah elements. Probably one of the most powerful Syrahs we have labeled under the Wind Gap label and the polar opposite of the 2014 Majik Syrah, this one needs a big slab of meat or a couple of years in your cellar.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Think PINK! It’s good for the body!

Rose WineMost people assume Rosé (or Pink wine) is sweet, white-zinfandel, cheap, ersatz wine. 

When I first got into the wine industry a few decades ago, rosé was anything but cool. White Zinfandel from California made the public think that all rosé was sweet, and unfortunately, imports such as Royal Lancers from Portugal and wines such as Sutter Home White Zin confirmed this notion.  Today, however, rosé is the second fastest growing segment of the wine market – the United States is the second largest rosé consuming country in the world, following France of course! It accounts for nearly 10% of all wine made worldwide. You’ll find rosé at high-end restaurants and … at Golden Gate Wine Cellars. In fact, this coming Saturday, we will be sampling a few surprisingly delicious Rosé wines in our tasting room. If you are going to be in the bay area on the 24th, be sure to join us!

Today, many well-known and lesser known wineries are producing high-quality “Pink” wine!

Here are a few suggestions:

You can mix and match for FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more. Just enter the code PINK at checkout.

Click here or on the links above to order!

15 Real Facts about Wine & Health

15 Real Facts about Wine & Health

Though both are now wine writers, Dr. Michael Apstein and Dr. Ian D’Agata met while working in a Boston hospital as gastroenterologists. (That’s the kind of doctor who puts a camera up your butthole.) Earlier this month, they held a seminar in Canada on wine and health that was candid and wide-ranging.
Some of what was said is already well-known: wine has some heart-protecting benefits, but drinking too much is bad for you. Other points were less obvious, so I’ll list them in bullet points below.

I’m glad to write this for Palate Press, because if I tried to publish it in a newspaper I would have to waste everyone’s time with long, boring disclaimers. Instead, here’s just one: I’m not a doctor. (But they are.)

Clean Livering

  • Perhaps the most interesting observation: Taking a week or a month off from drinking wine is not particularly beneficial.”This idea of doing a cleanse or having a dry January is utter nonsense,” Apstein asserts. “Those that think they need a dry January might be drinking too much the rest of the year.”

    The liver creates enzymes to metabolize alcohol and “has the capacity to create more enzymes,” he clarifies. “Consistent moderate drinking is better. That’s why that first glass hits like a ton of bricks after a cold, or a few days of not drinking. The workers in the liver, the little guys who make the enzymes, they have taken the day off. They’ve thought, ‘Why should we keep making more enzymes?’”

  • Acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) should never be taken while drinking wine. “People who drink have a higher risk of getting liver disease from Tylenol,” Apstein reports.

Hard to Stomach

  • Aspirin is also not an ideal painkiller for drinkers. “Like wine, aspirin in the right quantities is beneficial,” continues Apstein. “In the wrong quantities, it put my kids through college, because it burns the stomach lining.” (His daughter is a writer for Sports Illustrated, so sports fans can thank aspirin.)
  • Sparkling wine makes people drunk faster than still wine because, according to D’Agata, “carbonation is an accelerator of stomach emptying. Keeping alcohol in the stomach longer allows it to be broken down more and absorbed less, thus limiting the rise in blood alcohol. That’s why it’s good to eat while drinking. It slows down the emptying of the stomach.”
  • Wine is close to the pH of stomach acid, which helps digestion. It also, however, makes heartburn worse.
  • Moderate drinking may be a good idea, but there is no way to universally define what that actually means. “Women have a different stomach enzyme,” notes D’Agata, “or these enzymes are blocked by estrogen, so they have a harder time breaking down alcohol than men.” In addition, Apstein adds, 50% of Asians lack the enzyme to break down acid aldeyhde, a key component of alcohol.


  • Hangover remedies don’t work, regardless of whether they’re taken before or after drinking. To avoid a hangover, “drink a liter of water before going to bed,” D’Agata advises. “And probably a little sugar too.”
  • Sorry, but they don’t know what causes red wine headaches. “The Bordelais, who barely acknowledge the existence of white wine, say that’s what gives headaches,” recalls Apstein. “The Champenois say it’s still wine. In Burgundy, they say no wine gives headaches. There’s clearly a cultural overlay. Some think it’s histamines and try to treat it with beta blockers. But most people who get headaches stop drinking wine.”

Alternative Facts on Sulfites

  • Some people – about 1% of Americans, according to the FDA – have a genuine allergic reaction to sulfites, with symptoms like potentially dangerous asthmatic reactions and hives. For the other 99% of us, sulfites are not only not a problem, they keep the wine tasting good. To this, panel moderator Tony Aspler jokes that “the back label should say guaranteed to contain sulfites.”

    “Sulfites are an overblown worry,” adds Apstein. “The gorilla in the bottle is alcohol. It’s not the sulfites. It’s not any additive. It’s the alcohol.”

    He continues, via email, that there’s no obvious reason a low-sulfite wine would have greater health benefits for people not allergic to sulfites than one with higher concentrations.

  • Along those lines, D’Agata states that most natural wines smell like bruised apples. “If acetylaldehyde molecules don’t bind with sulfur, we get free acetylaldehyde,” he offers. “People talk about natural wines showing terroir. They all smell like bruised apples, and that comes from acetylaldehyde. That’s not terroir.”

Women’s Health

  • On wine and pregnancy, there isn’t good news for women. The fetus is most sensitive in the first three months, D’Agata cautions, adding that “it’s probably safe to say it’s best not to drink any alcohol in the first trimester.” The problem is, of course, that many women don’t immediately realize they’re pregnant.

    As for later in pregnancy, Apstein contributes, “we know that a woman who drinks a pint of vodka a day will deliver a severely deformed child. If she drinks a teaspoon of wine a day, however, does that increase the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? We don’t know. We don’t have data, and there’s never going to be a study on pregnant women.”

  • While I’m delivering women bad news, here’s more. “Some studies show that alcohol is beneficial for some forms of cancer,” points out D’Agata. “But not breast cancer. Breast cancer is a bad issue. For the most part, if there’s history in the family, it’s probably best to abstain from alcohol.” He later follows up by email, saying there is one study implying that drinking with a family history of breast cancer may be OK.


  • Breathalyzer tests measure alcohol absorbed from the mouth, even without swallowing the wine, according to Apstein. So even compulsive spitters should beware driving after big wine tastings.
  • There is good news for diabetics. “Peak blood sugar concentration is 30% lower after a meal that includes a glass of wine,” D’Agata reports. “That lower blood sugar is at the core of why wine is good for you.”

    Apstein adds that “most of the advice on drinking for diabetics assumes they’re not going to be eating. With dry wines, you should be able to calculate the calories. A 750 ml bottle of 12.5% alcohol wine is about 500 calories. It’s not all that much.”

Teach ‘Em Young

  • Both doctors think we should teach kids how to drink. (Note: They don’t like that wording, but I do, because alcohol education in this country usually equals abstinence education. So, How To Drink 101.)

    “There are a lot of activities that are pleasurable and potentially dangerous, like alcohol. Like driving. Like sex,” Apstein opines. “We have driver’s education. We have sex education. We need drinking education. This country is crazy. You can’t drink anything until age 21 and then you can drink as much as you want. We need alcohol education.”

    “We could do something at the school level and get them early and promote a healthy way to drink wine,” concludes D’Agata.

So there you have it, 15 facts about wine and health that you may not have known before! If you’d like some more great facts about wine and wine tasting, I’d be happy to help out! Give us a call at 415-337-4083 or email to and I’ll be glad to assist!

Wine Diva + Video Game Producer = AMAZING NAPA WINES

The team of Heidi Barrett (Wine Diva a.k.a Queen of the Valley) and famed viticulturist David Abreu are the axile driving CapCom owner Kenzo Tsujimoto’s Napa Valley winery.  The vineyard was planted in 1998, and the first release (2005 vintage) was in 2008.  Since then “Kenzo” has become an household name for top-notch, high-end Napa Valley wines.

The new wines:

2016 Kenzo Estate Sauvignon Blanc “Asatsuyu” Napa Valley 
Retail 95.00 – GGWC 89.99
Use code KENZO during checkout

OK to mix & match with other Kenzo wines

Translated as “Morning Dew”, Asatsuyu is the only Sauvignon Blanc made by Heidi Barrett and the only white wine from Kenzo Estate. Wonderful citrus aromatics de‑ne the 2016 asatsuyu’s characteristics. Intertwined with notes of vanilla and guava nectar and peach preserves, Asatsuyu is an aromatic marvel that greets you long before the first swirl. Complementing this aromatic anomaly is a broad and sumptuous palate, framed by a lingering mouth-watering acidity. Drink now and drink chilled.

2013 Kenzo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Ai” Napa Valley 
Retail 310.00 – GGWC 299.99
Use code KENZO during checkout

OK to mix & match with other Kenzo wines

James Suckling 97 Points:  “Aromas of tobacco and black currants. Full in body, pinpoint fruit and tannins that melt into the wine.  Dense yet agile.  Goes on for minutes.  Superb, classic structure showing immaculate finesse and style.  Better in a few years, but hard no to drink now!”

Heidi Barrett: “Ai represents the color indigo in the Japanese language and has been used in the ancient art of textile dyeing for thousands of years throughout Japan. Derived from plant material, indigo is an elusive commodity, just as the wine that bears its name, the 2013 Ai. Sweet notes of cinnamon, dried apricot and orange zest describe this sizzling aromatic puzzle. While savory spices like white pepper, sage and thyme lead you to a dark and austere palate of soft tannins. Like the Indigo artist who carefully applies his craft, the 2013 Ai is constructed with the gentlest touch from our talented winemaking team. Enjoy now and for many years to come.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

95+ Rated – Below the Radar Cabernet

With passion and a commitment to hard work Linda Butler along with winemaker Gerhard Reisacher launched Delectus Winery in 1995. Delectus is a small family-owned winery that handcrafts luxury red wines from select vineyards throughout Napa Valley and Knights Valley.

Delectus 2013 “Boulder Falls” Cabernet Sauvignon, Knight’s Valley
Retail 110.00 – GGWC 104.99
Use code DELECTUS during checkout

The bold and dense 2013 Boulder Falls is classic Delectus, with an opulent, very densely-woven structure. Sweet oak, ultra-ripe black cherry and raspberry add complexity and depth to this herculean effort. This wine will undoubtedly be capable of 20+ years of time in the bottle. This vintage was sourced from a rocky hillside vineyard perched above the fogline in Knights Valley. There the terroir is conducive to making inky, concentrated wines of great distinction. That is the essence of Delectus

Robert Parker 95+ Points: “The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Boulder Falls is another painfully extracted, rich, full-bodied wine with enormous extract, massive body and richness in a wine seemingly built for 30 or more years of cellaring. Impatient connoisseurs and consumers not willing to defer gratification should steer far clear of this blockbuster, which really requires a decade of cellaring. Kudos to Delectus for making wines that ultimately will prove the magnificent aging potential of what they’re doing in Knights Valley.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Happy Father’s Day!

A Father means so many things…
An understanding heart,
A source of strength and of support
Right from the very start.
A constant readiness to help
In a kind and thoughtful way.
With encouragement and forgiveness
No matter what comes your way.
A special generosity and always affection, too
A Father means so many things.

Happy Father’s Day!