by Lauren Eads, The Drinks Business

A new study has made a positive link between moderate alcohol consumption and improved fertility in men, compared with those who drink nothing at all, and those who drink to excess.

The study was carried out by researchers at the Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico in Italy. Of the 323 men who took part in the research, 9.6% were abstainers, 30% drank less than 1-3 units per week, 30.3% drank 4-7 units, and 30% drank 8 units or more per week.
One unit equated to a 125ml glass of wine, 330ml beer or 30ml spirit, each containing 12.5 g of ethanol.

Compared with men drinking fewer than three units a week, the best quality semen was found in the 4-7 units/week group, linking moderate alcohol intake to higher semen volume, sperm concentration, and total sperm count.

“As regards low intake, our findings are consistent with other research,” said lead author Dr. Elena Ricci of the Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico. “In Italy, alcohol consumption is common but usually limited to small quantities, and this applies in particular to men referring to our Infertility Clinic. Moderate alcohol intake appears positively associated to semen quality in men. They are counselled to limit but not avoid alcohol.”

While the findings indicated that moderate alcohol intake won’t harm your chances of conceiving, researchers warn against the notion that alcohol could boost your fertility.

The team points to a Danish study from 2014 which found that drinking 40 units, or two pints a day, reduced sperm count by 33%. That research also suggested that even modest alcohol consumption – which it defined as more than five units a week – could reduce sperm quality.

Prof Allan Pacey, from the University of Sheffield, who was not involved in the research, told The Sun: “It’s OK to have a glass of beer or wine with dinner but if you are trying for a baby a night on the lash should be avoided.”

Prof Simon Fishel, from CARE Fertility, added: “I would not use alcohol as a means to try to boost a low sperm count.”

Make sure to visit our site and blog for plenty of great wine suggestions!

95 Point Napa Cab by Russell Bevan’s Right Hand


Kimberly Hatcher is the longtime assistant to Russell Bevan and has kept her eyes and ears open as she is on a roll now! Her Morgado label is bringing in some impressive reviews and creating quite a buzz. Robert Parker and Jeb Dunnuck have “noticed” her and the press is out! That said, Kimberly’s wine are very small productions, and with the high scores… they will sell out fast!

She makes the wines at the Tench Caves, and Russell might be looking over her shoulder once in awhile (or maybe not)

Morgado 2015 Sugarloaf Mountain Proprietary Red, Napa Valley
GGWC 94.99
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Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “As to the red blend from Hatcher, the 2015 Sugarloaf Mountain Red Wine offers deep, concentrated notes of cassis, black cherries, graphite, and earth. This full-bodied, elegant, sensationally textured 2015 has no hard edges, fine tannin, a surprising elegance, and a terrific finish. It’s going to drink nicely for two decades.”

Robert Parker 94+ Points: “Composed of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc, the 2015 Sugarloaf Mountain Proprietary Red has an evocative, earthy nose of tilled soil and mossy bark over a core of warm red and black currants with touches of pencil shavings, dried herbs and fungi. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is fine, elegant and fresh, with expressive earthy layers and a long, finely grained finish.” 

Click here or on the links above to order!

Black Friday in July!

In July!!

Why wait till November to get a “deal” when you can get it in July.

TODAY ONLY, receive 10% OFF on ALL wines* in stock (excluding sale items)

ENTER code BLACKFRIDAYJULY at check out to receive your 10% discount*

*Purchase of $500.00 or more

Visit now!

98 Point under $40.00 White

A family one acre site, Halleck Vineyard is perched above the Russian River watershed and flanked on the west by the slopes to the Pacific Ocean. It commands an expansive view of rolling Sonoma County. Winning # 1 Pinot in the US in 2003 put them on the map, but it hasn’t stopped there.  They source from some of their neighbors very best vineyards!

At the recent California State Fair, the largest wine tasting competition in the US, this little winery beat out thousands of others to get “Double Gold” and a 98 Point rating!

Halleck 2017 Sauvignon Blanc “Little Sister” Russian River Valley
GGWC 39.99
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The Little Sister Sauvignon Blanc reminds me of a crisp, but rich Sancerre. It displays classic neutral citrus notes, with a floral nose that hints of sea breeze, with its earthy complement. The delivery yields bright acidity, offering a mid-palate of flinty minerality, a hint of tart passion fruit and the long lingering, yet crisp finish for which Halleck Vineyard wines are noted.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Impressive & Sexy Rhone blend

The winemaker says: “Sand & Stone is always our most vibrant cuvee due a good portion of Grenache, one of our most favorite grapes. Grenache absolutely thrives in the limestone soils of Paso Robles, and it seems as well suited here as its traditional home in the Southern Rhone. Coupled with the powerful nature of Petite Sirah, Sand & Stone showcases how we can bring tremendous freshness and overall drinkability to a rather powerful wine. To retain this freshness, we age the cuvee in special thick-staved 350L and 400L puncheon that limit oxygen exposure during elevage. From start to finish it brims with pure, focused fruit; dried strawberries, olallieberry, and black raspberry. Always floral and tremendously aromatic, it features plenty of spicy notes of white pepper, licorice, and smoky oak along with a juicy, youthfully tannic finish.”

Aaron 2014 “Sand & Stone” Paso Robles
(Petite Siriah, Syrah, Grenache blend)
GGWC 49.99
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Vinous 94 Points: “Saturated ruby. Ripe, spice-tinged black raspberry, vanilla and pungent flowers on the expansive nose. Intense red and dark berry liqueur flavors are lifted and sharpened by smoky minerality and a suggestion of white pepper. Concentrated as well as juicy and focused, finishing with impressive length and sexy notes of candied violet and spicecake.”

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Sauvignon blanc: (a.k.a. Sauvignon, Fumé blanc)   so • vin • yon  blahnk

At the Lake County Sauvignon Blanc Experience event in May, the famous French ampelographer Jean-Michel Boursiquot explained that the name is derived from the French word sauvage; in reference to the grape’s tendency to grow wild or “untamed,” putting out a prolific amount of canes, leaves and fruit. While the grape is often referred to as indigenous to either Bordeaux or the South-West of France, there is evidence that it may have actually originated in France’s Loire River Valley; as Boursiquot has found the earliest written references to the grape in Loire, dating back to 1534.

In the Graves and Sauternes regions of Bordeaux, it is traditionally blended with Sémillon or Muscadelle; producing dry whites in Graves, and medium to luxuriously sweet whites in Sauternes. The grape stands alone in the wine regions of the Loire; the most famous being the bone-dry, minerally and tart-edged white wines of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, although Sauvignon-based whites from the Quincy, Cheverny and Menetou-Salon appellations are also imported into the U.S.

In the U.S., Sauvignon has its own storied history. Charles Wetmore founded Cresta Blanca Winery in Livermore Valley in 1882, and shortly thereafter traveled to France and returned home with cuttings of the grape from d’Yquem. Louis Mel also used these cuttings to plant El Mocho Vineyard (a property purchased by the Wente family in 1925, and since renamed Louis Mel Vineyard). The thinking was that the gravelly, silty loam soils of Livermore Valley could duplicate the white wines of Bordeaux. In 1889, a Sauvignon based white wine from Cresta Blanca (an 1884 vintage) won the Grand Prize at the prestigious Paris Exposition. But the ultimate significance of the Livermore Valley plantings is that this selection, originating from d’Yquem, became the U.C. Davis FPS (Foundation Plant Services) clone 01 – taken by Dr. Harold Olmo in 1958 from the Wentes’ Louis Mel property – that is now the predominant selection planted in California, Washington, and New Zealand (where it is called UCD 1).

The popularity of Sauvignon blanc within more modern California wine history is closely associated with Robert Mondavi. The Mondavis were intrigued by the potential of Sauvignon blanc in California; having planted the grape in the “I Block” of To Kalon Vineyard, in Napa Valley’s Oakville region, as far back as 1943 (old vines still in production today – see black and white picture above), two years after the brothers (both Lodi Union High School graduates) took over the old Charles Krug estate. In 1966 Robert planted more Sauvignon blanc in To Kalon’s I Block; but more significantly, in 1968, he came out with the first vintage of Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc, which immediately became a huge commercial success.

Although Mondavi’s “Fumé Blanc,” which he got approved as a legal synonym for Sauvignon blanc, was imaginatively named for the Pouilly-Fumés of France, the style of Mondavi’s wine was rather un-Pouilly-Fumé-like in that it saw barrel aging (Pouilly-Fumés are traditionally bottled straight out of stainless steel tanks). Mondavi also experimented with barrel fermentation, aggressive lees stirring (to attain a creamy texture) and, in the tradition of Bordeaux, blending with Sémillon – producing a more flowery, melony, and far less herbaceous, less minerally or citrusy style of wine than that of Pouilly-Fumé or Sancerre. Because of the Mondavi influence, the soft, often tropical fruit-driven style of “Fumé” would remain the predominant approach to the varietal in Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and most of California; at least up until the explosion of the markedly greener, sharper New Zealand styles of Sauvignon blanc into the U.S. market, starting in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Today, California styles of Sauvignon blanc are likely to balance herby green sensations with green melon, tropical fruit, floral as well as earthy/mineral qualities in deference to growing “international” tastes among consumers and critics; while aggressively oak influenced (i.e. “Graves” inspired) styles appear to be on the wane, except for a handful of ultra-premium priced Napa and Sonoma bottlings.

Sonoma/Marin Counties and Lake County are two of California’s major Sauvignon blanc regions – crushing 15% and 13% of the state’s 2017 total, respectively.

This post was adapted from the ZinFest Blind Tasting Event, hosted by Randy Caparoso

Make sure to check out these amazing Sauvignon Blancs:







Alcohol improves memory, scientists say…

Alcohol improves memory, scientists say
as study finds drinking helps people recall information

By Sophie Jamieson

Drinking alcohol can actually improve memory, academics have found as a study showed that those who drink after studying are better at recalling what they learnt.

In a study, 88 social drinkers were given a word-learning task.

They were then split in two groups at random and told either to drink as much as they liked – the average was four units – or not to drink at all.

The next day, they all did the same task again – and those who had drunk alcohol remembered more of what they had learned.

Researchers at the University of Exeter stressed this limited positive effect should be considered alongside the well-established negative effects of excessive alcohol on memory and mental and physical health.

Professor Celia Morgan said: “Our research not only showed that those who drank alcohol did better when repeating the word-learning task, but that this effect was stronger among those who drank more.

“The causes of this effect are not fully understood, but the leading explanation is that alcohol blocks the learning of new information and therefore the brain has more resources available to lay down other recently learned information into long-term memory.

“The theory is that the hippocampus – the brain area really important in memory – switches to ‘consolidating’ memories, transferring from short into longer-term memory.”

The effect noted by the researchers has been shown under laboratory conditions before, but this is the first study to test it in a natural setting with people drinking in their homes.

There was also a second task which involved looking at images on a screen.

This task was completed once the drinkers had drunk alcohol again the following day and the results did not reveal significant differences in memory performance post-drinking.

The study’s participants were 31 men and 57 women, aged 18 to 53.

The paper, Improved memory for information learnt before alcohol use in social drinkers tested in a naturalistic setting, is published in the journal Scientific Reports.


98 Point Dave Phinney STUNNER= FREE SHIPPING!

The Crane Assembly is centered around a unique eight-acre vineyard located in the gravel rich soils of southern St. Helena. It is believed that George Beldon Crane, or simply G.B. Crane, first established grapes on this site in the year 1885, making it one of the oldest vineyards in the Napa Valley. Although records are scarce, it was most likely planted as a field blend commonly known as “mixed blacks”. This field blend traditionally consisted of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignan, and a smattering of lesser-known grape varieties such as Alicante Bouschet, Mourvedre and Valdiguie.  Today it is planted to high-end Bordeaux Varietals and Zinfandel

GB Crane 2014 Cabernet “Estate” Napa Valley
Retail 230.00 – GGWC 224.99
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“Powerful opulence. The 2014 GB Crane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon opens with layered aromatics of overripe cassis, blackberries and plum. Shades of tarragon, sage and fragrant Californian chaparral follow closely. The entry is, as expected, rich and lush with a balanced mid-palate rife with juicy stone fruit, black cherries and traces of graphite, clove and licorice. The soft, refined tannins bring the experience to a slow, elegant close—flavors persisting at length.”

Robert Parker 98 Points: “Composed of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot and 5% Petite Sirah, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon G.B. Crane Vineyard is deep garnet-purple in color and scented of cassis, black cherries and warm plums with touches of pencil shavings, wood smoke, fertile soil and yeast extract with a waft of menthol. Medium to full-bodied, it has a firm frame of grainy tannins and wonderful freshness with intense flavors, finishing long. 299 cases produced.”

Be sure to also check out the
G.B. Crane 2016 “Disciples” Proprietary Red ~ 94 Points, Parker
G.B. Crane 2016 “El Coco” Proprietary Red ~ 95 Points, Parker

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Top Notch Chardonnay that will dazzle your palate, but not hurt your wallet!

A childhood dream, let’s hook up when we are all grown up and start a winery tighter.  That is the story of two brothers (John & Steve Dragonette) and their good buddy Brandon Sparks-Gillis.  They teamed up to pursue their live-long dream to make wine. While working at wineries like Sine Qua Non, Torbreck, Fiddlehead Cellars before they gained valuable experiences in order to started this grand venture. Over the past decade the press has been (rightfully so) generous to these three great guys. They source from some of the most sought after vineyards in Santa Barbara, Santa Rita Hills & Santa Ynez.

Dragonette 2016 Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills
GGWC 43.99
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The 2016 Chardonnay from Dragonette offers up a honeyed, sun-kissed nose of peaches and yellow orchard fruit. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and richly textural—almost oily, with a generous core of baked fruit flavors but good underlying acidity and a pure, clean finish. There’s a touch of sur maturité here, but it’s an attractive, flavorful Chardonnay that I suspect is best adapted for near-term consumption.

This chardonnay is sources from all organic or biodynamic vineyards including Rasdian, Duvarita (a great Paul Lato source), Rita’s Crown (Paul Lato & Bevan source), Spear, and Donnachadh.

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4 Barrel Pinot wins blind tasting!

My tasting group lined up some first rate Pinot Noirs, but it was a very small production (4 barrels, 98 cases) that took the first prize!

The line up included:

The Winner: Halleck Haas Vineyard 2015 Pinot Noir

Halleck 2015 “Haas Vyd” Pinot Noir Sonoma Mountain
GGWC 74.99
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The 2015 Haas bottling from Halleck offers up a deep ruby color with an amazing nose of bing cherries and cranberries. On the palate, this very lush, intense yet extremely well-balanced wine offers up a mouthful of a flavor town cornucopia with a touch of earth and minerals, and a hint of tarragon and raspberry lingering into a long lasting, but silky finish. Only 98 cases were produced.

Click here or on the links above to order!