Bounty of Spring: Organic Wines to Drink for Earth Day

April 21st we celebrate Earth Day’s 45th anniversary. In honor of the day, PlumpJack Wine & Spirits Fillmore has five organic wine choices from around the world.

When is a wine considered organic? Organic wine and wine made with organic grapes are two different things. Wines that are made from organically grown grapes are farmed without synthetic additives and pesticides. What makes a difference between an organic wine or wine made with organic grapes is whether or not winemakers add sulphur at the bottling stage, this controls spoilage. So when purchasing an “organic wine” you’re buying wine made with organic grapes with no added sulfites. Here are our picks, all available at PlumpJack Wine & Spirits – Fillmore location.


2011 Umathum Zweigelt, Austria ($22)
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of crushed cherries and blackberries. Cherry and black cherry flavors have a nice stony underbelly and very faint velvety tannins, which make this a very easy-drinking wine.






2012 Frog’s Leap Zinfandel, California ($25)
Frog’s Leap harvests their Zinfandel grapes at the peak of ripeness rather than allowing them to become overripe. The result is an elegant and authentic expression of Zinfandel flavors. This Zinfandel is a dry-farmed and organically grown field blend that includes some Petite Syrah and Carignane. In the words of the winery, “superb raspberry, huckleberry aromas followed by taut, refined, seductive flavors of red fruit compote layered with spice and a sensuous mouth-feel”




2009 Domaine Habrard Crozes Hermitage, France ($25)

Crozes-Hermitage is the largest appellation in the Northern Rhône region of France and represents some of the low hills and terraces across the river from the famous hills of Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. Thanks to its soft tannins, the wine works well when meats are grilled or braised, especially if you play to the wine’s high tones with accents like rosemary, olives, black pepper, garlic and thyme.



2013 Workman/Ayer Viognier, California ($21)
From the central coast of California, the nose is finely focused with notes of lemon peel and florals. It is medium- full bodied and balanced to crispness with a slight acidic snap to its flavors of green peaches and limes.





2014 Bonny Doon Vin Gris, California ($16)
The fragrance is discreet and above all, elegant and draws one to the wine rather than mounts a frontal assault on one’s sensorium. On the palate, the wine has a sleek, salty, savory, mouth-watering aspect and a refreshing acidity. Discreet nose of alpine strawberry, evolving into a refreshing mintiness with additional air and warming. The wine pairs well with seafood such as ceviche and oysters, perfect for spring meal pairing.

Conversations with Hilary: Diane Keaton

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Diane Keaton on one of her many visits to The Carneros Inn. Diane frequented the Napa Valley while doing research for her book House, that expresses her vision of how we live today in spaces that have been artfully re-purposed or reinvented. The book demonstrates a strong commitment to environmental consciousness and its embrace of Green design, as seen in the architecture and interiors portrayed.

Photogrpahy credit: Ruven Afanador /

Diane is an extraordinary talent. She is a highly accomplished Academy Award Winning actress with dozens of notable films, including all three Godfather’s, Annie Hall, Something’s Gotta Give, Manhattan among many others. Diane has just published her new book Lets Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty, which is not to be missed! I am so incredibly pleased to feature Diane this month, I hope you enjoy!

 1.Do you have a prized possession?
My children’s art, letters,and notes. I save every note ever written to me. Beware!

2. What qualities do you think others love about you?
You would need to ask them. I hope it would be compassion for people and animals.

3. If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
Build more…homes, hotels, you name it! And of course preserving old buildings particularly factories.

4. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Kiss my dog Emmie…turn on CNN…and make a cup of Nespresso.

5. What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Go to a movie and see a documentary then take an evening walk on the bluff and see the magnificent Pacific Ocean.

6. What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Singing… but that didn’t work out. I am lucky I became an actress.

7. What are you passionate about now?
Imagery. I love Pinterest. I love pinning all the visual wonders on my pages. It is a world that is endless. I am in awe.

8. What’s your favorite season and why?
Summer..I like it hot! Desert hot!

9. If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
Iphone, ipad and computer.

10. If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Red wine on the rocks- also known as “The Keaton”

11. What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Right now..Rhianna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney song-FourFiveSeconds

12. If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Friends I have lost…Robert Shapazian, Michael Blalock, Grammy Hall, Red (my old corgi mix), Josie (my mix breed dog), and of course Dorothy and Jack Hall, my parents.

13. Do you have any regrets?
No regrets. I just think everyone should document their lives. All humans are interesting and everyone’s personal stories are remarkable.

14. Define Freedom.
Being able to think, talk freely. I feel so fortunate to have that gift in our great country.

15. What are your personal core values?
Treat every person the same. Period


The Pant You’ll Reach for Again and Again

Have you worn out your tried and true jeans? Already have a pair of summer linen pants? The perfect work to weekend trouser?

Enter: The Jogger Pant – an easy ankle length with a slight banded hem, that you can pair with practically any shoe and with a million fabrics and colors out, this is an ideal pant to take from day to night. I love pairing with heels and a fitted top for drinks at night or with a slip on sneaker and loose sweater during the day. They’re also a great weight to wear throughout spring and well into fall.

A particular jogger pant we’re currently coveting, is the Abby jogger from Level 99. It’s offered in a beautiful chambray inspired dye and the lightweight fabric is as soft as ever.

How we’re styling the Abby jogger for spring: short sleeve white cotton tee shirt +  perforated slip on sneakers.

Paul’s Three Favorite Gin Cocktails for Spring

If spring is the season when flowers bloom, filling the air with fragrance, then gin is the springtime of spirits filling a glass. Paul Birman from PlumpJack Wine & Spirits’ Fillmore location, shares his three  favorite gin cocktails for spring.

Every gin is different with its own unique recipe of botanicals, just as every flower has its distinctive aroma. Juniper, citrus, chamomile, bergamot, and a million other aromas can all be part of a gin’s bouquet. For me, a gin and tonic can’t help but evoke images of lounging on a warm sunny day with a cool, refreshing, cocktail in hand. So grab your cocktail shaker and a bottle of gin and make these delicious drinks. 

Bombay Sapphire Martini served up with olives
A daily requirement to keep my sanity. Sapphire is my go to for it’s classic,
London dry style. Smooth and round, it’s hard to just have one.

Perfect Negroni with Tanqueray 10 served up with an orange twist

What makes this perfect isn’t just its potency, but the addition of
dry vermouth and sweet vermouth. I cut back a little on the Campari to make it
less sweet as well. I had this with foie gras on New Year’s Eve and the citrus and lightness
of this cocktail made for the perfect pairing.

Ramos Gin Fizz
This New Orleans classic cocktail is a true test of your bartending skills. It’s the
adult version of a dreamsicle. This drink was originally made-to-order using a long
line-up of “shaker boys,” who would shake the drink for 30 seconds each and pass it
down the line. It was said to have taken 12 minutes to properly shake a Ramos
to perfection. It’s not an everyday drink, but worth the effort once it’s made.

If you love gin or are new to the spirit and want to enhance your knowledge, join our
Gin Club at PlumpJack Wine & Spirits. The Club explores modern dry gins, that tone down
the juniper and turn up the intensity of other botanicals for a creative mix of flavors.
Offerings will include gins with different botanicals, garnishes and alcohol content.
You will receive cocktail recipes along with a detailed write up.

Poppin’ Bottles: Our Favorite Sparkling Wine for Brunch

There is no better way to start the week than with Sunday brunch, and with Easter coming up, one of the biggest brunch days of the year, PlumpJack Wine & Spirits has put together a list of our favorite sparklers perfect for brunch, or whenever.


Roederer Estate, Anderson Valley
Best price in San Francisco for a well made, French-owned Champagne house. This is made in the methode champagnoise. Nice, dry, and round.


Adami Bosco Prosecco
, Italy
Delicious, round, fruit driven, but dry Prosecco. It’s perfect for a Sunday brunch or a tailgate party. Flavors of lemon and green apple with a toasty finish.

Bailly-Lapierre Cremant de Bourgogne, Burgundy, France
Burgundy is known for this style of bubbles, which features a very fine bubble and a dry finish. Only 12% alcohol, so you can rest assured that you won’t over indulge while drinking. The champagne has peachy flavors with a toasty warm finish.

Bochet-Lemoine Brut, Champagne, France
Extraordinary Champagne from a grower-producer in Champagne–only 5% of the annual production comes to USA, all of which goes to Northern California. You’ve never heard of it because they have no marketing budget. A delicious combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier–rich mouth feel with a warm crisp finish.

Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose, Champagne, France
PINK is not Sweet! This Champagne has a fine line of crisp bubbles for a special celebration. It’s a beautiful, slightly pink, champers with slight strawberry and raspberry aromatics. Very rich and sexy with a long dry, crisp finish.

Check out Balboa Cafe Mill Valley’s Easter Brunch Menu

Best Beers of the West

Baseball season is upon us and that means long nights of America’s past time, I thought it would be best to highlight some of my favorite beers to enjoy while watching my favorite sport. Its best to start where baseball is at its finest and right now the best division in baseball is the NL West. Not only does the west coast have some of the best baseball teams but it also has some of the best beers in the country, from Anchor Brewing to Ballast Point, the NL West of Beers is a powerhouse.

San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014
21st Amendment Brewing Company: Sneak Attack, Farmhouse Saison, 6.2% Abv
Anchor Brewing: Liberty Ale, Modern IPA, 5.9% Abv
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers: Metropolis Lager, American Craft Lager, 5.3% Abv

San Diego Padres:
Mission Brewery: Cortez Gold, Belgian Blonde, 5% Abv
Stone Brewing: Enjoy By Series, Double IPA, 9.4% Abv
Ballast Point: Sculpin, IPA, 7% Abv
Colorado Rockies:
New Belgium Brewing: Portage Porter, Porter, 6% Abv
Great Divide Brewing Company: DPA Denver Pale Ale, Pale Ale, 5.5% Abv
Breckenridge Brewery: Agave Wheat, American Unfiltered Wheat Ale, 4.2% Abv
Arizona Diamondbacks:
San Tan Brewing Company: Mr. Pineapple, Pineapple Wheat, 5% Abv
Four Peaks Brewing Company: Peach Ale, Golden Fruit Ale, 4.2% Abv
Phoenix Ale Brewing: Camelback, IPA, 6.1% Abv
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Golden Road Brewing: Point the Way, IPA, 5.9% Abv
El Segundo Brewing Company: Blue House Citra Pale, Pale Ale, 5.5% Abv
Strand Brewing Company: 24th Street Pale Ale, Pale Ale, 6.1%

So Sit back and enjoy a cold delicious beer as we look forward to another great year of baseball. Cheers!

Irish Things to Drink This St. Patrick’s Day

Here are Irish things to drink this St. Patrick’s Day. Why not ditch the sweet artificially colored nonsense and drink something a real Irish person wouldn’t be ashamed of? Might suggest a couple of cocktails and a duo of Irish whiskeys to inspire you this year?

The Emerald is a simple concoction of Irish whiskey, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters. It’s basically an Irish whiskey Manhattan but nonetheless it’s still a very tasty cocktail!

2 oz Irish Whiskey
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 dash Orange Bitters
Garnish: Orange Twist
Stir over ice until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and add garnish.

As soon as someone adds whiskey to their coffee it instantly becomes “Irish” in the eyes of some people. However, the original Irish coffee was created by a wise bartender at the Foynes airbase, where today’s Shannon International Airport stands. In 1942, a group of Americans on a Pan Am flight back home were forced to return back to the airport due to bad weather. Chef and bartender Joe Sheridan added whiskey to their coffee to “warm their spirits” and topped it with rich whipped cream. A writer for the San Francisco Chronicle sampled the beverage and loved it. He wrote about it in his columns and helped popularize the drink, even going so far as to start collaborating with San Francisco’s Buena Vista Cafe on how to make an authentic version on American soil.
Irish Coffee
1.5 oz Irish Whiskey
3-4 oz Hot Coffee
1 tsp demerara or turbinado sugar
.5 cup Organic Heavy Cream (for topping)
Whip cream by whisking it in a bowl or vigorously shaking in an empty cocktail shaker.
Put 1 tsp of sugar in an Irish coffee mug or a wine glass. Add 3 to 4 oz hot black coffee and stir to dissolve sugar. Add Irish whiskey and stir again. Top with a one-inch layer of cream.

Redbreast 12
Made at Middleton Distillery in County Cork, Ireland, Redbreast 12 is an exquisite example of single pot still Irish Whiskey. A mash of malted and unmalted barley are used and distilled three times in copper pot stills. Nutty and rich on the nose, the whiskey opens with spicy notes of dried citrus and vanilla. Nutty undertones and marzipan finish out the whiskey with a finish reminiscent of amontillado sherry.

Green Spot is one of those great spirits that people often talk about but few have ever really tried. Produced in very small quantities at the Midleton Distillery, Green Spot Irish Whiskey used to only be available in Ireland and United Kingdom and often very difficult to find. Floral notes meat orchard fruit like apricot and pear on the nose. Toasted grain, honey, caramel, and oak follow with more pear, apple, and apricot finishing with slightly spicy clove and a soft finish.

From our own PlumpJack Wine & Spirits store in Noe Valley, Kelly shares his own concoction for St Patty’s Day.

Kelly’s Concoction
1.5 oz Irish Whiskey
.5 oz Green Chartreuse
3 dashes Bitter Queens Eucalyptus Bitters

The People of PlumpJack: Rob McCormick

This week on The People of PlumpJack, we feature Rob McCormick. He is the Director of Sales at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn for the past 19 years. On his free time, Rob enjoys exploring Truckee and North Lake Tahoe. He often opens a map, looks for a region he has yet to explore and ventures out there to hike, ski or 4 wheel. When he isn’t skiing at the resort with his wife and son, he goes backcountry skiing. Another passion of Rob’s is music, he has been djing as a hobby for 15 years.

 “When I go into the backcountry I have a fairly selective rotation of ski partners.  Who you choose to travel with in the wilderness is very important because you want to make sure your partners have similar attitudes toward goal flexibility and risk tolerance.  Getting into adventures with the right people is so much fun in so many ways, but most of all just being away from the constant distractions of everyday life.”

In 2011 Rob was lucky enough to fly around the mountains outside of Truckee in his friends Cessna 180, where they discovered an amazing couloir (a steep, narrow gully on a mountainside). Two years later when conditions were just right, they navigated their way into the location and skied it in perfect conditions. Rob describes it as an unforgettable experience and found it rewarding to put in the time researching maps and weather conditions and getting to eventually go.

1. What would your last meal be?
Maine Lobster

2. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? 
It’s better to under promise and over deliver than the other way around.

3. What is your top bucket list item?
Trip to Europe with my wife and son.

4. If you could travel back to any one point in time when would it be?
February through May 2011 – I’d really like to relive that ski season.

5. If they made a film of your life what star would you like to play you?
John C. Reilly

6. What is your personal mantra?
Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from poor judgment.

7. If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it? 
A backcountry ski adventure followed by a BBQ on Donner Lake with my friends and family.

8. What is the last thing you Googled?
Ski conditions at Grand Targhee, WY.

Check out Rob’s Ski blog here

Rob’s enthusiasm for all things outdoors & Lake Tahoe in general transfers into his day to day interaction with all of our Clients. Rob is always sharing favorite activities and his passion for Squaw Valley with corporate groups and wedding couples to add to their experience during a stay at PlumpJack. It is always fun catching up with Rob after the weekend or a day off. Rob takes full advantage of living in Lake Tahoe and is often plotting a fun camping trip, BBQ with friends, bike ride or backcountry ski trip. Other places you may find Rob .. a ski movie, a DJ party, or his favorite vacation destination .. Mexico.

- Ilana Heyne
Catering & Sales Manager at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn

Conversations with Hilary: Tanya Peterson

Hilary talks with her friend, the Executive Director of the San Francisco Zoo, Tanya Peterson. Tanya came to the Zoo at a time of crisis and has worked on changing perceptions about the San Francisco Zoo. In this Conversations with Hilary, Tanya shows her true colors as a caring women doing extraordinary things.

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
Becoming a Zoo Director

Do you have a prized possession?
My children and my Vizsla (dog)

What qualities do you think others love about you?
Integrity, work ethic and humor

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
While my children are still young, I think about being a full-time mother

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
Working with a sense of purpose and with others who share the same passion

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Hug my dog (and she usually wakes me up in the morning, too)

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Having dinner at home and cooked by my husband (he is a good cook!)

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
The law and journalism because I saw them as ways to make a difference

What are you passionate about now?
Conservation of earth’s wildlife

What’s your favorite season and why?
The Fall in San Francisco — just can’t be beat

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you
Photos of my children, a journal and an expresso machine

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Martini with a twist

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Chris Isaak’s “San Francisco Days”

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Lunch with Dr. Jane Goodall

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
Something like, “How I Tried to Save a Zoo”

Do you have any regrets?
Not visiting Africa

Define freedom?
Having a choice.

What are your personal core values?
Respecting all and achieving balance.


The People of PlumpJack: Sandra Roberts

Welcome back to The People of PlumpJack, the series that introduces you to the people inside the PlumpJack community. Featured this week is Sandra Roberts, Director of Sales for PlumpJack Estate Winery, CADE Estate Winery and Odette Estate Winery. She has been with the PlumpJack team since 2011, overseeing all wholesale operations, as well as strategic planning for the three wineries. In her spare time, she pursues international adventures—everything from following the old Irish hunt trails on horseback to crossing the Dalmatian Coast by bike. At home in Napa, she enjoys gardening, LSU football, cooking, hiking and exploring the outdoors with her 150-pound puppy (and the official winery dog of Odette), Sophie.

Sandra on the wall in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Sandra on the wall in Dubrovnik, Croatia

1. What would your last meal be?
Burgers!  Grilled in my backyard surrounded by all of my friends and most of my family!  

2. What is the best advice you have ever received?
Be yourself, and be kind…you never know what others are going through or working on right now.

3. What is your top bucket list item?
Bali is next…but it’s a full bucket!

4. If you could travel back to any one point in time what would it be?
To have dinner with my dad.

5. If they made a film of your life what star would you like to play you?
I’m stumped! Seriously….hum – Julia Roberts

6. What is your personal mantra?
“What will you do with this one wild and precious life” – Mary Oliver

7. If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it?
Living! And in the backyard referenced above for my last meal!

8. What is the last thing you googled?
The poet who’s quote I quoted!

“Wine Sales isn’t something done remotely, it’s a relationship business and requires a feet on the street approach to share our story, bring a sense our vineyards and our passion for winemaking to our customers. We take nothing and no one for granted.” – Sandra Roberts