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'Zilla Wine and Tunes Pairing

The two essential elements of the CORKZILLA experience – Wine and music – in a pairing. Our signature feature will continue in 2013, but we've decided to take a break from the grind of producing thoughtful pairings on a monthly basis. Please look for an archive page highlighting our pairings from the past coming soon. Cheers!

What We're Listening to

Keith Richards, "Crosseyed Heart," Republic Records

Gary Clark Jr., "The Story of Sonny Boy Slim," Warner Brothers Records

Warren Haynes Featuring Railroad Earth, "Ashes and Dust," Concord Records

Jason Isbell, "Something More Than Free," Southeastern Records

Phish, "Live Bait Vol. 11" (free digital download)

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, "Chasing Yesterday," Sour Mash Records

Neil Young, "On the Beach," Reprise Records

Massive Attack, "Protection," Circa Records

D'Angelo and the Vanguard, "Black Messiah," RCA Records

Brokedown in Bakersfield, "Live!," Little Sur Records

Ryan Adams, "Ryan Adams," Pax-Am Records

Rich Robinson, "The Ceaseless Sight," The End Records

Jack White, "Lazaretto," Third Man Records

The Wayne Shorter Quartet, "Without a Net," Blue Note Records

Reach out to CORKZILLA

Entries in Jackson Family wines (3)


Reflections on a Recent California Winery Sale

By Ben Heskett

It was with some concern that I recently read an email from Siduri Wines, based in a non-descript office park in Santa Rosa, Calif., describing their intention to sell their Siduri and Novy brands to Jackson Family Wines.

My initial reaction? Another small producer is gobbled up by a large conglomerate, with undetermined – read: not positive - results going forward. But, as you can tell from the timing of this post, I gave it some thought. The email was reassuring, and I, for one, would frankly love to be able to order Siduri wines via the Internet, rather than the current email, phone or form-based systems, for one (photo at left courtesy of Siduri Wines).

Additionally, there was a calming vibe in the communique: “We came to believe that the best way of pursuing our dream of making that perfect vineyard-designated wine was to sell both Siduri and Novy to Jackson Family in a deal that keeps me on as winemaker. That way, their resources can be brought to bear on the sales, marketing, business and logistics of producing Siduri and Novy, freeing me up to focus on the winemaking. In simple terms, we’ve always been more winemakers than winery owners, and this allows us to concentrate on doing just that,” the Siduri email to customers reads.

One of my gravest concerns upon hearing the news was that the business model of the winery would change, as well as the humble headquarters where the magic happens. We are told, from the same email, that a move is not in the cards and pilgrimages to that non-descript office park in Santa Rosa can continue. And I have made a few.

It will also be interesting to see how the Siduri model evolves – That is, working on a contract basis with grape growers in California and Oregon to make great wines, rather than owning a sprawling vineyard estate. That flexibility has always been compelling to me, and I hope it still will be in the hands of Jackson Family Wines.

I’ll also fill you in on a little secret. I once was forced to enjoy the Jackson Family Wines tasting room experience. I was expecting the worst, but was surprised when there were several vineyard-designate wines on offer. I should have known better, but did not.

Look, it could be a disaster. Do these positive signs have any relation to how the Siduri acquisition will go? Some do, some don’t. But I am heartened by these words from the email, entitled “Huge News…,” that I received from Siduri founders Dianna and Adam Lee: “The goals we hold remain the same, but we believe that our ability to reach them has exponentially increased.”

I’ll take them at their word.

For more details on the Jackson acquisition of Siduri and Novy, here’s a couple of reports:

- "Kendall-Jackson Parent Buys Pinot Specialist Siduri Wines," Santa Rosa Press-Democrat

- "Kendall-Jackson Owners Buy California Pinot Powerhouse Siduri," Wine Spectator

- "Siduri Sells to Jackson Family Wines," Grape Collective (article includes complete Siduri email to customers)


Weekly Wine News Around the Web

Kurniawan’s Cellar Eyed as Compensation for Victims: Convicted wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan’s wine cellar may be a source of compensation for victims of his crime, according to this report in Decanter magazine. Victims of his fraud are owed upwards of $30 million, according to the article. One problem? Investigators will need to comb through his collection to ascertain the authenticity of his wines. Stay tuned.

Start Saving for Your Napa Vineyard Now: Another generation and prime Napa Valley, California vineyards could cost just as much as a prime plot in Burgundy, France, according to vineyard real estate experts interviewed by What will it cost you? Up to $1 million per acre, according to this report.

Jackson Expands to South Africa: Continuing to expand its footprint of vineyards across the globe, California’s Jackson’s Family Vineyards has purchased a 120-acre farm in the Banghoek Valley of the Stellenbosch region, according to this report in the Shanken News Daily blog. With 20 acres of vines, Jackson plans to release a Chardonnay called Capensis starting with the 2013 vintage.

Not so Fast: Despite a whirlwind of recent storms, reservoir levels in California remain at half their average levels, according to this article in Wines and Vines magazine. The California Department of Water Resources predicts the state needs six more similar storms to end the long-term drought, according to the report. Conserve, people!

Because We Couldn’t Get Our Gift Recommendations Act Together: Several thoughtful wine-related gift ideas from Alder Yarrow this week in this holiday-related blog post on There’s some good options here – from stocking stuffers to more expensive items. Happy holidays to all! Be merry, drink well, and be safe!


Weekly Wine News Around the Web

UK Hungry for More CA Wine: A recent English summit held to promote California wines determined the United Kingdom market is ripe for new entrants, according to this report. There’s a lot of interesting perspectives here, but what I never knew was this: The top 5 wine brands from California in the UK account for 80 percent of all U.S. volume sales there, according to Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review magazine. The leading brands are as follows: Blossom Hill, Gallo, Echo Falls, Turning Ridge, and Barefoot.

New Record for Napa Auction: This past weekend’s Auction Napa Valley set a new record for the event, generating a whopping $16.9 million from various exclusive wine lots and related items, such as trips, according to this report in Decanter magazine. Proceeds from the four-day event go to local non-profit organizations. The event is organized by Napa Valley Vintners, a trade organization.

Interesting Notes on Labeling: Two recent blog posts offer thoughts on related, but different, strategies on labeling on wine: A label stripped of variety and place of origin, with only the name/branding of the wine standing out, and a U.S.  label focused exclusively on the appellation, a la France, over varietal.  Both Mike Veseth’s Wine Economist post and Tom Wark’s Fermentation blog thoughts are worth reading.

China on the Move: Chinese investors continue to swoop in and pluck prime vineyards across the globe, in these latest cases finalizing deals in Marlborough, New Zealand and Bordeaux, France. Two Decanter magazine reports dive into the transactions: Here’s the Bordeaux deal, and this is the New Zealand purchase.

Jackson Continues Drive Toward “Premiumization”: Jackson Family wines is an interesting company to watch right now, with the recent passing of its visionary founder, and new strategies for an always-changing market. The company plans to increase its presence in higher-end Pinot Noir and add a new varietal to its popular La Crema line, according to the Shanken News Daily blog. There are some other good tidbits to chew on in this report as well.