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Experts predict loads of value wine from 2009 vintage, Farmstead Restaurant open in St. Helena, more

by TrevR on February 24, 2010

Another wet and busy week is in full swing here in the Napa Valley.

Luckily, we’ve got a few items we’ve been meaning to share…

The dining room at Chef Michael Chiarello's Bottega Ristorante in Yountville

Large 2009 wine grape crop leads to predictions of loads of ‘value’ wine
Last week the The California Department of Food and Agriculture issued its preliminary crush report that indicated 2009 was the second largest grape harvest in California history (checking in at some 3.7 million tons to be exact).

Many publications focused on the fact that this was a 20% increase over the 2008 harvest, but failed to point out that ’08 was marred by drought conditions and early growing season frost that destroyed crop in many parts of Northern California.

Decanter.com quoted John Ciatt from Ciatti Company, a wine and grape brokerage, as saying: ‘We knew it was big, but we did not think it was this big…This crop will put additional pressure on the already struggling premium segment of the wine business.’

The Los Angeles Times noted: “For consumers, the year’s bounty is expected to bring more availability and cheaper prices for all types of California wine, particularly premium and ultra-premium wines.”

KCBS quoted broker Bill Turentine as saying: “With the recession, consumers have been trading down. And so the strongest sales growth has been coming in wines below $10 a bottle.”

Top Chef Masters competitors at Bottega next month
Come March the town of Yountville will be crawling with recent participants on Bravo TV’s Top Chef Masters series. Chef Michael Chiarello will be joined at Bottega by former Masters competitors Rick Moonen (RM Seafood in Las Vegas) and Lachlan Patterson (Frasca in Boulder, Colorado) for two special dinners.

On March 4th, Chef Moonen will do a demonstration of his “Moon Doggies” dish (shrimp corn dogs) and be signing his new book from 4pm – 5:30pm at NapaStyle. Following that, Moonen will head into the kitchen with Chef Chiarello where the two will prepare a four-course tasting menu (a la carte options will also be available). Space will be limited for both events, call 707-945-1230 for the demo/book signing or 707-945-1050 for a dinner reservation.

On March 10, Chef Patterson and Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey will visit Bottega where they’ll also create a four-course tasting menu that will be paired with Scrapetta wines (these are wines created under Patterson and Stuckey’s own label) as well as tasting of Chiarello Family Vineyards’ “first and only” white wine–a Ribolla Gialla. Call 707-945-1050 for reservations.

Farmstead restaurant open in St. Helena
The Napa Register had a lengthy write-up on the Hall family’s latest venture–Farmstead restaurant in St. Helena. The recently opened restaurant, which focuses on sustainable practices, sits just across the street from Tra Vigne and shares space with the Hall family’s Long Meadow Ranch Winery tasting room and Whiting Nursery.

Here’s how the Register describes the space:

Housed in a former nursery barn, the 110-seat Farmstead restaurant features an open central kitchen, booth and table seating, a community dining table and a full, spacious horseshoe-shaped bar ideal for both dining and drinking.

It’s a comfortable, casual space with lots of beautiful reused redwood and polished granite — which should make for a lively atmosphere when the place fills up.

Farmstead has decided there will be no corkage fee for diners who to bring in their own wine. Instead, the restaurant will impose a $2 fee and will give all proceeds from such fees to local charities. Pretty cool move.

Read the full story.

[techtags: Napa, Napa Valley, wine, winery, 2009 crop report, Farmstead Restaurant, St. Helena, Top Chef Masters, Bottega, Yountville]

About the Author

has written 716 posts on The Cork Board. He was born and aged in the Napa Valley and has a passion for wine, writing and social media, which led him to co-found this blog in early 2007. Follow him on Twitter @TrevR.

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