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We’re exploring California wine country region-by-region, every day, all summer long, this week we explore the Napa Valley. Stay tuned for a new view of these still-undiscovered areas each day this week.

The rolling hills of Carneros once grew grapes almost exclusively for sparkling wines. Now, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay growers are starting to build wineries of their own on the Napa side of Carneros. While much of the area is still not developed head down to the riverfront city of Napa to find excellent wines and a diverse and booming restaurant scene.We’re exploring California wine country region-by-region, every day, all summer long, this week we explore the Napa Valley. Stay tuned for a new view of these still-undiscovered areas each day this week.
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Background: The Carneros region was the first California American Viticultural Area (AVA) to span two counties, and the first California wine region to be defined by the characteristics of its climate rather than political boundaries. Vineyards were first planted in the 1830‘s, with the first winery established in the early 1870’s. Carneros achieved official AVA status in 1983 and a technical amendment from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (ATTTB) in 2006 made it clear that both “Carneros” and “Los Carneros” may be used as the name for the area.  “Carneros” is Spanish for “Sheep.”

Wines/Varietals known for: Due to its cool climate, Carneros is best known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines made from those grapes. Other varietals that do well here include Albariño, Roussanne, Pinot Blanc, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon...

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Much is made of the rivalry between Sonoma County and Napa Valley, but for the most part both wine regions readily share talent, services and grapes. They also share Carneros, an entire viticultural region that’s uniquely split between the two counties.

So is there a distinction in the wines from the Sonoma and the Napa sides when wine tasting in the Carneros Region?

Every year the Sonoma and Napa members of the Carneros Wine Alliance, a nonprofit association of wineries and grapegrowers, get together to reconnect and share vintage notes at their annual Spring Barrel Tasting event. This year’s event, open only to the trade and media, was held in the barrel room at Starmont Vineyards on March 21, 2017...

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Straddling Sonoma and Napa Valleys, Carneros is less than 60 miles by Zipcar from San Francisco, but its country vibe feels a world away. Come for the rolling hills and sweeping views of farmland and vineyards; stay for the private tastings and often underpriced pinot noirs and chardonnays. The cooler climate makes this region ideal for those that favor more acidic and crisp wines. Here, five of the best wineries in this too often skipped AVA.  

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The Carneros Wine Alliance has elected a new board of directors for 2017. Carla Bosco, director of communications at Bouchaine, Vineyards will serve elected as chairwoman, and former chairwoman, Crista Johnso, marketing communications manager at Schug Carneros Estate Winery, has been named vice-chairwoman. TJ Evans, head of still wine-making at Domaine Carneros will continue to serve as treasurer.

Bosco has served on the Carneros Wine Alliance board since 2014 and previously served as vice chair and secretary.

The board also welcomed three new board members, Hilary Berkey, brand manager at Etude Vineyards; Emily Bryne, who runs brand relations at Liana Estates and Mathew Fitch, director of sales and marketing at Truchard Vineyards.

The Carneros Wine Alliance also created an advisory board that includes founding board member Anne Moller-Racke of The Donum Estate, and prior board members Alison Crowe of Garnet Vineyards and Jennifer LaRosa of Poseidon Vineyards. All board positions will continue for one calendar year.

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Poseidon rests at sea level, by the Carneros Creek and the Napa River (on the Napa County side of the Carneros AVA, rather than Sonoma County). Primo’s Hill is a bit up from the water, and winemaker Alex Beloz uses the low yield of the pebble-and-gravel slope to bring some great wine to expression. This wine is classic Carneros, and it’s from one of the most premium plots of land in the area.
 

 

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The Carneros Wine Alliance, a nonprofit association of wineries and grape-growers in the Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA), announced a new board of directors for 2017.

Carla Bosco of Bouchaine Vineyards has been elected as chairwoman of the Carneros Wine Alliance and former chairwoman, Crista Johnson of Schug Carneros Estate Winery, has been named vice-chairwoman of the board.

TJ Evans of Domaine Carneros will continue to serve as treasurer of the alliance. The board also welcomed three new board members, including Hilary Berkey of Etude Vineyards, Emily Bryne of Liana Estates, and Mathew Fitch of Truchard Vineyards.
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Carneros Wine Alliance
The Carneros Wine Alliance is a non-profit association of wineries and grape-growers in the Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA).  Carneros is the only appellation located at the crossroads of two major wine regions, the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.  Influenced by the maritime breezes and fog from its southern border with the San Pablo Bay, Carneros produces the region’s finest Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines. The Carneros Wine Alliance is committed to promoting the distinction, diversity and above all, quality, of the grapes and wines from Carneros.