We love hearing what our club members are up to, and no one has his ear to the ground like Wine Club Director Kenny Werle. Recently Kenny tipped us off to one of our Preferred Palates club members, Bob Brinker, who has an invigorating hobby to say the least. Here’s his story.
What do the island of Alcatraz, a San Francisco Giants baseball game and a glass of Flora Springs Trilogy have in common? If you’re Bob Brinker, a Preferred Palates club member from Atlanta, plenty!
It was August 13, 2016 when Bob undertook what very few people will ever do in their lifetimes: he swam across the San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz, the island best known for its historic prison. It was Bob’s third time participating in what is known as the Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim, a 1.5 mile open water event that, as its website says, is NOT for NOVICES.
“The first year I did it the Bay was like a lake; it was calm and gorgeous,” says Bob, who took up open water swimming as an adult. “The second time it was choppier and we had to wait for several cargo ships to go by. This year the temperature was warm, but the currents were so strong that the course ended up being 1.7 instead of 1.5 miles.”
After celebrating his accomplishment with an Irish coffee at the The Buena Vista along with his son, Jarrod, who also swam the course, Bob headed over to AT&T Park for SF Giants Game Day with Flora Springs. “The Game Day happened to coincide with the swim, so I bought tickets with a couple of my friends who are also club members. It was a great way to cap off the day.”
This wasn’t the first time Bob combined swimming and Flora Springs. The first year he did the Alcatraz swim he slipped in a visit to Napa Valley. “I did the swim with a buddy and since both our wives like wine we decided to spend some time in Napa. That’s when I first visited Flora Springs.”
It was Bob’s mother who recommended Flora Springs. She’d been to the winery years before and been impressed with the wines and the beautiful setting. That day, as Bob and his wife sat on the patio tasting wines, their host was talking about the Merlot, and Bob said “I like the Merlot but I really love this Trilogy.” Later, he called his stepfather who told him, “Your mom liked all the Flora Springs wines but she really loved Trilogy.”
As Bob says, “coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
If you have a story involving Flora Springs that you’d like to share, be sure to let Kenny know!
“The Cubs are World Series Champions. OMG I really just typed that.” Those were the words of Great Tastes Club member Brenda Garcia in an email to Wine Club Director Kenny Werle after her favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, did what was previously unthinkable: win the 2016 World Series!
Kenny and Brenda started corresponding when Kenny put out feelers to Chicago-area club members to gauge their interest in attending a Wine Club-sponsored event at a Cubs game (Brenda’s answer: YES). They swapped emails and talked baseball, enjoying a friendly rivalry between the SF Giants (Kenny’s favorite) and the Chicago Cubs, until after the playoffs, when Kenny started rooting for the Cubs. Brenda, who is almost as big a fan of Flora Springs as the Chicago Cubs, told Kenny about bringing a bottle of Flora’s Halloween wine to Game Seven (good luck omen?), and then, as seen in the photos here, bringing Flora’s Harvest Witch Cabernet to the Cubs’ World Series Parade. That Flora gets around!
We love hearing how Flora Springs wines become part of our club members’ lives and celebrations. To us, that’s what the joy of wine is all about. Here’s what Brenda had to say as she forwarded photo after photo of the Harvest Witch at the parade:
“Thanks for enjoying the road to the championship with me, Kenny! I started as your customer, & we grew to a friendly rivalry between the Giants & Cubs playoffs and then you rooting for the Cubs. It’s been really great getting to know you on a personal level from afar.”
Thank you, Brenda. We couldn’t have said it any better.
Every holiday season, on behalf of the Komes and Garvey family, Wine Club Director Kenny Werle faithfully selects a charming and unique holiday gift exclusively for our Wine Club members.
This year’s gift is particularly meaningful as with it, we also honor Flora Komes, our matriarch. It was Flora’s spirit of generosity and love of nature that inspired the family to found the winery back in 1978.
Included in the Great Tastes November shipment is a tree of “Christmas Future” – a Giant Sequoia seedling. While native to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, where proud giants such as the ‘General Sherman’ and ‘General Grant’ trees have wowed National Park visitors for years, Giant Sequoias are hardy enough to grow well in virtually any climate, and are loved and cultivated throughout the world. This truly majestic species, the most massive of all trees, can live thousands of years and attain monumental size, up to 300 feet tall with trunks almost 40 feet in diameter.
It is our hope that you plant this special tree, and through the years, find your own inspiration and joy.
As always, we are so grateful for the continued support of our Wine Club members. We have a lot of exciting things planned for members in 2017, including new exclusive events, special offers, and more. We so pleased you are joining us for another great year!
Please remember that this schedule is subject to change, but we will always keep you updated.
We started the harvest on Aug 16th picking Pinot Grigio in the Oak Knoll appellation, and we just finished on Tuesday, Oct 11th with Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville appellation – so just about a 2 month harvest.
All in all, it was a terrific harvest! We experienced a very light amount of rain that did not affect the grapes at all. We only had a few days with any unusual heat spikes. We are however, very glad to be finished, in that there is a significant amount of rain in the forecast from Friday through Monday. There are many wineries that are forced to leave their fruit out through the rains, and again, a relief to not be one of them.”
—Winemaker Paul Steinauer
“Well, Mother Nature once again threw us a bit of a curve ball – We experienced 3 days around 100F, then it cooled off and actually had some showers on Sunday & Monday this week. The good news is that none of that has effected the grapes to any degree at all. We have harvested approximately 80% of our fruit thus far and the remaining grapes will be brought in by the end of next week. We have a handful of blocks on the Komes Ranch in the Rutherford Appellation – Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc. We also have a few blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon at our Crossroads Ranch in the Oakville Appellation as well. We are just waiting for these blocks to garner a more complex flavor profile before we pick them.”
—Winemaker Paul Steinauer
Note: The following article on this year’s Halloween Wines, written by St. Helena Star tasting panel writer Catherine Bugue, can also be found here.
It’s almost Halloween and you know what that means. Nancy should definitely run in the halls; it may not be such an excellent day for an exorcism, and perhaps a boy’s best friends should not be his mother (or his dead mother anyway). But Halloween also means…they’re heeere. Flora Springs’ spook-inspired wines are ready for our Halloween parties and dinners.
Square Jack, the wineries’ affectionate name for the ghoulish, teeth-baring pumpkin which greets all tasters to this 2014 Cabernet Franc, is just one of three special bottlings. General Manager Nat Komes discovered Square Jack’s illustrator, John Manders, while reading his children stories at the St. Helena Library.
These Halloween wines always spice up the wine glass with big flavors of concentrated fruit and toasty oak. Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep…at least not until the bottle is finished.