Winter Wine Road Recap

In January our Kendall-Jackson Tasting rooms participated in the 19th Annual Winter Wineland Event. Over135 other wineries participated from the Russian River Wine Road Association that offered wine tasting, education and food.


In keeping with the education theme this year, we offered two very fun and unique educational experiences at our tasting rooms.

At the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center we brought in two different barrels of our brand new 2010 Chardonnay. One barrel was brand new and exhibited the appealing aromas of sweet smoke, vanilla, roasted bread and the other traditional characteristics that oak brings to the table.

The other vessel was a used, or neutral, barrel that demonstrated that even though the wine does not take on any flavors from the older used barrel, it can help showcase and enhance the true character and soul of the vineyard.

These barrels provided everyone an opportunity to taste the difference between a new barrel and a neutral barrel and show what happens when you blend the two together.


Our culinary team prepared a wonderful dish that paired with our Highlands Estate Alisos Hills Syrah. Pictured here is Chef Matt and tasting room associate Debbie ready to serve up Solanka with vegetables from our estate garden.

At the Kendall-Jackson Healdsburg Tasting room there was even more food and fun to be had. Our culinary team prepared another fabulous dish, paired with our Highlands Estate Seco Pinot Noir. Pictured here is Chef Andre ready to serve up our beet borscht with beef short ribs, potatoes, and cabbage topped with a horseradish sour cream.

The Kendall-Jackson Healdsburg tasting room offered a totally different educational experience. You were able to win discounts and prizes by tuning your sense of smell and learning the difference between the aroma and bouquet of the wine.

Here is a quick overview: the aroma comes only from the grape. Certain grapes have unique smells, just like not all apples taste or smell the same. Some wines have aromas of citrus (grapefruit and lemon), flowers (jasmine and honeysuckle), and Fruit (apple, pear, etc). All wines should be varietal correct, and can be identified by certain key smell and taste characteristics.

The bouquet comes from the winemakers influence and winemaking decisions as well as the affect of aging both in barrel and in bottle. Some wines have a bouquet of vanilla, butter, hazelnut, butterscotch, clove, bacon, coffee, smoke, mocha, etc. Some of the tools the winemaker uses to gain complexity for the wine are using things like toasting barrels, sur lee aging (stirring the wine upon the yeast), malolactic fermentation, special yeast strains, fermentation temperatures, etc. This image shows the flavors associated with the inside roasting temperatures of the oak barrel.

The game was meant to teach you how to feel more confident and more comfortable in tasting and in describing wines. At times it can be challenging, and it may feel sometimes like you are learning a foreign language, but you don’t need to have a Ph.D., or a college degree to appreciate or enjoy wine. It was so much fun, so come out and visit us for our next event!