September and October are often overlooked as ideal times to visit wine country, but we think the fall is one of the best seasons in California. The mornings are lovely and cold, and the daytime temperatures are still warm enough for poolside hangouts. With so many of us staying closer to home during 2020, it's the perfect opportunity to explore what's going on in your back yard.
When was the last time you spent time diving into the treasures of the Livermore Valley? It can be easy to overlook what is immediately around us. Still, when we take time to be intentional about exploring our home towns, we can discover or rediscover so many lovely things. Better yet, we have the opportunity to support our local community!
The Livermore Valley is home to world-class wineries and wines, fantastic restaurants, beautiful parks and trails, and great shopping. We hope this sample weekend itinerary helps you plan your next staycation in the valley!
Friday Night: Check into The Rose Hotel
Rest easy at The Rose Hotel. Ranked among the Bay Area's top hotels, this luxurious boutique hotel is located in Pleasanton's downtown historic district with easy access to restaurants, shops, and wineries.
Saturday Morning: Fuel up with a delicious breakfast
You could stay in at The Rose Hotel for your complimentary continental breakfast, or you could head out to Monica's Livermore. Set in the historical building of one of Livermore's original winery's, Monica's Livermore has a delicious farm-to-table breakfast dishes. The french toast is not to be missed!
Hit the trails
Livermore Valley is abundant with open space. Beautiful trails will take you through picturesque Sycamore groves, or you might stumble upon expansive views of rolling hills lined with vineyards. Get out early and feel the cool breezes that gently blow the fog out of the valley. This park is one of our favorites.
Saturday Afternoon: Enjoy a wine tasting at Rubino Estates
Saturday Night: End the evening with a lovely dinner at Incontro Ristorante
Discover a little bit of Italy in downtown Danville. Incontro's menu features a fantastic selection of Italian-inspired dishes that will pair perfectly with your favorite Rubino Estates wine. Freshly-made pasta, local and seasonal vegetables, and house-made desserts - you can't go wrong!
Sunday Morning: Prepare to return home
Wake up refreshed at The Rose Hotel and take in one more coffee before you head back home.
We hope you discover something new and exciting during your staycation in Livermore Valley. There's so much more to see and do! You can check out Visit Tri-Valley for even more suggestions.
Last week, our winemaker, Jesse Plautz, took us on a tour of the vineyard to show us his process for sampling grapes. As of this week, all of our Sauvignon Blanc is in the winery fermenting away! We also brought in Sangiovese but will continue to monitor the other red grapes to determine the best time to harvest them. One of the benefits of the strange skies is that it protects the grapes from too much sun which might cause the grapes to ripen too quickly. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to developing ideal physiological ripeness. We hope you enjoy this visual diary of a day at the winery!
September is here, and so is harvest! We've already picked most of our white grapes that will become your favorite white wines like the Riserva and Landmark Chardonnays. As you can see in the photo above, most of the time, grapes are picked in the very early morning when the vines are resting and the grapes have relaxed and restored themselves from the heat of the day. This helps make sure that the grapes are plump and fresh when they arrive at the winery for processing.
In this week's video, Jesse shares with us what effect, if any, the heat spike and surprise rain had on the grapes and vines. He also breaks down his process for sampling, which helps guide the decisions for when to pick to ensure optimum ripeness for the wines we craft from our estate.
Have any other harvest questions? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll have Jesse answer them for you!
It's National Red Wine Day and we feel like this particular wine holiday is our favorite. At Rubino Estates, we are known for our Italian inspired red wine blends and as we head into fall, a glass of red wine around the fire pit is the perfect way to wind down after a long day.
Here are a few of our favorite red wines for National Red Wine Day.
Our Favorite Red Wines for National Wine Day
Flavors and aromas of red fruit with overtones of strawberry jam and black currant preserves. Our 2016 Night Owl Barbera has a very full body that is balanced by the characteristic acidity of the wine. A long finish with a hint of oak, creme de cassis, and mixed berry jam. Pair it with richer, high acid or fatty dishes like roast duck, tomato-based dishes like spaghetti with Italian sausage, Osso Bucco, pizza and hamburgers.
Flavors and aromas of chocolate, red fruit, plum, and fig are all present within the complex aroma. The flavors really emerge on the palate, joined by a big mouthfeel, smooth tannins, and a melange of spices. Ripe red fruit joins the other flavors as the wine continues to open. A couple of plates to try with this wine: spaghetti with meat sauce and baked rigatoni with eggplant and sausage.
On the nose, you will find an intense combination of fruit and spice. The flavors are reminiscent
of cherry pie, rhubarb, and clove. Firm acidity delivers intense red fruit and results in a long, lingering finish. Enjoy with baby back ribs, burgers with blue cheese and grilled onions, roasted tomato spaghetti, and deep-dish pizza.
We hope you raise a glass of your favorite Rubino Estates red wine today. Tag us on social @rubinoestates and celebrate with us!
We think of wine as one of life's luxuries that brings our friends and loved ones together, excites the senses, and elevates the ordinary day. We all have our favorite wines for regular everyday drinking, but sometimes we have bottles we reserve for those special occasions. The Rubino Estates Library Club is a wonderful addition to your wine club membership that will start you on your path to building your wine cellar.
The idea of moving from wine enthusiast to wine collector might sound intimidating, but we want to offer some suggestions on how you can start to build a collection of wine at home for you to enjoy in the future. What makes wine collection exciting is that there is the potential of your wines to gain in value, it's also a fun way to collect memories and give gifts. We have friends gift new parents with a nice bottle of wine from their children's birth year for them to open when they turn 21 or get married. You can be the hostess with the most-ess when you offer a vertical tasting at your holiday dinner. The opportunities to enjoy your collection are endless.
Here are a few tips on how to start building a collection of your own.
- Set a budget. Decide how much you can dedicate to building your collection. You can start building with just a few hundred or a few thousand. Deciding on your budget ahead of time will help you determine your approach to collecting.
- Create a system for storage. Pick a system for storing your wine safely. To maintain the integrity of your wine, it's essential to keep it as stable as possible, particularly when it comes to temperature. When wine gets too hot or experiences too many changes in temperature, it degrades the wine and shortens its life. If you are unable to create a cellar in your home, start with a wine cooler with temperature controls for both white wine and red wine.
- Keep inventory. If you plan on collecting expensive wine, you'll want to make sure you have an accurate record of your wines for insurance purposes. It's also helpful to use a tracking system that has vintage notes and a vintage chart, so you know the ideal time to drink or hold your wine.
- Buy what you like. The best wine to collect is the wine you enjoy. Your collection should reflect your tastes! Look to the wines you enjoy drinking now, and ask your favorite wineries if they have library wines for sale.
Now you're on your way to becoming a collector! As a Rubino Estates Wine Club Member, you have the opportunity to add the Library Club. The Library Club offers you two additional allotments per year of wines specially curated by the winemaker. You'll also enjoy the added benefit of a complimentary Portfolio Tasting experience for up to 4 guests! Learn how you can become a member today! If you'd like to add the Library Club, call the winery at (925) 484-1699 to begin.
We're excited to announce our new club member referral program!
We believe that wine is meant to be shared with those you love, so we created a unique offering for you to share more of what you love about being a club member at Rubino Estates Winery.
Starting August 10, 2020, you have the opportunity to earn 500 Bonus Grape Rewards Loyalty Points for each new friend that joins the club. There are no limits on how many people you can refer - just make sure that your friend mentions your name to the wine ambassador when they sign up. Both you and your friend will receive 500 Bonus Grape Rewards Loyalty Points, which will be deposited into your account within 7 days.
*We kindly ask that new club members be in good standing and receive at least one club shipment; otherwise, bonus points may be deducted from your account.
If you are not yet a club member at Rubino Estates, you can learn more about our club options here. Those interested in joining the club can join at the tasting room 7 days a week from 11:00am-5:30pm or may call the winery directly at 925-484-1699.
To keep the house cool during summer, we try to grill as much as possible. We get to reduce the mess in the kitchen, enjoy a glass of wine on the patio while we wait for the food to cook, and enjoy the sunset. There is also something about the way the grill transforms the flavors of food - we have yet to eat a vegetable that did not taste way better when it was grilled!
One of our favorite, simple condiments to make at home are compound butters. What is compound butter? It is essentially butter that is softened, mixed with spices or herbs, and then chilled down again to form a nice round log of deliciousness that you can slice and put atop or mix into foods.
The August Wine of the Month is our 2017 Rubino Estates Riserva Cabernet Sauvignon. With brooding aromas of dark fruit with cooked plum and sweet cherries, delicate notes of baking spices and vanilla, and firm tannins, it is one of our favorite wines for a grilled filet or ribeye. Pair your next steak with our Riserva Cabernet Sauvignon and one of the herb butters below. PS. These butters are also great on a platter of grilled vegetables too!
Tasty Compound Butter Recipes
To make compound butter, soften butter until it's easy to mix with a hand mixer or you can use fewer dishes to use a fork and bowl. Mix in your desired herbs and seasonings. Transfer the softened butter to a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Form the softened butter into a log, twist the ends of the parchment paper, or plastic wrap to hold. Chill the butter for at least 2 hours or until firm. The butter can be stored in the fridge or freezer until needed.
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, rosemary and oregano)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced very finely
- juice of ½ lime
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted Butter
- 2 heads Garlic
- 2 tsp Olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Kosher or sea salt
Order your 2017 Riserva Cabernet Sauvignon for pickup today. Enjoy complimentary shipping on orders containing 6 or more bottles!
It is almost August, and we are counting down to harvest!
We started to see signs of veraison in the vineyard almost two weeks ago, but as you can see, the black grape clusters are developing more and more color, the green grapes start to take on a translucent quality. What, exactly, is veraison? The official definition of veraison is the "change of color of the grape berries," however, when we talk about veraison, we are also talking about the onset of ripeness in the berries as well.
As the berries change color, their sugar content increases. As the sugar content increases, the grape's natural acidity starts to decrease. Veraison does not happen uniformly across a vineyard. Each variety has its timeline for developing maturity. There are other processes that the viticulture team chooses that can affect veraison, such as leafing. (If you'd like to learn more about leafing, you can head over to our Facebook page to watch a video of our head winemaker, Jesse Plautz, explain leafing in the vineyard.) Sometimes, winemakers will choose to do a "green harvest," where less ripe bunches are removed, and therefore the energy of the vine is focused in the remaining clusters. As you can see, the winemaking and viticulture team has its work cut out for them as they work to monitor the sugars and acids in the grapes to determine the ideal time to harvest!
Let us hope that mother nature continues to offer us favorable weather as we press on toward harvest!
July 25th is National Wine and Cheese Day, and, not that we needed another reason to drink wine and eat cheese, we're excited to make a cheese board at home this weekend.
As you know, Rubino Estates' approach to wines is to honor its Italian heritage while also honoring its California history—that's why we call ourselves a Cal-Ital winery! Due to popular demand, we've brought back the Cal-Ital 6-pack. It's a curated collection of our favorite Italian inspired reds: Sangiovese, Primitivo, and Ferrario. So today, we're highlighting some Italian-inspired cheeses made right here in California that are perfect matches for our Cal-Ital wines!
Belfiore Mozzarella - Belfiore's cheeses are 100% natural with no additives or preservatives. Their Mozzarella's mild flavor and semi-soft texture are delightful— and it's an excellent cheese for pizzas, chicken parmesan, or any other recipe that requires a melty cheese.
Gioia Cheese Co. Burrata - This 3rd generation cheese monger learned the secret to making exception Italian cheese from his Italian father and grandfather. Their burrata is an authentic Italian recipe made right here in California. Burrata's creamy texture is great for spreading on thin slices of bread or atop a salad of fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Bellwether Farms San Andreas - Bellwether Farms is a family-owned cheese factory in the foggy hills of Sonoma coast where they raise sheep and cows to produce their cheese. The San Andreas has floral and grassy with nutty undertones and was inspired by the aged sheep milk cheeses of Tuscany.
Bellwether Farms Pepato - The Pepato is similar to the San Andreas but flavored with specks of peppercorn for an additional earthy and spicy note. Per their suggestions, it's perfect with a California Sangiovese!
Pennyroyal Boont Corners Reserve Tomme - Boont Corners is the Boontling name for where Highways 128 and 253 meet, and it was the site of the original Boonville, California, which was called The Corners. The cheese is aged for 8-12 months and is reminiscent of a well-aged parmesan.
We hope you enjoy celebrating National Wine and Cheese Day this weekend with these Cal-Ital options. Stop by the winery to pick up the Cal-Ital 6-pack or order it in our online shop for delivery—while it lasts!
A few times a year, we can offer you used wine barrels for sale. While they are no longer useful for winemaking, there is still plenty of life left in them—and there's more than just planters! If you're looking for a new project to upgrade your home or yard, we're sharing a few examples for the novice and the expert!
Wine Barrel Crafts for the Weekend
Instagrammer @athomewithjhackie1 keeps it simple by tucking her wine barrel into a corner as a decorative piece for her farmhouse-inspired home. The rustic charm of the barrel could also be highlighted with seasonal decorations!
Create a pub-style table for your kitchen or covered outdoor space. All you need to do is attach your desired tabletop to the barrel. You could add a simple circle of glass, or create a custom piece by crafting a top out of wood and staining the base and top to match.
We love this simple porch decoration! Simply cut your barrel in half and invert it. It's the perfect height nestled between two Adirondack chairs. Finally! A little table to hold your morning coffee!
What a genius idea from @creative_wood_artistry_! This wine barrel cooler requires a little more skill but would be an excellent addition to the backyard. Notice the spout at the bottom that will allow the water to drain from the barrel. He even lined it with metal to help with insulation!
Wondering what you could do with the rings of the barrel? After you finish making your tables, hang on to the metal hoops to create these succulent wreaths. Switch out succulents for faux versions of your favorite flowers! You find a full tutorial from Artzy Creations here!
Feel inspired now? Stop by the tasting room and add some barrels to your order of wine! Barrels are $75 each and weigh about 75 pounds. Our staff is unable to assist with loading, so be sure to bring some help with you. We can't wait to see what you make!