Odds & Sods The “Accidental” Zinfandel & the Intentional Festival

So I am on the mend – still dealing with a doozy of a cold/flu. So this post is based on memories of Super Bowl Sunday 2015 when I made my “world famous” BBQ ribs (St. Louis cut, no baby backs here). While at Bi-rite market I perused the wine section in search of a Zinfandel. The description of one sounded great — as was the right price point – and so I picked up a bottle. Turns out the description was in the wrong place and they were actually out of that wine from Bedrock Wine Co. and so I ended with a Broc Cellars Vine Star Zinfandel. Though a little more spendy, I said, “I’ll take it, maybe it was meant to be.”

Have I told you that I don’t believe in accidents? The “accidental” bottle of Zinfandel that I took home was meant to be.

What did I discover when I tasted the Broc  Zin with my ribs? I don’t even remember the vintage –horror of horrors. I don’t even remember my tasting notes and forgot to write them down but guess what? Sometimes tasting notes cannot do justice to a wine. That was the case here. The overall experience was transformative in the way it made we rethink and reconnect to Zinfandel from California, a type of wine that I typically take little interest in. It was medium-bodied, complex, intriguing, earthy, spicy, and simply a delicious expression of the fruit.

Here’s a nice NYT piece about Berkeley-based Broc Cellars – they are hardly an undiscovered gem but are a gem nonetheless.

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Speaking of the East Bay wine scene, I mentioned in passing the Oakland Wine Festival but since then, got a chance to interview the founder, Melody Fuller. As a Bay Area food and wine editor and writer, she wanted to bring winemakers from around the country to her native Oakland I an intentional wine. Thus, the Oakland Wine Festival was born and established as a new annual event in wine. The impetus? On the postcard, they state,

The Oakland Wine Festival is the result of the desire to further acknowledge an overlooked – yet key- community of wine lovers who appreciate having world-class vintners and chefs within arms’ reach.”

How overlooked? Well, according to Melody, it is not unusual for a winery pouring at a kickoff -event like the one I attended at Bay Grape, to say that they cannot remember ever pouring in Oakland.

This is clearly the right event at the right time on the heels of Oakland making the cover of SF magazine! No longer in the shadow of its bigger sister, she is stepping out in her own right and in her own way.

Just Three things!:

  1. Save the date of July 18, 2015 for the inaugural festival at Mills College.
  2. Stay tuned because in a few weeks, the full line-up of wineries will be announced. The festival will also host winemaker dinners with top chefs in Oakland.
  3. Join in the fun now by attending a kick off wine tasting g class and soiree! The one I attended at Bay Grape was a standout that made me feel connected to the producers (and proud to support the California wine industry as it launces into a new era).

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__________________________________________________________ Where’s CJ? You can find me this weekend at the Wisdom 2.0 conference. The “soul” part of my blog refers to my commitment to placing spirit, consciousness and personal transformation at the center of what I do.

Mindfully yours,





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