Moshin Vineyards Harvest

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Wine Life Radios own Kimberly Faye at Moshin Vineyards in the Russian River Valley

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Girls in the Vineyard

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Tony Chadwick welcomes Lawton of Girls in the Vineyard / Art Farm Wine

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Art + Farm Wine

Our Story

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It started 20 years ago with an opportunity to work for a craft brewer in Western Australia. Showing up in Australia with a degree from the  University of California, a good work ethic and a “can do” spirit was the perfect combination of right place-right time. After three years down under, Kat moved back to the US and her husband, Australian Rob McDonald quickly followed.

They founded Old Bridge Cellars and began importing the legendary Australian wines they both loved…d’Arenberg, Jasper Hill, Yarra Yaring, Leeuwin Estate. Along the way, Kat took a break and went to law school, they planted vineyards in both Australia and the Napa Valley and began making their own wines including the eponymous named Mak.

In 2008, they founded Art+Farm Wine in Napa. Art+Farm is home to their single vineyard wines the girls in the vineyard, their outrageous blends-The Messenger and their true varietals: Circadia.

Kat and Rob live in Napa with their two children and an odd looking creature that is supposed to be a dog. Kat is a little obsessed with her heritage breed chickens and the eggs they lay and also her bees. Rob is obsessed with compost and growing the perfect tomato. Both are huge proponents of dry farming and see water as the single biggest factor in the future of agriculture.


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Bird Rock Imports

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Keith and Kimberly Welcome Catherine Boyd from Bird Rock Imports

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Bird Rock Imports is named after an exclusive, word of mouth surf break in La Jolla California, coveted by the locals.  After visiting the Basque Region, Southwest and Southern France, company founders felt the same exclusivity and word of mouth feeling in the wines and cuisine.

bird rock
Bird Rock Imports

By seeking out the established and the cutting-edge boutique producers alike; Bird Rock Imports has become the go-to experts of the region’s handcrafted, artisanal wine, beer and spirits. We hope that you enjoy same taste and feel ‘word of mouth’ feeling of this magical region.

Bird Rock proudly presents a portfolio of dynamic and innovative wines from South West and Southern France – one of the world’s most diverse wine producing regions. Every wine in the portfolio is modern in approach and is a true expression of the region, the AOC, the individual terroir and style of the producers.

South West and Southern France or in French Sud-Ouest, is a region covering several wine-producing areas situated respectively inland from, and south of, the wine region of  Bordeaux. These areas, which have a total of  120,000 acres of vineyards, consist of several discontinuous wine “islands” throughout the Aquitaine (where Bordeaux region itself is situated), the Midi-Pyrénées regions and through Provence.

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Christen The Vines

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Kimberly and Keith continue The Wonderful World of Wine Tour

Today Rick Moshin Christen’s the Vines!!!


Grenache (pronounced gren-aash/gren-ash) or Garnacha   [ɡarˈnatʃa]) is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late, so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, where the grape probably originated, Sardinia, the south ofFrance, and California’s San Joaquin Valley. Here the grape benefits from its tolerance to heat and drought. Wines made from Grenache tend to lack acid, tannin and color, and is usually blended with other varieties such as Syrah, Carignan, Tempranillo and Cinsaut, although the Sardinian D.O.C. wine Cannonau di Sardegna is by law 99% local Grenache (Cannonau).

It is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content, but it needs careful control of yields for best results. Characteristic flavor profiles on Grenache include red fruit flavors (raspberry and strawberry) with a subtle, white pepper spice note. Grenache wines are highly prone to oxidation with even young examples having the potential to show browning (or “bricking”) coloration that can be noticed around the rim when evaluating the wine at an angle in the glass. As Grenache ages the wines tend to take on more leather and tar flavors.

Grenache is the dominant variety in most Southern Rhône wines, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape where it is typically over 80% of the blend. In Spain, there are a monovarietal wines made of Garnacha tinta (red Grenache), notably in the southern Aragon wine regions of Calatayud,Carinena and Campo de Borja, but it is also used in blends, as in some Rioja wines with tempranillo. In Australia it is typically blended in “GSM” blends with Syrah (commonly known as Shiraz in that country) and Mourvèdre with old vine examples in McLaren Vale. Grenache is also used to make rosé wines in France and Spain, notably those of the Tavel district in the Côtes du Rhône and those of the Navarra region. And the highsugar levels of Grenache have led to extensive use in fortified wines, including the red vins doux naturels of Roussillon such as Banyuls, and as the basis of most Australian fortified wine.


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Idella Wines

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Keith and Kimnbelry Welcome Tammy and Greg Greenwood, owners of Idella Wines

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It took us a while to find our calling, and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We’ve found, like wine, some things can’t be rushed. And others, you simply wouldn’t want to. This has been a fascinating journey for Tammy and me.idella

We’ve learned so much about farming, wine making, and most especially, the vineyard craftsmen who invest countless hours growing and harvesting the grapes. It has also given us an opportunity to give back to the communities in which we live. Through our work with inner-city, at-risk youth programs and founding charity fundraising events, including a wine tasting event and a golf tournament, we have positively impacted the lives of at-risk inner-city children across the U.S.


Greg and Tammy’s commitments take the shape of mostly inner-city, at-risk youth programs. They have founded charity fundraising events including a wine tasting event and a golf tournament that have each been running for more than ten years. idella-and-wlr

Idella Wines allocates a certain amount of wine to be donated for charity events throughout the year. Additionally, Idella Wines provides $5 to inner-city at-risk youth programs for every bottle of wine purchased. It is our intention for Idella Wines to positively impact the lives of under-priviledged children throughout the U.S.

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Grape Vine Canes and Ribeyes

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Kimberly and Keith continue the Wonderful World of Wine Tour

Today Chris Phelps joins us and Schools everyone on Cooking a Ribeye!



Winemaker Chris Phelps grew up in the hills of the Livermore Valley, east of San Francisco, in a family of wine lovers.  His early interest in winemaking grew out of his parents’ practice of making a barrel or two of Zinfandel or Cabernet for family and friends.  Chris attended UC Davis with the sensible plan of becoming a doctor. However, his love of wine and France pulled him into the school’s Enology and Viticulture department, an internship at Louis M. Martini in Napa Valley, and the world of professional winemaking,

Chris then embarked on a 16-month sojourn in Bordeaux, which begin with a year at the Institute of Enology.  He met Christian Moueix, who persuaded him to stay on to manage the 1982 harvest at Château des Laurets, in the Puisseguin-St. Emilion district of Bordeaux.  It was during this trial-by-fire experience that Chris met his mentor, the brilliant Jean-Claude Berrouet, who served for 44 years as the winemaker of  Moueix-owned Chateau Pétrus. To this day, Chris still credits much of his inspiration as a winemaker and his solid understanding of the technical challenges of the winemaking craft to Berrouet’s tutelage.

Upon returning to Napa Valley, Chris went on to spend twelve years as winemaker at Dominus, under Berrouet’s guidance. He considers the 1991 and 1994 vintages to be among the greatest wines he has helped to create. He then spent seven years at Caymus Vineyards, managing all red winemaking from 1999 through 2002. Swanson Vineyards then persuaded him to join them as winemaker, setting the stage for that winery’s current renaissance.  Chris, who lives with his family in St. Helena, continues to shape wines of great balance, refined texture and singular aromatic and flavor profiles that evoke their place of origin.

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2010 Moshin Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Grown

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“Mastering Reductive Strength” and “Walking the Tight Rope”

-Kimberly Faye, Sommelier / Wine Life Radio

Is it the terroir or the winemaker that most influences Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley? I asked this question on my last wine review/blog. I will emphatically answer the question in this review of the Moshin Vineyards 2010 Estate a Grown Pinot Noir.

I have been holding onto this bottle since early Spring when Rick Moshin handed it to me and asked for my review. I wanted to open it immediately but seeing the vintage I decided to hold onto it a while. Five months is a long time in my world. I’m in radio. Time flies by fast on air but watching a bottle of wine sit on my review shelf for that long is very painful. My logic,nonetheless, was sound. I had recently tasted through a lineup of Moshin wines and wanted to test my palate with other Pinot’s from the region as a fair comparison. If you’ve read my other reviews or listened to Wine Life Radio, then you know I accomplish my objectives weekly. Although I don’t limit my reviews to a specific varietal or region, I guess I could; there is a lot of good Pinot Noir coming out of the Russian River. In fact, I dare say I could review Pinot Noir from the RRV for the next decade and only touch a fraction of the good ones. If I were leading the charge in this area, I would be seeking a designation of a Super Pinot Noir, much like the Super Tuscans of Italy, in an attempt to weed out the tire kickers from the really great winemakers of the region.  moshin vineyards

Before we dive deep into the pool of ruby red juice, let me clarify my answer to the question I asked at the beginning of this article, Is it the terroir or the winemaker that most influences Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley? It is the winemaker. The abundance of Pinot Noir in the RRV is testimony that a first crush winemaker can produce an unmistakable Pinot Noir from the RRV. That, however, will not determine the quality or the truest expression of the most delicate and often finicky Pinot Noir grape. The same can also be said of Pinot’s from Burgundy.

Having built the platform to establish the veracity of my thesis, I move on to the wine. Ten minutes after opening this wine to breathe, I pour my first taste. There are slight tartrates on the cork and rim so I take a clean white cloth and wipe out the nozzle of the bottle only because I want to look at the deep ruby core that ripples to a purplish color then fades into a crystal clear rim. I am immediately rewarded with aromatics of rose petals, mixed berries, rich minerals and developing terroir. I’m sure I catch a hint of river rock, or is it summer rain? A half hour later the cherries start to compete with the rose petals and there is a developing scent of orange peel mingled with the faintest hint of vanilla.

I linger long with the scent of the wine choosing not to rush through the tasting. My memory hadn’t failed me from the tasting in April and I knew that a scintillating surprise was waiting for me. The first taste is elegance in a glass. I taste smooth velvety tannins. The wine is complex. I want to feel the wine on my tongue and soft palate to let my sensors identify the mingling of glorious fruit, herbs, earth and minerals. Yep, that’s river rock. I have actually tasted river rock just to be sure. We’ll taste is a stretch. I haven’t bitten into a rock. I merely licked the surface to allow the minerals to be absorbed by my tongue (I recommend a thorough rinse of fresh water to wash the rock before attempting this exploration).

I taste and spit then taste and swallow. Immediately I find myself on a tight rope stretched high above the valley. I am walking the tight rope rick moshinaided by a balance that is undeniably the making of a winemaker who knows the magic of the terroir. He has perfectly blended the complex fruit creating a balance between heaven and earth.

The delicate balance of these intricate practice takes me through not one but three days of tasting as I test for reductive strength. By day two and three the fruit has come so fully to life that I am convinced I crossed over last years vintage in my amazing feat. Not so much to my surprise as it is to my delight, I make it all the way across the tight rope over the Russian River Valley and step off to the last drop of this award winning wine.

Knowing a wine region is one of the biggest influencers of a wine purchase. Knowing the winemaker trumps all! In my opinion, the Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley bears unmistakable fruit flavors. They are heavily influenced by the river, fog, winds and soil. Where there is large varying of flavor is in the unique soils of the region which vary from alluvial to sandy loam to gravel. Other than variations of soil and specific terroir there is one monumental conclusion to what sets Pinot Noir from the RRV apart from any other wine region and that is the winemaker.


My gauge for Pinot Noir’s from the RRV range from yuck to okay to generally okay to good to moderately good and phenomenally great wines from the The only way to differentiate them is by immersing yourself in a winemaker’s distinct style. Rick Moshin, the winemaker and proprietor at Moshin Vineyards meticulously establishes where his wines fit on the grid. If you want to train your palate to discern the clone from Burgundy, from the soil in RRV you have to drink Pinot a Noir from Moshin Vineyards.

I am far to humble to suggest that I should compare the great Pinot Noir’s of the Russian River Valley: C. Donatiello, Moshin Vineyards, Gary Farrell, William Selyem, Dumol and Emeritus (just to name a few). I am however intrigued by the uniqueness of the winemaker who passionately and delicately puts Russian River Valley Pinot Noir into a bottle for us to enjoy. For that reason, I will continue to publish my findings on their residual strength. So, RRV winemakers, bring it on!

The Ability to Enjoy a Glass of Wine from the Same Bottle the
Next Day…
That’s Reductive Strength