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Three Livermore Wineries to Release White Blend
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In classic wine industry style, three little wineries in California’s Livermore Valley have joined forces and resources to produce an unusual white wine blend. Winemakers from Page Mill Winery (3,300 cases), 3 Steves Winery (5,300 cases), and 5,000-case Wood Family Vineyards & Winery each contributed some of their 2016 vintage wines to a single, collaborative effort.

After a blending session in mid-April at Page Mill, the final mix is about two-thirds Page Mill’s Pinot Blanc, 15% Viognier from 3 Steves and 15% Chardonnay from Wood Family, according to Dane Stark, owner/winemaker of Page Mill. Stark will do the final processing of the steel-fermented blend to produce roughly 220 cases. The wineries will divide the cases among them and plan to sell them through their respective tasting rooms. The production is so limited, there’s not even enough for the wineries’ wine clubs.

After a public search, the winemakers chose a joint name: Vines Intertwined, with a logo displaying hands joined in friendship. Stark plans to bottle the wine this month, pending COLA approval of the final label. Although the price is not yet settled, it will probably be in the $30 range. “Not our least expensive white,” Stark noted. Alcohol content is 13.8%.

The blending components are not “excess” wines, Stark said. The blend is a natural outcome of the friendships forged during years of weekly lunches. The winemakers believed it would be a fun way to extend and share their creativity. “We’ve had such a good time,” he said.

With the current popularity of red wine blends, it’s refreshing (and timely) for those of us who prefer white wines to have a white wine alternative.

Three days after blending, Stark forwarded a shiner bottle, complete with hand-scrawled label and a screwcap covered with what appeared to be masking tape, to secure the seal. To someone who spends months each year studying wine packages, this one most positively screamed “hand-crafted.” Stark, a screwcap fan who is trying to wean his customers also to prefer that closure, joked that maybe he should use duct-tape on all the bottles.

Even though duct tape is obviously a miracle product suited for many applications, it probably won’t be the final solution in this case. Screwcaps, on the other hand, are definitely the closure this wine demands. Fresh from the shiner sample, it was delightful. A colleague found it crisp. I discovered prominent fruit flavors. First sip revealed pears; second, guava and mango; third, peaches.

With a projected June release, its fresh fruit-forward profile makes it an ideal summer tipple. With the scant case production, supplies probably won’t last long.

To try it, consumers will have to trek to the Livermore Valley and visit one or more of the winery tasting rooms. Thanks to Tami Kelly at the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association for alerting us to this rare blend, a fitting expression of winemaker comradery.

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