So how’s the family?  If it’s the Family Winemakers of California, they’re doing just fine thank you. 
For the 5th consecutive year, this association of wine producers with an active membership of 550 California wineries, will be coming to the San Diego area and assembling 175 producers Saturday March 9th and Sunday March 10th at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall.  The Saturday show is for the public, as well as trade and press with public hours from 3 to 6pm.
For all public ticket options and prices, go to www.familywinemakers,org.
 
A big idea from this event is that no matter where you go throughout California you will find winemakers making quality wines. I spoke to Ray Falkner from Temecula Wine Country about pouring side by side with Napa and Sonoma wines.  He confidently commented “we pour at these events because it gives the trade and the public the opportunity to sample our wonderful Temecula wines in comparison to other regions.  Most wine writers don’t know much about Temecula Valley and think about us as a small hot region.  Wine events like this allow consumers to make up their own minds on what wines are worth purchasing.”  I asked Falkner what kinds of wines he will be bringing. “We have our 2011 Viognier, 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 Amante-Super Tuscan, 2008 Meritage-Bordeaux Blend and 2009 Cachet Syrah Blend, made for wine club members.”
 
In Napa Valley, Ceja Vineyards is prepping  and packing their ultra-premium wines for the trip south  with their gold-winning wines like the 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 2010 Carneros Napa Valley Chardonnay.  They’ll also be pouring Carneros Pinot Noir, Vino de Casa red blend and Dulce Beso late harvest white wine.  The latest gold came from the San Francisco Chronicle Competition, one of the toughest and most competitive in California.  Ceja’s tasting room is in downtown Napa and combines with an art gallery for a complete sensory experience.
  Ceja Vineyards co-founder Amelia Ceja and Sales & Marketing Director Dalia Ceja will be offering their 2008 Cabernet at the Family Winemakers tasting event in Del Mar Ca.

  Ceja Vineyards co-founder Amelia Ceja and Sales & Marketing Director Dalia Ceja will be offering their 2008 Cabernet at the Family Winemakers tasting event in Del Mar Ca.

 
Three generations of the Ceja family work their 113 producing acres and have grown wine grapes for 47 years for other top quality wineries.  The Ceja brand was launched in 2001.  Company President Amelia Ceja is the first Mexican-American to be the President of a wine production company.
David Ramey owns Ramey Cellars in Sonoma County’s Healdsburg.
 
He makes traditional, artisan wines with elegance and richness, drawing grapes from both Napa Valley and Sonoma.  I asked him what it was like to be both an owner and winemaker. “Owning a winery is the dream of every winemaker. At Ramey Wine Cellars, we have a team environment where everyone feels empowered to contribute. My hope is to create an atmosphere of great opportunity for all,” he noted.
He also is Family Winemakers top representative as Chairman of the Board, where he brings that big idea to the organization.  “We’re in a vibrant industry with room for the small winemaker to move in.  Good people help each other out with events such as the one in Del Mar.  There is lots of diversity. We urge visitors to come both days to taste wineries that will bring their best offerings.”
Ramey Wine Cellars will be one of those you can taste test. The complete list is on the web site at familywinemakers.org.
 
Wine Bytes
March 2nd and 3rd, Temecula Wine Country celebrates the World of Wine when 30+ wineries offer their latest releases and barrel tasting, with gourmet food sampling.  Details on the self guided tour including pricing, at 800-801-WINE.
 
SDSU has an intensive course focusing on French Wines, Mondays March 4 to 18 from 6 to 9pm on campus.  This is part of the Certificate of Wine program.  For details, call 619-594-1138.
 
The Laguna Beach A La Carte Food and Wine Experience is a celebration taking place around town Sat. March 9 from 12:30 to 3:30pm. Price range of $75. to $145.  Hear details at 949-497-9229.
Wiens Family Cellars in Temecula presents a Reserve Zinfandel and Chocolate Dinner, Fri. March 8th.  Four course dinner.  $62.50 pp.  RSVP at 951-694-9893.
 
The first of a series of 2013 Musical Wine Pairing Dinners at Europa Village in Temecula will be unveiled on Thurs. March 21 at 6:30pm.  A 4 course French dinner, each with Europa Village french wines, will be topped off by professional singing waiters.  Cost is $79. ea.  Details and RSVP at [email protected].
 
Frank Mangio is a renowned San Diego wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.  View and link up with his columns at www.tasteofwinetv.com.  Reach him at [email protected].
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