A Grape Experience

Fely Krewell –
Certified Sommelier &
Wine Consultant

I fell in love with wine in my college days at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. My serious wine collection started in 1978 with a case of 1974 Montebello Cabernet Sauvignon from Ridge Vineyards. Decades later, in June of 2010, I achieved my Sommelier Certification from the Court of Masters after completing an intensive wine program from the Professional Culinary Institute, Campbell, California.

“ A Grape Experience” is a fusion of my passions for wine, wine-food pairing, high tech marketing, and teaching.

The website provides wine lovers a space to share wine experiences. Log your personal wine reviews, great (or not so great) wine purchases, food-wine pairing experience, wine tasting events, wine news, must visit wine bars, etc. Planning a party or wine event and need a wine consultant or wine educator? Call me.

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Trip to New Zealand


I recently returned from a trip to New Zealand and will have news on the great wines we found there. Stay Tuned!

Ridge Vineyard: Rhone ATP Preview


I had the pleasure of attending the Wine Bloggers Tasting at Monte Bello, Edition II at Ridge Vineyards on Friday, July 9th. The tasting took place at the Ridge Montebello Road tasting room.   Their wine club members are in for a treat based on the upcoming Rhone varietals I tasted.

Thank you to our gracious host, and organizer, Christopher Watkins, the Montebello tasting room manager at Ridge, for putting this event together.

Ten wines were poured: 1 Chardonnay, 3 Carignane, 2 Syrah-Grenache blend, 2 Syrah and 2 Petite Sirah.

1 Chardonnay, 3 Carignane, 2 Syrah-Grenache blend, 2 Syrah and 2 Petite Sirah.

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NVIDIA Wine Tasting Club Event


High tech company NVIDIA has a wine tasting club.  The members are not only NVIDIA employees, I met wine lovers from Cisco, eBay, and even a San Jose district attorney.  At my first NVIDIA wine tasting event, I met a home wine maker named Scott, who brought his 2007 Petite Sirah and 2007 Syrah wines for tasting.  The grapes came from Livermore, (California).  His wines were quite impressive and here are my notes….

Petite Sirah 2007
Color & Sight:  intense and almost opaque; brilliant deep purple, long narrow legs (medium viscosity)
Nose:  The floral scents I picked up were jasmine and carnations, fresh fruits of dark cherries and blueberries
Taste: Confirming the cherries and blueberries, plus tarragon and spices: cloves and allspice and finishing with toasted coconut (must be American Oak)

Syrah 2007
Color & Sight:  intense and almost opaque; brilliant deep purple
Nose:  Floral = iris, dried fruits of dark cherries and cranberries; smelled fresh California bay leaves
Taste: Fruit:  really ripe strawberries and red cherries; spice = sweet cinnamon; hints of anise and lavendar.  Very silky on the palate and pleasant “mellow” finish
Alcohol med +:  > 14%

J Lohr Winery


Near downtown San Jose is the J Lohr tasting room.  Most of the estate vineyards are in the Central Coast, Monterey, Arroyo Seco, and Paso Robles regions.  J Lohr has a special series called “Gesture” that were described as the wine maker’s special Rhone wines for the year.  I tasted three 2007 wines:  Mourvedre, Rhone-blend GSM, and Syrah, all of which were very good.

It is nice to see wine makers producing more stand alone Mourvedre; this Gesture had a taste of dried dark cherries, some leather, earth y and balanced acid profile; Old World meets New World characteristics.

The Gesture GSM had a nose of a large bouquet of dark red roses and tasted of plums.  A balanced wine that would go great with BBQ meats.

The Syrah was silky on the palate, and it had jammy fruit (dark cherries and plums) and a hint of red licorice.

The Gesture wines are only available at the tasting room.  If you are in San Jose, make a trip to J Lohr www.jlohr.com to taste some great wines.  It is tucked away at 1000 Lenzen Avenue off The Alameda.

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Exploring New Zealand Wines


While I was vacationing in Auckland, New Zealand I found a unique way to experience many New Zealand wines and wineries. In Auckland, near the waterfront, was the “Big Picture Wine” which combines a wine bar with wine education. The wine experience included real wine tasting with the (prerecorded) wine makers describing the wine on a big screen.  The short movies of each wine region also had amazing aerial views.

Big Picture Wine also has a wine bar that offer a wide variety of NZ wines.  We got to taste lovely Pinot Noirs from the Central Otago region of the South Island.  It is a shame that the U.S. allotment is one bottle per adult for travel back to USA (without paying duty), or I would have purchase cases.

If you ever get to travel to Auckland, it is must do wine experience.  Here is their site:


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