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Three Thieves introduces Bandit Bianco in cardboard

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Three Thieves announced today the arrival and release of their Bandit Bianco in 1-liter Tetra Pak cardboard cartons like those used for kids' juices.

This is the first use of the company Tetra Pak's wine packaging called "Tretra Briks" for varietal wines in the United States. Constellation Brands recently introduced Almadén Red Sangria in 500 milliliter cartons, and the packages are very popular overseas.

Christened the "Bandit" Bianco, the Tetra Briks contain 2003 trebbiano (white wine) from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The Bandit Bianco will retail at $5.99. The packaging is obviously ideal for outdoor activities such as picnics and ball games, in addition to casual meals at home.

The Three Thieves are Joel Gott, of Napa's Joel Gott Wines, Charles Bieler, of Chateau Routas, and Roger Scommegna, of Signal Ridge. They made a big splash last year with zinfandel, and then Napa cabernet, packaged in retro-looking 1-liter glass jugs.

They can be reached at (866) JUG-BOYS, or at

Trinchero introduces Latin-inspired wine

Trinchero Family Estates has just introduced two wines designed to complement spicy Latin American food. Rio Dulce red and white wines slightly sweet with fruit flavors that suggest the classic sangrias of Spain. With their low alcohol of 9 percent and sweet, fruity overtones, they're the perfect match for many Asian, Indian, Caribbean and even southern soul food dishes.

The wines have screw caps for convenience and retail for $3.99.

Oakville Ranch Vineyards goes alone

After years of being intertwined with her nephew's wines at Miner Family Vineyards, Mary Miner's Oakville Ranch Vineyards has cut the strings. They're no longer available at the Miner winery, but now are found at Tasting on Main in St. Helena, the winery at 944-9665 or on the Web at

Oakville Ranch Vineyards lie in a spectacular site at 1,000 to 1,400 feet on a plateau along the eastern hills of Oakville.

Wine Communications Group acquires Wines & Vines

Wine Communications Group has acquired wine trade publication Wines & Vines magazine, "The Authoritative Voice of the Grape and Wine Industry since 1919." The magazine will continue under managing editor Tina Caputo and associate editor Larry Walker.

Chet Klingensmith, who has been with the publication for the last seven years, assumes the position of publisher, previously held by Dottie Kubota-Cordery. No other changes are planned, said Wine Communications Group, which publishes Wine Business Monthly and Wine Business Insider.

Wines & Vines, which is published monthly, also publishes an annual directory/buyer's guide, including the largest, most comprehensive listing of bonded wineries in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Seminar for wine writers

For years, St. Helena author Toni Allegra has conducted the premier conference for food writers each year at the famed Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.

Now she's bringing a similar seminar for wine writers to Wine Country.

The Symposium for Professional Wine will be held right after Premiere Napa Valley next Feb. 27 to March 2. It will take place at Meadowood Resort.

Speakers will include: John Ash, Michael Franz, Sam Gugino, Jack Hart, Karen MacNeil, Jeanne McManus, Judith Riven, Frank Prial, Jerry Shriver and Lettie Teague.

The event will be limited to 50 writers. For more information, e-mail Toni Allegra at

Merryvale chardonnay

Saturday, Aug. 14, Merryvale Vineyards in St. Helena is holding its first Chardonnay Varietal Seminar, an in-depth look featuring five chardonnays, a Taste Tour varietal guide, the mysterious Jelly Belly jelly bean/winetasting phenomenon and more. It will be held at 10:30 a.m. and costs $25 per person. For more information or to make reservations, call 968-3451

Merryvale is also holding barrel tastings Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 14 and 15, from 1 to 5 p.m. for $3 per person. It will feature Silhouette chardonnay 2003, plus the '02 and '01 vintages from the bottle. Merryvale is at 1000 Main St. in St. Helena, and the Web site is

Celebration of Art & Wine Along the Napa River

The Rotary Club of North Napa will present its first annual "Celebration of Art & Wine Along the Napa River" on the river walk at the River Terrace Inn on Saturday, Aug. 21, and Sunday, Aug. 22, from 1 to 5 p.m.

The local artists have been chosen by Michael Schaer of MJSchaer Gallery & Studio. A donation of $20 per person gets food and wine provided by the River Terrace Inn's food and beverage director, Maynard Oestreich.

Past recipients of funding from the North Napa Rotary Club have included: Connolly Ranch, Educational Scholarships, Emergency Women's Services, Boy Scouts of America, Optimist Basketball and Dictionaries for the Napa School District third grade classes, in addition to many other worthwhile organizations and events.

For information and tickets, contact Bill Bennett at 253-1595.

Labor Day Celebration

You can celebrate Labor Day at Domaine Chandon on Saturday, Sept. 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with live music and California-style grilled fare. Enjoy sparkling and still wines on the Salon Terrace or stay for lunch or dinner in the restaurant. Complimentary entertainment is scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m.

Great Franciscan Grape Stomp

Harvest is upon us, and it's always fun to participate. Franciscan Oakville Estates is holding its annual grape stomp, Sunday, Sept. 5, where you can make wine the old-fashioned way — up to your knees in juice.

This harvest party will feature wine offerings and seasonal foods, a "guess the varietal" game and sampling of grapes fresh off the vine.

It will be held from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Franciscan Oakville Estates at Galleron Road and Highway 29 in Rutherford. The cost is $25 per person and an RSVP is requested at 967-3993.

Napa Valley Harvest Festival in September

The Kiwanis Club of Napa is sponsoring the 21st annual Napa Valley Harvest Festival on Sept. 18 at Charles Krug Winery. It will include wine tasting, food sampling from many of Napa's finest restaurants, micro-brewers, art show, raffles, a silent auction and world famous Kiwanis Barbecue. Executive Chef Roger Babel from the Napa Marriott will be featured.

Entertainment will be provided by the "Poyntlyss Sistars Band.

The festivities start at noon and continue until 4 p.m. Tickets are $40 if purchased prior to Aug. 31 or $50 at the door. For tickets, contact Bob Weeks at 253-2276 or go to the Kiwanis Web site at and click on the Harvest Festival link.

Proceeds from the event support Napa youth groups and community organizations.

Napa Valley's 'other' wine auction

The St. Helena Catholic School's 17th Annual Wine Auction at the Charles Krug Winery will be held Saturday, Oct. 2, featuring "Grease, A '50s Bash & Wine-O-Rama."

Food and wine tasting and silent auction begin at 1 p.m. and last until 4 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by '50s band Eddie & The Boppers, with KGO's Greg Jarrett as master of ceremonies.

The live auction, with champagne and dessert service, is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. David Reynolds will conduct the live auction. Wines offered include: Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle Vineyards, Harlan Estate and J.P. Harbison.

Auction tickets are $60 per person in advance.

Other auction items include: Movie Night at the Cameo Cinema in St. Helena on Thursday, Sept. 30, with a private viewing of "Grease" with a champagne reception.

The Auction Preview Dinner will be on Friday, Oct. 1, with lot previews and champagne at the Charles Krug Winery, followed by a private dinner at Daryl Sattui's Villa Amoroso Castle.

For information call 963-4677 or visit

Contact Paul Franson at

Pop the cork on Napa Valley wine!

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