Posts About Yorkville Highlands

July 9, 2008

Thursday at the Jug Shop Wine Bar

Yorkville Highlands Winemaker Tasting
with Yorkville Cellars, Wattle Creek, Bink & Meyer Family

"Down-home and largely undiscovered, the tiny appellation evokes images of a time gone by."  Virginie Boone, Savor Wine Country

Since the mid-1990’s, California has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of wine-growing regions designated as American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs. With ten of its own sub-appellations, Mendocino County is an increasingly important region in the North Coast, particularly in light of the wide range of grape varieties planted in the county. A proportional number of microclimates support the efforts of the county’s grape growers, from the warm inland corridor that runs from Hopland north to Redwood Valley, to the cool-climate Anderson Valley just north of Sonoma County.

Tucked in the wild, picturesque hills that separate the Alexander and Anderson Valleys, the decade-old Yorkville Highlands AVA is one of Mendocino's most exciting appellations, if one of its lesser known. On Thursday, July 10th, four of Yorkville’s top wineries will introduce you to this extraordinary spot on California’s wine map. As a San Francisco preview to the annual Yorkville Highlands Festival which takes place in August, the owner-winemakers from Yorkville Cellars, Wattle Creek, Bink Wines, and Meyer Family Cellars (the festival’s host) will pour a diverse lineup of their current releases, including sauvignon blanc, syrah, pinot noir, and cabernet franc.

More than many viticultural regions in the state, the Yorkville Highlands represent a coming-together of factors that allow for the production of elegant, balanced red, white, and rosé wines: the Highlands’ continuous string of elevated benchland vineyards; proximity to the nearby Pacific Ocean, which moderates the climate and provides for an extended growing season; and ancient, gravelly, and well-draining soils that comprise many of the AVA’s best vineyard sites. Not to overlook the human factor of dedicated Yorkville growers working in tandem with winemakers whose collective goal is to produce elegant, food-friendly wines.

We hope you will be able to attend this unique tasting of wines from one of Northern California's up-and-coming regions!

Yorkville Highlands Winemaker Tasting
Thursday, July 10th, 2008
6pm to 8pm
$10 per person

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Tony Poer, National Sales Manager of Meyer Family Cellars, with the 2003 Meyer Family Cellars Syrah.

March 21, 2008

Favorite Wino On Tablehopper This Week

One of our favorite winos, Tony Poer, the National Sales Manager of Meyer Family Cellars, is featured on Tablehopper this week. Where he shares some of his wine favorites with us. Click here to read Tony's article on Tablehopper.

Posted by Pamela at 11:42 AM | Comments (0) | Share on Facebook | Meyer Family Cellars, Yorkville Highlands

Images courtesy of Meyer Family Cellars.

January 29, 2008

Your Port In A Storm for Valentine's Day

Napa Valley confectioner Penelope Orsini makes chocolate truffles in exotic flavors from yuzu to coconut.  For Valentine’s Day, she teams up with Yorkville Highlands winemaker Karen Meyer to create gift packs of port-infused chocolate truffles and Meyer Family Cellars Port. 

To order visit: Meyer Family Cellars online store.

Both working moms met their husbands in the line of duty.  Australia-born Karen Meyer met husband Matt while interning at an Oregon winery.  Penelope met chef husband Dominic in the restaurant world.  Today, Karen and Penelope have their young offspring nearby as they work.  Karen says daughter Sidney supervised her first crush last year and Penelope is pretty sure son Giovanni has strong opinions about chocolate.

Find out more about Meyer Family Cellars at, and Penelope's chocolate truffles at

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Photo by John McJunkin

December 3, 2007

Fireside croutons with Meyer Family Port

Aren’t holidays the reason we’re looking for to share time with friends and family?

Wonderful though dinner parties may be, sometimes a glass of port and warm nosh enjoyed fireside is a sublime way to savor the season.

We’ve harvested the fruits of three family farmsteads for a fireside party along with an original recipe to unite them. Meyer Family Cellars’ California port is the legacy of Silver Oak Cellars’ late founder Justin Meyer for his family. Son, Matt, with his Australian wife Karen are the winemakers at the Yorkville Highlands winery and literally live over the winery with their daughter Sidney.

Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese is made at the fourth-generation Giacomini dairy just north of San Francisco. Like the Meyer Family, the Giacominis have lived the story Americans love best, beginning with the sparest of resources—10 cows and a few chickens. By 1998 four Giacomini daughters, Karen, Diana, Lynn and Jill, had moved away for college, careers, to marry and to have children of their own. A shared commitment to farm fresh food brought them home to create and breathe life into a vision that would give the family dairy new life and fulfill their father’s dream. It is Original Blue, California’s only classic-style blue cheese.

Finally, Chandler walnuts were developed by the University of California, Davis. This variety is more inclined to retain integrity in shelling making it a pretty appetizer or dessert ingredient. Chandlers are low in acid, giving them an appealing buttery flavor. John and Linda Patrick grow Red Barn Chandler Walnuts on their 128-acre ranch.

So that’s our holiday party in a box. Pop the cork on a bottle of Meyer Family Port, cook up a batch of croutons and build yourself a roaring fire.

Happy Holidays.

To create your fireside holiday party you will need:
Meyer Family Port, Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese, and Red Barn Chandler Walnuts

To make your own fireside croutons:

Fireside Croutons

30 servings

6.5 ounces Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese
¾ cup cream
1 ½ cups halved Red Barn Chandler Walnuts
1 cup Meyer Family Port
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup walnut oil
¼ cup shallots, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 baguette
1 bunch sage
Sea salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown, approximately 12 minutes.
  • When the walnuts are fully toasted, cool and rough chop.
  • In a sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ½ tablespoon of walnut oil. Add shallots and sauté.
  • Add the chopped walnuts, cayenne pepper, honey, and Meyer Family Port to the sauté pan with the cooked shallots. Reduce about half, until it is syrup like consistency.
  • Emulsify the blue cheese and cream in a food processor, season with salt and pepper.
  • Cut the baguette along the bias and season in a bowl with the rest of the walnut oil, salt and pepper.
  • Toast baguette slices in a 350°F oven until golden brown, remove and cool.
  • Add a tablespoon of the blue cheese mixture on top of each baguette slice.
  • Top with a good teaspoon of the Meyer Family Port, shallot, and walnut confit.
  • Garnish with chiffonade of sage.

Recipe by Ashley Teplin, Studio-707


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October 4, 2007

Meyer, Wattle to lead Yorkville Highlands appellation into second decade

YORKVILLE HIGHLANDS, CALIF. – The Yorkville Highlands Growers and Vintners Association in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley has named Matt Meyer of Meyer Family Cellars and Kristine Williams of Wattle Creek Winery to its two top leadership posts (

The nearly ten-year-old Yorkville Highlands appellation has earned a growing reputation for outstanding cool-weather wines that mingle “old world” balance and acidity and “new world” ripeness and forward fruit.   With some of the coldest evening temperatures along the North Coast and thin, gravelly soils, the Yorkville Highlands district covers approximately 40,000 acres in southern Mendocino County.

Most of its 400 acres of vineyards are planted on a continuous string of bench land where hot, sunny days are tempered by the cooling afternoon fog drawn in from the Mendocino coast at the northwest end of the Anderson Valley.

“The first year we fermented we had a refrigerant system, like any good
North coast vintner would. It turned out we only used it once that year, and instead had trouble keeping the must warm during the surprisingly cool nights,” Meyer recalled.

Meyer Family Cellars and Wattle Creek Winery both specialize in cool-climate syrah, mostly grown at elevations from 900 to 2,200 feet on both sides of Highway 128 northwest of the Alexander Valley.

“When I visit our seven growers in the same day, I climb over 2000 feet three times, drop below 800 four times, put on my jacket a least twice, and spend most of my time on dirt roads,” Meyer said.

 “We think the potential is that we can make this exceptional syrah in Yorkville Highlands,” Meyer continued. “As the afternoon heat arrives, so does the coastal breeze, cooling the vines into the evening.”

Wine writer Thom Elkjer has called Yorkville Highlands “a grownup appellation which exhibits a clear and coherent regional signature in its wines irrespective of grape or producer.” (  

The Australian connection
The Growers and Vintners Association was founded to promote grapes and wines from the district formally recognized as an American Viticultural Area in 1998. The group numbers more than two dozen commercial vineyards, family wineries and olive groves among its members.

Meyer and Williams were named president and vice-president – Williams for her second three-year term – in September.

Both family-run wineries, Meyer Family Cellars and Wattle Creek Winery share another trait in common: Williams, her husband Chris and Meyer’s wife Karen are all Australians whose passion for winemaking – especially syrah – led them to settle in the hills of southern Mendocino County in the 1990s.

It was in Australia that Matt Meyer, too, discovered the delights of shiraz, as syrah is known Down Under. When Matt and his father, famed Napa Valley vintner Justin Meyer of Silver Oak Cellars, founded their Yorkville Highlands winery in the late 1990s, they determined that the district’s cool night air and sunny elevations made it the perfect spot to grow the kind of syrah Matt likes best:

“Slightly lower alcohol, a little more acid – I tend to like the blueberry-violet-spicy syrahs,” he said.

Kristine and Chris Williams had already come to a similar conclusion, planting their vines in 1997.

“We were looking for a cooler climate,” said Kristine Williams, who began making syrah in the Alexander Valley before moving north to Yorkville Highlands. “We wanted a different-tasting fruit for what we envisioned for our wine, and we’ve been thrilled with it.”

The Willams and Meyer families led the way: By 2006, syrah – which nobody was growing in Yorkville Highlands ten years earlier – accounted for 17 percent of the district’s production, second only to cabernet sauvignon (20 percent).

“It went from not existing to being the second most-planted vine,” Meyer said.

Meyer and Willams, along with their families, believe that as the Yorkville Highlands appellation enters its second decade, the district has the potential to produce extraordinary reds that will place it squarely on the world map of wine.

“We love our sauvignon blanc, and our chardonnay has a real minerality,” Williams said. “But the pinots and cool-climate shirazes are going to be phenomenal.”

Meyer Family Cellars is open to the public for tasting, picnics and bocce at 19750 Highway 128 in Yorkville Highlands; call 707-895-2341 for current hours. ###

Map to Meyer Family Cellars winery

Images of Meyer Family Cellars

PDF fact sheet of Yorkville Highlands

Editor’s Note: For additional information contact Pam Hunter- 707-258-1699 x 15 or

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