Press Trip: Paso Robles Wine Country

The folks of Paso Robles wine country are grounded and welcoming. We experienced this firsthand over the last couple of months, when hosting two groups of ace journalists in Paso Robles, alongside the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. Although the area has seen tremendous growth over the past decade, there’s still a spirited balance of rockstar and cowboy…a nostalgic California vibe. A collaborative, hospitable atmosphere unifies the region, and connects visitors with the real people behind this refreshingly casual wine country—where owners may still drive tractors and hang out in the tasting room, winemakers like to experiment, and seasonal gourmet restaurants meet good old fashioned steak houses. Olive oil tasting, mineral baths, sustainable farming, abalone diving, wine tasting, seasonal cuisine, goat farms…when’s the next trip?

Good Food Awards: Judging Time

October 9th, the day of judgement for this year’s GOOD FOOD AWARDS, is almost upon us. The media kit introducing the categories, committee members and star-studded judges is now available. Everyone at CORDIAL is delighted to be involved.

The Good Food Awards celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic, and responsible. Now, in its second year, awards will be given to winners in eight categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles, preserves and spirits. The Good Food Awards Seal, found on winning products, assures consumers they have found something exceptionally delicious that also supports sustainability and social good. The Good Food Awards Gold Seal designates winning products as certified organic and sustainably produced.

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We are pleased to welcome a new CORDIAL client, the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, which represents the wineries, growers and businesses of Paso Robles Wine Country. As the fastest growing American Viticultural Area (AVA)—growing more than fivefold over the past decade from 35 to over 200 wineries dotting its 26,000 vineyard acres—the region remains wildly diverse with a genuine collaborative spirit.

The location cannot be beat—midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, along California’s beautiful central coast. From wine to a burgeoning culinary arts scene, and a gorgeous natural landscape including Morro Bay and the rugged Big Sur coastline, the region has something for every traveler. Although growing in popularity, Paso Robles Wine Country is still largely considered a hidden gem – a classic California frontier, relaxed and casual, with a serious dedication to careful, conscientious winemaking.

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Spring is here, and April kicked off a season of local artisan-driven events at the sublime Medlock Ames Tasting Room. Last year, we banded together with a posse of local food heroes (featured in Food & Wine, April 2011). We love their products, respect what they do, and thought it was about time to shine the spotlight on this cast of characters who usually work tirelessly behind the scenes.

Featured event lineup includes…craft beers, pork sliders and talking shop with Bear Republic Brewmaster Rich Norgrove; a whole hog butchery master class led by Dino Bugica of Diavola, Rian Rinn of Wyeth Acres, and Nancy Prebilich of Gleason Ranch; a vertical cheese tasting of Bellwether Farms Carmody at various ages with Cheesemaker Liam Callahan; an ice cream social with Laloo’s Goat’s Milk Ice Cream Company; and a Wood-Fired Feast in Sonoma featuring the Food & Wine menu with Ames Morison of Medlock Ames.

Lots of excitement brewing around these events thanks to shout-outs from Santa Rosa Press Democrat (x2), SFGate’s InsideScoop SF, UrbanDaddy, DailyCandy, TastingTable SF, San Francisco Magazine ItList, Healdsburg Patch, and the Examiner.

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“Up on Bell Mountain, Medlock Ames Winery produces amazing wines in a utopian setting. Down in the valley, the Medlock Ames Tasting Room is its own little piece of food heaven,” Megan Krigbaum, Food & Wine.

It still seems a bit surreal. The frenzy of excitement, the photo shoot, and the story. From the amazing, wicked-creative (and super fun) Food & Wine team, to our stars, the stellar posse of dynamic, talented producers – now coined Sonoma’s Artisan Gang…the whole experience was pretty magical. A huge round of applause to Medlock Ames and everyone who makes the place so enchanting – it was only a matter of time before they received some glossy national cred.

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San Francisco, CA (January 17, 2011) – The first-ever Good Food Awards announced the names of its 71 inaugural winners from across the nation to a crowded house of over 450 attendees on January 14th, 2011 at the historic San Francisco Ferry Building. Of the 71 winners, 47 flew in from out of state, representing every major region of the United States—a true testament to a not-so-quiet artisan foods renaissance happening nationwide. From Salty Sweet Cashew Bars to Sweet Potato Liverwurst, the winning artisan products were awarded a Good Food Awards Seal, recognizing and honoring superior efforts toward creating a more tasty, authentic and responsible food system.

“By publicly celebrating the achievements of artisans across the country we are sharing the good news about food,” said Alice Waters. “The Good Food Awards are the County Fair of our times and like those fairs that brought our communities together in a positive way, these new awards have the potential to strengthen our communities and rebuild our food culture.”

Honors were presented by a host of food innovators in each Good Food Awards category including Caleb Zigas (Director of La Cocina Community Kitchen), Peter Giuliano (President of the Specialty Coffee Association of America), Bruce Aidells (author of the Complete Book of Pork), June Taylor (June Taylor Preserves), Sandor Katz (author of Wild Fermentation), Matt Jennings (owner of Farmstead, RI), Greg Engert (Food & Beer Sommelier of the Year 2009), as well as Brett Beach (co-founder of Madécasse) and Shahin Cassam Chenai (Malagasy cocoa farmer and chocolate maker for Madécasse).

“The Good Food Awards,” said Bruce Aidells, “proves we have emerged from the low-fat dark ages of the 80’s and 90’s, into a culture looking for real food, made with responsible ingredients, that is all about great taste.”

Thousands of people attended the Saturday Good Food Awards Marketplace—amidst the iconic CUESA Farmers Market at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza—to taste and buy award-winning artisan foods, leaving many of the Good Food Award winners sold out of their products. “The experience was thrilling for us,” said Ann and Dan Trudel, of Ann’s Raspberry Farm in Fredericktown, Ohio. “Given our small-scale operation and limited exposure, we are very appreciative for the recognition of our sustainable farming practices and authenticity of our products. It was a true honor and a great sense of accomplishment. We hope that the Good Food Awards will be the catalyst for other producers around the country to provide the hope and encouragement to continue their craft.”

“It was thrilling to bring these exceptional food producers out from behind the scenes for a night and show our gratitude for their tireless efforts,” said Sarah Weiner, Director of Seedling Projects. “This past weekend there was a tangible feeling that a new community was taking shape—a spirit of connection, support and empowerment. It’s exciting to know that good food is being brought to life across the nation.”

Major Chops: Three Generations

DFV Wines is an inspiring family-owned and operated company, founded in 1924 by Gaspare Indelicato, who laid the groundwork for a company dedicated to family ownership, quality and sustainability. Three generations of the Indelicato family have guided DFV from a small grape growing operation started during Prohibition to California’s seventh largest winery. DFV’s success in the marketplace is a direct result of the family’s strong belief in the principles of quality and sustainability, which has positively impacted employees, customers and the community for decades.

For DFV, our role is full service public relations consulting and support for the internal PR team, including everything from copywriting and media pitch development, to social media and strategic insight.

Photo courtesy of DFV Wines