Simple Caprese lunch with Emmolo SauvBlanc

Young winemaker Jenny Wagner continues the family tradition established by her great-grandfather as she creates Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.

TalesoftheCork wine reviews

Whether busyness takes you away from what it is otherwise important or too much has already gone under the bridge, take a moment for yourself soon. A 30 to 60-minute vacation from all that is distracting you is necessary to regroup, rebuild and refocus.

Today that is exactly what I needed and created a simple side dish that became a Caprese salad lunch and glass of Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc with my wife after a busy week for both of us. I needed a ‘place’ to forget about a couple of issues and took advantage of a sunny moment in the kitchen.

Fresh home grown tomatoes were on the counter and a quick trip to a market served to add a couple of whole milk fresh Mozzarella balls and some lush, sweet smelling basil. In this case, Trader Joe’s a half mile away had me in and out of the store fast.

We love the aroma of fresh cut tomatoes and basil and the addition of lush Mozzarella coated with extra virgin olive oil and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar as hits the spot like no other. A little cracked pepper sprinkled over the plate adds a final layer of spice to an amazing lunch.

Today’s choice to whet our whistle is a small glass of Emmolo 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from Rutherford in the Napa Valley. Pour yourself a small glass of EmmoloWines 2014 #NapaValley Sauvignon Blanc to sip and appreciate what Jenny Wagner is creating, adding to her great-grandfather’s winemaking tradition.

With just a quick stop at the market, a caprese salad can be created in just minutes.
With just a quick stop at the market, a Caprese salad can be created in just minutes.

According to their Wagner Family website, “the Emmolos have a long history in Napa Valley with Jenny’s great-grandfather, Salvatore Emmolo, starting the family’s grapevine rootstock nursery in St. Helena in 1923. Her grandfather, Frank Emmolo, not only managed the nursery, but also grew Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot on their family property.”

The Emmolo #SauvBlanc is dry, refreshing, crisp and tart. The light wine is smooth and balanced with a hint of peach & Kiwi with melon and and lime notes. Love the minerality and herbal overtones and allow the pear and and citrus aromas tempt you. This is a winner!

We’ve enjoyed this wine with oysters and scallops in the past but would also love it with shellfish pasta and chicken salads. While their website is not yet complete, check out EmmoloWines soon. #TalesoftheCork loving their simple elegance.

Wagner Family Wines and Emmolo Wines can be tasted and purchased at Camus Vineyards, 8700 Conn Creek Rd., Rutherford, CA 94573. However, it is not always on the tasting flight menu. Call ahead at 1.707.967.3010 to check for availability. If a trip to Napa is not in the works, try their Wagner Family Wines finder.

Be sure to read the previous TalesoftheCork blog post: Pre travel checklist for overseas visit. And if winemakers, wineries or restaurants are interested in a TalesoftheCork wine and/or food review on the blog, InstagramTwitter and/or Facebook, please send us a request via email: or use DM on social media. TalesoftheCork also offers social media seminars for businesses.

Grocery list for Caprese salad:

One ball from an 8-ounce container of Whole Milk Fresh Mozzarella in lightly salted water

One container of fresh leaf basil or one sprig of basil

Two vine ripe whole tomatoes

Cracked pepper to taste

Olive oil and Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena to taste

Guinness confirms Napa Valley owns wine relay record (VIDEO)

Charles Krug, the oldest family-owned commercial winery, along with St. Helena Kiwanis Club, St. Helena Chamber of Commerce and CHEERS! St. Helena, hosted The Napa Valley Wine Wave, Oct. 7.

Something was not right and Napa Valley residents take a stand at Charles Krug Winery, Oct. 7, 2012.

Located in one of the premier wine growing regions of the world, Napa residents, winemakers, growers and businesses believe the rightful place for the longest relay wine toast record belongs in St. Helena, California.

The problem: A group of Chinese located in Guangzhou, China, set a new record of 321 participants in November 2011. Knowing this was going to happen, seemed to rub St. Helena resident Lowell Smith the wrong way and he, with support from the St. Helena Kiwanis Club, birthed the idea of the Napa Valley Wine Wave and decided to raise scholarship money for local schools in the process.

Lowell Smith, right, discusses final preparations with a Wine Wave participant. Ali Morse, rear, sells commemorative bungstarters during the event. The are also available through the web site:

“We actually applied for a Guinness World Record and the Wine Wave about a year and a half ago,” Smith said. “We then got the approval to apply for this record and have been planning this event ever since.”

Smith said Guinness World Records get 50,000 requests a year for setting records. Out of those, Guinness approves about 2,000 and most get accomplished.

Johanna Hessling, an official Guinness World Book of Records adjudicator (a judge) from New York City, was invited to the event because the St. Helena and Napa Valley area community planned a record attempt for the longest wine toast relay.

“I actually walk down the line as the attempt is happening and will be counting with my clicker to make sure that everyone who participates does it correctly,” Hessling said. “What this group needs to do in order to break, or achieve, that record today is to have a minimum of 322 participants take part in the toast, according to the guidelines that are established by Guinness.”

As the Guinness World Book of Records adjudicator, Johanna Hessling (center) walks down the line during the wine wave attempt, she uses her clicker to make sure everyone, including Lori Ayre (right) and Cheryl Gould, participates according to the rules.

Jay Lewis, a member of St. Helena Kiwanis Wine Wave Committee and retired professor from Pacific Union College in Angwin, Calif., volunteered to be a line captain to make sure his charges did everything right.

“I’m excited because so many people are coming together to participate in a World Record,” Lewis said. “The Chinese hold the record with over 300 plus and we are hoping to get 500. This is a great event to hold in the Napa Valley, the center of the wine industry, but the Chinese currently hold the record. Oh, come on!”

Set on the tree-lined grounds of the first commercial winery in California, Charles Krug Winery is a natural place to host over 500 people to participate or watch the Napa Valley Wine Wave.

Maggie Pramuk, center, works for Robert Biale Vineyards and is on the Appellation St. Helena board. She was excited to be a winery representative, pouring at the Napa Valley Wine Wave. Pramuk said she couldn’t believe how fun this is!

Kara Chamberlain, a student at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone in St. Helena, heard about the Wine Wave and record attempt from her professor.

“We were sent out an email asking for volunteers or participants because this is for a scholarship fund that actually benefits our school,” Chamberlain said. “A few of my friends from school came here to promote something that we love. This has been so good for me to talk to the many winemakers of the St. Helena area and taste their many different wines. I appreciate that because that is what we are studying. I am hoping to become a wine writer. I am talking to the winemakers as much as possible and networking as well.”

In fact these and other students, along with local businesses, including French Blue, Sorensen Catering and Armadillos Restaurant, served appetizers while the wine relay participants toasted and clinked their way into the record book.

Charles Krug Winery is unique in the Napa Valley as it is still 100 percent family owned and now moving into the fourth generation. Pete Jr., the youngest son of Peter Mondavi, Sr., believes Napa is the rightful place for a record like the Wine Wave.

“St. Helena is where the industry started and Charles Krug Winery is as good as any in Napa Valley,” Mondavi said. “The winery opened in 1861 … 151 years ago. But first and foremost, this is about Kiwanis. We have been involved with St. Helena Kiwanis Club as a venue for fundraising events for many years. They came over with this idea and what better place to host this event? We have beautiful grounds that can hold over 500 people. Come to see where Napa all started.”

Peter (Pete) Mondavi, Jr. (right), proprietor of Charles Krug Winery, praises Kiwanis for creating the Napa Valley Wine Wave opportunity and thrilled the Mondavi-owned winery is able to host the event.

The “wave” of toasters kept Hessling busy from 1:30-2:30 p.m. She watches as each takes turns clinking glasses and sipping wine. After toasting, each participant turns to the person next to them and the process follows from one to two, two to three and so on. The longest relay wine toast is a sequential toast where participants clink glasses in order, from start to finish, rather than the more common toast where everyone clinks glasses simultaneously. Hessling kept pace and smiles each time a red flag raises, denoting when a 100th participant completes the toast.

As each one took turns, a “cheers,” “salut” or other proclamations sounded as individuals look into a partner’s eyes while sipping 2009 Charles Krug Zinfandel. A distinct ‘clink’ and the ringing sound of glasses chime as the dings or pings mix with laughter and chatter.

A 65-foot red and yellow hot air balloon from Napa Valley Balloons provided an impressive backdrop and participants danced to Ancestree, a Santa Cruz roots reggae band. The group grooved and mixed three-part harmonies into an impressive reggae/rock mix from 10:30-1:30 p.m.

St. Helena resident Sue Collins came with her husband Peter to enjoy the unusual afternoon festivities. Peter said they have had many memorable events at the winery and Charles Krug continues to be community-oriented, hosting great events on the property.

“We are here to support Kiwanis and support the wine industry,” Sue said. “We hope to have a little fun, get together with some good music and friends and enjoy a glass of wine in a beautiful location. Oh, and of course, there’s that Guinness thing, too.”

Ira C. Smith, Sports Director at KVON/KVYN, proclaims to the 487 participants, they broke the Guiness World Record. Johanna Hessling then awards Pam Simpson (CEO/President of St. Helena Chamber of Commerce) a framed certificate honoring the Napa Valley Wine Wave record, while Lowell Smith thanks Hessling with a commemorative bungstarter.

While hundreds gathered on the Charles Krug grounds, including the 487 people who took turns to ‘clink, sip and clink,’ there were dozens of others who watched as spectators; students and volunteers served and the Saint Helena Community Band played instrumental numbers until most revelers left.

“We brought our community together and we set a Guinness World Record,” St. Helena Mayor, Del Britton, said. “This unique world record now resides in the Napa Valley, the heart of the wine experience.”

All 487 Napa Valley Wine Wave participants received a medal commemorating the Guinness World Record for the longest relay wine toast, Oct. 7.

Upon completion of the record, Hessling, along with Master of Ceremony, Ira Smith, announces that the new world record of 487 now belongs to the Napa Valley Wine Wave of St. Helena, California. Each participant also received a world record medallion to commemorate the event.

Local food trucks, Marks The Spot and Awful Falafel, served gourmet pulled pork and chicken sliders and Middle-Eastern food. These where paired with wines from Appellation St. Helena, including Ballentine Vineyards, Charnu Winery, Chase Family Cellars, J. Lohr & Wines, Raymond Vineyards, Robert Biale Vineyards, Rutherford Grove, Salvestrin Winery, Trinchero Napa Valley, Tudal Winery, and V. Sattui Winery.

The Napa Valley Wine Wave was created by the St. Helena Kiwanis Club, in partnership with the wineries of Appellation St. Helena, St Helena and St. Helena Chamber, CHEERS! St. Helena, as a way to raise money for scholarships. Proceeds raised from the event go towards scholarships in the agriculture, viticulture, winemaking, business and hospitality industries. For more information and opportunities to purchase commemorative merchandise and donations for scholarships, visit the Napa Valley Wine Wave or on Twitter at @NVWineWave.

For more information on the Napa Valley Wine Wave, visit the award-winning channel Wine Oh TV and watch Monique Soltani’s VIDEO.

Johanna Hessling, an official Guinness World Book of Records adjudicator (center bottom), pronounces St. Helena the new home of the Longest Relay Wine Toast. The Napa Valley Wine Wave and its 487 participants cheer and toast their new record, Oct. 7, 2012. (Photo by Charles O’Rear)