Local Wine Co's Blog

American Gin – Success
May 5, 2015, 5:14 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink, Word on the Street | Tags: , , , ,

We’ve been saying for years that if you want to make a superlative cocktail from a white spirit then there is no where else to go except for Gin. And how fortunate are we today that the panoply of Gin choices today is better than its ever been in AMERICAN HISTORY, thus we are at the nascent edge of a Gin Renaissance and it’s a glorious time to imbibe cocktails.

A little back-patting is at hand. We released Small’s American Dry gin six years ago and have been dedicated to spreading the word and the love of Gin to our peeps behind the distribution wheel, the dedicated bartenders that work hours that are harder and longer then most realize and to the craft retailers who toil 7 days a week, speaking, sharing and selling craft: without whom we could not produce, exist and grow…thank you all!!! That you could know how grateful we are of your help, your consistency to quality as opposed to “deals,” that you share our story and love our product. Our success is only a shadow of your work and persistence.

Two great articles for Small’s that came out in the last 10 days. So stoked!12 American Gins

12 Great American Gins You Should Absolutely Know!


Peter Field:

The Consumption of Style: The Betty

Peter and Small's


By the way Peter, you never looked better with a bow tie!!!!


Sometimes Photos Say More Than Words
June 16, 2014, 4:28 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink | Tags: , , , ,

Midway through 2014 these were photos that we found moving, amusing, beautiful or all the above.

Raise a glass of wine tonight and enjoy the moment.


Wine Photo 7

The good old times transporting barrels

Wine Photo 9

A life filled with passion and dedication

Gendarmes making arrests, wine thieves

Gendarmes preparing for an arrest in France’s wine thieves debacle

Wine Photo 6

Can I have some Muscadet?

Wine Photo 8

So true, it comes from the top down in Italy

Wine Photo 3

Wine Photo 4

Wine Photo 2

Sign our Petition for American Dry Gin
January 28, 2014, 4:36 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink, Libations, Word on the Street | Tags: , , , ,

America needs its own category of gin which is why we are working on legally amending gin law to include “American Dry” as a bona fide category. With this first step we can be proud to make our own unique American version of gin and this will not only educate the consumer at a much higher level of what they are drinking, it will be the tip of the spear in moving towards greater appellation in our craft spirits. We can envision the day when regional gins like Sonoma Coast Gin, Rocky Mountain Gin, Southwest Chaparral Gin all exist and create a tapestry of style that is as unique as the people are who live in various regions of our country.

Send us an email, post a comment and we will include you on our petition.

Petition for Chapter 4, Class and Type Designation for Spirits Requested Amendment of gin


We propose an amendment to the TTB Class and Type Designation under spirits for the category of gin under Title 27–Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms (gin standard of identity is below) for the two reasons:

#1 historical categories of gin (ie. London Dry, Old Tom and Geneva gins) are not given legal definition for their historical styles. This is an egregious disservice to the consumer. Consumers have the right to know what style of spirit it is they are consuming. Current gin definitions are vague and ambiguous such that a Geneva gin or an Old Tom gin could be labeled a London Dry gin creating confusion for the consumer.

#2 request an amendment to the standards of identity to foster appellations for spirits within the United States. This will give greater regional specificity to American spirits and define more precisely the style and quality of each spirit (eg. Bourbon Whiskey). Consumers deserve to have stronger over site on distilled spirits much as we have a robust appellation process for vineyard land and wines in America. Local Wine & Spirits, and the other listed distillers, are actively educating the public about the emerging category of “American Dry Gin” which is defined as batch distilled gins made from 100% American grown grain, distilled and bottled within the United States using juniper as the predominant botanical. American made and proud of it.

Current definition

Subpart C—Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits

§ 5.22   The standards of identity.

(c) Class 3; gin. “Gin” is a product obtained by original distillation from mash, or by redistillation of distilled spirits, or by mixing neutral spirits, with or over juniper berries and other aromatics, or with or over extracts derived from infusions, percolations, or maceration of such materials, and includes mixtures of gin and neutral spirits. It shall derive its main characteristic flavor from juniper berries and be bottled at not less than 80° proof. Gin produced exclusively by original distillation or by redistillation may be further designated as “distilled”. “Dry gin” (London dry gin), “Geneva gin” (Hollands gin), and “Old Tom gin” (Tom gin) are types of gin known under such designations.

Participating Distillers/Distilleries

Local Wine & Spirits

Ransom Spirits

Bull Run Distillery, Portland

Peach Street Distillers, Palisades, CO

Letherbee Distillers, Chicago IL

Sweet Spot 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

The wait is over. On January 24th we bottled the 2012 vintage of our Sweet Spot Cabernet. Why do we call it Sweet Spot? Because there is no other appellation in Sonoma that grows cabernet better with more sense of soul, soil and place then Alexander Valley. We worked with two vineyards for this vintage, Warnecke Ranch and Adams Knoll. There is a small amount of merlot from Adams Knoll that we blended into barrel 8 months ago. 2012 was an amazing vintage and such a relief to have after the challenging and low yield vintages of 2010 and 2011.

Technical production notes are below.





Appellation: Alexander Valley, Sonoma, CA                                      Titratable Acidity: 6.2 g/l

Varietal Composition: 89% Cabernet Sauvignon,

11% Merlot                                                                                           pH: 3.55

Case Production: 2240                                                                         Alcohol: 13.97%

Brix at Harvest: 24.1

Vinification: All of our fruit was destemmed and cold soaked for 4-5 days at 55 degrees Fahrenheit before yeast was introduced. Brix had become 24.5 and three strands of yeast were introduced for fermentation. Ferment lasted three weeks at almost 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Maceration on the skins was included to induce color, tannins and phenols. Sweet Spot Cab was then pressed to barrel with malolactic inoculation. This beautiful wine aged and ameliorated in French and American oak barrel for 16 months and bottled in January, 2014.

Vintage Notes: 2012 was a near perfect vintage for cabernet sauvignon in Alexander Valley, Sonoma. Many of us called it “idyllic,” or “outstanding.” And why? Because of the balance of weather and the ideal diurnal temperature swings that allowed slow and even maturation of our vines throughout September and October. The crop load was considerably larger than 2011 and displayed a near perfect balance of texture and flavors. Our Sweet Spot Cabernet, primarily sourced from the Warnecke Vineyard, is one of the most balanced and giving wines that we’ve yet made.

Vineyard Sources:

Warnecke Vineyard, Alexander AVA

Adams Knoll Vineyard, Alexander AVA

Tasting Notes: A beautiful dark garnet and robust ruby color. The aromatics of the 2012 Sweet Spot Cabernet are full of explosive ripe blackberries, blueberries and mulberries intermingled with mountainside sage, mint and pine needles. The palate is redolent with a ripe compote of blackberries that rides into a rich cascade of herbs, fruit and tannins into a long finish that speak of longevity.

Reasons Why We Drink
April 10, 2013, 8:20 am
Filed under: Libations, Reasons Why We Drink | Tags:

Garden to Glass Cocktail at SanctuariaI was working with a friend who owns and produces Royal Rose simple syrups. They make perhaps the best, 100% organic, simple syrups in America. Truly fantastic quality and explosive flavors. After hanging out with Forrest Butler I realized that I had my alcohol/industry blinders on and had only thought of Royal Rose syrups as bar/cocktail accoutrements. Shame on me. We engaged in a wonderful conversation with Steve Carrow, of Chicago restaurant, Naha about “temperance cocktails.” Cocktails that had no alcohol in them. Everyone I know, work with, interact with, party with, dine with drinks wine, beer or spirits. It’s what we do being gastronomes and imbibers. It had not dawned on me that there is a woefully underserved segment of diners that want high quality drink options whilst dining at the finer establishments across America. Let’s face it, cranberry juice and soda water is not very exciting.

It got me thinking last night about why we drink? What are the myriad reasons for drinking? Yes, there are many, many reasons and I thought that this would be a good category to explore on our blog.

The obvious #1 (at least obvious to me) is that drinking brings pleasure. Of course feeling that tinge of inebriation or “buzz” is often wonderful, the act of sipping fine wines, excellent brew and superlative distillate is a pleasure in and of itself. To enjoy the aromatics, the complexities, the silky texture on the palate or the sparkling pop inside the mouth is a very physical experience and if you live well in your own skin it’s pleasure. Living in the flesh we were given five senses and in my opinion it would be a disastrous decision as a human to ignore the utter joy of tasting, feeling and smelling all the wonderful things that we can put into our bodies. Drinking is just one of those manifold experiences.

Our ancestors drank for thousands of years and though many of the prime motivations for drinking have ameliorated over generations (such as moderation leads to balance and longevity) the simple fact that drinking is pleasurable, and in community it is a way and time to bond with family and friends, is as potent today as it was 1000 years ago. Some people drink and become loud, laugh more, weep, become flustered or anger easily. Alcohol impairs judgment, period. That being said amongst friends can’t we let our guard down? Needing an outlet to explore feelings that are normally pent up is an utterly human desire and imbibing with friends offers exactly this outlet. Come on, if you can’t get a little stupid with your friends they’re probably not your friends. I’m not saying get hammered each weekend, act like an ass, start fights, scream, cry and punch and it will be alright. But feeling safe enough to open yourself to discourse that you normally do not have is a deep seated desire in humans and often moderate drinking gives us the motivation to do so. So be it. I’d rather have a few beers with pals then go to my doctor and spend money on pharmaceuticals to assuage my fears.

To explore the question of why we drink I encourage you to answer and post your own reasons and numbers. Here are the beginnings of mine.

#1 Reason Why We Drink: Because it feels good.

#2 Because someone discovered that grain and sugar made beer, and grapes made wine and god put all that right in front of our noses, so why not?

#3 To bring us together in community on cold, long winter nights…warming our bellies and our softening our hearts….

What is Verjus and Some Winter Cocktails
January 17, 2013, 2:19 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink, Making Cocktails | Tags: , , ,

Verjus in Winter

And a few cocktails


Verjus, or sometimes spelled Verjuice comes from Old French “jus verte” or green juice. Green was not a denotation of color but rather a reference to young fruit that still maintained high acidity while harvested under-ripe. In the Middle Ages (500 A.D. – 1400 A.D.) verjus was often used to enhance flavors in stews, condiments and sauces. Most modern cooks now use lemon or lime for lively tartness. Interestingly lemon trees were not introduced to Northern Europe until 1000 A.D. when the Mores brought lemons to Sicily. By the end of the 15th century we see the first cultivated lemon orchard in Genoa and it was “down-hill” for verjus. Lemons, being perfect portable little darlings usurped the quotidian use of verjus which is unfortunate because verjus has a few distinct qualities that, for certain functions, far exceed the tartiness of a lemon. Verjus is not quite as acidic as a lemon (see chart below) and offers a wider range of flavors that can complement beverages and dishes without overwhelming. And because verjus’ type of acidity is tartaric as opposed to citric in lemons, it has an inherent balance to wine and food that citric acids typically overwhelm. Cocktails with verjus have the pleasing uplift that acid from lemons or limes offer and yet can create more aromatic complexity and subtlety. We have a few of our favorites from our test kitchen below for winter cocktails.


Please grab a bottle of Bonny Doon’s Verjus as soon as you can and send us your recipes and comments.



Chart A. pH 0 – 14 (7 neutral measurement between acid and alkaline)

Lemon pH 2.2 – 2.4

Bonny Doon Verjus de Cigare 2.92

Milk pH approximately 6.7

Average red wine will range between 3.65 – 3.8 pH.




1:1 Henry du Yore’s Bourbon: Bonny Doon Verjus
Orange bitters
Splash of Aperol
Stir till very chilled and serve up, garnish with a burnt orange rind


2:1 Bonny Doon Verjus : Fidencio Classico Mezcal
1 bar spoon of Royal Rose 3 Chiles Simple Syrup
Dash of Jerry Thomas Bitters
Stir and serve up in a coupe glass


1:1 Bonny Doon Verjus : Tub 80 proof Gin
Tenneyson Absinthe rinse
Mint leaf garnish (or tarragon)
Stir till very chilled, serve up in a rocks glass.


1:1 Tub 80 proof Gin : Bonny Doon Verjus
1/2 oz Cynar
Orange bitters
Stir till very chilled, serve up in a rocks glass

Local Spirit Bottles Blog Verjus

Homemade Eggnog Recipe
December 17, 2012, 2:24 pm
Filed under: Deliciousness, Food and Drink | Tags: , , ,

Homemade Eggnog. What’s better than eggnog and whiskey when the temperature has dropped to freezing, the kids are in bed, the Christmas tree lights are on and you and yours can quietly snuggle on the couch? Don’t buy that store made eggnog crap, it is highly processed, filled with preservatives and overloaded with refined sugar. This is a quick and simple recipe.

Four eggs (separate yolk from whites), 1/3 cup evaporated cane sugar (+1T cane sugar, keep to the side), 1 pint of whole milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg.

Ok, start with the yolks and slowly whisk in 1/3 cup of sugar, then add milk, cream and nutmeg. In another bowl whisk the egg whites till you have soft peaks. Now add the 1T of evaporated cane sugar that you had put to the side and continue to whisk until you have stiff peaks. Chill the egg/milk/cream/nutmeg mixture and then slowly whisk in the egg whites. Serve at your convenience once your eggnog is chilled. Add bourbon or whiskey for the adult version.

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