Sent: Friday, March 23, 2007 7:59 PM
Subject: Newsletter - Volume 3, Issue 7 - March 23rd, 2007



We have been struggling in the sales area for the last two months.  With Szymon moving on to lead the distribution for an Italian importer in Arizona and Dick contemplating relocation, we were groping for answers.  Our initial strategy of moving lots of accounts to Kelly and Diane put them in overload.  Now we have deployed Diane’s husband, Gary, recruited Barbara and given me more accounts.  As a result, I feel we can stop dropping balls and continue to provide the service we intend.  Please let me know of any areas where you see need for improvement.

Box Score

New Restaurants:         4

New Retail Outlets:      3

New Sales People:      3


New Sales People

New Restaurants

New Retail Outlets


New Sales People

Barbara Wright

Barbara Wright has been working in the Food and Beverage industry for her entire career, most recently at the Mondrian Hotel in Scottsdale (formerly the James Hotel).  Prior to that she worked with Peter Kasperski helping to start up his Star Spangled Tavern joint venture, until Peter left to focus on the Waterfront restaurants.  (See also the new restaurant listings.)  Her career began in New York City and continued in Chicago before she came to Arizona.  Barbara is a wine enthusiast and has taken several wine courses targeted at the restaurant industry.  She will be working in the Scottsdale and Tempe areas.


Gary Davey

I’m cheating a little in saying that Gary is a new sales person.  His wife is Diane, who joined us in January, and they will be sharing the workload of selling wine to their accounts.  Gary’s background with Honeywell qualifies him to be a serious wine consumer, and, like Diane, his previous ownership of a wine store makes him knowledgeable besides.


Xandria Duncan

Xandria has been delivering wine for us for over six months now.  She has been working to establish relationships with potential customers and this has paid off.  She is now able to add wine sales to her résumé that includes project management, bass guitarist and music producer.

New Restaurants

Cracked Crab Steak and Seafood

6006 East Cave Creek Road,

Cave Creek, AZ 85331
(480) 488-0800


The Phoenician

6000 East Camelback Road,

Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(480) 941-8200


Rio Brazilian Steakhouse

10425 North Scottsdale Rd,

Scottsdale, AZ 85253

(480) 991-1952


Star Spangled Tavern

Market Street at DC Ranch

20751 North Pima Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85255

(480) 419-8729

New Retail Outlets

AJ's Fine Food - Scottsdale

7141 East Lincoln Dr.
Scottsdale, AZ  85253

(480) 998-0052

The Wine Loft

17 North San Francisco St
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

(928) 773-9463


Vino 100 - Phoenix

Tuscany Village Center
30835 North Cave Creek Road
Phoenix, AZ 85331

(480) 502-8466



Last month my father-in-law, Iggy, and I spent an extended weekend in Napa.  We stayed with my daughter, Debby, her husband, Mike, and my 2 grandsons, Tobias and Calvin.  We had a great trip until Iggy discovered a discontinuity in the sidewalk and had a great trip followed by a visit to the emergency room.  Fortunately, he did not break anything but he did strain something and got to experience walker and walking stick technology for a while.

Of course while we were there we met some of the people from the wineries we represent.  I met with Amy Downs, who is the daughter of John Johnson, who, together with partner Dave Cofran, owns Strata Vineyards.  I had originally met John a few years ago while we were both pouring wine at a fundraising auction for my grandsons’ preschool.  Amy is the person I deal with there and it’s good to know who you are talking to.  Strata still has plenty of 2002 Merlot, but the 2003 is ready to go.  Their grapes were used by Silver Oak in the Cabernet Sauvignon prior to their purchase of the Twomey Vineyard.

            Next Iggy and I headed for the Alexis Baking Company to see Chris Calkins who is owner of Destino Wines.  Destino is a virtual winery with no vineyards or winemaking equipment.  Chris has contracts with vineyards in Napa and Russian River for his grapes and he dictates all the viticulture.  He also sets the direction for winemaking.  Arizona distribution of this wine is a recent transfer from another Arizona distributor.  I had not met Chris before and this was a good first meeting. 

            Heading North on the Silverado Trail, rather than Route 29, we avoided St Helena, its traffic and traffic lights and turned on Larkmead Lane to visit Frank Family Vineyards.  We met with Rachelle, who is just incredibly well organized.  She is responsible for administration and human resources and deals with everything seemingly without effort.  I thanked her for her help and patience.  She took us along to meet Dennis - the wine room guy who has had a major role in establishing this brand firmly in the minds of all visitors.   We tried the 2003 Napa Valley and 2003 Rutherford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignons.  Yum!  Dennis also poured the Pinot Noir and Winston Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, both of which are available only in the tasting room.  They gave us a bottle of the Winston Hill to take home for dinner.  The winemaker, Todd Graff, showed up around then - he claimed it was because it was lunch time.  I think it’s because he can detect the opening of a Winston Hill from a quarter of a mile away.  Todd said he had recovered from his last visit to Arizona and is in training for his April visit.  Scott, the national sales guy chose not to meet us; instead he stayed home with his one day old first son.

            Over the hill into Sonoma, we found the Copain Custom Crush in Santa Rosa.  It is here, along with several well known wineries, that Mike Kuimelis makes the Mantra Wines’ Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandels.  He led us through the facility to the conference room where all the wineries entertain Robert Parker.  We sampled the now released 2003 Revelations Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  We will shortly be bringing that into Arizona as the 2002 vintage is about gone.  Mike’s parents own vineyards in Dry Creek and Alexander Valley.  Much of the fruit has been supplied to Seghesio, but as Mantra grows, less fruit is being sold.  This vertical integration allows Mantra to make high quality wine less expensively.

             Back to the Napa Valley and on the Silverado trail south of Calistoga just by a certain curve in the trail is where the Barlow Vineyards are.  Barr and his farther, Warren, tasted us on the 2003 vintages of Barrouge and Merlot.  Both will be released once the current vintages are gone.  The Barrouge is deliberately named as a blend, even though in the 2002 vintage with 80% cabernet sauvignon and the 2003 with 85% it can legally be called Cabernet Sauvignon.  However, calling it a blend gives them freedom in the future to blend the best wine they can.  With Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot maturing in the vineyard, they have some opportunities for even more stunning wines. 

            On Saturday afternoon Iggy and I, plus my daughter Debby and family, went along to see Dick Peterson (a.k.a. Richard Grant Peterson).  He has a wonderful estate that has a large plantation of Christmas trees.  At Christmas they sell trees (you get to cut them down yourself), have hot drinks, take your photo and generally have a fun and festive time.  Two acres of the property have been converted to grow the Wrotham Pinot Noir.  These are vines imported from Wrotham England, and thought to date back to the Roman occupation of that area.  Bud break was not too far away.  When we visited it was bud bulge and pruning was imminent.  Dick demonstrated how he prunes these vines and contrasted that with the more usual cordon method of pruning.  The cordon method has the advantage of being easy to explain to hired helpers.  Another feature of these vines is that they are resistant to mildew and do not require the otherwise ubiquitous use of sulphur.  After increasing my knowledge of viticulture by several hundred percent we sat beside the lake and sipped the Richard Grant Wrotham Pinot sparkling blanc de noir - “English Champagne” - and watched my grandsons race around the lake.  Geese and ducks hang around there, and two of the geese, Gimpy and Marshall, are there all the time.  Gimpy is named for obvious reasons, she limps.  Her constant companion chivalrously allows Gimpy to eat while he stands watch.  Dick decided that Marshall is a gentleman’s name and has so named this goose.




From all of us at Orangewood Wines



Richard (newsletter writer) and Laurie (editor)

Orangewood Wines