Ten Thousand Reasons Why You Should Attend The Rhone Rangers Winemakers Dinner

Reason #1: David Gates.

David Gates is our VP of Vineyard Operations. Colloquially, our Vineyard Manager.

David Gates, Ridge Vineyards VP of Vineyard Operations

David Gates, Ridge Vineyards VP of Vineyard Operations

I have had the pleasure of hosting David Gates for probably ten thousand tastings, and I can easily say, without exaggeration, that I have enjoyed every one. And I have learned from every one. Never has more impactful education been offered in more congenial fashion. When tasting with  David Gates, you don’t even realize how much vino-edu-osmosis is occurring; you’re just having fun. Then you’ll be walking down the street some few days later, and suddenly, you’ll realize you understand Deficit Irrigation.

Bam! Deficit Irrigation. Thank you David Gates.

David will be representing Ridge Vineyards and The Rhone Rangers on Friday, March 22nd, at the annual Rhone Rangers Winemakers Dinner. For this reason alone, I heartily recommend you strive to attend.

Don’t need the other 9,999 reasons? Great, tickets here.


Still feeling a woo deficit? Meaning, still need wooing? Enter the food …

Reason #2: The Girl and the Fig

If David is not enough, if your appetite for experientially infusive oenophillic passionista sustenanary sustenance simply cannot find satisfactory resolution for its predatorily ravenous aesthetic sensation maw, then consider the gustatory beneficence on offer at this tremendous event. Do you know The Girl & The Fig? To dine at their table is to know that transcendence is possible. The menu:


-Salad of roasted local mushrooms, mixed chicories, bacon lardons, torn croutons and roasted garlic-shallot vinaigrette
-Pan fried ricotta gnocchi with black truffle
Butternut squash and pepita pesto
Duck confit with farro, braised cabbage & dried pears, watercress & cardamom jus
Chocolate Napoleon with graham cracker crust, bittersweet chocolate torte and toasted almond marshmallow dessert.
Vegetarian entree option is: black pepper fontina arancini with wild mushrooms, confit spring onions and spring pea-green garlic puree




Entre Les Personnes et Le Vins …

Reason #3: The Peoples & The Wines

There will be no less than sixteen wineries represented, and each will be showcasing providentially curated offerings that wholeheartedly enact a fair saintly degree of culinary companionability.

Participating wineries include: Anaba Wines, Baiocchi Wines & Vineyards, Bonny Doon Vineyard, Davis Family Vineyards, Folin Cellars, JC Cellars, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, kukkula, Margerum Wine Company, Mounts Family Winery, Petrichor Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, Tablas Creek Vineyard, Terre Rouge, Two Shepherds and Villa Creek Cellars.

David himself will be pouring a rather fantastic selection of hard-to-find Ridge deliciousnesses; pray tell do dig this roster:

2005 Ridge Vineyards Lytton West Syrah

2006 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Estate Grenache

2007 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Estate Syrah/Grenache

2008 Ridge Vineyards Buchignani Ranch Carignane

***And, a double-secret-probation-rarity-from-the-innermost-vaults Mystery Surprise Wine!***

And all THAT event excitement doesn’t even factor in the auction.

Reason #4: Oh, the auction …

There are a number of amazing, amazing, amazing things that will come available during this very unique auction opportunity. Dinners, tours, priceless library releases, educational opportunities, travel, and more.

(for specific details about specific auction items, please click here)

And speaking of travel, oh, the travel opportunities …

Reason #5: Travel




Travel to Australia.

Travel to famed wine locations in Australia.

Travel to famed wine locations in Australia with David Gates.

Travel to famed wine locations in Australia with David Gates; specifically to locations specifically selected by David Gates.

(Note: by locations specifically selected by David Gates, I mean locations that David himself particularly wants to visit, and in fact, not just visit, but RE-visit. Meaning, these are places and people that David has visited before, and wants to visit again!)

And THAT, is a serious endorsement. And THAT, is going to mean serious and unprecedented joy.

(For “official” details about the Australia trip, please click here.)

I spoke with David recently about the itinerary; how he chose it, and why. We spoke mostly about three producers he’s especially excited to return to:


About the visit to Henschke, just three words to know:

Hill of Grace.

And then there’s Rockford Wines, in the Barossa. I can’t quote directly David’s uniquely affectionate description of their winemaker (due to its “salty” colloquiality!), nor can I quote exactly how David described their Methode Champenoise Shiraz (something about what it will do to your socks!), but suffice it to say, David is looking VERY forward to taking both himself and his guests to this renowned location!

Lastly, D’Arenberg. Where this man rules the winemaking roost:

ChesterOsbornChesterOsborn_III ChesterOsborn_II

Obviously, this man is a great deal of fun. But don’t let the seeming tomfoolery fool you. When David went to visit him back in 1999, he learned from him a technique for handling and managing Syrah in the vineyard that forever altered David’s approach to this uniquely intriguing varietal; if you taste integrated and supple tannins balanced against restrained alcohol, balanced structure, and perfect ripeness in our Syrahs, you have to thank, in no small part, David’s visit to Chester Osborn.

Ready to bid?


Reasons #6-to-#10,000: [enter 9,995 synonyms for The Past Is Gone, The Future Is Yet To Happen, Now Is The Only Moment here]

Wine Zen. Meditate on it.


Social Media’d Up? Some good n’ plenty things for you to know:

#WineChat –
Wednesday Night Rhone #WineChat with Rhone Rangers Sonoma William & guest Randall Grahm

Rhone Rangers on Facebook –

Event-specific hashtag –

Rhone Rangers Twitter handle –

Ridge Vineyards on Twitter –

Ridge Vineyards on Facebook: –


See you in San Francisco!

Categories: Events, Food & Wine Pairing, Offerings, Rhone varietals, Social Media, Tasting Events/Opportunities, Varietals & Blends, Wine & Food Pairing

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