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A Winemaker's Journal

Shafer winemaker Elias Fernandez writes a wine column for Latino Leaders magazine.

“Whether you’re a serious collector or someone who doesn’t yet know the difference between a corkscrew and a screw cap, I hope this column can help you learn more about the world of wine and in learning more, add even more enjoyment to your next glass,” says Elias.
 

Bottling a Place
Latino Leaders, April/May 2008

“Winemakers and wine enthusiasts today believe these appellations, such as Stags Leap District, impart distinct characteristics to the wine. But that wasn’t always the case.”
 

Chardonnay: A Wine in Three Acts
Latino Leaders, February/March 2008

“When it comes to the old style of making Chardonnay, I don’t yearn for the past at all … today you’ll find a full range of styles.”
 

‘Tis the Season for Port
Latino Leaders, December 2007/January 2008

“What’s my wine of choice at this time of year? Easy – it’s the rich flavors and warming appeal of Port. Few wines pair as beautifully with a cold, bleak winter night.”
 

An Unexpected Path to Winemaking
Latino Leaders, November 2007

“ … a life that began as the child of farmworkers and has ended up giving me the privilege of making wines that are enjoyed around the world.”
 

The World of Wine Gets Trivial
Latino Leaders, September/October 2007

“Every week I read some new odd or fascinating fact about wine. This month I wanted to share some recent items that have caught my attention.”
 

Money That Grows on Vines
Latino Leaders, July/August 2007

"Wine has an almost supernatural ability to open wallets … if you have a chance, be sure to attend a local wine charity event – they’re great places to try wines, make friends and benefit your community."
 

To Decant or Not to Decant
Latino Leaders, June 2007

"The question from your sommelier is, “Would you like me to decant that for you?” Most people assume you’re supposed to say yes, but aren’t sure why."
 

What Women Want (When it Comes to Wine)
Latino Leaders, Special Issue, May 2007

"I think it’s a mistake to pretend to “invite” women to the world of wine. They’ve been there from the start. And they know it."
  

The Invisible Wine Club
Latino Leaders, May 2007

"There’s something special about wine that leads people toward commonalities and friendship. One writer has called wine, “the front door to fellowship.”
  

The Merlot Sideshow
Latino Leaders, February 2007

"We’re at the start of a new phase in the American Merlot story. With the initial razzle-dazzle era out of the way, it’s taking its place as a great wine."
 

Rosés for the Holidays
Latino Leaders, October/November 2006

“… ‘tis the season to crack open a bottle or two of Rosè. And I don’t mean anything sweet and syrupy. A dry Rosè will be crisp, complex and fruity …”
 

Does Vintage Matter?
Latino Leaders, August/September 2006

“In a 2005 survey of U.S. wine drinkers a whopping two out of three wine consumers could not correctly describe what is meant by the vintage date.”
 

The Wine’s in the Mail
Latino Leaders, June/July 2006

“…thanks to a decision by the Supreme Court last year, the old wine shipping laws got a big shake-up … Some beloved bottles may be only be a mouse-click away.”
 

But Does the Wine Taste Better?
Latino Leaders, April/May 2006

“While I’ve welcomed earth-friendly changes in California vineyards, I have often wondered if they also improve the wine.”
 

Finding the Words in Your Wine
Latino Leaders, February/March 2006

“Whether you're tasting with a group of newbies or with seasoned wine critics, consensus is rare ... each wine will gather its own fans and inspire hecklers.”
 

Let the Bubbles Begin
Latino Leaders, December 2005/January 2006

“It's a loss that sparkling wine is so widely treated as a liquid appetizer when they can be amazing companions throughout an entire meal.”
 

Making Reds Red and Whites White
Latino Leaders, October/November 2005

“It’s a tough choice sometimes: dark and extracted vs. lush and fruity ...”
 

Uncorking a World of Opinions
Latino Leaders, August/September 2005

“As a young winemaker it took me a long time to become Zen-like about the published critiques of the wines I helped make ...”
 

Waiter, There's a Tree in My Wine
Latino Leaders, June/July 2005

“Sure, wine ages in oak barrels, but how exactly is one affected by the other? You certainly don't see acorns floating in your glass ...”
 

You’re in a Vineyard, Speak Spanish
Latino Leaders, April/May 2005

“ … the first-line winemaking team is the vineyard crew, the men and women who ensure that at harvest we’ve got loads of beautiful clusters to crush.”
 

Decoding Wine Labels
Latino Leaders, February/March 2005

“I’m sorry to say that the arcane wording on wine labels often keeps people at arms length from its enjoyment …”
 

Time in a Bottle
Latino Leaders, December 2004/January 2005

“… the New Years resolution I hear most often has to do with getting serious about cellaring wines …”
 

Discovering the Vineyard in Your Glass
Latino Leaders, October/November, 2004

“Two wines from the same growing season, same grape variety, and same state – with so little in common. Why are they so different?”
 

Wines That Move Mountains
Latino Leaders, August/September 2004

“During my first visit to Europe, I drove through the Italian Alps and nearly got a neck cramp craning to get a look at vineyards that seemed to defy gravity …”
 

A Quick History of the Wine in Your Glass
Latino Leaders, June/July 2004

“In spite of wine’s image as something that is reverently stored for years in dusty cellars, most wine is consumed within about four hours of being purchased. …”

 

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