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Ruby Hill Winery
May 21, 2021 | Ruby Hill Winery

Feeling Oaky: Weird Facts about Barrels

They say “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” and when it comes to our wine barrels, we agree. Even still, we’re happy to take a moment to appreciate what these oaken masterpieces bring to the industry. Below, we’ve included some of our favorite obscure barrel facts. See if you can find a favorite!

Barrels were a much needed innovation

Wooden barrels have an illustrious history that dates back as far as 350 BC. Prior to barrels, wine was stored in containers made of clay or goat skins. The clay containers, called amphorae, were infamous for being heavy and highly breakable (not to mention the flavor they could impart). The transition from clay to wooden barrels began during the Roman times. 

Tiny artisan barrels were a beloved possession

Early barrels were produced on a very small scale as drinking vessels. Small staves of oak, yew or pine would be tightly fastened together by metal loops. Craftsmen would make these vessels using precious metals and the resulting items were so prized by those who owned them that they sometimes chose to be buried with them.

Early barrels might remind you of an IKEA project

Archaeological finds of early full-size wooden barrels show that some barrels included Roman numerals on the staves to aid in assembly if needed. After the barrels had fulfilled their purpose, the staves were often reused to line shallow wells. Barrels in this era could be made from silver fir, cedar, larch, or oak.

Barrels brought peril

As barrels continued to be produced as handy tools, they earned a small role in warfare. While besieging cities, Julius Caesar would order barrels of tar to be set ablaze and then catapulted into the city. On at least one occasion, the town returned fire by rolling flaming barrels back down onto the attacking forces. 

Barrels give some up to the angels

Even though barrels are remarkably watertight, there is always a slight loss of volume due to evaporation while wine or another distilled spirit is aging in an oak barrel. The evaporated portion is a combination of water and alcohol and is referred to as the “angels share.” Winemakers account for this loss and monitor the capacity of the barrels. 

Since its invention in 1868, the pepper mash used to make Tabasco sauce is aged for three years in previously used oak whiskey barrels.

Barrels are a cask of all trades

You probably knew that barrels are the container of choice for aging wine and whiskey, but how about other products? Historically, resources like gunpowder, meat, fish, paint, honey, nails and tallow would be stored in wooden casks. In modern times, barrels are used for products like traditional balsamic vinegar, specialty tequila, and Tabasco sauce.

Barrel anatomy words are great for scrabble

The words used to describe the different pieces of a barrel include staves, bilge, chime, and bung hole. Rather than a “lid” wine barrels have a small hole, called a bung hole. The bung hole is drilled in one of the staves at the bilge, which is the widest part of the barrel. The stopper (called the “bung”) is usually made of white silicone and keeps the precious cargo from leaking out.

If you would like to repurpose a decommissioned Ruby Hill barrel, we're selling! Our 100% oak barrels have served their time keeping our wine safe and delicious and are now looking for a new home. Available for pickup anytime at our sister winery, Rubino Estates. Call (925) 484-1699 with inquiries or to purchase your own! 

Time Posted: May 21, 2021 at 5:26 AM Permalink to Feeling Oaky: Weird Facts about Barrels Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
May 14, 2021 | Ruby Hill Winery

Grilled Filet Mignon for Jewel Cabernet Sauvignon

The weather is officially warming up! Spring is on its way out and summer is quickly approaching, which means we're ready to fire up the grill and relax by the pool. This Sunday, May 16th is National Barbecue Day, and that’s great news for us. We’ve just introduced a new vintage of our Jewel Collection Cabernet Sauvignon, so we’re ready for a celebratory steak dinner—we have our eye on rich cuts of beef to pair with a wine like our Jewel Cab. We feel it’s proper to splurge on a hearty helping of filet mignon to welcome this new vintage. For pairing purposes, this cut is best served between rare and medium-rare, and a topping of herb butter never hurts! 

Below, we’ve included a quick guide for reliably delicious grilled filet mignon, with mouthwatering char and perfect color. When grilling your filet, a minute or two can make a world of difference, so don’t sweat it if it takes time to perfect your technique. 

Foolproof Grilled Filet Mignon

For the Steak

  • 2 10-ounce tenderloin beef filets (roughly 2 inches thick)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, removed from sprig and minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Garlic & Herb Butter

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, removed from sprig and minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


  1. Season both sides of the filet generously with salt and pepper and fresh rosemary. Rub with a little olive oil and let rest for 30 minutes before cooking. This is to bring the steak to room temperature and ensure your cooking times are accurate.
  2. While the steak is resting, begin preparing the butter. Gently soften (do not melt) the butter in the microwave, about 10-15 seconds. When the butter is soft and malleable, work the rosemary and garlic into the butter. 
  3. Spoon the seasoned butter onto tin foil, reshaping it to roughly resemble two large pats of butter. Be as artistic as you like, they don’t have to be perfect. 
  4. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes; remove 5 minutes prior to topping your filet.
  5. Preheat your grill to high heat. Keep the lid closed and let the internal temperature reach around 500° F.
  6. Once the steaks have reached room temp in their seasonings and the grill is preheated, place the filets face down on the grill and sear undisturbed for 5 minutes. Flip the filets and sear for an additional 5 minutes. This is ideal for medium rare.
  7. Remove filets from the grill and set on a plate. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. This is important to bring your steak to its final serving temperature and seal in the precious juices. Top with a slice of your seasoned butter and serve with a glass of wine.

Additional Tips:

If you have a favorite level of doneness, adjust the sear time. For rare, cut down the sear time to 4 minutes per side. Increase one minute for each level of doneness:
Medium rare, 5 minutes.
Medium, 6-7 minutes.
Medium well, 8+ minutes.

Remember, depending on the size of the steak, the more or less time it will take. This recipe is ideal for an 8-10 ounce portion, roughly 2 inches thick. We recommend using a digital thermometer to confirm, and enjoy making the perfect steak every time! 

Serve your filet with a glass of our new 2018 Jewel Cabernet Sauvignon and your favorite side. We recommend continuing the celebration of all things cookout with Grilled Mexican Street Corn or Old-Fashioned Potato Salad!

Are you ready for barbecue season? Tag us on social media to let us know your favorite cookout pairings @rubyhillwines!

Time Posted: May 14, 2021 at 1:18 PM Permalink to Grilled Filet Mignon for Jewel Cabernet Sauvignon Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
May 7, 2021 | Ruby Hill Winery

A Wine Glass Bouquet

Spring is in full swing and summer is fast approaching here in the scenic Livermore Valley! We don’t want to let spring slip away without taking a few moments to stop and smell the roses. Admittedly, our favorite kind of "bouquet" is the collection of delicate aromas found in a glass of wine, but we’ve learned to appreciate the smell of the flowers themselves. Sometimes, the bouquet of a wine features floral characteristics, some of which may also appear on the palate. Tossing flowers into barrels is not a part of our process, so how do wines earn these lovely essences? The wine grapes themselves have a number of compounds in their pulp and skins which are also found in other plants, including aromatic flowers. Wines may be described as having notes of violet, lily-of-the-valley, iris, and many more. Several of the wines here at Ruby Hill Winery boast a flowery touch, making them a perfect wine for savoring the remainder of springtime. This week, we're reflecting on a few of these wines, and the symbolism behind their floral accents. 

Jewel Collection Petit Verdot and Lilacs

The Petit Verdot varietal is known for carrying an essence of violet amidst bold flavors. In addition to these delicate complexities, our Jewel Petit Verdot presents pleasant notes of lilac. Lilac flowers grow in fragrant bunches, blossoming for only 2 weeks in late spring. These blossoms are featured in Greek myth to represent the joy and first love of youth. In our Jewel Petit Verdot, we say that love has matured well!

Grapeful Rosé and Roses

Quite fittingly, our Grapeful Rosé is highly aromatic with the scent of roses, delighting one's senses with the classic fragrance. This wine is light, crisp, and refreshing, making it the ideal beverage for summer sipping. Our Rosé earns its color from the combination of Trebbiano, a white wine grape, with the rich purple-red hue of Petit Verdot. Pink roses can symbolize grace, admiration, loveliness, and thankfulness. Pink wine, on the other hand, symbolizes something delicious (in our opinion). 

Reserve Chardonnay and Honeysuckle

White wines generally offer an even broader selection of floral notes, and our Reserve Chardonnay is no exception. This rich and buttery Chardonnay has a gorgeous aroma, including layered honeysuckle, cloves, vanilla, wildflowers and lemon curd. The climbing vines of honeysuckle boast fragrant leaves in addition to their sweet-scented blossoms. These flowers are irresistible to butterflies and hummingbirds, and add another lovely layer of appeal to our Reserve Chardonnay. 

Jewel Collection Chardonnay and Orange Blossoms

The semi-sweet citrus character of orange blossoms delicately frames the creamy flavors of butterscotch and s’mores on the palate as you enjoy this wine. For centuries, brides were adorned with orange blossoms which represented good luck, fertility, and innocence. Now, we appreciate the timeless enjoyment of our Jewel Chardonnay, which is a delight on the palate and perfect in every season.


Mother's Day is coming up this Sunday, so it's the perfect time to find mom's favorite flowers and buy a wine to match! Is there any better gift?

Time Posted: May 7, 2021 at 12:15 AM Permalink to A Wine Glass Bouquet Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
April 30, 2021 | Ruby Hill Winery

Accessories to Dye For

If you’re a long-time fan of Ruby Hill Winery, you’re probably familiar with our family of Grapeful wines. With our delightfully drinkable Grapeful Red, crisp Grapeful White, and the newest addition of Grapeful Rosé, we’re here to remind everyone that life’s too short to take too seriously. Inspired by the iconic fan-made merchandise of the Grateful Dead, our Grapeful Red label and t-shirts are a colorful reminder of good times. This week, we’ve been encouraged by our lively label to look for some options for home tie-dye projects, beyond the classic t-shirts.


Tie-dye napkins

Napkins are a lovely way to add a pop of color to any table setting. These jazzy napkins use an ice-dye technique for a subdued look, but the possibilities are as endless as your imagination. 



Tie-dyed beach blanket

Whether you bring it to the beach or plan a backyard picnic, this blanket is a perfect blank canvas for artistic creativity. Choose colors inspired by summer and get ready for some time in the sunshine!



Tie-dyed socks

Whether you show them off with the classic "socks and sandals" look or prefer to keep it subtle, these socks are lively and bright. Live in technicolor and spread some smiles with this simple DIY project. 



Tie-dyed shoes

These shoes are a great summer craft and require only some basic household materials. These colorful kicks use permanent markers, making them perfectly customizable to your taste!



Tie-dye tote bag

I'f you're looking for a fashionable multipurpose tote, look no further than a simple cotton bag. Perfect for books, groceries, and everything in between, a splash of color adds a dose of fun. 


If you're interested in any of these projects, click the photos for step-by-step tutorials for each creation! A multitude of dyeing methods can be found across the internet, from classic spirals, to ice dyeing, to tie-dyeing with bleach. No matter the method, every tie-dyed piece is unique to the creator and can’t be replicated. This summer is a perfect time to pop open a bottle of your favorite Grapeful wine and rock a psychadelic kaleidoscope of one-of-a-kind tie-dye accessories.

If you’re looking for fresh and crisp, take a look at our Spring White Wine mixed case, on sale for just a few more days. It features our Grapeful White and Grapeful Rosé, as well as Sauvignon Blanc and Reserva Chardonnay!

Time Posted: Apr 30, 2021 at 12:23 AM Permalink to Accessories to Dye For Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
April 23, 2021 | Ruby Hill Winery

How to Bee Kind this Earth Month

In recognition of Earth Day, we wanted to take some time to recognize the underappreciated labor of our hardworking pollinator friends. This week, we’re looking into the work done by pollinating insects and animals, helping to keep our planet beautiful, upholding ecosystems, and producing natural resources. Grapevines, our favorite crop, are what is called a self-pollinating plant—they need only wind to fertilize and reproduce. If our vines don’t need the help of bees or other pollinators, why is the health of these creatures so important to us? 

The short answer is simply that the beauty and fertility of our estate as a whole, depends on fruitful pollination. In order for our soil to have all of the nutrients it needs for luscious vines (which make luscious wines) we need a rich collection of other plants in and around our vineyards. Our estate boasts flowers, shrubs, and trees of many kinds, including regal rose bushes, fragrant rosemary, and citrus and pepper trees, all of which provide food for bees. Additionally, the grasses and flowering clumps that the bees nourish on the estate provide a home for predatory insects which do the noble work of preying on insects and parasites that would otherwise prey on the grapevines. Some bees also boost pollen yields and fruitfulness in grapevines by removing the pollen-containing caps of grapevine flowers. When bees and other pollinators are able to function at their best, so is our estate! 

Plan Bee: How to Help Boost Pollinator Health in Your Backyard

Prioritize your garden – Home gardens do attract pollinators! In fact, some research has shown that urban and suburban gardens have more pollinator diversity than nearby wildlands. 

Go for a colorful landscape – Choosing a spectrum of colors is beautiful and helps expand the flowering season. 

Use native plants in home gardening – By choosing native plants you’ll attract and support a range of busy bees and meet the needs of native wildlife. 

Tolerate a little mess – It’s okay to leave dead snags, some leaf litter, and even some bare patches. Helpful ground nesting insects will thank you! A few weeds also provide food for pollinators

Support Farmers and Beekeepers – purchase local honey and locally produced organic foods. Farmers Market, here we come!

Though self-pollinating crops are more self-sustaining, at least 80% of the world’s crop species require pollination to live. It’s estimated that at least one out of every three bites of food (in addition to ½ of the world’s oils, fibers and raw materials) was made possible by the direct work of a pollinator. In the US alone, honeybees are responsible for between 1.2 and 5.4 billion dollars of agricultural productivity. We need pollinators, and they might just need us to give them a hand.

Time Posted: Apr 23, 2021 at 12:06 AM Permalink to How to Bee Kind this Earth Month Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
April 16, 2021 | Ruby Hill Winery

Wine Tasting from A to Z

Here at Ruby Hill Winery, we love to make wine tasting enjoyable and approachable for everyone. To help achieve that goal, we've put together a list, from A to Z, of a few of the words you might hear around the winery. What does it mean to call a wine "hollow" or to look at it's "legs"? Read on to discover (or review) some of the ABCs of wine tasting!

Astringency - a description of the feeling of wine in the mouth. An astringent wine will cause your mouth to pucker.

Body - a description of how “big” or heavy the wine feels in the mouth, usually described as full, medium, or light. 

Cuvée - a wine that is a blend of multiple varietals. Cuvée is also a description used to describe certain French sparkling wines. 

Dry - a wine with little to no sweetness. Dryness corresponds to the level of residual sugar, and may also be emphasized in wines with a higher alcohol content. 

Earthy - a wine with notes that are reminiscent of soil or other such aromas. The opposite of earthy is fruit-forward.

Flabby - a negative term for wine with little acidity and therefore no structure. Flabby may also describe sparkling wines that have gone “flat” and lost effervescence.   

GSM - the initials of a famous Rhône-style wine which incorporates Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvédre into a well-assembled blend. 

Hollow - a wine with flavor sensations at the beginning and finish, but lacking in the middle. Usually, hollow wines fall short due to a lack of fruitiness. 

Imperial - a very large bottle of wine containing 6 liters of wine. This bottle, also called a “Methuselah,” holds the equivalent of 8 standard bottles. 

Jeroboam - a large-format wine bottle similar to the Imperial, the Jeroboam is slightly smaller, holding 4.5 liters or 6 standard bottles. 

Kabinett - a German winemaking term that indicated quality wine made from the main harvest and set aside for later sale, similar to the term “Reserve” in English. 

Legs - a word to refer to the streaks of wine on the inside of the glass after swirling. Generally, prominent legs indicate a higher alcohol content.

Mid Palate - a term to refer to the “middle flavor” of wine, right between the first hit on the tongue and the finish after you swallow. 

Nose - a term for the first impression made through the wine’s aroma. Smelling your wine is referred to as “nosing” in some circles. 

Oaky - a family of flavors infused into wine by the oak barrels used for aging. Oaky flavors include vanilla, s’mores, butterscotch, and toast.

Primeur - a tasting that takes place straight from the barrel, before the wine has completed its aging process. In English-speaking countries this is also called a “Futures Tasting.” 

QPR - an acronym meaning “Quality-Price Ratio.” An incredible wine at an affordable price will have a high QPR. 

Riche - a French term used to refer to a very sweet wine, used especially to describe sweet sparkling wine. 

Silky - a term used to describe wines that feel soft in the mouth, generally with mild levels of acid and tannins. 

Texture - a tactile factor of wine usually described by how a wine feels in the mouth. Words like smooth, velvety, crisp, or steely are all textural descriptors. 

Unctuous - a positive descriptor for wines which are particularly weighty and rich or have a pleasantly full viscosity. 

Vintage - an indication of the year a wine’s grapes were harvested, usually stated before the varietal, such as “2016 Petite Sirah.”

Wine Tasting - an enjoyable experience of evaluating wine with all the senses, engaging scents, sights, textures, flavors and more. 

Xylem - a part of a grapevine’s structural anatomy that allows water and minerals to be carried from the root system out through the plant. 

Young - a wine that has not had a great deal of time to mature. Some wines are pleasant while young, whilst most need longer periods to age. 

Zymology - the science of fermentation, the biochemical process that turns nonalcoholic substances into something delicious.  

Hopefully, you're feeling confident and adventurous with these words in mind. Come by the tasting room to see if you can spot any of these descriptions in the wines you enjoy—and impress your friends with your skill! If you have a favorite wine word we missed, let us know on social media @rubyhilllwines.

Time Posted: Apr 16, 2021 at 12:08 AM Permalink to Wine Tasting from A to Z Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
April 9, 2021 | Ruby Hill Winery

Read, Drink, and Be Merry!

These days, there’s something to celebrate every day—but we’re not complaining! We love to appreciate the little things and take some time to celebrate the things we love. April 12th is known as national “Drop Everything and Read” Day or “D.E.A.R.” Day, so we’ve decided to pair some classic novels with delicious wines. This one is for all of our wine-loving bookworms!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen with Reserve Petite Sirah

We’ve paired this Jane Austen classic with our award-winning Reserve Petite Sirah. The smooth sips will accompany you perfectly through the Bennet Family’s drama, with bold flavors pairing up with bold characters. In the end, this comedy of manners is all about finding love, which is exactly how we feel when we open a bottle of our Petite Sirah. 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee with Jewel Petit Verdot

This story is a masterpiece designed to make the reader think. Enjoy this complex and poignant book that interfaces with justice, bias, and compassion alongside the complex bouquet and rounded structure of our Petit Verdot. Both the book and the wine are beautiful in their intricacy, linger on in your mind, and will remain enjoyable for years to come. 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald with Sparkling Wine

Of course, we’ll be popping open a bottle of sparkling for this book! There’s nothing quite like a bottle of sparkling to turn a reading nook into a tiny world of luxury. Let the bubbles transport you to the glittering grandeur of Gatsby’s mansion or to the poshness of the Plaza Hotel. Either way, it’s bright and lovely, a perfect match for the glitz of 1920s Long Island.


The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis with Reserve Chardonnay

With this combination, you can feel the beauty of a harmonious ensemble! Enjoy a symphony of pleasant flavors alongside a cast of colorful characters. While there isn’t too much secret magic behind the rich body of our Chardonnay, it’s always perfect with a flourish of whimsical adventure. 


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll with Armonia Lot #10

Much like Alice’s adventures, our Club-exclusive Armonia Lot #10 stands out as a unique and perhaps unexpected blend. Our Armonia brings together not only multiple varietals, but also multiple vintages into its harmonious blend. The rich layering of the wine stands up perfectly with the surreal and even nonsensical events of the story.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas with Peacock Patch Zinfandel

This colorful story, dense with adventure, fortune, and revenge is a rich companion for a generous glass of Peacock Patch Zin. These Zinfandel grapes are grown in a gravely block of the vineyard which causes the flavor to concentrate, in turn creating a superb wine. The Count’s story is much the same, allowing his story's rocky start to lead to wealth and strength. 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain with Riverbed Red

Though the namesake riverbed of this Club-exclusive blend has long since been dry, we still love a glass of this wine as we join Huck Finn and Jim on the Mississippi. Lively fruit notes of wild blueberry match the liveliness of Huckleberry himself, and both the wine and the story finish delightfully.


If classic novels aren’t your style, choose whatever you like! Choose the genre you want, your favorite chair or sofa, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy a touch of escapism. If you have plans for D.E.A.R. Day, we'd love to be a part of them! Let us know @rubyhillwines.


Time Posted: Apr 9, 2021 at 12:01 AM Permalink to Read, Drink, and Be Merry! Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
April 2, 2021 | Ruby Hill Winery

Easter Brunch with Ruby Hill Wines

No matter how you celebrate Easter, it's a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the arrival of the season. Personally, we're hoping the Easter Bunny will leave some bottles of wine alongside his chocolate eggs this year, perhaps some Rosé or bubbly to get us in the mood for spring. No matter how you observe this holiday, it's a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the arrival of this season and time with your family. If you're curious about the best pairings for classic Easter dishes, fear not! We've hunted down the best pairings for some of our favorite spring specialties to make your Easter brunch, lunch or dinner the best it can be. 

Classic Deviled Eggs 
• Sparkling Wine

While this combination might seem like a no-brainer for hors d'oeuvres, it's important to get it right. The sulfur in eggs may take over the palate unless the wine is just right. The richness and saltiness of the deviled eggs is beautifully complimented by the acidity and brightness of the sparkling wine, making you and your guests reach for more. Make sure your Sparkling is well chilled, and enjoy! 


Cheesy Baked Asparagus 
• Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 

Asparagus can pose a challenge for wine pairings, but the presence of the cheese in this preparation is a game-changer. Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect compliment for this marriage of cheese and asparagus, since the unique flavor profile of the Sauvignon Blanc stands up to the asparagus remarkably well, and the creaminess of the cheese is complemented delightfully by the balanced acid of the wine. 


Spring Blossom Fruit Salad
• Grapeful Rosé

Enjoy the wealth of peach, plum, and apricot notes in this aromatic Rosé alongside your favorite fruit salad. We recommend experimenting with farmers-market fresh spring fruits or early summer stone fruit. Fresh mint or a light dressing with a hint of honey and citrus can elevate your fruit salad. This fresh and inviting dish is (almost) as good as dessert, and it's the perfect way to properly savor the arrival of spring. 


Maple Glazed Ham
• Jewel Zinfandel

This festive dish is the perfect marriage of sweet, salty, and savory. This harmony of flavors is complemented by the food-friendly acidity and notes of jammy sweetness and mixed spice in our Jewel Zinfandel. The glaze on this ham caramelizes perfectly, integrating flavors for perfect harmony with our carefully crafted Zin. This wine is fresh on the palate, robust in flavor, and beautiful in color. In short: it's perfect for celebrations. 


Carrot Cake
• Reserve Chardonnay

On Easter Sunday, there's no finale quite like a delicious carrot cake with decadent vanilla cream cheese frosting. As long as it isn't carried off by the Easter Bunny himself, this cake is set to impress. Allow the spices of the cake and the creamy tang of the frosting to meld with the smooth richness of our flavorful, critically-acclaimed Chardonnay, and drift off into springtime euphoria—and perhaps a food coma too!

Happy Easter from all of us here at Ruby Hill Winery! 
If we've helped inspire your Easter menu, we'd love to know! Tag us @Rubyhillwines.

Time Posted: Apr 2, 2021 at 12:44 AM Permalink to Easter Brunch with Ruby Hill Wines Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
March 26, 2021 | Ruby Hill Winery

Golden Wine from a Wild Vine

Here at Ruby Hill Winery, Sauvignon Blanc is a family favorite. Its crisp, floral, fruity notes are perfect for celebrating the arrival of spring, but we have no trouble enjoying it all year long. We think that Sauvignon Blanc is a fascinating varietal, so we've rounded up some facts you might not know about this delectable white!

Sauvignon Blanc vines grow with determination

Hailing from the Bordeaux region of France, this vine earned the title "sauvignon" from the French word sauvage which can be translated as "wild, untamed, or feral." This name came from the vigor with which the vines grow, requiring careful maintenance to keep them in line. Literally translated, Sauvignon Blanc is "the wild white." Here at Ruby Hill, it goes by the nickname "Sauv Blanc" or sometimes even "Sauvvy-B."

Sauvignon Blanc is the mother of a classic

According to genetic analysis performed by researchers at UC Davis, Sauvignon Blanc vines played an important role in the creation of the most popular varietal in the world. Their findings showed that sometime in the 1600s, a Sauvignon Blanc cross-pollinated with a Cabernet Franc vine, producing the very first vine of Cabernet Sauvignon. It's likely this cross-breeding was by chance, but it was an accident of the best kind in our book!

Sauvingon Blanc is different around the world

This beloved wild white is grown all around the world, including France, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Chile, South Africa, and Australia (to name a few). With over 275,000 acres planted worldwide, it is the 8th-most grown wine grape in the world. Because of the delicate complexities of Sauv Blanc, there are region-specific characteristics that vary from country to country. When grown in colder areas, the wine will usually have more flavors of lime or green apple, while the wine of warmer regions may have notes of ripe passionfruit and peaches.

Tasting Sauvignon Blanc can expand your vocabulary

Well, sort of! Sauvingon Blanc was the first wine to be regularly described in terms of a unique chemical compound. Some of the flavors that are completely unique to Sauvignon Blanc are owed to substances called methoxypyrazines. This component of the wine is what causes the hallmark notes of Sauvignon Blanc, often described as herbaceous, grassy, or as having notes of gooseberry or even asparagus. 

Sauvignon Blanc is a polished pairing 

The reliably crisp nature of Sauvignon Blanc is owed to the combination of its higher acidity and fairly low sugar content. Sauv Blanc is known as an enjoyable pairing for sushi which is notoriously difficult for wine pairings. It is hard to go wrong when pairing Sauvignon Blanc with soft ripened cheeses or white meats, especially if served in a creamy sauce. Green herbs like mint or basil form a pleasant flavor bridge between the dish and the herbaceous notes of the wine. If you're looking for a pairing for Ruby Hill Winery's Sauvignon Blanc, we think this wine shines when paired with Artichoke Crab Paella.

Did any of these surprise you? Tag us @rubyhillwinery

We think it's time to go pour a glass. Our Reserve Sauvingon Blanc is on sale for only a couple more days! Enjoy our fusion of old-world style and crisp tropical refreshment for only $20.


Time Posted: Mar 26, 2021 at 12:05 AM Permalink to Golden Wine from a Wild Vine Permalink
Ruby Hill Winery
March 19, 2021 | Ruby Hill Winery

Spring in Technicolor

With recent rains and the rapid arrival of spring in Northern California, our rolling hills and scenic valleys will soon be awash in color. We’re in love with the rainbow of wildflowers and native plants that spray color of every kind across the landscape. It’s the perfect time to find a walking trail and go luxuriate in the scenery of one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world—right here. March marks the beginning of Northern California's wildflower season, which continues as late as mid-July. If you keep an eye out, you’ll find flowers in every color of the rainbow in no time. Below, we’ve listed some of our favorite blooms common to this region. 

Red - Mahogany Calliopsis

This scarlet bloom is just one variety of Calliopsis, a hardy plant that grows well even in dry or rocky soils. Also known by the common name of "Tickseed," the flowers also come in a rich golden-yellow hue, sometimes boasting a burgundy center. Historically, the flowers of the Calliopsis have been used for both red and yellow dyes. These flowers are at home in wild meadows as well as gardens, where they often attract the attention of butterflies. 


Orange - California Poppy

The iconically vibrant petals of the California Poppy unfurl themselves on warm, sunny days and fold back up in the evening. According to some records, early Spanish explorers nicknamed California "the land of fire" because of the vivid meadows along the coastline. Declared the state flower in 1903, the California poppy grows prolifically throughout the state and into other regions. Other names for this flower include the "Flame Flower" and "Copa de Oro" which means "cup of gold." 

Yellow - Wild Mustard

This cheerful yellow blossom and its common cousin Black Mustard are easily spotted throughout Northern California, content to grow nearly anywhere from vineyards to the side of the highway. Yellow Mustard is native to Eurasia, rather than California, but it thrives in this climate. It is believed that Franciscan Padres introduced the plant when they scattered mustard seeds along the 600-mile Camino Real so it could be easily found by travellers. 

Green - Grape Vines

After spending the winter months dormant and bare, the green leaves and shoots that emerge in the vineyard with the warmer weather are a welcome sight. When the conditions are right and the growth is at its peak, some grape vines can grow more than an inch in length in a single day. The blossoms themselves grow in cluster formations and the blooms last only 8-10 days. This bloom occurs around mid-May, depending on the varietal and climate of the region. 

Blue - Baby's-Blue-Eyes

These darling herbal blossoms are among the most common of California's native wildflowers. Often seen growing in gorgeous contrast among poppies, these little flowers earn their name from their white centers which emulate an "eye." These charming flowers are surprisingly hardy, having been introduced and cultivated in less favorable climates including Alaska and England. Baby's-Blue-Eyes has also been recognized by ecologists as a valuable attractor and supporter of native bee populations. 

Purple - Silver Lupine

This highly adaptable wildflower can grow gorgeous spears of purple petals up to a foot long. The Silver Lupine's flowers can range in hue from violet to pale blue and the silvery leaves give it a soft, ethereal appearance. Bitter compounds in the plant also make it a good option for gardeners looking for deer-resistant foliage. Additionally, the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly requires Lupine for a portion of its life cycle, so it's a great plant for any fan of conservation and beautiful wildflowers. 

If you're interested in going out to go wildflower-watching,
click here to find information on when and where to find the best California blooms! 

Time Posted: Mar 19, 2021 at 12:00 AM Permalink to Spring in Technicolor Permalink

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