This week, Cuvée Dray reached a major milestone: $50,000 donated to Valley Humane Society. We are celebrating with an adoption event on October 14th—more info below!
Cuvée Dray, our scrumptious Bordeaux-style red wine named for our beloved winery dog, Draymond, has been a labor of love from its earliest conception. The idea was born during the difficulties and lockdown in 2020. When we needed a way to look toward brighter days, a lot of us turned towards our pets for companionship. In them, we could find a break from the negativity and turmoil happening around us. With some extra time on our hands and renewed love for our furry friends, an idea was developed: a wine crafted that for every bottle sold, we would donate $10 to our friends at Valley Humane Society.
Since its conception, we have released two vintages of Cuvée Dray which were both met with rave reviews and critical acclaim. The bottle’s label, featuring a sketch of our beloved Dray in the vineyard as a puppy, brings joy to many and reminds of why we love what we do. Making people smile with good wine for a good cause is something worth pursuing!
Draymond works hard around here to keep morale up, setting an example of exuberance and friendliness. Dray is a happy dog, and the wine that bears his name spreads joy in the tasting room and beyond. After being released in both the Ruby Hill and Rubino Estates tasting rooms in August 2021, the gorgeous wine and adorable bottle captured the palates and hearts of many.
The donations inspired and encouraged by Dray’s attitude and deep, soulful eyes go a long way to help our community, and we could not do it without you! When this project started, our goal was to raise $20,000 for Valley Humane Society. A huge thank you to the many guests and members who have spread the love for Cuvée Dray, making these $50,000 possible. It is both a privilege and honor to support Valley Humane Society and the amazing work they do to enrich the lives of people and pets alike.
To celebrate this milestone, we will be hosting a dog adoption event in partnership with Valley Humane Society!
Come visit us on October 14th from 11am - 2pm at our sister winery, Rubino Estates to meet all of the available four-legged friends ready for adoption into their fur-ever home. It's time for you to meet your new best friend!
When it comes time to raise a glass to summer celebrations and the treasured moments of life, what kind of glass are you holding? We are firm believers that every wine glass should have something to offer, enhancing your experience of your favorite wines.
The world of wine glasses offers astonishing diversity of size, shape, thickness, and cost. The basic anatomy of a glass includes the base, sometimes called the foot, the stem, the bowl, and the rim. Each of these plays a role in the efficacy of the glass. For practical purposes, the job of a wine glass is to direct the distinct characteristics of a wine to key regions of the nose and tongue, allowing the wine to be appreciated for its aroma, taste, and visual beauty. Depending on the varietal and style, the best glass for the task varies.
With such a wide range of wine glass designs, are there ideal pairings of wines with specific glasses? Yes! The geometry of wine glasses has an effect on the experience and taste of wine, and science backs it up. Because every wine varietal has different characteristics, glasses of different shapes can bring out subtle differences and enhance the experience of trying new varietals and blends. In most cases, the differences are minimal, but it offers an opportunity for exploration for a curious palate or a serious wine lover.
Ruby Hill Winery’s Guide: What kind of wine glass should you use?
For sparkling wines, including Brut or Champagne, the flute is the classic option. The long, tall shape of the bowl allows the streams of bubbles to rise in picturesque columns and last longer. However, if you're savoring a more complex sparkling wine, go for a glass with a wider bowl to allow for more aroma to be released.
Light, Crisp White Wines
Lighter white wines, such as our Sauvignon Blanc, are perfect when enjoyed from a glass with a smaller mouth in order to limit oxidation and highlight the fresh nuances and complexities of the wine. A bowl on the thinner side also helps capture the crispness of these white wines.
Bigger, Mature White Wines
Fuller-bodied white wines are best enjoyed in a glass of similar size to the lighter white wines. The smaller size better preserves the delicate floral notes and the cooler temperature of the wine. Oaked white wines like our Reserve Chardonnay shine in a glass with a larger opening, allowing the subtle sweetness and acidity to come through on the palate.
Lovely Rosés, particularly those on the younger side like our 2021 Grapeful Rosé, can be enjoyed from a glass with a flared rim. This uncommon shape brings the wine to the tip of the tongue where the subtle notes of sweetness can be best detected. The wine should also be freshly chilled, as these delicate notes become more muddled as the wine warms up.
Lighter red wines, such as our Sangiovese, are hard to go wrong with. They hold up to a range of sizes and shapes; any classic wine glass with a medium-width bowl and moderate opening will do. If you prefer a more casual option, you can go with a stemless glass since the wine is less affected by the transfer of heat from one’s hand.
Bigger, Bolder Reds
For wines with bold flavor and structure like our Jewel Petite Sirah, look for a glass with a wide bowl and rim. The generous bowl allows the complex aroma to open up, allowing you to enjoy both the overtones and the more delicate undertones. For optimal enjoyment of these bold beauties, look for wine glasses made from spun crystal. These glasses have a very thin rim, allowing for a smoother flow of wine across the tongue.
When it comes to serving sweet, port-style wines, opt for small glasses. The high alcohol content and delectable sweetness of wines like our Solera Dessert Wine make for a delicious sip. Glasses designed specifically for sweet wine have a smaller opening and direct wines to the back of the mouth to allow the sweetness to register without overwhelming the palate.
General tips for wine glass etiquette:
Filling a glass to about 1/3 full allows a space for the aroma of the wine to collect in the glass, and leaves space for swirling. Additionally, we think that simple and classic is the way to go, but we also appreciate the dazzling aesthetics of more complex glasses, so pick what makes you happy! Just remember: it's what's on the inside that counts.
Spring has brought the warmth and brightness we have been hoping for! To make sure that we appreciate this much anticipated change, we are soaking in the sunshine with our favorite chilled wines, particularly our Grapeful Rosé. Ideal for days like these, each crisp sip of this dry rosé leaves you refreshed and delighted.
All of the sunny days we've had inspired up to make a rosé cocktail that we can enjoy all summer long. With only a few simple ingredients, this beverage comes together in just a few minutes! As an additional bonus, take advantage of cherry picking season and add on some freshly ripened cherries for the ultimate effervescent spring-to-summer spritzer.
Rosé Sunshine Spritzer
- 10 ounces Grapeful Rosé, chilled
- 4 ounces elderflower liqueur (we recommend St Germain)
- Sparkling water, chilled
- 6 cherries, pitted and halved
- 2 sprigs of mint for garnish
- This recipe makes 2 spritzers, so take 2 glasses of your choice, add half of the cherries to each and carefully mash them with the back of a spoon or muddler. If using a wine glass, do so carefully. A rocks glass works as well for easier muddling.
- Add ice to each glass, then pour the Rosé and Elderflower Liqueur over the top of each.
- Top up each glass with sparkling water then garnish with mint.
Based on Dash of Jazz's Cherry Rosé Spritzer
With Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, we want to make sure the mothers in our lives feel the love, support, and appreciation they deserve. Of course, this is true no matter what time of year we’re in, but this is a wonderful opportunity to go above and beyond, showering mom with gifts, kind words, and more. We’ve put together some ideas for how to express appreciation for mothers, grandmothers, aunts and other trusted ladies in your life.
Picking something meaningful to give, do, or say can be a challenge, especially when there’s no way you’ll be able to encapsulate your full appreciation. Even so, here are a few ideas that you can use as inspiration!
Give her a gift. Presents are a great way to show that you know someone, what they like or don’t like, and that you care about them. You can base your gift on an inside joke or a shared memory, go small or extravagant. The options don’t end at traditional items like flowers and jewelry; you can try picking a bottle of wine she’ll enjoy, self-care products and a mini spa day, or even a nifty gadget she might like.
Cooking a special meal is another way to express appreciation. Invite her to enjoy a meal made with love, whether it’s an old favorite recipe or something new and exciting! If cooking isn’t your specialty, you can also treat her to brunch at a restaurant she enjoys.
Write a letter or a card. Sometimes a gift isn’t necessary--it’s worthwhile to share our love, admiration, and appreciation in words that she can treasure. The act of writing it down is also a great way to reflect on your own thankfulness, which is always healthy!
Most importantly, make sure you spend time with her. It’s easy to be busy, but take some time out of your day to just be with her and enjoy her company. Go for a walk, enjoy a wine tasting, watch a movie, or just chat. Doing things together is better than doing them alone!
This weekend, enjoy our Sparkling Wine sale or take advantage of our Wine of the Month sale to get a tasty Rosé for mom. No matter what you do, make sure it comes from the heart. This is an opportunity to show how much you care!
One of our favorite winery projects is our partnership with Valley Humane Society. Inspired by our love of all four-legged friends, especially our winery dog Draymond, we donate $10 for every bottle of our Cuvée Dray sold. Dray is a happy dog, and the wine that bears his name spreads joy in the tasting room and beyond. We are delighted to report that since the initial release of this scrumptious Bordeaux-style blend in August of 2021, we have donated $46,730 to VHS, supporting local pets and the people who care for them.
If you want to join us in supporting Valley Humane Society, there are a lot of ways to lend a paw!
First, you can give generously of your time. VHS is always on the lookout for good people with a heart for animals. Through consistent effort, this is a direct and impactful way to help out. Volunteering might even mean joining the foster program to give a little extra love to a pet waiting for their forever home! Click here to learn more about how you can help by volunteering.
You can always donate money or goods when you have the desire and ability to do so. VHS relies on community support to fulfill their mission to “create a world in which every animal is loved and every person knows the love of an animal.” Your help can save the lives of local cats and dogs and enrich the community through the various programs of VHS including humane education, pet therapy visits, pet guardian resources and more. VHS also has a list of items on their website that are helpful to their projects, just click here!
Of course, our favorite way to show support is to adopt! You can provide the home and care that these precious pets need, and you’ll receive the unconditional love of a furry friend. See adoptable pets and learn more about adoption by clicking here. You can also support VHS and other shelters by spreading the word and sharing the adoptions stories of your own pets!
Every dollar counts, because even a small change can make a big difference in the lives of animals in need. For every bottle of Cuvée Dray you purchase and enjoy, you’re helping precious pets. The donations from this project help to provide them with food, shelter, medical care, and other essential needs. You can feel good knowing that your purchase helps support a worthy cause, ensuring that VHS can continue to do their important work.
Barrel tastings come in all shapes and sizes. You may have had the fun of tasting a wine straight from a barrel at an event or a tour behind the scenes of a winery, but not all barrel tastings are created equal. Some wines tasted from the barrel have been in the barrel for a short time. Usually, they are a single varietal, unfinished, unbalanced, and sometimes even a little astringent. This is normal for the early stages of barrel aging. Oak provides smoothness, roundness, and balance to a wine, but it takes time. Fortunately, it's worth the wait!
Some wines, usually red wines, spend nearly two years in oak barrels before they are bottled, and some take even longer. At our sister winery Rubino Estates, for example, you can enjoy a Barbera that spends 40 months in oak before it is bottled. Other barrel tastings take place much later in the process of the wine’s aging, when a finished wine has been balanced and blended with other oak and varietals to perfect the wine. These tastings actually offer a glimpse of what the wine will be like when it finds its way into the bottle.
One special wine world tradition, known as en primeur, allows some critics, collectors, journalists, and major importers to taste the barrels after they have been blended into their final forms and have a chance to pre-order the wines they like. Traditionally, these events are held in the springtime and the wines are delivered once they are bottled later in the year. In tasting these en primeur also known as “futures” from the barrel, a wine lover has the chance to taste what they like, gain guaranteed access to limited release wines, and take the chance to secure a bargain price.
Wine futures are an exciting investment and offer intimate knowledge of the lifespan of your favorite wines, from our club exclusive wines to our Reserve and Jewel Collections. At Back to the Futures, our wine futures event, you have the chance to taste our upcoming releases straight from the barrel. This is an opportunity line no other: you can try your favorite wines before they’re bottled and get behind-the-scenes insight into our winemaking process! We're also offering a special pre-order discount on our barrel tasting futures. Save 35-40% off the retail price of these phenomenal wines and get first access once they’ve been bottled. The value of your ticket will be credited toward each 6-bottle pre-order.
Back to the Futures, our exclusive barrel tasting event, will be hosted at our sister winery Rubino Estates next Saturday, April 22nd, at 6:30 click here to get your tickets now. So, what are you waiting for? Come join us for Futures Night and experience the magic of winemaking firsthand!
Here at Ruby Hill, we like to stand up for underappreciated varietals. Today, we are shining the spotlight on the beauty of Sangiovese, a bright red varietal of Italian origin. Often called by the nickname “Sangio” around here, this grape grows prolifically in its home region of Tuscany, and is the most planted varietal in Italy. In the US, it’s a precious find, with fewer than 1,500 acres planted here in California. We introduced a Sangiovese back in 2007 and have proudly cultivated and shared it ever since.
The relative obscurity of Sangiovese is no fault of its own; the deep purple grapes produce a gorgeous red color and cherry flavors, with incredible flavor variation determined by the growing environment. These gorgeous wines with amazing flavor are well-respected worldwide, especially in their starring roles in Chianti Classico and Super Tuscans and the adaptability for pairing.. In general, however, Bordeaux-style wines have more name recognition in the United States. In the 1980s, a subtle but impactful Cal-Ital movement took hold of the wine scene, wherein California’s wine lovers began to reach beyond French classics like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir and explore the delicious world of Italian reds, Sangiovese included.
Our Sangiovese, which we are celebrating as March’s Wine of the Month, boasts juicy flavors and aromas you can relish. With balanced elements of fruit, acid, and tannin, it’s a pairing superstar, especially with pizza and pasta, but also with meatloaf, roast chicken, and other medium fare. Our Sangiovese is rustic, robust, and gorgeous, perfect at pizza night and elegant dinners alike. For our wine aficionados enjoying Ruby Hill Sangiovese, expect notes of strawberry, sweet cherry, and dried cranberry on the nose and the palate, joined by ripe raspberry. Through the end and the finish, look for a touch of dark fruit, including blackberries, and a fun whisper of vanilla from oak aging. Don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the color—a vibrant ruby hue that no other varietal wine can match.
It is time for a game night? While we wait on the spring weather to chase away the rain and clouds, we’re appreciating our favorite indoor activities. This week, we are having some fun with creating “pairings” of wine and games. These classic games are good for playing with family and friends, and sharing a bottle of wine together makes the moments sweeter! Here are the wines to open on game night:
Wine & Game Pairing 1: Sparkling Wine & Blackjack
Sometimes, you just need something that isn’t complicated. These offer good, straightforward fun in the form of a classic.
Wine & Game Pairing 2: Sangiovese & Gin Rummy
Pair this distinct red with a classic card game for two! We like these because they are approachable and adaptable, easily enjoyed by amateurs and aficionados alike.
Wine & Game Pairing 3: Cuvée Dray & Clue
We like this combo for when we’re feeling inquisitive and want to “sniff out” the perpetrator in a classic mystery game! Clue-ve Dray, anyone?
Wine & Game Pairing 4: Grapeful Red & Uno
Both of these are here for you when you want to have some easy colorful fun. Whether you play a wild card or get hit with a draw 4, it’s simple and entertaining.
Wine & Game Pairing 5: Chardonnay & Monopoly
What’s a classic that can be strangely polarizing? These both are! Best thing is, however, they’re both worth taking some time to appreciate and savor.
Wine & Game Pairing 6: Peacock Patch Zinfandel and Rook
For this pairing, we are leaning into our bird appreciation. This trick-taking game encourages you to have fun getting into the heads of your fellow players.
Wine & Game Pairing 7: Reserve Petite Sirah & Cards Against Humanity
These two are perfect for moments you want to lean into your dark side a bit! This combo is rich with flavor, laughter, and opportunities for your next inside joke.
Wine & Game Pairing 8: Jewel Petit Verdot & Trivial Pursuit
Both of these cater to the group that has an appreciation for the power of subtleties and knowledge. Bonus points for enjoying your wine with a cheese cut into wedges!
Wine & Game Pairing 9: Intesa & Quiddler
If you want a fun word game that doesn't force you to pull out a dictionary, Quiddler is a nice intellectual and niche option, pairing well with our Cab-Barbera blend Intesa.
Wine & Game Pairing 10: Riverbed Red & Settlers of Catan
For when you want something that is deliciously complex and not always for the faint of heart, go for this rich combination.
Wine & Game Pairing 11: Jewel Petite Sirah & Risk
When you are ready to take some time, savor, and strategize, then you need a wine that’s up to that challenge. This pairing is an alliance that won’t let you down!
Wine & Game Pairing 12: Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon & Checkers
Sometimes, you want something that’s just plain classic, and this combination can do that. Get kinged while enjoying the king of wines!
We hope you’ll make some memories, savor some triumphant wins, delicious wines, and delightful company.
Today is National Mulled Wine day, and with the weather we’ve been having, it’s a welcome holiday! There is something perfect and soothing about a mug of perfection in your hand that warms you from the inside out. We love Mulled Wine not just for its coziness, but also for its versatility. Depending on what ingredients are available and what flavors you enjoy, you can customize to your heart’s content! Below, we’ve included a recipe we enjoy and hope you will too.
Ruby Hill Mulled Wine
- 1 bottle Ruby Hill Sangiovese
- 1 1/2 cup Apple Cider (cold pressed or cloudy is ideal)
- 1/2 cup Cranberry Juice
- 1/4 cup Honey or Brown Sugar
- 2 Large Oranges, sliced into rounds
- 1 Large Apple, sliced into half moons
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- 3 Star Anise Pods
- 1 tsp Whole Cloves
- 1 pinch Ground Nutmeg
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well. For convenience, consider placing the whole spices in a cheesecloth pouch or something similar so you won’t need to fish them out later.
- Allow the mulled wine to steep for at least 15 minutes or as long as desired.
- Serve warm!
If you would prefer to make your mulled wine in a crock pot, combine all ingredients and leave the pot on low for 2-3 hours. Serve warm.
Make this mulled wine your own or mix and match to find your favorite flavor. Try creative additions like pomegranate, cherries, or cranberries, sliced fresh ginger, fresh rosemary, allspice berries (about 4), cardamom pods (about 5) or spike things up with 1/2 cup of orange liqueur or apple brandy. This recipe is yours!
We hope you are keeping warm and cozy!
When pouring and serving wine, the wide variety of options can be a bit overwhelming. To help simplify this a bit, it helps to know the benefits of each option to find what suits you. You always have the option of serving wine straight from the bottle. Often, this will work just fine! Simple carafes are also helpful to show off the color of the wine, or to make the wine easier to pour. The ever-popular elevated option, the decanter, offers unique benefits. Should you decant your wine? Read on and discover if this is right for your bottle!
A Brief History
Decanters actually find their origins as far back as ancient Greece, where they would have been made out of clay. Later, the Romans introduced the use of glass as the preferred material for serving wine. The decanter’s characteristic slender neck with its elegance and drama became standard among Venetians during the Renaissance. Very few changes have been made to the overall design concept since then, though we do see a wide variety of shapes as glass blowing technology has advanced.
Benefits of Decanting
When it comes to the actual benefits for wine, there are three main factors: aeration, elimination of sediment, and aesthetics. Every wine will benefit from these things differently, so there are a few important details to consider.
To Aerate or Not to Aerate
There is a wide range of opinion within the wine world regarding aeration, but the simple answer is that allowing wine to “breathe” allows for a new perspective on your wine. By pouring wine into a decanter, aeration releases aromas for fuller enjoyment. In the case of big, especially tannic reds, an hour or so in the decanter before pouring yields a smoother, more enjoyable wine. For wines that are more medium-bodied, similar benefits are offered by a slightly shorter aeration time, 30 minutes to an hour. Delicate wines such as those that have been aged for a long time or light red varietals like Sangiovese or Pinot Noir need very little time. Delicate tropical or fruity notes may be muted after extensive aeration, so if the wine you are enjoying displays these flavors, decanting may be less ideal.
A popular benefit of decanters is to limit sediment in wine. Sediment is naturally formed over time in wine bottles, particularly reds with at least 5-10 years of aging.. It is not harmful to the flavor or integrity of the wine, but it’s not exactly pleasing to the eye or on the palate. Fortunately, many wineries, Ruby Hill included, use advanced filtration systems that prevent excessive sediment levels. Even still, sediment is nothing to be feared especially if you have a decanter.
Pouring and Serving Tips
Before serving, it’s wise to leave the bottle upright for 24 hours to let the sediment settle at the bottom. When you’re ready to enjoy, pour slowly into the decanter, with the bottle at a 45 degree angle, allowing the sediment to collect at the base of the wine bottle’s neck, and leave the last ounce of liquid in the bottle. Decanters are also useful if a cork breaks and crumbles into the wine—just place a strainer over the mouth of the decanter as you pour from the bottle.
The final benefit of the decanter is simple aesthetics. There’s no shame in appreciating something elegant, beautiful, and with just a touch of drama!
Whether you decant or not, what's most important is that you enjoy your favorite wines in your favorite way. Shop our full collection of local estate-grown wines today!
Enjoy complimentary ground shipping when you order 6 or more bottles.
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