Fine art and fine wine are truly integral to human expression and enjoyment. In every era and culture, these themes have shown themselves in some way. Today, we are taking time to look at the intersection of the two: the representation of wine in art throughout the ages.
Ancient wall art depicting harvest and winemaking. This was found in a tomb in Egypt, an example of the deep significance of wine even in ancient cultures. Wine was always among the provisions left in tombs for the afterlife of Egyptian mythology.
In an era where wine consumption was considered by some to be immoral, and was only available to wealthy nobility, wine still played a part in artistic expression. This Medieval era monastic art, celebrates the labor and process of winemaking rather than the wine itself.
This iconic painting by Cravaggio, Bacchus circa 1596, depicts the Roman god of the same name. Baccus was the deity of wine and revelry. Here, he is pictured young, flushed, and satisfied. Both Baccus and his Greek counterpart, Dionysus, were frequent subjects of art in the Renaissance era.
The stunning post-impressionist work above is entitled The Red Vineyard. This piece was painted by Vincent Van Gogh on a single day in 1888 and was the only painting he successfully sold in his lifetime. Van Gogh died destitute but left a rich collection of art that still defines the Impressionist & Post-impressionist era.
Known for his work in cubism, Pablo Picasso incorporated wine and spirits into many of his works, including this 1926 work entitled La Bouteille de Vin (The Wine Bottle). Picasso was a prolific artist, working in a range of styles and mediums, though cubist art pieces like this one are among the most iconic of his works.
Modern artistic movements include Pop Art, such as the Andy Warhol-style rendering above, and Op-art, such as the image below. Op Art is short for Optical Art, which bends the mind's perceptions of flat surfaces. Even in these aggressively modern depictions, wine finds a place.
We're always glad to take a moment to appreciate the finer things in life, from good wine to stunning art. Perhaps it's time to create some of your own, in your own style. All you need is a glass of wine and your medium of choice (paint, pencils, crayons) and you can create your own masterpiece, just for fun! Who knows, you may surprise yourself! If you give it a try, tag us @rubyhillwines.
From a bird's eye view, our Estate Vineyard forms a picturesque patchwork of vines. Our Club-Exclusive Patchwork blend seeks to honor this beauty, celebrating the lovely way our rows of vines are joined together across our acreage in careful blocks. Our entire Estate Vineyard is cherished and cared for to create fruit of optimum quality and purity. Within each block, several varietals have a special section that we farm with the utmost precision to supply our award-winning Jewel Collection series. Below, we have put together a map to see the real-world origins of the Estate-grown wines Ruby Hill Winery is known for.
Many vineyards, including ours, are planted with a north-south orientation. A peek at satellite images of the Livermore Valley will confirm this! The north-south orientation maximizes the fruit's exposure to sunlight, aiding in timely development and maturation. Selectively pruning leaves (a process fittingly called "leafing") to increase sun exposure is also a common practice. When it comes time to harvest, we value handpicking, both to support the quality of our grapes and the sustainability of our practices.
Here in the Ruby Hill Estate Vineyard, harvest 2021 is officially underway! This week, we started with Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese for our Grapeful Rosé, and Chardonnay. Our Winemaker Jesse and the absolutely stellar cellar team are tirelessly at work receiving and processing the fruit—the crucial first steps in creating the wines we love to enjoy from the fruit we have meticulously nourished. If life is too short to drink bad wine, then it's also too short to make bad wine. Fruit matters.
Which 2021 wine are you looking forward to the most? Let us know @rubyhillwines.
This week, we are celebrating our Wine of the Month: Reserve Chardonnay. Our newly-introduced 2018 vintage is a smooth symphony of golden flavors and delicate aromas, perfect for sipping as summer relaxes into autumn. If you haven't had a chance to taste our 2018 Reserve Chardonnay, you can expect to be delighted when you do. Vibrant aromas of lemon cookies and honeysuckle adorn the nose of this wine, leading into a swirling celebration on the palate. Luxurious flavors of honey, apple, and baked goods mingle together before arriving at a finish with a flourish of oak.
We are proud to join in the rich history of Chardonnay in California. The very first records of this varietal succeeding in the New World were right here in the Livermore Valley in the late 1800s, around the time our Estate was founded. The cuttings had been taken from France, the ancestral homeland of Chardonnay, but made themselves at home in the Californian terrior. The quality of Chardonnay from California was a key player in the fight for recognition of New World wines in the worldwide wine scene. Before then, serious wine was the business of France and Italy alone. The Judgement of Paris in 1976, when two Californian wines (one of which was Chardonnay) won against European wines in a blind tasting, helped to usher in the current era. California Chardonnay is now recognized around the globe.
Chardonnay loves California, and the feeling is mutual. Coastal fog that blankets our valley is met by the generous afternoon sun, creating a uniquely perfect environment for Chardonnay grape maturation. Our care for the quality and purity of the fruit allows us to craft a Chardonnay that has the classic buttery, toasted notes of an oaked Chardonnay, but also allows the delicate fruit notes and elegantly balanced acidity to shine through. Californians love Chardonnay—and so does the rest of the US, where Chardonnay is the most consumed white wine by a wide margin. Time to have a sip!
Our 2018 Chardonnay brings together notes of lemon cookies, dandelion honey, fresh honeysuckle, crisp apples, and more. If you think you're not a fan of Chardonnay, we dare you to give it a try!
For this month only, Our Reserve Chardonnay is on sale for only $24. Don't miss out!
Of all of the things that bring joy to our lives, our pets all hold a special place in our hearts. Here at Ruby Hill Winery, we love to celebrate that special bond! Our 2019 Cuvée Dray is not only an ode to the love that pets bring into our lives, it's a way to partner with the community through support of the Valley Humane Society and their multifaceted efforts to promote welfare for both pets and people through creating connections between the two. To continue celebrating our Cuvée Dray, we asked for pictures of your furry friends alongside your favorite wines, and you delivered. We have included a few of our favorites below!Special thanks to @patti_and_doris, @brindledanekane, @margueritebalbuena, @draymond_the_boxer, @ashlaaymarsh (Tucker), @shannon.smith_ (Duck, Red, Luna & Peanut), @akbrown (Luey), @aamandaapleasee (Maverick & Bentley), and @emuhhliiie (Zoe)
If you have ever had a chance to tour our production facility, you will have seen hundreds of our precious oak barrels. Some curious wine lovers may wonder: why oak—and what makes these barrels so special? We select high-quality barriques (the technical term for our 225-liter barrels) for their ability to keep our wines cozy and safe while enriching them with elegant and complex flavor.
Oak has earned its rightful place of honor in the winemaking process. It seems that grapes and oak are just made to work together, a symbiotic relationship that creates the flavors and complexities you know and love. Just like wine, oak contains tannins which impart structure and flavor to the wine aged within it. Oak tannins can be more on the bitter side, but the process of barrel making involves "toasting" the wood, a process which mellows out the tannins and releases delicious compounds that bring essences of vanilla and cream to the picture. Just as the characteristics of a wine depend heavily on the soil and climate in which the fruit was grown, the nature of the oak also varies depending on the region of origin. Here at Ruby Hill Winery, we use barrels of primarily French, American, and Hungarian oak.
The bulk of oak for wine barrels in the US grows in forested areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin. American oak barrels are made from a different species than European oak, allowing for a few key differences including faster cultivation and development and more efficient production. With lively flavors of vanilla and coconut as well as mellow tones of caramel and cream soda, American oak also interacts with wine more than other cultivars, allowing for stronger flavor integration. Wines aged in American oak adopt this personality, along with soft and palatable tannins, making this an ideal choice for big reds and Chardonnays that emphasize the character of the oak.
French oak has a much more finicky makeup, with wood that must be split along the grain to create barrel staves. Because of this, only about 25% of the wood in a French oak tree can be used for barrel-making. Given that French oak trees are much smaller than their American counterparts, French oak barrels often have a much higher price tag. In the case of some wines, however, it is more than worth it. The tight wood grain of the French oak releases flavors much more slowly than American oak, imparting elegant and subtle complexities. Flavors including cinnamon and allspice join dark chocolate notes with a touch of bitterness, and are further complemented by a swirl of crème brûlée.
Hungarian oak barrels are unique in their own right; though crafted from the same species of oak as French oak barrels, Hungarian oak brings extra personality and spice. Unique toasted notes can include roasted coffee, campfire, leather, or black pepper, making this oak especially suitable for wines like Merlot that adapt well to interest and complexity. Hungarian oak lends structure and full mouthfeel with silky tannins, and is known to set wines up for longevity.
Of course, these 3 oaks are not the only cultivars for barrels. Sessile oak, sometimes called Irish oak is the most commonly used wood for Cognac production, and Mongolian oak (or “Mizunara”) is used in the production of Japanese whiskey. Furthermore, some winemakers will use barrels crafted form a combination of oak varietals, or blend wines aged in various types in order to get the perfect balance of flavor and structure.
Due to their expense and hardiness, barrels are often reused. Barrels may be used several times before retirement depending on the winemaker’s preference. After each use, however, the potency of the oak’s effect is reduced and the barrel will eventually be discarded. Because of this, we here at Ruby Hill Winery love to see our barrels off to their new lives as materials for home projects. We want the beautiful oaken craftsmanship to continue for as long as possible. If you’d like to become a part of the story of one of our barrels, now is the time! We are offering a few of our well-loved barrels for purchase—see below for more details.
We are delighted to announce the newest addition to our Ruby Hill Reserve Collection! Our 2019 Cuvée Dray is a celebration of everything that fills our lives with joy. This Bordeaux-style blend is luscious and approachable, perfect for pairing with your favorite dishes. More than this, however, Cuvée Dray is our way of partnering with the community and promoting the unconditional love shown by our furry friends. For every bottle of Cuvée Dray sold, we will be donating $10 directly to the Valley Humane Society in support of their many programs aimed at creating a brighter, loving future for local animals.
Story and Mission
The Valley Humane Society (VHS) was founded right here in Pleasanton and has served people and pets in the Tri-Valley for over 30 years. With rigorous compassion aimed at increasing welfare and quality of life for every animal brought into their care, they serve with optimism and integrity.
"Valley Humane Society creates a brighter future for cats and dogs by encouraging and strengthening the bond between people and pets. VHS rescues and rehabilitates companion animals, champions responsible caretaking, shares pets’ soothing affections with people in need of comfort, and supports and preserves existing pet-guardian relationships."
- VHS Mission Statement
Services and Programs
At the heart of all Valley Humane Society programs is the vision to create a brighter future for cats and dogs by encouraging and strengthening the bond between people and pets. VHS takes in cats and dogs in order to provide a better life for these precious creatures, with a careful and loving emphasis on the good of each animal. Through numerous programs, VHS cares for pets by providing services for sheltering, fostering, and home-to-home adoptions, limiting the amount of time any pet has to spend apart from a family.
At Ruby Hill Winery, we believe in the value of companionship—friends are essential, especially the furry ones! VHS brings this special love into the lives of people who need it most with programs like Canine Comfort Pet Therapy and AniMeals. Included in these programs are Paws to Read, which encourages children who struggle with literacy to enjoy reading in the gentle, nonjudgmental company of a dog, as well as Paws to Heal, a program that brings the joy and love of pets to hospital and rehabilitation facilities for young and old alike. AniMeals partners with food banks and shelters to assist low-income pet guardians who are at risk of surrendering their pet due to food costs. In 2020, VHS distributed more than 300,000 meals to pets through this program.
How to Help
If you want to join us in supporting the good work done by the Valley Humane Society, there are many opportunities to lend a paw. As a nonprofit organization built on principles of gratitude and collaboration, VHS relies heavily on volunteers and donations. Last year, nearly 500 active volunteers partnered with VHS across their various programs. Additionally, as they seek to increase and expand their impact, donations are more vital than ever. If your family is in the position to do so, you can also consider joining their pet fostering program. No matter how wonderful an animal facility is, pets are still better off in a home. If fostering in your own home isn't an option, you may still choose to sponsor a pet, investing in the life of a precious furry friend waiting for a home.
Since the restoration of the Ruby Hill Estate Winery, Zinfandel has been one of our staple wines. Our Zinfandel blocks are nestled in the westernmost section of our estate, placing the vines in position to experience perfect fluctuation in temperature for fruit maturity. The soil is gravely, forcing the vines to seek nutrients and produce clusters concentrated with flavor. This block was nicknamed the "Peacock Patch" for the ostentatious creatures who visit the area to snack on the grapes—and the name has stuck.
If you have spent much time in the tasting room or in wine lounges around the area, you will likely have seen our iconic gilded peacock label in a range of colors. It wasn't always this way! As shown above, our 2007 Zinfandel commemorated the exotic avian visitors with a small peacock on the back label. Soon, however, we honored these proudly elegant creatures with their rightful place: front and center. Our 2008 Zinfandel was released with a gold peacock label, with additional colors appearing upon the 2010 vintage. Not long after, we introduced the famous and elusive Wild Peacock.
The Wild Peacock is decked out in the authentic colors of its namesake, gleaming in shades of emerald, sapphire, and bronze—but that's not all. Appearing only once for every 100 cases, if you happen to "bag the bird" you've won big! Our Wild Peacock is your golden ticket for a Mello Cielo Vineyard Experience bus tour, free of charge for up to 14 people ($630 value). Our Wild Peacock is hidden throughout each vintage of our Peacock Patch Zinfandel. Now that the bus tour is available again, let the hunt begin!
The summertime heat here in California has us sipping Rosé all day, and we thought it was the perfect time to get creative with our dinner menus. Inspired by our Grapeful Rosé, we've rounded up 4 fun rosé infused recipes to make the perfect dinner: cocktail, appetizer, entree, and dessert! Click on the photos for full recipes of these delectable delights.
If you'd like a sip of summer, then this drink is for you! Refreshing and bright, this cocktail takes rosé to a whole new level, and might just transport you to a lavender field in Provence. Sweet, tangy, and deep all at once, it's the perfect opener for a delicious dinner.
For an all-star side dish, lean into the ripe summer produce at the market. Macerate a few peaches in rosé then serve with a soft cheese like mozzarella or burrata and fresh herbs and enjoy the most simple and delectable dish.
This shrimp scampi sits at the crossroads of elegant and easy, just asking to be enjoyed! It's hard to go wrong when making a dinner with pasta and wine, and this dish will bring the combination to a whole new level. Flavorful and picturesque, this might become a dinnertime favorite.
If summer weather calls for a chilled treat for dessert, then put us down for frozen rosé (frosé for short). These popsicles are customizable: add your favorite citrus and any fruit you like, and you've got a summertime spectacular.
Feeling inspired to make something with your Rosé this week? Get our Grapeful Rosé at an unbeatable price in our Summertime Sipping White Wine mixed case before the sale ends!
July 25th is Wine and Cheese day, so it's time to celebrate some pairing all-stars!
Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and Muenster
Our Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is the answer to most of our summertime cravings, with its bright, aromatic, and drinkable nature. Thanks to the balanced acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc, each refreshing sip prepares your palate for the soft and mild creaminess of Muenster.
Grapeful Rosé and Fresh Burrata
The crisp acidity of Grapeful Rosé is enjoyable anytime, but it’s especially unbeatable on a sunny day in July. With a luxurious aroma and gorgeous color, our Grapeful Rosé is perfect with the light freshness of Burrata cheese. Smear the cheese along a toasted French baguette, grab a bite, take a refreshing sip, and repeat.
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Aged Cheddar
Possibly the most classic of pairings, you can’t go wrong with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and your favorite Aged Cheddar. If you’re looking to elevate each bite, try a pepper-crusted cheddar to build a natural flavor bridge between the cheese and wine. The savory bite of a well-aged Cheddar stands up to the tannic nature of the Cab, and as the flavors melt into your mouth it’s hard to not go back for more.
Jewel Petite Sirah and Melted Swiss Cheese
Brimming with rich flavors and gorgeous aroma, every wine in our Jewel Collection is set apart. If you already enjoy the boldness of Petite Sirah, then the best way to improve it is with a perfect cheesy accompaniment. Whether you melt the cheese onto a burger or into a classic Swiss fondue, Jewel Petite Sirah is the pairing you need.
Sparkling Wine and Parmesan
Our Sparkling Wine pairs with just about everything, and it’s at its best alongside fresh and salty foods. Whether you enjoy your Parmesan grated over pasta, cooked into a risotto, or just on its own, a chilled glass of our Sparkling Wine will have your taste buds singing.
Solera in Perpetuum and Roquefort
Dessert wines like our Solera in Perpetuum offer deep, rich flavor and call for a strong, sophisticated pairing. The wine carries notes of blackberry jam, dried plum, and cocoa, which mingle beautifully with a blue-veined artisan Roquefort.
2017 Patchwork and Smoked Gouda
Our Patchwork is a Club-Exclusive blend of Merlot, Zinfandel, and Petit Verdot. This particular vintage boasts expressive aromas, silky tannins, and a lovely lingering finish. Now a part of our Library Collection, this wine is available only in our Mixed Red Case. When enjoyed alongside a fine smoked Gouda, this blend compliments the Gouda’s toasted nuttiness and accents both the sweet and salty notes of the cheese.
Welcome aboard! It has been a blast to welcome back our retro bus, the beloved Mello Cielo, and we're proud to announce the return of our Mello Cielo Vineyard Experience, a tour unlike any other.
On your tour, you'll have a chance to experience an inside look into the beauty of our wine-making process. From the scenic, serene vineyards to the thousands of barrels nestled in our production facility, you'll experience it all. And did we mention the wine? You'll have a chance to sip on most of our favorites along the way!The Mello Cello is a 1980's school bus with a storied past. After school bus service, it had a second life as a touring bus for a group of Dead Heads, who were among the droves of fans who followed the Grateful Dead on their tours. Later, this bus was restored once more, this time into its current form. The complete refitting of the bus included adding wine barrel seats, meticulously detailed metalwork, and a custom paint job, turning this vessel into a work of art. On this journey, your driver is your guide and resource. Knowledgeable, friendly, and reliable, every driver infuses the experience with their own flair, so feel free to take the tour again and again! You might learn about the history of the Estate, the process and science of winemaking, or why vines love the Livermore Valley so much. If you're lucky, you might learn a little bit of everything!One of the most noteworthy wines you will have a chance to enjoy on your tour will come right out of the barrel. This barrel tasting is an exclusive view into the story and process of crafting your favorite Ruby Hill Wines. When you step into the production facility, you are stepping behind the scenes, where the magic really happens. As you continue to ride through the vineyards, you'll have opportunities to stop and take in the rich, picturesque views of the Livermore Valley. The gentle, rolling hills and the curling vines laden with fruit are steeped in history and always ready to be enjoyed. The final stop on the journey is inside our Estate's historic Water Tower, where you'll be seated and treated to a flight of wines featuring favorites from each of our collections, alongside delectable food offerings. Your guide will walk you through the story and characteristics of each wine. Upon your return to the tasting room, your tour will finish with a flourish as you enjoy our Solera Dessert wine. Cheers!
Enjoy complimentary ground shipping when you order 6 or more bottles.
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