It’s true! If you like chocolate this is the best and “moistest” cake EVER. You may just want to start your meal with dessert!

Prep time: 30 minutes  |  Cook time: 45 minutes  |  Serves: 10-12


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk (can also use almond or coconut milk)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (can use canola or melted coconut oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring pan. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl. Whisk until well combined. Add milk, oil, eggs and vanilla to the flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to cake batter until well combined. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan to cool completely.

Add cocoa to a large bowl, whisk thoroughly to remove any lumps. With a mixer, cream together butter and cocoa powder. Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture, adding one cup of sugar and one tablespoon of milk. Once combined, mix on high for about 1 minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk has been added.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


  • 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoons espresso powder


Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears too wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioners’ sugar a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.


Be patient! Cake must be completely cooled before frosting. Level first layer of cake by placing it on a flat surface. Using a serrated knife, cut the dome off the cake. To prevent cake from sliding, place a couple of tablespoons of frosting on your cake plate before placing the first layer, then begin frosting from the top down to the sides. Place the second layer, flat side down, on top of the first layer and repeat the same steps, frosting top to the side of cake and closing the gaps between layers with frosting until smooth.


Download a .pdf copy

Gracianna Press is pleased to announce the publication of Basquo! A Gracianna Winery Basque-Inspired Cookbook, in time for the holidays. The book is authored by Gracianna co-founder Lisa Amador, and represents her joy of cooking Basque cuisine and culture, with contributions by cooks and chefs close to her. Gracianna Winery’s namesake, Gracianna Lasaga, was a French-Basque sheepherders’ wife who made gracious meals for the farmers and instilled in the family the concept of gratitude, which is the foundation upon which the winery was built. That is why Gracianna wines are for those with something to be grateful for.

This 74-page, hardcover cookbook features 22 recipes for mains, sides and sweets. The vivid photography brings dishes to life. Easy to follow ingredients lists and step-by-step directions encourage people with no experience making Basque food to try their hand at creating delicious dishes that will gratify everyone at the table. Featured recipes include “Classic Basque Piperade”, “Classic French Rosemary Grilled Chicken”, “Gracianna ‘Gratitude’ Salad Dressing”, and even some Amador family favorites such as Carrot Cake and “Gâteau Basque.”

Renowned around the world for its unique language and distinct culture, the Basque region has produced some of the world’s most highly-rated restaurants and as such has become a major culinary travel destination. Basque cuisine however can be easily brought into the home, and is based in straightforwardness and simplicity, drawing heavily on access to fresh ingredients that blend together to produce delectable creations.

Chef Carlos Mojica from Guiso Latin Fusion, TripAdvisor’s top-rated restaurant in Healdsburg in the heart of the Russian River wine country, writes in his foreword “I…see that the gratitude, graciousness and grace of Gracianna is embodied by this brilliant home chef.”

Author Lisa Amador adds, “Coming together for a meal is a meaningful experience at our house. My interest in cooking started in high school and carried through college to now. Creating a meal in the kitchen fills our hearts, feeds our souls, relaxes our mind and is a demonstrable way for us to know that we are taking care of our friends and family.”

Basquo! can be ordered direct from At the Gracianna store you will also find several gift bundles featuring award-winning wines and a special Basque bundle with a copy of the book, a jar of Piment de’Espelette spice (a staple in Basque cooking) and a bottle of wine.

(Healdsburg, CA) Elliot deBruyn, Brooklyn-based cinematographer and documentary filmmaker lends his talents to Sonoma County winery, Gracianna, as he debuts his latest work as a short film, “Grateful.”  The upcoming film focuses on Gracianna Winery’s brand promise—“wines for those with something to be grateful for”—featuring the very best of Sonoma County’s environment and majesty.

Gracianna’s promotional film will premiere online on May 7th, 2021 kicking off the winery’s season as they once again open their tasting room to wine lovers.

The Amador Family believes in the message of gratitude so much that they have submitted the short into various film festivals including the Cannes Short Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Manhattan Film Festival, Napa Valley Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival.

deBruyn also shoots internationally having lived in China making documentaries, commercials, and branded content for global brands like AirBnB, Volvo, CNN, Apple, Google, the New York Times and many others. deBruyn said, “I loved the Gracianna project in Sonoma County. I have a deep connection to Westside Road (the Russian River Valley) and feel a calling to be there. Gracianna’s message of gratitude is an important one that resonates with me and my family.”

“Visitors emerging from the confines of the pandemic are excited to reconnect with loved ones, and are seeking out travel experiences that support this,” said Todd O’Leary, VP of Marketing and Communications with Sonoma County Tourism. “The story in Gracianna’s film, of a mother and daughter connecting through a series of lovely experiences is a wonderfully emotive example of how Life Opens Up in Sonoma County.”

View the film “Grateful” by visiting

About the Director:

Elliot deBruyn is a documentary and advertising director and Director of Photography based in New York City. From 2012-2019, deBruyn has lived and worked in China for various global clients including The New York Times, Nike, Airbnb, the International Red Cross and more. He is drawn to human interest documentary features, breaking news, travel advertising and non-profit film production, but has also worked on TVCs, corporate documentaries, short narrative films and music videos. deBruyn is bilingual in Mandarin Chinese and English and travels globally for projects.





(Healdsburg, CA) Award-winning author, producer, storyteller, global brand marketer, and partner in Gracianna Winery, Trini Amador, finally tells the story of his great-grandmother Gracianna Lasaga’s life in a way only he could in his upcoming audio novel Gracianna. Gracianna is written and narrated by Mr. Amador and distributed by Blackstone Publishing and released on today.

The book, recorded at Squeaky Cheese Studios in Petaluma, California, was co-produced by award winning producers Ralph Scott and Kendra Murray and was mastered by Bob Shepherd Music.

Gracianna is now exclusively available to download on Audible:

A sample can be heard at:

Anne Fonteneau, Chief Sales Officer at Blackstone Publishing, recalls what prompted her to acquire the book for Blackstone, a leading audiobook publisher. She says, “It is a gripping story. The heroine Gracianna, a French-Basque girl, is forced to make impossible decisions after being recruited into the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris. Trini’s narration and connection to the story make it a wonderful listen. As a native of France, I felt a deep appreciation for Gracianna’s struggles, and I’m thrilled that we can bring the story to a wider audience.”

Gracianna is inspired by true events in the life of Trini Amador’s great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. As an adult, Amador was haunted by the vivid memory of finding a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained strong, and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun.

Decades later, Amador would delve into the remarkable odyssey of his great-grandmother’s  past, a road that led him to an incredible surprise. In Gracianna, Amador weaves fact and fiction to tell his great-grandmother’s story.

Gracianna bravely sets off to Paris in the early 1940s—on her way to America, she hopes—but is soon swept into the escalation of the war and the Nazi occupation of Paris. After chilling life-and-death struggles, she discovers that her missing sister has surfaced as a laborer in Auschwitz. When she finds an opportunity to fight back against the Nazis to try to free her sister, she takes it—even if it means using lethal force.


Trini Amador is co-owner of Gracianna Winery, a “fruit-first” craftsman’s winery in Healdsburg in the Russian River Valley, Sonoma County. Gracianna is founded on the principals of its namesake, Gracianna Lasaga, the subject of this book who would prepare simple but gracious meals that always included wine—her meal presentations were delivered with grace and gratitude, and that is why Gracianna wines are for those with something to be grateful for.

For the past 21 years, Amador has also been a principal at BHC Consulting, which specializes in global brand strategy, research, and insights development.

Press Contact: Lindsay Musco, Gracianna Marketing Manager, (707) 280-8160,

(Healdsburg, CA) In recent years Sonoma County has been hit hard by multiple fires, floods, and now a pandemic. There are many that need help and for local first responders it is especially true – firefighters, hospital workers and those that are food insecure. To do its part in this time of need, Gracianna Winery is stepping up again: 100% of the profits of three special wine offers featured exclusively on Gracianna’s website will be donated to four Sonoma County non-profits involved in helping those in need. The offers can be found at:

“We are in the thick of it, and Gracianna has felt the effects of this shutdown,” said Gracianna Winery co-founder Ashley Amador. “We have kept our team employed and are open limited hours but we are still going. And while we keep going others are struggling. Our responsibility is to pitch in with the community to support affected people today, right now. It’s one of our core values to always help others when in need, and that’s especially relevant now as the four entities we selected to support have helped us and others tremendously.”

The wines offered are Gracianna’s core award-winners, brilliant Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel. Online buyers can buy 2- and 4-pack shipments and 100% of profits will be donated to these four important Sonoma County entities:  Forestville Fire Protection District, Healdsburg Fire Department, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital and Redwood Empire Food Bank. Many familiar with Gracianna’s label recognize that the gift stands for all the things that our fans worldwide are grateful for.

“We are at a critical moment in time and the Redwood Empire Food Bank is committed to distributing food to those in Sonoma, Mendocino, Humboldt, Lake, and Del Norte counties,” said Redwood Empire Food Bank CEO, David Goodman.

“We are first responders in this crisis, as we have been during floods and fires and public safety power shutdowns,” said Goodman. “Because of the support of our community, we run towards disasters, not away from them. We can’t do this alone.”

Listen to Trini Amador, owner/partner of Gracianna Winery, interviewed by Steve Garner and Chef John Ash on KSRO’s Good Food Hour. Trini talks about the 2018 Westside Reserve Pinot Noir and the multiple accolades it has earned:

  • Best of Show, Best of Show – Red Wine, Best in Class, and Double Gold (97 points)
  • Best of Class & Double Gold – 2020 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge (98 points)
  • Gold – 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
  • Gold – 2020 The Fifty Best California Pinot Noir Wine Competition
  • Best of Class & Gold – 2019 Dan Berger’s International Wine Competition

Purchase wine here: 2018 Gracianna Westside Reserve Pinot Noir


Healdsburg, CA—July 3, 2020—The results of the 2020 Sunset International Wine Competition are in, and Gracianna Winery on the Miracle Mile of Westside Road in the Russian River Valley, is celebrating a Best of Show win for their 2018 Westside Reserve Pinot Noir. Standing tall over the record 2700 entries in this year’s competition, this Pinot Noir wowed the judges with its brilliant bouquet and flawless balance.

The wine was also awarded Best of Show – Red Wine, Best in Class, and Double Gold and garnered 97 points. Other Gracianna winners:

  • 2016 Gracianna Estate Pinot Noir – Gold (93 points)
  • 2017 Gracianna Estate Pinot Noir – Silver
  • 2016 Gracianna Pinot Noir – Silver
  • 2016 Gracianna Zinfandel – Silver
  • 2016 Gracianna Chardonnay Suzanne’s Blend – Silver

To win Best of Show, the Gracianna Westside Reserve Pinot Noir first had to best a field of 12 other reds in the final Sweepstakes. It was a close call, with five other wines giving it a solid run, all of which scored 10 votes or more in acclimation voting. A faceoff between the Pinot and its primary competitor ensured it went to the final round.

Then it was on to the finals, where the Westside Reserve Pinot Noir faced off against the other Best Of Class winners for top honors. The Reserve Pinot Noir prevailed by 11 votes, which was more than twice as many votes for the next runner up.

This year’s competition saw a 10% increase in entries over last year, despite the pandemic, and was held in Santa Rosa the week of June 22. A record 12 judging panels were needed to accommodate the volume of entries, along with physical distancing requirements. Judging panels were comprised of 36 industry experts, including journalists, buyers and winemakers, who judged wines from all over the world over a three-day period.

While many wine competitions have been canceled this year, the 2020 Sunset International Wine Competition was determined to go on.

Debra Del Fiorentino, President of Wine Competitions Production & Management, who owns and operates the Sunset International Wine Competition, said, “This year’s entries garnered a record number of Golds and Double Golds, making for a very competitive Sweepstakes round. The judges had some very difficult decisions to make when faced with those final 30 wines!”

Lisa Amador, Gracianna Winery partner said, “We are so thankful to Sunset for conducting such a wonderful and competitive International competition. We are humbled at being lauded once again and are proud of our winemaking team for their care and our hospitality team members who have made Gracianna the #1 recommended winery in Sonoma County on TripAdvisor for the second year in a row. So proud.”

The 2018 Gracianna Westside Reserve Pinot Noir was also awarded Best of Class/Gold at the 2019 Dan Berger’s International Wine Competition and took Gold at both the 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the 2020 The Fifty Best California Pinot Noir Wine Competition.


(Davis, CA/Healdsburg, CA) Americans are optimistic about what the future holds for them despite living in a global pandemic and grappling with worrisome financial, relationship, health and leadership concerns.

According to a new study conducted by UC Davis and Gracianna Winery of Sonoma County, people in the United States predict they will emerge from the Coronavirus crisis with more to be grateful for. The study aimed to investigate respondent’s feelings, thoughts, and attitudes regarding gratitude, now and in the future.

Over 56% of respondents reported being very grateful in general, whereas only 39% of people reported being very hopeful (the second highest-rated positive emotion after gratitude). Indeed, almost 30% more people reported being very grateful than the average positive emotion such as happy, thankful, and hopeful.

In an adjacent finding, 69% expect to feel very grateful in the future. In fact, their feelings about the future are more positive than negative, signaling that they expect to be less stressed and worried in the future.

“As stressful as the pandemic has been on all facets of our ‘typical’ lives, people can still see a future where they feel more grateful for those elements in their lives that they yearn for now,” Dr. Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at University of California, Davis, said in a statement. “The pandemic has reminded us all that our mental and physical health is a top driver of what allows us to appreciate everything else we cherish, our loves, our exercise, even the food we eat and the wine we drink.”

Referencing prior studies conducted after significant catastrophes, Philip Watkins of Eastern Washington University, renowned gratitude researcher and study collaborator says that, “in the face of crises and during troubling times people rely on positive feelings to cope, and they seem to turn to gratitude more than any other positive emotion.”

Researchers found three significant gratitude-related areas of perceived changes in the self during this period: that we “are more grateful for the positive aspects of our lives;” “have a greater understanding each day that we are alive;” and “have a better sense of what is important to me.”  Of all the positive emotions, gratitude was the strongest predictor of these changes, e.g., the more grateful people were, the more they reported these positive self-changes. This is important because people can increase their levels of gratitude with simple practices such as journaling, and gratitude then opens the door to seeing other positive life changes and personal growth.

Nationwide, however, worries linger even after life begins the long road back to normalcy after prolonged shelter-in-place orders. The new study reveals that 62% felt their self-confidence had not grown significantly while only a mere 17% reported having significant increased trust in their public institutions, researchers said.

Yet respondents overwhelmingly embraced gratitude as their most salient emotional state, with feelings of at least moderate gratitude endorsed by 75% of the sample. Indeed, even though people said they felt quite thankful at present, over 51% of respondents who had potential for gratitude growth said they expect to feel more gratitude in the future.

“This does not surprise us,” said Trini Amador, Sr., partner at study co-sponsor Gracianna Winery in Sonoma County, “since our wine is for those with something to be grateful for. We wanted to better understand exactly what it is that people most appreciate during these times. And do they anticipate feeling more to be thankful for in the future? We found that the answer is a resounding ‘yes!’”

Of the respondents that the UC Davis/Gracianna Winery study surveyed, gratitude was the strongest predictor of positive changes in the self. “It means that gratitude is playing a unique role as a core emotional feeling versus happy, sad, angry, etc. —gratitude is not just helping people feel good—it has a unique potential allowing people to see positive changes in themselves,” said lead researcher Emmons, “Being happy, optimistic, or hopeful are secondary predictors of growth whereas being grateful is the primary driver of this positive change.”

Watkins added, “Overall there is optimism for the future, even though we could see very rough times ahead.” Researchers found respondents seeing positive emotions ahead such as joy, hope and calm and feeling that all negative emotions will diminish even though 56% felt stressed and worried, 28% irritable and 28% felt disconnected from others.

“Being grateful,” Amador continued, “was strongly linked to beliefs that ‘access to food and drink has reminded me of the infrastructure that I depend on for my existence;’ ‘I take more time to appreciate food and wine;’ and that ‘I am finding drinking wine enhances other experiences more than it did before.’ This finding tells us something deep down clicked, that not only were we were reminded of the larger network we are a part of but how we must savor the everyday moments of grace when we are able to host a meal with family or friends.”

The study team will repeat the survey in six to nine months to measure the longer-term effects of the crises on emotional health. Emmons was pleased with the results.

“Considering the stress of working from home, home-schooling, online meetings, food deliveries and all the trappings of getting through a worldwide pandemic knowing that we are feeling grateful today and see more coming in the future is hopeful,” he said. “The study shows us that despite the worst, resilience reigns.”

The ability to understand that one can be grateful for three to four months from now is helpful to employers, retailers, public policy makers and even personal relationships, Emmons reveals. “We know that gratitude has a powerful impact on how heathy we feel, and now we learn that the capacity to envision a grateful future—regardless of current circumstances—may be a major reason why gratitude heals and energizes lives.”

The poll was conducted from May 10 to May 17, 2020 with 532 adults in the U.S.

Trini Amador, Sr., of Gracianna Winery summed it up by saying, “We know that living gratefully in the moment allows us to transcend even the worst of times and finding that individual inner peace is what our wines stand for.”

Gracianna Winery cannot stand by and watch without pitching in for American Healthcare Heroes! Inspired by the heroics of committed healthcare workers we are compelled to act to show them we are grateful for their devotion. You can help!

There are two ways to show your support:
  1. Random Act of Kindness: Don’t know a healthcare worker and want to do something kind? We will deliver your act of kindness to a random card-carrying doctor, nurse or front-line support staff in a hard-hit American hospital in New York, New Orleans, Washington, etc. and get it to them with your name (and contact information if you like) with all of our thanks.
  2. For a Healthcare Hero in your life. Honor a specific healthcare worker with your gift of gratitude. Simply give us their name, address, email address and phone number (for shipping) and we will handle the rest.

Three wine options:

2016 PINOT NOIR – Gold Medal Winner

  • Send 2 bottles $54 each and we match with 2 free ($108) $0 shipping plus tax.*
  • Send 4 bottles $54 each and we match with 4 free ($216) $0 shipping plus tax.*

Click HERE to order Pinot Noir (Use the Promotion Code GRATEFUL during checkout to match your gift.)

2016 ZINFANDEL – Guest Favorite Award Winner

  • Send 2 bottles $46 each and we match with 2 free ($92) $0 shipping plus tax.*
  • Send 4 bottles $46 each and we match with 4 free ($184) $0 shipping plus tax.*

Click HERE to order Zinfandel (Use the Promotion Code GRATEFUL during checkout to match your gift.)

2016 CHARDONNAY – Guest Favorite Award Winner

  • Send 2 bottles $36 each and we match with 2 free ($72) $0 shipping plus tax.*
  • Send 4 bottles $36 each and we match with 4 free ($144) $0 shipping plus tax.*

Click HERE to order Chardonnay (Use the Promotion Code GRATEFUL during checkout to match your gift.)

Gracianna wines have always been for those with something to grateful for.

* Limited time offer, while supplies last and we may substitute a vintage if necessary. Free shipping only in the continental US.