Grateful Gathering Virtual Tasting program designed for team building and client engagement

Today, Gracianna Winery in Sonoma County, California is excited to announce their newest service offering, an integrated virtual tasting called “Grateful Gathering”—for those desiring innovative approaches to virtual team building with work colleagues and clients.

Through relationships with corporate clients/members, Gracianna has tracked the need to join groups together to deepen distanced work connections and celebrate the things teams are thankful for. “The ability to connect with a client or gather work teams of 8 or more across many locations to engage outside of our stressful work environment is a severe corporate need! Our ‘Grateful Gathering’ online wine tasting is designed around the ease of virtual technology in order to deliver a fun and intimate Sonoma County wine tasting experience, while helping clients build and maintain satisfied clients and employees,” said Lisa Amador, Gracianna co-founder.

The program is designed for work teams to better collaborate by gathering around a relaxing wine tasting to celebrate a promotion, the landing of a big client, hitting sales targets, or just a way to reward those who suffer the stress of working apart all year. Or, break the ice with a new client by doing something fun in a non-selling environment.

Kerry Huffman, VP, Client Services of Labrador Systems, Inc., developer of a new generation of assistive robots, says “Keeping partners and clients happy is our goal. We are constantly on the lookout for new and innovative ways to delight and surprise them, trying to go beyond what they expect from a ‘standard’ business relationship. Our Gracianna Winery ‘Grateful Gatherings’ have been well received and paid off for this small CRM investment. Next we plan to award our own team members with the program.”

Additionally, families and friends can take advantage of the program to celebrate an engagement, anniversary, birthday, reunion or just get everyone together for an impromptu reunion for groups of 8 or more!

It’s very easy to get started: “Simply tell us how many tasting kits you need, where to send them, and when you want to hold the virtual tasting. We do the rest! We handle billing, shipping, and organizing. The tasting will be conducted by an expertly trained Grateful Gathering host and lasts about an hour,” adds Fernando Arellano, Gracianna Hospitality Manager.Each tasting kit arrives in safe, weather-appropriate packaging and contains four award-winning Gracianna Russian River Valley wines in 50ml glass bottles—a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. Ground shipping is included and each kit is $75 which also includes the hour-long well-produced virtual tasting with a brand ambassador. (Tax will be added and summer weather shipping is extra when required for safe travel.)

Businesses or individuals wishing to host their own Grateful Gathering virtual tasting may do so at https://www.gracianna.com/gratefulgathering/

Extending beyond the multitude of gold medals from wine competitions and honors from the wine press, Gracianna has recently been racking up hospitality accolades across multiple platforms, including Yelp, Tripadvisor and Airbnb. On Tripadvisor, Gracianna is a 2022 Travelers’ Choice Award Winner, placing it in the top 10% of attractions worldwide. This is a multi-year continuation of Gracianna’s hosting accolades. Kanika Soni, Chief Commercial Officer at Tripadvisor says, “The Travelers’ Choice Awards recognize the best in tourism and hospitality, according to those who matter most: guests.”

Recently Yelp featured Gracianna— with a five-star overall rating—in the list of Top 10 Wineries in California, out of a field of 3,600 wineries in the state. And for six years running, Gracianna has been named an Airbnb SuperHost for their two spectacular properties, the Gracianna Estate Loft and the Sea Ranch Lodge & Bunkhouse.

 

Is there a more magical time of year than the Summer Solstice, when the night gives way to day, with more moments of sunshine in which to play? We think not. The stuff of legends going back to ancient times, the Summer Solstice was thought to be a time when nymphs and faeries dwelled among humans, sparking fun, creativity and merriment. Whether you believe in magic or not, there’s no harm in giving it a try.

The longest day of the year is the perfect time to open a wine filled with mirth and warmth: even better, a wine from a storied vineyard that packs its own myth. That would be Stagecoach Vineyard® in Napa Valley, California, named for the stagecoach that ran through the property between Oakville and Monticello in the 19th century. And that wine would be the 2019 Gracianna Stagecoach Vineyard® Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, yet another gift from the winery that sports a festive red-bowed gift box on its label, representing an expression of gratitude for all things treasured in this life.

The first Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon to be produced by Gracianna brings one of the finest and most iconic vineyards in Napa Valley into the sphere of a premium Russian River Valley Pinot Noir house. Known for gently powerful Sonoma Pinot Noirs that favor soft ripe fruit and lush textures, it’s no wonder that a Cabernet from Gracianna combines approachability with ageability. It delivers splendidly on the melding of expressive hillside fruit like cassis and blackberry, along with rich dark chocolate-covered blueberries, earthy depth, a touch of black pepper and robust coffee, carried artfully on the luxurious mouthfeel to a long-distance finish.

Fittingly, Stagecoach Vineyard is the largest contiguous planting of vines in Napa Valley. It’s a 1300-acre property on which more than 600 acres are under vine. Planting this steep hilly land that overlooks Oakville and Yountville in the Napa Valley appellation required removing millions of pounds of volcanic rock to make way for planting grapevines. Just putting vines into this hallowed ground, filled with subterranean secrets, and blessed with an extreme diurnal shift of night to daytime temperatures, was a labor of love and determination.

With an average daytime high temperature of around 88° degrees during the growing season, the nocturnal temperatures drop to around 55° degrees, which slows sugar accumulation and leads to long slow ripening. Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is generally not harvested until late October.

Such a unique climate and setting, along with meticulous hand-farming, creates highly sought-after fruit, with iconic Napa wineries sourcing from the vineyard year after year, and many more wishing they could do so.

This isn’t the first Cabernet Sauvignon rodeo for the winery, though. Gracianna Winery’s initial foray into this grape was the 2018 Gracianna Lutèce Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from the Napa Valley floor in St. Helena, which garnered three Gold medals and a Double Gold from the world’s most prestigious wine competitions. Lutèce is the medieval name for Paris, from which winery co-owner Trini Amador III’s French Basque great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga, disembarked for America from her ancestral home in the Pyrenees.

Lasaga and her family were sheepherders, settling in Santa Barbara and then Santa Maria, California. Amador remembers his maternal great-grandmother as always filled with life and gratitude, and it was in her honor that the family founded the winery in 2005 and graced it with her name. Gracianna Winery’s brand promises “wines for those with something to be grateful for,” and each wine represents a note of thanks for all that converged to make it possible.

A poignant short film directed by Elliot deBruyn, called “Gratitude,” which was submitted to the Cannes Short Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Manhattan Film Festival, and Napa Valley Film Festival, can be viewed here: Grateful

With the impending debut of the 2019 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Gracianna is taking the next step in its evolution and expanding its collection of noteworthy wines.

On such an occasion, Lisa Amador, whose family name is attached to one of the earliest California settlers, pauses to reflect. “Using Cabernet Sauvignon from Stagecoach Vineyard is a pinnacle moment for us as a winery. We will never lose sight of what a privilege it is to be part of the winegrowing community and to be stewards of the land, from which all great things come. To share a bit of Napa’s rich history through a beautiful and collectible example such as this wine, makes us grateful. We hope collectors of great Cabernet Sauvignon, along with lovers of accessible wines that can be enjoyed right now, gift themselves the opportunity to experience our instant classic Stagecoach Vineyard release from Gracianna.”

Only 142 cases of this wine will be released on the Summer Solstice, June 21, 2022.

Already acknowledged by several wine competitions and reviewers, the wine scored Double Gold at the 2022 Los Angeles Invitational Wine Challenge, where judges awarded it 98 points, declaring it a “massive Cab,” noting the “lovely aromatics, roasted coffee bean, dark chocolate, mocha and complex, beautiful tannins.”

Additionally, the wine was awarded Gold at the 2022 Sommeliers Choice Awards (94 points) and described as “a fruit-forward nose driven by black plum, fig, prune black cherry combined with earthy notes of agave, brown sugar, and mezcal. Dry red wine with robust flavors of ripe red and black berries,” a Gold medal awarded at the 2022 North Coast Wine Challenge and a Gold at the 2022 Sunset International Wine Competition (93 points). The esteemed James Suckling notes the wine is “…spicy on the nose with clove and cinnamon to the black fruit. It’s medium-bodied with firm, creamy tannins and a juicy finish,” while Sonoma County’s Press Democrat says “Tangy, high-toned fruit of cherry, cranberry and a hint of pomegranate. Balanced, with crisp acid. Silky texture. Striking. 4.5/5 stars.”

Well-built and muscular as a horse fit to pull a stagecoach, this pedigreed Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, offered at Sonoma County prices, belongs in your cellar.

The 2019 Gracianna Stagecoach Vineyard® Cabernet Sauvignon ($128) can be ordered directly from Gracianna and will be shipped subject to hot weather shipping considerations) starting June 21, 2022 at www.gracianna.com/purchase.

by Laura Ness, wine author, columnist and judge

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

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.

LEVEL AND FROST

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 Gracianna.com: www.gracianna.com/purchase. 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 https://www.gracianna.com/grateful-film/

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.

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(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 Audible.com 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: https://www.audible.com/pd/Gracianna-Audiobook/1665107375.

A sample can be heard at:

https://soundcloud.com/blackstoneaudio/gracianna-by-trini-amador-chapter-22-audiobook-excerpt-2/s-bIqo6mMuuJz

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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, lindsay@gracianna.com

(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: https://www.gracianna.com/purchase.

“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.