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Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor has “teamed up” with local businesses to produce wine classes and fun wine tasting socials throughout the year. Fun, casual, informative and tasty are the common thread in all Dan Dawson-produced tastings and classes. Here’s what’s coming up:


Wine Classes at Napa Valley Wine Academy

Education and enjoyment go hand-in-hand in the tastings at “NVWA.” They are geared toward both wine-students and the casual, curious wine drinker. We want you to learn a little and definitely have a good time.

Tastings are $30/person in advance, and $15 for Members of Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor.
Not a member yet? JOIN HERE.

Tastings are limited to 30 guests. Buy in advance to insure your spot.
Tasting venue: Napa Valley Wine Academy, 2501 Oak Street, Napa.
Tickets can be purchased at Napa Valley Wine Academy’s Website.


Napa Valley Wine Academy Class Calendar

Thursday, February 27 (6 P.M.):  Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – Microclimates 
With Kurt Beitler, Owner/Winegrower: Bohème Wines

The sprawling Sonoma Coast AVA cannot be described in a couple of sentences. Running from the Pacific coastlands to the outskirts of Sonoma (the town), the soils, climate, aspect etc (“terroir”) create vastly different Pinot Noirs. Our tasting and discussion of will focus on the differences. Our guest, Kurt Beitler, makes world-class Pinots from vineyards around Occidental. Our tasting will start with Bohème and then move to eastern Sonoma Coast AVA and Russian River Valley. Here’s the line-up:

Bohème Pinot Noir “Taylor Ridge” Sonoma Coast 2016
Bohème Pinot Noir “English Hill” Sonoma Coast 2016
Bohème Pinot Noir “Stuller Vineyard” Sonoma Coast 2016
Shane Pinot Noir “The Charm” Russian River Valley 2016
Sojourn Pinot Noir “Gap’s Crown” Sonoma Coast 2016

6 PM arrival, 6:15 start.
$30/person. DDWA Members: $15
Buy Tickets Here   If you’re not a member yet, JOIN and then I’ll send you the discount code.


Thursday, March 26 (6 P.M.):  The Story and Wines of “Alder Springs Vineyard” 
With Stuart Bewley, Founder/Farmer of “Alder Springs”

Hear the fascinating story “Alder Springs” from the man who created it. One of the world’s mystical vineyards, “Alder Springs” high risk/high reward vintages are always intriguing and usually outstanding. We’ll taste a selection of Mr. Bewley’s “Alder Springs Winery” wines plus a few from his winery clients (about 45 wineries buy “Alder Springs” fruit.)
6 PM arrival, 6:15 start.
$30/person. DDWA Members: $15

What you need to know about Dan’s Napa Valley Wine Academy Classes
  • Tastings are a sit-down lecture format starting no later than 6:15. All tastings will end no later than 8 P.M. 
  • Tastings are held at Napa Valley Wine Academy, 2501 Oak Street, Napa
  • Purchasing tickets ahead of time is recommended.
    Tickets at the door, if available, are $30. Cash only accepted at the door.


Tasting Events at Southside Century Cafe 

Wednesday, February 19, 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Rhone Valley Takeover – Bring a Bottle.
Southside Café at South Napa Century Center hosts Rhone Valley Wines Takeover Night on Wednesday, February 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 P.M. Bring a bottle of wine from France’s Rhone Valley (Northern or Southern, red, white or rosé) to enjoy and share with all Takeover participants. Complimentary corkage for all Takeover bottles.  Rhone-friendly specials available along with the full Southside Café dinner menu. Southside Takeover co-host Dan Dawson of Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor will award a prize for the most intriguing Rhone Valley wine submitted. One bottle of wine admits up to 2 guests. Arrival by 6:30 P.M. suggested. Southside at Century Center: 135 Gasser Drive, Napa.




Friday, March 13, 5 to 7 PM
Wine Tasting Social – Tasting of Penfolds Wines
With Edward Lee, Penfolds Wine Ambassador
DDWA Members: $10 (not a member yet? join now)

Join us at Southside Cafe at South Napa Century Center for a tasting at Penfolds, South Australia’s legendary winery. Edward Lee of Penfolds will share five Penfolds wines with us (listed below). Learn the history, present and future of Penfolds from Edward and Social co-host Dan Dawson.  Southside’s real California cuisine with a Latin influence will be available during and after the tasting. Wines will be available for purchase from Penfolds during the tasting.

Join fellow wine lovers at Southside Century the 2nd Friday of every month for the Wine Tasting Social.
Southside at Century Center: 135 Gasser Drive, Suite B, Napa

On the menu:
Penfolds Riesling “Bin 51” – “Bone-dry and steely.”
Penfolds Chardonnay “Bin 311” – “Very little oak, no ML, often confused with Burgundy.”
Penfolds Shiraz “Bin 28” – “A bit rustic and charming Shiraz.”
Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon “Bin 407” – “The Cab from down under, more savory than its Napa counterpart.”
Penfolds Shiraz “Mystery Wine” – Must be present to learn what it is.

Penfolds is the only Australian Winery to receive 100 points from both Wine Spectator (US) and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (US) for the same Vintage (2008 Grange). Penfolds has been producing remarkable wines for over 175 years and indisputably lead the development of Australian fine wine in the modern era.



Past Wine Tasting Events at Southside

Friday, February 14 (Valentine’s Day)
Wine Tasting Social – Sparkling Rosé Wines
Southside and DDWA welcomed all for a tasting of Sparkling Rosé wines. Pink bubbles from local legend Schramsberg plus Spain (Cava), France (Cremant de Bourgogne) and Tasmania were greatly enjoyed. $15 tasting, $10 for DDWA Members. Join fellow wine lovers at Southside Century the 2nd Friday of every month for the Wine Tasting Social. Southside at Century Center: 135 Gasser Drive, Suite B, Napa

Friday, January 10
Wine Tasting Social – Navarro Vineyards Tasting
We welcomed Aaron Bennett of Navarro Vineyards. He poured 5 Navarro wines for guests on this evening. One of if not the best wineries in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley, Navarro specializes in Pinot Noir and Alsace varietals like Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Muscat. But don’t sleep on their old vine Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, either!

Wine Tasting Social – “It’s About The Dirt”
Friday, December 13
We welcomed guests to a tasting of California wines that emphasize The Dirt. In other words, how the vineyard makes a difference on the wine. Guests Matt Naumann of Newfound Wines, Evan Liu or Frog’s Leap Wine Cellars and sales representatives of Foxen and Turley Wineries poured and chatted with the crowd. Join fellow wine lovers at Southside Century the 2nd Friday of every month for the Wine Tasting Social.

Syrah Takeover – Bring a Bottle
Southside Café at South Napa Century Center hosted Syrah Takeover Night on Wednesday, November 20 from 5:30 to 8 P.M. Guests brought a bottle Syrah to enjoy and share with all Takeover participants.  I awarded “Most Intriguing Syrah” prize to Givich Syrah, Yountville 2006, which was made by the late, great Jason Ball.

Friday, November 10
Wine Tasting Social – PINOT NOIR

Presented Pinot Noirs from Chris Dearden Wines, Whetstone Wine Cellars, MacMurray Ranch and J Winery. Pinots that are very different in style yet equally delicious. Southside’s dinner menu available to enjoy with your tasting.  Southside at Century Center: 135 Gasser Drive, Napa.  


Past classes at Napa Valley Wine Academy

Thursday, January 16:  A History of Italian Grapes in California
With Pietro Butitta, Owner/Winegrower: Prima Materia Wines

If you’re like me, you know enough about the history of Italian grapes in California to be dangerous. Pietro Butitta planted many grapes of Italian origin on his Kelsey Bench, Lake County vineyard. Pietro taught us about the past, present and future of Italian grapes in these parts. We tasted, compared and contrasted Prima Materia and Italian representations of the same grapes.

Thursday, December 5:  “Las Madres Vineyard” Syrahs
With John Painter Owner/Farmer of “Las Madres” and four producers of “Las Madres” Syrah
Same vineyard, same grapes, different winemaking.  “Las Madres” is unique in that the grapes for all wineries are picked at the same time, and the blocks (sections) of the vineyard are combined. This means all the wineries start with the same fruit. The difference, within the vintage, is purely the winemaking. We tasted four “Las Madres” Syrahs, 2016 vintage. We welcomed these wineries and their owners/winemakers:
Belharra Wines  (Anne Fogerty)
Benevolent Neglect (Ben Brenner)
Coterie Winery (Kyle Loudon)
Campesino Cellars   (Macario Montoya not in attendance, but his wine was there…it was great)

Thursday, November 21:  Champagne and Rhone Valley Wines
With importer Jack Edwards of JAE Wine Imports.
Six wine line-up, heavy on Jack Edward’s Northern Rhone Valley selections. Condrieu, Côte-Rôtie, Saint Joseph, Cotes-du-Rhone and Champagne to get the tasting started. Tasting included the Vincent Cluzel Condrieu and two wines from Domaine de la Roche Paradis: Saint-Joseph Rouge “La Madone” 2017 and Côte-Rôtie “Côte Rozier” 2017. Jack treated the group to two Cornas from his private stash as well.

Tuesday, October 29:  Tablas Creek “Esprit de Tablas” component tasting
Jason Haas, Partner and General Manager of Tablas Creek Vineyard, leads a tasting of individual grapes that make up the Tablas Creek “Esprit de Tablas” red and white wines before we taste the respective “Esprit de Tablas” wines.

We tasted:
Tablas Creek Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul and Esprit Blanc.
Tablas Creek Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise and Esprit Rouge.

Thursday, November 1:  Guest Importer: The Wine House SF & Owner David Netzer
Theme: Wines of Southern France
Tasting, lecture and discussion.

Thursday, November 15:  Wines of PIEDMONT
Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto, Arneis, Moscato…
Tasting, lecture and discussion.

Thursday, December 6:  Burgundy: $$$ Quality for $
With Eddie Gilbert of North Berkeley Imports
Tasting, lecture and discussion.

Thursday, January 17, 2019:  Wines of SICILY
Tasting, lecture and discussion.

Thursday, February 7, 2019:  Northern Rhone Valley
With Jack Edwards of J.A.E. Wine Imports
Tasting, lecture and discussion.

Thursday, February 21, 2019:  Old Vine Field Blends of California
We tasted single-vineyard, co-ferment red blends from different wine regions of Northern California.
8 wine line-up to include SOMM Blanc, Bucklin, Bedrock, Ridge, Sidebar (Ramey), Post & Vine and Pestoni Family.
Guest panel: Rebekah Wineburg (Post & Vine), Will Thomas (Ridge Vineyards) and Will Bucklin (Bucklin).

Thursday, March 7, 2019:  International Riesling
Including Rieslings from Germany, Austria, Australia, Washington and California
Tasting, lecture and discussion.

Thursday, March 21:  Oregon Pinot Noir
With James Cahill, Winemaker of Soter Vineyards
We focused on Soter’s “Origin Series” of Pinot Noirs that focus on nestled-AVAs of Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Thursday, April 4:  Cru Beaujolais
Tasting, lecture and discussion.
With Gavin Speight, Vice President of Importer Old Bridge Cellars (and Beaujolais lover/expert) and owner of Maison l’Envoye
Byron Kosuge, owner/winemaker: B Kosuge Winery.
Byron presented his B Kosuge Gamay, Carneros 2017 as a new-world comparison.

Thursday, April 18:  Bordeaux – The Satellites
With David Netzer, Owner: The Wine House San Francisco (Importer/Retailer)
Tasting, lecture and discussion.
We stepped off the beaten path and tasted some dynamite Bordeaux that also bring good value.

Thursday, May 2:  Time for ROSÉ Wines
Casual taste at your own pace format.

Thursday, May 16:  SPAIN – 7 Wines, 7 Regions
Tasting, lecture and discussion.
We tasted wines from Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, Rias Baixas, Bierzo, Penedes and Jerez.

Thursday, June 20:  Mourvèdre
Three California Mourvedre, two French (Bandol and Cotes du Rhone) and Valencia, Spain.
Guest winemaker panel: Ben Brenner of Benevolent Neglect and Hardy Wallace of Dirty & Rowdy.

Thursday, July 18:  New Zealand
We tasted and taled about every wines from Marlborough, Central Otago, Hawkes Bay and Auckland.
Special Guest: Martin MacKenzie, Sonoma winemaker (born, raised and winemaker-trained in New Zealand).

Thursday, August 22:  Wines of Yves Cuilleron
Tasting, lecture and discussion.
Taste six wines made by the great vigneron Yves Cuilleron of Chavanay, Northern Rhone Valley, France.
We tasted and discussed these wines: Syrah Rosé 2017, Viognier “Les Vignes d’a Cote” 2018, Condrieu “La Petite Côte 2017, Syrah “Les Vignes d’a Cote” 2017, St Joseph Rouge “Cavanos” 2015, Côte-Rôtie “Bonnivières” 2016

Thursday, September 12:  GSM Blends From Around The World
We tasted these six GSMs from near and far:
Jeff Cohn Cellars “Misc Stuff” GSM 2016 (Sonoma)
Andrew Murray “Esperance” 2016 (Central Coast)
Quady North GSM 2013 (Rogue Valley, Oregon),
Domaine le Couroulu Vacqueyras 2015
Sélection Laurence Féraud Gigondas 2013
John Duval “Plexus” (Barossa Valley) 2014