Great Wine 2.0 "New Release Only" Event!

Jason Moore, Modus OperandiI had the rather outstanding opportunity to go to my first Wine 2.0 event last Thursday, their “New Releases Only” wine-tasting at Varnish, a wine bar and art gallery in San Francisco. I’ve been to Varnish a lot over the years since it opened to grab a break from working at the Wednesday happy hour party Qoöl at 111 Minna Gallery around the corner. As a nice aside, it also doubled as a great way to spend the night of my 30th birthday. So, I grabbed my friend Alberto from Minna and we headed over to the party.

Wine 2.0 is, essentially, a wine industry networking group that intends to push wine into the open source and social networking new world that is “Web 2.0.” Really though, that’s kind of a stuffy description for what is a really cool and vibrantly active group of young wine entrepreneurs and aficionados. I kind of think of them as the next generation of “Wine Brats,” but taking a different sort of approach than that organization (though Wine Brats is still going strong!). Despite this younger crowd pushing this movement, I was happy to see a widely diverse group of 200+ patrons that at the event that were all over the age map.

Wine 2.0 and its various and somewhat tightly and loosely associated organizations and companies such as RadCru and Bottlenotes all eschew the philosophy of leveling the playing field between micro-wineries, virtual wineries and small grapegrowers. They want to help the wine public reach these tiny producers for good quaffing benefit for both sides, hence the Web 2.0 analogy. I think that two of the founders of Wine 2.0 and organizers of last Thursday’s event, Cornelius (founder of RadCru) and Alyssa (founder of Bottlenotes), stated it best in their toast that night: they aren’t exactly sure what this Wine 2.0 is all about, but they enjoy the continual discovery of its definition and really like seeing all of the new connections and off shoots that are being spawned from their organization and their meme. All in all, a movement that I fully endorse!

So, down to the real business of the night…the wine! I was rather swamped during the week leading up to this event so I didn’t get to do as much pre-event research as I would have liked. I did know that I wanted to check out two tiny wineries from the list of 30+ that were being represented: Modus Operandi Cellars and Radog. Unfortunately, the Radog owner and winemaker was off enjoying life around the globe now that his wines were in barrel, so Alberto and I started the evening with some fantastic wines from Modus Operandi.

Jason Moore, the winemaker and partner, started us with a startlingly crisp Sauvignon Blanc. It had all of the characteristics of Sauv Blanc that I love…vibrant acidity, big citrus flavors and that great herbaceousness that almost delves into cat pee, reminiscent of many of the New Zealand Sauv’s that I tend to enjoy. We also tasted his new red blend that was one of my favorite reds for the night. On top of his awesome wines and a really cool, laid back persona, the guy has a great story as well. He worked in the food industry for many years in Dallas until he got the wine bug and finally just up and moved to Napa with his wife. He tried this path and that until he found one that got him what he wanted, his own wine label. He makes some fantastic wines, check them out below and be sure to check out his website, as well…tell him Ward sent you!

Medlock AmesWe also had a great time chatting with Medlock Ames winemaker, Ames Morison. While he looks like the younger brother of Crispin Glover and seems like he should be fronting a really great indie band, Ames is a guy that knows his stuff and makes some outstanding wine. Ames and his friend and winery co-founder, Christopher Medlock James, run an organic and sustainable winery about 400 feet up on Mayacamas foothills. Their outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest of their wine ensemble are grown and vinted on their estate Bell Mountain Vineyard. Ames’ 2003 Cab was tied for the best wine that we had that night, alongside the Fantesca 2003 Cabernet. Be sure and check out the website, as well. The design is amazing (I dig the wine/water effects!) and I love the fact that they pack it full of so much useful information about their wines and their organic farming techniques.

I have uploaded the the most interesting wines that Alberto and I tried that night and you can find the links to their notes below. I’ve also tagged them all with 2.0NRO so that you can find them all in one search.

I also want to send Jason a Kim a big thank you for giving me the opportunity to go to this event, I loved it!

2006 Modus Operandi Cellars Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc

2005 Modus Operandi Cellars Napa Valley Vicarious

2003 Medlock Ames Bell Mountain Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2003 Fantesca Estate & Winery Spring Mountain District Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2004 Bacio Divino Cellars Bacio Divino

2005 Peter Franus Napa Valley Cabernet Franc

2005 Peter Franus Brandlin Vineyard Mourvèdre

Vinopanion: Ward Kadel - @drXeNo

View posts by Vinopanion: Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
Ward Kadel - @drXeNo is the founder of Vinopanion wine blog, former West Coast Ambassador & Staff Blogger for and former Le Wine Buff for (CIVB). He will try any and all wines and tends to write about the parts of his life that include virtually all of it! He and his wife grew up in Napa and Sonoma and they still live in the Napa Valley. Check out the wines he's recommended with his WKBadges. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Like #Vinopanion on Facebook. Contact him: "Ward at". Ward happily accepts samples but does not guarantee a review, positive or negative.


  1. Ward
    December 2, 2007

    Another story that I’d like to highlight from this event was about the little winery called Vie Winery. The winery was started by a veteran home winemaker, Bryan Kane. He finally decided to go pro and enlisted the help of some friends, Bryan Robertson, Barry Dorf and Rachel Blatt (who daylights as the VP of marketing at Vinfolio) whom I spoke to for a little bit at the event. Another home winemaker was added later, Todd Seaver and the winery has gone on to focus on some very concentrated and already well-accoladed Rhone varietal wines.
    It’s always encouraging and really exciting to hear stories like this where a person’s passion becomes so life-encompassing that they make the risky bold leap to try and work full time doing something that they previously could only afford to do on the side. Great stuff.

  2. Kim
    December 3, 2007

    I’m glad to hear that your enjoyed your time at the event! I totally agree that the “Wine 2.0” crowd is a warm, intriguing and old-friends bunch. They’ll welcome any newcomer or oldie with open arms and a glass of good sh*t.

    We wish we could have shared a toast with you — but that will come soon enough, I’m sure. Thanks for the excellent commentary.

  3. […] I was first initiated into the innovative world of Wine 2.0 when I attended their NRO event at Varnish last November. What I found was an extremely thriving movement of loosely knit and mainly younger wine aficionados, producers and entrepreneurs that were expanding upon the path set down by the original Wine Brats…they also tend to throw a party with a little more enthusiasm than your average wine event! […]

  4. […] is a member and sponser of Wine 2.0, the premiere wine industry group for utilizing new tech to bring wineries and wine-o’s closer and as such, we get invites to the various events that the Wine 2.0 folks host and promote. Implementing that philosophy, WineTwo is an interesting “trade” group in that they include your savvy wine consumer as a member as well as traditional peeps of the wine biz.  I received a rather exciting email from Cornelius Geary of WineTwo and RadCru (very big thank you!) in the middle of June that detailed an invite to a nifty limited event at the above-mentioned winery.  We were instructed to quickly reply in order to be on the list to taste a number of Chateau St. Jean’s (that’s “gene”) reserve and limited run wines.  I dashed off my reply and quietly formulated a plan on how to attend and make an entire weekend around the event (while chuckling evily) and the Pops & Son 4th Wine Trip was born! […]

  5. […] I was a bit unfair with this wine starting off.  I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot in my heart recently for wines that feature Mourvèdre, a red grape that is a major component of many Rhone reds from France. I’ve had some great Californian old vine Mourvèdre’s recently, both at the WineTwo NRO and from the hands of another “staid” winemaker, Kaz.  I was rather anxious to get my palate on this wine (or wine on my palate…?). […]

  6. […] Further sessions include prominent vineyard tours, dinner at Sonoma pioneers, Sebastiani, and the Luxe Sonoma tasting on Sunday, filled with many established and up and coming Sonoma vintners including Medlock Ames (whom I first encountered at WineTwo). […]

  7. […] My palate was introduced to Medlock Ames at the Wine 2.0 event, New Release Only, last November. There I tasted their ‘03 Bell Mountain Cab, a tremendously good wine, one of the few 5/5 stars that I have ever given.  Chris Medlock (or was it Ames?) was pouring their soon-to-be-released ‘04 Cab and it is another absolute stunner.  Just as with the ‘03, this had a phenomenal balance and was deeply complex, with various shades of fruit, silky but strong tannins and great acidity.  What a beautiful wine. […]

  8. […] to be a killer wine shindig!  Indeed, my introduction into the 2.0 movement of wine events was the very first event I covered for WineLog.  I’ve been to a number of others, including the last one that Smoke […]

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