Welcome to the first in a series of staff profiles for our team at Acquiesce! We couldn’t do what we do without them, and thought it would be fun for you to get to know them, too.
If you’ve been in the Acquiesce tasting room, and especially if you’re one of our wine club members, you’ve most likely met or spoken with our tasting room and wine club manager, Deanie Bridewell. Her gracious and gentle demeanor sets the tone in the tasting room, and she keeps things running smoothly on all fronts.
Deanie previously worked at the City of Lodi’s Hutchins Street Station, where she was the Manager and Event Coordinator.
What brought you to Acquiesce?
I met Sue (Tipton) while I was the Event Coordinator and Manager of Hutchins Street Square. My emphasis was supporting the Arts. We met planning the Artisan Masters, a fundraising collaboration between the Lodi Arts Commission, the Lodi Arts Foundation and local wineries.
What was your background prior to coming to Acquiesce?
I started working for HSS in 2004. During that time, I attended Sacramento State and received a Certificate in Event Planning. Lodi art events provided opportunities for me to meet local wine makers who were always generous in their support and donation of wine when asked to help. Although I worked with many winemakers, my knowledge of Lodi wines was limited.
How long have you been in the Lodi area, and what do you like about it?
I moved to Lodi from Sonoma County in 2004. Lodi offers a small town feel while providing great wine tasting, art events and recreational opportunities.
What’s your (current) favorite wine in the Acquiesce lineup?
Right now I’m loving the Grenache Blanc. The Grenache Rosé is always a consistent favorite. Having Belle Blanc back on the menu is a treat, and I’m waiting for a special moment to open my 2014 Roussanne. I can’t wait to try that!
What do you like about working at Acquiesce?
I feel blessed to work with Sue. I respect her philosophy and spirit to produce world class wines. I enjoy the delight customers find in her white wines, especially the staunch red wine only lover, once they take the chance. And I love working with the Acquiesce staff. They are the best and truly committed to their passion and support of Acquiesce and providing the very best experience for our guests.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
When not working, I love traveling—whether it is a trip to the ocean or abroad. This summer I had the opportunity to meet Sue and Rodney in Uzes, France. It turned out that in our small cooking class we were surprised by having two Acquiesce wine club members show up who were also enjoying a holiday. I also am Noni to five wonderful grandchildren who I can never get enough of.
Deanie provides such a positive guiding presence at Acquiesce. Sue Tipton notes “Deanie is the ultimate customer service professional; nothing makes her happier than greeting our guests or getting to know a new wine club member. She’s interested in pleasing our customers and being a mentor to our tasting room staff.”
Be sure to say “hi!” to Deanie next time you stop by!
We may be just a stone's throw from the city by the bay, but we (and our wines) are often overlooked by our bigger neighbors to the west. So we were extra-thrilled to find ourselves in a feature in The Press, the Chronicle's wine section. Former Sacramento Bee writer Mike Dunne has compiled an extensive guide to Lodi wine, and it includes a feature on Acquiesce!
In her piece "We've Gotten it All Wrong About Lodi Wine," Chronicle wine writer Esther Mobley notes in her introduction to Dunne's guide:
"Discovering the wines of Lodi has truly been one of the great pleasures of my job over the last few years . . . . As the longtime Sacramento Bee wine writer, Mike knows Lodi like his own backyard, and he does a wonderful job of conveying the region’s rich history. Perhaps more acutely than any other California wine region, Lodi is a place that was shaped by the Gold Rush and Prohibition. It is both the beneficiary of the modern wine boom’s appetite for zesty, higher-alcohol red wines, and the victim of it — as the region now has to show it can do more than jammy and overripe."
Our dry white wines are emblematic of that maverick spirit in Lodi, and we think Dunne captures it perfectly:
"The secret to the popularity of their unusual wines is a house style that stresses clarity, focus and zing. Unfamiliarity with this or that varietal wine hasn’t kept consumers from recognizing and embracing suggestions of apple, lime and revitalizing acidity in her Picpoul Blanc, the juicy complexity of her Grenache Blanc, and the tropical fruitiness, richness and persistence of her Clairette Blanche."
Be sure to check out Dunne's Lodi guide, and use it to plan your next trip to visit us!
We were delighted to learn this week that two of our Acquiesce wines received medals at this year's American Wine Society Commercial Wine Competition.
Founded in 1967, the American wine society is the largest and oldest organization of wine consumers in the country; its Commercial Wine Competiton was first held in 1986 and remains one of the more highly regarded wine competitions in the U.S.
This year, our Clairette Blanche--one of the two new varieties we recently planted on the Acquiesce estate--was awarded a Gold Medal. This is still an exceptionally rare Rhône variety for the U.S., and we think it performs beautifully in our Lodi AVA.
In addition, our perennially popular "lip-stinging" beauty, Picpoul Blanc, was awarded an AWS Double Gold Medal.
We are proud of the premium white wines we produce here at Acquiesce, and thrilled with this recognition from the American Wine Society. We still have both wines available for purchase online (just click on the "Wines" tab above) or in the tasting room.
Acquiesce’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape-inspired blend, Belle Blanc, is an homage to Sue Tipton’s origin story as a winemaker. She’s almost certainly told the tale too many times to count now, but the wine she tasted that started her on the journey that would become Acquiesce, with all its wines we know and love, was a white Châteauneuf-du-Pape blend. If you can get her talking about that wine, she still waxes rhapsodic in describing it.
We can certainly identify-we’re just as likely to wax rhapsodic about the Belle Blanc when you ask about it in the tasting room. It’s a perennial staff favorite (and customer favorite!), and the 2018 vintage is no exception.
All of our grapes are hand-picked and immediately pressed as whole clusters to capture their fresh, flavorful character. The grapes were harvested in the early morning to keep acidity at its highest, providing the vibrancy in the wine. The juice is then cool fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks to highlight the pure fruit expressions.
Our estate fruit is in the Mokelumne River AVA of the Lodi Appellation, and our grape clones are Tablas Creek cuttings from the famous French Château de Beaucastel Winery in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region. Our climate is very similar to that of the Southern Rhône with cool nighttime breezes from the nearby Mokelumne River giving our grapes their ripe, fruity flavors with excellent balance.
This luscious white offers wonderful mouth feel and tropical flavors; the lovely aroma of pear, honeysuckle and gardenia give way to a long, dry finish. Each variety brings something special to the blend: the Grenache Blanc brings aromas of dried apricot, green apple, and stone fruit, the Roussanne provides an almond and floral note, and the Viognier adds a honeyed tangerine finish.
Belle Blanc is an exceptionally versatile blend, pairing well with summertime dishes like citrus salads, ceviche, oysters, crab, but also pairs beautifully with heartier fall and winter dishes such as chicken and pork; try it with a traditional cassoulet or the Pork Chops Gratinées featured in the Recipes section on this website. We call it our Thanksgiving wine because it pairs so beautifully with all the rich dishes on our holiday table, from the turkey on down (and we think it'd go great on your Thanksgiving table, too).
Belle Blanc was just awarded a Gold Medal at the prestigious Sunset Magazine International Wine Competition 2019. It’s available for purchase on the website and in our tasting room. $34/bottle.
2018 Ingénue (2 bottles)
A blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette Blanche, Bourboulenc and Picpoul Blanc, the Ingénue has a very high-toned, exuberant nose of primarily minerals and fresh fennel, with suggestions of lemon/citrus and spring/floral notes; medium-full body of moderate weight despite meaty, slightly dense, textured qualities, finishing with mineral and citrus notes in the mouth. We enjoy this wine with gruyere grilled cheese, tomato tart, pork belly, goat cheese and so much more. Best of Class & Double Gold in the 2019 International Women's Wine Competition plus Gold & Best of Class in the 2019 Sunset International Wine Competition.
2018 Bourboulenc (2 bottles)
We are the first winery in the U.S. to release this varietal that has been grown in France for hundreds of years. It’s got a great natural acidity, with citrus flavors of orange and key lime and with a honeyed beeswax finish. We find that it pairs well with fish (a natural with bouillabaisse!) and even shines with spicy foods. Gold Medal - 2019 International Women's Wine Competition.
2018 Roussanne (1 bottle)
This wine has the most diverse characteristics of all of our varietals. The mouth is juicy yet still restrained, with flavors of apricots and cream. The finish is mineral, with almond, pear, floral and even some honey notes. It stands up to rich shellfish, salmon, spicy foods and garlic stir-fries. A must with foie gras! Gold Medal - International Women's Wine Competition 2019.
2018 Grenache Rosé (1 bottle)
This Provençal style dedicated rosé has a delicate salmon color with aromas of watermelon, strawberry and lime. Our Grenache grape clones come from both the famous French Château de Beaucastel Winery in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region and from the renowned Alban Grenache clone; the cool nighttime breezes from the Mokelumne River nearby gives the grapes ripe, fruity flavors with excellent balance. This wine pairs well with any food but try it with Mediterranean cuisine or Spanish tapas for a special treat—or just enjoy it outside on a sunny day! Gold Medal - 2019 Sunset Magazine's International Wine Competition.
Join us for an Educational Harvest Vineyard and Winery Tour highlighting our estate vineyard and winemaking practices following the Lodi Rules Sustainable Farming Program on either Saturday, September 14th or Saturday, September 21st at 9:30 AM.
This is an ideal time of year to visit us for a vineyard tour, since you’ll get to experience the grapes themselves right out in the vineyard.
Participants will walk the vineyard with Rodney Tipton, gaining an understanding of trellising, pruning, tying, maintaining shade canopy and seeing how our irrigation program works, to name a few.
The vineyard tour will be followed by an overview of the winemaking process by winemaker Susan Tipton. Learn how to check grapes for ripeness and follow our grapes from the vineyard to the glass. Taste the grapes directly from the vine, and then try freshly pressed grape juice from the tank! Discover how our wines taste along multiple steps in their journey to the bottle and learn just how they got there.
Next up will be a tasting of our fall lineup of white wines each paired with small bites, and ending with a box lunch from the Lodi Airport Cafe on our patio.
Bring a hat or sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes (that don’t mind getting a little dusty).
Limited to 20 guests.
Cost for tour, tasting, and lunch:
$35 per person - $25 per person for Acquiesce Wine Club Members - SOLD OUT!
RSVP here to be added to the waitlist.
Our newest release from the vineyard is our 2018 Roussanne, a true Rhȏne grape that originated in the northern Rhȏne valley in France. This is our eighth vintage of the sometimes-temperamental variety, and we are excited about what we’re tasting so far. It’s already earned a gold medal at the 2019 International Women’s Wine Competition, and impresses with aromas of tea rose, white flowers and a hint of spice on the nose, and it unfolds on the palate with notes of pear, apricot and a rich mouthfeel. The finish lingers with flavors of almonds and honeycomb. A backbone of minerality and acidity keeps this wine gorgeously balanced and delicious alone or with pairings from seafood to foie gras. As with all our wines, it is produced in 100% stainless tanks and never goes through malolactic fermentation, allowing the pure fruit flavor of our unique Lodi-Mokelumne River AVA terroir to really shine through.
While Roussanne is perhaps the most ageable of Rhȏne white varieties—and is often referred to as the white wine for red wine drinkers thanks to that ageability and all-around richness--it does have a bit of a reputation.
“Roussanne is a spindly plant, susceptible to wind, to rot, mildew, and oidium. Uneven ripeness, as well as botrytis, is common, and multiple passes are frequently required for a proper harvest. In the vineyard it is so fickle, in fact, that a grower at Novovine, a Sonoma nurseryman, gave it the nickname ‘the Princess.’”
-Patrick Comiskey, American Rhȏne
In the next breath, however, those who bemoan Roussanne’s finickiness will become downright poetic in describing the beautiful wines this grape produces. Is the princess worth all the trouble? The answer is YES.
It can certainly be a bit of a problem child in our vineyard, but we also have a slightly more hospitable environment for Roussanne here in Lodi, where we have a longer growing season and no troublesome winds like southern France’s Mistral.
One of the keys to growing Roussanne with best results is to keep yields low (which in turn keeps Roussanne’s acid levels in check), which we do with all our fruit at Acquiesce. At harvest, all the fruit is hand-picked and whole-cluster pressed.
Our 2018 Roussanne has just been released, and you can purchase it from our website or in our tasting room where we’ve just added it to our tasting flight.
307 cases produced, 100% estate grown
We are pleased to announce the release of our 2018 Bourboulenc!
Harvest date – September 21, 2018 (last varietal harvested)
Brix at Harvest – 23 – Absolutely beautiful fruit!
Date of Bottling - January 18, 2019
Cases Produced – 386 cases
Alcohol – 13.5%
In a year notable for its lack of extremes—no heat spikes, no flooding, and no extended drought conditions—the 2018 vintage was a stellar one for the Lodi region, and it really shows in our second-ever bottling of the rare Rhȏne variety Bourboulenc, grown on our estate in the Mokelumne River AVA. Acquiesce was the first U.S. winery to release a single-variety Bourboulenc, and we think our sophomore effort is even better. It’s a high-yielding, hardy grape that thrives on heat and sunshine—something we have plenty of in Lodi!
How did we make this vintage? For starters, all our estate fruit is certified under the Lodi Rules for sustainable winemaking. How we grow the grapes for our wine is as important as how we make the wine itself, because without quality fruit you cannot have great wine.
The fruit was hand-picked in early morning and whole cluster-pressed; as with all our wines, the grapes were cold-fermented in stainless steel tanks to allow maximum expression of the fruit flavors and has no residual sugar, which means this wine is crisp and dry. It does not undergo malolactic fermentation.
While this variety has been prized in Southern Rhône, Provence and Languedoc for centuries for its balanced acidity and citrus flavors, it really shines in our Lodi terroir: aromas of white flowers and spice lead to bright citrus flavors in the glass, with hints of fresh herbs, a supporting minerality, and a lingering honeyed finish. Bourboulenc is a primary component of several blends in southern France (Bandol Blanc, anyone?), and it’s a key variety in our own new Ingénue blend, but it’s a real standout as a varietal bottling. Rarely, if ever can it be found bottled as a single varietal. While this wine is delicious all by itself, it’s also a food-friendly wine that pairs well with seafood, pastas and risottos with a cream sauce, and even with spicy food. As we worked on this writeup we decided to pair it with a leek risotto and seared scallops, and it was a winning (and delicious!) combination.
Like all the wines Acquiesce makes, it is exceptionally well-suited in general for the lighter California (and West Coast) cuisine. Our Bourboulenc recently won a gold medal at the 2019 International Women’s Wine Competition, earning its place alongside all our other gold medal winners.
It’s available to wine club members and in our tasting room beginning August 15, with a $28 retail price. It joins our tasting room lineup on the 15th as well, so stop by and discover this exciting new wine for yourself!
Happy New Vintage!
The 2016 harvest is being noted as the first “normal” vintage we’ve seen in quite a few years. So, what does that mean?
It is widely reported that with a mild early summer and consistent growing conditions, harvest volumes, and ripening time this vintage is considered “normal”. This is most interesting to me because at nearly every vintage we will hear reports that things are not normal in one way or another.
Here in our small vineyard we saw a fairly even growing season where temperatures and moisture are concerned along with a good bloom and set but then came a bit of uneven ripening which made cluster thinning a little trickier but that could be considered normal. As human beings chasing a “perfect” result, we would like to think that perfect growing conditions and absolute even ripening should be the normal. The truth is that those conditions never really happen so that should be considered ideal.
But again, what we humans sometimes perceive as ideal and what nature determines as the ideal and perfection can be in conflict. Nature always gets her way and I have learned that the sooner I’d come to terms with that the sooner I would learn to observe her and understand the real path to good winemaking.
I think of my winemaking in parallel with my lifespan. How many vintages will I enjoy the privilege of making wine? My love of the journey forces me to focus intensely with the objective of learning and understanding the influencing factors effecting the key to it all -- the vineyard and mother nature.
I remain committed to acquiesce to mother nature and let the vines guide me to the best wines I can make with each remaining vintage.
2016 Vintage in the Bottle
Our bottle with it’s beautiful shape is not the easiest for our mobile bottler to run on his line. (a lot of tipping) This year we bottled with a new set of tooling custom designed to fit the shape of our bottle and we are all very happy with the result. Many more bottles filled, corked and labeled in a lot less time.
More Mother Nature
2 years ago, Rodney vowed never to complain about rain again no matter how much we might get. He has stuck to his word and even when one of the trucks loaded with our newly bottled wines sunk in the parking lot, and he and our wonderful growers spent the day digging it AND the forklift out, there was no complaint about rain. All is well that ends well and thankfully the 2016 vintage is resting in bottles safe and snug in the warehouse.
All that’s left is to re-open the tasting room in March and share with you!
Favorite Food Pairings
This year our family holiday meal consisted of all pork belly Porchetta, cornbread, citrus salad and macaroni and cheese with gruyere.
Grenache Blanc was an extra nice complement with the cornbread, so if I could only taste one wine with this meal it would be Belle Blanc since the Grenache Blanc in the blend kisses the cornbread, the Roussanne is married to the pork and the Viognier with macaroni and cheese. Click images below for recipes!
So it’s the 2016 Holiday Season!
This time of year brings warm and happy feelings for me in so many ways. Of course, joyful time spent with our 3 sons, daughter in-laws and 3 granddaughters are highlights and in addition, I am comforted by the fact that our wines are peacefully resting in the their stainless steel tanks awaiting bottling in the New Year.
Although the tasting room is closed due to having sold out of last year’s vintage, we have been busy racking and fining the wines, gathering materials for bottling and in the coming weeks we will take care of the final filtering before bottling day.
I am a bit more excited about bottling this year because as I am sure you’re aware, the shape of my bottle is unique and our mobile bottler has always been less than excited to run them through his bottling line. Lots of special set up on his part as well as additional hands to try and keep them form tipping over during the process. Not exactly the picture of efficiency but this year, he has come up with specially designed tooling and we agreed to invest so that we can experience the same smooth operation as the wineries with “normal bottles.” Stay tuned and we’ll post a video! Bottling begins the 20th of January.
Post bottling we will again begin preparing to open the tasting room and planning the spring release. I am really pleased with how this vintage is coming along across all varietals and expect them to age really well.
Aging Acquiesce Wines
Many of us can’t exactly wait too long to enjoy these wines but for those of us who enjoy the changes that an aged wine can bring, I wanted to shed some light on our wines and aging. I often get questions about white wines and their ability to age well with many believing it is a practice reserved for red wines.
How a wine ages depends on many factors beginning in the vineyard and carrying through the winemaking approach considering structure, acidity, and residual sugar to name a few. My aim is to make wines that are enjoyable early on AND that will develop nice complexity over the next 5 years.
Some of you may have tasted different vintages of the same varietals in the tasting room this year and we made it a point to pay attention to your observations. While it seems a slight majority enjoy the older vintages, many preferred the brighter acidity with more pronounced fruit notes in the younger wines. I am very pleased as this is the aim of my winemaking approach.
Do I need a wine cooler or cellar to properly age Acquiesce wines?
Of course, ideal conditions or close to it, can be achieved with either a wine cooler or cellar but if you want to lay these wines down for a couple of years, a cool dark area of the house such as a hall closet will do the trick. In addition to cool and dark, consistent temperature is key. Large temperature swings are a negative so the location should be away from heat sources.
If you are aging some of my wines now or do so in the future I would most appreciate hearing about your experience.
Wine Club Waiting List
With a strong crop, we have more finished wine than ever before and we will be opening the club to folks on the waiting list! I’m so happy to expand the family and getting to know you all. With the newly planted vineyard being ready for harvest this coming Fall, we will be able to open the club to more folks and maybe even stay open through the holidays!
While this blog is a bit shorter than most, I want all who enjoy the Acquiesce experience to know you are very much appreciated and I really look forward to seeing you again beginning in March with an all new vintage and hopefully a few aged wine comparisons as well.
Rodney and I are off to enjoy time with the family and we wish you all the very best for the holidays and for 2017!!
- Wine club members should be receiving a holiday surprise in the coming days
- We have a couple of new additions to be unveiled in March
Love This Recipe Pairing with our Grenache Blanc!
MUSHROOM, HERB & GRUYERE CHEESE MINI TURNOVERS
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cups finely chopped Cremini mushrooms
1 onion, chopped finely
¾ tsp dried thyme
¾ tsp dried rosemary
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp flour
½ cup heavy cream
3 tbsp Acquiesce Grenache Blanc
⅓ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed (12x12 inches)
1 egg + 1 tbsp water whisked together
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a skillet, heat up the olive oil and butter. Add the chopped onion and saute for about 1 minute. Add the chopped mushrooms, thyme, rosemary and salt & pepper. Cook until the onions and mushrooms are tender and there is no moisture left from the mushrooms. Then stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the Grenache Blanc and cream. Remove from the heat, and stir in the Gruyere cheese. Set aside.
On your counter, lay out the puff pastry with the parchment paper it came with still attached. Using a pizza cutter cutter, cut the pastry into 16 pieces. Scoop about 1 tbsp of the mushroom mixture into the centre of the dough (do not overfill or they will leak). Then fold the dough in half and press the edges to seal them. Place the mini turnovers onto your prepared baking sheet, at least 1 inch apart. Brush the sealed edges and tops of the turnovers with the egg mixture. Repeat the above with the other puff pastry sheet and remaining mushroom mixture.
Bake each tray for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.