Sean Minor Wines Blog

New release - Sean Minor Napa Valley Red Blend 2012

Sean Minor - Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Just a quick Sneak peak of the next vintage of Sean Minor Napa Red Blend - The 2012 "Nicole Marie" named for my wife - releases in December.


Swirl Wine Bar - New Orleans

Sean Minor - Thursday, September 04, 2014
Stuart and I had a great time at Swirl Sensational Wine Bar in New Orleans last night! Thank you to everyone who came out and joined us. 

Finca Bellavista - Costa Rica

Danica Ratkovich - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I recently visited the mountainous South Pacific coastal region of Costa Rica, a relatively untouched area and one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. Quite different from the other parts of Costa Rica, this region is rugged jungle with a laid back lifestyle. A half hour drive north from the main south Pacific port in Costa Rica and the town of Golfito, is Finca Bellavista – a sustainable treehouse community. Named after the Rio Bellavista, which flows through the property, Finca Bellavista is a magical rustic treehouse community removed from the outside influences of the world. Over 600 acres of secondary rainforest, mountains, valleys, rivers and trees, comprise “The Finca” and provide the magnificent backdrop for the modern, sustainable treehouses. My friend Thomas had spent a few months at Finca Bellavista a few years ago, and so he gathered a group of five friends to go back with him. 

Our Finca Family: Back row - Travelmates Thomas, Isla, Danica, Brendan and Erik. Front row - Volunteers Amy from Boston and Erin from Atlanta, Founders Erica and Mateo Hogan.

Upon arrival, after a long day of travel, we were greeted by Mateo and Erica Hogan, who began envisioning and creating this community about 8 years ago. We immediately sat down for a home cooked meal in the community center. The wine was flowing and conversation lively. In the days that followed we spent our time exploring the property; hiking, swimming holes, water falls, and zip lining through the sky trails. 

Finca Bellavista has a way of inspiring connection. Perhaps it’s the sacred grounds surrounding you or the seemingly millions of sounds of the jungle that change from morning to night, a reminder that life is buzzing all around at all times. Maybe it’s seeing and trying to comprehend the sacrifices and struggles endured by two people with a dream, who haven’t given up and have created this space, this community, while truly being stewards of the land. I couldn’t help but feel insanely connected to nature and the people who make up the Finca Family. I could go on and on about the 10 incredible days we spent at Finca Bellavista, but honestly I had no intention of taking to the winery blog to talk about my trip.

About the third day we were there I contemplated if I’d have a reason to blog about this magnificent place or if I could even find the words to adequately describe the experience, and share it with our Sean Minor Family of Wines community. Costa Rica isn't known for being a wine-producing country, being mostly too hot and humid, high taxes on imports render CA wines almost obsolete in the market... Where's the connection? That evening I got my answer at the happy hour gathering in the open-aired Rancho above the community center. I struck up a conversation with a volunteer by the name of John, a restaurant owner from Colorado, as he poured me a glass of wine. He had only been there a few weeks and I found out he was from Kansas City, Overland Park to be exact – the same neighborhood where Sean grew up. Turns out they went to nearby schools. When I told him who I worked for he was excited to share he had just tried a bottle of Sean Minor 4 Bears Sauvignon Blanc before coming down to Costa Rica. He had no idea Sean was born and raised in Kansas, much less from the same place he was from. We were both excited to make that wine connection, all the way in Costa Rica. Perhaps I was a bit more excited to know word of our wines could reach that far!

Survivor Finca Bellavista: Left to Right - Volunteers - John from Kansas City, Erin, and Amy; Travelmates - Isla, Danica, Brendan, Thomas and Erik. Left to our own devices for a few days at The Finca while the FBV team celebrated their annual employee appreciation party offsite.

More photos, click to enlarge:

Entrance to Finca BellavistaBase campSwimming holeEl Castillo Mastate TreehouseEl Castillo Mastate Treehouse
Foot bridge at Base Camp crossing the Rio BellavistaFinca Fresh! Organic vegetables grown at The FincaHike to La Punta - the furthest point of the Finca property, where the two rivers meet.Kimbo Slice - resident jungle bulldogLa Torreluna - The Moon TowerMis Ojos - two story treehouseThe organic gardens
Rio Bellavista flowing through Base CampRio BellavistaZip lining through the sky trailsSwimming holeThe view from Mis Ojos overlooking a water fallWater Fall

So, maybe this isn’t a topic you would expect to see on our blog, however I felt called to share the experience with our community. It would literally take thousands of words to really describe everything, and even then it wouldn't be enough, so I encourage you to check out Finca Bellavista's website and Facebook page to learn more about their conservation efforts, initiatives, and opportunities - plus see tons of pictures of the treehouses on the property. And more importantly, if you are considering a trip to Costa Rica, I encourage you to visit them! They have recently announced their volunteer needs for the coming year and information is available online. They were also featured on Animal Planet's Ultimate Treehouses and HGTV's House Hunters International. Hear and see their story right here...

Pura Vida!

10,000 Fans on Facebook!

Sean Minor - Thursday, August 07, 2014

Yesterday we reached 10,000 fans on our Facebook page! In honor of this milestone, we have decided to offer 20% off all orders placed on our website for the rest of August, plus you'll still receive the value of Free Ground Shipping on all case orders (see below for more info). Use discount code 10KFACEBOOK during checkout. 

I said I would post a throwback photo of Nicole and I once we reached 10,000 fans, so without further ado here it is just in time for Throwback Thursday:

Then and now - 1986 at ASU vs 2014

Remember, all wines are 20% off thru the end of the month with discount code 10KFACEBOOK. Offer is only valid in states where we can legally ship wine, of course. You will still receive the value of Free Ground Shipping on all case orders, which saves you an additional $30-50 per case, depending where you live. However, since August is still a hot month Ground orders may be held until the weather cools off in the fall, so be sure to check out details on shipping during the warm months and which method to choose. This info is also handily available during checkout. If you have any questions call our office at 707-226-1414 or email us at!

As always, we are tremendously grateful for your support and look forward to the continued growth of both the winery and our social community. 


Sean and Nicole

Notes from the Road - Larry in Minneapolis

Larry Soble - Monday, August 04, 2014
I spent time over the past weekend in Minneapolis for a couple of events. The first event was a wine dinner at Lunds and Byerly's Kitchen, a family-owned gourmet grocer with a bar and grill. We had eighteen people join us for the wine dinner! 

click to enlarge

I spent the rest of the time at Surdyk's Liquor and Cheese Shop, where I sampled our wines to more than 350 customers over two days! Surdyk's, run by three generations of the Surdyk family,  has been in business since 1934 and features a wide assortment of cheeses, wines, beer, liquor and cigars.  

click to enlarge

It was a great weekend showing our portfolio in the great city of Minneapolis!


Larry Soble 
Eastern Sales Manager

Notes From The Road - Sean in NJ and PA

Sean Minor - Monday, July 28, 2014

I recently spent some time in New Jersey with our broker extraordinaire, Phil Tartaglione. After flying into Philly International, Phil brought me to his home in NJ for an informal dinner gathering -  “Grillin and Chillin, with Sean Minor on my Patio”. In attendance were 3 of the NJ reps from Polaner Selections, Brian McMahon, Mike Hoffman and Derek Martin. From The PA Wine Merchant we had Hudson Austin. And a retail friend, Jimmy Quaile, the wine manager of Roger Wilco in Pennsauken. Plus, Phil's wife, Gwynn.

The weather, earlier in the week, was thick with nasty humidity and raw heat. But, a summertime polar vortex was hovering over NJ on Thursday night, bringing us very comfortable temperatures, zero humidity and light breezes. It was ideal. The patio was decked with torches and the hanging baskets and window boxes never looked better.

We started with three chilled wines,…4Bears Sauvignon Blanc, Vin Gris and Chardonnay as we sampled from a charcuterie plate of cheeses, prosciutto, speck, roasted tomatoes and olives.

Dinner was fired up on the komodo grill, cooked over lump hardwood charcoal at 650 degrees. We enjoyed thick rib eyes, portabella mushrooms, bell peppers and flat breads, all from the grill, plus rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes. Paired with the meal, we served the full line up of red wines…Central Coast Pinot Noir, Carneros Pinot Noir, Point North Oregon Pinot Noir, Paso Cabernet, Napa Cabernet and Napa Red.

It was a fantastic opportunity for me to spend one on one time with everyone in a very informal setting.

For dessert, we had a fresh fruit tart, and Derek graciously brought a 1900 Reserva Moscatel Madeira to share.

The following day Phil was up early to brew coffee and get rolling on the food prep for a luncheon with our PA sales team. We had the full group in the local King of Prussia PA offices, including the reps from Pittsburgh and Central PA .

When possible, Phil likes to prepare a real, full blown restaurant quality luncheon, as a way to pair food with the wines, and, to also say thank you to the sales team.

The menu for today was relatively simple and he knocked it out in a couple of hours. We had:

· Grilled Shrimp, marinated in tequila with lime juice and lime zest, and served atop a bed of roasted NJ corn with minced peppers, lime juice and a few minced jalapeno peppers.

· Grilled boneless chicken thighs, marinated in lemon juice with rosemary, thyme and lemon zest.

· Chardonnay ‘spiked’, Yukon Gold potatoes, which, after boiling and draining are immediately returned to the pot with a half bottle of 4Bears Chardonnay. With the lid on, the potatoes steep and absorb the wine juices. No butter or oil is needed! Topped with a lot of chopped fresh parsley and salt/pepper.

· Steamed French string beans with roasted tomatoes.

· Brownies and fresh Strawberries.

We delivered the meal, and set it up in the room adjacent to their sales room. Once we were set, I addressed the team of 15 sales reps present. As we sampled each wine, I explained the process and the reasoning behind our style of winemaking for each type. When the meeting concluded, we all took 45 minutes to enjoy the luncheon and to converse with each other.

Immediately after, we were heading to Philly International for my flight back to CA. Although a quick trip, it was well spent with great company!

Click to enlarge photos
Chardonnay Spiked Yukon Gold PotatoesChicken Thighs with Rosemary, Thyme and LemonKomodo GrillReserve Madeira
Reserve Madeira4B Central Coast Pinot Noir & SM Carneros Pinot NoirPolaner Reps with Sean and PhilSteaks on the Grill
Fresh Strawberries and Homemade BrowniesString Beans with Roasted TomatoesTequila Shrimp with Roasted Corn, Lime and Jalapeno

Summer Vacation Intern

Sean Minor - Wednesday, July 23, 2014
We love having the kids around the office to help out when they're out of school! Our oldest, Nick, has been home from college and assisting our accounting department (Barbara). Our daughter, Elle, who recently turned 16 has been handling some admin duties for us. Today our youngest bear, Charlie, paid us a visit to offer help, along with his trusty sidekick Posey. He sorted and packed t-shirts for us and got them ready for shipping.
Charlie is the only one of the Four Bears to express interest in becoming a winemaker, in fact he prayed for help during lent in 2011. 

At the time, he also told me when I die he will take over the winery. Still trying to explain to him that I don't need to be gone for him to be a part of the winery. Not sure he quite understood back then, but we are getting there.

During summer vacation our winery truly becomes a family affair!


Notes from the road - Larry in MD & WV

Danica Ratkovich - Monday, July 21, 2014

Larry Soble, Eastern Sales Manager, recently visited Maryland and West Virginia to work with our new distributors there. He visited the very nice and quiet, quaint town of McHenry, MD, which is a resort area in the Summer and Winter. They have skiing there in the winter and it is a second home for many people who live in the DC area. Larry stayed at the Inn at Deep Creek Lake where they do a lot of boating. 

Larry hosted a wine tasting with the folks at Firefly Farms Creamery & Market. This place makes handmade cheeses and sell wine, cheeses, cured meats. As you can see they brought out fancy cheeses to taste with the wines. They loved Sean's wines and will be carrying a few. 

Firefly Farms, Creamery & Market is located at:

107 South Main St
Accident, MD (yes, Accident) 21520 
PH: 301-746-8188.

Larry also hosted an in-store evening tasting at Slight Indulgence Wine Shop and Cafe in Morgantown, WV. Owned by JC and Suzy Warman, Slight Indulgence carries almost all of our wines! We had 15ppl and it was a success as we sold almost 4 cases combined. Everyone loved the wines. 

Slight Indulgence is located at:

3200 Collins Ferry Road
Morgantown, WV 26505
PH: 304-599-3402

How to choose a bottle of wine

Danica Ratkovich - Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Okay, so we think the best way to choose a bottle of wine is to just drink what you like! However, in the event you want a bit more guidance, here is a handy infographic from Wine Folly to help you choose a great bottle for the occasion. Cheers! 

Click picture to enlarge.

Sean Minor in the Wine Advocate

Danica Ratkovich - Monday, July 07, 2014
We are grateful to the Wine Advocate for the great ratings on two of our Sean Minor offerings.

89 POINTS - 2009 Sean Minor Red Blend

The 2009 Proprietary Red, a kitchen sink blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Malbec, represents 15,000 cases and was aged in a combination of American and French oak (18% new) for 11 months. The wine offers silky tannins and an exuberant, lush, medium-bodied style with abundant fruit and glycerin, and no hard edges. It is made to please the palate for at least several years.

90 POINTS - 2011 Sean Minor Carneros Pinot Noir

The 2011 Pinot Noir is an 18,000-case cuvee made from destemmed Pinot Noir (Pommard and Dijon clones). It spent ten months in French oak of which 18% was new. This is a sexy, lush, perfumed Pinot boasting notes of strawberries, cherries and forest floor, presented in a medium-bodied style. Consume it over the next several years.

These are both delicious efforts at bargain-basement prices.

Readers looking for an amazing value in Pinot Noir should check out these two offerings from this California quasi-negociant, Sean Minor. All of the fruit and grape must is purchased, then assembled and bottled.
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