Guglielmo, Jason Stephens, Fortino and Morgan wineries will be featured

Published in the June 8 – 21, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Marty Cheek

Photo courtesy A view of CordeValle Golf Resort from Clos LaChance winery.

Photo courtesy
A view of CordeValle Golf Resort from Clos LaChance winery.

The best female golfers in the game will play at the U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle Golf Resort next month, bringing more than 100,000 spectators and vendors. Many of them will discover the quality wines of the South Valley region served at parties and catering tents along the course.

Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill, Fortino Winery on Hecker Pass and Jason Stephen Winery on Watsonville Road will represent the South Valley wines at one of the most prestigious sports event in the world. Morgan Winery, based in Salinas, will also be serving wines at the U.S. Women’s Open.

“You’re going to get an international audience and everyone thinks that the wine country is Napa, but we have an older wine country here in Santa Clara Valley,” said Gene Guglielmo, co-owner of Guglielmo Winery.

Many of the visitors will discover the vineyards and winery tasting rooms in the region as they relax after the day’s golf is done around 4:30 p.m. each day of the championship. This can be a way thousands of people around the world will discover the wine and food of the South Valley region, Guglielmo said. Guglielmo Winery’s tasting room will extend its opening hours by one hour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to accommodate the visitors’ schedules.

Guglielmo plans to serve a Pinot Grigio, a “nice, crisp, white wine that will go well if it’s hot,” and its Sangiovese at the U.S. Open.

During the television coverage on FOX Sports, announcers will cut to short video clips during breaks in the championship to show interesting aspects of the South Valley region to millions of people. Guglielmo is hoping that this exposure will bring attention to local wineries and the beauty of the rural regions of South Valley.

Guglielmo has a “Vines and Vibes” Wednesday evening free music concert series and on the week of the championship, the popular band Sage will perform. “Maybe we’ll get some people who will just want to relax afterwards and listen to some good music and enjoy a glass or two of wine,” he said.

Jason Auxier, marketing coordinator at Morgan Winery, said they will be serving the Highland Chardonnay and Twelve Clones Pinot Noir as their featured wines at the U.S. Open. These are both real “crowd pleasers” — wonderful flavors, traditionally-crafted wines that are rich, yet well balanced, he said. Both wines are produced from grapes grown in the Santa Lucia Highlands, the cool-climate growing area of California’s Central Coast.

“It’s a real honor to be part of this exciting event, and even better that it’s in our own backyard,” he said. “We hope that people will enjoy Morgan wines while at the tournament, then venture out to try great local fare at local restaurants.”

Fortino Winery will be serving its Maribella, one of their popular requests, said Debbi Sanchez, events coordinator at Fortino.

“Gino (the winemaker) had made this in honor of his mother,” she said. “Marie is her name and Bella for beautiful. This wine is 70 percent Merlot, 15 percent Zinfandel 15 percent Sangiovese. This wine is a prefect to pair with chocolate and a steak dinner.”

Fortino’s Almond Champagne will also be served. This light and refreshing Champagne has a taste of Marzipan. “It’s our signature sparkling wine flavored with essence of almond. Prefect to use to toast any celebration,” Sanchez said. “We felt the Almond Champagne would be refreshing at anytime of the day.”

The U.S. Open will build pride in local wineries and encourage visitors to the championship and television audiences around the world to discover its wines.

“I think they can experience a whole spectrum of wineries,” Guglielmo said. “You’ve got older, established family wineries and you’ve got newer, smaller wineries. You’re actually going to get exposed to the history and the quality of the wines but also talk to one of the owners when you’re doing it. And each winery has its own personality and history and focus. The main message we’re going to push is that our region has good quality wines, which is something you have to have with 5,000 wineries out there. You better make good wine.”