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Rack & Riddle Announces Release of Chicago Cubs™ 2016 World Series Championship™ Sparkling Wine



Cynthia Faust

707-433-8400 x108


Wine by Design Releases Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship Sparkling Wine

HEALDSBURG, Calif., November 11, 2016 – To celebrate the Chicago Cubs’ historic first World Series championship since 1908, Wine by Design, the exclusive wine licensee of Major League Baseball, is delivering a limited-edition World Series Championship Brut with Rack & Riddle.  Rack & Riddle, one of the largest custom wine operations nationwide specializing in sparkling wine, has created the Cubs World Series sparkling wine. Wine is available online and at select retail outlets. For more information, visit

“Wine by Design has been celebrating World Series champions since 2012 and we’ve had the pleasure of working with Rack and Riddle since 2013,” said Diane Karle, CEO, WBD. “We are fortunate to have a great partner in MLB and have found an amazing wine-making team, specializing in sparkling wine from one of the most prestigious winemaking regions in California.”

The San Francisco Giants (2012 & 2014), Boston Red Sox (2013) and Kansas City Royals (2015) all played their way into history with their recent World Series titles, but this year’s Cubs team made its own special mark, winning the title for the first time in over 100 years. That makes this championship wine truly historic as well.

“This wine is truly worthy of champions like the Cubs, with fine bubbles forming a perfect mousse, aromas of brioche and spiced apple, and nuances of lime zest that linger—begging for another sip or two,” said Rack & Riddle Executive Director of Winemaking, Penny Gadd-Coster. “The beauty of a well-balanced Brut like this is it pairs well with a variety of foods – like World Series-worthy snacks of Nachos and Spicy Wings! It’s perfect for drinking now, and ages well so you can celebrate with bubbly for months to come.”  

The Cubs Championship Brut was crafted in the labor-intensive méthode Champenoise tradition, and showcases premium grapes from California.

With its expansion in 2014 to two new locations in Sonoma County, Rack & Riddle is proudly committed to providing pristine facilities where winemakers craft both still and sparkling wines. Rack & Riddle offers complete grape-to-bottle, base-to-bottle, and private label wine programs, and houses nearly 2 million gallons of stainless steel storage and fermentation vessels. An exceptional winemaking team produces 1.2 million cases of wine annually. For more information, visit

Wine by Design (WBD) is a marketing and management agency, and the leader in delivering wine-based strategic services and premium wine solutions. WBD provides tailored brand experiences, limited wine releases, events and consulting. Founded by Diane Karle, WBD has offices in New York and Napa Valley. WBD has cultivated a network of wine experts, suppliers and grape growers, which results in targeted business solutions.  Visit to learn more. 


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Rack & Riddle at San Diego Wine & Food Fest

Rack & Riddle poured at the SD Wine Fest in 2015

Rack & Riddle is pleased to be participating as a featured winery at the upcoming San Diego Wine & Food Festival November 14-20, one of the nation’s largest wine and food festivals. Find Rack & Riddle at the VinVillage Radio booth, being poured by our friend and VinVillage host, Rob Barnett. Enjoy Rack & Riddle's award-winning bubbly, plus hundreds of other wines from top wineries across the nation.

Buy tickets for admission to the Grand Tasting on Saturday Nov. 19th with VinVillage’s exclusive 15% off promo code, the best discount out there!

Use promo code “VinVillage” – good for early-entry and general admission.

Rack & Riddle Winery's four award-wining sparkling winesIn the past few years, Rack & Riddle wines have won over 25 top honors! See them all here.

Rack & Riddle's premium, méthode Champenoise wines are aged 18+ months, handcrafted with love - yet priced starting at just $20 a bottle, garnering "Best Buy" in competitions like Tastings World Wine Championships, and No. 1 on "Top 10" lists in prestigious publications like Gayot!

Join the Rack & Riddle Wine Club to save 25% on wines, anytime.



Or, if you're close to Healdsburg, choose "Pick Up at Rack & Riddle" when adding items to your cart, and skip the wait time!

Rack & Riddle is located at:

499 Moore Lane

Healdsburg, CA 95448

Hours: M-F 9am to 5pm

◆ 1 -5 Bottles: $10 UPS Shipping Nationwide

◆ 6-11 Bottles: $15 UPS Shipping Nationwide

◆ 12-23 Bottles: $25 UPS Shipping Nationwide

◆ 24 Bottles (2 cases): $40 UPS Shipping Nationwide


Just select GSO shipping at checkout.


Come taste Rack & Riddle wines at San Diego Wine & Food Festival!

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Wine Enthusiast Rates Rack & Riddle Brut 90 Points!

Some big news with a “pop!” Wine Enthusiast magazine has rated Rack & Riddle's Brut a coveted 90 Points!! Shop here.

This Brut is a blend of premium North Coast grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, aged 18-22 months en tirage.

Made in the centuries-old Champagne method—each Rack & Riddle bottle is its very own fermentation vessel. Winemakers added yeast and the magic began… “The bubbles are born in the bottle,” as Rack & Riddle Executive Winemaker Penny Gadd-Coster says.

No special occasion is necessary to pop this delicious bubbly, but if you prefer to save a bottle for a special celebration, you can—it has aging potential and its long shelf life means you can enjoy this wine for months or even years to come. Another big plus? This Brut is well-balanced, and pairs well with virtually every food.

The winemakers at Rack & Riddle have been “racking” up the awards. More than 20 Best of Class, Gold medals and 90+ point ratings have been awarded to the Rack & Riddle family of four sparkling wines. On top of the latest 90 point rating from Wine Enthusiast, Rack & Riddle’s Brut has also garnered Double Gold and Gold medals in the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and Gold in the International Women’s Wine Competition.

“Citrus, pear and floral aromas with a hint of yeast. The fine mousse brings forth the light citrus, smooth and round in the mouth. Finish is round, with a note of grapefruit.

VARIETAL: Blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier

FERMENTATION: Méthode Champenoise

TIME ON TIRAGE: 18-22 mo.

ALCOHOL: 12.5%

pH: 3.22


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Ready to Sparkle? Breathless Wines to Open Soon in Healdsburg

Take time to unwind and enjoy a flight of sparkling wine at the Breathless Wines garden patio and tasting lounge opening this fall 2016 in the new Healdsburg Warehouse District, west of downtown and next door to Rack & Riddle.

With over 25 Best of Class, Gold medals and 90-point ratings between its three wines, Breathless has been making a mark in Sonoma County since its founding a few years ago by three sisters.

“Breathless is about celebrating moments in life—big or small—that take our breath away,” says Sharon Cohn, Breathless sister 1-of-3. “We are honoring our mom, Martha, who encouraged dreaming big—‘never take a breath for granted, and live life to the fullest’ was her mantra.” Even when suffering from Alpha-1, Martha led the charge as a teacher, dedicated to helping her community.

In that vein, Breathless donates wine and funds to Alpha-1 and over a dozen non-profits annually. The new tasting room will be used by non-profit partners for educational events open to the public.

With a vintage 1920s feel, Breathless is poised to be Healdsburg’s premier tasting room featuring Champagne method sparkling wines, new releases of still wines, magnum bubblies, and a special new ratafia fortified wine to help you mark the day—no special occasion necessary.

Visitors can expect extraordinarily unique and fun events in the Gatsby style Breathless has become known for, with perfectly paired wine and foods, live music, and even a Polaroid photobooth with props.

The new tasting room will also host outdoor movie nights and cirque-theme events (like the upcoming grand opening). During the day guests can stroll the gardens, enjoy a leisurely picnic, or take lessons in beheading a bottle of sparkling with an authentic Italian saber (a dull-bladed sword that pops the bubbly open in a centuries-old fashion).

The new tasting room, located at 499 Moore Lane in Healdsburg, will be the first of its kind in the area, built entirely out of recycled shipping containers. Well-insulated, of course, to keep cool.

Breathless founders and sisters Sharon Cohn, Rebecca Faust, Cynthia Faust and honorary sister, winemaker Penny Gadd-Coster, invite you to “cross the railroad tracks” and venture just a few blocks from the Healdsburg Square to Breathless’ new home in the Warehouse District.

Until the grand opening in October (add your name to the email list at for an invite) visit Breathless’ pop-up tasting room in nearby Alexander Valley: 4001 Hwy 128 in Geyserville, open Thursday through Monday from 11-5.

Breathless Wines
New Tasting Room Hours:
Effective October 10th, 2016
11-7; 7 days a week
499 Moore Lane Healdsburg CA 95448
(707) 395-7300

Time Posted: Aug 29, 2016 at 1:05 PM
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Crush Underway for Amista Vineyards at Rack & Riddle

Harvest 2016 at Amista Vineyards

Nearly a decade ago, Amista Vineyards gave Rosé of Syrah to a college winemaking class that wanted to try making bubbly. After tasting a bottle from that project, owners Vicky and Michael Farrow were inspired. When Michael handed over day-to-day winemaking to consultant Ashley Herzberg, a lover of bubbles, their sparkling program really took off. The effervescent stuff has become a mainstay—“the gems in the crown” of Amista’s still and sparkling wines, as Vicky says.Amista's Ashley and Vicky at harvest

Amista, loosely translated as “making friends” in Spanish, has crafted largely estate-grown single varietal wine in the heart of Sonoma County’s renowned Dry Creek Valley appellation since 2003.

Today, Amista offers five different sparkling wines; each flies out the door so quickly via direct-to-consumer and wine club sales that no distributors are necessary for the brand.

“In 2009, we took a barrel of our already-fermented, existing Rosé to Penny [executive winemaker at Rack & Riddle], and said, ‘help us make sparkling wine.’ It was so good and our customers loved it so much, that the following year we made it ‘on purpose’—picking grapes specifically for sparkling,” said Michael.

Harvest 2016 began mid-August for Amista with Chardonnay for Blanc de Blanc picked and then crushed at Rack & Riddle in nearby Alexander Valley, where Amista makes all its premium, méthode Champenoise sparklers. Harvest started 10 days later than last year, “but coincidentally, three years ago we harvested on this same exact date, August 13th,” said winemaker Ashley.

Amista is often the first of Rack & Riddle’s 150-plus custom crush clients to bring grapes in at harvest. But it’s no race. Determining when to pick sparkling grapes takes precision, and the time from veraison setting in to harvest can go in a flash. Sparkling grapes are picked early, typically between 17 and 20 brix, whereas still wines are picked much later, around 24 brix and up for Pinot. This year Amista picked its Blanc de Blanc at 19.4 brix.
Amista harvest 2016
Ashley pulls samples from different blocks almost daily leading up to harvest, testing sugars, TA and PH for acidity levels. “But it’s still important to go off of flavors. If you just focus on sugars the outcome isn’t great,” said Ashley.

She looks for visual cues as well to determine when to pick: a softer, more see-through green berry; percentage of ripe berries vs. not-so-ripe berries; and signs the vine is ready for picking and done pushing shoots.

Prep work also involves dropping underripe fruit so only the best grapes go into the wine.

Previous years’ stats are taken into account as well. “I reflect on when we’ve picked, the weather patterns, what the fruit looked like, acidity—even if the brix is the same, the acid levels can be completely different,” said Ashley.

While California is still in a drought, Amista’s vines are much healthier this year than the previous three drought-stricken seasons.

“The weather has been more even, with good rainfall, and the crop size is a little higher. Last year a lot of Pierce’s Disease was expressed with the vines being stressed. And last year was much worse for us with hens and chicks,” said Ashley, referring to a fruit-set defect where underdeveloped and fully developed berries appear in the same cluster.

Hand-picking has always been Amista’s preference over machine, which can “squish around the skins… whole cluster by hand is all around better in my opinion,” said Ashley. “Left on the stem, the stems act as a support system—something for the grapes to press against, so you get a better yield.”
Amista Chardonnay grapes ready to press at Rack & Riddle
To pick the Blanc de Blanc Chardonnay, two crews, one all-female and one all-male, arrived in the foggy and cold 6 a.m. hour and picked three-and-a-half acres until 8:30 a.m. for seven tons of grapes. Then after a short trip to Rack & Riddle, the three-hour press cycle began, where Ashley monitored each press cut to make sure the juice tasted delicious (and not too “stemmy” or “woody”).

Throughout the winemaking process at Rack & Riddle, Amista enjoys the open door policy and ability to oversee their project and make key decisions. “But it’s also really nice to have somebody at the facility who’s a great partner—for us to share ideas with, to test ideas with,” said Vicky. “Ashley and Penny have a great relationship and that’s been a really valuable thing. It’s not just a facility, it’s the expertise that you can develop in a much deeper way as a custom crush facility making wines for lots of different clients each year.”

The wine from this particular harvest will be ready to release after about 18 months aging in bottle en tirage at Rack & Riddle. Crafted to be enjoyed right away, this bubbly would also age beautifully, says Ashley, from three to five or more years, especially for higher-acid wines like Blanc de Blanc. “But we can’t keep it on the shelves, so I don’t think we’ll get the opportunity!”

Photo credits: Amista Vineyards & Jolene Patterson

Visit Amista Vineyard’s tasting room at 3320 Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg, open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 707-431-9200. Check out the newest experience—a self-guided tour of the vineyards, where you can learn about each varietal, and, if grapes are present, taste test from the vine! For more information about Amista, to purchase wines, or join the Wine Club, visit


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Great Wine - a Family Tradition

If you or anyone you know loves wine, you don’t want to miss the upcoming Family Winemakers of California pouring event in San Francisco on Sunday, August 21st!

Use this code to receive 10% off tickets: RRFAMILY2016

Purchase tickets here.

Taste handcrafted wines where the attention to detail and passion for winemaking shines through. This event will feature over 500 wines from 150 small, family-owned wineries from throughout the state!

Rack & Riddle is proud to be among them – we’re excited to share our sparkling wines with you. Come by our table to learn about the age-old traditional method we use to craft superior sparkling wines in our modern, Healdsburg-based winery.

Our winemaker Penny Gadd-Coster has “racked” up over 20 Best of Class and Gold medals in just the past few years for our four Rack & Riddle sparkling wines.

Plus, did you know the FWC Chairman is our very own co-founder, Bruce Lundquist?! Check out VinVillage Radio to hear Bruce discuss all things Family Winemakers – what the organization is about, and how it advocates for small wineries. Listen to segment 1 about advocacy initiatives for FWC winery members, and segment 2 to learn all about Rack & Riddle and our latest news!


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Sparkling Wine Custom Crush Webinar

Thanks to all who joined our webinar, Custom Crush Demystified. Below find the full, 30-minute recording including the live question and answer session, so you can learn about custom crush processes for still wine and méthode Champenoise sparkling wine custom crush. Get expert advice and insider tips from Rack & Riddle's Executive Director of Winemaking, Penny Gadd-Coster, and launch your next winemaking project at a custom crush facility without a hitch!

Here are a few of the topics covered in this webinar:

• The differences between grape to bottle, base to bottle, and private label wine (shiner) programs
• Capabilities for small or mid-to-large range producers
• Grape picking tips for sparkling wine grapes
• Marketing: Ways to take your winemaking/production story from the custom crush facility back to your tasting room
• How compliance works: From the DBA filing and required paperwork, to being able to state your DBA name on your wine label’s name and address section (this allows clients to state “Produced and bottled by XYZ winery, Healdsburg, CA” on wine produced at Rack & Riddle)

We decided to call this webinar Custom Crush Demystified because there are several ways custom crush facilities can serve their clients. For example, some offer crush and storage, and some have bottling lines that take you all the way from grape to bottle. At Rack & Riddle, we’re a little bit different in that we offer full-service, customizable capabilities for grape to bottle, base to bottle or private label wine programs, or services a la carte. We’re one of the most comprehensive custom crush providers because we not only offer programs for still wine, we also specialize in méthode Champenoise sparkling wine custom crush.

With the sparkling wine segment growth far outpacing still wine, now is the ideal time to explore bringing your grapes or base wine to Rack & Riddle to make it into bubbly. Contact us today to discuss your project, or request a custom crush quote online. 707-433-8400


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Gold Medal & No. 1 on Gayot's List!

Announcing a Gold medal for Rack & Riddle Blanc de Blancs in the Finger Lakes Wine Competition and No.1 on - The Guide to the Good Life's "Top 10 Mother's Day Wines" list!! Now through Mother's Day, purchase Blanc de Blancs with promo code FORMOM to receive 15% off. Shop here.

Here's an excerpt from the Gayot review:

"The winery's attention to detail can be seen and tasted in the North Coast Blanc de Blancs. This lively sparkling wine boasts bright and fruity aromas of green apple and melon, followed by strong flavors of lime and lemon curd, all of which resolve in a smooth and crisp finish..."

This latest set of accolades comes on the heels of the 92 points and "Best Buy" honors received for our Blanc de Blancs earlier this year. The Rack & Riddle winemaking team keeps racking them up (pun intended):


"Top 10 Mother's Day Wines" 2016

Fingerlakes International Wine Competition

Tastings World Wine Championships

San Francisco International Wine Competition

Sunset International Wine Competition

San Francisco International Wine Competition



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Rack & Riddle's Upcoming Events: Spring 2016

This spring, you can find Rack & Riddle up and down the state of California pouring wines at various events, and even across the country at the Eastern Winery Expo this month! Check out our upcoming events below. We hope to see you while we're on the road!

Eastern Winery Expo

Lancaster, PA
March 9th & 10th

Visit Rack & Riddle’s booth #172 to taste award-winning private label sparkling wine samples, and meet Rack & Riddle GM Mark Garaventa. Contact us by clicking here to make an appointment for a consultation at the expo!

Rack & Riddle is pleased to offer a FREE Exhibit Pass* to the Expo (a $15 value)

*This VIP pass also entitles the user to receive a free lunch on Thursday, March 10th in the exhibit hall!

WiVi Central Coast Tradeshow

Paso Robles, CA
March 16th

Visit Rack & Riddle booth #306 to taste méthode Champenoise sparkling wine samples, meet Business Development Manager Cynthia Faust and Associate Monica Smith, and learn about our custom crush and private label wine programs.

Request a quote or sparkling wine samples online, or contact Business Development Associate Monica Smith.

SPECIAL INVITATION! Let us drop off samples or stop by to discuss your project, we would love to visit your winery on either March 15th or 17th. Just give us a call! 707-433-8400

We're pleased to offer a FREE Tradeshow Pass ($30 value) to our friends & clients!

Family Winemakers of California San Diego Tasting

San Diego, CA
March 20th

This event is for the public and the trade to enjoy tasting wines from over 125 wineries! Visit the Rack & Riddle table to taste award-winning private label sparkling wine samples, and meet Rack & Riddle co-owner/founder Bruce Lundquist, chairman of FWC, and Rack & Riddle GM Mark Garaventa.

BubblyFest SF

San Francisco, CA
April 9th

Rack & Riddle is pleased to be a featured winery at the upcoming BubblyFest in San Francisco on Saturday, April 9th! Enjoy Rack & Riddle's award-winning bubbly poured by our GM Mark Garaventa, plus wines from other top wineries!

Get 20% OFF your tickets (good towards BubblyFest SF and BubblyFest by the Sea this October in Avila Beach if you want to pick up tix for both events!) PROMO CODE: RNRBUBBLY2016


Time Posted: Mar 3, 2016 at 12:12 PM
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Texas Sparkling Wine Is Booming

With Texas ranking among the top five states for sparkling wine consumption (Source: The Beverage Information Group), it's no surprise wineries in the Lone Star State are racking up big rewards by offering bubbly.

Rack & Riddle was featured in an article this month, A Toast to Texas Sparkling Wine, as the custom crush facility used by two outstanding bubbly producers: Messina Hof and William Chris Vineyards.

If you're an out-of-state producer, consider Rack & Riddle. We're a custom crush house with seven in-house winemakers, who together with a team of over 80 employees, work round-the-clock to ensure your bubbles are in the best of hands. Specializing exclusively in the age-old méthode Champenoise, we offer grape-to-bottle, base-to-bottle, or any winemaking need in between. We also offer a roster of award-winning private label wines. Request a quote or samples today, and pop the cork on a new bubbly adventure!