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Julius Orth
October 30, 2022 | Julius Orth

Ektimo Wine For Every Holiday Celebration

Wine..... it can make any and every celebration something special.  It can mamake a meal an experience, it can make a sunset sublime, it truly can be paired with virtually any experience.

I am sure you are all seeing people express their excitement about the holiday season, halloween decorations in September, we've been seeing Christmas movies since July, it seems like everyone is trying to get a head start on the next holiday, maybe it is time to take a deep breath and embrace each special celebration one at a time.  Lets face it, there is no shortage of excuses for a party. 

But seriously, wine party season is here and we hope Ektimo wines will be a part of your celebrations, and lunches, and dinners, and halloween, and veterans day, and thanksgiving, and the day after thanksgiving, national mutt day, and national bouillabaise day, and national ugly sweater day, and winter solstice, and hannukah, and christmas eve, and christmas day, and kwanzaa, and boxing day, and new years eve, and new years day, and whatever occasion calls for a glass of fine wine. 

WOW, that is a lot of celebrating, better stock up on some wine.

So, here is a good place to start a celebration just because...... November 1st is "National Calzone Day" so here is your recipe for a celebration.  Be sure to prepare all your ingredients ahead of time (see the recipe below) so once your guests are ready you simply need to construct and bake the calzones.

Start (and finish) with a bottle of 2017 Ektimo Russian River Zinfandel.  This is a bright and lively version of Zinfandel resplendent with ripe red fruit flavors of cherry, raspberry, redcurrant, cranberry and red apple.  Tannins are smooth, and only the slightest hint of spice to tantalize your taste buds.

Go ahead, pour a glass for your friends once your Calzone prep is done.  Baking time for the Calzones is about 20 minutes so be sure to have a second bottle ready to share once the food is cooked.  Get the Calzones in the oven, set the timer and enjoy visiting with your friends as the aromas of the baking fill the room.  

Shiitake Mushroom, Pancetta and Arugula Calzone Recipe (serves 4)

  1. 12 oz Pancetta - cooked until crispy and chopped

  2. 12 oz Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms
  3. 1 large shallot - minced
  4. salt and pepper
  5. 5 oz Arugula chopped
  6. Fresh Pizza Dough - (store prepared works great, you will want 32oz of raw freshly made pizza dough)
  7. 8 tbsp Bertolli’s Riserva Marinara Sauce Plus more for dipping
  8. 4 Cups shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
  9. 8 slices provolone cheese
  10. Light Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  11. 2 eggs - for egg wash - beaten
  12. 1 pinch kosher salt
  13. 2 tbs grated parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 375

Cook the pancetta on the stovetop over medium heat in a skillet until crispy.  Once cooled, coarsely chop and set aside retaining the rendered fat in the pan.

Add the mushrooms and shallot to the pan. Cook until the mushrooms soften and the shallot is translucent and fragrant. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and place in a fine strainer to drain off excess liquid.

Place a small amount of flour on a cutting board and divide the dough into four equal portions.  Roll each crust slightly to stretch the dough to a full 8" piece. (It will want to return to about 7" and that is ok).  

This is the prep to be done in advance so that when your guests are ready and you are starting on the wine all that remains to be done is construction and baking

Lay out each of the pieces of pizza dough and apply 2tbsp of Bertolli Marinara to each one followed by ¼ of the mozzarella, pulled pieces of 2 slices of provolone, ¼ of the pancetta pieces, ¼ of the mushroom and shallot mix and top with fresh arugula and drizzle with olive oil.

Using a pastry brush or finger tips, wet the edges of the calzone with water so that the dough will stick together well when folded. Gently fold the top half over the bottom half and using a fork, press the edges together well. Once pressed, roll the edges and pinch well.

Brush the top of the calzone with the beaten egg, sprinkle with kosher salt and a pinch of grated parmesan. Using a sharp knife, cut three vent holes in the top of each calzone.  Sprinkle with chopped arugula.

Gently place the calzones onto the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven, center rack on 375. Bake for 20 minutes and check. The calzone is done when the pastry is nicely browned and slightly crisp. Remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes and then serve immediately.

Once this little get together is over, what do you want to celebrate next?  Need some inspiration?  Check out the calendar that will give you an excuse to party every day of the year....   

Time Posted: Oct 30, 2022 at 10:51 AM Permalink to Ektimo Wine For Every Holiday Celebration Permalink
Julius Orth
October 22, 2022 | Julius Orth

And just like that..... harvest 2022 is over

It is easy to forget, but at its most rudimentary level our business is all about farming.  When we wax poetic about the intricate and infinite qualities of wine we must always circle back to the most basic elements.  There is a basic and simple rule when it comes to winemaking, it takes great grapes to make great wine.  It is quite easy to make poor wine out of great grapes, it is a different challenge entirely to make great wine out of poor quality grapes.

The farming aspect is often what makes the winemaking process so fascinating.  We go to great lenghts to find the right location, plant the right grapes, tend them with care every step of the way and when the stars align, magic happens.  Sounds simple right?  Then there is this force called nature that keeps things interesting.

2022 in Sonoma County, despite the ongoing drought conditions, started out well.  A mild winter and temperate spring launched the season smoothly.  The dormant vines emerged from their hibernation right on cue, budding and budbreak came and went without a hitch.  Decent fruit set on the vines promised even if somewhat below average yields which are a good precursor for quality.  Spring changed to summer, and while much of the country baked under the mid day sun, wine country enjoyed a near perfect summer. 

Preparations for harvest were smooth and leisurely, and everything was setting up perfectly.  Then nature paid a visit.  Just as even ripening was spreading across the region we were hit with a heatwave that lasted a week.  All of a sudden, the gently ripening fruit spiked and rushed towards the finish line.  Everything was ready to be picked all at once.  This is where the professionals come into their own and earn their keep.  He who panics is lost.

What has been a celebration of nature suddenly becomes a mathematical equation.  Not only do you have to get accurate readings on the fruit in the vineyards, but you have to prepare the winery like a high speed "tetris" game where the rapid influx of fruit has to be picked, processed and then placed in the right environment for winemaking to happen.  Real estate is at a premium as each wine has to find a container for primary fermentation.  The white wines need to fast track and find a comfortable place as they must yield space to the reds that need longer to do their thing before moving on to barrels to complete and age.

Each lot must be evaluated and processed in a manner that will yield optimal results, as mentioned before it is all too easy to make bad wine out of good grapes.  Each wine needs to be carefully escorted through its genesis to allow great wine to emerge.  This is the time of year where winemaking crews are worth their weight in gold, many of them working 16 hour days with no day off for 7 weeks in a row.  The best are the apex athletes of the business, and their reputations are the stuff of legends.

All this begs the question, and it is a question that we are asked repeatedly every year "so how is this years wine looking?".  The honest answer is that only time will tell.  You see, great wine is not just about great grapes, it is also about great artists.  In a perfect year where everything follows textbook perfection, everyone should be able to make great wine, it will never get any easier, and if you fail at making great wine from the perfect season perhaps it is time to evaluate your skillset and follow a new path.  The great winemaker, the great "Artists" are those supreme talents that take al the obstacles thrown before them in their stride, all the challenges that nature can present, take all the hits throughout the game and at the end of it all still make great wine.

The bottom line is, there are no bad years for wine (well unless you include prohibition).  There are easy years and there are hard years, the great winemakers make great wines EVERY year.  If the great winemakers cannot make a great wine, they do not make a wine period.

So be patient, rather than ask about how a wine might be, wait until you have an opportunity to judge what it has become.  Then, and only then can you get a realistic answer.  In a race, there are no winners until someone crosses the finish line. 


Time Posted: Oct 22, 2022 at 12:15 PM Permalink to And just like that..... harvest 2022 is over Permalink
Julius Orth
October 2, 2022 | Julius Orth

Sonoma County Harvest Fair 2022 Results just in

Ektimo Strikes Gold !!

Just in from the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, they like us..... they really really like us  !!!!  The Harvest Fair is like the Sonoma County oscars for wine, and we are proud that our small family operation was so well received.  Our thanks to the judges, and everyone else that loves our wines.  Cheers  !

Gold                       Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Estate 2020 $34.00

Gold                       Pinot Noir Dijon Clone 115 Russian River Valley Estate 2020 $38.00

Double Gold         Pinot Noir Mt. Eden Clone Russian River Valley Estate 2020 $50.00

Gold                       Pinot Noir Wadenswil Clone Russian River Valley Estate 2020 $38.00

Double Gold         Rosé of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Estate 2021 $28.00


Time Posted: Oct 2, 2022 at 4:31 PM Permalink to Sonoma County Harvest Fair 2022 Results just in Permalink
Julius Orth
October 1, 2022 | Julius Orth

The Wine Club

Wine Clubs... most commercial wineries now have one, and they offer a great way to get direct access to your favorite wines.  Each is somewhat unique in structure and how they operate, but all are one of the most important connections between the winery and the consumer.  It opens a portal with access to exclusive limited production wines and special offers.

In its most rudimentary form, a wine club is a subscription service.  By signing up to a wine club, you are striking an agreement to receive wines on a regular basis from your preferred producer, and in return you will enjoy certain priviliges for your loyal support.  One such benefit, is at least 20% off on your wine purchases, and special discount opportunities that are tailored specifically to club members.  You will also receive access to the most limited production wines on a first come first served basis, with special selections sometimes being as little at 25 cases (one barrel) of something truly unique.

At Ektimo winery, there are multiple levels of club membership to choose from, with the same benefits extended to all members.  Entry level is at 2 bottles every three months, processing in February, May, August and November.  There is a choice of either Reds and Whites, or Red wines only.  There is also the choice of picking up the wine in person from the winery and avoiding any shipping charges, or having the wines shipped where the wine packages will be fulfilled by a third party (shipping charged at cost) and delivered to your doorstep where a signature will be required to receive the wines.  If 2 bottles every three months will not satisfy your thirst, you can choose 4 bottles, 6 bottles, 12 bottles or more depending on your preference, you are only limited by your preference.

An alternate level created specifically with particular states in mind, where the extreme heat of summer or the harsh cold of winter may cause delivery problems, we offer a bi-annual club at 6 bottles, 9 bottles or 12 bottles twice a year shipped in the generally most temperate months of April and October.  

One not so common option that we offer at Ektimo, is that as a member you can customize your club packages, and configure them to your specific preference at any time.  So if you find that one particular wine strikes your fancy, as long as you request it, that can be your club allocation.

Prior to processing the wine club, a courtesy email is sent to all members outlining the specific selections at that time.  Wine club allocations are chosen on a variety of factors.  It may be focused on the newest, previously unreleased wines.  It may be recent award winning wines, or sometimes a vintage wine that is in its prime and a limited quantity remains.  The email details the planned packages, and includes an invitation to customize should one choose to do so.

We then assume that if our members send no response, they are happy to be receiving the wines detailed in the message, and those are processed to the corresponding memberships.  Anyone sending a reply with requests for specific wines, those are substituted and become the current club package.

Ultimately, as long as club members are interactive they can tailor the club wines to be precisely what they want.  There are also various other benefits.  Aside from the standard club discounts, we occasionally share some special offers where club members get additional discounts, up to 50% off!!  You get complimentary tastings at the winery for you and your guests when you visit, you get first access to our extremely limited production wines, as well as our most profound gratitude.

Additionally, on select days during the year, we are members of the "Taste 116" association and we present wine club appreciation events where, if you are a member at Ektimo you are also extended club membership privileges at the other association wineries.  A nice little perk  

Time Posted: Oct 1, 2022 at 1:56 PM Permalink to The Wine Club Permalink