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The Spill: Wine news, Feb. 2

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Schug Winery joins Kat’s Meow

Come mid-February, Schug Winery will host a soft opening of its new Plaza tasting room along with artist Kat Romine, well-known for her fun and fabulous pet portraits.

Romine, having painted at her Mercato Shopping Center location for two years, wanted a place to share her space. Guests will now be able to enjoy tasting local Schug wines while watching Romine paint her pet portraits on the easel in the front window of the room.

“Art and wine are a fine combination. Add animals to the mix and we’re on point.” Romine says. “It’s rare to see an artist actually at work. People are fascinated to watch and even if they don’t have a pet, they say it makes them feel happy. Wine tastings will only add to that creative and lively experience.”

Founded by Walter Schug, Schug Winery has been around for 38 years, doing business just off Bonneau Road in Sonoma. They wanted to expand their retail business and pour world class pinot noir and chardonnay to Sonoma locals and tourists alike. The Schug family set their sights on the Sonoma Plaza to be a part of the action.

“With this large space, it only made sense to partner wine and art. We wanted a closer connection to the Sonoma community and play a part in the hospitality events downtown,” says Claudia Schug.

Schug Winery, run by manager Nicole Wetmore, will be pouring a portfolio of select wines: 2014 Rouge de Noirs Sparkling Pinot 2015 Reserve Chardonnay, 2014 Pinot Noir, 2014 Estate Blend, a few Bordeaux Blends, Malbec and Cabernet Franc from Moon Mountain, and more.

The tasting room and gallery will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wines range in price from $35 to $45 per bottle. Five wine tastings run $15 but the fee is waived with any two-bottle purchase. A more formal grand opening will take place in the spring.

Good wines and good times on Eighth Street East

Eighth Street wineries are hosting an open house on Feb. 24 from noon to 4 p.m. Every year, eight boutique wineries come together to feature some of the best locally produced Sonoma wines. Located off Eighth Street East, the afternoon event provides tasting and pairings.

With glass in hand, visit the wineries and meet the local chefs. Get a behind-the-scenes tour of the production facilities while sampling the hand-crafted wines produced on site. The winery collective is organized and promoted with the intent of educating and drumming up excitement for wine enthusiasts and novice wine tasters alike. The eight participating wineries are: Ty Caton, Talisman Wines, Stone Edge Farm, Tin Barn Vineyards, Enkidu Wine, William Knuttel Winery, MacLaren and Obsidian Wine Co.

The cost is $45 per person in advance/$50 at the door, which includes a souvenir wine glass and access to all participating wineries. Designated driver tickets are $10.

Orange is the new red

According to the Press Democrat, colorful wines are on their way to Sonoma County. Yes, orange and blue wines are making a splash in the international wine market and will be on shelves in Sonoma County before you know it.

Orange wine is nothing new in Europe, having been around for years. And, oddly enough, blue wines are making it on the wine scene, thanks to a small group of winemakers trying to think outside the box and produce something new to satisfy the changing tastes of young consumers.

The term, “orange wine” comes from the actual color of the finished wine, not the grape. Historically, winemakers in the Caucasus mountain region of Georgia took the juice of white grapes, and sometimes red grapes, and fermented them in large clay jars that were buried in the ground.

Gik Blue, a Spanish brand, is currently getting the most attention in blue wine. Gik Blue is a sweet wine with an electric-blue color made up of a blend of both red and white grapes that mixes anthocyanin from the red grape skins and an indigo plant element for the coloring.

Send news for the Spill to businessnews@sonomanews.com.