USA TODAY has made a list and checked it twice — and regardless of whether you’ve been naughty or nice, Palmaz Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is the must-have stocking stuffer for the oenophile in your life.
ENTERTAINING GUESTS at Palmaz Vineyards is an intrinsic, cherished part of who we are — so we’re always looking for new ways to extend our hospitality and, whenever possible, infuse it with the family’s Argentine roots.
AS PART OF the Palmaz Family’s unceasing dedication to historical and archaeological research and preservation of the Cedar Knoll estate, we recently came across an unpublished academic manuscript from 1965, A History of the Napa Viticultural District, by Ernest P. Peninou.
The tires of the Boeing triple seven hit the tarmac at Hong Kong International Airport. Mad/Dash Press publisher Aaron Sigmond and creative director Liliana Guia, weary after a 16-hour flight from JFK Airport in New York, climb into a taxi and cruise along the left side of the road to their hotel. A noodle dinner and coma-like sleep soon followed. A book project that had begun with an exotic journey was now concluding in much the same manner — which, in turn, will lead to your wine cellar, kitchen and coffee table.
MY FAMILY HAS BEEN blessed to live and work together on an estate that produces one of the world’s most joyful and magical elixirs. Life on a family vineyard has innumerable charms, and I could surely effuse to the point of reader nausea with smug Suzy Homemaker drivel about my latest fresh-from-the-garden creations. Don’t worry! This monthly column, “Recipes from Napa,” won’t be that kind of discourse — promise! You may hold onto your lunch, because I intend to tell you the straight truth about what goes on in my kitchen — the fresh, the frozen, the failures and everything in between.
PAY A VISIT TO Palmaz Vineyards and you’ll encounter a dazzling array of technology, but don’t be fooled — all that swanky, futuristic stuff is not what makes the wine. Like so many other technical art forms, winemaking at its core remains qualitative, creative and intimately human. At Palmaz, the art of wine still occurs in the glass, and magic happens in those quiet moments when the winemaker’s mind is open to perceiving, appreciating and harnessing what Mother Nature has given to a particular vintage.
Beginning with my time in school, I’ve been struck by the way some technology actually impinges on the ability to be creative. Learning how to code in various programming languages and toiling on spreadsheets made my brain ache. Database technologies are powerful tools, but I fell victim to spending countless hours crunching data and not enough time outside with dirt under my boots.
NAPA, CA / ACCESSWIRE / November 2, 2015 / After Four Seasons Magazine named Palmaz Vineyards one the Napa Valley’s Best Wineries, the winemaker has launched their newest project: a brand-new websitefeaturing state-of-the-art backend coding and a mobile-friendly interface.
“We thought our new site should match the meticulous care we put into harvesting our grapes. We want visitors to experience the winery through the web from the comfort of home,” explained Christian Gastón Palmaz, President Palmaz Vineyards.
TankNet might not be a household name, but for winemakers like Rodney Strong, between Healdsburg and Windsor, it is the brainstem of a technological revolution in the wine industry. From controlling the fermentation process in the tank room, to generating a 3-D image of what is going on inside the tank, TankNet has become the go-to tech for the geeks of wine and beer making. The instant control extends beyond dials on a console, or a laptop computer wired into the tank room. Winemakers from Asti Winery in Cloverdale to Korbel in West County are able to monitor, make adjustments and tinker with their wine with a smartphone app.
TankNet started out as a computer based process to monitor and control the fermentation process in winemaking, giving vintners an advantage in foreseeing and avoiding problems before they happen. To Paul Egidio, chief technical officer for Acrolon Technologies, Inc., going from a traditional desktop or laptop computer to a tablet and smartphone was “just a natural iteration of the progression” of TankNet.
When Christian Palmaz, president of Palmaz Vineyards, wants to know the temperature in one of his 24 fermentation tanks all he has to do is look up. Projected across the domed ceiling of his family’s 18-story high winery is a graph for each tank showing metrics such as temperature and brix (sugar level). It’s like something NASA might have designed, yet it’s just one of many technological innovations developed by the Palmaz family at their state-of-the art, 110,000 square foot winery, the largest in Napa Valley. “No one else has anything like this,” Florencia Palmaz, director of marketing, told me on a recent visit to New York.
The vision came from vineyard founder Dr. Julio Palmaz (Christian and Florencia’s father), a native of Argentina who spent most of his career in medicine as an interventional radiologist. He is famous for developing the balloon-expandable coronary stent, which earned him a place in the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame. His love of wine came during his residency at the University of California at Davis in the late 1970s, when he and his wife, Amalia, spent their weekends tasting wine in Napa. Although his work took the family to San Antonio, Texas, they dreamed of one day returning to start a winery of their own. Their chance finally came in 1997 after Dr. Palmaz sold the stent to Johnson & Johnson.
Once the details of the two-volume, two-edition book set (a limited-edition deluxe set presented in a wooden wine crate and slipcase edition) were in place, Mad/Dash Press publisher Aaron Sigmond brought on several longtime collaborators to help make the volumes as lustrous as possible: author Nick Kolakowski, who would work alongside vineyards President Christian Gastón Palmaz on Book One; creative director Liliana Guia; and photographer Nicola Majocchi.