Blue Sky Tasting at the Wine Warehouse Trade Show

Blue Sky Tasting at the  Wine Warehouse Trade Show
Hundreds of wine glasses greeted visitors to the annual Wine Warehouse Trade Show, this year at the Hyatt Regency, downtown San Diego. Photo by Frank Mangio

Every year I anticipate the blowout show in San Diego produced by Wine Warehouse, an international wine beer and spirits powerhouse distributor that draws hundreds of brands together for an annual product showing. Heck, they even represent sodas, ciders and teas!

Many of the owners of West Coast wineries attend this show, allowing access to tell their stories and pour their wines. This is the main reason I go.  My readers get some valuable information from many of the owners.  Mark Donati was there from Donati Family Vineyards in Paso Robles — also from Paso, Gary Eberle of Eberle Winery, one of the first to make wine in this prime wine country.

Dan Lee from Morgan in Monterey, who you have learned about in my column, was there with his Morgan Winery; and all the way from Tenuta di Castellaro in Italy, Giovanni Pasquero traded comments on his Tuscan wines. Other names to know included: Far Niente Estates, Heitz Cellars and Flora Springs in Napa Valley, Fess Parker Winery from Santa Barbara, L’Ecole fromWashington, Peachy Canyon from Paso Robles and Pedroncelli and Trentadue of Sonoma.

All were pouring their current releases; some premiered new brands and vintages.

TASTE OF WINE columnist Frank Mangio, left, shares some comments on Donati Wines of Paso Robles, with owner Mark Donati. Photo courtesy Frank Mangio

TASTE OF WINE columnist Frank Mangio, left, shares some comments on Donati Wines of Paso Robles, with owner Mark Donati. Photo courtesy Frank Mangio

You may wonder, at these mammoth wine tastings, how to stay sober and maintain a fresh palate. Many would say that taste and spit is the way to go, but for me, I have never spit out wine.  The swallow is an important part of the five-part harmony of tasting wine.

I make sure I sip no more than two ounces of the wine in question, and stop frequently to aerate with water, and soothe the palate with appetizers, especially cheese, crackers and vegetables, when available.

I taste from no more than 12 wineries, what with visiting, exchanging contacts and sipping from the new releases.

I want each winery to be an experience and a familiarization with their creations.

Wine Warehouse was founded in Southern California in 1973 by Bob and Jim Myerson who wanted to share their enthusiasm for premium quality wines with the many wine shops, restaurants and bars, known as the trade. Today, it is one of the largest distributors of alcoholic beverages in the United States.

Wine Warehouse now offers wines from dozens of countries.  It now represents more than 10,000 wines, beers, spirits, non-alcohol beverages and glassware to license holders in California.  Go to for more information and links to all of their clients.


Wine Bytes

Encinitas Wine Merchants on North El Camino Real presents a Powell Mountain Wines Event, June 16 from 5 to 8 p.m.  Taste incredible wines from Paso Robles, for $20. Owners Bill and Kim will be there.  Call (760) 407-4265.

Il Fornaio, with locations in Del Mar and Coronado has Festa Regionale, with a menu from Italy’s Campania, now though June 21.  From pizza to fish, this area that includes Naples, has southern regional tastes, including the wines. RSVP in Coronado at (619) 437-4911 and in Del Mar at (858) 755-8876.

West Steak and Seafood in Carlsbad has the big wine/food spectacular when Frank Family Vineyards of Napa Valley combines their wines with Executive Chef David Abella’s latest menu creations; $125. Call (760) 930-9100 for your RSVP.

Poway Center for the Performing Arts has the Taste of our Towne, June 20 from 5 to 9 p.m.  The area’s best restaurants, wineries and breweries come together, with live entertainment, dancing and prizes.  More details at (858) 668-4797.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web. View and link up with his columns at, and reach him at  Follow him on Facebook.


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