About our wine

How to Order Wine

You’re at your favorite restaurant, about to order your favorite meal, and you’d like to try a new wine to accompany your food. It’s time to put your vineyard vocabulary to work and get exactly the experience you’re looking for. Are you ready? (Don’t worry, it’s not that complicated.)

Work with your Server

A good sommelier or server will know how to ask the right questions to arrive at the perfect recommendation for you. But to increase the likelihood of loving their advice, you will find it helpful to use some wine-related descriptors.

Start by identifying words that describe wines you’ve enjoyed in the past. These are some of the most important words to use when ordering wine. Armed with these, you can effortlessly request a “full-bodied, earthy and tannic red,” an “off-dry aromatic white with high acidity,” or whatever else you may desire. 


Dry wine refers to a taste sensation attributed to tannins that causes puckering in the mouth. Dry wine is what you get when all of the grape’s sugars convert to alcohol. It is the opposite of sweet wine, which still has residual sugars left from the grapes. 


Sweet is a tasting term referring to perceptible flavors and odors of sugar in the wine. Sweet wine is the opposite of dry wine.

Tannic or Smooth

Many people who use the word “dry” actually mean “tannic.” That’s because tannins can make your mouth feel dry. Tannins are phenolic compounds in the wine that leave you with a bitter, dry, puckery feeling. Tannins are important because they provide texture and mouthfeel to the wine and a sense of structure and balance. 

Soft tannins are no longer astringent and result in smooth wine. Low tannin red wines are even-textured and round.

Some grape varieties are naturally predisposed to high tannin levels. If that’s what you prefer, be sure to mention it. Conversely, if you want to avoid tannic wines, the word you’ll want to use is “smooth.”


A complex wine has many layers to it and exhibits numerous odors, nuances, and flavors. If you’re looking for a wine that can change from the moment you taste it to the moment you swallow it, ask for a complex or deep wine. 


Do you like wines that make your mouth water and pucker? If so, ask for a high-acidity wine. Acidity is the perceived level of crispness or sharpness of wine. A wine needs high levels of acid to provide liveliness and balance. 

If you find the puckering sensation undesirable, low acidity is the way to go. Acidity works on a spectrum, of course, and many people find themselves somewhere in between. 


Some people prefer their wines to be light and airy, while others want to drink something more substantial. 

Full-bodied wine refers to wine that is high in both alcohol and flavor. Most full-bodied wines are red wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Bordeaux. Full-bodied wines have complex flavors and a rich mouthfeel.


Fermenting or aging wines in new oak (barrels that have not been previously used) will give them a woody profile accompanied by a range of flavors such as vanilla, spices, coconut, and mocha. If you like those flavors, you’ll want to mention that you prefer an oaky wine.


Buttery flavors in wine (most notably, domestic Chardonnays) come from a process called malolactic fermentation, in which the tangy malic acid in the wine (think green apples) is converted to softer, gentler lactic acid (think yogurt, cheese or, well, butter). 

Wherever you land on the butter preference spectrum, this is an important term when you’re ordering chardonnay.


Earthy wine refers to an odor or flavor reminiscent of the earth, soil, or even mushrooms, dried herbs, leather, and tobacco. If you’re not afraid to get really earthy, you might request a wine that is “funky” – a descriptor often applied to natural wines.


If you enjoy wines with fruity flavors, you’ll want to request a wine that’s fruit-forward. These tend to be bright, approachable, and easy to drink. Fruit flavors vary with each grape variety; white wines can have flavors of tropical fruits, citrus, or stone fruit, while reds tend to have characteristics like cherries, berries, or plums. 


Are you the fresh-from-the-garden type? Try asking for a herbaceous wine if you like flavors such as oregano, rosemary, and basil. Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine variety that is commonly positively described as herbaceous.

Your Price Point

If you’re not comfortable stating your desired price range out loud at the table, point to the price of a wine on the list and casually mention to your server that you’d like something along those lines. They’ll get the hint. 

Specific Grape Varieties or Regions

If there’s a region or grape variety that you know you love, sharing this with your sommelier can be one of the best ways to get a great selection. 

Saying something along the lines of “I love cabernets from Napa”, or “sauvignon blanc is my favorite grape” is a great way to relay your desires to your server. For instance – knowing that you like sauvignon blanc lets them know that you prefer light-bodied, high-acidity white wines with bright citrus and herbal flavors. 

Enjoy your Experience

When it comes to ordering wine, it’s unnecessary to memorize the countless terms and phrases associated with wine. Knowing a handful of these terms will allow you to communicate your taste preferences to your server. And remember, enjoying wine is a social experience. You can’t go wrong with good food, good friends, and the right bottle of wine.

About our wine

Best Wine to Pair with your Favorite Homemade Dishes this Summer

Summer is almost here and you know what that means – barbeques, picnics, and outdoor dinner parties are right around the corner. With warmer weather comes summer comfort foods – eaten outside, of course. From burgers on the grill to giant bowls of pasta salad, even the most casual of summer meals deserves to be paired with an elegant and delicious glass of wine that brings out its best and brightest flavors. Enjoy these classic summer comfort foods with a glass of Byrd Vineyard’s high-altitude wines and remember our golden rule: if you love it, do it! Never let the warm weather stop you from enjoying a glass of red wine.

Tips for Pairing Wine and Food

Before selecting your bottle of wine to pair with this evening’s dinner, ask yourself:

  • Do I love this wine? If the answer is yes, chances are you will not be disappointed.
  • Is this wine sweet or dry? The wine should always be sweeter than the food you are serving.
  • Does this wine have high tannins? Refreshing and light red wines that are low in tannins and alcohol levels will not overpower your food while still bringing bright flavors to the table.


No summer is complete without a barbeque. Whether going all out with a variety of grilled meats, vegetables, and side dishes or simply throwing some burgers and hot dogs on the grill, barbeques are the delicious summer meals that we dream about all year long. We would be remiss if we didn’t pair these dream-worthy meals with an equally delectable bottle of wine.

When talking about a barbeque, it goes without saying that burgers will make an appearance – and rightfully so. Hearty, meaty, and oh-so satisfying, burgers are an easy and classic summer meal. Since a cheeseburger is composed of the two most popular elements to pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon – meat and cheese – we recommend pairing with our 2009 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon. The body of the wine will pair well with the classic, flavorful meal. Whether you opt to grill a classic cheeseburger or add extra-special touches such as grilled mushrooms and Swiss cheese or blue cheese and BBQ sauce, the pairing is sure to be out of this world.

If you’re a red wine lover, chances are you also enjoy a tender, juicy steak from time to time. If you’re planning on grilling up a ribeye this summer, we suggest serving it alongside our 2012 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Silky and rich, this wine is sure to elevate any backyard barbeque. Featuring bold flavors of black cherry, blueberry, and sweet French oak, the smooth tannins and full body of this wine will stand its own against a powerful steak.

Steak not your style? Grilled chicken is another great meal choice that pairs beautifully with our 2010 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Merlot. A smooth wine with hints of red fruits, soft tannins, and a long finish, our Merlot is incredibly versatile. Its sweet and herbaceous notes would bring out delicious flavors of garlic and herbs in grilled garlic and herb chicken

Side Dishes

Everybody loves a homemade mac and cheese – it’s not just for kids! Rich and buttery, this luscious summertime classic needs a powerful wine to stand up against its intense flavors. Macaroni and cheese pairs well with our 2012 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon, an acidic and bold wine that can easily cut through its creaminess. 

There’s something about homemade salads that taste so much better when eaten outside – with a glass of wine, of course. A summer salad featuring fresh strawberries, avocado, and basil would pair deliciously with our 2010 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Merlot to bring out its ripe berry flavors. This bright and lemony garlic and herb macaroni salad would pair deliciously with our lucious and herbaceous 2010 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Byrdeaux Red Wine. Bursting with summer flavors, these homemade salads would taste amazing with a glass of light and refreshing red wine.

Grilled vegetables pair surprisingly well with even the boldest of red wines. The grilling process helps bring out a savory element in the veggies, amplifying their flavor and helping them to stand up to intense wines. Delicious grilled veggies to pair with our 2012 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Red Wine include eggplants, peppers, squash, and zucchini. 


Don’t forget dessert! A homemade fruit salad filled with fresh fruits would pair wonderfully with any of our fruit-forward red wines. Additionally, the combination of chocolate and raspberry is a match made in heaven when paired with Cabernet Sauvignon. Try these raspberry chocolate brownies or this chocolate raspberry tart with any of our Cabernet Sauvignons for the ultimate wine and dessert pairing. 

Have Fun with It!

Homemade comfort foods are meant to be enjoyed with family, friends, and delicious bottles of wine. Be sure to have fun and be creative when trying new wine pairings – you never know what your new favorite combination will be! Looking to sample more than one of our wines? Check out our new wine bundles.

About our wine

André – The Voice of Wine

The new film “André – The Voice of Wine” from director and producer, Mark Tchelistcheff, is the inspirational back story of “Bottle Shock“, and who was truly behind the Napa Valley Winners at the 1976 “Judgement of Paris” wine tasting.

“On June 7, 1976, a story in Time Magazine announced to the world the shocking results of the now-famous Paris Tasting: Two California wines had, according to a panel of France’s most glorified oenophiles, bested their French counterparts in the head-on blind competition. As it turned out, the winning vintages had more than California in common. Miljenko Grgich, whose 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay topped four white Burgundies, and Warren Winiarski, whose Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1972 Cabernet took home best-red honors, both attributed their success to a higher power: André Tchelistcheff.”

From: “Man of the Year: André Tchelistcheff,” John N. Hutchison, Wines and Vines, March 1990

Who was André Tchelistcheff?

André Tchelistcheff, the “Dean of American Winemaking,” was a seminal figure, a legendary winemaker, and one of the most remarkable men of the twentieth century. 

His influence and contributions almost single-handedly made the rapid development in the quality of wine in the United States after the repeal of Prohibition possible. For over five decades, he worked with numerous wineries that helped establish the American wine industry: Beaulieu, Charles Krug, Louis M. Martini, Buena Vista, Firestone, Schramsberg, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Hanzell, Heitz, Simi, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Hoffman, Jordan, Quilceda Creek, Sequoia Grove, Villa Mt. Eden, Conn Creek, King Estate, Rodney Strong, Niebaum Coppola, among others.

Though small in stature, André seemed larger than life, and all those who knew him experienced him that way, for he was a mountain of energy and inspiration. Countless technologies that are now routine in wineries worldwide – cold fermentation, stainless steel tanks, controlled malolactic fermentation – were developed by André and tested in Napa and Sonoma. 

He was also known as “The Maestro” and “The Winemaker’s Winemaker”. He believed in sharing information and teaching all those who yearned to make great wine. He mentored countless winemakers, including Louis Martini, Robert Mondavi, Joe Heitz. He taught young winemakers that they could make wonderful wine whether they were tending grapes in Napa, Sonoma, Oregon, or Washington.

His students and protégées now make wine in all corners of the world, weaving the subtleties they learned from him into their work. Years after his death, many still ask themselves in time of crisis or decision; “what would André have done?”

To all who met André, he was an inspiration and wonderment in his being and articulation. André once recalled a Beaujolais as “a young woman, barefoot, the wind blowing in her hair, ruffling her blouse. She has the look on her face of an early peach, a teenage beauty”.

Among the first young winemakers that he mentored was the first woman winemaker in America, MaryAnn Graf. In 1965 MaryAnn became the first woman to graduate from the viticulture and enology program at the University of California Davis.  

MaryAnn and André worked together closely for many years at Simi. When asked to reflect on her relationship with André, she told Wines & Vines Magazine “he is the master of description: each word so perfectly defines right down to the subtlest nuance”.

Throughout his life, André was a true gentleman; a man like no other in a century when chivalry seemed forgotten. His achievements were recognized internationally, with the French government naming him as a “Chevalier” in 1954, and an “Officier du Mérite Agricole” in 1980. 

He was also awarded the 1970 Merit Award of the American Society of Enologists (of which he was a charter member) and the 1980 Award of Merit of the American Wine Society.

André’s quotes on wine appear in numerous books on wine, and the stories of his influence are woven throughout the histories of countless wineries in the United States. He loved what he did until the very end and talked about “wine as a joy of life” to all who would listen. 

“Wine is an intellectual beverage. It does not have the toxicity of liquor. Taken in moderation, it opens the mind. I have seen an introvert, after two glasses of wine, open like a flower.”

 –André Tchelistcheff

André followed his passion, took great risks, and influenced so many people. He served as muse to an entire generation of winemakers who have made our world so much more wonderful by creating this magical nectar.

“Always on the go, often busy and in a hurry, but always able to find time to help someone. I have many warm memories of Tchelistcheff, his gracious smile, his thick curly eyebrows, his rich Russian accent. The deep creases etched in his face were lines of wisdom and time. Always a gentleman. Always a pleasure to be around.” -Jim Laube, Wine Spectator, May 31, 1994

The cast

Director Mark Tchelistcheff has assembled an illustrious team of filmmakers including Oscar-nominated actor Ralph Fiennes narrating; multiple Oscar winner Walter Murch as an adviser (Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, The Unbearable Likeness of Being); with editing and writing from BAFTA winner Michael Chandler (Amadeus, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg, Mishima in Four Parts) and multiple awards winning composer Alexei Aigui for an all-original score (I’m Not Your Negro, Le Petit Poucet, Moloch Tropical and the recent Venice opening film The Truth).

What the press is Saying

“Hidden Gem” – Hollywood Reporter

“…defies the expectations…one worth seeking out.” – Kelly J Hayes – The Aspen Times

“André – The Voice of Wine… is a rare achievement: a wine documentary that isn’t boring for either wine experts or novices.” – W. Blake Gray – The Gray Blog

“A compelling, dramatic story, rather than a documentary it seems to be a fictionalized film, but it is not.” – Alessandra Piubello – Bubbles Italia

Click HERE to watch a preview of the film.

Limited time, special offer

To celebrate this truly amazing film, we are offering a complimentary screening with any bottle or case purchase of our Double Gold Medal-winning 2012 Byrd Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Click HERE to for more details on this exclusive offer.

About our wine

Best Wines for Easter

Spring is here! Easter is upon us. We’re busy putting away our heavy winter jackets, cleaning the house in the name of spring, and looking forward to summer. 

With every seasonal change, we make various changes in our lives. Our clothes change, our habits change, and our tastes change. Just as food comes in and out of season – heavy stews in the winter, salads in the summer – wine selections also change. 

But what about Spring? Which wines should we choose for Easter brunch and dinner?

As with all advice we share, our number one rule is – if you love it, do it. The return of warmer weather doesn’t mean you have to give up red wine (and if you gave it up for Lent, you would probably quite enjoy a glass at Easter dinner!).

Tips for pairing wine and food

Consider these to be loose rules to guide you when choosing your pairings while keeping in mind that if you choose foods that you like, coupled with wine that you like, you’re going to have an enjoyable experience. 

  1. Choose a wine you like. 
  2. Choose a wine more acidic than the food. 
  3. Consider the tannins.
  4. Wine should be sweeter than the food you’re serving. 
  5. The wine should have the same flavor intensity as the food.
  6. More often than not, any wine will create congruent pairings.

Selecting a red wine for Easter

When chosen correctly, red wine can be perfect for spring days. Look for medium to lighter-bodied reds that have higher acidity and lower tannin. Wines such as Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, or Grenache are excellent for enjoying alongside lighter spring fare or the heartier winter foods we aren’t quite ready to leave behind – making them ideal choices for our Easter table. 

Brunch pairings

Brunch is meant to be poured over, often lasting several hours with a feast of sweet and savory favorites. Whether it’s decadent french toast, a savory quiche, or a traditional smoked salmon – the goal of a good brunch is to provide an option for everyone. Just add the right wine, and you’re ready to go. 

Try this savory mushroom tart paired with the 2012 Byrd Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This unique wine is a Double Gold Medal winner for a reason! With beautifully integrated aromas of cassis and dark chocolate lifting from the glass, just one smooth and silky sip will have you coming back for more. 

A well-curated charcuterie board might be the most perfect appetizer of all time, making it a great brunch option. With so many options, you can be in control of your grazing. 

For something different, try pairing this smoky charcuterie with the 2012 Byrd Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Layers of red and black currants reveal flavors of warm spice and sweet vanilla. This bold, full-bodied wine leaves you with a lingering, lengthy finish.

Another option is smoked salmon, arugula, and ricotta tartines with a Pinot Noir. Sure, tartine is just a fancy word for toast – but it’s Easter and the holiday calls for a little bit of fancy (even if you are still in lockdown). Top toasted bread with whipped ricotta spruced up with lemon zest, slices of smoked salmon, and a few fresh arugula leaves. Let the smoky flavors of the bread and salmon be the perfect bridge to a fruity Pinot Noir.

Dinner pairings

Are you serving lamb? Try this recipe for grilled lamb loin with peas, fava beans, and spring potatoes, courtesy of Brian Kevorkian, executive chef, The Regency Bar & Grill, New York City, and published by Wine Enthusiast

Pair it with the 2010 Byrd Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. The subtly sweet aromas of berry and cocoa will swirl in the glass before you take a sip. Layered with notes of baking spices, black fruits, and graphite, this large-boned and intensely succulent wine taunts your palate with sinful flavors of blackberry, vanilla, and dark chocolate. It will leave you with a smooth, long finish.

Ham is a popular choice for Easter dinner, and many great wines pair perfectly with this savory meat. Favorites include white wines like Gewürztraminer and Riesling, while red wine-lovers can enjoy a good Zinfandel or a charming red blend. 

Try the 2012 Byrd Vineyard Red Wine.Cabernet dominates in this blend, excluding left bank confidence and power. Dark red fruits are the core – currants, cherries, and tart pomegranate. Earthy notes of tobacco and cedar give the wine depth, and the finish is drawn out and vibrant. The wine is simultaneously smooth and bold and lends itself to drinking with friends or over dinner. The 2012 Mendocino also pairs well sharp cheeses, making it an option for brunch as well.

Don’t forget dessert

A smooth wine with hints of red fruits and aromatics such as vanilla and cedar, our 2010 Byrd Merlot makes a delicious complement to any rich and succulent dessert. 

To bring out the wine’s flavors of red berries, a fruit tray filled with blackberries, red grapes, black cherries, and raspberries would be a deliciously sweet end to your Easter meal.

Of course, the dessert wouldn’t be dessert without chocolate. Dark, rich chocolate brownies or gooey chocolate cake beautifully complement this subtly sweet deep red wine. See more dessert pairing ideas here

Wishing you a happy Easter

The most important piece to a perfect wine and food pairing is your personal taste, and holidays are no exception. This Easter, adopt the “if you love it, do it” mantra. Because you really can’t go wrong with good food, good company, and good wine.

About our wine


When we say that we are a high-quality vineyard that produces elegant high-altitude wines, you can believe it. Our accolades prove it! With three awards from the one of the most prestigious wine competitions in America, you can trust us when we say our wines are top quality. Don’t believe us? See for yourself!

Background of the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Founded in 1983 as the Cloverdale Citrus Fair Wine Competition, this distinguished award ceremony has evolved significantly over its nearly-40-year run. Beginning as a regional wine competition in Sonoma County, this championship of wine-making expanded its boundaries in 2006 to include the entire country after rebranding itself as the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in 2000. In fact, the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is now regarded as the largest competition of American Wines in the World.

To give you a sense of the significance of this award ceremony, the competition received over 3,000 wine entries in 2006 — and grew to a staggering 7,164 entries just ten years later in 2016. Significantly, 2016 happens to be both the year that the competition received its highest number of entries ever before and the year that Byrd Vineyard took home three major wins — including a Double Gold Award, no less. 

Judged by over 60 wine experts from a variety of industries including media, hospitality and education, the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition continues to be a major attraction in the San Francisco Bay Area for everyone from wine-, food-, and event-lovers. The event regularly receives entries from over 28 states, making its awards both competitive and prestigious. 

2016 was a huge year for Byrd Vineyard. Our high-altitude vineyard in the Mayacamas Mountains took home three major national awards.

2012 Byrd Vineyard Red Wine

This smooth red wine blend took home a Silver Medal from the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Deep red in color and fruit-forward on the nose, our Red Wine is the perfect wine to pair with anything from a cheese board to a steak dinner. With notes of red and black fruit, wood, and baking spices, this wine finishes with fine tannins and a tangy taste.

2012 Byrd Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Another Silver Medal winner, our 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is meant to be enjoyed with a delicious meal surrounded by family and friends. Fruity aromas open slowly in perfect sync while layers of red and black currants reveal flavors of warm spice and sweet vanilla. This bold, full-bodied wine leaves you with a lingering, lengthy finish.

2012 Byrd Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Our 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon took home a Double Gold Medal in 2016! Bold and dry with fine tannins, this ruby-colored full-bodied wine is powerful and delicious. Earth notes of tobacco and cedar give the wine depth, and the finish is drawn out and vibrant. Try it with a big, meaty steak to see for yourself why this wine took home a double gold medal!

Estate wine delivered straight to your door

For over a decade, Byrd Vineyard has been bringing you high-quality and elegant wine — at a price that doesn’t break the bank. For even more convenience, we are now offering delivery straight to your door. Check here to see if we deliver to your state!

About our wine

Best Wines for Dinner

When planning a meal for a special dinner, it is common to be stumped on the question “What is the best wine to serve?”. From casual weeknight dinners to elegant dinner parties, these staple bottles of wine from Byrd Vineyard are sure to solve any pairing dilemma that you encounter. These wines are sure fire bets to be enjoyed by all of your dinner guests (whether that is a group of friends and family or even just yourself!). 

It is important to remember that you can elevate any food experience – from a casual get-together with a few friends to a larger event once it is safe to do so – with a delicious and bold wine. By thoughtfully selecting a complementary bottle of wine, your next dinner party is sure to be remembered by all! 

Thoughts to consider before selecting the perfect wine

  • How many people will be joining you for dinner and what are their wine preferences?
  • Will you be serving wine with appetizers or just for the main course?
  • How many different dishes will you be serving?
  • What kinds of foods will you be serving?

By taking into account the wine preferences of your guests as well as the types of food you are planning to serve, you can cover all of your bases in selecting the best possible wine for your dinner. For example, if your guests love big, bold reds and you are planning on grilling up steaks, our 2009 Byrd Cabernet Sauvignon would pair beautifully. If you are planning on serving a pre-dinner charcuterie board filled with herby cheeses and sweet fig jams, our lush and sophisticated 2010 Byrdeaux Red Wine would be amazing to have on hand. 

Pairings based on what’s for dinner

We all know that a fantastic wine enhances any meal — even more so when the wine is carefully paired with a food known to delectably complement its flavors. For example, sweet and herbaceous Merlot is known to bring out delicious flavors in beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and Italian dishes with plenty of rich red sauce. The sophisticated flavors of rich berries and notes of herbaceous aromatics in our 2010 Byrd Merlot would bring out the mouth-watering flavors of garlic and herbs in dishes such as roast chicken with thyme and onions, garlic lover’s roast beef, and baked garlic butter pork tenderloin.   

Cabernet Sauvignon is known as the ultimate wine to pair with a juicy steak or red meat of any and all kinds. With beautifully integrated aromas of cassis and dark chocolate, our award-winning 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is the best of the best. Featuring bold flavors of black cherry, blueberry, and sweet French oak, the silky tannins and full body of this wine will stand its own against a powerful steak. This ultimate steak with garlic butter, lamb chops with garlic and herbs, and even a burger smothered in blue cheese and caramelized onions would be a match made in heaven.

At the end of the day, there are no rules when it comes to pairing food and wine! Don’t feel restricted by traditional wine pairing rules. Serve your favorite wine with your favorite foods and you are sure to have a delicious meal that all of your guests will enjoy! 

Have a variety of wines on hand and let your guests choose

To best satisfy all of your guests, it is recommended that you keep a variety of wines on hand and let your guests choose their favorites. Consider stocking up on bold Cabernet Sauvignon, subtly sweet Merlot, and a luxurious and versatile Red Wine Blend. Whichever Byrd Vineyard wine your guests choose is sure to be the star of the show! 

Quality wine delivered straight to your door

For over a decade, Byrd Vineyard has been bringing you high-quality and elegant wine — at a price that doesn’t break the bank. For even more convenience, we are now offering delivery straight to your door. Check here to see if we deliver to your state!

About our wine

The Passing of a Wine Legend: Steven Spurrier

On March 9, 2021, the world lost a legend. Steven Spurrier wore many hats and had many talents, among them: wine merchant, expert, critic, and organizer. But he was also a wine enthusiast, devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He was so many things to so many people, and he was an absolute force in the wine industry.


Spurrier’s wine career began in 1970 when he purchased a wine shop, Les Caves de la Madeleine, where clients were encouraged to taste wines before they bought them. The shop quickly achieved recognition as a highly regarded specialist wine retailer.

In 1973 he founded L’Academie du Vin, France’s first private wine school.

Spurrier went on to stage the famous “Judgement of Paris” Wine Tasting of 1976.

The last challenge he took on was that of the vintner. He planted his vineyard at his wife’s farm in Dorset’s Bride Valley in 2009 and made English sparkling wine. A project he described as “the last throw of the Spurrier wine dice.”

The Judgement of Paris

Perhaps the biggest irony of Spurrier’s career was that he had long been considered a true champion of French wines – but as an organizer of the 1976 “Judgment of Paris” wine tasting, he unexpectedly helped to propel the “New World” California wines to the same prestigious level as their French counterparts. 

“On June 7, 1976, a story in Time Magazine announced to the world the shocking results of the now-famous Paris Tasting: Two California wines had, according to a panel of France’s most glorified oenophiles, bested their French counterparts in the head-on blind competition.”

From: “Man of the Year: André Tchelistcheff,” John N. Hutchison, Wines and Vines, March 1990  

Bruce Byrd, founder of Byrd Vineyards, highly recommends the book Judgement of Paris: California vs.France and The Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine by George M. Tabor. 

He recalls: “I bought George Tabor’s book as a step in becoming more knowledgeable about Old World wines vs New World wines. I was not disappointed. It sets up the way wine was perceived at that time.  Of course, France was the pinnacle of fine wine brands at the time. California, not so much. Tabor introduces us to Steven Spurrier and his organizers that put this tasting together.  Spurrier and the nine expert wine judges opened up the experience of wine appreciation to a much larger audience than it ever had prior.”


Spurrier received several awards for his writings on wine, including Le Prix de Champagne Lanson and the Bunch Prize, both for articles published in Decanter Magazine. In total, he wrote over 300 wine-related articles. 

In 2001 he was awarded Le Grand Prix de l’Academie Internationale du Vin and The Maestro Award in honor of Andre Tchelistcheff

In 1988 he was made Le Personalite de l’Annee (Oenology) for his services to French wine. He has also received the Ritz Carlton Millennia Singapore Lifetime Achievement Award and the Prix Louis Marinier

He was also a regular judge on the international wine tasting circuit, as the chairman of both the Japan Wine Challenge and the Decanter World Wine Awards.

His Impact

According to Advanced Sommelier Michael A. Descamps, Spurrier was a “titan in the international wine world and the American wine industry.”

Descamps went on to add “Sommeliers like myself owe him a great deal. His organization of the famed ‘Judgment of Paris’ tasting in 1976 helped to open the door to the world (and to many Americans) on the possibility of how great American (California for the tasting) wines could be. 

His work helped bring not just American wines into focus, but also wine in general. As a wine professional, I enjoyed his writing stints with ‘Decanter’ magazine, which often reflected his unique point of view and sardonic wit. 

I am sorry to have not had the chance to have met him, but the many of my colleagues who had always speak of him with reverence and how much a ‘gentleman’ he was. The wine world, and the culinary world at large, lost a giant when they lost him.”

In Closing

There’s no doubt that the impact Steven Spurrier had on the wine industry was huge. He was a larger-than-life (yet quite humble) type of person, often referred to as bringing “youthful enthusiasm” to everything he did. He was a modest man who went from champion of French wines to champion of good wines from around the world. So raise a glass to him the next time you open a bottle of your favorite wine. He will be missed.

About our wine

How to let Wine Breathe

To breathe or not to breathe; that is the question. Of course, we’re talking about wine here. And more importantly, how do we let our wine breathe? Is it necessary? Will it improve my experience?

Let’s take a look. 

What it means

When we talk about letting our wine breathe, it means that we are going to expose the wine to oxygen by allowing it to aerate before drinking. There is always some debate in the industry about whether or not this step is necessary, but aerating some wines is broadly considered to release more of the wine’s aromas and soften the tannins.

Will you taste a difference? 

It really depends on the wine. 

Once a bottle of wine is opened, its characteristics start to change. The decanting process accelerates these changes, more quickly releasing the wine’s aromas from the natural fruit and oak. Decanting can also soften the taste of the tannins that can cause harshness and astringency in young wines.

What types of wine should be aerated?

As with all things wine, personal taste plays a big role in deciding which wines should be aerated. There is no absolute right or wrong answer.

One general rule of thumb though is that young, full-bodied reds, in particular, will benefit from aerating. As mentioned above, aerating will help to soften the tannins and release the natural fruit flavors.

On the other hand, if you have a fragile wine, like an old vintage, aerating can be risky. Fragile wines are much more sensitive once opened and may lose their fruit aromas more quickly. 

How do you let wine breathe?

There are several ways to aerate wine, and it doesn’t require any fancy kitchen gadgets (though it’s fine to use those, too!). 

  1. Decanting
    1. A wine decanter is a vessel, usually made of glass, that is used to serve wine. The process of decanting wine is simply pouring the wine from the bottle into the decanter. 
  2. In The Glass
    1. Swirling the wine in your glass. This can, in some cases, have the same effects as decanting. 
  3. Using an Aerating Device 
    1. These little devices bubble air through wine as it pours, thus creating a speed-decanter. 

Decanter vs. aerator cheat sheet

Aerator: Use on young wines, particularly big, bold, and tannic reds.

Decanter: Use on older wines and more delicate bottles.

Both: For young wines that need as much oxygen as they can get, double up and aerate the wine right into the decanter.

Decanter shape 

For optimal effect, a wide-bottomed decanter that gives maximum air exposure to the wine is your best bet. However, if you are decanting specifically to remove sediment, use a decanter with a narrow shape.

Sediment in Wine

Sediment is a byproduct of winemaking that usually settles to the bottom of your glass. It forms during the fermentation process or while a wine matures in a bottle. Sediment is completely natural and not harmful – it’s mostly made up of bits of seeds, grape skin, and crystal-like tartrates.

If sediment is expected, you can hold a candle to the bottle during decanting to help you see through the glass as you pour. This will give you more control over the pour, and help you to not disturb the sentiment.

Too much oxygen

Yes, you can over-aerate. No matter where a wine comes from, or how old it is, it is possible to overexpose it to oxygen. Keep in mind Pasteur’s experiments and don’t leave your wine out of the bottle for days. 

Too little oxygen

Don’t assume that just leaving an open bottle on the counter is enough to aerate it – it’s not. A wine bottle is way too narrow to allow enough oxygen in.


As in all things wine, personal taste should rule your decision on whether or not to decant your wine. Try different methods with different wines to see what you like and what you could skip. Be careful with older vintages, and don’t let any wine sit out for too long. Wine is for enjoying, and no one wants to wait too long for that first sip.

About our wine

Perfect Wine for a Picnic

Despite the fact that much of the country is buried in snow right now, that shouldn’t stop you from dreaming of the warmer weather of spring and summer! Don’t worry: sunny days, summer food, outdoor dates with friends, and delicious wine are not too far away. In just a few short months, the temperature will heat up, the days will get longer and you know what that means – picnic season! 

What to look for in a picnic wine

When searching for the perfect picnic wine, it is important to keep the following factors in mind. A good picnic wine is a wine that:

  • You already love!
  • Is refreshing on a warm day
  • Is well-balanced and not too overpowering
  • Pairs well with foods of all kinds

When imagining a refreshing wine to sip outdoors in the sun, don’t feel restricted to just white wine! Vibrant and fruit-forward wines don’t have to be white – reds can be equally delicate and delicious on a warm afternoon. Refreshing and light reds that are low in tannins and alcohol levels will not overpower your food while still bringing bright flavors to the table. 

Aim to find reds that feature a light to medium body and dry taste. Wines that are too heavy, sweet, or intense may distract from the delicate picnic fare. Long story short, if you are a red wine lover, embrace it! There is no reason not to enjoy your favorite Byrd Vineyard wines outdoors with a variety of picnic foods.

Picnic foods to pair with wine

Salads of all kinds

Sunny days call for lighter meals featuring bright flavors and fresh fruits and vegetables. Enter: summer salads. Summer is the prime time of year for salads of all kinds, whether the fruit, vegetable, potato, or pasta variety. Whatever you’re craving, you won’t go wrong pairing with elegant Byrd Vineyard wine.

Upgrade your grandma’s potato salad recipe to this (lighter) herbed potato salad with lively flavors of fresh parsley and pair with our 2010 Byrd Merlot. Fruit-forward with herbaceous notes, the wine is sure to complement the herby potatoes. Similarly, this lemon herb pasta salad is bursting with vibrant summer flavors that would pair beautifully with our luscious and herbaceous 2010 Byrdeaux

More traditionally, a grilled summer cobb salad like this one that features tomatoes, corn, avocados, and goat cheese would pair beautifully with our 2010 Byrd Merlot. Feeling fancier? This steak and blue cheese salad would deliciously complement our 2012 Byrd Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Mendocino. You can never go wrong pairing Cabernet Sauvignon with meaty dishes, especially when complemented with cheese. Lastly, a summer fruit salad filled with fresh, ripe fruits would pair wonderfully with any of our fruit-forward red wines — whether as the main course or for dessert!


With so many varieties to choose from, you can never go wrong bringing sandwiches to a picnic! Impress your friends with light and summery options like Caprese sandwiches or a herbed chicken salad. Craving something heavier such as ham and cheese sliders or a classic roast beef sandwich? You can’t go wrong! Whichever sandwich you pick, pair with our well-balanced 2009 Byrd Cabernet or smooth and energetic 2012 Byrd Vineyard Red Wine Mendocino.

Charcuterie Boards

It wouldn’t be a picnic without an array of meats, cheeses, crackers, fruits, and nuts to snack on! Build a legendary charcuterie board with salami, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, brie, cheddar, havarti, gouda, crackers, berries, almonds, pistachios, French bread, jams, and whatever else comes to mind. Be creative! Once your epic masterpiece comes together, spend the afternoon grazing with friends and sipping on the best of the best — our Double Gold Medal-winning 2012 Byrd Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Mendocino. Silky, rich, and bold, this wine is sure to elevate any picnic into a meal worthy of five stars.

Don’t forget to pack:

  • Corkscrew – This seems obvious, but you’ll regret it if you leave your wine opener at home! 
  • Cups of some kind – Glasses, tumblers, even plastic cups will work! As long as you have some vessel for your wine (ideally one that is not easily breakable and easily transported), you’re good to go.
  • Cooler and ice – Even though red wine isn’t normally enjoyed cooled down, you want to make sure it doesn’t overheat in the hot summer sun. You can serve slightly chilled or allow for the wine to heat back up to cellar temps. 

The key to a great picnic is starting with foods you love and not being afraid to experiment with different wines. Even wines that you never would have thought would complement your favorite picnic bites are worth a try! Be creative. After all, spring is the time to have fun and try new things – that includes awakening your taste buds with delicious new flavor combinations. 

About our wine

Wines for the Season

“Time will pass, and seasons will come and go.”

-Roy Bean

With every seasonal change, we make changes in our lives. Our clothes change, our habits change, and our tastes change. Much like food comes in and out of season – heavy stew in the winter, salads in the summer – so does our wine selections. 

Most people would think about seasonal wines in terms of color. Bright, crisp whites in the summer; heavy, full-bodied reds in the winter. But just as with pairing wine and food, the number one rule of pairing wine for the season is – if you love it, do it. 

Too often we try to apply strict rules to wine pairings, but the fact remains – if you pair a wine you love with the food you love, no matter the time of year – you’re going to have a good experience. 

Summertime wines

Summer is all about easy living. Days spent at the lake, or around the pool call for refreshing drinks. When the heat is rising, and you’re looking for a wine to add into a spritzer, or for something cool and refreshing, look for wines that have:

  • High acidity
  • Light to medium body
  • Dry taste

If you pick up a bottle of sweet wine, try to make sure that it also has high acidity. Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc are all good options. 

But summer doesn’t have to mean white. Instead of thinking about the wine in terms of color, think about the texture and weight. Look for youthful reds that are high in acidity and lower in tannin and alcohol levels. 

Wintertime wines 

Winter begs for warmth and comfort – meaning our familiar favorites of full-bodied reds with higher tannin and alcohol content. They have a way of warming the soul against even the harshest bitter chills. During colder months, we also often eat foods that are heavier, thicker, fattier, and meat-laden. We make thick sauces, broths, soups full of wonderful delicious flavors and rich aromas

Try the 2012 Byrd Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with a hearty stew or beef wellington. Bold flavors of racy black cherry, fresh-from-the-oven wild blackberry pie, and sweet French oak combined with silky yet powerful tannins make for a one-of-a-kind wine you’ve never experienced before.

If you’d rather poultry over red meat, try pairing the 2010 Byrd Merlot with chicken cordon bleu, or chicken parmesan. The rich berries, herbaceous notes, and beautiful sweet aromatics of vanilla and cedar come together in the wine with smooth tannins and a long finish.

Juicy, cooler-climate Byrd Merlot also pairs well with roasted vegetables. Try roasted Brussel sprouts or this delicious medley. You could even pair harder-to-match veggies such as tomatoes.

For an evening of appetizers around the fire, this fig and prosciutto pizza has all of the makings for the perfect wine accompaniment: fruit, meat, and cheese. Pair it with this irresistible 2010 Byrdeaux Red Wine. This blend boasts lush, concentrated flavors of rich berry, cassis, and sweet tobacco leaf that combine with beautiful aromatics of nutmeg and lavender to create a smooth and velvety finish. Dense in color and luxuriously layered with deep notes of blueberry and black currant, this sophisticated wine with well-integrated tannins leaves you wanting more.

When it comes to winter whites, a full-bodied, oaked white, such as a Chardonnay is perfect. 

In between seasons? 

Spring and Fall are seasons of change when the weather is rather unpredictable. One minute the sun is out and you’re shedding layers, the next the sweater is back on and you are feeling the chill. So what should you drink in this in-between

Choose your wine the way you choose clothes for this time of year, something not too heavy and not too light. Look for wines with freshness, brightness, and texture, and above all wines that are versatile, wines that reflect the transitional nature of the season.

Try the well-balanced 2009 Byrd Cabernet, a ruby red with notes of tart fruits, warm spices, and graphite. Not too sweet, with a full body and beautifully subtle fruit flavors, this selection is nice and smooth. Aromas of red and black fruits, cocoa, and violet come together with fine tannins and a medium-length finish.

Wines that Soar

The finest wines have always been the product of place, soil, terroir, elevation.

Byrd Vineyards uses the altitude to their advantage. At 2,400 feet, 150 days in the clouds is like 180 days on the valley floor: the vines don’t shut down. The higher you get, the sun radiates more, which leads to softer tannins, and higher acid content. The cooler temperatures produce smaller, significantly more intense berries and phenolics and the occasional temperature inversions hasten the ripening process and stave off frost. This quality and purity of ripeness and intensity of flavor shine in our Byrd Vineyard wines.

No matter the season, the most important part of choosing the perfect wine is starting with your taste. Choosing a wine you love to compliment the weather, the food, or the company will never fail. 

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