Friday, December 19, 2014

Wineaux: Rominger West’s new wine gives us all a lift


May 4, 2011 |

To a bicyclist, riding with a tailwind means speed, ease and exhiliration. Metaphorically, we all crave a tailwind and get it where we can — in friends and family, in work we love, in our oaks and redwoods, in good food and wine, in music and art.

So when the name “Tailwind” emerged in their conversations, Joaquin Feliciano, Stephen Nowicki and Mark West knew right away it captured just the feeling of uplift, hope and freedom they wanted to express in their new venture — a collaboration to raise money for local HIV/AIDS research and for the support of folks living with the virus.

In 2005, Joaquin did the first NorCal AIDS Challenge, a four-day charity bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The 19 riders raised $65,000 that year. At this point, the cummulative figure is close to a million.

Now there’s a ride for “the Valley” — with funds going to AIDS-related organizations in the greater Sacramento area. The event itself, which takes place this year May 12-15 and may reach 100 riders, will make a loop that begins in Folsom and, on the 15th, shoot through Davis and finish on the steps of the state Capitol in Sacramento.

Since Joaquin turns 40 this year, he resolved to raise $40,000. Looking for places to hold a fundraising event last fall, he thought of Rominger West Winery; Mark West responded with enthusiasm because of RW’s long-standing commitment to supporting the local community. And this project seemed perfect — bringing together both the Davis passion for bicylces and a great cause.

As part of that fundraiser, Joaquin asked his biking mentor and friend Stephen Nowicki, a pediatrician (best one in Davis, according to the 2011 Davis Enterprise poll) and artist, to donate a scupture for auction. Steve had moved to Davis from Florida after his honeymoon in Sonoma savoring wines. He and his wife visited Davis, and the bike paths “made my eyes well up.” And made him apply for every intern spot in the area.

Bikes, wine, Davis, art (“AIDS has effected such great loss in the artistic community”) — of course, he’d do a sculpture, he told Joaquin.

“Everyone around Joaquin stretches themselves,” Steve told me. “He pulled me outside of my box.”

The result: a scupture larger than anything Steve had ever done — nearly 5 feet long. It’s a bicycle, of course, made of scrap copper and steel. It rests on a red base shaped like the AIDS ribbon. When you touch it, it moves, seeming to float or levitate — a sign of hope, Steve thinks, for people with the virus — and for us all.

Mark admired the sculpture just from the email photos of Steve’s progress, but when he saw it “in the flesh,” he fell in love. He quickly consulted with his staff and they agreed to buy it for permanent display in the winery. And it inspired Mark to do more; what better “more” than Mark’s own expertise — making wine. A new wine. Tailwind.

On May 28, at the winery’s celebration of this year’s ride, Mark will unveil Tailwind Red, a nonvintage, easy-drinking, affordable blend of Rominger West’s red grapes — Syrah, Mouvedre, Granache and Cab. Its sibling: Tailwind White, made from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Balnc, Semillion, and Granache Blanc.

Since the blends are still works-in-progress, I haven’t yet tasted them, but I’m much looking forward to this release.

Since part of the profits goes to NorCal AIDS Cycle, I can drink and give simultaneously. Not to mention munch on some appetizers, listen to good music, order a pizza, and admire the scupture.

Listening to these three men talk so animatedly about their project, sharing our stories of how HIV/AIDS has affected the lives of so many friends, talking about the importance of the Davis community in all our lives was my own tailwind for the day. Come join the party on May 28 from noon until 5 at Rominger West Winery.

And two more local wine events in the meantime: this Saturday’s semi-annual tasting — another lovely combination of wine, art, music and food — at Putah Creek Winery from 2 to 6 p.m. and next Tuesday’s all-Pinot tasting at Monticello Seasonal Cuisine from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. I’m pouring.

While you’re waiting for Tailwind, try working your way through the Santa Julia wines on sale for $7.99 to $8.99 at the Davis Food Co-op. These are easy-drinking, lively wines from sustainable and mostly certified organic family vineyards in Argentina. All the grapes are estate-grown and hand-picked.

The owners, the Familia Zuccardi, pride themselves on ensuring “that the people who live and work on our estate get the very best care, education and remuneration for their dedication.” So far, I can vouch for the Malbec, the Bonarda and the Pinot Grigio. Serious bargains all.

— Reach Susan Leonardi at Comment on this column at



Susan Leonardi

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    There’s a plate for you at the Davis Holiday Meal

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    UCD, UC team up to study effects of climate change

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Teens’ goal? Helping other soccer players around the world

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Police seek suspect in hit-and-run collision

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Help sought in search for runaway Davis teen

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Feds release ‘framework’ to rate colleges

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Gunfire leads to DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Creative women share food, friendship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Welcome 2015 with Mumbo Gumbo at a gala bash

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Blue Christmas service planned at Davis churches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Willett bench is a labor of love

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

    Author! Author! UCD hosts talks, Q and A on Asia-focused books

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Libraries will be closed around the holidays

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    See diving ducks at city wetlands tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Downtown gift cards get a new perk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Meditation, Buddhism classes offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Nobel Prize winner will discuss research related to autism

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    A home for the holidays?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Traditional carols service is Saturday at St. Martin’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Explorit: Experience nano this spring

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Donate to STEAC at Original Steve’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Grandmothers support group meets weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11, 1 Comment



    He needs them to pay up

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

    Cheers and Jeers: Have you ever seen the rain?

    By Our View | From Page: A14

    Defeating Ebola involves medicine, and prayers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14 | Gallery

    Kudos to Central Park Gardens donors and volunteers

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14



    UCD RB coach Wright heads to Florida; what next?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Aggies nab junior college defensive lineman

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Cousins is back in lineup but Kings fall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devil boys hold off scrappy Rio Linda

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Lady Blue Devils rout an undefeated Liberty squad

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Nostra-Dunning makes his college bowl picks

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

    Tennyson’s first goal is the difference in Sharks win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery



    Name droppers: Trio elected to academy of inventors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11



    DMTC announces auditions for ‘Sweeney Todd’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

    ‘Before Midnight’ screening is tonight

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

    DMTC plans New Year’s Eve party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

    Tom Rigney and Flambeau to play

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15



    After 19 years, Alfa Romeo returns

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: A16



    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6