A new home for Burgess

Burgess Cellars has a new home after the original Howell Mountain estate was destroyed in the 20202 Glass Fire.

The Lawrence Wine Estates, which now owns Burgess, has acquired 27 acres and a winery from Luna Vineyards, which will become part of the Burgess brand. It is scheduled to open in July. 

Gaylon Lawrence Jr.'s Lawrence Wine Estates, managed by master sommelier Carlton McCoy, Jr., purchased Burgess in the summer of 2020 only to have it burn weeks later in Glass Fire. Lawrence now owns six properties in Napa Valley, including the historic Heitz Cellar.

Burgess Cellars was founded by Tom Burgess in 1972. Before that, the site was Souverain Vineyards, founded by J. Leland "Lee" Stewart, who first harvested grapes there in 1944.

George Lobjanidze will be the new estate manager, responsible for developing the private tasting program, providing team leadership for the tasting room, e-commerce and events.

He and winemaker Meghan Zobeck are transforming the 27-acre vineyard to "promiscuous farming," a polycultural technique that dates back to Roman times and combines regenerative farming with the cultivation of produce and livestock. The Burgess Cellars team will also implement biodynamic farming practices. 

Born in the Republic of Georgia, Lobjanidze comes from a long family history of winemaking. After immigrating to the United States, he and his family settled in Atlanta, Georgia, where he attended Georgia State University. While attending GSU, he worked as a sommelier and bartender at Restaurant Eugene.

After completing his bachelor’s degree, he became an assistant sommelier at Bacchus Management Group’s Spruce in San Francisco. He went on to be a sommelier at The Village Pub, before opening Selby’s in Atherton. During his tenure with Bacchus Management, Lobjanidze became a partner at Vine & Rare, a concierge firm.

Zobeck previously worked in the vineyards and cellar of Screaming Eagle and was an associate winemaker for Philippe Melka. She has also worked with Michel Roland and Fabrizio Iuli in Bordeaux, Chile, South Australia, and Piedmont.

A smoke taint technology open house

The ag-tech company Purfresh Clean will host open houses on June 7-10 to demonstrate its oxygen-3/ozone technology to treat harvested wine grapes before crushing,  improve overall wine quality and remove or reduce smoke taint molecules (methoxyphenols).

Purfresh Clean's equipment was used at wineries in Sonoma, Napa and Oregon during the 2020 harvest to impact quality, taste, color, ripening, and stability and remove the smoke taint from fires.

There is no cost to attend the open house. Food and refreshments will be provided.  

In Sonoma County, the open house is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 7 and 8 at Tips Roadside, 8445 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood.

In Napa County, the open house is on June 9 and 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 905 Main St., St. Helena, next to Yao Family Wines.

Register at purfreshcleandemo.eventbrite.com. For more information on Purfresh Clean, visit purfreshclean.com/pages/sustainable-wine-production.

A Celebration at Frank Family Vineyards

 Frank Family Vineyards will host a virtual event on July 3 to celebrate Independence Day and the winery’s 28th anniversary.

The Fourth of July BBQ Bash will feature Jack Arnold, a barbecue specialist, who will host a cooking demonstration on Saturday, July 3 at 2 p.m. Arnold will show how to grill cuts of KOW Cattle Company’s American Wagyu bee on a Big Green Egg charcoal grill.

Proprietor Leslie Frank, winemaker Todd Graff, and Director of Hospitality Liam Gearity, who will recommend wine pairings for each cut and recipe.

Guests at home may purchase the winery’s “Red, White and Moo” packages of Frank Family wines and KOW steaks. For more information visit www.frankfamilyvineyards.com.

Honors from the V Foundation

Rich and Leslie Frank

Rich and Leslie Frank of Frank Family Vineyards.

Rich and Leslie Frank will also be honored as 2021 Vintner Grant Honorees by the V Foundation during its annual Wine Celebration Weekend, Aug. 5-8.

Long-time supporters of the V Foundation, which supports cancer research, the Franks are supporting the fight against lymphoma in memory of Rich Frank's mother, Edythe Frank.

In addition to founding Frank Family Vineyards, Rich Frank is the former president of Disney Studios and is currently the vice-chairman of the American Film Institute and a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Leslie Frank is an Emmy Award–winning journalist who spent more than 25 years covering politics, crime, weather, and other calamities, as well as interviewing Hollywood stars.

As ambassadors for the V Foundation, the Franks will appear in two episodes of "Behind the V" with host AJ Harris.

On June 10, Harris interviews the Franks and George Bodenheimer, retired executive chairman of ESPN. On June 17 they will join chef Christina Machamer.

For more information, visit winecelebration.org/behind-the-v. For more information on the 2021 V Wine Celebration,  visit www.winecelebration.org.