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Fog Crest Vineyard


Restaurateur James Manoogian establishes a premier Russian River Valley winery.

James Manoogian is not the first former restaurateur that opted out of the restaurant world for the lure of the wine industry. In fact, the move was precipitated by the fact that Manoogian sought to be part of the viticultural aspect of the wine business, a side that offered him a great deal of personal satisfaction. Manoogian (Man-ou-gee-an) is of Armenian descent, and originally from Ypsilanti, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in political science but, in 1989, he opened a restaurant in San Francisco called Limbo. The restaurant proved successful, but after a number of years, Manoogian found himself becoming more interested in the wine industry than the demanding 24/7 frenzy that was the restaurant business. He was also interested in starting a family and decided the restaurant environment wasn’t the best possible setting for that to happen.In 1994 to 1995, Manoogian and his wife Rosalind began looking for property in the Sonoma County region where his mother and sister already resided.“We wanted a parcel of land that we could really develop into something,” he recalled. “It had to be big enough to meet our needs and also within our price range."

Eventually, the couple stumbled across a beautiful former apple orchard on thirty acres north of the town of Sebastopol that was only three to four miles south of the Russian River. After purchasing the property, the Manoogians planted the acreage and went about the process of producing first class grapes. “We wanted to push the envelope with regard to our grapes,” added Manoogian. “We started selling to a top local winery (Stryker Sonoma) and were initially pleased with the results. When it became apparent that they were heading toward a red-wine oriented winery, we decided to go into business for ourselves.”Fog Crest Vineyard became a reality with the release of almost a thousand cases in 2005. Fog Crest has increased production slightly but is still under the 2,500 case level its permit allows.“We have always worked under the philosophy that we make sure everything we do is the very best it can be,” admitted James Manoogian. “We have tried to not make any mistakes. We feel it is a great luxury to be able to pick the grapes and only have to move them 100 yards for processing.”He also was extremely pleased that Fog Crest Vineyard’s wines have been received so well. “When we started all this, I really didn’t know all that much about winemaking so I went out and hired some people who did."

From the winery's inception in 2005 until November of 2013, the Manoogians worked with winemakers Daniel Moore and David Ramey. Together, their excellent reputation and experiences helped solidify Fog Crest Vineyard as a major player of the boutique producers in the Russian River Valley. Today, winemaking duties are overseen by Jerome Chery, a native of France and an internationally renowned winemaker. Since 2005, Fog Crest wines have garnered prestigious ratings and medals, and they continue to do so.

Fog Crest Vineyard completed their winery facility in 2008, allowing the team ample space and state-of-the-art equipment to continue producing their estate wines. The fact that the company’s releases have been so heralded simply means that Fog Crest will continue to work even harder going forward to excel in the competitive wine industry. “We are not in a position to make many mistakes,” Manoogian informed. “The business is just too competitive. We are delighted that we have been able to carve out a small niche and develop a small base of loyal customers.”

Those loyal customers are also looking forward to the grand opening of Fog Crest's tasting room, which is due to open its doors any day now. The new space offers sweeping views of the estate vineyard and the Russian River Valley, and will give visitors a premier location to enjoy Fog Crest wines. “The ground around here is mostly sandstone,” remarked Manoogian, “and perfectly suited to the type of grapes we want to grow. When you add the natural beauty of all the surroundings, Fog Crest becomes something really special.”

It is refreshing to find a winery owner so perfectly in tune to his surroundings and place in the business world. James Manoogian admits that the vineyards are his favorite part of the equation. While he enjoys drinking his wines (as well as the wines of others), he prefers to be “among the plants” when it comes to day-to-day activity.
James’ wife Rosalind has also become active in the Fog Crest Vineyard program and now handles all the website updating as well as assisting in the sales and marketing efforts.


  1. Fog Crest
    2011 Pinot Noir
    Fog Crest
    Laguna West
    Sonoma Valley

    $33.00

    $39.00
    Gold Medal - Int'l Wine Challenge
    id: 2268
    Pinot Noir

Veteran winemaker Daniel Moore

The Fog Crest 2011 'Laguna West' Pinot Noir was made by veteran winemaker Daniel Moore. Daniel has been an esteemed winemaker in the Russian River Valley for over three decades and his wines have been served in many of the finest restaurants in the United States. Before coming to Fog Crest Vineyard in 2005, Daniel was a winemaker for many noteworthy wineries including Martinelli and Lynmar. His Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs have long been recognized with awards and accolades STOREand he continues to build upon that reputation. At Fog Crest, Daniel helped design the original production facility, which further enhanced his ability to craft stunning Burgundian-style wines.

In 2013, Fog Crest Vineyard welcomed winemaker Jerome Chery. Born and raised in France's Loire Valley, Jerome studied enology at the University of Burgundy and discovered his true passion for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. His avid curiosity has lead him to Provence, Western Australia, Languedoc, and the Napa Valley. Before joining Fog Crest Vineyard, Jerome was the head winemaker at Saintsbury Winery where he regularly earned accolades for his Burgundian-style wines. He is thrilled by the winemaker opportunity at Fog Crest Vineyard and looks forward to embracing the special terroir of the Russian River Valley.

About The Region

Fog Crest Vineyard's Laguna West Pinot Noir is a blend of premium Pinot grapes from three vineyards, all west of the Laguna de Santa Rosa in the Russian River Valley. This region is Sonoma's richest area of wildlife habitat and the most biologically diverse region of the County. It is for this reason that these three vineyards are sustainably farmed - to remain mindful stewards of the land and to respect this neighboring habitat. The Laguna de Santa Rosa is one of the cooler regions of the Russian River Valley and it's characterized by its low hills where the river turns west towards the Pacific Ocean. It has proven to be an excellent location for growing Burgundian varietals.

Pinot Noir is a difficult grape to grow and achieves greatness in only a handful of places worldwide - the Russian River Valley is one of those such places. The Valley's Pinot-perfect climate combined with an amazing complexity of soil types results in wines that reflect their individual sites, but share a common thread with their bright, berry-cherry focused aromas, cola and spice flavors, and rich, velvety texture. Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs are renowned around the world.


Braised Pork Loin Tacos


Ingredients

1 1/2 lb. Pork loin, cut into 2 inch chunks
Cilantro, chopped

Tortillas
White or red onions, diced
Salsa of your choice
For the shake:
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. chile powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. thyme

Marinade:
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Coke
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbs. freshly ground cumin
2 tsp. minced garlic


Instructions

Combine the shake ingredients in a zip lock bag. Put the meat in the bag, and - you guessed it - shake! Then removed the coated chunks of meat. Combine the marinade ingredients in a new bag and add the coated chunks of meat. Marinate overnight (at least 12 hours). Remove meat from the marinade and reserve the marinade for sauce. Pat meat dry with paper towels. In a deep skillet, add some peanut oil or bacon fat and brown the pork on all sides (if meat is still wet, it can make the oil splatter, so keep an eye on the oil temperature). Once you have the meat sealed up/browned, remove the meat and place into a bowl; pour off the oil. Place the reserved marinade in the skillet and deglaze the pan. Bring to a boil. Lower marinade to a simmer and return meat to the pan. Continue to simmer for 45 min., or until tender. Shred up the pork using some of the extra cooked sauce to moisten. Serve with tortillas, chopped cilantro, diced white or red onions and salsa. A large dollop of refried black bean or pintos wouldn't hurt either. Enjoy with the Fog Crest Vineyard Pinot Noir. Recipe provided by Fog Crest Vineyard.



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