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Gold Medal Wine Club
5330 Debbie Road, Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Fore Family - Napa Valley

Gold Medal Winner - San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

A little winery with a big heart, Fore Family Vineyards delivers one of the smallest wine portfolios of Napa Valley - and with top marks from local competitions, it becomes one of the best kept secrets of Napa wine country.

Arguably one of Napa Valley’s tiniest family wineries is this month’s Pinot Noir Series feature, Fore Family Vineyards. With less than 1,000 cases produced each year, and just three wines making up the ultra boutique portfolio, Fore Family Vineyards is quickly building its reputation as a world-class (but super limited production) winery of northern California. Owners Jim and Diane Fore grew up in Napa Valley and have long had a love for premium wines. Their transition into the winery business, although unexpected, has proven to be an exciting new path that challenges them every step of the way. “We weren’t always in the wine business,” explains Diane Fore. “I used to be a Kindergarten teacher and my husband was a Piping Designer at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. When the base closed in 1988, Jim and I moved back to Napa and he decided we should become farmers.” Jim and Diane sought out friend Doug Hill (of Hill Family Estate Winery) who had over twenty-six years of experience growing grapes in Napa, and started acquiring leases on suitable properties throughout the valley. “Doug was extremely helpful and put us in the right direction when choosing properties. He had a good feeling about where we should be looking and which grapes would grow best,” Diane credits. “Jim started working for Doug’s business, (Yountville Equipment Company), and began developing vineyards in the area.”

The farming business clicked for the Fores, and before long Jim and Diane had acquired and planted fifty acres of vineyard property in Napa. About fifteen different grape varietals grow on the various sites, most of which are sold to neighboring wineries, and Doug Hill’s company continues to assist with vine management to this day.

In 2000, Jim and Diane located a mountain top property on Cobb Mountain in Lake County Red Hills - just a couple of hours north of Napa Valley. “We fell in love with the property and purchased the 95-acre ranch in 2000. We planted 17 acres of it to Syrah,Grenache Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Syrah and Grenache we started selling to Project 3000, Sol Rouge and Moore Family wineries, and the Cabernet Sauvignon we decided to keep for ourselves,” Diane explained. Just four years later, the couple released their first vintage of Lake County Hills Cabernet Sauvignon with the help of winemaker Peter Franus.

The Fores had been selling fruit to Peter for many years and it seemed like a natural fit that he would become winemaker for the new entity. “Peter is a simplistic winemaker and believes in a minimalist approach,” Diane states. “His style works well for us and he continues to make excellent, distinctive wines for our winery.”

In 2006, Fore Family Vineyards introduced a Pinot Noir to their label, and in 2008, a Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc - each from a Carneros-Napa Valley vineyard site. “We are considering adding a dry white wine to our collection this year to round out the lineup,” Diane announced. “All of the wines are made at Laird Family Estate, one of the largest custom crush facilities in the Valley.” Fore Family’s wines have won a number of first place awards in local competitions - which, considering the caliber of their Napa Valley and Lake County neighbors, is an incredibly impressive feat. “We are very happy with how far we’ve come,” Diane says. “With the economy the way it currently is, we’re playing it safe with our production, but we’d like to grow a bit more when we have the opportunity.”
The Fores currently reside in Napa Valley, just up the street from their daughter, son-in-law, and newborn granddaughter. Their son lives in San Luis Obispo and is currently pursuing a degree in design engineering. When the Fores aren’t at the winery, they enjoy watching professional sports games together. Anything big on the horizon? “Yes!” Diane concludes enthusiastically. “This weekend we join a cooperative tasting room in downtown called Wineries of Napa Valley.” The tasting room will bring great exposure to the small family winery, and their collection of limited production, award-winning wines. It sounds like Napa’s best kept secret is about to go public!

  1. Fore Family
    2007 Pinot Noir
    Fore Family
    Napa Valley


    Gold Medal
    id: 737
    Pinot Noir

Peter Franus - Winemaker - family friend

It was the University of California at Berkeley and a degree in Journalism that drew Peter Franus from Connecticut to California in the late sixties. It was also Berkeley’s proximity to Napa Valley that lead to his initial intrigue with winemaking. Franus put journalism aside and sought a new degree in viticulture and enology from Cal State Fresno. After graduating in the early 1980s, Franus moved to Napa Valley and he has been involved with grape growing and winemaking ever since. Before joining Fore Family Vineyards in 2004, Franus was winemaker for Mount Veeder Winery. He also launched his own Peter Franus brand and today, his widely recognized label can be found in many states throughout the U.S., as well as Canada. Philosophically and stylistically, Franus relies on a minimalist approach to winemaking. He believes that the more you manipulate and hover over a wine, the greater the likelihood you will diminish its personality and risk creating a wine that resembles the score that are already out there. His wines at Fore Family Vineyards have garnered multiple awards and consistent recognition from top competitions.

About The Region

Fore Family Vineyard’s 2007 Pinot Noir comes from the Eastern Carneros region of Napa Valley, specifically the Stewart Ranch Vineyard off of Highway 29. The 25-acre vineyard site can be seen entering Napa, off the right side of the highway, surrounded by an estuary created by tidal activity in this lower stretch of the Napa River. The site’s cool and breezy summer weather allows the grapes a slow and extended ripening period, helping to create the power and finesse that make this 2007 Pinot Noir so intriguing to drink. The Stewart Vineyard is planted to Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño and Pinot Noir. Few California wine regions produce Pinot Noir with the same depth and elegance as Carneros. Straddling the southern parts of Napa and Sonoma Valleys, Carneros has an identity all its own. The summer days are often cooled by fog from the San Pablo Bay, but it is Carneros’ wind that really makes it a world-class Pinot Noir region. These winds help retain the all-important acidity that makes Pinot Noir the ultimate food-friendly wine it’s famous for.

Pork Tenderloin with Tomato and Cherry Chutney



1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen dark sweet
cherries, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard seed
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 1/3 cups chopped tomatoes


2 pork tenderloins, 1 lb. each, trimmed of fat
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs. canola oil, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish


To Prepare Chutney: Combine cherries, onion, sugar, vinegar, ginger, mustard seed, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil
over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and continue to simmer until they are cooked through and the liquid is slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; cool, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. To Marinate Pork: Place pork in a heavy-duty seal-able plastic bag. Add 3/4 cup of the cooled chutney, chicken broth and 1 Tbs. oil. Seal the bag and turn to coat the pork with the marinade. Refrigerate the pork overnight. Refrigerate the remaining chutney.

To Roast Pork: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove the pork from the marinade, shaking
off excess (discard marinade). Pat the pork dry with paper towels and season with salt,
pepper and thyme. Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil over high heat in a large ovenproof skillet until hot, but not smoking. Add the pork and cook, turning until browned on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the pork until just cooked through and an instant-read thermometer registers 155 degrees in the center of the pork, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Garnish the pork with cilantro, if using, and serve with the reserved chutney. Enjoy!