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The soul of Indian Soil Carefully Crafted into our Boutique wines
By Andy Perdue, Herald staff writer In the world of Northwest wine, it was a sad year, as the industry lost no fewer than five pioneers.

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It also was a year of moving forward with new appellations. The harvest, which started a bit early, came to a sudden halt because of weather. And as the year closed, the world's largest wine publication recognized a Washington wine as the best in the world.

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1. Northwest pioneers pass away In 2009, the Northwest wine industry lost five longtime and influential winemakers. David Lake died Oct. 5 at his home in Issaquah. Lake, a Master of Wine, was the longtime winemaker for Columbia Winery before retiring in 2005.

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There are many beaches on Vis, all of them rocky. People recline on beach towels atop the pebbles.

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My husband, daughter and I were setting out to explore the interior of Vis, a 35-square-mile island off the Croatian coast. At the end of our journey lay the fishing village of Jujeca, all 10 dwellings of it. For at least 450 years, this tiny enclave has been home to my family, the Zitkos.

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Our guide was Jurica Zitko, a community leader, paragliding instructor and distant cousin. Jurica and Dimar, our driver, took us to what they referred to as sights untouched by tourists.They were right. There were no signs to guide us, just their itinerary. Jurica began by reciting all the conquerors of Vis (pronounced veese) throughout the centuries: Turks, Italians, Greeks, Serbs – even the British. Now, it's back to being Croatian. The vestiges of each culture, he added, are reasons Vis is so appealing.

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If you end up in the dairy farm, you've missed the driveway. If you land in the Pacific Ocean, you've missed the turn on this narrow, curvy stretch of Highway 1 - by a long shot.

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Either scenario is theoretically possible, but unlikely, for visitors to the Point Reyes Vineyards tasting room, perched on a remote hillside overlooking Point Reyes National Seashore. Winery owners Steve and Sharon Doughty have marked the entry to their property with stacks of barrels, and though it's surprising to see the Mediterranean-style structure suddenly looming in the middle of nowhere, it's well worth a joyrider's time to stop.

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As the first commercial wine tasting room in Marin County since the 1930s, the Doughtys have another unlikely treat in store: sparkling wine, including a 1992 Brut Cuvee that spent 10 years aged in the bottle and a nonvintage Blanc de Noir from their plot of 7 acres of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

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Wine 101: Reflections on the past year, wishes for the next Posted January 2, 2010 at 3:08 p.m.

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The year has ended and we are starting a new one with the hope of better things ahead. As I reflect on 2009, I have much to be thankful for. A lot of my life now revolves around the world of wine. This world has been good so I give you my past year’s thank you and my New Year’s wishes from A-Z.

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A. Thank you to A. Rafanelli Winery for making your 2003 cabernet sauvignon, still the best cabernet I have ever had.

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The decade just past was “bookended by two economic downturns,” observed veteran Napa Valley vintner John Shafer.

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Between these two bookends are all kinds of Napa Valley’s wine stories — comic and tragic, featuring corporate giants and nimble heroes, gain and loss, dangers, threats and not a few triumphs.

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Central to any consideration of this decade in wine in the Napa Valley is the life and legacy of Robert Mondavi, who died in May 2008. Frail and ailing, Mondavi might have been said to have completed his work early in the decade. But the opening — and closing — of his dream of Copia, the American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts in Napa, the sale of his winery to the behemoth Constellation Brands and the dauntless visionary’s determination to “start” again all poignantly capture the spirit of the Napa Valley. Mondavi’s last venture, Continuum, launched with his daughter Marcia, son Tim and wife Margrit, released its first wine in 2008.

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