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Yorkville Cellars
March 5, 2019 | Yorkville Cellars

Wine Tasting Tips from Slate the Cat

Slate the cat, overlooking the vineyards

Meet Slate, Our Trusty Tasting Room Mascot

Friendly, loyal, and de facto assistant winemaker, Slate doesn’t run the place, but he sure likes to think he does! From welcoming the guests to herding sheep (well, attempting to…) in the vineyards, he has a lot of tasks that keeps his day-to-day pretty busy. Spending all this time up close to the action, we like to think he knows a thing or two about how to have your best tasting visit at Yorkville Cellars. We chose 5 of our favorite ways you can enjoy wine tasting in Mendocino wine country like Slate does each day!

Slate the cat exploring the vines

Tip #1: Explore

Slate is an adventurous little kitty, to be sure. We find him roaming the vineyards early, late, the middle of the day, you name it! Slate has roamed every inch of our 30-acre  estate vineyard, and along the way, he’s spotted some interesting things – from ladybugs to bud break each spring. So, how do you walk a mile in Slate’s shoes, you ask? Enjoy the vineyards as Slate does in one of our VIP Tasting Experiences.

On our Organic Vineyard Tour, you will take a hands-on educational walkabout through the vineyards with one of our founders/owners. You’ll learn about farming decisions and taste their effects on the final wine produced as you follow-up your tour with a private tasting. Starting first with several whites and moving on to discover the six Noble Reds, enjoy your tasting paired with fine cheeses and nibbles along the way.

Or, opt for the Progressive Tasting in Our Vineyards, where you not only tour the vineyard but experience wines from the very vines you’re looking at! Swirl, sniff, sip, then touch the grapevines from which each wine is made! At each of the picnic stops, we’ll serve a tasty appetizer, Slate’s favorite part.


Tip #2: Make Friends

Slate is known for his friendliness. One look at the tagged photos on our Instagram feed says it all. Slate is a social media star! Wherever guests are, Slate is, too! And, we think he has the right idea. Of course, we encourage you to make friends with fellow tasting room visitors and share stories of wine country visits. But for our second Slate tip, we’re talking about friends of a different kind. Six months out of the year, we play host to these charming vineyard guests you see above. A huge part of the organic farming cycle, the sheep join us each year to munch on the tall spring grass and fertilize the growing vines. With the herd of sheep, Slate plays the role of sheepherder, but really he just wants to be part of the club. If you’re visiting us in the late winter to mid-spring months, keep an eye out!

Tip #3: Say Yes to Treats

While Slate tends to prefer treats of a different kind, he is keen to come when he hears the treat bag open! Our tasting room treat for you is some delicious artisanal chocolates from a local vendor- add a few to your order. You won't regret it.

Working to perfectly bring out the deep flavors of our six Noble Red varietals, add a few to your order. Trust us; you won’t regret it!

Tip #4: Play Games

Slate is a number of things, but playful is his strong suit. Master of the chase, Slate is always up for a quick game of catch the wine cork and can often be found in the vineyard following our ladybugs. We recommend you get in on the action too… Just in a different way!

Our tasting room game, Name That Varietal, puts the fun in wine tasting, asking you to focus on your senses and your palate. Here’s how it works. Our team will lead you through a blind tasting of our six Noble reds but don’t worry, we let you take notes along the way. You’ll write down what you notice about a particular wine, how it smells, what it tastes like. You’ll guess which glass is which varietal, and then we’ll tell you how you did. The great thing about this game is it interrupts the typical wine tasting routine and allows you to really experience which wines are best suited to your palate.

Slate the cat sleeping on a table

Tip #5: Make Time for a Cat Nap

The best piece of Slate-approved advice? Prioritize relaxation! After you’ve enjoyed your tasting for the day, it’s time to kick your feet up. Read a book, take a stroll, or sit back and enjoy the view. You’re in wine country, after all. The wine is great, and so is the view! We can’t wait to treat you to a great visit to Mendocino wine country!


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