Highway 12 Winery

Highway 12 Winery Captures the Heart of Sonoma

As far as California wine goes, Napa Valley gets a lot of attention, but fewer people know about Sonoma and its rich wine heritage. Located 60 miles north of San Francisco, the two regions may be close in proximity, but not necessarily in spirit.

Sonoma and Napa Valleys

Sonoma is just 45 miles from the California coast.

Situated like a giant horseshoe, the two Valleys are separated only by a small range of foothills and connected at the bottom. This is where Napa’s Route 29 meets Sonoma’s Route 12.

For Sonoma, Highway 12 is the main artery, home to dozens of wineries, but also symbolic as the central lifeline of the region.

The History

Wine has been made here for a long time. Once a part of Mexico, Russian colonists planted the first grapes in 1812. In 1825, Padres of the Sonoma Mission planted the first vineyard in what would later become the Highway 12 Wine Corridor. And in 1857, Sonoma became the location of the first commercial winery (Buena Vista) in the then-new state of California.

Long known as a supplier of wine grapes, Sonoma grows substantially more than its sister to the east, and still supplies them in bulk to many Napa wineries. To this day, it feels more like a rural town, with rustic B&Bs, small restaurants and bars; whereas Napa is a bit more glossy and upscale with its spa retreats and Michelin-Star restaurants. Both places make outstanding wine, but Sonoma seems to have an easygoing spirit that really shows itself in the wines produced here.

The Heritage

Highway 12 owners and winemakers, Michael Sebastiani (left) and Paul Giusto (right).

Many of the original immigrants to this area were Northern Italian or from other wine-growing regions of Europe. Families like the Sebastianis have been making wine here since 1904. Over three generations of family members grew the Sebastiani brand into one of California’s largest and most well-known. With that heritage in mind, fourth-generation Michael Sebastiani and partner Paul Giusto decided to venture out with a new winery, but not wander too far — really, at all — off the road.

“Through legendary Sonoma Valley and the famed Carneros District, California’s Highway 12 is the quintessential Wine Road. Home to dozens of world renowned vineyards and wineries, this region has been the heart of Northern California’s Wine Country since the first plantings in 1825. Recognizing that our winery, and our neighboring wineries, owe much to this corridor, we proudly assumed the name and the responsibility of honoring its historical significance.”

The Land

“If there’s a motivating factor behind the quality of our wines, it’s the name. Assuming the name of California’s premier wine road as our winery name was not without discussion and sincere commitment. There are many wineries and vineyards along this historic route and our commitment to excellence had to be, not only to history, but to our neighbors who share this famed corridor. The wines here listed represent years of winemaking experience and devotion to a lifelong craft. We offer them proudly as the wines of Highway 12.”

Vineyards in the Sonoma Hills, Overlooking the Mayacamas. Napa is in the distance, on the other side.

Vineyards in the Sonoma Hills. Napa is in the middle ground, the Mayacamas in the Background.

To find the perfect grapes, Michael and Paul source their grapes from Sonoma, Napa and the foothills of the Sierras, putting longstanding friendships with neighboring growers to use. “It all Starts in the Vineyard,” is the mantra and the guiding principal at Highway 12. From the vines of those master growers, passing through three generations of wine growing experience in the winery, and into the bottle – you can taste it all, in every sip.

The Wine

Deschere’s is proud to offer Highway 12 wines in the State of PA. These wines deliver so much for the price! See for yourself:

#49121 Highway 12 Chardonnay 2015 – $16.99

The inaugural release for Highway 12, sourced from the Delta-Clarksburg region. A minimalist approach to winemaking makes for a bright and lively wine with a nose of elderflower, citrus and stone fruit. Crisp Asian pear dominates on the palate. It’s a fruity and floral wine, finishing off with a rich toasty vanilla oak warmth. Perfect with BBQ chicken, buttered shellfish and just perfect on its own on a warm day.

Buy it here…

#16806 Highway 12 Sonoma Red Blend 2014 – $18.99

Aptly referred to as SRB, this blend delivers massive quality and structure in a bright and luscious Sonoma style! 63% Merlot, 14% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec, the wine was aged in French oak for 14 months and showcases a full-bodied richness. A bright bouquet on the nose with hints of ‘dust’ give this wine it’s unique character. This wine will stand up to and surpass most Red Blends in it’s price category! Perfect for hearty tomato-based pasta and stews, or maybe just fireside at your favorite ski lodge.

Buy it here…

#49122 Highway 12 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – $17.99

Depth, strength and elegance in one wine! Bright, yet luscious, this Cabernet (with a touch of Cab Franc and Merlot) is full of cedar and oak, cherry, blueberry and a soft, vanilla-oak finish. An easygoing, versatile red that’s great for a variety of settings, from casual apps to grilled BBQ.

Buy it here…

Want to know more about Highway 12? Visit their Website at www.highway12winery.com

Champagne Tastes, Prosecco Prices: Award-Winning Bubbly from Washington’s Treveri Cellars

Here in the US, the term “Champagne” is often used loosely to describe a wine that has bubbles in it. “Are you bringing Champagne to brunch?” More than likely it’s Prosecco, or maybe Spanish Cava, but who cares, right? It’s all Champagne to most of us.

Not All Bubbles Are Created Equal

Champagne only comes from one place: Champagne, France. And it ain’t cheap. The specific production technique, known as Methode Champenoise, is done with painstaking care; manually and slowly. Only the highest standards are allowed here. This is why you’ll pay big bucks (hundreds, for a famous brand) for a bottle of Champagne.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were sparkling wines made to Champagne standards, but at more affordable prices? Well, great news! There are… and they’re made right here in America!

Presenting Washington State’s Treveri Cellars

Located in Wapato, Yakima Valley, Treveri Cellars is a family-owned sparkling wine house that now produces some of the finest handcrafted sparkling wines in the United States. Their wines have been served at White House State Department receptions and the James Beard Foundation in New York, and have scored many awards and high ratings over the years.


Winemaker Juergen Grieb was born in the town of Trier, Germany and has a degree in both winemaking and sparkling winemaking. While attending wine school in the early 1980s, Juergen learned his craft with some of the best German Sekt (pronounced, “ZEKT”) producers of the day. After graduating, he scored a job with a German-based winery in Washington, where he worked for decades before setting out on his own.

Juergen opened Treveri (During the times of the Roman Empire, Trier was known as, “Treveris,”) in 2010 with a mission to put Washington sparkling wine on the US map. As one of the State’s first dedicated sparkling wine houses, that meant, figuring out exactly what makes a Washington bubbly unique. He decided, it was about letting the purity of the grapes – more crisp, acidic and bright, in this region of the country – shine through without interference. Each wine is handcrafted in the French Methode Champenoise, using great care and attention, which produces some of the best sparkling wines you’ve ever tasted: All fresh, complex, yeasty and each one, characteristic of their respective grape.

The Wines

Treveri largely focuses on 100% varietal (single-grape) sparkling wines, including non-traditional varieties such as Riesling and Mueller-Thurgau. Deschere’s is proud to offer six top-sellers to PA consumers through the Fine Wine Good Spirits stores. Here’s the topline:


#46309 Blanc de Blanc Brut – $13.99

Rated 91 Points Wine Spectator Magazine
Rated 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Best Buy, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Made of 100% Chardonnay from the Yakima Valley this Blanc de Blanc (white wine, made from white grapes) features green apple flavor with a hint of brioche, balanced by bright acid and a touch of yeast on the palate for a cool, crisp finish. Pair this one up with oysters on the half-shell, grilled chicken breast with citrus glaze and white fish, like cod!

Buy it here…


#38581 Sparkling Rose Sec – $18.99

Rated 91 Points, Wine Spectator Magazine

A blend of Syrah and Chardonnay with a delightful color and a fruit-forward profile, this rosé is all strawberry, rhubarb, watermelons and spice with a hit of yeast on the nose. It would be great with a Prosciutto panini, salmon cakes with cilantro-ginger aioli and Salade Niçoise. An award-winning Sparkling Rosé that’s been served at the US State Department for 4th of July celebrations in 2012 as well as the Spring Diplomatic Receptions in 2014.

Buy it here…

#20282 Sparkling Syrah – $18.99

Rated 88 Points, Wine Spectator Magazine

A one-of-a-kind red sparkling wine made from 100% Syrah, combining rich flavors of blackberry, pepper, cherries, and a hint of tobacco for a dark and delicious treat that is all its own. This beautiful sparkling wine has not only caught the eye of Treveri’s customers, but it has also garnered national attention as it was served at the US State Department Holiday Receptions. Pair it up with a sweet and tangy smoked brisket, pork chops and grilled lamb chops.

Buy it here…

#73614 Sparkling Blanc de Noirs – $17.99

Rated 88 Points, Wine Spectator Magazine
2016 Top 100 Value, Wine Spectator

“Blanc de Noir” means, “white from black.” 100% Pinot noir adds a subtle touch of color and complexity, with a hint of strawberries and brioche on the nose. The rich acidity and creamy finish are great for pairing with fatty foods like smoked salmon, lamb chops with mint aioli and sea scallops topped with a raspberry compote.

Buy it here…

#47412 Sparkling Riesling Demi Sec (Slightly Sweet) – $18.99

One of the world’s most aromatic varietals, Treveri Cellars’ sparkling Riesling boasts a delightful bouquet of apricot, peach, and a bit of honey, balanced by high acidity and a rich creaminess on the palate. Riesling grapes are on the rise in Washington state, and Treveri Cellars is the only facility to produce a sparkling Riesling, adding another dimension to a full line-up of award-winning sparkling wines.

This wine is refined and semi-dry, rich in minerality and is accompanied by peach, apricot, and yeast on the nose. It would be tasty with a bitter greens salad, Tandoori chicken or poultry, and sweet & sour chicken.

Buy it here…

#47411 Sparkling Gewürz Demi-Sec (Slightly Sweet) – $18.99

Rated 89 Points, Wine Spectator Magazine

Pronounced GUH-VERZ-TRA-MINER, this wine has a storied tradition of a fragrant nose and tropical fruit on the palate. With our winemaker’s German heritage, a sparkling Gewürztraminer makes so much sense! Treveri Gewürztraminer was recently served at the James Beard Foundation in New York City.

Notes of lychee, combined with rich tropical fruit, allspice, nutmeg, and clove are balanced with an underlying acidity for a true expression of the grape. Pairs great with Asian-style flavors, like balsalmic-glazed poultry, Thai curry mussels and Seafood stew with coconut.

Buy it here…

Additional Accolades:

Wine Business Monthly “Hot Brands of 2014”

“Best Value Sparkling Wine, 2 years in a row”
“Four 90+ wines in Four Years”
“New Winery to Watch For in WA”
– Wine Spectator Magazine

Want to Have Some Fun? Watch Our Video about Treveri’s Sparkling Syrah

A Royal Deal in Portugal: Check out Real Companhia Velha

Photos by Zach Carey

Looking for delicious, unique and fantastically affordable wine? Portugal is often overlooked by wine lovers, and that’s a real (or should I say Royal) shame!

An Isolated History

Portugal has largely remained a mystery to the American market, for a few reasons. First, at just 350 miles “tall,” and 130 wide, it’s relatively isolated – at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula, with Spain to the east, and the Atlantic ocean to the west. Second, since the 1600s, Portugal has had a strong maritime trade with England, and much of its produce, including the celebrated Port wine, went there. Third, many years of political oppression (36 years under dictator Antonio Salazar) and economic depression set the country back during the 20th century. (click on the map to enlarge)

The Douro (Marked in green on the map)


Portugal is best known for its sweet, fortified Port wines, made in the breathtaking Douro region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site named after the river that runs east to west, across the top quadrant of the country.

Most Douro vineyards straddle the river itself, perched on steep, terraced cliffsides that must be managed and harvested by hand. The terrace walls are made of manually-stacked rocks that, in some cases, are centuries old. The climate is extreme, marked by cold, wet winters and hot, dry summers: So hot, that oftentimes grapes need to be harvested at night so they don’t spoil. The grapes are still tread by foot in giant concrete pools, called Lagares, just as they have been since the beginning. By default, and by necessity, sustainable production is a way of life in this environment.

Over eighty different types of indigenous grapes are grown in the Douro, ones with names that will tie your tongue in knots: Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cão, Viosinho, Souzao, and Rabigato, to name a few. Many of them go into the finest port wines. But those same grapes can, and do, make fantastic dry wines too.

Real Companhia Velha


For over 250 years, Real (pronounced REY-al, meaning, Royal) Companhia Velha has quietly survived, even thrived, in this challenging region. Founded in 1756 by the Royal Charter of King D. Jose 1, it’s the oldest family-owned wine company in the country.

The winery has quite a history, from shipping its Port wines to Catherine of Russia, to rationing Napolean Bonaparte’s troops in the famous French invasions. In the 1990’s, the Company restructured it operations, bringing its production up to par with the modern wine industry.

Consisting of five separate Quintas, essentially, farms, the winery occupies Over 1,300 acres on the Douro. They make everything from sweet Port wines (under the Royal Oporto label) to olive oils and of course, premium dry wines.

The Wines

You would think, with all of this history, time and care that goes into these wines, you would be paying a premium, but the reality is that because Portuguese wine is still relatively unknown in the world, the prices can often belie the quality inside the bottle. Descheres is proud to bring Pennsylvania residents two exceptional RCV wines, both award-winning reds:

#43463: Porca de Murca Red Blend 2013 – $10.99

Rated 90 Points by Wine Spectator, ranked #39 on their, “Top 100 of 2015” List.

Porca de Murça is the Douro’s leading brand, and with 90 years of history, one of Portugal’s oldest wines. The name originates from a folktale about a mighty female boar (a Porca) that once terrorized the village of Murça.

Porca de Murça is a blend of four Portuguese grapes: Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca. It’s a fresh and intense wine, full of ripe red berry and cherry flavors. Velvety and well-balanced, this wine would be a great partner for roasted poultry and pork.

Buy it here…

#17635: Evel Red Blend 2014 – $13.99

Rated 90 Points by Wine Spectator, ranked #50 on their, “Top 100 of 2016” List. 

Evel is also one of the oldest wine brands in Portugal (104 years old). With no specific meaning, the word Evel is an anagram for the Spanish word, leve (light).

Much like its name, Evel is an elegant, smooth and enjoyable wine. Made from three indigenous grapes – Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca & Tinto Roriz – the wine is fresh and acidic, full of red berry and plum flavors, with a hint of black pepper and mineral on the finish. Although you certainly can (and should) enjoy it now, it could age at least another five years!

This is an easy drinking and juicy red that would be a great compliment to grilled meats, especially beef.

Buy it here…

Want to learn a little more? Check out our video:


Gouguenheim Wines

Argentina Delivers Big: Why Gouguenheim Wine is a Best Buy in PA

Ask a wine drinker if they like Malbec, and they’ll say, “I love wine from Argentina!” even though the grape is originally from France. And while, five years ago you could almost count on there being a bottle of something from California on a person’s kitchen counter, these days it’s more likely Argentine.

It is indisputable that Argentina has become a hot spot for wine lovers, and for good reason. So much great wine is being made here now, that you can buy world-class drinks for half the price of more famous regions. The country is the fifth largest wine producer in the world.

Most of this volume comes from one region alone: Mendoza, located west, in the foothills of the Andes mountains, along the border with Chile. This is where you’ll find the Gouguenheim winery.

patricio gouguenheimMeet Patricio

Born in Argentina to French parents, Winemaker Patricio Gouguenheim has been crazy about wine since his childhood. Originally a professional in Mergers and Acquisitions, his work took him to Mendoza during the economic crash of 2002. It was there that he first learned of an old winery in nearby Uco Valley, in disrepair and up for sale. A wild seed was planted, and in a move that his two daughters called, “mad,” Patricio decided to hang up his suit and tie – and start making wine.

The Winery

The winery has 98 acres of vineyards, located at over 3,600 feet above sea level. With a desert climate and 320 days of sun exposure a year, meltwater from the snow of the Andes Mountains must be carried by irrigation channels, through the sandy soils, to the vines. There’s a big temperature difference, called a Diurnal Swing, between day and night, that allows for the perfect ripening of the grapes.

The Wines

Gouguenheim has become one of the best performing/top quality wineries in Argentina. They currently make about 15 different wines and are distributed in 15 countries. Deschere’s is proud to bring Gouguenheim to the state of PA. We really believe these wines deliver so much, for the price! Read on to discover why:

37749 Gouguenheim Malbec
#73177: 2014 Gouguenheim Malbec Reserva – $11.99

Big, dry, fruity, rich and smooth with soft tannins. Dark ruby color, aromas of blackberry, spice, earth, coffee, smoke and toast. Good balance, long and lasting finish. A wine this bold and complex needs a bold and complex food pairing, we suggest French cassoulet, hearty beef stew or Lamb Tagine. More info here…

#73178: 2013 Gouguenheim Cabernet Reserva – $11.99

Beautiful dark red, with juicy black cherry, spice, dried figs and anise flavors. Smooth and rich! A more fruit-driven Cabernet like this is great with grilled red meats, burgers and tomato-based stews. More info here…

73623 Gouguenheim Sparkling Malbec
#72623: Gouguenheim Sparkling Malbec (Rosé) – $10.99

A pale rose color. Delicate, with red fruit aromas, predominantly of cherries and strawberries. Very fresh in the mouth, soft tones with well-balanced acidity. Small, brilliant bubbles. An amazing buy at this price, perfect for light apps, rich cheeses, and shellfish of all kinds! More info here…

Does all of this sound good? Be sure to look for Gouguenheim wines in your local PA Fine Wine & Good Spirits Store. We also import their Merlot, Chardonnay and a Torrontes too… all similarly great buys!

Want to learn more about Patricio and Gouguenheim wines? Check out this YouTube video: