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Tim Bacino points to his historic family of wine makers, in praise of their accomplishments and help in his success with his wine, Gen 7, at a new release party, Festa Del Vino. Photo by Frank Mangio
Community Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Gen 7 Festa Del Vino unveils new wines

No one does it better when it comes to introducing the newest vintages of his acclaimed Gen 7 wines than Tim Bacino.  He is the sixth generation of the Vache’ and Biane wine families, who brought wine fame to Southern California with their Brookside Winery, one of the largest in the U.S. in its time, with 36 locations featuring California wines and specialty foods.

Bacino created Gen 7 seven years ago, with his wife Susanne, in honor of the seventh generation in the family, his daughter Gabriella.  It was a re-start of the legacy of California’s “first family” of wine.  Addressing what was in effect, his extended family, gathered at a huge picnic table at his handsome home in Rancho Santa Fe, Bacino and his family unveiled a luscious menu of Italian buffet cuisine fit for royalty.

Guests filled up on butternut squash cannelloni, chicken sagu, bolognese pasta al forno lasagna, assorted salads and a carving station.  Each food station had a suggested pairing of his new releases, seven handcrafted wines with grapes drawn from Sonoma and from over 1,000 acres of vineyards in the St. Helena area of Napa Valley.

In his remarks to the gathering, Bacino asserted, “these grape sources that have made Gen 7 possible, could not have been accomplished without the relationships with my family from generations before me.  It is a family effort, blessed by my family’s legacy.”

Gen 7 wines are very special selections of the best blocks from vineyards with a proven track record of prime flavor.  The one that remains a memorable taste from this release event is the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Premium Reserve 1832 (suggested retail $95).

You will taste dark chocolate and blackberry on the nose, with smooth velvety textures throughout.  It was made carefully from St. Helena Napa Valley grapes, from one of the greatest harvests in Napa Valley history.

Gen 7 is now making plans to enter Napa Valley in a big way, forming a partnership with established Napa wine names to create a next-level tasting room in the city of Napa.

Along with Trinitas Winery, B Cellars and others, Gen 7 will be part of a wine and food pavilion unlike anything else.  The planned grand opening is slated for sometime in 2018.

To learn more about Gen 7 and its new wine releases, contact Tim Bacino at (619) 540-1986 or visit


San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Brings Out the Winners

What a WOW week it was in San Diego, as the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival came to an end on Nov. 20 after six days of wine and food events like no other.  It has taken its place as one of the largest in the nation. This year, San Diego’s thriving food scene was spotlighted with the Chef of the Fest awarded to Mark Kropcynski of Grant Grill downtown.  He wowed the judges with his roasted baby root veggies with grilled lamb loin, pumpkin seed oil and fig vincotto.


My best wine of the “Fest” in San Diego was Alec’s Blend 2014 from Lewis Cellars of Napa Valley, made by Dennis Bell, left, shown with wine columnist Frank Mangio. Photo courtesy Frank Mangio
My best wine of the “Fest” in San Diego was Alec’s Blend 2014 from Lewis Cellars of Napa Valley, made by Dennis Bell, left, shown with wine columnist Frank Mangio. Photo courtesy Frank Mangio

I attended the Friday night Sommcon wine tasting and the Saturday Grand Tasting, easily tasting close to 200 wineries and 60 restaurants.

My top wine of the “Fest” is one you have read about before in TASTE OF WINE, Lewis Cellars of Napa Valley.  Dennis Bell was pouring his Alec’s Blend 2014 at the Friday night event at the Marriott Marina.  This high award-inning wine (from 60 percent Syrah, 34 percent Merlot and 6 percent Cabernet) was named after Dennis’s son Alec ($65).  See

Other wine discoveries included Dutton Goldfield of Sonoma’s cool climate elevations doing Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, Ramey Wines of Sonoma and a huge tent full of San Luis Obispo wines that I will focus in on next week.


Wine Bytes

The Wine Vault and Bistro has a Saturday Chef five-course tasting menu Dec. 3 from 5 to 10 p.m.; $36 for all five courses and $20 for all five paired wines, including Stolpman, Westerly, Foxen and more.  Call (619) 295-3939 for details.

A Bertani Wine Dinner happens at Capri Blu in Rancho Bernardo Dec. 7 at 6 p.m.  Taste Italian varietals like Pinot Grigio, Valpolicello, and Amorone. Price is $55.  RSVP at (858) 673-5100.

Vittorio’s in Carmel Valley presents a medley of four Napa Valley wines with their gourmet four-course dinner, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m.  Taste wines from Flint and Steel, Starmont, Jayson and Hall.  Join the party for just $59.95 by calling in your RSVP at (858) 538-5884.

The La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla is celebrating their 90th birthday Dec. 15 with a Gatsby Gala, supporting the La Jolla Historical Society from 6 p.m. to midnight, for $290 per person.  Live music and dancing, cocktails, with a lavish buffet.  Special rates for the hotel overnight.  Call (858) 454-0771 for information.


Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web. View his columns at and reach him at [email protected].  Follow him on Facebook.