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Schramsberg is California’s answer to France’s Champagne, focused on the finest and most complex handcrafted sparkling wines, from Napa Valley’s famous Diamond Mountain. Courtesy photo
Columns Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Third time’s the charm for Schramsberg wine dinners

Back at the beginning of December, Sal Ercolano disappointedly shared the news that he could not stage the last and most important wine dinner of the year, his West End Del Mar Bar & Kitchen Schramsberg three-night soiree. New state rules prevented any restaurant dining. He had sold out all three nights.

After a second postponement of another three-night Schramsberg series in January for the same reason, restaurants were finally granted approval to open with rules and conditions attached, in February. A three-night series at West End with Schramsberg and partner wine J. Davies was finally and successfully completed with a sell-out for the event. (Applause for Sal and his focus on success under difficult times, for our restaurant-loving friends.)

West End and his new FLORA Italian Bar & Kitchen in Carmel Valley are planning some 10 more wine and dine events for the rest of the year.

In 1965, Jack and Jamie Davies established Schramsberg as a sparkling-wine estate on the property originally founded in 1862 by German immigrant Jacob Schram. At the time, there were fewer than 100 acres of California vineyards planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the varietals that are made into Champagnes and sparkling wines.

Today, Schramsberg Vineyards blends Pinot Noir and Chardonnay harvested from a broad array of cool-climate vineyard sources, including Napa-Carneros, Sonoma-Carneros, Mendocino and the Sonoma-Marin coastal districts.

Schramsberg uses the Methode Champenoise technique to create its nine distinctive sparkling wines, including the signature-vintage Reserve, J Schram and J Schram Rosé and since 2001, the winery also produces J. Davies Cabernet Sauvignon. This cab is made exclusively from grapes grown in the Schramsberg estate vineyards on Diamond Mountain.

Schramsberg is the choice of the country’s presidents. Since the 1970s, every presidential administration has served Schramsberg’s sparkling wines during official functions. Visit Schramsberg at and West End at


  • Del Mar Highlands Town Center, as part of its $120 million dollar expansion, is welcoming 15 new tenants including the new concept Sky Deck of restaurants. It rounds out the over 80 retailers for this top lifestyle destination.
  • DAOU Family Estates of Paso Robles will be the first guest winery of a five-course wine dinner at FLORA Bar & Kitchen in Carmel Valley, Tuesday-Wednesday, March 23-24, at 6 p.m. DAOU’s signature wine, the lovely Soul of a Lion, will highlight the event paired with Wild Ossobuco. Cost is $75 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call now at 858-461-0622 to reserve your seat. DAOU Wine and other prizes will be given away.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. Reach him at [email protected]