by Fred McMillin
for April 24, 1998

Winery of the Week

Tickled Pink


Winery visitors often see a man with short, blondish hair and mustache patrolling the 1,200-acre grounds in a golf cart. He is Gary Heck, chairman and president of Korbel Champagne Cellars on the Russian River.

Korbel is the largest-selling premium sparkler in America, including a rose (roh-zay).

...Source: "The Wine Enthusiast" Magazine

The Rest of the Story

The above two items are not unrelated. Gary started working at Korbel in 1965. By the time he replaced his father as Chairman of the Board in 1984, he had seen sales grow from 150,000 cases a year to nearly one million. He is always coming up with new ideas, and here's the latest, a Jane Seymour pink bubbly.

The Emmy-winning Seymour can do more than act. She can PAINT! If you have any doubt, buy a bottle of the Korbel Brut Rose that bears her name, and her elegant floral design. It's a dramatic hibiscus in baked enamel on the bottle. As Gary says, "Now everyone can own a Jane Seymour original."

The Wine

The Jane Seymour -Limited Edition Brut Rose (roh-zay)
Korbel Champagne Cellars
Guerneville, Sonoma County, CA.
The Artist—Jane Seymour, star of TV's "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," is serious about her painting, saying it "is truly a passion of mine." There will be exibitions of her works in New York, Chicago and San Francisco this year.
Contact—Margie Healy, (707) 824-7715
Price—$13 range.


Perhaps the best indication of the popularity of Korbel sparklers is the fact that they have been served at the last five presidential inaugurations starting with Ronald Reagan in 1981. Incidentally, the first case of Korbel American Champagne produced after the end of Prohibition was sent to President Franklin D. Roosevelt!

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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Welcome to WineDay, the electronic Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday, WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend.

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