by Fred McMillin
for December 24, 1998


Wilcox & Lane, It's Not a Law Firm


Feb. 23, 1996— The press release reads: "Concannon Vineyard has announced the appointment of Donna Wilcox (pictured) as the new General Manager. She will concentrate on developing new sales and marketing programs."

The Rest of the Story

Donna Wilcox The timing for Donna was perfect. To start a dramatic new sales program you need a good grape and a good winemaker, and she had both. The good grape was Syrah, the classic Rhone red.

Concannon was about to have its first Syrah harvest. The good winemaker was Tom Lane. As Donna was moving into her new office, five of Tom's new releases were garnering thirty seven medals in just a few months.

Today, the Syrah program is underway. When last we checked, the young-vine first release, the 1995 vintage, had picked up a silver medal. My picky panel also gave it a silver-medal; it's just right for your holiday ham or roast turkey.

The Wine

1995 Syrah, James Concannon Vnyd., Livermore Vly.
Concannon Vineyard, Livermore Valley, CA.
Phone: (510) 447-3760
Service—30 minutes in the frig.
Price—$17 range


Since this is the Christmas season, I'll mention a little-known event in the Rhone Valley where the Syrah now flourishes. My wife and I stayed at a hotel where legend says a Roman governor committed suicide by leaping from its tower into the Rhone River. Having fallen into disfavor in the Middle East, he had been re-assigned to Gaul by Rome in 37 A.D. Two years later he ended his life. The name of the hotel is the Castle de Pilate and the name of the Roman governor was Pontius Pilate.

Note: For more about Concannon, see the March 14, 1997 WineDay titled from " Rubber Stamps to Golden Grapes".

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. 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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