A Conversation with Our Wine Director

They’re down a dirt road, tucked up against the shores of a crystal-clear creek. They’re balanced on a steep ridge overlooking the valley. They’re draped along a hillside at dusk, allowing their vines of deep black fruit one last touch of a cooling breeze.

Vintner Members of Mayacama’s Vintner Program span the grape-growing countryside around the Sonoma Valley. They come to this special spot not only to make and share their wines, but also to share in the lifestyle of so many Members and guests whose tastes resonate in the same way.

Jeff McCarthy with Mike Gargus, Mayacama’s Assistant Wine Director.

Jeff McCarthy with Mike Gargus, Mayacama’s Assistant Wine Director.

As the rare and special vintages that pour here at Mayacama have helped make a name for our property among wine lovers, so has Jeff McCarthy, our wine director, contributed so many great moments to our experience of what’s in a glass.

With the best weeks of summer still stretching before us, McCarthy paused during a busy schedule to talk a bit of wine, and what’s upcoming for Vintner Program participants.

Mayacama: Who are some of the newest Vintner Members to join the program?

McCarthy: In the past year, we have added Alysian, Benovia, Walter Hansel, and Wren Hop to our Vintner Family. Each winery not only brings great wine to the program, but the Vintner Members themselves are a great addition to our club. They all actively participate in our programs and are available to our members.

MYA: What are some of the most notable upcoming points in the Vintner Program — dates we should add to our calendars for the second half of 2014?

McCarthy: We are looking to expand wine education, as well as add some creative food and wine events. We will continue with our First Friday tastings, Winemaker Dinners, and the Fall Release Party, but also schedule some mid-month complimentary tastings. This time, we’re focusing on specific varietals, their components and flavor components. Also, look for us to host a Cigar-B-Que, an Oktoberfest event, and our own personal tomato festival at the KJ Culinary Center. We have also invited food professionals from a chocolatier and salumi shop, to explore how they pair with wine. A field trip or two are also in the final planning stages.

MYA: With so many ways to experience wine at Mayacama, how do you balance the Vintner’s Program schedule so that it best represents a range of selections from the area? 

McCarthy: If I only brought in the wines that I like to drink, the list would be pretty one-dimensional. I try and bring in wines that represent as many different wine-making styles and flavor profiles as possible, as well as different terroir. [Terroir being the environmental conditions, especially soil and climate, in which grapes are grown and that give a wine its unique flavor and aroma.] A great quaffing wine might not be the best food wine — yet our guests drink wine before their meal, as well as with their meal. Finding the right wine for the meal is a wonderful challenge. I also believe that listening to our members is extremely important. I hear what they are saying, note their preferences, and ask for their feedback. When I know what a member likes, I can bring in other wines they will enjoy and that will expand their wine experience.

With the robust schedule McCarthy manages and exciting new partnerships in the pipeline, the Vintner Program is ever-evolving. There’s no better time to enjoy membership at Mayacama with invitations to McCarthy’s wine events, access to special wine orders and more!


To learn more about membership opportunities at Mayacama, please contact us at 866.393.1819 (toll free) or 707.569.2950 (direct) or via email at info@mayacama.com

Wildflowers in Sonoma

If you judge a season by its blooms, spring is an early visitor in Sonoma County this year. Scarce winter rains and warm temps settled in ahead of schedule, and so the parks of this lush wine country are already awash in color.

Bottom line, Owners and guests at Mayacama are in the midst of a glorious moment. From the front door of Mayacama’s luxury fractional homes they’re only moments from the heart of this region’s green spaces, and the options for wildflowers are everywhere.

For a guide to how to see spring, this year, let’s turn to the experts who are out on the trails.

Spring Surprises: 2014 in Sonoma County

A drier than usual winter in Northern California means unexpected pleasures along the paths that wind the fields, waterfronts, and woods of Sonoma.

The grasses and non-native vegetation that can crowd wildflowers — park experts think there will be fewer of them this year. That means a chance to see more flowers, and to see certain kinds of blooms that might otherwise have been hidden in years prior.

“Whatever happens, this will be an interesting year,” writes Phil Dean, master gardener, on the Sonoma County Wildflowers blog. “You’ll see things you’ve never before seen. I can’t predict exactly what that will be but you’ll notice different plants and I encourage you to get out and see them.”

And, this year, what you do find — from the indigo hues of grape-scented Blue Sky Lupines to the tender yellow of Sun Cups — these are plants that have proven their hardiness during a drought. There’s a home-gardening tip packed into that phenomenon.

“The nice ones you see surviving well are probably the ones you’ll want to shop for at your local native plant store,” Dean writes. “These are plants that don’t use irrigation [or] need a lot of extra water.”

Seeing Color: A Collection of Guided Walks

So, how do you get to all this beauty? Try a tour with the experts at Sonoma County Regional Parks. The schedule and topics for this spring’s series of free guided hikes is as follows — and there’s more information at their calendar page (once on the site, you can use the provided menu filter to select Wildflower Walks).

What better way to spend a sunny afternoon than to lose oneself in a world of natural wonders — all part of the riches for which this grape-graced landscape is known? And, as always, if you have any questions about transportation or coordinating a walk with the parks department, just talk to your Mayacama concierge.

To learn more about membership opportunities at Mayacama, please contact us at 866.393.1819 (toll free) or 707.569.2950 (direct) or via email at info@mayacama.com