Napa Cab Again

If the last couple years of AWS tastings haven’t already told you, we just can’t get enough of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. There simply is no getting tired of it. Cabernet Sauvignon, the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, is a classic Bordeaux grape. But, arguably, Napa Valley has become the king of cabernet sauvignon wines. Recent years have produced some truly outstanding vintages in the Napa Valley and we haven’t run out of wines to taste yet. Join us on Saturday, March 14 for round three of our tour of Napa cabernets.

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Hosted by James and Tessa Hand @ The Title Company building
35 4th St. N, Fargo, ND 5810
You may park in the lot south of the building.
The event space is on the second level.

$25 members, $30 non-members

Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot (“peh-tee vur-doe”), named after its small black berries, has long been used as a blending grape in Bordeaux, France. It used to be difficult to find varietal wines made from this grape. However, as the plantings of this full bodied, dark and tannic grape has spread across the globe, more wines featuring this grape front and center have emerged. Join us for an exquisite and unique tasting of this venerable grape from Italy, to Spain, to Argentina and California. The wines provide aromas of plums, lilacs, violets and sage that complement the gravel minerality that can be present in this grape.

Petite Verdot
Saturday, November 9, 2019, 7:00 pm
Hosted by Rebecca Knutson
3526 1st St N, Fargo

$25 members, $35 non-members


Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This is the tasting you’ve been waiting all year for. Cabernet Sauvignon, the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, is a classic Bordeaux grape. But, arguably, Napa Valley has become the king of cabernet sauvignon wines. Recent years have produced some truly outstanding vintages in the Napa Valley. We’ve been collecting the wines for this tasting for several years and they are finally ready for your scrutiny. Join us for an experience you won’t soon forget as we taste our way through some amazing Napa cabernet sauvignon wines.

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Saturday, October 12, 2019
Hosted by James and Tessa Hand @ Construction Engineers
35 4th St. N, Fargo, ND 5810
You may park in the lot south of the building.
The event space is on the second level.

Note: this tasting is slightly more due to the higher cost of the wines.
$30 members, $40 non-members

Game of Rhones

The Rhone Valley lies in the south eastern area of France and is divided into northern and southern sub-regions. Grapes have been cultivated in this area, steeped in history, from around 600 BC. In the northern part, the most important grapes are Syrah and Viogner while the southern areas boast the famous red blends of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Northern Rhone has a continental climate that produces somewhat harsh winters and warm summers while the Mediterranean Sea dominates the climate in the south. The Rhone valley wines can be rich and intense with red blends of the classic Grenach, Syrah and Mourvedre varietals with a few other grapes sprinkled in. Join us as we taste two terrific vintages (2015 and 2016) of wines from this fascinating region of France. We have tried to source outstanding quality wines at affordable prices. Were we successful? You be the judge. We say . . GAME ON for Rhone Valley.

Game of Rhones
Saturday, September 14, 2019 – 6:00 pm
Hosted by Greg and Lisa Cook @ 4e Winery
3766 156th Ave SE, Mapleton (Casselton exit 331)

$25 members • $35 nonmembers


Bierzo – Spain’s best kept secret
Saturday, August 10, 2019, 7:00 pm
Hosted by Carlos and Lourdes Hawley
1102 10th St S, Fargo

$25 members, $35 nonmembers

In the northwest corner of Spain in the province of Leon and right next to the famous Galicia lies the area of Bierzo. Vineyards in this area are small and grown on hilly, rocky soil rife with granite and slate. Because of the terrain, grapes can only be handpicked in most of this region. Mencia is the star grape from the region with about 2/3 of the vineyard production but several other varieties are also grown here. The wines can range in intensity from something similar to a light Pinot Noir to a heavy tannic Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines often express a hint of violets with minerality and elegant tannins. This month we will be traveling to Bierzo on our tasting journey. While you will certainly want to come for the wine, you should also come for the Paella de Carlos™.

Pinot Noir

pnMade famous by the movie Sideways about the Santa Barbara wine region, the delicate and versatile Pinot Noir grape calls Burgundy, France home. But now it’s grown across the world and boy does it express terroir and regional differences. Several places around the world have emerged as producers of high quality wine from this finicky grape; Russian River Valley and Carneros in California, Oregon, New Zealand, and even Switzerland and South Africa. Typically grown in cooler regions, this grape is light bodied with low tannins and can express a very wide range of flavors depending on the region and the climate.  Come join us as we explore the world of Pinot Noir.

PLEASE NOTE: We will start this tasting one hour earlier than normal.

Pinot Noir 
Saturday, June 8, 6:00 pm
Hosted by Bob and Deb Grosz
Dakota Vines Vineyard and Winery
17355 Co Rd 4, Colfax, ND 58018
$25 members • $35 nonmembers
rsvp by Thursday, June 6

Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc, the venerable parent of Cabernet Sauvignon, is planted widely across the globe. However, it has rarely been used as a stand alone varietal for wine. It is usually blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in a Bourdeaux blend style. In recent years this grape has found its footing in areas of the world that express its unique characters and we are seeing more wines featuring this grape as the star. Lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, these grapes produce savory and bright red wines with hint of herbaceousness and bell pepper.  Join us as we taste our way through Cabernet Franc.

Cabernet Franc
Saturday, May 11, 7:00 pm
Hosted by James and Tessa Hand
1565 Johnson Drive, Moorhead, MN 56560

$25 members, $35 non-members

Please rsvp by Thursday, May 9

Washington Cabernet Sauvignon

If you love Cabernet Sauvignon like we love Cabernet Sauvignon, you will not want to miss this tasting. Following on the spectacular Napa Cab tasting we did last season, this week we will tour Washington state in our continuing quest to discover all that there is to love about this grape. The price for the high quality of Washington cabs is unparalleled. It has become one of the dominant grapes of the state where more than 70,000 tons is being produced, and they have the highest percentage of wines scoring over 90 points by the wine critics of any region. Join us as we taste our way through the valleys of Washington with our cab glasses in hand.

Washington Cabernet Sauvignon
Saturday, April 13, 2019 – 7:00 pm
Hosted by Tom and Barb Gravel
1242 Cimarron Blvd., West Fargo

$25 members, $35 non-members

rsvp by Thursday, April 11.

P. S. I love you


On Mach 27, 2004, something special happened in the basement level of the Black Building in downtown Fargo. My friend, Mike Jore and I, organized our first meeting of the Red River Valley American Wine Society. That tasting drew a dozen or so interested folks who assembled to learn about and taste the Syrah grape. Since that fateful day in March, we have met over 160 times to learn about and enjoy this wonderful thing we call wine. Wine appreciation through education is our mission and that continues today stronger and more fun than ever.

Join us on Saturday, March 9 as we celebrate our anniversary and continue our tradition of education and tasting as we explore the world of Petite Sirah. First planted in the 19th century in California, the petite sirah grape was a mystery for a very long time. It wasn’t until 1997 that the grape was identified as being genetically identical to the durif grape in France. Petite sirah was long used as a blending grape for what was known as ‘Burgundy’ in California. The grape grows as small, compact berries with a very high skin-to-juice ratio that results in an almost inky-dark color and high tannins. This allows petite sirah to have a great aging potential. As a stand alone varietal, petite sirah in California outshines its twin in France. It produces a relatively acidic wine with herbal and black pepper components complimenting the dark fruits. We will be exploring wines made from this grape sourced from around the world.

PS I Love You – Petite Sirah
Saturday, March 16, 7:00 pm
Hosted by Rupak and Britney Gandhi
7499 16th St S, Fargo, ND, 58104

$25 members, $35 non-members

Please RSVP by Thursday, March 14


You may call it Mouvèdre, Mataró, or Monastrell, but we like to call it mighty good. That’s because its thick skins, prominent tannins and dark color make for powerfully rich, earthy and savory red wines. It is often used as a blending grape in the Rhone Valley of France where it meets Syrah and Grenache found in the famous Chateauneuf-du-pape wines. It is also grown extensively in the Jumilla region of Spain, Barossa and McLaren Vale regions of Australia and now in most of the wine regions across the new world. Join us as we meander our way through a world tour of Mouvèdre.

Saturday, Feb 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Hosted by Greg and Lisa Cook
1338 10th St S, Fargo

$25 members, $35 non-members