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April 14, 2005 - Cakebread Cellars and AWS

What: An Evening with Dennis Cakebread: American Wine Society - Denver Chapter

Where: The Denver Athletic Club

When: April 14, 2005

Time: 6:00 pm

Ticket Prices: $40 for members, $50 for guests

Beneficiary: American Wine Society, the Denver Chapter

President(s): Barbara Fisher

Introductions: Joe Hubbard

Speaker: Dennis Cakebread

Libations: Cakebread Cellars

Quote of the evening: Dennis Cakebread, "Some other winerys produce Chateau 2x4 -- so oaky they have splinters in them. Ours have a delicate balance."

Attendance: 130

Attire: Business Casual

Hors D'Oeuvres:: Denver Athletic Club

Information:, Lillian Quon or Bruce Krumlauf at 720.493.4364

 Sommelier Scott Slobin, Vitner Dennis Cakebread, and Vandy Van Wagener
Sommelier Scott Slobin, Vitner Dennis Cakebread, and Vandy Van Wagener

Whole-cluster press? Night harvest? Barrel samples? Wine pairings? Ansel Adams? Chardonnay oak chips? Members and guests of the American Wine Society’s “Evening with Dennis Cakebread of Cakebread Cellars” on Thursday, April 14, 2005 at the Denver Athletic Club discovered how all these things are related, along with a multitude of other tidbits previously known only to fine wine masters. Dennis Cakebread, with the help of his Virtual Visit CD, detailed the many processes in growing grapes and making wine in Napa Valley, and revealed a few secrets behind the excellence of their wines. On the CD, one can actually see real-time photos of the vineyards on any day, year-round. Whole cluster pressing creates a fresher, silkier juice (the CD has a camera inside the press!), night harvesting of grapes leaves a higher acidity and therefore a crispness in the wine; old French oak chardonnay barrels can be recycled to make wood chips for cooking – ideal when planning a “wine pairing.” How did Cakebread get started? While taking photographs at a winery in Rutherford, CA in the early 1970’s, Dennis Cakebread’s father (an Ansel Adams protégée) unintentionally made an offer to become the new owner. And the rest is history. Now a hugely successful family operation, Cakebread Cellars is known for the uniqueness and high quality of their wines. They have also been at the forefront of the American Healthy-Eating Movement since the early 1980s with the Good Life Series Vinter Dinners and the Cakebread Cellars Annual American Harvest Workshop. Witty and affable, and anything but stuffy, Dennis presented seven different wines, from the crispy Sauvignon Blanc to the reserve “Benchland Select” Cabernet Sauvignon. Patrons were given the opportunity to compare a fabulous 2003 Chardonnay with a “barrel sample” of a chardonnay not ready for market. The Denver Athletic Club provided fine cheeses, olives, and scrumptious bacon-wrapped figs to pair with the wines. Did you know that fattier cheeses bring out more flavors in the wines? The Denver Chapter of the American Wine Society hosts a special, seated and educational wine tasting every month in addition to planning “field trips” (this year’s is “The Sideways Tour”, last year’s was in France) and tasting dinners to benefit community organizations. Last year’s dinner to benefit the Denver Art Museum raised $38,000. One doesn’t have to be a connoisseur to feel welcomed at these tastings, as everyone is there to learn something new! Check out the AWS websight for future tastings –, and for Cakebread Cellars information (the 5-hour CD is a must-see!), go to

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