Summer returned just in time for a celebration of Dublin-based Kissos Wines’ latest release, the 2009 Mayari, a Sonoma-blend red wine at a mid-range price point. Dublin Patch attended the event to learn more about Kissos’ latest release, and how Kissos Wines fits in with the City of Dublin’s plans to expand Dublin’s presence in the Livermore Valley wine region.
Patch: How did the 2009 Mayari come about?
Kissos Wines Founder Paris Georgallis: “We realized we had a hole in our product line, we have a great white wine that retails for about $20, a fantastic Cabernet in the $55 range, but nothing in the middle. We know people can’t drink $55 Cabernets every day so we decided to create a product to meet that need. Mayari is a 100% Sonoma product, a blended red, from the Moon Mountain sub appellation in Sonoma, retailing for $25 [Dublin residents receive a 15% discount]. The wine’s name, Mayari, is the combination of our daughters’ names, Maya and Arianna.”
Kissos Winemaker Massimo Monticelli: “When we first started out we wanted the best quality we could get – we went with Napa Cabernet, a very specific vineyard, using the best barrels – we spared no expense making the best wine. Paris noted that while we’ve has been successful creating a wine for special occasions we needed a wine at a price point that could be enjoyed every day. So we went with a Sonoma-based wine, a blend. It’s fun making that type of wine because I can hone in on a certain flavor. Working with Paris for so long I learned what he really likes. I was able to take a blend that was mostly Cabernet, but I threw in a little Syrah because he likes the richness of a Syrah, a little Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, and even a little Merlot at the end. We went with what tasted good.”
Patch: How have local events like the helped Kissos?
Georgallis: “Local events like the Farmers’ Market has been great marketing events for us, we get lots of feedback on the wines. We’ve also supported the Taste of Haas, a UC Berkeley business school alumni event, where Kissos was one of twelve wineries participating. Local restaurant recently picked up all the Kissos products including our 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 Cabernet and our new 2009 Mayari as did the First Street Wine Company in Livermore. We sold out last year so I think we’re doing the right things. We’re going to slowly grow production as we add more distribution channels.”
Councilmember Eric Swalwell Jr.: “Kissos is important because it shows that there is an interest in the community to be a part of this growing wine market. I know that Paris would love to have a vineyard in Livermore, Pleasanton or Dublin. I want to give Paris the tools to go from virtual to harvesting and bottling Dublin grapes.”
Patch: Is Kissos planning to submit wines to more competitions this year?
Georgallis: “Absolutely. We’re going to submit all three of our wines in late November to the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and results are announced in January. For the remainder of this year we’re going to focus on product quality, growing our distribution outlets and introducing a wine club. The wine club is mostly targeted at our east coast customers who would like to automatically get our wines. Our wine club will ship in April and October, and details will be on our website in the next few weeks.”
Patch: What is Dublin doing to expand its presence in the Tri-Valley Wine Region?
Swalwell: “I’ve seen over the last five years how the Tri-Valley has become a viable wine region with close to 50 wineries and 7,000 acres of vineyards, and that there should be ways for Dublin to connect with the wine region. I started doing more research and found out that the American Viticulture Association designation of the Livermore Valley region includes Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore, San Ramon, Danville, Sunol and Castro Valley. The studies have been done and we’re a part of that region. We have the same soil to produce varietals that you can find in Pleasanton and Livermore.
“We’ve made a commitment as a City Council to connect with the region, from having wine nights at the Farmers’ Market to looking at the zoning code to entice wineries to come to Dublin. Because we’re positioned as the gateway to the Livermore Valley wine region, we want to have a visitor center in Dublin that features Livermore Valley wines. We’ve been working with the Livermore Valley Wine Growers Association, the Tri-Valley Conservancy, Las Positas College’s viticulture and wine technology school, and local business to see if there is an interest in having a Livermore Valley Visitor Center right here in Dublin.
“We’re also looking at incorporating wine region themes in future development projects by telling developers about our plans for Dublin in the Livermore Valley region. I’m excited to see where this takes us.”