This week we received notice that the U.S. Trademark Office has granted approval for our use of Sidewinder Spirits in commerce. Sidewinder is a new label for us, and positions us tell another chapter in the fabled history of Livermore Valley. This is the story of the prohibition years, and of the courage, innovation, and perhaps risk-taking that was required to preserve the valley’s winemaking heritage during those dark thirteen years. It is a story that has gone unmentioned, but a story worth telling.

This evening, we will hint at this story during our annual end of harvest and holiday winemaker’s dinner. So as not to miss out, I want to share my opening remarks with you.

I want to thank each of you for coming tonight for our combined harvest and holiday celebration. And I also want to thank the Wente family for making this historic Louis Mel home available for our use tonight, as well as the Wente staff for making this event run smoothly. Finally, I want to thank Tumbledown House for braving the East Bay traffic on a Friday so that we can enjoy their memorable music.

We are seated in the home and winery of Louis and Marie Mel. As we drove across the little bridge into the property, we passed the wooded thicket for which this site was named – La Bocage. Here, we are surrounded by the historic thirty acres the Mels had planted over a century ago, the source of the cultivars that today populate many of California’s most important vineyard lands.

Each of our wines tonight retell a part of this early story of Livermore Valley. But there is another story to tell as well, a story that has been hidden from us, the story of the prohibition years. This is a story that will bring new names into our Valley, names like Sherriff Burton Becker and the Dry Raiders, Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Gallo brothers and Al Capone, and, perhaps, even our fictional hero James Bond.

This is the story that we hint at tonight, with the original James Bond martini and the music of Tumbledown house. It is also the story that we will tell through our new label, Sidewinder, which was granted trademark status on Tuesday of this week. And if any are worried that we will stray from our winemaking passion, don’t be afraid. A sidewinder is still a pocket watch – just a little skewed.

So tonight let’s celebrate our past as we look to our future. Enjoy your dinner, and accept my family’s best wishes for the upcoming holiday season.

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