Enjoying Life One Glass at a Time

February 2017 Wine Club

The 4th Almost Annual Nearly World Famous Merrill Ranch Wine Shuffle

Facing another horribly bitter southern Arizona February, The Wine Club at Merrill Ranch did what we always do. We found a way to drink wine!

Bob Rea took over the photography and captured what was the largest wine club crowd ever. We had 100 people including participants and special guests!


With proportional wine contributions…


This year we spent countless hours researching our options, contemplating possibilities and discussing some very classy themes that we could develop for our February meeting. Then the wine kicked in and we just decided to “Do the Shuffle”!

Thanks to Dan and Cheryl Lowry (with a nod to Jack & Sharon Wineman), we reworked the AANWFMRWS to include theme-based tables from famous wine areas around the world. The areas we decided on were:
South America, France, Southern California, Northern California, Spain, Northwest U.S., Italy, and Down Under (New Zealand/Australia).

We also kept the ever-popular Trivia Quiz with questions cleverly stolen from last years ever-popular Trivia Quiz. Since several people commented on that fact, you can be sure that we will not repeat the same questions next year unless we forget again like we did this year.

So before I forget, here is this year’s Trivia Quiz. All of the correct answers are highlighted. If you have any comments or beefs about the correct answers, please send all comments to:
Rita Zwerdling
c/o Sam’s Grocery
Roanoke, VA

Trivia Questions for the 4th Almost Annual Nearly World Famous
Merrill Ranch Wine Shuffle

1. If someone has a Jeroboam, the bottle holds:

a. 1.5 Liters
b. 3 Liters
c. 4.5 Liters
d. Just enough to split with a good friend

2. What kind of wine is traditionally made from the pinot noir grape?

a. Beaujolais
b. Burgundy
c. Bordeaux
d. Ripple

3. When at a restaurant and a small amount of wine is poured to taste, the purpose here is to

a. see if you like the wine
b. make sure it is the wine you thought it was
c. make sure the wine is not spoiled
d. to find out if it needs to be decanted
e. To get more than your table mates

4. What is the dominant grape in Chianti wine?

a. dolcetto
b. sangiovese
c. zinfandel
d. nebiolo

5. Reducing the grape crop yield usually does what for the resulting wines?

a. lowers the alcohol level
b. intensifies the flavor
c. dilutes the fruit qualities
d. disguises the characteristics of the grape type

6. By law, the word “Reserve” may only be placed on which US made wines?

a. Rare vintages available only to select clients
b. Wines aged at least 10 years before being
c. released to the market
d. Wines from designated vineyards
e. Any wine

7. How long does it take before a grapevine will bear fruit suitable for winemaking?

a. about 6 months to a year
b. about 3 – 5 years
c. about 10 years
d. about 20 – 30 years

8. The Napa Valley Appellation accounts for what percentage of all Californian wine?

a. Approximately 52%
b. Approximately 37%
c. Approximately 12%
d. Approximately 4%
e. Approximately 2%

9. What is the most planted red wine grape in Alsace?

a. pinot noir
b. gamay
c. cabernet franc
d. blaufrankisch

10. I’m drinking Nerello Mascalese. Where is it likely to come from?

a. Sicily
b. Lombardy
c. Piedmont
d. Le Marche
e. “Big Ed’s” Discount Liquors

11. What is the difference between looking at a French wine label and an American wine label?

a. French wine is labeled in ml and American in ounces.
b. Only American wine is marked with the alcohol content.
c. American wine must have the dominant grape on the label.
d. France labels wines by region and not grape variety.

12. If champagne is sweet, it is because:

a. sugar is added after fermentation is complete.
b. very ripe grapes are used.
c. the wine is not allowed to complete fermentation.
d. a sweeter grape variety is used.

13. Tiny crystal deposits in white wine are probably:

a. sugar
b. tartrate
c. egg white
d. isinglass

14. A lot of people don’t know that:

a. Carmenere is a Bordeaux variety.
b. Brunello is actually Sangiovese.
c. Chianti is not a grape type.
d. All of the above are true.

15. Which of the following are wineries that make OGP wine from Amador County?

a. Scott Harvey, Andis, Sutter Creek.
b. Vino Noceto, Macchia, Andis.
c. Andis, Harold Scott, Renwood.
d. Renwood, Vino Noceto, Macchia.

16. The ‘methode champenoise’ might be associated with the following:

a. Pinot Noir, Brut, Spain, Seco
b. Noir de Blanc, Riddling, France
c. Secondary Fermentation, Brut, Fiddling
d. Blanc de Blanc, Extra Dry, Riddling

This year, we awarded two team prizes, one for the highest score on the Trivia/Wine identification Quiz and a Grand Prize for the best themed table.

The Trivia Quiz was won by Team South America with 17 out of 24 correct answers!


The Themed Tables seemed to be a hit this year. We had our special guests Monna and Gary Angell from Las Vegas do our judging. They were chosen because we thought they had just the right mix of aesthetic appreciation and wine knowledge, but mostly because we figured that living in Vegas, the blow-back they’d get from the losers would be negligible.


Gary and Monna Angell

The tables were all great! A lot of thought and effort went into them and both of our judges said it was a really hard choice. The entrants were…









And the winner is…




The Paisanos celebrate their win!

And we had some close guesses on the individual “Guess the Number of Corks” contests. One went to a tie-breaker…


But we finally got a winner for each one.



Thanks to all of you! Without the participation of our members none of this would be possible!

So, until the next go-round….

Lazy Susan