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Some years ago, I wrote a 20-question wine quiz that was extremely difficult. Written for my private wine newsletter, it had questions so difficult to answer that only one person got 18 correct — and she is a wine historian! Two persons got 16 right, and of dozens of entrants, no one else got as many as 12.

Here are 11 of the questions, with answers below.

<CF103>1.</CF> Name the Napa Valley winery that was founded in Sonoma County and is still operating under the original founding family.

<CF103>2.</CF> Name the Sonoma County winery that started out in Napa Valley.

<CF103>3.</CF> Name the long-time, well-known California winemaker who first made wine in Chile.

<CF103>4.</CF> Why did a large California wine company purchase half a ship?

<CF103>5.</CF> Joseph Phelps and Fred Fisher shook hands on a deal decades ago that both men were pleased about, but which never became a public venture. Upon what did they agree?

<CF103>6.</CF> What California winemaker earned the nickname White Rabbit while in college and why?

<CF103>7.</CF> Name the winemaker who made two of the wines that were evaluated in the famed "Judgment of Paris" tasting in 1976.

<CF103>8.</CF> An American president was reputed to have served a modest red Bordeaux to his guests during dinner parties, but surreptitiously he drank a famed wine that the others didn't know had been opened. Who was the president and what were the two wines?

<CF103>9. </CF>Which winemaker was responsible for a brand of wine called Friar's Table?

<CF103>10.</CF> What does Mendocino Wine Co. have in common with the Cleveland Indians baseball team?

<CF103>11.</CF> A well-known Napa Valley winery has a below-ground wine cellar and aging area that is cooled by cold water running through a specially constructed pipe system. What is the name of the winery and why does it have to cool its subterranean cellar?

[XFOLO_RAG_00]Answers

<MC>1. In 1969, Gino Zepponi and Norman DeLeuze rented an old building east of Sonoma and for 10 years operated ZD from that location. They moved in 1979 to the winery's present site, off Napa Valley's Silverado Trail.

2. Lindley Bynum outgrew his home wine-making facility in Albany (near Berkeley) in 1971 and bought a 26-acre vineyard in Napa Valley to make wine. But getting a winery permit proved so bureaucratic he moved his family to Sonoma's Russian River Valley.

3. Paul Draper worked in Chile before he was hired to replace Dave Bennion at Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

4. In 1955, Louis Petri, then the most powerful wine man in America, was irate over excessive rail fees for shipping wine to the Midwest and East Coast. He heard about a ship that had split apart with the bow sinking, but the aft section still intact. He paid $300,000 for half of a ship, had the Navy tow it to San Francisco, where he did repairs, outfitted it with stainless steel tanks, and sent it up the Mississippi to deliver bulk wine to the Midwest. But even before the SS Angelo Petri made its maiden voyage, the publicity from the idea had driven rail fees down dramatically by 1956.

5. When Fisher Vineyards released a Chardonnay called Coach Insignia, Joe Phelps called him and said the name could possibly cause confusion with his red wine, Insignia. The men soon agreed that Fisher could use the name as long as Fisher (of the famed Body by Fisher family) used the word "Coach" in front of it (an automotive design reference) and always made it a great wine.

6. Erich Russell of Rabbit Ridge in Paso Robles was a sprinter on the famed San Jose State track teams that featured world record holder Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, and other great black stars. As the only Caucasian on the sprint team, the nickname was obvious.

7. Both the 1972 Freemark Abbey Chardonnay and the 1969 Freemark Abbey Cabernet were made by Jerry Luper, who now makes wine in Portugal.

8. As the story goes, Richard Nixon drank 1966 Chateau Margaux while he served others the far cheaper Mouton Cadet.

9. The late Silver Oak Cellars winemaker Justin Meyer, when he was at Franciscan Vineyards in the early 1970s. Friars Table was used mainly to dispose of wine that existed at Franciscan when Meyer, a former Christian Brother, and partner Raymond Duncan acquired it.

10. Both the winery and the Indians have a president named Paul Dolan.

11. After construction was begun at Opus One, it was discovered that the winery sat in a geothermal zone, requiring the elaborate and expensive cooling system.

<CF102>Bonus question</CF>, never before published (answer next week): Name the California winery owner who is a sponsor of the fabulous Renaissance statue of David that stands in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence?

Wine of the Week: 2009 Martin Codax Albari?, Rias Baixas ($15) — This aromatic grape variety is the most dramatic white wine coming out of Spain. This widely distributed version is spicy with tropical fruit such as mango, and is really full-flavored, a lot more interesting than most Pinot Gris.

Dan Berger lives in Sonoma County, where he publishes "Vintage Experiences," a weekly wine newsletter. Write to him at winenut@gmail.com.

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