Last Call for New Year’s Eve at Carpe Vino

We’ll be saying “good-bye” to 2013 with a packed house for our New Year’s Eve prix-fixe dinner, but we still have limited availability to serve just a few more foodies.  This year, our four-course menu—with options—is a delightful way to segue into what we hope will be another great year on the food and wine front.

Click here for the full menu with preparations.  Cost is $95++ per person.  For this event, we’re only taking reservations at the restaurant (OpenTable is blacked out).  Call 530-823-0320, and we’ll welcome you to the friendly confines on New Year’s Eve!

2013 was Another Banner Year for Carpe Vino

In February, Drew and I will be wrapping up 12 years of owning and operating Carpe Vino, and there is no question that 2013 was our best year so far.  We set some very aggressive goals, and we accomplished most of what we committed to do.  Looking back, it was an amazing time for all of us, with plenty of highlights and milestones. . .

Wine Club Membership Crushed the 1,000 barrier:  We ended 2011 with barely 400 Wine Club members but over the next two years, we added 600. . .cresting 1,000 in mid-December this year.  We’re at about 1,025 now, and Drew’s goal is to hit 2,000 members by the end of 2015.  That’s pretty aggressive, so we’ll see. . .

Two OpenTable 3-Peats:  In 2011 we were totally shocked when we made OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice Top 100 list of America’s Best Restaurants. The default reservation service for foodies across the country, OpenTable comprises 19,000 fine dine restaurants in its network.  Early in December, we were one of only two restaurants in the nation to make this list and the Top 100 Most Notable Wine List three times in a row. . .each.  We also made OpenTable’s Top 100 Fit-for-Foodies list, the only restaurant in the Sacramento region to be recognized.

“Shiner,” Our Own Wine Brand, Hits the Shelves:  After talking about it for years, we finally created our own brand and launched our first wine under the Shiner label, a Napa cabernet sauvignon.  The first vintage of 150 cases is sold out, and we’re on the hunt for more.

Great Press:  All of us were totally surprised when we heard that we had been reviewed by Sacramento News & Review, a highly regarded alternative newspaper.  Though reviews have been hard to come by since Mike Dunne awarded us four stars (out of four) in December 2008, SN&R’s Garrett McCord awarded us five stars (out of five) in mid-November.  Then earlier this month, Ed Murrieta, food writer for the Sacramento Business Journal, sang our praises in an excellent piece illustrated with 13 photos.  Perhaps Sactown and/or Sacramento Magazine will step up in 2014.

Set New Revenue Records:  While we are a private company and do not publish financial information, December was the best month in our history, and we set a new revenue high for a single year with 25% annual growth.

More Rehab Progress:  We operate from a 160-year-old building, and this year we were able to continue work to update our historic structure.  These were improvements not apparent in the dining rooms, but we completed many important upgrades that help strengthen the integrity of the building as well as improve the customer experience.

Wine Tour of Spain is a First:  In partnership with Earthbound Expeditions of Bainbridge, WA, we organized our first international wine tour.  Our group of 20 explored wine country in Spain near Madrid and Barcelona for nearly two glorious weeks.  Next up, we’re headed for Argentina and Chile at the end of April.

Courtney McDonald Returns as Pastry Chef:  Courtney was Carpe Vino’s first chef, opening the restaurant with her partner, Eric Alexander, in 2006.  She left our employ to pursue farming and other interests, but she returned this year to re-energize our dessert program as pastry chef.  She’s doing a fabulous job, and we’re delighted to have her in the kitchen again.

It was, indeed, a remarkable year that was made possible only because of the loyal following of a legion of customers and an incredibly talented staff.  I’ve said it a thousand times:  our business is humming along on all eight cylinders:  we have a fabulous chef backed by a talented crew; our service staff is among the best in the region; our facility is the real deal in a historic district; our wine program is second to none; and we have learned how to manage all the pieces to produce optimal results.

Now the trick is to do it all again in 2014.  In that pursuit, we’ll look forward to welcoming you often to the friendly confines in Old Town Auburn.




NewYearsBallDrop.121200Happy New Year from Carpe Vino!  With the new year upon us next week, CV has some amazing palate pleasing wines, ready for tasting!  The word is out on these Saturday tastings, so Arrive Early!  Our complimentary wine tasting ends promptly at 4pm.  (Please remember two person maximum per wine club membership.) By now you all know the drill on all the discounts, so here is what we will be pouring…


 Bohigas Cava Brut Reserva NV (Spain)

cava.121507$14.99/bottle or $13.99/bottle on 6+

“Wine Advocate” Tasting Notes: “My favorite of the two sparkling Cavas is the non-vintage Brut Reserva Cava. Made from a classic blend (for this area) of Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada planted in limestone and clay soils, the wine spends 24 months on its lees before disgorgement. It is an excellent value for consumers looking for alternatives to French Champagne. Lemon/lime, crushed rock and white currant notes are present in this crisp, elegant, refreshing, zesty, dry sparkler. Hints of wheat thins and brioche add complexity. Enjoy this medium-bodied offering over the next 1-2 years.”

Jay’s Take: “A 90 point Parker rated sparkling for under 15 bucks! The perfect sparkling to stock up on that won’t break the bank for that rockin’ party!”






Fleury “Carte Rouge” Blanc de Noirs (France) 375 ML – HALF BOTTLE

$33 Bottle or $25/Bottle on 6+

From Gregory Condes Wines: “Mr. Fleury’s obsession with quality is on full display in the wine-it is one of the best and most exciting Pinot Noir Champagnes around. Wonderfully bright strawberry fruit makes it unmistakably Pinot, and the low dosage puts it on the drier side of brut. Smooth and quite rich in style, the wine is also incredibly well balanced and festive with a steady stream of fine bubbles. An absolute delight!”

Jay’s Take: “A great option for that intimate get together.  A true Champagne, this bubbly is sure to please!”





Archery Summit “Premier Cuvee” Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR)

summit.122948$39.99/Bottle or $34.99/Bottle on 6+

Winery Tasting Notes:  “This wine opens with effusive floral and spice aromas characteristic of the 2011 vintage. Present are the lifted perfumes of hyacinth, linden blossom and carnation along with spicy Satsuma mandarin, tea tree, fennel and crushed boysenberry. The palate is expansive, expressive and also connective; showing a completeness and comfort within its own skin. On the palate there are notes of passion fruit, violet pastille and tayberry, along with hints of cinnamon stick and a flinty minerality bundled in a succulent, mouthwatering middle. The tannins are matte with a velveteen quality and the finish is all freshness, lingering and clean.”

Jay’s Take:  “This premier cuvee is composed of fruit from six different vineyard estates from the Dundee Hills and Ribbon Ridge AVA’s.” “A Gold Medal Winner at the 2013 International Wine Challenge!”




Pine Ridge “Napa Valley” Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Napa Valley)

pr.123147$44.95/bottle or $34.95bottle on 6+

Winery Tasting Notes: “This wine presents a beautiful opaque ruby hue in the glass as well as a bountiful bouquet that matches the intensity of its color. Lush aromas of dark currant and deep black cherry are pleasantly pronounced as they are joined by touches of fresh vanilla bean, graham cracker and toasted cinnamon. The velvety palate opens with flavors of luscious red cherry, cassis and briary blackberry fruit that melt into hints of star anise, ground clove and sweet tobacco leaf and are carried by supple tannins through the lasting finish.”

Jay’s Take: “A classic Napa Valley Cab, blended from premier estate vineyard sites located in Rutherford, Stag’s Leap District, and Howell Mountain.  A perfect pairing for any special meal prepared to bring in the New Year!”





This week we also have one amazing bonus wine that you surely won’t want to miss!  Only One Bottle of this bonus offering will be open, so don’t arrive late!   If you have any questions…feel free to contact me at your earliest
convenience by replying to this email or calling me at 530-823-0320 x105.

Also, if you can’t make Saturday’s tasting but want to purchase some of these wines…feel free to use our online order site and enter “JayJ” in the Order Notes Section to make sure you receive the best discounts available.  Hope to see you here!



xamswine.141031Happy Holiday’s from Carpe Vino!  Christmas is only a few days away, and CV has some amazing palate pleasing wines, ready for tasting!  The word is out on these Saturday tastings, so Arrive Early!  Our complimentary wine tasting ends promptly at 4pm.  (Please remember two person maximum per wine club membership.) By now you all know the drill on all the discounts, so here is what we will be pouring…

  Laurent-Perrier Brut Rose Champagne NV (France)

champagne-rose-laurent-perrier_800-800$69.99 or $59.95/bottle on 6+

Winery Tasting Notes: “Fruit dominates the palate. Cuvée Rosé Laurent-Perrier is a lively, well-rounded wine which combines structure and freshness. The forthright, slightly sharp attack is like breathing the heady aromas of a freshly-picked basket of berry fruits – a symphony of aromas with a gently-rounded, tender finish.”

Jay’s Take: “If Champagne is what you are looking for, then look no further!  Here is your chance to taste some amazing bubbly that will rival any in the world!”


Kazmer & Blaise “Boon Fly’s Hill” Chardonnay 2009 (Carneros)

$49.50/Bottle or $35/Bottle on 6+

kazmer.142858“Wine Advocate” Tasting Notes: 92 Points!!!  “The 2009 Chardonnay Boon fly is soft, supple and totally beautiful. The Hungarian oak barrels add hints of spiciness and volume to the wine, yet this remains a medium-bodied, refined Chardonnay loaded with class and sheer pedigree. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017.”

“Wine Spectator” Tasting Notes:  90 Points!!!  “Offering a fruit bowl of aromas and flavors, this is ripe, intense, pure and focused, picking up a cedar-hazelnut-nutmeg touch on the finish that ends with an intriguing anise twist. Drink now through 2018.”

Jay’s Take: Another fantastic chardonnay added to our Saturday line-up!  92 Points Wine Advocate, 90 Wine Spectator, and a discount of almost 30%!  (WE CANNOT DISCLOSE THIS DISCOUNT ONLINE)




Tangles Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Napa Valley)

tangles.143411$49/Bottle or $25/Bottle on 6+

Carpe Vino Tasting Notes:  “If you are into aromatherapy, open a bottle of this juice for a blast to remember. Distinctly raspberry on the nose with violets and a hint of spice. Big flavors of blueberry pie, burnt chocolate with soft, sensible tannins. Be sure you are seated comfortably, because this wine has one stubborn finish. . .it hangs in forever. Carpe Vino has been behind he Tangles brand since Day One, and we’re fortunate to have the kind of relationship that results in being able to acquire this wonderful wine. Heather’s ’07 cab is heading into its seventh year, and it is ready to relish right now. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity.”

Jay’s Take:  “Only 200 cases were made of this beaut, and at this discount, this baby is flying out the door.  So, don’t wait too long before it’s gone!”



Seghesio “Sonoma County” Zinfandel 2011 (Sonoma County)

seghesio.144811$22.50/bottle or $17.99/bottle on 6+

Winery Tasting Notes:  “Seghesio Family Vineyards roots are firmly planted in Zinfandel, as our founder, Edoardo Seghesio, first planted this historic varietal on our Alexander Valley Home Ranch in 1895. Today, we share his passion as we farm estate Zinfandel in Alexander and Dry Creek valleys. This wine combines sites that have produced Zinfandel for over a century with newer sites that utilize proprietary clones and the most advanced viticultural practices.”

Jay’s Take: “We know this wine is anywhere, but for an everyday Zin, you cannot beat Seghesio!”



BONUS POUR:  This week we have two amazing cabernet’s that you surely won’t want to miss!  One scored 94 Points by Robert Parker, and the other is from arguably one of the most popular wineries in the world!   If you have any questions…feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience by replying to this email or calling me at 530-823-0320 x105.

Also, if you can’t make Saturday’s tasting but want to purchase some of these wines…feel free to use our online order site and enter “JayJ” in the Order Notes Section to make sure you receive the best discounts available.  Hope to see you here!



SacBiz Columnist Gets a Taste of Carpe Vino


Photo by Kurt Hegre

What a way to finish the year:  first the 5-star review in Sacramento News & Review, then an OpenTable Best Restaurant in America 3-Peat, and now a glowing column from the Sacramento Business Journal’s Ed Murrieta after his visit for dinner and a lengthy interview with me.

Murrieta, who tracks the food and restaurant scene for the SacBiz Journal, spent nearly three hours in the friendly confine tasting his way through the menu while talking with me and later our chef, Eric Alexander.  This was his first visit, and—in all modesty—he was impressed with what he saw and tasted.

His lengthy piece is online, accompanied by a slideshow of 13 photos.  Here’s the start of the story; click on the link to see the entire article and photos.

(A couple of corrections from the interview that Ed taped:  We have 400 kinds of wines, not bottles; and the wine I referred to at the very end was Rombauer Chardonnay, not Round Barn.)

sacbiz.134542ED MURRIETA: Carpe Vino not just a ‘little place up in the foothills’
(December 20, 2013 edition)

“Maybe it was Gary Moffat’s Chicago accent rising to be heard above the conversations — sounds of friends greeting friends at the bar, diners’ muted cries of “Oh, that’s good” — reverberating through the wood and brick bones of Carpe Vino’s Old West building at primetime on Friday night.

“The owner of the wine shop and restaurant in Old Town Auburn sounded huffy even as he spoke about the national accolade Carpe Vino racked up for the third straight year, something no other area restaurant has done.

“’Whether or not anyone recognizes it, we fill the place up,’ Moffat told me last week over a bottle of Tangles Cabernet. ‘I’m not seeking more business. What I’m seeking is some respect. I don’t want to be written off as a little place up in the foothills.’”

For more, click here

Head’s Up: Announcing Upcoming Store Closures. . .

Please excuse the inconvenience and our dust because we’ll be closed two nights this week because of private parties and a construction project at the end of January.

Both Wednesday and Thursday this week, we’ll be closing the shop at 3 p.m. because we’ll be hosting private holiday events both evenings.  We really try to minimize store closings, but sometimes we have no choice.  We’ll be open for regular business both days from noon until 3 p.m.

Then we’ll close for a week starting January 27, 2014 (following “Wine Thing” on January 25) and reopen for wine sales and dinner service on February 4.  During that time, we’ll be replacing flood-damaged flooring, as well as installing a new wooden floor in the small dining room.

Thanks for your understanding!

Join us for a Low-Key New Year’s Eve Celebration

NewYears_hmpg.204442At Carpe Vino, we do something a bit differently on New Year’s Eve…we cater to the folks who want to be comfortably at home before the amateurs hit the street after midnight.  We focus on the more conservative revelers who want to enjoy a great dinner without all the hub-bub and party favors.

So as is our custom on New Year’s Eve, Chef Alexander has designed a four-course, prix fixe finale for 2013.  Click here for the entire menu, which includes choices for most courses and vegetarian options.  Cost is $95++ per person, and we are taking regular reservations by phone only (OpenTable gets the night off) at 530-823-0320.

No band, no noise makers, no problems.  We suggest you join us and safely enjoy your champagne toast in the privacy and security of your own home!SONY DSC

Carpe Vino 3-Peats on Two OpenTable Top 100 Lists

Number1.204330This is crazy:  Carpe Vino was just named to OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice Top 100 Best Restaurants in America list. . .for the third year in a row!  This recognition comes on the heels of making the Top 100 Notable Wine Lists in 2013. . .again for the third year in a row.

What’s most remarkable is that of the 19,000 restaurants in OpenTable’s nationwide reservations network, only one other restaurant has 3-peated on both lists:  a very classy joint called Artisanal, located at the Diamond Creek Golf Club in Banner Elk, NC.

What a way to close out the year!  Drew and I are so very proud of our staff. . .front and back of the house and our dedicated wine crew.  We’re most grateful to our chef and colleague, the immensely talented Eric Alexander, who has maintained an uncompromised standard of excellence since he opened the restaurant with Courtney McDonald in 2006.  And for the past six years, our own Ada Campos has brought order to the chaotic world of the front of the house.

This latest accolade comes just a few weeks after the Sacramento News & Review awarded Carpe Vino five stars in a truly amazing review. (Click here for full story.)

The Kitchen in Sacramento was the only other restaurant in the area to be named to the Top 100 Best Restaurants in America list for 2013.

Wine Club Finally Blows Past 1,000-Member Milestone

explosionfire.091547We were certain total membership for the Carpe Vino Wine Club would pass the 1,000 barrier before the end of the year.  Well, it’s time to set a new goal because as of Monday, we’re at 1,002 members.  Long-time friend of Carpe Vino, Grenny Sutcliffe of Auburn, purchased five memberships for family members who live outside of California.  Thanks, Grenville, expect something special in your Christmas stocking this year!

More information
Carpe Vino (Find Us) 1568 Lincoln Way Auburn, CA 95603
Phone Number: 530-823-0320
Get Directions to Carpe Vino
Bar & Restaurant Hours Tuesday - Saturday
4:00pm - 10:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Dining Room Hours Tuesday - Saturday
5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Make A Reservation Guests must be 21 years of age or older.
Reservations are suggested for preferred seating, especially on weekends.