February 4, 2014

February 4, 2014
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Rajat Parr. Photo courtesy of Mina Group.

I have been hearing rumblings from numerous sources about some changes regarding Rajat Parr’s role as the Mina Group wine director. Patric Yumul, the president of the Mina Group, had a chat with me to explain the changes. As many already know, after 18 years in San Francisco, Raj has recently relocated to Santa Barbara to focus on winemaking and be closer to his wineries, Sandhi Wines and Domaine de la Côte. He will continue in his role as wine director of the Mina Group and partner of RN74, offering oversight of the lists and making sure the wine selections stay fresh and current.

But since Raj won’t physically be on the floor at the restaurants, the Mina team will be doing some restructuring to the wine department. Raj’s assistant, Daniel Grajewski, will be taking on a more senior role to assist with buying and relationships, and a new hire will be added to the team to replace sommelier Josiah Baldivino (who we mentioned is leaving to start his own venture, Bay Grape)—the new position will take on a larger Mina Group role and help with coordination.

The Mina Group PR team chimed in with: “The Mina Group is excited for Rajat’s latest endeavor and feel it will only bring our guests a more educated and enjoyable wine experience at Michael Mina restaurants.” I’ll keep you updated on any new hires, and best of luck to Raj.

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An impromptu photo of Woods Polk Station. Photo by Michele Mandell.

As we reported in November, the maté-infused beer company ~MATEVEZA~ has been planning an expansion both into the East Bay and the former Et Al. space on Polk. Well, we have word now that owner Jim Woods has been overhauling the brand entirely, and has opened the Polk location as ~WOODS POLK STATION~. Moving forward, all the projects will be rechristened with the WOODS brand as well, including the existing ~CERVECERÍA~ near Dolores Park.

As for the new location, it will officially open on Thursday February 6th for business, although it has been softly open for some trial runs this past week. It offers many of the same things as the original, with empanadas to snack on and beer on tap. There aren’t adding any additional menu items, as the pint-sized new location doesn’t offer any extra square footage. Hours are Sun-Wed 12pm-10pm, Thu 12pm-12am, Fri-Sat 12pm-1am. 2255 Polk St. at Green, no phone (yet).

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Beautiful Howell Mountain. Photo from Facebook.

On Friday February 7th, get international with the ~AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 SIPS~ tasting event from Bottlenotes at the Golden Gate Club. You’ll find wines from all over the world, including Portugal, New Zealand, and Spain. There will also be light appetizers and chocolate pairings. The event is from 7:30pm-9:30pm for general admission, and VIP tickets get early entry at 6:30pm. Tickets are $75 general admission and $125 for VIP. 135 Fisher Loop at Sheridan.

On Wednesday March 19th, catch a tasting of wines from the Howell Mountain region of the Napa Valley at the Bently Reserve. The tasting will include pours from 27 of the region’s wineries. The tasting will be open to the trade and media from 2pm-4pm; registration is free. The consumer event for the public will be from 5pm-7pm, and tickets are $55 until February 16th, $75 until March 18th, and $95 at the door. 301 Battery St. at Sacramento, 707-965-2665.