All posts by JohnBischoff


About JohnBischoff

LAVA Past President & Secretary; Commercial Petit Verdot grower. Have Cab Sauv, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Viognier for home winemakers. Been making wine for 10 years now.

Anyone need a wine cellar/cooler?

51” wide, 29” deep, and 81” high and holds about 450 bottles of wine when full. Needs a new cooling unit. Name on the temp control says “Sentry”, probably Breezaire. No other name on it. For sale by a lady friend of ours for $500. She inherited it from her attorney father when he passed. Very nice unit. It is in Antelope, CA.  Contact John at 209 663-0104IMG951893 IMG951894 IMG_1892

LAVA member Phil Crane passed away Dec. 22nd

Phil Crane passed away from lymphoma yesterday.  He was a LAVA member and made wine with many people.  He lived off of Bruella until he moved back to the east bay area early last year.  He still came over to help people make wine.  A great man who will be missed.  He always called me Mr. President…..what a card he was!  RIP my friend……..Phil Crane1 Phil Crane2 Phil Crane3 Phil Crane4

LAVA member Rich Babich passed away Sat, Dec. 6th.

Rick Babich, Annalisa’s husband, passed away last Saturday at home.  Annalisa has posted this information:

January 13, 1952 – December 6, 2014
A loving husband, brother, father, nephew , great friend, Rick Babich, passed peacefully in his home, on Saturday, December 6th, after a battle with pancreatic cancer, diagnosed late April of this year. He fought hard, never complained, not once. He was of strong character and strong spirit. He was 62.
Rick was born and raised in Sacramento by his parents, George and Nina Babich, along with Rick’s brother David. Rick in his youth, was a star baseball pitcher and quarterback at C.K. McClatchy High School and accumulated scholarships. He attended CAL Berkeley where he graduated, Journalism Major and Art Minor, and was offered a baseball semi-pro contract in Canada.
Being a great journalist and writer, Richard wrote for the Hayward Daily Review, then a Congressional campaign, and also the CA Arts Council. Growing his career, back in his 20’s, Rick approached Channel 3 for a newscaster job. They politely suggested he did not have the right kind of voice for broadcasting, but had the looks of a dynamite model and actor. This was the launching point where Rick was to make his living for the next 35 years. He modeled/acted regionally and worldwide, until he returned to writing in his 60’s and was a lead journalist for Market Monitor/Grassroots a worldwide financial publication.
Rick leaves behind his loving family and adoring wife, Annalisa Sharp Babich, his daughters Emily (23) and Cameron(18), and Annalisa’s son Maximilian Pulice (17).
Rick was handsome, smart, caring, patient, had a very dry sense of humor and he will be missed by all who had the good fortune to know and love him.
A Memorial Service will be held Sunday, Dec.14th, 1 p.m. – 4:30pm , at their family home, 1790 Larson Rd, Lodi, CA 95242.
Suggested Memorial donations and contributions can be made to The Bili Project Foundation for Cancer. Online at or by mail, 303 N .Glen Oaks Blvd., Suite 700, Burbank, CA 91502.

LAVA has sent a card and a memorial donation to the Bili Project Foundation.

Rick Babich Memorial

New LAVA Directors for 2015 & 2016

Congrats to the newly elected LAVA Directors for 2015 and 2016! Here is the list:
Pres – Open
VP – Mike Johnston
Treas. Mark Conrado
Secr. – Ken Levy
Equipment Director – Charlie Starr
Membership Director – Greg Helland
Wine Director – Don Norman
Finance Director – Gary Daniel

The President’s job is still open to any LAVA member in good standing. Here are the duties:
Official duties of the President:

The President is the chief administrative officer and spokesperson for LAVA. The President sets the agenda and presides at all meetings of the membership and Board of Directors. Among other things, is also responsible for:
o Create monthly agenda, print and make available at meetings.
o Maintain club “Winemaking Binder” and reproduce as needed.
o Attend industry events to keep current on winemaking techniques and obtain material for club educational activities, i.e. Wine Symposium.
o Keep current in all LAVA events and with each chairperson.
o Verify that insurance is renewed each January.
o Chief spokesperson for LAVA regarding all civic/local activities

LAVA Informational Posting: What is LAVA’s Nouveau Tasting Meeting (November of every year)?

In simple terms, a Nouveau is the first wine of the new vintage. It is released within weeks of harvest. We are following in the footsteps of Frances’ Beaujolais Region. The concept got its commercial roots in France, specifically the Beaujolais region when back in the 1950′s French alcohol rules were relaxed to allow wine from the current vintage to be sold on or after November 15th. This was known as “Beaujolais Nouveau Day” and was a worldwide celebration. Today Beaujolais Nouveau Day is the third Thursday in November, making it a handy way to kick off the holiday season.

For LAVA’s November meeting we ask that winemakers bring their new vintage wines (2014) for tasting by the members. Generally, wines low in tannins and light body are brought out for tasting. All whites and rose wines are appropriate in this category as are light body reds. One year old bold reds are also appropriate.

IMG_5694Also, as a way to start the holiday seasons, we are asking members to bring an appetizer to share with the wine. More information will be forthcoming. Just wanted you to start thinking about it. Thanks.

Bring 2013 Club Crush Wines to Oct Mtg.

2013 LAVA Club Crush members need to bring a bottle of the wine they made to taste/judge at the Oct Mtg – Thurs. Also, bring 2 bottles to give to each of the generous men who donated the grapes for you. It will be a fun event. Those generous men are Charlie Starr for the Zinfandel, and Nick Bokides for the Merlot. If you haven’t bottled it yet, just bottle 3 bottles for Thursday. Thanks !

Ted Lauchland’s small vineyard update on Brix

Ted Lauchland info on his small vineyard: Brix numbers are attached in this spreadsheet. Five varieties need to be picked this Sunday! Contact him directly. (209) 369-1266

Here is the latest: BRIX
SYRAH 1 17 15 $40 Garrett Solin; Adam & Kim Murdaugh 24.8 Pick Sunday
PETIT VERDOT 2 34 25/35 $80 Steve Herzfeldt; Dave Rose; D DeAnda 20.4 wait
TANNAT 1 17 15 $40 Mike Johnston 22 pick Sunday
PETITE SIRAH 2 38 30/35 $80 Krista Vannest; Garrett John; Erik Jackson 24.6 pick Sunday
TEMPRANILLO 3 60 110/120 $120 Tom McFadden; John Frailing 24 pick Sunday
MERLOT 1 19 10/15 $40 Dave Rose 27.2 pick Sunday
CAB FRANC 1 19 10/15 $40 Paul DeSa; Chuck Sellers, J Wilson 24.4 pick Sunday
MOUVEDRE 1 25 20 $40 Nilah Hazard; Richard Hazard 21.4 wait
MARSANNE 1 25 15/20 $40 Dave Rose
TOURIGA NACIONAL 1 25 15/20 $40 Don Norman; P.J.Rodriques 21 wait