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Summer 2014 News from Hensley Family Vineyards

Carol Hensley - Friday, July 18, 2014




Touching down in Napa Valley, mixing old habits with new experiences

Dear {tag_recipientfirstname},

July is one of our favorite times in Napa Valley. We start every trip with a meal at Mustards Grill, drop in for a drink at Bouchon bar, and hit the St. Helena Farmer's Market on Friday morning to take in the fresh seafood, people-watching and intense bocce competitions. We also seek out cool art (flying stainless steel rabbits, Ansel Adams, rock star posters); catch up with interesting people like our grape grower, Don Thomas; and, of course, drink great wine -- some of which is well known, some of which we would like to keep secret. Speaking of great wine, our 2010 Hensley Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon is drinking exceptionally well right now. It's the combination of beautiful hillside fruit, the right winemaking instincts and a little bit of that dream-making that goes on in Napa Valley. Our recent July trip was a culmination of all those experiences -- plus one inspiring story. Our host at a well-known winery told us he was slugging away at a steady managerial job in Pittsburgh just one year ago. Longing to be in wine country (even though he had never visited), he and his wife quit their jobs, sold their home and moved to Napa. Neither had a house nor a job when they arrived -- in fact, he said his mother-in-law didn't think they were serious even as they packed their trailer. But that was a year ago. Now they have jobs, a house and a fulfilled dream. Life is good in Napa Valley. Can't wait to see what our next trip brings.

Pop! Clink! Cheers ...

Mike & Carol Hensley


Don Thomas at his home in Rutherford, with Mike.

In March, we discovered Bunny Foo Foo by artist Lawrence Argent, at Hall Winery.

Joe Schmitt captured the brilliance of Independence Day fireworks at Silverado Resort in Napa.


Customer Profile: Meet Diane and Phil Bazelides

Our good friends Diane and Phil Bazelides started this wine journey through their great hospitality and Napa Valley traditions. We've enjoyed traveling with them and sharing many memorable wine experiences. Here's a look into their world:

Our wine story really starts with you -- when you invited us on your Napa Valley July 4th vacation many years ago. How did Napa hit your radar initially?
We were in San Francisco for the first time years ago and decided we'd better check out Napa while we were there.  We drove up and back in one day and visited Christian Brothers, Beringer, Robert Mondavi and a few others that were popular back then. We even drove over to Sonoma on that terribly curvy road through the countryside. What a day! Who knew we'd be going back nearly every year after that.
You travel quite a bit. Tell us about some memorable wine regions you've visited around the globe.
We've been fortunate to travel to the Bordeaux and Tuscany areas, and they are beautiful.  Our favorite trips, though, have been to the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek areas of South Africa.  Ralph and Etienne Liebman put us on to South African wines and arranged for us to meet with some winemakers and winery owners on a trip in 2001. We traveled there again last fall and couldn't believe how much the wine country had developed. The countryside is even more beautiful, the people are very friendly and the wines are superb.
What's your idea of a fun "wine and dine" night?
We really like to get together with friends at home and everyone brings a special bottle of wine they've had stowed away. Most of the time we're drinking wine we wouldn't be able to find in a wine store or restaurant. Or, if we could we'd all be too cheap to pay the price!


Diane and Phil Bazelides

Mike, Carol, Diane and Phil

You own numerous bottles of great wine. Tell us about a bottle or two that have special memories attached.
The wines that are most special to us are the ones made by winemakers we know and with whom we are or have become friends. When we enjoy one of their wines, we remember the good times we've had with them and are really proud of their success. We just returned from our annual trip to Napa over July 4th with family and friends. We've been attending the BBQ and fireworks celebration at Silverado Country Club for years, which also includes quite a bit of wine and a few cigars. If anyone hasn't done this, it is great fun. Most importantly, it led to the Hensley Family Vineyards Cabernet!


Talk of the table

We were thrilled to receive this beautiful photo of Laurie and Wade Phillips sharing dinner and a bottle of our Hensley Cabernet Sauvignon at Capital Grille Restaurant. Few evenings can compare to a fabulous meal with a great bottle of wine, shared among friends. Readers, we hope you are busy planning your next evening out.


Summer is sizzling

It's the middle of July -- do you know where your favorite wine is? If so, grab it and make some summer memories. We've already been to several wine dinners, uncorked a million bottles of Sauvignon Blanc to chill the Houston heat, taken the paddle boat for a spin around the lake, compared the goods at 3 different farmer's markets, road-tripped to the College World Series in Omaha, slept in (as "in" as a 7-year-old will allow) and basically just breathed in the sights and sounds of a season that comes early, stays late and often over-extends with its heat barometer. But the intentions are good, the air conditioning is great and the wines of summer are calling, so enjoy. Corks are off, summer is on, and don't forget that Restaurant Weeks starts August 1. Go try some new places and have fun.

Winemaker Craig Parker sells gourmet foods at the Central Texas farmer's market along the Brazos River.


One of our favorite waiters, Melvin, breaks out the summer wines for our dinner with friends.



Pardon the cliche, but our wine was on fire at the Historic Heights Fire Station during the Vintage Select Portfolio Tasting this spring. This gem of a building was built in 1912 and used as a fire station until 1995. In 1997, it was restored as a rental facility for events and celebrations, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Our Texas distributors, Buddy and Trish Hagner, pulled out all the corks for another fabulous afternoon of fun. This year's pouring was a real people-watching opportunity, as many high-profile chefs, sommeliers, restaurant managers and wine buyers stopped by to sample the portfolio and mingle with industry friends and colleagues. 

Lots of mixing and mingling at the Historic Heights Fire Station.                                                                                


Buy our wine today

 * click on our website link above;

 * call us at 713-686-4647;

 * email
Why not host a wine dinner or tasting for other wine lovers you know and introduce them to our cab -- we would love to work with you and plan a great evening. 

Industry purchasers in Texas can contact Vintage Select Wines at 713.432.9463, or send an email to for more information.

In Ohio, contact Wine Trends at 800.327.7017 or access

Our thanks to these venues for carrying our wine:

  • Dean & Deluca -- St. Helena and Georgetown;
  • Grape & Grain -- Kerrville, TX;
  • MacArthur Beverages -- Wash., D.C.
  • Miramont Country Club -- Bryan, TX
  • Morton's Steakhouse -- Santa Ana, CA
  • Mustards Grill -- Yountville, CA
  • Myron's Prime Steakhouse -- San Antonio, TX
  • Paesano's Quarry -- San Antonio, TX
  • The Clubs at Cordillera Ranch -- Central TX
  • Total Wine & More -- 7 California locations
  • V Wine Cellar -- Yountville, CA
  • Valencia Wine Bar -- Valencia, CA
  • Zella's Liquors and Wine -- Seguin, TX;

  • In Ohio
  • Mama Vita's
  • Kroger -- Harpers Point
  • Whole Foods Market 56
  • Tutto Vino
  • Andersons General
  • Wholesale Beer & Wine
  • Mustard Seed Cafe
  • Wine Reserve of Bainbridge
  • Piazza Discepoli Glendale
  • Little Miami River Wine
  • Rustic Hills Country Club
  • Dorothy Lane Springboro
  • Kroger -- Centerville
  • Zinks Meats & Fine Wines
  • Jungle Jim's Eastgate
  • Thyme Squared
  • Washington Place
  • Swirl
  • Kroger -- Englewood
  • Rumbleseat Wine
  • Wine Works
  • Heinens 10 Mayfield
  • Red Wine and Brew
  • Heritage Golf Club
  • Little Sonoma Fine Wines
  • Inn at Versailles
  • Hospitality House
  • A Bottle or Two
  • Mentor Disc Tobacco & Beverage
  • L Albatros




    Throughout Greater Houston

  • Backstreet Café
  • Brasserie 19
  • Capital Grille
  • Fleming's River Oaks
  • GenuWine Tasting Room
  • Houston Country Club
  • Houston Wine Merchant
  • Jasper's -- The Woodlands
  • Lakeside Country Club
  • La Griglia
  • Mockingbird Bistro
  • RDG Bar Annie
  • Reef
  • Roost
  • Sorrel Urban Bistro
  • The Club at Carlton Woods
  • The Tasting Room Uptown Park
  • Tiny Boxwood's
  • Triniti
  • Vine Wine Room
  • Wine Styles
  • Yapa Kitchen Fresh Take-Away