New Winemaker in Napa Valley


The man on the move with Napa Valley wines that are making a solid Mark Davidowskistatement is Mark Davidowski (see photo).

Mark was the guiding force behind the highly successful (and it still is) Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas, which he started in 2002 after a successful run as a tech specialist and wine distributor.He implemented revolutionary strategy for a wine shop at that time, bringing in wine makers, producing major benefit wine events and establishing relationships with overseas wineries, so much so, they came to Meritage just to hang out and pour wine at its festive wine bar. But Mark did a disappearing act a few years ago to bury himself in winemaking Napa Valley style, and a year or so ago emerged as the proud proprietorof Haitus Cellars, with 5 varietals and blends, now offering his 2nd series of releases.He was “back at the shop” a couple of months ago at Meritage, pouring his 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($48.), 2010 Apex Napa Valley Cabernet Red Blend $40.), 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay ($27.), 2007 Hiatus Red Syrah Blend $40.) and the 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet ($50.).

“The wines I make are about all the relationships I have developed with vineyards in Napa and Sonoma for the past decade and more,” Davidowski revealed.”I really work hard to find and take ownership of the finest grapes I can find.Once fermented I take over and start with the blending.I already know what the flavor will be for theblock of grapes I get for Haitus.I work closely with the vineyard’s top winemakers to make wine on site to my specs.I m on a first name basis with Paul Hobbs and other greats to make my style of wine. I love elegance in an earthy style, like the best Burgundies.”

I asked him about his 2007 Haitus Red which blew me away.” The grapes are from the Pope Valley with a rich and powerful thrust from the 39% Syrah. I put Cab Franc in for flavor.I needed a lift for the blend so I put a small but potent percent of Zinfandel in and made it that much richer and bigger,” he concluded.

Get to know Mark Davidowski and Haitus at

Villa CApriWines from Down Under at Villa Capri 2

My good friend Victor Magalhaes (see photo right) is riding high these days with his successful Villa Capri 2 among several other Italian restaurants along the Carmel Valley 56 corridor in San Diego.If that were not enough he just bought Twisted Vine Wine Bar in the same area.

When I caught up with him, he introduced me to Mark Salter (see photo left), the Southwest Sales Director for Australian wines, with a few in France, Italy, New Zealand and the U.S. west coast. At Villa Capri 2, he was singing the praises of the signature wines of d’Arenberg from the McLaren Valley of South Australia.The ones that broke through on taste and body were:the 2009 Custodian Grenache ($17.50), the 2010 Footbolt Shiraz($17,50) and the 2009 Cadenza Blend ( Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre( $23.).See more events at

Top Ten Most Booked Restaurants in San Diego

Open Table dot com just came out with their Top Ten voted by subscribers:

#1-Seasons 52 in La Jolla.#2-Cucina Urbana in San Diego.#3-Stone Brewing World in Escondido.#4-Benihana in San Diego.#5-Ruth’s Chris Steak House in San Diego.#6-Jake’s in Del Mar.#7-Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Del Mar.#8-George’s in La Jolla.#9-Vintana in Escondido.#10-The Patio in Pacific Beach.

Wine Bytes

  • Vintana Restaurant Escondido is celebrating its 1 year Anniversary Sun. May 19 starting at 2:30pm.Enjoy wine tasting, hosted Hors d’oeuvres and live music. Meet Executive Chef Deborah Scott.RSVP a must at 760-745-7777.
  • North County Wine Company in San Marcos offers a tasting event from Hendry Napa Valley, Fri. May 17 from 4 to 10pm. Cost is $15. pp.Wine rep Jacquee Renna appears. 760-744-2119.
  • Europa Village Winery in Temecula presents a mystery dinner theatre, “Murder on the Oriental Rug,” Sat. & Sun. May 18 & 19 starting at 6pm.Broadway costumes encouraged.Tickets $59. ea.For RSVP’s contact 951-216-3380.
  • Vin Opera, a wine and music paired dinner happens at Acqua Al 2 on 5th Ave. Gaslamp San Diego, Wed. May 22 at 7 pm.4 course dinner with Italian wines and opera.Cost is $70. RSVP at 619-230-0382.

Frank Mangio is a renowned San Diego wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.View and link up with his columns at Reach him at [email protected].