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October 2017 Picks

Sans Wine

When Gina Schober and Jake Strover started Sans Wine Co. in late 2015, they knew they wanted to produce single vineyard, single variety and vintage-dated wine, conveniently in a can. The wine is naturally fermented, using fruit from organic vineyards in Lake County and Hopland, sans chemicals and oak. “We used no oak on the three wines. Fermentation and aging took place in steel tanks, as we didn’t want the wines to be overshadowed by oak,” says Co-owner Gina Schober. “It’s important to be honest about winemaking practices and what is (or is not) added into wines during the winemaking process.”

Sans Wine Co. currently offers three varietals: Zinfandel, Rosé of Carignan and Sauvignon Blanc. The granddaughter of a late Lake County Sauvignon Blanc grower, Schober says, “When choosing a white variety to work with, Sauvignon Blanc was a no-brainer.” A 25 year old Sauvignon Blanc vineyard in Lake County surrounded by pear orchards is home to their grapes, as well as The Poor Ranch in Hopland’s 80 acres of head trained, dry farmed, organic red varieties for their Zinfandel and Rosé.

The can concept was born one day as they were driving back to Napa from the Sonoma Coast, along the Russian River. “I know people who don’t drink beer, but love wine and are hindered by drinking wine at the beach, pool or lake because of the glass, weight of the bottles and by needing or forgetting a corkscrew,” says Schober. Creating a product that could be packed alongside beer in a cooler, they made wine drinking accessible for all activities—a trend they believe isn’t going anywhere. “We have a lot of customers buy Sans Wine Co. for parties, weddings and special occasions,” says Schober.

Compared to wine in a bottle, canned wine may have a longer shelf life. “There is no oxygen in the cans like there is in a bottle of wine and no UV light penetration through the cans, both contributing factors to our ability to minimize or completely leave out preservatives or other additives often found in bottled wine,” says Schober.

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The Friendly Rum

Sips like a whiskey, parties like a rum—That’s the motto for Siddiqui, a Windsor based distiller that produces a Middle Eastern inspired rum. Siddiqui, meaning “my friend,” was born out of the sands of the Middle East by American Oil Drillers from Texaco and Standard Oil of California. It was their secret code word for moonshine after it was outlawed in 1952.

Owner Nigel Brown grew up in Saudi Arabia, where his father produced and served underground Siddiqui in his home, under the name “Mike’s English Pub,” along with other expats. Brown moved to the U.S. in 1995 and began the Siddiqui rum brand in 1993 in Windsor. “Windsor’s proximity to the Bay Area offers convenience and practicality for start-ups with the availability of production and equipment supplies. Its thriving economy makes it a great hub,” says Brown.

Siddiqui is high quality, so don’t expect a headache. “High quality alcohol typically does not produce hangovers. Hangovers are caused by impurities in alcohol or consuming too many sweet mixers. Siddiqui is highly distilled to 189-proof, then cut with highly filtered water and maturated on a special wood. Nothing extra is added,” says Brown. “The simple things in life are usually the best, from food to alcohol.”

Siddiqui Rum can be enjoyed both neat, on the rocks or in your favorite cocktail. “My favorite drink is Sid & Ginger. It’s incredibly refreshing and just the perfect blend of smoke, citrus and ginger. My girlfriend prefers it straight up,” says Brown.

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