The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2014

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Page 48 of 108

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH FRED DAME Fred Dame, MS, with Peter Donkonics III at Station Casinos' new Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park, CA. A Conversation with Peter Donkonics III Corporate Wine Director, Stations Casinos photos by John Curley Fred Dame: Well Peter, here we are at Station Casinos' beautiful new Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park, California. I guess we're not in Las Vegas anymore . . . Peter Donkonics: It's a little piece of Vegas in California alright. We just opened November 5. Our gorgeous entertainment venue includes 3,000 slot machines, a poker room and 13 restaurants including our fine-dining steakhouse, called 630 Park, which houses a spectacular wine collection. Fred: I can't believe how busy it is at 11 a.m.! I might think I'm in Las Vegas. So tell me about the wine list. Peter: From a list perspective, this is probably the hardest list I've had to write in the last ten years. The real difference I've noticed is that when in you're in Vegas, you are getting people from all over the world. So you can select wines from pretty much anywhere you want and find an audience: Bordeaux, Italy, Spain. But here in Sonoma, we wanted to focus our wine offerings on a selection that covers Napa and Sonoma. After several trips spending time talking to all the local wineries and winemakers, I found out what the locals like to drink. Fred: Is it their preference by region or by varietal that you found surprising? Peter: Varietal for sure. At our Station Casinos steakhouses in Las Vegas I have two Sauvignon Blancs. Here in Rohnert Park I have nine. Fred: You tend to think of Sonoma in terms of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Peter: Oh yes, and we have plenty. I had to work extra hard to get the alloca48  /  the tasting panel  /  january 2014 TP0114_034-65.indd 48 12/19/13 9:28 PM

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