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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Who is the Best Wine Critic?

When deciding what wine to buy should you listen to professional wine judges, wine writers, and the Internet buzz? Listen, sure. Do what they say, no.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Best of Sonoma County

Every year the local paper has a contest for the "best of" in Sonoma County as voted by their readers. There are various categories from best dog park to best hamburger. You might find some of these useful on your next visit.

Press Democrat Best of 2015

Friday, October 9, 2015

Questions -- and Answers -- on the 2015 Vintage

The Napa Valley Vintners Association answers the questions people have been asking about the current vintage.

Summary: Quality is good, quantity not so good.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Diageo Selling Its Wine Brands?

UK drinks corporation Diageo has several wine holdings in the U.S. including Beaulieu, Chalone, Rosenblum, and Sterling. They are more well known for spirits such as Bailey's, Smirnoff, and Capt. Morgan. Diageo says the wines are only 4% of their sales.

Several years ago Diageo sold the real estate connected to Beaulieu and Sterling in Napa Valley, but retained ownership of the wines via a leasing arrangement with the buyers. Rumors of the sale have been floating around for a few months, but appear to be getting closer to happening.

Monday, October 5, 2015

2015 Sonoma County Harvest Fair

The annual wine judging for the local fruit is followed by a three-day drinkathon, I mean wine tasting event. There are hundreds of wines to try and these are just the gold medal winners!

The set-up at the fair doesn't really allow you to take notes (I would need about four hands to do that) so all I've got is groupings for the best to the not-so-good. I only tasted a small fraction of what was available. Following are my opinions. I only tried reds btw.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Problem with Wine Judging

Judging at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair
Image from

Critics and judges make a living from attempting to tell us what's worth our time and money. They can even rank the products, such as the top ten movies of 2015, the best vehicle for a growing family, or the best wines under $20.

What makes these critics experts on a given subject? Well, they most likely know a lot more about it than you, but does having in-depth knowledge make you a better judge? Possibly not, especially when it comes to more subjective fields like art, music, or wine. Within these subjective areas there probably is a certain level of judging for basic competence in that field. But once past this basic competence how do you pick a top choice for others?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Autumn is the Perfect Time to Visit

Sonoma County in the fall ... is there anything better? Okay, maybe Hawaii in January, but this is a wine blog not a travel site. Where was I.  Oh yeah, there are several reasons autumn is the best season to spend some time here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

2015 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Winners

The Harvest Fair is a yearly professional wine contest open to any grapes grown in Sonoma County. Hundreds of medals are given out. The first weekend of October is a public tasting at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. I'll be there--I never miss it! Here are the winners for 2015.

Searchable database

Spreadsheet PDF

Monday, September 21, 2015

Late September Harvest Update

We are well into September when the harvest should be just getting into full swing.

Yeah well, that was the old days before the California drought. With warm, dry winters and springs the grape cycle starts early and finishes early. It seems like it's earlier every year.