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Monday, September 29, 2014

Cliff Lede's Vineyards Rock

Cliff Lede Winery is just over the hill from Sonoma Valley in the Yountville area of southern Napa Valley. They sit right in "Cabernet central" surrounded by wineries like Shafer and Pine Ridge. Cliff Lede gets good reviews, but I admit I've never had one of their wines. Perhaps because in typical Napa fashion tasting costs $25 and up or because their Cabs cost $70 and up. Maybe it's just because there are so many great Cabernet houses in Napa Valley that it's difficult to try them all (a tough problem to have, I know).

Friday, September 26, 2014

Beer News

All the news that's fit to drink.

A compound in hops (and therefore beer) has been shown to have a positive effect on mental abilities. This is from research done at Oregon State University. Interestingly, this worked on younger lab mice, but not so much on older ones. That is, the younger ones that were fed this compound kept their wits about them in old age and didn't do stupid stuff like pull out in heavy traffic and drive 20 mph under the limit, for instance.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Wine Grape Harvest is Wrapping Up!!??

In most years the local grape harvest kicks off in the first part of September and is really going by the end of the month. Often the later-ripening grapes are picked towards the end of October.

Not this year as a few wineries have already finished their harvest just as we officially hit autumn on the calendar.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What to drink for National Cherries Jubilee Day?

September 24th is National Cherries Jubilee Day. It's autumn so fresh cherries are out of season. No, I don't know why this "holiday" isn't in June. The basic recipe consists of sweet cherries, ice cream and brandy. If you really want to do it up right make homemade ice cream and use Cognac. And try not to light the house on fire. So, what wine to pair with this dessert?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Visiting Sonoma County this Autumn?

If you have the opportunity to visit this fall here's a few "not to miss" things. This really is the best time of year to visit Sonoma County. Why? See below.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Petaluma #1, Paris #10

That's Petaluma, Sonoma County, California, population 58,000.

Harper's Bazaar online mag likes lists as they have a whole section on what to wear, what celebrities to be watching, etc. They've just published a list of the top ten fall travel destinations, mostly in the U.S. There's the usual Vermont for fall colors and they added Paris, France to the list just because.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shipping Your Wine Home

When you visit the wine country and buy some bottles of great wines how do you get them safely back home?

There are several alternatives. This is a great article from Inside Sonoma explaining your best options.

What's a vacation without souvenirs? Something you can share later with that special someone or a group of friends is a great way to remember your visit.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Post Earthquake News from Napa

The August 24th earthquake that struck southern Napa Valley was all over the news for a few days with pictures of damage to homes, roads, wineries, and other businesses. What has happened in the weeks after?

Sep 5  Promoters of the popular BottleRock concerts in Napa announce a Sept 25th benefit show. Performers will be mostly local musicians.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Some Wine Trivia

A few things you may not know about wine looking at the history, how things are currently, and what the future may hold.

  • The first reference to a fermented grape beverage was 9000 years ago in China.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Get your beer certificate here!

I don't know what's involved in getting a college-level beer certificate, but you've gotta admit it sounds a whole lot more fun than a degree in macro-economics, for instance.  

Sonoma State University has a Wine Business Program offering degrees and certificates. Their program is for the administrative side of the business rather than wine making. SSU is now offering a beer course next spring from their School of Science & Technology along with assistance from nearby Lagunitas Brewery. At the end you'll get an official certificate in beer! (With Lagunitas involved I smell a final exam in IPA).

It'll look great on the resumé. I assume you won't mind the homework. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Coming Wine Industry Labor Shortage

The U.S. economy is gaining steam although the growth isn't equal across all job categories, of course. The wine industry is in a boom phase and doesn't know where its future workers are going to come from.

You can see the problems coming with the current grape harvest. In the autumn a large bump in staffing is required to process the wine grapes. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

What wine for National Literacy Day?

September 8th is National Literacy Day, but instead of wine how about a beer? I nominate one of these:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Harvest 2014 -- Fast and Furious

And early!

In farming you never know what Mother Nature will give you. For three years we've had early bud break in the spring followed by an early harvest--and a large wine grape crop.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Where the Drinkers Live

An interesting chart from the Washington Post shows beer, wine, and liquor consumption by state. Here's a look at wine consumption:

Heavy drinking in DC explains why not much else gets accomplished in the capital. New Hampshire folks really look like lushes, however their taxes are low so people from neighboring states (aka Taxachusetts) do their buying in NH.

Overall, the West Coast, New England and Florida are the biggest wine drinkers. Much of what you might call the "interior Bible belt" not so much. 

Going to the article in the link below you'll find most of these non-wine drinking states are bigger on beer and hard alcohol except for Utah, of course. Interestingly, the people of North Dakota drink a lot of beer.