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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Favorite California Sparkling Wines

Since it's New Years Eve I'm in the mood to talk about sparkling wines. For some reason this is about the only time of year Americans drink bubblies--a mistake IMO.

Some of my favorites:

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wine & Food Pairing - Acidity, Salt, Sweet, Fat

There's a lot of mystery concerning what wine you should drink with a certain meal. It can be as simple as white wine with white meats, red with red, but that's too simple to really work. At the other end of the scale it gets too complicated worrying about seasonings, what's in the sauce, and how it was prepared.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Where Does the Most Drinkin' Happen?

According to a study by (?) the booziest city in the U.S. is Austin TX with Santa Rosa (Sonoma County) CA at number two. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Unique/Innovative Wines of Sonoma County

Tired of the same ol' Chardonnay and Merlot off the shelf from the local store? Following are some interesting wines you may want to try. You'll probably have to order from or visit the winery to find them. These wines may be low production and sell out.

Will you love them all? Probably not, but if you're the curious type and want to seek out new things then give it a go!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wine News for 2015

The top wine stories of the year as seen from a California perspective.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sonoma County's Historic Wineries

There are a number of 19th century wineries in Sonoma County still operating today (although all haven't been in continuous operation). Visit the early days of California's wine history!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Grand Theft, Napa Style

Last Monday a "gang of three" hit up a Napa wine shop and made off with $4,000 in twelve bottles of wine (yes, 12 bottles can equal $4k in Napa). Police found a total of 60 bottles of high-end wine in their vehicle and, oh yeah, some narcotics.

Best quote from the news story:
"She (a witness) said she saw the men run out of the store to a getaway car. One of the suspects didn't catch his ride. They took off and they were dragging him as the car was moving." Some friends they are.

Article from KTVU News 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Gallo Expands in Napa Valley

2015 has been a busy year for E&J Gallo. In Sonoma County they've bought J Winery and the old Asti Winery. J is into premium sparkling wine and Pinot Noir. Asti is a large production facility. Gallo is the largest vineyard owner in Sonoma County (with Kendall Jackson a close second).  In Monterey County Gallo bought Talbott Winery with over 500 acres of vineyards.

Next door in Napa Valley Gallo already owns Louis Martini and William Hill wineries plus about a dozen more premium West Coast operations.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Using Wine to Find Friendship Matches

What someone is drinking tells you a lot about what type of person they are. Looking for friendship (or more)? You don't need You can still do it live and in person! This handy guide will help you in social settings. Also, keep this in mind if you're on a first date so you don't make a bad impression!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Truett-Hurst Winery Troubles

You may have heard of Sonoma County's Truett-Hurst Winery. They've done some unusual things for a small winery like going public with an IPO a couple years ago. Their stock has never done well.

Now the partners are taking their problems public with a court battle.

I think the moral of the story is the wine business isn't like other businesses and definitely not like the high tech world.

North Bay Business Journal article on Truett-Hurst from a couple years ago explaining their business.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat article from this week on their troubles.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Food/Wine Pairing for International Cuisines

It's pretty easy to figure out steak and chicken pairings, but when you get into the more "exotic" foods what do you do for wines? These are suggestions; some place to start.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

There will be a lot more wine drinkers in the U.S.

Per Wine Intelligence, a marketing research firm, young American adults and those still in their late teens will lead a large growth in the number of wine consumers in this country. Currently there are 93 million regular wine drinkers (not sure what a "regular" wine drinker is). Their research says in ten years we'll have 109 million. That's a 17% increase.

This is good news for the wine biz, but will it be good for everybody?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Now That Rosé Season is Over What to Drink?

Remember these days?
Warm days of wearing shorts with a glass of chilled wine in your hand are now a distant memory for most. Rosé wines seemed to be the new darling of warm weather beverages, but what do we drink now that things are a little nippy out there?

Wine varieties are seasonal meaning that Rosé doesn't hit the spot so well when it's below freezing any more than a heavy Cabernet on a hot, humid afternoon in August.

So, yes, wine varieties are definitely seasonal. Beer makers put out seasonal beers--lighter, crisper ones in the summer, and heavier, darker beers in the winter. We can go the same route with wine.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Setting and the Situation

The where, when, environment, and circumstances in which you have a glass of wine defines your enjoyment of that wine. The actual setting means everything, not the points or medals earned by the wine, the price of the wine, or where it's from.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Allergic to Sulfites in Wine?

Wine, along with many other foods, contains sulfur compounds. If you know you have a sulfur allergy what do you do? Sulfites occur naturally in many foods plus more can be added as a preservative. Besides wine, sulfites can be found in everything from salad bars to beer to guacamole to bakery items.

A very small percentage of the population has an adverse reaction to sulfur in their food (mainly asthmatics). BTW, there is no known relationship between headaches and sulfur though some people claim they get headaches from it. Who knows, everybody is different. If you can eat raisins or other dried fruit then you don't have a sulfur allergy as these foods are loaded with sulfur to preserve them.

If you do have a sensitivity to sulfites can you still drink wine?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Winter 2015-16 Events in Sonoma County

Major Wine-Related Events for December-March

This is the quiet time of year in the wine country and a great time to visit.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sonoma County's Rural Rebellion

Business is booming in the wine county. The number of visitors is up. Along with that the traffic and the noise levels are up. Some people in the rural areas of Napa and Sonoma are saying "enough."

A few months ago Food Network star Gary Fieri's plans for a rural party palace, I mean winery, were shot down by the county.

Now it's taken a more generic turn with county-wide forums debating the issue. There is a push for more regulation of new wineries.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Preferences of the American Wine Drinker

A recent survey of wine drinkers across the country came up with some interesting results. And it's not always what the premium wine areas like Napa and Sonoma want to hear.

The survey sampled occasional and frequent wine drinkers with a fairly equal split across generations.

Friday, November 13, 2015

How Your Family Drives You to Drink More Wine

Following are some of the many reasons your relatives force you to drink wine even though you wanted to take the night off with a nice cup of tea. Really, it's not your fault.

So here it goes, the top ten reasons your family is driving you to drink wine. And I'll even tell you how much wine each irritation is worth!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What wine with your BK Whopper?

You maybe never gave much thought to drink options at Burger King past a Coke or a milkshake, but somebody at BK has. Why? Fast food joints (and Starbucks) are using alcohol to attract more adults to their businesses.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Top Wine-Producing Countries

Where does all that wine come from? You can figure out that Western Europe and the Americas will have countries in the top ten, but you might not have guessed China.

Friday, November 6, 2015

When you need a hug ... e bottle of wine

Cuz sometimes hugging an iddy biddy 750 ml bottle just won't do.
Wait, there's more! Prepare to groan.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Sutter Home Goes All Classy

Sutter Home Winery, the source of those millions of cases of that white zinfandel stuff, gets as much ribbing from me as anyone for their pink soda pop wine. They probably have their "laughing all the way to the bank" routine pretty well worked out.

This year Sutter Home is donating to send care packages to some of the nearly quarter million troops we have overseas. Every little bit helps when you're away from home during the holidays. Just text HOME to 89800 and they will donate $5 towards the cause for every text received.

Go to Sutter Home for the holidays for all the info

Monday, November 2, 2015

Saving Money on Premium California Wines

It's not so much about finding sales at Costco or great deals at Trader Joe's although this certainly does happen. This is more about what to look for on a label to find the bargains.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Coffee is healthy, too, just like red wine

Over the years research has shown red wine can lower your blood pressure, burn fat, prevent cancer and heart disease, and so on. Now coffee is said to have many health benefits including boosting your brain function (I guess that's like waking you up), improve your mood (ditto), but also lowers your risk of Alzheimer's, dementia, Parkinson's, cancer, and a host of others.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Research Into Curbing Rising Alcohol Levels

Anyone paying attention to the California wine business over the past couple decades knows the biggest difference in wine from then and now relates to the alcohol levels in the wine. Why have alcohol levels increased? Because the resulting style is what many critics, judges, and presumably much of the buying public wants. But there has been push-back. One group is trying to fix this with a long-term study in the vineyards and in the cellar. Wish them luck!

Article from WineLand

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wine Pairing with Halloween Candy

Since you no doubt currently have Halloween candy in your house now here is info on what to drink with it. Milk? Nah. Dr. Pepper? Eew. We're talking adult beverages. Yes, somebody has actually put time and thought into this!

Wine and your favorite Halloween candies.

If you're more interested in beer pairings someone has figured that one out, too.
From Craft Beer & Brewing

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sonoma County for Fall Color

National Geographic published their top ten list of places for autumn color. First on the list is Sonoma County. Sonoma? In California? Yes, oaks, maples, and grape vines. Peak season for the vineyards is the first half of November.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

High-End Wine Prices Heading Up

You a fan of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon? There's a little bad news for your wallet. Several factors are at work controlling the price of wine -- the economy and the grape supply being the biggest. The robust economy is saying raise prices. After a few years of ample grape supply this year's short supply is already saying raise prices (even though most of the 2015 wines won't hit the market for some time).

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Autumn Wines

You mean wines are seasonal? You bet. A big Cabernet on a hot, humid day is no fun. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc when it's below freezing loses something. So besides worrying about matching your wine with your meal you want to consider the weather. I bet you thought choosing a wine would be easy.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

It's Good Times in the Wine Biz

U.S. off-premise wine sales are up. Direct-to-consumer shipping from wineries is up. Wine job listings are up. Sonoma County's unemployment rate has hit an eight year low of 3.8%. U.S. unemployment is 5.1%; California is 5.9%. Sonoma County relies heavily on wine and tourism for jobs.

If there is a downside it seems to be rising premium wine prices. Maybe that's why the biggest growth category is Italian Prosecco, an inexpensive bubbly.

We should toast the good times!  (Hey, I'll use any excuse).

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Coming soon: liquor tasting rooms

You can go to a winery, taste their products, and buy bottles. You can go to a brewery and buy their beer in pints to consume there and maybe fill up a growler or get some bottles to go. California has thousands of wineries and hundreds of craft brewers that can take of advantage of this direct-to-consumer product sales. But distilled spirits makers, no.

Sonoma County has over 400 wineries, about 25 breweries, and less than a dozen small spirits makers, but that's about to change.

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.

Friday, September 18, 2015

How to tell that your wine habit might be out of control

You like fine wine. You love wine, actually. You might obsess over wine. Are you a wine snob? Do you have a wine problem? Here's how to tell.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Lesser Known Wines You Might Want to Try

Everybody knows Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir -- probably Pinot Gris, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and Syrah, too. There are many more obscure wine grapes then there are well-known ones. Following are a few of these unknown wines (unknown to Americans anyway). You may find something you like or you might discover it's no wonder they're not popular.

Sample for curiosity's sake, but at your own risk.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Starving artists, Sonoma County style

A nice article on a couple guys running a small business. It just happens to be a winery in Sonoma. There are dozens of these kinds of people in the wine biz for every Kendall-Jackson or Chateau St. Jean -- from Adrian Fog to Zichichi. You never hear of them or get to try their wines because their output and distribution is so small. That's too bad.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Basic Info on Wine Types, Part 2 (Reds)

The previous post gave some general definitions used to describe wines then related the major types of white wines and how you might use them.

Today we're on to red wines then discuss some other types of wines.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Basic Info on Wine Types, Part 1 (Whites)

There are thousands of wine grape varieties. A couple dozen make up the vast amount of wine sold in the U.S. There are types of wines just like there are different types of apples. Apple varieties all taste different and have different uses like eating, juicing, or baking. It's like that with wines as different varieties are best in different situations.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Benefits of Wine

You've read all the studies saying red wine does this or that for you. 
You have seen some doctor quoted as saying a glass of wine helps digestion, helps you get to sleep, is good for your heart, etc. Well, all that health-related stuff is fine, but let's get right to the point of the true benefits of finishing that bottle.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fall 2015 Events in Sonoma County

It's harvest season and there's lots to see. You can even smell the harvest! Great weather, great wine, great food, and great music.

There are many events going on during the autumn season. Enjoy the bounty of Sonoma County.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Staggering Statistics on the California Wine Industry

The California wine industry is big. How big? We often talk in terms of millions and billions when describing the wine business and its impacts. Some stats follow--mostly taken from The Wine Institute, an advocacy group for the California wine industry.

Friday, August 21, 2015

You Can't Stop Drinking Good Wine, it's Addicting

Once you get hooked it's hard to unplug from the fine wine habit. No, I'm not talking about alcohol addiction here--at least I don't think I am. An abuser is someone with a social/medical problem. People who like good wine are aficionados and that sounds so much better.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Having lunch at a Sonoma County winery

You've got a day of wine tasting planned. Don't forget to plan for lunch. You'd be surprised how many people do. Then about 3 pm they're thinking, "I'm starved!" You want a break from tasting to load up on some food.

Some options in Sonoma County:

Saturday, August 15, 2015

2015 Harvest is Underway!

Social media has been buzzing with the start of the wine grape harvest. Yes, it's early again this year. Following are some pictures taken this morning at Paradise Ridge Winery in the Russian River Valley.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Why we live in Sonoma County

Visiting somewhere and actually living there can be quite different. I know people who have moved to places like Hawaii or Seattle because they were such great places when they visited. Then maybe a couple years later they leave because it wasn't what they thought.

I've been in Sonoma County for 35 years. No, I don't live here because it's cheap. There are things more important than money apparently.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Visiting Sonoma County for the beer, too

Recently there was a nice Wall Street Journal article on the quantity and quality of beers available both at local breweries and at tap rooms in the county. No trip to Sonoma is complete without stopping at some of the famous breweries like Bear Republic, Lagunitas, and Russian River plus some of the smaller, mostly unknown ones, like Plow and Petaluma Hills. There are many tap rooms such as Hop Monk and Sprenger's carrying local beers, other California brews, and beers from all over. You can find hard cider makers, too.

Cooperage, Santa Rosa's newest brewpub
Image from

WSJ article

Brewery, distillery, and cidery listings

Monday, August 10, 2015

Red Wine is the Answer (again)

Don't want to age like granny did? Here is one more potential health benefit to drinking red wine every day. Does it actually work? Don't take a chance! Start your wine regimen today!

Red wine could slow brain ageing

Friday, August 7, 2015

Wine Varieties Go In and Out of Popularity

"Everybody" wants a Pinot Grigio or a Moscato (this year). 

The funny part is that the consumers drinking these wines think they've discovered the way out of the boring ol' Chardonnay and Merlot habit. Well, they're not the first. Wine varieties go in and out of popularity--as do wine styles for that matter. This isn't something discovered by the Millennials, as some believe.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What wine for .....?

Today, August 5th, is National Underwear Day. In the past I've tried to pair the appropriate wine for various national "holidays" like Pizza Day (easy) or Doughnut Day (not so easy).

So, what wine should you serve for National Underwear Day? Well, I'm not sure. I don't recall ever sitting around in my underwear and saying anything like, "Hmm, this Zinfandel isn't quite right. It needs a pair of shorts." If anything I suppose Champagne sounds appropriate. If you're sitting around in your underwear and drinking it's either a celebration deserving sparkling wine or you drink in your underwear every day and may have a problem. We'll say it's the former.

If you're going commando this does not apply to you.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sparkling Red(!) Wine

"Serious" sparkling wines were clear or had a slight salmon color. Then pink bubblies got popular and serious, too (they weren't all sweet and syrupy). How about sparkling red wines? Yes, there is such a thing!

Maybe you remember Riunite Lambrusco, a sweet, syrupy, cheap, slightly bubbly red wine that was very popular 30 or 40 years ago. It's been the butt of jokes amongst the wine snobs. Currently there's a bit of a resurgence for dry, food friendly red sparkling wine.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29th, Nat'l Lasagne Day

Talk about a great holiday! Who doesn't love lasagne? Meaty, cheesy, saucy. So we'll stop drooling over the thought of a hot plate of lasagne and figure out what wine to pair. This one is pretty easy. It's an Italian dish so an Italian-style wine. Or maybe it's not that easy.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Why are some wines so expensive?

What controls the cost of a bottle of wine? They're all fermented grapes so how can some cost five bucks and some $500?  There are many things controlling the cost. Here are some of the major ones.

The interesting part of this to the consumer is some of these factors have no effect of the actual quality of the wine.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Big Boys (KJ & Gallo) are on a Roll

The Big Boys in Sonoma County's wine biz are Gallo and Kendall Jackson. Each owns a big piece of the county's vineyard land plus many wine labels. Some of these wines are Frei Brothers, MacMurray Ranch, Rancho Zabaco, and La Crema.

As of 2013, the most current data I've found, Gallo and KJ were virtually tied as the largest vineyard holders in the county. The top five control 20% of the county's vineyards. Article on vineyard land owners. In the last couple years since this was written both Gallo and KJ have added to their portfolios.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sonoma County, be careful what you ask for (part 2)

Sonoma County's wine business and its related tourism is now two-thirds of the county's $20 billion economy. This growth brings problems.

In yesterday's blog post I talked about the issues in Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Here we cover the most popular wine towns in Sonoma and what the future may hold.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sonoma County, be careful what you ask for (part 1)

Sonoma has long played second fiddle to Napa Valley. Sure, there was some jealousy, but it definitely ignited the competitive spirit that drives businesses to succeed. Sonoma County's wine business and its related tourism has definitely succeeded. In 2012 two-thirds of the county's $20 billion economy was wine and wine tourism. As the overall economy improves this is only going up.

With success comes issues.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The 2015 grape-growing season

Ah, the life of a farmer. Grape growers are no different in that they pay attention to the weather a lot. What does 2015 look like so far in the North Coast area and what might be coming?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Average Napa Valley Visitor is Loaded

They're tipsy? Maybe. More likely they are fairly well-off financially. Per a recent study of visitors to Napa the average person:
  • Is 39 years old
  • Has an income of $165,000
  • Spends $480 a day

Monday, July 13, 2015

The wine grape life cycle

An often asked question is around the seasonal cycle of wine grapes, such as, "When do you harvest?" or "What's that person doing in the vineyards today?" 

Think of the growth cycle for grapes as being similar to other fruits. An apple tree's cycle is: bud break in spring, leafing, flowering, little apples turn into big, sweet apples in the summer, and you pick them late summer to early autumn when they're fully ripe. Ripeness in apples means a good sugar /acid balance for eating or cooking. It's basically the same for grapes.

Friday, July 10, 2015

News from Washington State

Washington may be 700-plus miles north of Sonoma County, but the recent news from America's second biggest wine-producing state is interesting. Washington's wine production has doubled in the last decade. California is still 89% of the market, Washington is a distant second at 4%.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Where to take pictures in Sonoma County

Sonoma County has many beautiful locations. You'll want to visit some of these places just to take in the sights and maybe get some photos. Here are some spots to get those shots.

Monday, July 6, 2015

What Wine for Nat'l Fried Chicken Day?

July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day! It's probably the most American food after burgers and hot dogs. History says Scottish immigrants brought the method of frying chicken to the South.

More importantly, what wine with fried chicken?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sonoma County -- with a view

Scenery is usually a big part of any trip. So where can you eat, drink, drive, hike, and just hang out while soaking up a spectacular view? Luckily, Sonoma County is full of places to do this.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fourth of July Weekend in Sonoma County

Image from
Below are the major happenings all over Sonoma County for the weekend of the Fourth of July 2015. You want fireworks? We've got fireworks!

It's a long weekend so expect crowds at the popular wineries plus in the towns of Sonoma and Healdsburg. Some wineries will be closed on the 4th.

Monday, June 29, 2015

How Your Day of Wine Tasting Will Go

Those lucky enough to live near a wine-growing region have probably spent multiple weekends hitting up the tasting rooms. For those who haven't been too involved in this "hobby" yet here's what to expect. For the regulars you'll recognize this immediately.  Because, you know, there are always regrets when alcohol is involved.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Science Behind Getting a Buzz

There were volunteers who got drunk in the name of science so researchers could study what happens to the body and the brain. Now the scientists know why you get drunk, why you act the way you do when tipsy, and why it feels so bad the next day.

Stomach to small intestines to blood stream to liver to kidneys and what happens to the brain:

Your body and brain when you're drunk

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What your favorite wine says about you

Pretty much everybody has a favorite variety as their go-to wine. Chardonnay is the number one selling wine in the country; Cabernet Sauvignon is number two, and it's been this way for a long time. Let's find out what your favorite wine says about you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Tour of Buena Vista Winery (photos)

Buena Vista in Sonoma is a state historical landmark. It's the first premium winery in California. There had been grapes in the state since the early 1800s, but it was Agoston Haraszthy, the founder of Buena Vista in the mid-1800s, who commercialized and modernized California winemaking.

The winery has gone through numerous owners in the 20th and early 21st centuries and had gotten a little stale. Jean-Charles Boisset, "the flamboyant Frenchman," purchased the estate less than five years ago and has been quite busy restoring Buena Vista to its past glory -- with some French influence.

At the end of May there was an open house letting folks go through and see what's been done. It's something else!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Wine Troubleshooting Guide

Here's a handy chart to use when you have a problem drinking (that's different than a drinking problem).

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Restaurants at Wineries

A recent Wine Enthusiast article asked why there aren't more restaurants on-site at wineries.

Many already hold special events during the day or at night (including weddings), have food and wine pairings, movie nights, music (even full-on concerts), food trucks, etc.

The question becomes, when does agricultural zoning become commercial? Is it a winery selling goods produced by them or is it a multifaceted commercial and entertainment venue?

Article from the Wine Enthusiast.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Off the Beaten Path in Napa and Sonoma

  Traveling to parts of Sonoma County and especially Napa County can yield a not-so-relaxing trip as roads can be jammed along with the tasting rooms and restaurants. How do you avoid the large crowds? When you travel is important as mid-week and the off-season have much smaller crowds. But you can't always control when you go so where should you go?

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Ten Steps to Learning About Wine

We all like to learn new stuff. Maybe we don't like to learn hard things like Calculus, but we're okay with learning fun things like a new dance, the latest gossip about a celebrity, or something really enjoyable like alcohol.

Learning about wine is not the sleigh ride you thought it might be. It's more of a roller coaster--it has ups and downs, can be scary, and might even make you sick!

Here we go with the ten step program, your journey learning about wine.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Explaining the Russian River Valley

Very nice article from the Wine Enthusiast breaking down the various areas of the Russian River Valley appellation. Commentary by the people who grow the fruit and make wine from here. Essentially they're saying it's made up of lots of different soils and climates so the wines aren't all the same.

Making Sense of the Russian River Valley

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Oh oh, the next frontier of wine pairing?

According to the cannabis crowd wine and cheese and even beer and food pairings are passé. The next frontier is weed and wine. Oh boy, in case you're not buzzed enough you'll want to have a nice Pinot or Cabernet with your weed. So do we have different wine pairings for a joint vs. pipe vs. vaporizer vs. bong? This is getting way complicated, especially if you're already stoned.

If you Google "wine and weed" you'll find lots of folks talking about this, mostly in Colorado, of course. 

It was much easier when the pairing was a bag of Doritos and a liter of Dr. Pepper.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Best Sonoma County Wineries to Visit

It's tricky coming up with a "best" list for anything--what's the best restaurant, what's the best new car, etc?  It comes down to how you define "best."

Having put in that disclaimer here are a few lists from various professional writers on the subject. None will exactly match my top ten list, but then I'm not even sure what my list would look like.

I get asked often, "Where should we go?" and I don't have a standard answer. I usually ask things like, "what are you looking for?" or even "what direction are you heading?" Most times I don't get an answer because they haven't figured out what they're looking for in a winery experience. If there was really one best then the rest of them would probably be out of business, right?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Whoa. Pennsylvania Attempts to Move Into the 20th Century!

The home of weird liquor laws is attempting to join the rest of the world -- if only with a small step. Legislation has passed allowing citizens to have wine shipped directly to their home! OMG, can you imagine the potential abuse! No, neither can I.

Currently you must have it shipped to a state-controlled liquor store. Why? Because the taxpayers of PA apparently can't be trusted with alcohol without the gov't looking on.

It's not law yet, but the bill got through the state's House of Representatives easily.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Summer Evenings in Sonoma County

Occasionally I hear from visitors, "What's there to do around here at night?" So what is there to do in Sonoma County after the winery tasting rooms close (usually about 5 pm)?  Here are some ideas for the summer of 2015.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

What Wine for National Hamburger Day?

I didn't realize we had a "holiday" for burgers, but why not? It's the most American food there is (along with hot dogs) so we should celebrate the burger. May 28th is National Hamburger Day! I happened to find out about burger day by reading an online news article ranking the best burgers. They picked Burger King as #1.

So never mind that, let's just check out what wine you should sip with your burger.

Visiting Napa / Sonoma this summer? Hints for your trip

If you're visiting any of coastal California wine regions you're going to have a great time! This is a bit more focused on Sonoma and Napa counties, but will apply to a wine country visit up and down the coast.

To make your trip even better here is some basic info to help you plan.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The most expensive place for summer vacation lodging?

Sonoma Valley ranks #1 in the U.S. -- kind of a dubious honor. Next door in Napa the average room
rate is "only" $338 while Sonoma Valley is $417 a night! Why? It's simply supply-and-demand. The location of the town of Sonoma makes it very popular. Plus tourism is up as the economy improves.

This is for summer hotel costs. Martha's Vineyard still ranks as the most expensive vacation destination overall.

Article on hotel stays.

Note this is Sonoma Valley, not the whole county of Sonoma. The lesson here is to stay in Santa Rosa, for instance, about 30 minutes drive time from Sonoma. Or visit out of season.

Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25th, National Wine Day

May 25th is National Wine Day not to be confused with February 18th, National Drink Wine Day.

What's the significance and, more importantly, can we still actually drink wine even though that holiday was three months ago?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend Wines

It's a three-day weekend! This is traditionally the time to fire up the grill and invite the neighbors and family. It is about grilled meats like steaks, ribs, and burgers. So what about the wines? Glad you asked. There are many choices because of different circumstances,  the food prep, and even the weather all come into play.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Vineyard maps

Want to see where your wine came from? Or maybe just cruise through Dry Creek Valley? There's a website called Everyvine with satellite maps of vineyards and even grape varieties in some cases. The site is still in Beta and new info is being added all the time. There are also overhead views of wineries. This started as a Sonoma County project, but has grown into other regions of California and some other West Coast areas.

Here's a picture of Gallo's "tank farm" in Sonoma County. Yes, they're big!

Happy browsing! Everyvine

Article on the site from Wired

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sonoma County Appellations: All the rest

All the major appellations in Sonoma County have been covered here over the past couple weeks beginning with the Russian River Valley back in late April. Appellations are gov't recognized grape growing regions like Russian River Valley or Napa Valley. So far we've talked about Alexander Valley, Carneros, Dry Creek Valley, Rockpile, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, and Sonoma Valley.

Here's a brief look at the smaller, and less well-known grape growing regions of the county. Many of these are sub-appellations meaning they are a smaller region that is contained within one or more other grape growing appellation.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Beer, Cider, and Spirits in Sonoma County

Some nice folks have put together an interactive map of "the other alcohol" available in Sonoma County. Business is booming with new breweries, cideries, and spirits makers opening up daily or so it seems!

Map from

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sonoma County Appellations: Carneros

Los Carneros, as it's officially known, means "the rams" in Spanish going back to the time when this region was home to many sheep ranches along with dairy farms.

On the map you'll see it sits in southern Sonoma and Napa Counties near the cool waters of the San Pablo Bay. The Carneros appellation (grape growing region) is noteworthy in that it was first laid out based on the  uniqueness of the region rather than political boundaries. That is, it's the first appellation to cross into two counties.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sonoma County Events -- Summer 2015

Following are some of the bigger wine-focused and non-wine events for the summer in Sonoma County, California.

Come by and see us!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sonoma County Appellations: Alexander Valley

Sonoma County's Alexander Valley is known for Cabernet Sauvignon. You'll also find first-rate Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, and even Petite Sirah.

AV's best feature is its location, not just for wine grapes, but for visiting. It's right outside the town of Healdsburg, but still has that laid-back charm that was more common years ago in the wine country. In case you ever wondered what Napa Valley was like a few decades ago when it was just gaining popularity, it was a lot like what Alexander Valley is today--relatively undiscovered.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wine Festivals, or I See Drunk People!

Wine and beer festivals and related events usually have about the same format. You pay one price for entry and there are many alcoholic beverages to sample over a set number of hours.

Sonoma County's most famous (or maybe infamous) wine event is the three-day Barrel Tasting event in March. You pay one price for the weekend with a hundred wineries participating. You drive between the tasting rooms where you are offered several wines at each. In some peoples' minds it can be sort of a contest to visit as many wineries as possible to get your money's worth. This is just one of many events like this throughout the year.

Unlimited alcohol has the potential for disaster.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sonoma County Appellations: Sonoma Valley

Sometimes folks get Sonoma Valley and Sonoma County confused. Over in Napa the valley and the county actually cover almost the same area of land. Sonoma Valley is one of many appellations in Sonoma County. It's in the southern part of the county and is bordered by the appellations of Carneros, Sonoma Coast, and Napa Valley plus contains the town of Sonoma.

There's lots of history as you'll hear words and names like General Vallejo, Jack London, Bear Flag Revolt, and California Republic tossed around.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sonoma County Appellations: Sonoma Coast

This grape growing area (appellation), should be easy to figure out. It's on the Sonoma Coast, right? Every time a new appellation is proposed there is some controversy. In this case it seems to have some logic behind the complaints and confusion.

Note on the map where the Sonoma Coast appellation runs down the Pacific coast the entire length of Sonoma County. Then something funny happens as it goes inland north of Santa Rosa and down the Marin County line to San Pablo Bay (San Pablo empties into San Francisco Bay). A good part of Sonoma Coast is up to 20 miles inland.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30th. National Honesty Day

Luckily for us there's only one day a year we are expected to be truly honest. I guess that means there will be no used car transactions on this day...

Honesty Day was made the last day of April because the first day of the month is about lying--April Fools Day. When it comes to buying wine let's be truly honest here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Visiting Wineries? Tasting To-Dos

There are various recommendations of tasting room etiquette and what not to do when you go wine tasting, including a recent one from me. Let's focus on the positive here with what you should do.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sonoma County Appellations: Rockpile

Maybe you've heard of Sonoma Valley, Russian River Valley, and possibly Dry Creek Valley. Not many people know about Rockpile in the far northwest of Sonoma County. If you haven't had wine from here you are missing out on something special. Rockpile is home to some of the best red wines around.

Near the top of the map you'll find little ol' Rockpile.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A different take on organic farming

From a NY State farm organization (not sure who's behind it) saying organic farming just may not be the healthy alternative you were expecting. Food for thought.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sonoma County Appellations: Dry Creek Valley

The Dry Creek Valley appellation (legally designated wine-growing region) sits in northern Sonoma County about 20 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. There is a unique interaction of the soil, climate and history that drives the people to make some remarkable wines.

This is the "world headquarters" for America's most underrated wine -- Zinfandel. In DCV it always seems to come back to the Italian heritage and Zinfandel.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April 23rd is Take a Chance Day

Yes, there is an official goofy "holiday" called Take a Chance Day. What's this got to do with wine? Well, use this excuse to try something new and risky. Maybe buy a Sangiovese, find a Yakima Valley Merlot, or even splurge on a $50 Cabernet to see if it's really better than the $15 stuff.

Maybe you want to find something to drink with dinner on the 24th, Pig in a Blanket Day.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sonoma County Appellations: Russian River Valley

Sonoma County has many legally designated wine-growing regions (appellations). Some are well-known like the Russian River Valley, some maybe not so well known like Moon Mountain. Here we'll talk about the Russian River Valley appellation. There really were Russians! Then there was lumbering of old growth Redwoods then dairy and apples and now world-famous wine grapes.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

First Sip Wines vs. Second Glass Wines

Some wines are great on that first sip--right from the beginning they tickle your palate. What happens when you get to the second glass of a wine? That's where it gets interesting as great first sip wines and great second glass wines are always the same.  Huh?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Reasons to Vacation in Sonoma County

Eating, drinking, hiking, kayaking, biking, driving--it's all first-class here in Sonoma County. Following are a few of the reasons we should be on your short-list of vacation spots.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Grapevines and Water

Water conservation is the hot topic in California and the farmers are in the middle of the conversations.

Most all modern vineyards are irrigated. Many older vineyards are dry farmed. Why?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Visiting Napa? Ideas on where to go

There's a question that gets asked a lot by visitors--which wineries should I visit?

There are hundreds of choices in Napa Valley and next door in Sonoma County. Yeah, this is a Sonoma blog, more or less, but Napa is right over the hill and everybody has to go to Napa at least once.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Western Drought

A few days ago the Small Business Administration approved low-interest loans to help with relief from the drought in Oregon. In March the governor of Washington declared a drought in three different regions of the state. Much of the West is experiencing a severe drought, but you hear mostly about California because of the number of people affected and the agricultural impact on the entire country.

Monday, April 6, 2015

California's Drought and Your Wine

California's historic drought has been in the news for awhile. Recently there has been a lot more press because of the governor's mandatory water cutback plans. What does this mean for agriculture and wine grapes in particular? Not much as it turns out.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Red Wine vs. White Wine Drinkers

We have some who say they drink only red wine. We have white wine only drinkers. And we have bi (those that will drink anything put in front of them especially if someone else is buying). There are those who will occasionally cross over and try a Merlot or a Chardonnay to be sure they still don't like the other side (bi-curious).

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Barefoot Wines -- a success story

Barefoot Wines has continued to grow even in a somewhat sluggish U.S. market. They hit 17 million cases of wine sold last year. Did you know they were owned by Gallo, the largest wine company in the world? Therein lies the reason for their success.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Arsenic in Wine--The Lawsuit

Some people are alarmed by recent testing showing some inexpensive American wines have high levels of arsenic. Before you dump your Sutter Home down the drain you should read this article from Forbes.

Of most interest, the people filing the lawsuit happen to have a company that will gladly test the arsenic levels in wine. Creating ones own demand? Maybe.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Visiting Wineries with Kids

You want to visit wine country in the worst way, but you have those little anchors. How do you keep everybody happy? It depends on the ages and number of the little darlings. I'll divide up the ideas below based on younger and older children. Visiting with a baby? You'll have to take turns babysitting while your spouse tastes. The best idea, of course, is to leave them with grandma.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Genetically Engineered Wine

University of Illinois research has produced genetically engineered yeast that will reduce the toxins that cause hangovers. The researchers say they can increase the health benefits by adding more resveratrol plus figure out how to make it taste better.

A win win wine. It sounds too good to be true!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Best Drives, Highway 128

I recently saw an online article from Yahoo Travel (I know what you're thinking, someone actually reads Yahoo)? Anyway, it listed the seven best under-the-radar vacation drives in the U.S. So they stayed away from roads like the Pacific Coast Highway and the Blue Ridge Parkway as these are so well-known, and busy.

Monday, March 16, 2015

SUI, Shopping Under the Influence

We should know better, but lots of people do it. I shop Amazon often and a bit on everything else from Lands End to Walgreens. I love Amazon, but can't recall shopping drunk, but apparently lots of people are guilty of SUI.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Barrel Tasting, Round Two!

It's the second weekend for the Wine Road's Barrel Tasting event on March 13-15, 2015. This covers the appellations of Russian River, Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys at nearly 100 wineries. The first weekend of this event is always the busiest so this second weekend will be a bit calmer. It will be warm, sunny, and the barrel samples will be flowing. What's not to like?

If you can't make it this weekend, next weekend (March 21-22), is Sonoma Valley's version of a barrel tasting.

image from

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wine Makes You Better Looking!

I'm not talking about "beer goggles" where the person doing the drinking thinks everyone around them is beautiful--until the next morning. I mean if you drink wine then you are better looking to others. The caveat is only drink one glass of wine to look your best.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sonoma's Best Wine?

  There are many grape varieties grown in Sonoma County--Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Zinfandel are the top five. So what do we do best? By "we" I mean the folks that actually do all the work growing and making the wine. I just drink it--as should you!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring 2015 Events in Sonoma County

It's springtime! A perfect time in the wine country with warming temperatures, vines starting the new year's growth, wildflowers, and lots of exciting events to tempt you.

Here the the major wine events and some non-wine ones.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How to buy an inexpensive bottle of wine

Not everyone wants to spend twenty-five bucks or more for a bottle of wine. Maybe it doesn't make sense to spend that much if you're serving it with grilled burgers. If it's a gift maybe you don't like the person that much.

So if you want to shop in the ten-to-twenty dollar range how do you pick something?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Impact of Wine on Sonoma County's Economy

We'll actually start with the craft beer market as this is all the rage now. The big guys in Sonoma County are Lagunitas, Russian River, and Bear Republic breweries. Per a recent article in the Press Democrat in 2013 the craft beer industry added $170 million to the local economy, a 25% increase from the year before. Seems pretty substantial, until you see wine's impact.

In 2012 wine-related tourism was a $1.25 billion industry in Sonoma County and that's double from 2005. The total economic impact is estimated at $13 billion according to The North Bay Business Journal. Two-thirds of the county's gross product is from wine. This is from wine making, vineyards, labor, wine making equipment like barrels, construction, tourism, etc.

BTW, Napa also reports a $13 billion wine economy. For the entire state it's over $60 billion.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Barrel Tasting, Here it Comes!

Sonoma County's version of March Madness is three weekends of special events coming out of wine barrels! The first two weekends are the Wine Road Barrel Tasting in northern Sonoma County (Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valleys). The third weekend is Sonoma Valley's turn with Savor Sonoma Valley.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Guy Fieri, Fountaingrove, and Petaluma Gap

There have been several newsworthy events in Sonoma County this week already--and it's only Wednesday!

One involves Guy Fieri, the others concern new appellations.

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Professional" Wine Tasting Tips

I suppose if there was a certification for "professional tasting room visitor" I would easily pass the test. Wine tasting is actually pretty simple: You find a winery tasting room, you go in and probably pay a small fee to taste several wines, and maybe buy something to take home.  But there are some pro tips I can pass along to make it most enjoyable.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The 2014 Grape Harvest was a Big One

The '14s are in the barrel or even in the bottle. The numbers for the West Coast are coming in on the size of the wine grape harvest and it's large. Note that quantity and quality aren't always the same though the weather seemed pretty close to ideal for a high-quality harvest throughout the West.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

What Wine for International Flirting Week?

Yes, there is such a thing as Flirting Week, and why not? And it should be a whole week because one day isn't enough. 

You can decide what is a "flirt" for yourself. Is it saying something goofy and positive about someone else's appearance or is it liking every one of their Instagram photos? Should you even be doing this because you already have a Significant Other? Hey, don't ask me, I ain't Ann Landers!

We're here to find out what wine goes with flirting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Who needs a "holiday" for this?

I mean really? Today, Feb 18th, is National Drink Wine Day. If only this were followed by Nat'l Drink Beer Day and Nat'l Drink Tequila Day then we'd have one helluva week!

In a related event, this Sunday, Feb 22nd, is National Margarita Day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to choose what wineries to visit

You've made the decision to visit wine country so now what? There are hundreds of wineries just in Sonoma and adjoining Napa Counties alone. No one can come up with the perfect list for you, but here's a way to narrow your choices. This is Sonoma-centric, but can be applied to anywhere.

Friday, February 13, 2015

American Champagne Labeling

  Most Americans mistakenly define Champagne as any sparkling wine whether it's from the U.S., France, Italy, Spain or elsewhere. Huh? Isn't it all Champagne? Well, no. It's a "Champagne-style wine" maybe. The American wine industry in the past has freely used place names from Europe as the names for wine styles. Champagne, Chablis, Burgundy, and Port are actually wines from those places in Europe.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What's the Best Wine?

People want to ask the "experts" in a field what's best. What was the best movie of 2014? What's the best new car? Or what's the best wine?  That is, what should I be drinking? I thought I'd touch on this subject because I often get asked what is the best or at least what is my favorite wine.

Fair question, but a question no one can answer but you.

Monday, February 9, 2015

What Wine for Nat'l Pizza Pie Day?

February 9th is National Pizza Pie Day -- not to be confused with Nat'l Pizza With Everything Except Anchovies Day, or Nat'l Cheese Pizza Day or Nat'l Pizza With the Works Day. So this is the day to have your pizza customized just the way you like it.

Almost every American has pizza at least once a month. I haven't had one since that wood-oven margarita pizza last Wednesday! Our questions is, of course, what wine with pizza? Well, it turns out this question isn't easy to answer.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What Makes Sonoma County Special for Wine?

The previous blog post talks about why California is so great for wine grapes. Taking that a step further, why is Sonoma County such a perfect place for premium wines? As mentioned in that earlier post climate and soil are the two key ingredients for producing the best wines.

Monday, February 2, 2015

What Makes California Special for Wine?

Ninety percent of the country's wine grapes are grown in California. 
Why is that?  At the inexpensive end are grapes coming from the food basket of the Central Valley. Most people don't realize that nearly three-fourths of the state's wine grapes are grown here. Premium wine grapes are mostly from coastal areas though there are some regions of the inland Sierra Foothills producing excellent wines. Napa and Sonoma Counties each produce only about 4% of the state's wines.

Friday, January 30, 2015

This Week's Wine News

Here's what's happening this week in the world of wine -- with a California focus. There's a lot going on!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Late January in Alexander Valley (photos)

Alexander Valley is in NE Sonoma County
The Alexander Valley in Sonoma County is well known for Cabernet Sauvignon though you'll find everything from Chardonnay to Zinfandel. There are over 40 wineries that call Alexander Valley home. Some of the better known ones are Alexander Valley Vineyards, Clos du Bois, Francis Ford Coppola, Hanna, Jordan, Rodney Strong, Seghesio, Simi, and White Oak.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Santa Rosa, CA. An Underrated Destination

More local accolades! Pretty soon everybody's gonna want to move to Sonoma County. Or at least spend some time visiting (we hope). Condé Nast Traveler recently published a list of "Eight Dark Horse Destinations." Along with places like Ghent, Belgium and Victoria, British Columbia is Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California.

Friday, January 23, 2015

What Does Climate Change Mean to the Wine Consumer?

 Maybe you've heard the concerns about some areas getting too hot to continue to grow grapes by the end of the century. The vast majority of wine drinkers are removed from the actual production of wine and just want to drink it. So what's climate change actually mean to you as a consumer?

 This is a follow-up to an earlier post on climate change and wine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 Wine Prices Forecast

Yes, the economy is picking up, gas prices are down, unemployment is down. What about wine prices? Well, you  knew it wouldn't be all good news.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Wine: The Canary in the Coal Mine for Climate Change

 Discussions of the effects of a warming planet are in the news. Rising sea levels, less salinity in the ocean waters because of melting glaciers, stormy weather, hotter summers, etc. Like all farmers the wine grape growers are worried. Maybe you've heard the concerns about some areas getting too hot to continue to grow grapes by the end of the century. Though hardly as important as your home town being below sea level or having an adequate food supply what happens to wine might foretell the future of agriculture.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Why do Millennials go to wine bars?

Wine bars seem to be very popular especially with the Millennials. This is the group of mostly 20-somethings we're supposed to trust with defining American culture and buying habits. Probably the biggest reason they like wine bars is because they are safe compared to beer bars and the local watering hole. For some reason patrons of wine bars are clean cut, at least middle-class, and usually unarmed.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Is Beer Healthier than Wine?

Red wine is supposed to be heart healthy. A number of experts have said a couple drinks a day is actually better than none at all. The right amount seems to be one-two drinks for women and two-three for men. No, I don't know why women got short-changed here--not sure if it's weight or metabolism or sexism (j/k on that last one). 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Wacky Wine Holders

A search of the Internet finds a few useless, but fun, contraptions for wine bottle storage. Gotta love the creativity.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Best Wineries in America

Everyone likes to publish lists for "the best of" or sometimes "the worst of." Often the ones found on the Internet seem to be just excuses to get you to scroll through pages and pages of their advertisers. Also, how do you define "best?" Awhile ago Forbes published a list of "Best Places to Retire" that included Fargo, ND and Pittsburgh, PA. Huh?

"The 101 Best Wineries in America" from a website called The Daily Meal caught my eye. They claim their best of list is based on quality, consistency, and value. Sounds perfect! Of course, it's also based on opinion. Plus the sampling size is huge--there are over 8,000 wineries to choose from. Not quite as easy as picking the ten best cars, for example.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

You Don't Drink Because it's Healthier?

Think again.

A recent study suggests moderate drinking later if life will help you live longer compared to those who don't imbibe. In fact, even heavy drinkers live longer, on average, than those who don't drink at all.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sonoma County Loses a Wine Pioneer

John Pedroncelli passed away at 89 years old. The Dry Creek Valley property that was to become Pedroncelli Winery was purchased by his family during Prohibition. The land had been planted to Zinfandel at the turn of the 20th century. John took over winemaking after WWII.
Mother Clone Zinfandel

Article on John's passing from the Press Democrat

Timeline of Pedroncelli Winery from their website

Pick up a bottle of their Mother Clone Zinfandel. You'll have a bit of Sonoma County history in your glass.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Dry Creek Valley in January (photos)

Photos on January 2, 2015 in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
Click on a photo to enlarge

Friday, January 2, 2015

Some Wines You Might Want to Try in 2015

Forget the New Year's resolutions to lose weight, find a better job, or get your snotty teenager to like you again ....

Let's have some goals you can really get behind. Here are some wines you may not be too familiar with that may surprise you if you give them a chance.