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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.