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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.