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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cocktails Anyone?

 The spirits business is booming in Sonoma County. From the local paper, the Press Democrat, a current listing of what is being produced and who has a tasting room.

 Guide to Distilleries

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Problem with Zinfandel

If ever there was a California wine made in a multitude of styles it is Zinfandel. This can be good or bad depending on how you look at it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

About Zinfandel

Zinfandel is a fascinating wine in that discovering its origin wasn't easy (and was a surprise). And with the different styles available from sweet and pink to lush and fruity to elegant and age-worthy there's something for everyone.

Zinfandel has been called America's grape.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Where to Go for Zinfandel in Sonoma County

Ah Zinfandel. It's been called America's grape. Sonoma County arguably is the birthplace of America's grape as a premium varietal. Within Sonoma County Dry Creek Valley is Zin Central so we'll go there for our Zinfandel tasting.  You will also find great Zinfandel from Alexander Valley, Rockpile, Russian River Valley, and Sonoma Valley within the county, but Zin sampling will be more concentrated in Dry Creek.

Friday, December 16, 2016

A love/hate relationship with Pinot Noir

Both producers and consumers have a love/hate relationship with Pinot Noir. Making it and buying it gives people fits.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

About Pinot Noir

  Pinot Noir is one of the most prized wines in the world. It's also a bit difficult to grow and to make. This means relatively high prices for Pinot Noir as compared to most other reds.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Where to Taste Pinot Noir in Sonoma County

Pinot Noir is the current "in grape" for many California wine lovers. Lots of Pinot has been planted in the state over the last ten years. You'd think this would help hold prices down, but that doesn't seem to always be the case.

Sonoma County's Russian River Valley is very well known for Pinot Noir along with the "old guard" Carneros region and the "up-and-coming" Sonoma Coast growing area. Russian River Valley is the place to concentrate your visit as there is a lot more Pinot available compared to the other regions in the county.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Service in the Wine Country Not So Great?

Have you visited the area this past year or are you planning a visit? Has the customer service at a hotel, restaurant or winery not been up to the standards you'd hoped? If you have had experienced this you might wonder why a region dependent on tourism wouldn't be at their best.

It's the economy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Joint Venture?

Wine and the newly legalized cannabis industries in California were looking at ways to help each other out at a recent industry gathering in Santa Rosa. Experience with tasting rooms, tours, and food pairing are all ways the wine folks think they may be able to help the marijuana folks. 

Apparently, at some time in the near future you'll be able to visit Sonoma County to tour wineries, breweries, distilleries, and now marijuana tasting rooms (or whatever they'll be called). About all we're missing now are guns and prostitution.   LOL

Article from the Press Democrat

Friday, December 2, 2016

Why You Should Pour Another Glass of Wine

Feeling guilty about having another glass just because you have to go to work tomorrow, or because it's already tomorrow?  There are a lot more reasons to pour another than there are reasons to worry about snoring at your desk the next day. It's healthy, it makes you better looking, you can dance better, and the list goes on.

So here are the reasons to keep on drinkin'

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Taste and Smell (and Wine)

Our sense of smell is able to recognize thousands of odors even if they're very faint. We have millions of olfactory sensors in our nose. Of the five senses (smell, taste, hearing, sight, touch) we remember smells the longest.

By comparison, our sense of taste is very rudimentary.  How does this all play into enjoying wine?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Wine & Coffee

As the joke goes, "Take the bench coffee. Wine, you're up."  But this is more about the similarities
between the two industries.

I first realized this when visiting the Big Island of Hawaii several years ago. It's home to the famous Kona Coffee area. As the Kona Coffee Council says, the area has the right combination of sunshine, rainfall, and volcanic soil. Sounds like a promotion for a wine region.

Many of the little coffee companies have a tasting room--just like wine regions. As we're approaching one I heard the host tell other guests, "This one got 95 points!" Well, we've all heard this before.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Live from Sonoma, California

Check out the happenings on the historic Sonoma Plaza from this webcam


If your timing is right you'll see one of my sons walking to work  :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wine Varietals: Out With the Old, In With the New

Napa and Sonoma don't seem to have a lot of variety in what they grow. Napa means Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay; Sonoma means Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the cooler areas and Cabernet and some Zinfandel in the warmer regions. There are sizable plantings of Merlot, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc, too.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mechanical Harvesting in Sonoma/Napa

Part of the romance of the Wine Country has to do with the amount of manual labor put into making your wine. People out in the hot sun pulling individual leaves; people out in the vineyard at 3 am to cut each grape cluster lovingly off the vine; young maidens stomping the grapes ...

In the future most of the vineyard work may be done by machine.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Winemakers Drinking Beer

A new Podcast features various winemakers drinking some of their favorite beers. The first one is the winemaker from Kokomo Winery in Dry Creek Valley at the Bear Republic Brewery in Healdsburg. 

After a lot of intro stuff the fun begins about seven minutes in.

Winemakers Drinking Beer – podcast

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thanksgiving Wines from Sonoma County

That Great American Holiday of overeating is here. The good news is wine aids conversation and digestion. In fact, it's been found that one kind of fat found in dark turkey meat, malonaldehydes, when combined with a glass of Cabernet or Syrah, was eliminated from the blood stream! (I always believe the good news studies).

So here we go with a list of wines you might look for to pair with that turkey dinner. The traditional turkey dinner calls for white wines and lighter reds.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Assumptions Made by Wine Drinkers

This isn't about the person who buys an occasional bottle at the supermarket, but about the more regular wine drinker--the person who considers themselves a bit of an expert. We've all made these mistakes. We've all bought one wine over another because we liked the label better.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November photos

November 9, 2016 in Bennett Valley and Sonoma Valley.

Bennett Valley isn't a well-known grape-growing area. It is primarily about Chardonnay, Merlot, and Syrah. The first wine grapes were planted here during the Civil War.

Sonoma Valley is much larger and established in the minds of wine drinkers. It is a 17 mile long valley with over 75 winery tasting rooms. Bennett Valley has one tasting room open to the public (Matanzas Creek).

Friday, November 4, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #14 -- Miscellaneous Stuff

A series of posts on visiting winery tasting rooms.
This one contains a few basic items to make your trip more enjoyable.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Sonoma Restaurants with Views

Sonoma County is full of excellent restaurants. It's also full of great views of mountains, valleys, vineyards, and the Pacific Coast. Where can you put the two together?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sonoma County's Growing Beer Scene

In the last couple decades Sonoma County's booming wine tourism business has become an integral part of the area's economy. We're actually finding people coming for the beer, too, and that's expected to grow significantly in the next few years.

Areas like San Diego, Portland, OR, and Denver/Ft. Collins, CO are destinations for beer drinkers as they have concentrations of 50 or more breweries in a small area. Sonoma County isn't at that scale, but is rapidly increasing the number of craft breweries.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Another Reason Sonoma County is Special for Wine Grapes

An interesting article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat on what makes one little patch of Sonoma County a special place for wine grapes from a man who knows the area like the back of his hand.

It's all about the geology according to Brian Shepard of the Jack London Ranch. Sonoma County had a violent past and that's why we make premium wines now.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #13 - Going wine tasting for the first time

Visiting winery tasting rooms for the first (or second) time? What should you expect? How should you act? There's nothing to fear -- it's really easy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bargain Merlot and Pinot Noir

From Food & Wine, "Best American Wines $15 and Under: Merlot and Pinot Noir." This is worth sharing, especially when trying to find a decent Pinot at a decent price.

While I haven't had any of these specific wines (yet) I've had other wines from these producers or had these wines from past vintages. They are all well-respected labels so give them a look!

Food & Wine article

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sonoma Valley in October (photos)

From October 21st along Highway 12 in Sonoma Valley. There's autumn color in most vineyards.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #12 - Rephrasing Your Questions

Part of a series of tips for visiting winery tasting rooms.

You should always ask questions about wine and the general area when visiting the local tasting rooms. Learning is what it's all about. However, a lot of the questions asked are a bit too generic to receive an adequate response. Imagine visiting a new car dealership and asking things like, "What's your best car?" or "Which is the best dealership in town?" or "What's your favorite car?" Sounds funny, but similar things get asked in a winery tasting room. Lets rephrase those questions to be more specific and get you the answer you want.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Best of Sonoma County 2016

Each year the local paper sponsors a reader vote for the best of Sonoma County. This covers multiple areas from best florist to best beer.

The full list

Following are the more important categories for visitors.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Five Stages of Wine Grief

Wine has a life span that is sometimes tragically cut short. Wine changes during its life going from youthful and exuberant to old and crotchety.

Normal people can become wine geeks, and believe me, their relationship with wine will never work out as hoped.

This all leads to the five stages of wine grief.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Best Sonoma County Winery for ...

Here's a question that comes up a lot from visitors: What winery should I go to? Or what's the best winery? Can't answer that, but I can give you some ideas based on certain criteria.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #11 - Tipping

Should you leave a tip for a tasting room person? Some people assume they should as you would in a bar, some never consider doing this, others are confused and will ask if they're supposed to tip. Ten years ago you never saw tipping at a winery's tasting bar, but the times they are a changin'.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Wine Tasting Do's and Don'ts

A list of things to do and maybe not do while out wine tasting. Sometimes humorous, from the sometimes goofy local paper, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

25 Do's and Don'ts

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Great Beer Makes Great Wine

There's a saying in the wine country, "It takes a lot of great beer to make great wine" as the crew puts in long, hard days during the harvest and needs to keep hydrated. Thank goodness for the explosion of craft breweries as I recall being in a small liquor store in Healdsburg a couple decades ago around Labor Day and remember seeing a whole wall of the store stacked to the ceiling with cases of Budweiser. The choices now are so much better.

Our most famous local brewery, Russian River Brewing, puts out a seasonal low alcohol beer called Great Beer / Great Wine calling it the winemaker's session ale.

Here's a look at the beverage of choice for a few local wineries from Sonoma Magazine.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Should You Age Your Wine?

Probably not. As least not in the typical sense of laying a wine down for many years.

A question that comes up with red wines is, "How long should I age it?" There are a lot of factors going into answering this. The biggest issue is with people thinking in terms of five or ten years or more. More often than not people will be disappointed.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sonoma County Harvest Fair 2016

This is an annual wine judging for any wine from grapes grown in Sonoma County (that is, the winery could be somewhere else). There are the usual gold, silver and bronze medals given, plus Best of Class and Sweepstakes wines. Almost every wine entered won something. And as is often the case I didn't agree with a lot of the judging. Guess that tells me I'd be a lousy wine judge.

Only gold medal wines were poured, but there were hundreds available so I only tasted a small sampling. Almost everything I tried was red.

Here are my favorites:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sonoma County Wine Regions You Should Know About

Everyone has a different level of knowledge about California wine, specifically wine regions. Everybody has heard of Napa Valley and probably Sonoma. While you can picture a valley for Napa it's hard to have a visual of what Sonoma is exactly -- a valley, a hillside, a mountain top, a sandy river bottom, volcanic rock? Well, yes, to all of those.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #10 - Courtesy

Common courtesy. It seems like a non-controversial subject. But you get a little alcohol in you and sometimes the common sense isn't what it should be. Or sometimes people just don't understand.

So I'm here to learn yah   :)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #9 - Open-mindedness

Preconceived notions -- we all have them. They can be based on the opinions of others who've influenced you or can be based on your own experiences with wine and wine tasting. Maybe you want to leave them at home.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Beatles sing-along, "All you need is ..."

Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

Not what you were expecting? Me neither--at one time. Pretty much everyone has their favorite kinds of wines. Usually that's based on style, price, or how you enjoy the wine (the setting). You might be mostly a Chardonnay and Cabernet drinker as these are the two most popular wines in the U.S. I find that Pinot Noir and Zinfandel satisfy most occasions for opening a bottle.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Beer Funnies

Yeah, I know, this is supposed to be a wine blog. Whatever. We're having a hot weekend for the end of summer so I'm thinking about beer.

I call it, beer truths

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #8 - How to Taste

You'd think it would be simple. Sure you can just tilt up the glass and swallow. However, if you follow these few tips you'll get a whole lot more enjoyment out of each wine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Red Wine Headache

Do you get red wine headaches? It's not from sulfur compounds. Yes, wine labels have to say "contains sulfites" so most figure that's why the wine bothers them. Wines contain lots of other compounds, too.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Storybook Love of Zinfandel

Maybe you haven't even heard of Storybook Mountain Winery. They're pretty small. It's just another reason I'm glad I live where I have access to so much great wine.

image from
Storybook is celebrating 40 years in the business. It's a family business. They are just over the hill in Napa County very close to the county line with Sonoma. Part of what makes their wines so great is probably the cool ocean air that spills over the mountains from Sonoma into their property. So, hey, I figure they're actually more Sonoma than Napa!

It's all about Zinfandel. If you live outside of the Northern California Bay Area and think you know Zin, well, you maybe don't until you've had the Zinfandel made by Storybook Mtn.

Here's a nice article with a bit of the family history. Okay, they got the daughter's and son-in-law's last name wrong, but I assume the rest is pretty accurate.  lol

Thursday, September 8, 2016

2016 Grape Havest Update

The Sonoma County wine grape harvest started in earnest in late August during several weeks of below average temperatures. There have been nice, warm temps for most of the past week or so to move ripening along. We are currently forecast for slightly below average temperatures for at least a couple weeks. This is probably a blessing to help prevent everything from ripening at once.

According to reports the county is less than 20% done (as to be expected this early in the season). But things are ramping up and the next several weeks will find things in high gear.

It's been mostly the early season crops of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir coming in so far. Quality looks good as does quantity.

Couple recent news articles
East Bay Times
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #7 - Corporate Wineries

Some folks want to support local family-owned wineries. This is a great idea, but this doesn't mean the ones owned by large companies produce lousy wine. It doesn't mean if a favorite family-owned winery gets bought out by a corporation the wine will automatically go down hill.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Kim Kardashian of Wine

Here's the deal with the Kardashian klan: No talent, but got rich and famous off unrelated "talents." So they all made lots of money with having no actual job skills. We support what we hate because we can't get enough and it pisses (some of us) off.

So is there a wine with no "talent" that we still love and hate at the same time? Yes, and you're not going to like this.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #6 - Showing Up Near Closing Time

This is part of a series of tip for your next wine tasting trip.

It's fairly common for folks to show up at a tasting room a few minutes before their advertised closing time. But will you get served? A typical wine tasting takes 30 to 40 minutes. Because of this many wineries will start their last tasting maybe 15 to 30 minutes before closing time. Others may still let you in five minutes before they shut the door

If you think about it you can't walk into Macy's five minutes before closing and expect to have a nice, leisurely shopping experience as that voice will come over the loud speaker, "Please make your final purchases and proceed to the checkout."

Best advice: Call first to see how late you can show up and still get a full tasting.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Labor Day Weekend in Sonoma County

Where the heck did summer go? Anyway, if you are visiting Sonoma County on Labor Day weekend of 2016 here are the main attractions--lots of music choices!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Syrah was to be The Next Big Thing

Wine is a trendy business. Last year it was Moscato, this year it's Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris. The problem is you can't just throw a few vines in the ground and have bottles of the next big wine ready to go in a few months. It takes a lot of money and many years before you're ready to hop on the bandwagon with the next hot wine.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Autumn 2016 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.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sonoma County is One of the Best Places to Live

But don't tell anybody as we'd like to keep it a secret. Certainly don't need thousands more to find out and move in! So just between you and me Sonoma County is one of the top places to live because:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #5 - Questions to Ask

What kinds of questions should you ask the server when out tasting wine? I mean, you don't want to look like a dufus, right?

First off, it's okay to not know a lot about wine. And it's perfectly okay to tell the server this as it gives them a starting point on what to talk about. Some people want to know the percentage of malolactic in the Chardonnay. Others are still trying to figure out the difference between Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Five Years of Naked Wines

Naked Wines, founded in 2011, is a UK-based wine retailer unlike any other. Some see it as the devil or a cult; mostly it seems to be a highly successful Internet-based "winery."

What's so different?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Recent Police Activity in the Wine Country

Yes, there are high crimes and misdemeanors committed in the Sonoma/Napa wine country. Here's a sampling of reports to the police from the past several days from a couple of Mayberryesque towns.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #4 - Showing up with a group

A series of tips when visiting winery tasting rooms.

You are heading out for some tasting with a group of folks. Even if you are heading to a larger winery that's open to the public does this mean it's okay to just show up without advance notice?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tired of the Same Ol' Wines?

Are you a bit bored with your Chardonnay habit? Or Cab? Or the Pinot Noir fad? Maybe it's time to try a new wine.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #3 - To Buy or Not to Buy

You're out wine tasting and paying a nominal fee at each winery to do so. If you are looking at this as a shopping trip then how do you decide what and when to buy? The obvious part of this is, do you like the wine and do you consider it affordable? A caveat, late in the day after a few winery stops what you think you like and think you can afford loosens up. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Engineered Wines - No Grapes Needed!

Growing wine grapes is tough. Money, weather, regulations, and not enough time can cause problems. Making wine from those grapes requires a thousand decisions to be made correctly. If only it were easier.

Along comes Ava Winery out of San Francisco. Per their website all you have to do is combine acids, amino acids, sugar, certain volatile organics, and ethanol and voilà! You can recreate the best wines ever made.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #2 - Wine Clubs

Part of a series of winery tasting room tips for your next visit.

Every winery you visit will have a wine club. There's a good chance they will ask you to join. If you like the idea of being in wine clubs how do you decide which ones are best for you?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Best Wine Country Town

Sunset Magazine named Paso Robles, in Central California's San Luis Obispo County, as the top wine country town for 2016. The award was for its combination of lodging, food, and wine. Paso has a laid-back atmosphere and located about 3-1/2 hours from both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #1 - Not Liking a Certain Wine

The first in a series of tips for when you go wine tasting.

This one is "Don't be afraid to not like something." Just because Pinot Gris/Pinot Noir/whatever is popular is quite okay to not like this variety. And it's perfectly fine to say so when you're out tasting wine. Just because your wine "expert" friend loves a certain Chardonnay or is all caught up in the Pinot Noir hype doesn't mean you have to like it.

One caveat, just because you don't like, let's say, the $10 Chardonnay you've had from the local store back home doesn't mean you won't like a winery's product that never makes it to your town. (I hear that a lot about Chardonnay). So when out tasting for the first time or two try everything. Once you've established a particular kind of wine isn't for you then it's perfectly fine to skip over those wines on the tasting list.

There are dump buckets at wine tastings. Use them!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mondavi Winery at 50

On July 16, 1966 Robert Mondavi scooped up a ceremonial shovelful of dirt at the site that would become the first new premium winery in Napa in the 20th century. He was crazy to attempt this.

Mondavi had recently lost his job at the family winery up the road after squabbling with his brother over the business. His dream was to make wine to compete with the best of France. This was the part that seemed crazy.

He was spending a lot of money not knowing if the goal was achievable or if there was even a market for high-end California wine. Crazy.

A few months later while construction was going on all around they crushed their first grapes and made about 1,000 cases of wine. The rest, as they say, is history -- for Mondavi, for Napa Valley, and for the California wine industry.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Love Great Cab, But Don't Love Napa Prices?

Per a Wall Street Journal wine writer if you want to get top-notch Cabernet Sauvignon at a fraction of Napa prices then look to Sonoma County. She only sampled a few of the hundreds available so explore for yourself.

Look to Sonoma

Friday, July 15, 2016

Wine and Music Pairing

Wine and food? That's been done. Plus, I've decided wine and food pairing is just too complicated. Trying to figure it out gives me a headache. Not a cheap sparkling wine or cheap tequila headache, but it still makes my head hurt. Some claim the music you listen to while drinking will actually change your perception of the wine!

Wine and music, two subjects where it's almost impossible to be objective. What can go wrong?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wineries: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Sonoma County has about 450 wineries. Wine-related tourism is over a billion dollar industry with billions more generated from the county's top agricultural industry. Wait, was that 450? Some believe that may just be enough. Others don't believe they need to hold events (parties) day and night.

Is it too much of a good thing?

Monday, July 11, 2016

What to do on a Summer Evening in Sonoma County

You're coming for some wine tasting, but once the wineries close (about 5 pm) what's there to do? Yeah, you can go to one of the excellent restaurants then go back to your lodging and collapse on the bed. You could go out to a movie, but that's boring. Maybe you don't want to go to a local watering hole if you've been wine tasting all day.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Less Crowded Wine Country Experience

Maybe you've visited California for wine tasting in the past or maybe you just don't like other tourists messing up the experience for you. Most folks visit Napa Valley first because it's famous. Then there's Sonoma County right next door to Napa. Parts of the central coast from Paso Robles to Santa Barbara have received lots of attention.

So where else can you go that has good wine, maybe even good food and some other things to do besides wine tasting? Some ideas:

Friday, July 1, 2016

Funny Questions Asked in a Tasting Room

I was reading something called The Most Stupid Questions Asked of National Park Rangers. It got me to thinking about some of the questions asked in winery tasting rooms.

Some of the questions asked of park rangers were:
  • Grand Canyon: Is the mule ride air-conditioned?
  • Mesa Verde: Why did the Indians build the ruins so close to the highway?
  • Carlsbad Caverns (my favorite): How much of the cave is underground?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

You Might be Drinking a Lot of Petite Sirah

You could be drinking Petite Sirah and not know it. Petite Sirah is a cross between Syrah and an obscure Rhone grape, Peloursin. It's inky in color, full-bodied, it can be a little spicy, and tannic (mouth-drying). Sometimes you might say it tastes like bright blueberries. The "bright" comes from the high acid; "blueberries" is a typical fruit flavor.

On its own as a varietal it's still not very popular probably because of the drying tannins although some wineries are doing pretty good tannin management now.

So how is it that you're drinking so much Petite Sirah?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer Do's and Don't's for Napa Valley

Napa Valley is just over the hill from Sonoma County. I've been there lots of times and have even worked over there -- without needing a work visa! :) Here are a few helpful hints for your visit this summer.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Fourth of July Weekend in Sonoma County

The first weekend of July 2016 is a three-day holiday for most (except those in retail and hospitality like wineries and hotels). What's happening in Sonoma County for this long weekend? Well, there will be lots of fireworks and a few other things.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Constellation Brands Moving in a New Direction?

Maybe you haven't heard of Constellation Brands, but they would have been a great stock pick when the economy started its recovery several years ago. That is, if you're okay with buying something for about $22 five years ago and have it be worth over $150 now.

Just because they are doing well doesn't mean they are sitting still.

Monday, June 20, 2016

What About Syrah & Shiraz?

Syrah would be another candidate for America's most understood grape. Lots of people seem to know Syrah and Shiraz are related, but that's about it. Syrah doesn't sell particularly well in this country. So part of the problem is consumer's lack of familiarity with the grape, but some of the blame can go to wine makers.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Living in a Touristy Area

Sonoma and nearby Napa Counties get lots of visitors. Napa Valley is a world-famous tourist destination, but Sonoma gets its fair share of guests. It's nothing like Hawaii where there are eight million visitors a year in a state with a population of less than one-and-a-half million!

So what is it like to live in an area often full of visitors enjoying themselves?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June in the Russian River Valley (photos)

The wine grapes are now through flowering and fruit set and everything looks about normal so far for 2016. Canopy management is next. This means all the vigorous growth must be controlled for optimum ripening later by tying and trimming shoots plus pulling off leaves to give clusters access to the right amount of sunlight. Yes, it's a pretty intense kind of farming.

Following are photos from the vineyards of two wineries in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. These two locations are four miles apart.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Best Tours for Your Summer Vacation

Sonoma County and the rest of wine country is known for wine touring. You can drive yourself around or hire a car or bus. There are various wine trails. There's a Sonoma Valley Wine Trail that offers a trail pass (one price to visit all member tasting rooms). What do other states offer in comparison?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

If a Restaurant Gives You Large Wine Glasses...

You order a bottle from the restaurant's wine list then come the glasses, the wine server, and all the rituals that might go around it (cork pulling, sniffing, sampling). But what about the glassware? Does size matter?

Yes. According to a study big glasses lead to more drinking (wouldn't it be great to get paid for studying stuff like this). That is, you are more likely to order that second bottle. Big glasses lead you to think you're drinking less as a regular five ounce pour can look pretty small in a 12 ounce glass.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ten Things To Do in Sonoma County This Summer

There are lots of things to do besides (the obvious) wine tasting. Following are ten ideas -- five for the more adventurous; five are more tame.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Changes for Treasury Wine Estates

Treasury is based in Australia, but has a big presence in the U.S. A year ago it appeared they might sell off their American operations. Instead they surprised many people by purchasing the wine holdings of Diageo, another big drinks corporation.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Winery Diversification into Craft Beer

Craft beer is hot. Anheuser-Busch/InBev is buying established breweries in a big way, Heineken bought half interest in Sonoma County's Lagunitas Brewery. Some local Sonoma/Napa wine folks have moved into beer or have plans to.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sutter Home Owners Goin' Uptown

Just after WWII the Trinchero brothers bought Sutter Home Winery in Napa Valley. In the 1970s the winery "invented" White Zinfandel and the rest, as they say, is history. Trinchero Family Estates is now a group of about 50 wine labels all made possible by those millions of cases of White Zin sold. Some of their other brands are Joel Gott, Montevina, Napa Cellars, and Trinity Oaks. All are reasonably priced and not made to compete with their high-end Napa neighbors.

That's changing.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Ten Things To Do in Santa Rosa, CA this Summer

Santa Rosa is centrally located in Sonoma County and the largest city by far (pop. 185,000). You may be coming for the cutesy wine towns of Sonoma and Healdsburg, but you're likely to be in Santa Rosa and maybe even lodging and eating in Santa Rosa. There are actually a few wineries/tasting rooms in town, but what else is there to do in town this summer?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Some of the more interesting, and older, Sonoma County tasting rooms

If you are interested in seeing a bit of California wine history here are some ideas of places to visit in Sonoma County. Some of the history dates back to the earliest days of California; others only a few decades to some of the people that put the area on the premium wine map.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Judgement of Paris -- Some Little Known Facts

Yesterday's blog post  recognized the 40th anniversary of the Paris tasting that put California on the wine map. Today we'll look at a few details of the event.

The tasting put Bordeaux and Burgundy France up against the upstarts in California. Some things you might not know:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Forty Years Ago -- Judgement of Paris

Before May 24, 1976 all the world's great wine came from France. Actually, all of the good wine also came from France. Conventional wisdom and history put France at the center of the wine universe. That day Burgundy and Bordeaux took a hit that changed the wine business.

The Judgement of Paris, as it's now called, was a blind tasting of Chardonnay and Cabernet from California and France. The best part was the judges were all French wine experts.

The winners were both from California.
Some of the French judges were so embarrassed they wanted to change their votes. The bottles pictured here are in the Smithsonian.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend in Sonoma County

It's the kick-off weekend for the summer of 2016. Following are a few ideas of what to do and what to expect. The economy is humming along and people are traveling so be ready -- ready to have a good time that is!

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Answer to American Health Problems

Diets vary by nation. We all know Americans are fat and have heart attacks at a rate higher than others. Lots of cultures eat food that is supposedly bad for you, but they don't have our health issues. Why? Well, the answer finally delivered here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Yes, Red Wines are Healthier, But It's Summer

Probably every wine drinker has heard by now of the benefits to moderate consumption of red wine. The antioxidant Resveratrol is in much higher concentration in red wines than in whites. It comes from the grape skins and there is lots of skin contact with the juice in red wines, but not whites (that's where the color comes from).

But it's getting hot and who wants a big ol' Cab in that weather? Luckily, there are a couple options.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mistakes Made When Visiting a Tasting Room

VinePair is a NYC-based wine, beer, and spirits website. They have published a nice list of things not to do when visiting a winery.  The key point is, it's not a bar, it's about tasting and learning.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Summer 2016 Events in Sonoma County

Following are major wine and non-wine events in Sonoma County for the month of June through Labor Day weekend 2016. Lots of stuff happening and it's going to be a fun summer. Come see us!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Science of Taste

Whatever your favorite wine, beer or food may be it's not the same as everyone else. Maybe not even the same as anyone you know. So, if you're right for you that doesn't mean everyone else is wrong, right?

Some people like Sauvignon Blanc, some only drink red wine, most people seem to either really love or hate IPA beers. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

What Wine for Today's "Holiday?"

I often like to suggest wines for goofy, obscure holidays like National Doughnut Day, for instance (which will be on June 3rd so mark your calendars). 

Well, the first Saturday in May is World Naked Gardening Day. Nope, I'm not making this up. I am a bit at a loss for wine "pairings," but have a couple suggestions.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Dumb and Dumber Drinking Laws

You can't be happy in Indiana, Vermont,
and several other states
 In the land of states' rights, Puritans, and lobbyists we run into some wacky laws--drinking laws included. Here are just a few of the things your state legislature is doing to you. Along with strict liquor laws come higher prices.

 There are still dry counties in parts of the South and Bible Belt Midwest. Some of the wet counties allow you to buy bottles of liquor; others are by the drink only. What to get a six-pack on a Sunday? Not in some states.

 Confused yet? It gets worse. And this is just a small sampling. Enjoy reading with your favorite adult beverage.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Today's Wine News -- Weird, Good, Ugly

There are several bits of interesting wine-related news coming out in the last few days. The first one is something you'll probably never need to know. The second has to do with the booming economy. Next is a "shame on you" bit. Last is a wine country bungalow for sale (yes, we all live like this).

Monday, May 2, 2016

Will Zinfandel Ever Find Its Way?

Zinfandel is called America's grape. Maybe should be called America's most misunderstood grape. Okay, you could make a case for Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and probably a couple other for being misunderstood, but Zin is bigger than any of those.

Where is it from, how did it get to California, is it the same as Primitivo, where should it be grown, what style should it be made in? Heck, even what color is it supposed to be? These are a few of the questions surrounding Zinfandel.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

New Tasting Room Coming to Healdsburg

Okay, that's not really news as there are dozens of winery tasting rooms in Healdsburg already. Except this one isn't wine, it's hard cider. Sonoma Cider is opening a tap room per the SFGate.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

California's Minimum Wage Affect on the Wine Industry

Over the next six years California's minimum wage will gradually increase from the current $10 to $15/hour. There are a few folks in the grape-growing business who believe this will pretty much be the end of the world as we know it. Others believe a living wage is a good thing.

Politics aside, how will this affect the state's wine industry? There are two key areas where wages are often at or near minimum wage: In the vineyard and in the tasting room.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Fetzer Vineyards -- Ahead of the Curve

You probably haven't thought a lot about Fetzer wines. You've seen them on the store shelf. You've probably drank some. They aren't necessarily the darlings of those who rate or review wines. But there's a lot going on behind the scenes.

Fetzer has a goal to be "net positive" by 2030. This means the winery will create more energy, water, and other resources than they consume. Think about that, a company, or even a household, that would create more than it consumes.

Fetzer has been ahead of everyone else for a long time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Recent Winery Acquisitions

It's only Tuesday and there have been a couple local wineries in the news this week. It's about big ones swallowing up smaller ones. But that's not all these two sales have in common.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Spending Millions on Trendy Wine Labels

Wineries are bought and sold like other businesses. When you hear of a winery changing hands you picture a building where they make the wine, maybe a tasting room, and possibly some vineyard land. But what if millions of dollars are only buying the privilege of using a label on a bottle? What if there's no land, building, contracts for grapes, or anything physical? Can you imagine buying a smaller car company, say Jaguar, and not getting the factories or sales network, but only the right to use the name?

Friday, April 15, 2016

How to pick a wine

You're cruising a wine shop looking for a bottle for tonight. How the hell do you choose from the hundreds available?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Women in Wine

I was just watching a recent episode of Samantha Bee's new cable show, Full Frontal, where she was sarcastically celebrating the fact that five percent of small business loans now go to women-owned businesses when only fifty percent of the population is female.

Then I saw this online article titled "The Women Who Rule Napa." For someone who knows Napa wine they've probably heard of Heidi Barrett and Helen Turley. The article also talks about a couple other women heading up wineries.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Are You Drinking Your White Wines at the Wrong Temperature?

Your refrigerator temperature is in the mid- to upper-30s degrees Fahrenheit. Typically people put their white wines in the fridge for awhile before drinking. Most don't like their white wine at room temp, usually thought of as 68 degrees or more. As it turns out, serving it too cold is just as bad as serving it too warm.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Taste Washington

Billed as the nation's largest wine tasting for a single region of the country, Taste Washington brings in a couple hundred wineries from across the state to Seattle. The city is a long way from most of the state's vineyards, but this is where the consumers are found.

So what does a California boy think of these furrin' wines?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Things You Might Not Know About Sonoma County (and SF)

You are from out of the area, you plan on visiting, and you're smart enough to check the internet for things to pack and what to expect from your visit. That doesn't cover it all. There are a few secrets.

And as a bonus, since you'll no doubt be spending time in San Francisco too, the Sonoma County items are followed up by Things You Didn't Know About San Francisco.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Who Controls the U.S. Wine Market?

There are three companies that are responsible for almost half of the wine sold in the U.S. Gallo you might have guessed. The others are Constellation Brands and the generic sounding Wine Group.

Monday, March 28, 2016

What's Next After the Pinot Noir Fad?

The first question would be, "Is Pinot Noir a fad?" Most pinotphiles will argue that it's here to stay. History doesn't necessarily agree as people seem to come back to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Remember Merlot in the 1990s? But it's probably safe to say Pinot Noir sales will at least level off as wine drinkers start to look for The Next Big Thing. Wine is a trendy business.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Second Cheapest Wine Principle

I thought I was the only one that did this, but it turns out it's a thing.

When selecting wine from an unfamiliar wine list, whether it's a bottle for dinner, or a glass at a wine bar, how do you select the right wine? If you're rich I suppose you can just get the most expensive (and probably the most overpriced) wine. If you're cheap like me you go a different route. I never want the least expensive one figuring it must be the worse wine on the list, right? Plus I figure it makes me look cheap. So I get the second cheapest.This way of selecting a wine has a name now: The Second Cheapest Wine Principle.
image from

I recently came across an article by some folks that tested this theory in NYC. 

Article from

There's some interesting insight into what some restaurants do knowing this happens.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Additives in Wine

Wine is just grapes with yeast added to turn the grape sugars into alcohol, right? Not by a long shot. There are tricks in the processing to adjust the final product. There are things added to change the wine and, hopefully, make it better. You can change the color, the tannins, lower the alcohol, etc. Or as one winemaker said after the not-so-good 2008 harvest, "Better wine making through chemistry." These things are not usually talked about by winemakers leading one to believe it must be bad for you.

A local wine writer, Dan Berger, talks about this in his weekly Press Democrat column.

Takeaways from the article: 1) Your wine is manipulated to make it better. 2) The cheaper the wine the more stuff that's likely been done to it.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Napa vs. Sonoma -- Which is Better for You?

Other folks have written about the differences between visiting Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Which should you visit depends on what you see as a great trip. By looking at what you like to do can help determine what's right for you in a wine country visit.

Remember that generalizing about Napa is difficult. Generalizing about the whole of Sonoma County is even harder, but we'll give it a try.

Friday, March 18, 2016

This is How the Rich Live

Once or twice a year the typical person goes to the grocery store for a $20 bottle of bubbly to celebrate something. Rich people have the Champagne Machine Gun. Maybe you'll find it in some high-end clubs. I'm kinda hoping I'll never see one.  :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wine Tasting -- The Inexact Science

Art, movies, books, beer, wine, etc. There's really very little objectivity to knowing what's good or not so good, but there are lots of opinions. People struggle with finding that line between objectivity and subjectivity in wine. This is mostly a problem for people who want to rate or score wine. The regular consumer just wants to know if they like it or not.

Why is it such a problem? Because everybody is different. And every situation is different.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Napa, that sleepy little farming valley

Anyone who has visited Napa Valley may refer to it by its often-used nickname, "Disneyland for adults." But a sleepy farming area? Not in a place with that much traffic and that many places to drop a few hundred dollars at a time on eating or drinking.

Well, it wasn't that long ago.

Friday, March 11, 2016

How many glasses of wine a day?

You've got to wonder with all the health-related news about wine what's the proper amount to consume. Well, I'm here to do the math for you and the news is all good. Well, almost all good. Your evenings are going to be pretty booked up now.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Record U.S. Wine Exports

The data is in on 2015 U.S. wine sales abroad and it's good news. Compared to 2014 sales dollars where up over 7.5% and volume up over 4%. That's 1.61 billion dollars. The dollar growth between 2009 and 2014 grew 64%.

California makes 90% of all American wine and 90% of the overseas sales are California wines.

The biggest market is the UK. Europe takes 40% of our exports followed by Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and China. As you can see Asia is a very important market for California wines.

Article from the Press Democrat on exports from local wineries.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Red wine, part of your diet plan

This is weight loss season as everybody tries to diet and exercise for awhile after the holidays. Very few people stick with it because whatever they try is just not sustainable over the long run. Now we have something that is enjoyable, fun, and sustainable -- two glasses of red wine a day.

From studies as Harvard Medical School and Washington State University the compound resveratrol found in red wine will turn your fat into something called "beige fat," a version that is easier to burn. They recommend two glasses of red wine every evening. Of course, you could eat blueberries or raspberries, two other sources of resveratrol, but screw that.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Mistakes You Shouldn't Make After That Fourth Glass of Wine

When you've had too much and are feeling good it's easy to fall into certain traps. Maybe you should stop while you're ahead. Hopefully you've figured out you shouldn't be driving.

The weekend is coming and you want to let loose, but ...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Where is the American Wine Industry Headed?

Yeah, like I'm going to know the answer to that billion dollar question. But at least I can give you my best guess by extrapolating from readings on various trends in the local wine biz.

Executive Summary: Make an organic sparkling rosé and sell it for under $25. Nothing to it!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Pinot Noir Taking Over

Sonoma County's most planted grape is Chardonnay. That should be no surprise as Chard is the number one selling wine in the country. For a very long time Cabernet Sauvignon was the second most planted and by far the most planted red wine grape.

Pinot Noir has officially passed Cabernet.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Spring 2016 Events in Sonoma County

Listed below are major wine and non-wine events in Sonoma County for March into June 2016.

It's 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.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sonoma Valley photos

Feb 24, 2016 along Highway 12 between the towns of Sonoma and Santa Rosa, Sonoma County. Spring has definitely sprung!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Westside Road, Dry Creek Valley Photos

Feb 23, 2016 in southern Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County. Most vines have been pruned by now as spring growth will be starting soon. Lots of flowering cover crops in the rows between vines.

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Napa Legend, Peter Mondavi, Passes at 101

Charles Krug Winery's Peter Mondavi, Sr. lived an extraordinary 101 years. His parents purchased Charles Krug in 1943, a winery that was already over eight decades old. Mondavi became president of the winery in 1976.

Locally, Peter is most known for his infamous feud with his brother, Robert. Because of this Robert left the winery in the 1960s and soon started Robert Mondavi Winery, the first premium winery in Napa Valley and the rest, as they say, is history.

Things never quite healed between the brothers and you can bet Charles was a bit jealous of Robert's success after leaving the family's winery. Both brothers contributed a lot to modern California wine making.

Article on Peter's life from the Napa Register.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Happy Holiday! (National Drink Wine Day)

Hope you didn't go into work today cuz it's a holiday -- National Drink Wine Day. Okay, some of us don't need a holiday, but it's always nice to have an excuse. It's a great holiday as you don't have to buy presents, cook a big meal for the family, or hang out with bratty kids. All you have to do is find a wine bar and drink up.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Russian River Valley Zinfandel

If you drink Zinfandel you are likely familiar with a few regions of California that specialize in this luscious varietal. Lodi, Dry Creek Valley, Paso Robles and Amador County may be names you recognize from wine labels. BTW if you're not a Zinfandel fan you are missing out!

The Russian River Valley appellation in Sonoma County sits in an area that gets cooling afternoon breezes off the Pacific. This area is known mostly for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, two cool climate grapes. But Zinfandel?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Red Wine Headaches?

There are people that say red wine gives them headaches. White wine is apparently okay. What's the difference between the two that could lead to this reaction?

It can be difficult to figure out exactly what may be causing the problem as no two people react the same.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Beer to Wine Conversion Chart

If you love beer, especially craft beers, and find wine kind of overwhelming here are suggestions for wines to try based on your favorite beers.

This is quite helpful if you are visiting Sonoma County because even though you want to spend the weekend at Russian River Brewery and Lagunitas others in your party came for the wine. Hint: Suggest a brewery for a lunch stop.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Direct-to-Consumer Shipping from a Winery

You'd think the rules allowing wineries to ship their product directly to you would be easy to understand. But no, consumers are confused. Actually, wineries are, too. There are companies that make a living figuring this out and doing all the required paperwork for the winery. Trying to be compliant with the laws of 50 different states is nearly impossible for a small business.

At a high level here's what it looks like at the beginning of 2016:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Where to Get Your Cabernet Fix in Sonoma County

Cabernet Sauvignon, the king of red wines. A wine you can age, you can serve with a great dinner, a wine of complexity. When most visitors come to the area thinking of Cab they think of Napa Valley. And Napa does have lots of great, and usually expensive, Cabernet, but maybe you should think Sonoma.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Four Bottles a Day--That's All You Need

A gentleman in Spain just passed away at 107 years old. What led to the long life? He says because he drank four bottles of red wine a day. The guy never drank water just his homemade wine.

Drink red wine and live forever

You'll notice in his picture in the news article he looks pretty damn happy, too!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Wineries Changing Hands

The year is still young, but the sale of North Coast wineries hasn't slowed down from the 2015 pace. Within the first few weeks of 2016 several smaller operations have changed owners--I think for the better.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

You're Not Drinking Enough Sparkling Wine

image from
Neither am I.

Most of us think of sparkling wine only for wedding toasts, for New Year's Eve, and maybe for Valentine's Day. There's actually an excuse for drinking it almost every day!

Why is sparkling wine (aka Champagne) so great? Let us count the ways.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Where to get your Pinot Noir fix in Sonoma County

Pinot Noir is a cool-climate grape so it thrives in the less warm micro-climates of Sonoma County. This would be the Sonoma Coast, Carneros, and Russian River Valley appellations. This list is all about the Russian River Valley as there are many more choices of places to visit.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Super Bowl and Sonoma County

The Super Bowl isn't just about game day. For the entire week leading up to the game there are various "fan experiences" located throughout San Francisco. The game is being played about 50 miles south of SF, but nobody is traveling early to see Santa Clara.

Most of these events open today, Jan 30th. One of the items is the Sonoma County wine lounge at the Super Bowl City fan village.

Friday, January 29, 2016

You Might Have a Drinking Problem If ...

How do you know if you might like wine just a little too much? There are signs to look for and I'm here to tell you what they are. Go ahead, ask me how I know.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Yes, there are a LOT of wineries

The number of North American wineries grew by over 400 last year to a total of almost 9,500. California grew by 140 to over 4,000, or 43% of the total, with Washington and Oregon in a distant 2nd and 3rd place. Oregon closed the gap on Washington by adding 57 wineries whereas its neighbor to the north added just 14. Why the bigger growth in Oregon? Pinot Noir is hot. 

Article from Wines & Vines

Monday, January 25, 2016

Where to get your Zinfandel fix in Sonoma County

Zinfandel, Sonoma County's grape. Okay, other areas of the state grow it too, but Sonoma is really home to Zin and Dry Creek Valley is Zin Central. There are lots of great Zinfandels from other parts of the county, but this list will concentrate on Dry Creek Valley.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Lousy Title for a Wine News Article

A New York Post article titled "Millennials are ruining the American wine industry" says millennials aren't buying much domestic wine. Sales might flatten out after many years of growth.

Note: When opening this article in my browser a script on the page was hanging up.

There are two things wrong with this story besides the terrible title and the poorly-written script on the web page.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ten Mistakes We Make When Buying Wine

There are a zillion wines out there to pick from. It can be intimidating. Here are some mistakes we've all probably made. We should know better!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Where to get your Sparkling Wine fix in Sonoma County

Ah, bubblies. If there ever was a beverage meant to put you in a good mood it's sparkling wine. As a bonus it pairs with many foods so it's not just for celebrating or brunch. So where should you go in Sonoma County for your sparkling wine?

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Red Wine Woody

Seems like red wine will cure all of humanity's ails. Maybe we should drop Merlot on ISIS.

Per another study, men who consume a lot of the compounds found in many fruits -- and red wine -- are less likely to have erectile dysfunction.  

Article from

Thursday, January 14, 2016

You Don't Have to Spend $100 to Get a Great Napa Cabernet

Napa Valley is famous for Cabernet Sauvignon and rightly so. Being famous means the demand can outstrip the supply. Vineyard land is expensive, Cab grapes are expensive to purchase, and therefore the wine can be really expensive.

But you don't have to spend a ton of money to get a good Cabernet from Napa Valley. Lots of people seem to want to pay a lot for the trendy, cult stuff -- let them. We're not because we are too poor/too smart (pick one) to do that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Where to get your Chardonnay fix in Sonoma County

You're coming for Chardonnay so where to go? Here are some wineries known for their Chard. These suggestions won't all be to your taste as Chardonnay is all over the board in styles from the lean and mean to the buttery, oaky, thick ones.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Is red grape juice just as healthy as red wine?

Turns out, no. Besides, to paraphrase, no good story ever started with a bottle of Welch's grape juice.

The New York Times says "most likely wine is better" though there haven't really been any studies done on grape juice. Besides who wants all that sugar when you can have alcohol instead.

Article from NYT's Well Blog.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Sonoma County 2015 - The Year in Acquisitions

Sonoma County, and next door in Napa, saw a number of local drinks businesses change hands. A couple of the big boys, Gallo and Constellation Brands, were the main players.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Sauvignon Blanc Set for Growth?

Yeah, it's a new year so people like to make predictions and spot the next trend. But there are signs from other things we consume that lead me to believe Sauv Blanc may steal some Chardonnay and Pinot Gris drinkers. Are many Americans leaving sweet for bitter? And how could this affect Sauvignon Blanc sales?