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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: