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Wine transcends culture

If you’re a wine traveler, vino can make you feel like a local. Blair Pleasant of Santa Rosa and her husband Dan recently went to New Zealand for two weeks and they were able to fit in plenty of sipping. “Wine is universal,” Pleasant said. “You can have a wine [...]

By | February 17th, 2012|0 Comments

Death & Taxes

In Wine Country, it’s Wine & Taxes. Just a heads up about a clever winery event in the offing. There will be a Tax Relief Party at Dutton-Goldfield Winery in Sebastopol April 14 & 15, and this may well be the best way to gauge the economy yet. In Wine [...]

By | February 17th, 2012|0 Comments

Fred Franzia on wine snobs

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Charles Shaw, better known as Two-buck Chuck, which made its debut in a Trader Joe’s store 2002. What impact has this $2 bottling had on our wine-drinking culture over the past decade? According to Franzia, the vintner behind the brand, it has made the wine snob think twice.

By | February 15th, 2012|3 Comments

Sexy wines for Valentine’s Day

In Wine Country a dozen red roses simply won’t cut it, but if you pair the roses with a sexy wine, the ultimate aphrodisiac, you’ll not only charm your Valentine but you’ll romance her palate. And this, my friend, will make you one smart Romeo. Of course in this sluggish economy one red rose and a half bottle of wine is more than sufficient. It’s the rose/vino combo that’s the impressive gesture. Price has little to do with it.

By | February 8th, 2012|0 Comments

Smuggling Russian River brews. Who knew?

When you work the crowd, sometimes you come away with a good story or two. It's Day 6 and the long line on Fourth Street in Santa Rosa continues to grow for those angling to get a taste of Pliny The Younger, the limited release brew of the Russian River Brewing Co. It's only available for two weeks every year and this year that short window is from Feb. 3 to Feb. 16th.

By | February 6th, 2012|0 Comments

Naples auction: Top 5 reasons to care

1) The live auction at last Saturday’s Naples Winter Wine Festival reeled in a loot -- $12.2 million. Why should we care? With the political bantering in America over wealth and class structure at an all time high, it’s refreshing to hear about generosity in motion. It’s good to hear about “cash flow” and that it was flowing as freely as an uncorked bottle of bubbly. Daniel de Polo, president of Napa’s Darioush Winery, had this to say about the live auction: “I have never witnessed a more enjoyable and productive redistribution of wealth in America.”

By | February 1st, 2012|0 Comments

Say, those are my grapes you’re drinking!

My husband and I were recently out to dinner at Café La Haye in Sonoma when a woman surprised us by popping over to our table unexpectedly … Nancy Lilly pointed to the bottle of MacRostie pinot noir on the table, and she said we were drinking the grapes she and her husband Tony reared on their Wildcat Mountain Vineyard.

By | January 26th, 2012|0 Comments

Local vintners en route to Naples auction

Vintners Barbara Banke of Sonoma County’s Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates and Annette Shafer of Napa Valley’s Shafer Vineyards are heading to Florida for the Naples Winter Wine Festival to pour their cabernet for generous palates who have an appetite for goodwill. The Naples auction has raised more than $94.5 million since 2001 to create and expand charitable programs serving underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County. Banke is expected to arrive in Naples this afternoon. Doug Shafer is already in Naples, but his wife Annette boarded one of the two private planes at 8 a.m. this morning set to whisk vintners off to Naples.

By | January 26th, 2012|0 Comments

Prepping for ZAP

I’ll be making my yearly pilgrimage to the Zinfandel Advocate & Producers ZAP tasting on Jan. 28th and to gear up, I’m doing some pre-ZAP tastings. I like to work up a wine grid in advance of the tasting – one that will be published in next Wednesday’s Press Democrat –- to highlight some rock star zins.

By | January 16th, 2012|0 Comments

Courting China with bubbles

Iron Horse Vineyards in Sebastopol will be shipping off to Beijing 880 cases of its “Year of the Dragon Chinese Cuvee on January 10th. The Chinese Cuvee was created to celebrate the Year of the Dragon, which begins January 23. Smart move. If you want to capture a culture, celebrate its celebrations. That’s right, uncork bubbly in its honor.

By | January 3rd, 2012|1 Comment