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A Press Democrat Blog

Tasting Room

The Wine Guide

Guy Davis Does It Again.

Davis is one of the most entrepreneurial winemakers in Wine Country, so it’s no surprise that he’s behind the first bottling of WHOA Crane Vineyard Pinot Noir. It’s also no surprise it’s knockout. For the uninitiated, WHOA stands for Work Horse Organic Agriculture, and it’s an organic farm in Santa Rosa with a mission. It grows organic food for people in need. WHOA, for example, delivers produce to St. Vincent de Paul in Santa Rosa for meals prepared for the… Read More »

John Pedroncelli has passed but will be long remembered.

John Pedroncelli, the winemaker who said longevity is what gave his wine the edge, died at 89 after a long battle with cancer. Pedroncelli had been the head winemaker at Geyserville’s Pedroncelli Winery since 1948. He would have been 90 in May. Julie Pedroncelli St. John, vice president of marketing, said “he was here every day until the middle of last year. He was having difficulty with balance so his activity had slowed, but he was giving input through last… Read More »

The Inventors in Wine Country

When I tell people why I love living in this wine-growing region, I always say it’s because of all the clever inventors we have in Wine Country. These out-of-the-box thinkers run the gamut – from vintners to winemakers to brewers to vineyard workers to chefs to farmers. Some of these clever artisans are those I’ve written about in stories. Others are those who I’m intent on learning more about. I plan to chronicle this “Inventors in Wine Country” series by… Read More »

Got 60 seconds? Boost Your Bubbly IQ.

We know time is the most precious commodity in life, so here’s a quick snippet of information to celebrate Bubbly Season. We begin with a simple question: What’s in a bubble? A tiny bubble is nothing more than a pocket of gas contained by a thin film of liquid. The bubble comes from the carbon dioxide, trapped inside each bottle during a unique, second fermentation. Coke, in contrast, has fat bubbles, thanks to a machine called a carbonator which injects… Read More »

Eleanor Coppola, the filmmaker behind the filmmaker.

Eleanor recently showed her documentary “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse” in Sonoma. More than 150 people gathered at the Sebastiani Theater last Thursday night to see it through her eyes. The filmmaker behind the filmmaker had a great deal to say about the documentary and the countless obstacles it  reveals about the filming of “Apocalypse Now” while on location in the Philippines in 1976 and 1977. The showing was a fundraiser for the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, where… Read More »

What a trendsetter. A winery that offers a Keg Club

Bravo to Orpheus Wines for its out-of-the-box offering. The winery has a Keg Club for those wanting to buy its wine in kegs, and the Kenwood winery is one of the few in California offering a brand of recyclable kegs called “Keykegs.” This winery is no slacker. The Orpheus, 2013 Mendocino Viognier is a recent wine-of-the-week winner, and the winery offers this wine and red blends in keg. For some pricing perspective, the viognier is $20 a bottle, but if… Read More »

Boost Your Wine IQ

With the chill of winter upon us, I’m devoting this 1 minute blog to syrah. Cool weather, after all, is the season of syrahs and stews. A syrah is a cowboy of a wine, bold, racy and wild, one of the few varietals that can stand up to a hearty stew. In fact, the late British wine writer George Saintsbury described syrah as “the manliest wine” he’d ever tasted. The most dramatic syrahs hail from the northern Rhone Valley in… Read More »

Saralee Kunde is a limited edition.

Kunde, who died earlier this year at the age of 66, was known for her generosity, her deep roots as a grower, and yes, her lively hats. The most sentimental part of Sunday’s Harvest Awards Night was when Saralee Kunde’s black and silver Derby-style hat was auctioned off. While plenty of people bid, with the hope of taking the hat home, the top offer at $2,600 was made by Kunde’s brother, George McClelland of Santa Rosa, Kunde was a Sonoma… Read More »

Napa’s Back with a Spirited Quake Fundraiser

The valley has resumed doing what it does best – celebrating. Napa Valley Rocks is a fundraiser Sept. 25 to 28 to celebrate the rebound from the Aug. 24 earthquake, while raising money for those hardest hit. There are dinners, concerts, a half marathon and more, with all events of the earthquake relief benefiting a group that includes businesses and residents of Napa. The kick-off event Sept. 25 is a dinner called Nourish Napa. It’s from 6 p.m. to 9:30… Read More »

Highlights from Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction, the best of the best

At Sunday’s Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction bidders had an appetite for goodwill, raising a record-breaking $4 million. Pocket change for the well-heeled? To capture the color of the auction – the fashion, the humor, the bidding mentality – here’s this year’s list of “bests,” from best dressed, to best lot, to best dish. For those who went to the auction and for the curious who didn’t, here are some snapshots. Best dressed: Alli Napier was wearing a colorful shirt from… Read More »