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The Wine Guide

“SOMM: Into the Bottle” premiere– why sommeliers have a story to tell

The SOMM sequel kicked off of the Napa Valley Film Festival, and 750 people were packed in Napa’s Uptown Theater to see what boy genius Jason Wise had come up with next for oenophiles. Wise said part of the impetus for making the sequel was to satisfy those who felt SOMM wasn’t as “educational” as it could be about the wine world. The director took up the challenge in a big way. The film covered everything from the wines of… Read More »

Catch Sonoma County’s Geoff Kruth on new wine-themed reality TV show ‘Uncorked”

Sonoma County’s Geoff Kruth takes viewers into the grueling world of wanna-be sommeliers in “Uncorked,” a new reality television show premiering on the Esquire Network on Tuesday, Nov. 10. This six-episode series follows a group of talented sommeliers (Jack Mason, Yannick Benjamin, Jane Lopes, Dana Gaiser, Josh Nadel and  Morgan Harris) as they prepare to take the Master Sommelier exam, a test only 230 people in the world have passed. As a producer of the show, Petaluma’s Kruth oversees some… Read More »

Wine picks in case of a zombie apocalypse.

If you watch the hit television series “Walking Dead,” you don’t have to imagine a zombie apocalypse. All you need to do is ask yourself this question: Do I have the right wines stashed for one? Personal Wine (www.personalwine.com) is offering its four-bottle series, and then I’ll tell you about my picks for a zombie apocalypse. Personal Wine’s $74.99 four-bottle series features a range of wines — The UnDead Apocalyptic Red, Cadaver Cabernet Sauvignon, Still Alive by way of the… Read More »

The new “Wine Bible” is on the market today.

At 1,000 pages, this is one of the most comprehensive books on wine you’ll ever come across. It’s also a great read because author Karen MacNeil isn’t just a great reporter, she’s a writer who knows her craft. MacNeil’s line about chardonnay, for example, is: “It’s the Marilyn Monroe of white grapes to be sure.” In this new edition (Workman publishing, $25), MacNeil tasted over 10,000 wines and explored emerging markets. In this Q&A we get a good feel for… Read More »

Bottled tricks or treats for Halloween

Halloween enthusiasts love tricks or treats – especially when they’re bottled. Here are a few great trick bottlings: A Halloween staple is the Poizin brand encased in a wooden coffin. It’s produced by Healdsburg’s Armida Winery and it has a great sense of humor. Uncorking this brand has become a fall rite of passage. (Wine notes below.) The Francis Ford Coppola’s Claret gets a Halloween nod because of this tutorial which gives the bottling a clever costume: Diamond Collection Claret… Read More »

Gin and tonic, Laurel & Hardy … but tomatoes and wine?

Tomatoes, it seems, have a bullhorn of screeching acid, which makes a wine pairing seem like the odd couple. But there are ways to tame the acid and this past weekend at Kendall-Jackson’s Tomato Festival two savvy tomato-tamers revealed their tricks. K-J Winemaster Randy Ullom and chef Zoi Antonitsas shared their strategies in creating great matches. Ullom, first of all, explained that after nearly two decades of participating in the festival, he’s learned there’s a color code in tomato-wine pairing.… Read More »

Francis Ford Coppola unveils new name for the former Geyser Peak Winery

The Academy Award-winning director, best known for his Godfather series and Apocalypse Now, looked at the Today Show crew and joked “Who’s the director here? I’m the actor today.” Once Coppola was given his cue, he unveiled the new name of the former Geyser Peak Winery – Virginia Dare Winery. Coppola owns this winery and purchased it in 2013. “We’ve waited a long time to do this,” Coppola said. “It’s been a mystery for a year.” The vintner replaced one… Read More »

The Best of the Best at the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction

At Sunday’s Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction bidders were giddy with goodwill, raising a record-breaking $4.5 million. 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 quote. For those who went to the auction and for the curious who didn’t, here are some snapshots. Best dressed: Carter Pettit and his friends from Graham, Texas showed up in Charlie Chaplin outfits… Read More »

The Face behind Fund-the-Future

Meet Briana Lara. The eight-year-old wears jeans, pink sneakers with yellow laces and a t-shirt that says: “Keep Calm and Shine On.” When she smiles, she surprises you with dimples. Briana is one among many in Sonoma County benefiting from Fund-The-Future, the group lot that raised a record-breaking $1.7 million for literacy at last year’s Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction. At Sunday’s auction the bidding for the Fund-the-Future lot is expected to be infectious. Last year paddle-holders bid from $250 to… Read More »

Crowdfunding at the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction?

“Fund-the-Future” is the ultimate in crowdfunding, and this Kickstarteresque effort to raise money for literacy is certain to spiral into seven digits at Sunday’s Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction. This incarnation of crowdfunding happens, for the most part, under the white tent where the goodwill hoopla is infectious. Last year paddle-holders bid from $250 to $100,000, raising $1.7 million. This was the largest group lot raised within the auction’s record-breaking take of $4 million. At the auction, the format in bidding… Read More »