Sonoma-Cutrer’s 40th Anniversary Collaboration

          When it’s time to celebrate a milestone anniversary, many companies feel a sense of nostalgia and gather employees who helped shape the company. Sonoma-Cutrer decided to celebrate the winery’s 40th Anniversary by bringing together past winemakers to craft a special Chardonnay. What’s remarkable, is that each they did it isolated […]

SIMI Winery: Tragedy to Triumph

SIMI Winery: Tragedy to Triumph

          SIMI Winery started with the hard work and persistence of two immigrant brothers.  But it continued due to the determination of one 18-year-old girl who would not let tragedy end her family’s legacy.         That legacy, shown in this anthology video, carried on for more than a century […]

Longevity Wines – A Lasting Love Story

Longevity Wines

            Growing up, Founder and Winemaker Phil Long of Longevity Wines didn’t have much exposure to wine other than his dad’s ornamental bottle of Chianti. He told me that he didn’t even know that wine was made in America. To him, agriculture was focused on plants and animals – not […]

Second Half 2020 Sample Roundup

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      It’s sample time and I never knew what a challenge these would be in the time of COVID.  Usually, I invite friends over and pop open a few bottles, and, if my husband is in a cooking mode, then I get to use my pairing skills.  When the pandemic happened, the samples […]

Crab and Chardonnay = Utopia

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Crab and Chardonnay = Utopia     From blending sessions to vertical tastings to blind tastings, I’ve been blown away at the creativity of wineries since the pandemic began. Just when I thought I had seen almost everything, I was invited by Raeburn Winery to celebrate the kickoff of Dungeness Crab season.       […]

Tasting History with the Women of Bacigalupi Vineyards

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      The Women of Bacigalupi Vineyards, Photo Credit: Bacigalupi Vineyards   Bacigalupi Vineyards is one of the best kept secrets in the Russian River Valley. You may have heard the story of a 1976 tasting in which a California chardonnay gained world recognition by beating French burgundy wines in a side-by-side competition. That […]

Santa Lucia Highlands Packs a Punch

Santa Lucia Highlands AVA

  Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, Courtesy of Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans   There exists a small, but dynamic, wine region within the Santa Lucia Mountains near Monterey County on California’s Central Coast. Located on Highway 101, between San Francisco and Paso Robles, the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, is only 18 miles long and 22,000 […]

Darling Wines: It’s All About Balance

Vineyard and Winery

  Tom and Ashley Darling, Courtesy of Darling Wines   Tom and Ashley Darling, co-owners of Sonoma’s Darling Wines, have a strong belief in balance and being grounded in the present moment. As winery owners and yoga teachers, they were inspired by the connection of growing and making wine and how it brought together aspects of the […]

Smith-Madrone: Humble Beginnings, Unforgettable Wines

      Stu Smith, the Enologist and Managing Partner for Smith-Madrone Winery, didn’t set out to own premium real estate valued for upwards of $400,000 an acre.  His goal was only to find a site in the mountains of Napa Valley versus the valley floor, to make the elegant, balanced, European-inspired wines he enjoyed. […]

Bibiana Gonzalez Rave and Jeff Pisoni: Power Couple in Wine

Power Couple in Wine

  Bibiana Gonzalez Rave and Jeff Pisoni, Courtesy of Alma de Cattleya   Bibiana Gonzalez Rave and Jeff Pisoni, the winemakers for Alma de Cattleya and Lucia Vineyards, are examples of a true power couple in wine. These two have been married since 2011 and talked about how they are dedicated to helping the other make better wine. […]

Ponzi Vineyards: Fifty Years of Original Oregon

      Anna Maria, Dick and Luisa Ponzi and me       At the Wine Writers’ Educational Tours, during my time in the Willamette Valley, I had the chance to sit down with Dick and Nancy Ponzi.  They were participating in a panel about what it took to plant vines, harvest grapes and […]

A Day in Napa Valley: Three Very Diverse Wine Experiences Showcasing the Region

The Dallas Gang in Napa My birthday trip journey continued with a day in Napa Valley visiting three iconic vineyards that showcased very diverse approaches to winemaking and hospitality – Charles Krug Winery, B Cellars Vineyards and Winery, and Crocker & Starr. Napa Valley is known as one of the most renowned wine growing regions in […]

My First Taste of Maryland Wine: A Glimpse Into Old Westminster Winery

  Maryland.  It’s a state with more than 80 wineries and a mission of showcasing what the state can do. Living in Texas, I haven’t had the opportunity to explore Maryland wines, so it was a gift to be introduced to Old Westminster Winery in June.  Not only was it a glimpse into Maryland, but […]

Palmaz Winery: The Intersection of Technology and Craft Winemaking

  For Julio and Amalia Palmaz, of Palmaz Vineyards, the love affair with wine started after years of regular visits to Napa. Julio was a successful heart surgeon who actually invented the heart stint.  When it was time for the next phase for their family, they decided to purchase an old estate in Coombsville in Napa.  […]

A Deeper Dive into Santa Barbara: Jackson Family Winemakers’ Perspective

  Santa Barbara Panelists of Winemakers The winemakers in the room had a combined 100 years of experience.  All with different perspectives on how to farm, manage their vineyards and on their winemaking techniques.  But they shared a bond and passion for Santa Barbara and a common owner – Jackson Family Wines. This was the […]

Domaine Drouhin and Jordan Family Tasting & A Closer Look at Cameron Hughes

Domaine Drouhin and Jordan Family

Art by Vino Mosaics This week’s wine column focuses on multiple samples that came from two families that are considered to be stalwarts in wine – the Drouhin family and the Jordan family.  It also covers Cameron Hughes, a man who took a different approach by not having his own vineyards, but by finding interesting […]