From 0 to 100.

From 0 to 100.

Yesterday we passed another milestone: we reached 100 countries where our blog has been read.  This is a proof-positive of the global nature of our lives today as well as the wide reach of social media and the scale of blog platforms such as WordPress that are used literally all over the world.  For the … Continue reading From 0 to 100.

See, Sniff, Swirl, Sip, Spit. Repeat.

See, Sniff, Swirl, Sip, Spit. Repeat.

When you live in Napa Valley it is common for other locals to ask "have you been to [fill in the name of a winery]."  Sometimes we answer in the affirmative but often we have to admit we are unfamiliar with the winery in question.  Over the past month we got "the question" twice about … Continue reading See, Sniff, Swirl, Sip, Spit. Repeat.

Great people making great wines

Great people making great wines

We enjoyed a wine recently at a local Napa Valley tasting room from a producer with which we were previously unfamiliar:  Lamborn Family Vineyards.  The quality of the wine compelled us to visit the producer's website and try to set up a tasting appointment.  We could not find an option for scheduling a tasting but … Continue reading Great people making great wines

This is what I call a drinking problem

This is what I call a drinking problem

There is a winery in Paso Robles - Dracaena Wines - that we have been hearing about for the past year or so.  Friends and fellow bloggers have posted about the winery's Cabernet Franc and the reviews have been positively glowing.  On more than one occasion we visited the Dracaena website and took a closer … Continue reading This is what I call a drinking problem

I can’t make “pun” of this winery’s name

I can’t make “pun” of this winery’s name

For every one of our blog posts we have an important introductory step that takes place before we write a single word:  brainstorm a headline.  For reasons even we do not fully understand, we cannot get started before the headline has been cast in stone.  Usually, the headline is a play on words or a … Continue reading I can’t make “pun” of this winery’s name

Happy Blogiversary to Us

Happy Blogiversary to Us

One year ago we decided that we wanted to start a blog about life in Napa Valley wine country and our experiences visiting the restaurants and wineries here.  Almost immediately we felt that Napa Valley was too narrow a focus as our travels took us to other California wine region and wineries in other states.  Before … Continue reading Happy Blogiversary to Us

Honey Tasting in Napa Valley

Honey Tasting in Napa Valley

Who would come to Napa Valley for honey tastings? No one!  We did not really taste honey, but we did taste wine at a winery whose name means "honey" in German.  What is "honey" in German, you ask?  Honig.  And that's where we found ourselves a few days ago, at Honig Vineyard & Winery in … Continue reading Honey Tasting in Napa Valley

Puncutation Matters in Napa Valley

Puncutation Matters in Napa Valley

Visitors to Paradise (aka Napa Valley) expect to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature, the decadence of fine cuisine, and the poetry of the region's wines.  Left behind are the pressures and rules of "real life," right?  Surely something as mundane and constricting as grammar doesn't matter in this world-famous wine region.  Well, this is … Continue reading Puncutation Matters in Napa Valley

The fruits – or grapes – of war.  

The fruits – or grapes – of war.  

Last night we opened a bottle of 2015 De La Guerra Viognier from Napa Valley's Carneros region.  Translated literally, the words "de la Guerra" in Spanish mean "of the war" or "from the war."  In this case, however, De La Guerra refers not to any battle or war but instead is the name of one … Continue reading The fruits – or grapes – of war.  

Why we love the CIA? For the food!

For most people, the letters "CIA" conjure up a plethora of images and ideas - clandestine meetings, skullduggery, espionage, exotic locations, and a fair amount of intrigue and danger.  What probably does not come to mind is food, and world-class food at that.  The reason for this is that our nation's spy agency has co-opted … Continue reading Why we love the CIA? For the food!

Got Melka?

Got Melka?

According to a famous 1990's advertising campaign,"milk does a  body good."  We subscribe to the philosophy that wine -  good wine - also does a body good.  We recently met Sylvie Laly, the wonderful Sales and Wine Director for Napa Valley winery Melka Wines, who was gracious enough to share some of their wines with us. … Continue reading Got Melka?

A Wine Rating System That Makes Sense To Us

We recently visited VGS Chateau Potelle in Napa Valley's quaint town of Saint Helena and encountered a wine rating scale that we think has some appeal:  VGS.  Even casual wine buyers are familiar with the more common 100-point wine rating scale that Robert Parker first introduced in the 1980's in The Wine Advocate.  Since Parker introduced this … Continue reading A Wine Rating System That Makes Sense To Us

Wine Pairs With Football in Napa

The Oakland Raiders are one of America's most successful franchises:  owners of three National Football league championships and a team that has placed twelve players, one coach and their owner into the NFL Hall of Fame.  Over the course of their history, the Raiders have developed the reputation as one of the fiercest teams in … Continue reading Wine Pairs With Football in Napa

A winery my mother would have loved

My wife and I have been visiting Marimar Estate Vineyards & Winery in the Sonoma County town of Graton for quite a few years now.  Founded by Marimar Torres, a member of the prominent Torres winemaking family in Spain, Marimar Estate produces very high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well as Spanish varietals such … Continue reading A winery my mother would have loved

Top 10 Wine Moments of 2016

2016 was unquestionably an impactful year no matter what filters you apply to its 365 days: geopolitics, U.S. politics, the global economy, or the premature passing of a disproportionate number of treasured artists.  Certainly, a historical understanding of 2016 will require a thorough review of all of these areas and more.  Our goal, however, is not … Continue reading Top 10 Wine Moments of 2016

Old-fashioned new wine co-op in Napa

Today we made our third visit to Holman Cellars, a winery in Napa where some really interesting wines are being made.  What keeps drawing us back is the unique setup at Holman Cellars, where there are multiple winemakers and wine labels working out of the same space, sharing the same crush pad, and learning from each … Continue reading Old-fashioned new wine co-op in Napa

Que Sirah Sirah

Most wine regions are known for something specific.  Burgundy is best-known for Chablis (Chardonnay) and Pinot Noir, Bordeaux for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  The Rioja wine region in Spain is best-known for Tempranillo.  In Italy's Tuscany region, Sangiovese is king.  If there is a grape that defines Napa Valley, it would be Cabernet Sauvignon, although wine … Continue reading Que Sirah Sirah

Our Version of “Game of Thrones” Wine

We read an announcement recently that HBO has partnered with Vintage Wine Estates, a collection of wineries based in Sonoma County, California, to produce several Game of Thrones-themed wines. Vintage Wine Estates produces wines from Sonoma and Napa Valleys, two of our favorite wine regions.  But we would have thought HBO would source a GOT-themed wine from a … Continue reading Our Version of “Game of Thrones” Wine

Heart is Good for the Wine

Over the past decade or more, numerous reports have suggested that red wine is good for the heart.  At one of our favorite wineries in Napa, the heart has been very good for the wine as well.  As the picture above shows, inside the "E" in the Ehlers logo there is a heart, an homage … Continue reading Heart is Good for the Wine

From Grgic to Grgich

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet." Romeo & Juliet, Act II, Scene 2 What's the difference between Grgic and Grgich?  Looked at one way, there is almost no difference - they are just an "h" apart. Looked at differently, they are about 6,271 … Continue reading From Grgic to Grgich

Living in Beer Country

Okay, so maybe Napa Valley is not beer country yet.  But over the past couple of years a number of brewing operations and brew houses have sprung up in the Valley and become instant go-to destinations.  We previously wrote about one of our favorite beer spots, Carneros Brewing Company, which is in Sonoma County close … Continue reading Living in Beer Country

What Are You Grapeful For?

Wouldn't it be nice if drinking wine was considered an act of philanthropy?  Some of us would be donors on the scale of Bill Gates or Warren Buffet.  Well, I'm happy to report that there is a cool new concept that allows caring, big-hearted wine lovers to kill two birds with one stone:  enjoy great … Continue reading What Are You Grapeful For?

Paradise, Napa Valley (Part II)

Late winter and early Spring are our favorite times in Napa Valley.  For one thing, the temperatures are milder and the influx of visitors has not yet reached its maximum volume.  It feels like we have the place to ourselves, at least on occasion.  A favorite part of late winter/early Spring is when the mustard … Continue reading Paradise, Napa Valley (Part II)

Paradise, Napa Valley (Part I)

Images of Napa Valley often depict sprawling fields of grape vines and majestic winery structures that resemble castles or Tuscan villas.  Certainly those pictures are appropriate as we have literally miles and miles of vineyards and side-by-side wineries along Highway 29 and Silverado Trail.  However, Napa Valley is more than just grapes and wineries; for … Continue reading Paradise, Napa Valley (Part I)

Shouldn’t All Wine Be Natural?

Almost ten years ago we visited a prominent winery in Northern California to taste some of their wines.  We were motivated to visit by the fact that one of the world's top-rated restaurants (Napa Valley's The French Laundry) had recently added one of their wines to its impressive wine menu.  During the course of our … Continue reading Shouldn’t All Wine Be Natural?

I’ve a feeling we’re not in Croatia anymore

This is the sixth and final  installment in the chronicle of the European vacation where I decided to plan the entire trip and not tell my wife where we are going.  She has discovered each destination as we cross a border or enter a new city.  In most cases she has been in the dark … Continue reading I’ve a feeling we’re not in Croatia anymore

Croatia’s Terroir

This is the fifth  installment in the chronicle of the European vacation where I decided to plan the entire trip and not tell my wife where we are going.  She has discovered each destination as we cross a border or enter a new city.  In most cases she has been in the dark until almost … Continue reading Croatia’s Terroir

Travel Log: 16 Lakes, Countless Waterfalls, and Too Many U-Turns

This is the fifth  installment in the chronicle of the European vacation where I decided to plan the entire trip and not tell my wife where we are going.  She has discovered each destination as we cross a border or enter a new city.  In most cases she has been in the dark until almost … Continue reading Travel Log: 16 Lakes, Countless Waterfalls, and Too Many U-Turns

“A” to Zagreb

This is the fourth installment in the chronicle of the European vacation where I decided to plan the entire trip and not tell my wife where we are going.  She has discovered each destination as we cross a border or enter a new city.  In most cases she has been in the dark until almost … Continue reading “A” to Zagreb

Sneaking The Wife Across An International Border

We left Venice at 10:00 a.m. after a short stay in that magical city. Because it is impossible to rent a car in Italy and drop it off in our final country, I found a great service (Ondaytrip.com) to drive us to what i told my wife was "city 2 and City 3."  As we … Continue reading Sneaking The Wife Across An International Border

Why Is It So Hard To Keep A Secret?

If you followed my first post about the two-week European trip that my wife and I have embarked on, you'll know that I planned the trip all by myself and just gave her enough information to make reasonable decisions on what clothes to pack.  We have a dynamic itinerary and the goal was to have … Continue reading Why Is It So Hard To Keep A Secret?

My Wife Doesn’t Know Where We Are Going

Today we are leaving on a two-week trip to Europe. Normally, my wife and I plan our trips together and work through the intricate details of itinerary:  where to visit, how much time to spend in each place, what sites we should go to, where to find the best food and wine.  This trip, I … Continue reading My Wife Doesn’t Know Where We Are Going

A B&B That Serves Wine for Breakfast

We traveled to Oregon in late September to drop off a kid at the University of Oregon in Eugene.  Wrapped around that momentous event, we planned a series of adult activities for ourselves:  wine tasting, visiting some nice restaurants, attending an Oregon football game, and staying at some wine country bed and breakfasts.  This post is the … Continue reading A B&B That Serves Wine for Breakfast

Pinot Noir? Pinot Nowhere.

As we rolled up to our final winery of our Oregon visit, we might be forgiven for expecting to enjoy one more glass of Pinot Noir before returning to California.  Certainly, the Willamette Valley, where we spent the beginning of our Oregon wine sojourn, is best known for Pinot Noir:  over 70% of vines are … Continue reading Pinot Noir? Pinot Nowhere.

Rioja, Oregon

The mother (and mother-in-law) of this blog-writing duo was born and raised in Spain and did not come to the United States until she was thirty years old.  She brought with her a fierce pride of her homeland; nowhere was this fierceness more evident than in her preferred beverage: red wine from Rioja.  She refused to … Continue reading Rioja, Oregon

A Fun Little Lie in Eugene, Oregon

Don Essig has been the public address announcer at Autzen Stadium, the football home of the University of Oregon Ducks, for the past 46 years.  In 1990, umbrellas were banned at Oregon football games after fans complained about blocked views.  Fortunately for the fans who attended that first umbrella-less game, it did not rain that … Continue reading A Fun Little Lie in Eugene, Oregon

A Lot of Sass In Willamette Valley

A couple of months ago we "met" an Oregon winemaker named Jerry Sass on Twitter.  At this point we can't remember if he followed us first or the other way around.  But either way, after checking out his website we liked what we saw in terms of the winery's story and the approach to winemaking. … Continue reading A Lot of Sass In Willamette Valley

O, Oregon!

We spent nearly a week in Oregon at the end of September, a trip motivated by the need to drop our son off at the U of O. We decided to add a couple of days to the trip and visit some wineries and wine regions we have not been to before.  One of the benefits of writing … Continue reading O, Oregon!

A Restaurant Too Cool For A Name

"Diner." That's all it says on the road sign.  "Diner."  What else do you need to know, right?  Situated along Highway 121 in the Carneros wine region that straddles Napa and Sonoma, the diner's aromas waft across its parking lot and onto the Highway as cars drive by, either coming into or out of Napa … Continue reading A Restaurant Too Cool For A Name

An All-American Story.

A few days ago we had the pleasure of spending some time (about three hours, actually) with a winery owner that with a one-of-a-kind experience in the wine business.  We visited Ceja Vineyards in Napa and tasted wines and toured the estate property with founder Amelia Ceja.  During this visit, we learned about the inspiring … Continue reading An All-American Story.

Beer? In Wine Country?

If you like underdogs, you would root for one of the few Latino-owned breweries in the United States. But if you really, really like underdogs, you would root for a brewery owned by Mexican immigrants and opened in the heart of Northern California wine country.  For those extreme fans of the underdog, we present Carneros Brewing … Continue reading Beer? In Wine Country?

H2, Oh!

If there is a downside to living in wine country, it's that we generally have no occasion to stay at the many cool hotels in our area - Napa and Sonoma counties.  Sure, we could shell out the money any time and stay wherever we please, but that would feel wasteful. Last week, though, we … Continue reading H2, Oh!

Identity Crisis? An Aussie Making French Wines in California.

Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County boasts some of the finest vineyards in the region, if not the entire state.  Home to over 9,000 acres of planted vines, Dry Creek Valley is 16 miles long and 2 miles wide, with both valley floor and hillside locations.  In this sub-appellation of Sonoma County, there have been grape … Continue reading Identity Crisis? An Aussie Making French Wines in California.

Cool Day at Kunde

Along Highway 12 between the towns of Sonoma and Santa Rosa, there are multiple wineries nestled in the west-facing slopes of the Maycamas Mountains.  Because we are usually on our way to or from another destination, we had not, until last weekend, stopped at any of them. One winery in particular - Kunde Family - had … Continue reading Cool Day at Kunde

Two Birds. One Stone. Many Plates.

For those who love modern, inventive cuisine, beautiful decor, and superior service, there is a new "must visit" destination in the Napa Valley:   Two Birds/One Stone just north of St. Helena, on the grounds of the Freemark Abbey winery. TBOS had been on our list of places to visit since it opened in June of … Continue reading Two Birds. One Stone. Many Plates.

A Frenchman in Napa Valley

In the past two decades or so, Napa Valley wines have had a profound impact on the global wine industry, influencing how "good" wine taste, how wine should be made (fermentation practices, barrel aging, alcohol content), and certainly how to market wine to consumers.  This influence extends even to France, which has a much longer wine making … Continue reading A Frenchman in Napa Valley

You don’t have to swim upstream to eat here

One of our favorite destinations in California is the town of Jenner, a spot known as the "River's End" where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean. There is something majestic about two bodies of water coming together and this particular location is no exception.  On top of a bluff overlooking this amazing spot sits a fantastic … Continue reading You don’t have to swim upstream to eat here

Wine that fits the bill

Writing a blog can take up a significant amount of precious free time, especially if you feel compelled, as we do, to post at least once a week.  With the pressure of jobs, kids, dogs, and the rest of life, we sometimes ask ourselves "is it worth it?"  Just when one of us feels like taking … Continue reading Wine that fits the bill