Skipping School

A few days ago I woke up with a single, glowing thought: I’m done. Enough is enough. Time to move on. In 2010 I prepared to switch careers from teaching high school to the amorphous, mysterious job of “something in wine.” I had told myself for several years that when my daughters graduated – they attended […]

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“No, There Is Too Much. Let Me Sum Up.”

Let’s not waste time with explanations. Let’s just get going. After all, I’ve already wasted nine months pecking at this thing. Yeah, I know. During 2016 I attended a number of industry tastings, but three or four really struck me as special. After each of them I had the same reaction: people need to know […]

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South American Reds — QPR You Can Trust

Too often I’m reminded of just how circumscribed my wine drinking habits can become at times. Circumscribed? Maybe narrow is a better word. When I find myself enjoying a bargain Bordeaux or something interesting from South Africa, I ask myself, “why am I not drinking more wines like these?” Well, it happened again recently when I […]

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2014 Markus Wine Whites

When wine drinkers see the word Lodi they almost always think of zinfandel first. No surprise, really, given the number of top-notch varietals coming out of that area. What these same aficionados might not realize, and most regular consumers are largely unaware of, is that there are a number of fine white wines coming out […]

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Hands-On Learning

When I was invited a few weeks back to participate in Gloria Ferrer‘s annual Hands-On Harvest, I accepted immediately, but with some reservation. I’ve been to Gloria Ferrer many times over the years since it opened its doors in 1986 as the first sparkling house in Carneros. I have taken friends and family there countless […]

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2013 Jordan Chardonnay

Maybe you’re a big fan of chardonnay. And maybe you’ve heard friends who are a bit ahead of you in the wine game talking about things called Chablis and Burgundy, but you really don’t know much about those wines. What you do know is that wines from those places can often be expensive. Still, you’d […]

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What Are You Waiting For?

The next time I hear somebody complain that Napa is too commercialized, too touristy, I know what my response is going to be. Two words: Stony Hill. Want to shed some of the creeping cynicism that’s starting to cloud your appreciation of the Napa Valley? A visit to Stony Hill will take you back to a Napa that existed before the […]

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A Bit Of Bordeaux In Napa

If you’re a lover of American wine, and eager to know more about its upper echelon, then a visit to Spottswoode is a must. Long regarded as one of the top producers of cabernet sauvignon in the Napa Valley, Spottswoode draws favorable comparisons to the top chateaux in Bordeaux, where, in the wineries along the Left Bank of […]

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Now Where Was I?

I was talking about a wine book and then the holidays rolled around and that was that for a while. Then I thought The Grape Belt needed a new look, and that’s dragged its own silly behind for way too long. Now I’m at the point where we – the entire TGB staff — all […]

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