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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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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The High Costs of Low Prices

Part of the WSET’s Diploma studies is the composition of a research paper that focuses on some of the more pressing issues currently at play in the global wine industry. The following is my look at the challenges created when discounting becomes standard operating procedure. This paper received a passing grade of Distinction, and so […]

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Look Both Ways Before Crossing

The past year was filled with so many wonderful moments and even more delicious wines that it is impossible to count them all. Before uncorking 2015, I thought it would be worthwhile to mention some things that stood out in 2014, and offer a few modest, obtainable goals for the new year. The visit my […]

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We’ve Got People Coming Over — Help!!

In the last few weeks, I’ve had more than one person ask for help with planning their holiday parties. They want to serve wine. They want to serve decent wine, but they don’t want to go broke. Or, they don’t want to serve expensive, high quality wines because they know that at a party very […]

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Let’s Go Shopping — Back To The Bargain Aisle

In the coming months I’ll again be beating the drum of “try something new!” Remember, one of the nice things about making attempts to climb out of your wine rut is that you don’t have to go broke doing so. A recent listing in one of my favorite wine mags proves this point convincingly. What […]

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Let’s Go Shopping — A Griller’s Dozen

Everybody’s heard of a baker’s dozen, right? Well, with summer on its way, and many folks already working the backyard grill, here are some reds that will partner nicely with whatever it is you’ve got cooking. Think of them as a griller’s dozen. $19 2010 Dry Creek Heritage Zinfandel (Sonoma County; abv 13.5%) A big […]

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Thirty Wines For $10 Or Less

Back in June, Wine & Spirits magazine did a big favor for bargain shoppers everywhere with its “Top 100 Values of the Year” edition. Most interesting for the hard-core coupon clippers were those selections at $10 and under. With the holidays in full swing, and the need for potent potables looking like a run-away train, […]

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