The learning started soon after everyone-- mostly wine buyers and directors, with a few media types --  arrived, with a vintage lineup of the winery's Royal Cuvee -- 1987, 1990,1995, 2001, and 2007 -- a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. We came to understand the wines from several angles, including weather during growing season, blend percentages of chardonnay and pinot noir, winemaker decisions, and, of course, ageability. While I agreed with other participants that the 1987 was a delicious and intriguing wine, I was one of the few there who championed the youngest of the bunch, a heady, biscuity, and youthful wine, with an elegant body and robust flavors. It was a fascinating tasting session, one that gave me new appreciation for what took place at Gloria Ferrer. If they were looking turn us into fans, they were off and running. What goes best with good wine? Good food!

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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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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Sonoma Begins With Keller Estate

For more than 20 years, on my way to visit family members in Petaluma and points west, I’ve seen the Keller Estate sign on Lakeville Highway. And for years my impression of the winery, based on nothing more than the look of the sign and its location in the flatlands north of the San Pablo […]

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Jacuzzi Family Vineyards — Something For Everybody

For tourists who love visiting wineries that have a little bit of everything, spending time at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards has to feel like hitting the proverbial jackpot. Located in southern Sonoma’s Carneros area, across the road from its sister winery, Cline Cellars, Jacuzzi opened the doors to its 18,000 square-foot facility in 2007, but the production of Jacuzzi wines, […]

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Where Should We Go? Cline. We Should Go To Cline

For years, when friends who were vacationing in California asked me what wineries they should visit, I would send them to Cline Cellars. My experiences at Cline have been consistently positive ones. Despite always being busy, crowded with eager guests, the staff there always found the time to treat each visitor in a friendly, generous, and relaxed manner. […]

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California’s Wine History Comes Alive At Gundlach Bundschu

Founded in 1858 on the east side of Sonoma, Gundlach Bundschu is California’s oldest family owned and operated winery. Today, the Bundschu family is admired for its deft balance of reverence for history and adherence to modern standards of craftsmanship. If you’ve not had the chance to visit this winery, where the invitation to  have […]

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In The Pink

Have you ever had that situation where you get together with two of your friends who have never met each other? You figure that because you get along with both of them, then they’ll get along with each other. But when they finally do meet, it’s clear that they just don’t match up. Last week […]

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