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Many poets have waxed philosophical about the values and virtues of wine, about its power and principles, its joy and attraction.


Travel isn't about the destination; it's about the journey. It is about the people and places you meet along the way.


As I crisscross the globe I often discover innovative wine products, new gadgets or the perfect gift for wine lovers; and so I have created a collection of Wine Portfolio merchandise.


Wine can sometimes seem complicated and intimidating but it doesn't have to be. Wine should bring joy not stress and you don't have to be an expert to learn to love wine.


Celebrate These Emerging Wine Destination in the U.S.

October 9, 2015 2:00 pm - Posted by Jody in Travel

The U.S. is a big country with many wine growing regions outside of the better known Californian icons. While some areas such as Napa have long been known for their fine vintages, a growing number of destinations are appearing in states throughout the U.S., from Washington to Texas. Those looking to enjoy some of the fastest growing regions need to look no farther than one of these five wine destinations.

Finger Lakes – New York State

Already well-known for its award winning wines, the Finger Lakes region continues to grow and now offers over 80 wineries centered around Cayuga, Seneca and Keuka Lakes.

Walla Walla Valley – Oregon and Washington

While Oregon’s Willamette Valley has long been considered one of the best regions for wine in the U.S., a growing number of vineyards and wineries are popping up in Walla Walla Valley as well, making it one of the fastest growing wine regions not just in the U.S., but in the world.


Michigan may be small, but it more than makes up for its size in flavor. Not only is this Great Lakes State home to more than a few wineries and wine trails, but it is one of the top five grape producers in the country. From the urban centers of Southern Michigan to the more rural areas of Northern Michigan, this region has quickly become one of the fastest growing wine regions in the country.

Texas Hill Country

Wine can now be found in areas throughout the State of Texas, from El Paso to Houston, and while all these areas offer up their own appeal, the region which has become the most well-known and fastest growing is the Texas Hill Country. Located in the “Heart of Texas”, not far from Austin, this warm, dry climate is ideal for grapes and has become home to a growing number of wineries. Today, the area includes over 30 wineries featuring a variety of grape species from Spain, France and Italy.

Paso Robles – California

California may be old when it comes to wine in the U.S., but there are still regions that are just getting started. While Napa and Sonoma may still have a hold on the production, the Paso Robles region of California is quickly becoming a contender in terms of wine making in the country. Home to over 200+ wineries and vineyards, this region is fast becoming famous for its blends.

Chinese Winemaker Changyu snaps up Spanish wine firm

October 6, 2015 1:43 pm - Posted by Jody in Eat


Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine Co Ltd, a leading Chinese wine producer, has stepped up its overseas moves with the acquisition of Marques del Atrio, a wine company in Spain. Changyu, which has more than 100 years of history, was established in 1892 by Chinese diplomat Zhang Bishi. Since then, it has made its presence felt at… read more

Ancient Beer Recipes Lead to Modern Health Remedies

October 2, 2015 1:31 pm - Posted by Jody in Drink


While today beer is mostly thought of as a fun and savory drink that makes us social, talkative and happy, it might also be much more than that. It could be a key to unlocking the secrets of ancient medicinal remedies that humans created over millennia to fight diseases that plagued them from the beginning of… read more

Rioja wine region of Spain is home to spectacular architecture

September 28, 2015 1:30 pm - Posted by Jody in Travel


Laguardia, Spain (dpa) – The Rioja Alavesa in the Basque region of northern Spain is an area of stunning natural beauty, where the local business is vineyards and bodegas (wineries) that range from small family businesses to spectacular buildings designed by the world’s best architects. Celebrated American architect Frank Gehry, creator of the Guggenheim Museum in… read more

Tuscany of the East

August 24, 2015 8:34 am - Posted by Jody in Drink


From New York to Sao Paulo, epicureans have been reveling in a new generation of exciting wines from one of the least expected places – Slovenia, a vintner’s paradise in full renaissance. In fact, the small country has a viticultural tradition stretching back 2,400 years to the Celtic era, long before the Romans introduced winemaking to… read more


Summer is the Time for California Wine Country

August 7, 2015 11:32 am - Posted by Jody in Travel

PETALUMA, Calif. – Summer is a splendid time to take in the waters, wine and delights of Napa and Sonoma counties in Northern California. Head across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, through the hills of Marin County, and then up Highway 101. The highway runs through California’s sensuous golden hills, past happily munching cows,… read more


Italy Beckons

August 3, 2015 11:21 am - Posted by Jody in Learn


THIS place doesn’t look real. From the top of a steep hillside covered in lemon trees and grapevines, the village of Manarola tumbles out below, like a handful of pink, orange and yellow blocks that have been shaken, then poured from a toy bag. Manarola is one of five hamlets strewn a few miles apart along… read more


A Small Inn in Sonoma Making a Big Impression

July 31, 2015 11:14 am - Posted by Jody in Travel

The Farmhouse Inn

How does a relatively small Sonoma County inn find itself ranked among the world’s best hotels?

The answer lies partly in the simple richness of the guest experience; from the farm-to-table organic food served in the Michelin-starred restaurant, to the relaxing and energizing spa featuring botanical massages and wraps, everything at Farmhouse Inn is designed to make each visit to the wine country memorable.

Now, satisfied guests have had their say, voting Farmhouse Inn onto the short list of Travel + Leisure’s best hotels. Farmhouse Inn not only earned a #2 ranking among Small Inns in the U.S., but also ranked 8th on the 100 World’s Best Hotels list. That’s truly rarefied air, and it speaks to the elite experience enjoyed by guests. Not only that, but 2015 marks the third year in which Farmhouse Inn has achieved a ranking.

The hotel was also recently selected as the Best Wine Country Hotel/Resort in Sunset Magazine’s 2015 Travel Awards this June. The award honors the West’s top destinations and those displaying excellence in the tourism industry.

Guests quickly fall in love with the inn after the first visit—which explains the high praise bestowed by Travel + Leisure readers. The mission of this unique inn is simple: to provide an authentic, “insider” experience of California Wine Country. Hidden treasures abound in this large and diverse region, just an hour’s drive north of San Francisco. Through connections with local vintners and an intimate knowledge of the community, guests can expect a one-of-a-kind experience every time.

The passion of sibling owners, Joe and Catherine Bartolomei, comes through in a myriad of little details, like the farm fresh eggs on the breakfast table. As fifth-generation Sonomans, the Bartolomeis have deep roots in the community.

“Our goal here at Farmhouse Inn has always been to create a unique and vital Sonoma wine country experience. This last year we added nine new luxurious rooms, a completely new spa building, and complete revamped all outdoor spaces while maintaining the luxury and attention to detail the staff is known for. Our guests can see and feel the love that has gone into our intimate boutique hotel; that’s how we’ve created such a sense of loyalty with many of our guests returning time and time again,” said owner Catherine Bartolomei. “The recent accolades from Travel + Leisure and Sunset Magazine are just more evidence that we’re doing something quite special. Please come celebrate with us.”

Travel + Leisure readers rated hotels and accommodations on five criteria: rooms/facilities, location, service, restaurants/food and value. See more

Sunset Magazine is the leading lifestyle brand in the West covering the West’s best flavors, destinations, design trends, and innovations. See more


July 27, 2015 11:08 am - Posted by Jody in Drink

CedarCreek Estate Winery has rattled the wine world once again. On July 1st, 2015 CedarCreek’s 2012 Platinum Block 2 Pinot Noir was awarded the Trophy for ‘Best Red Wine in Canada’ at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards, in London, UK. That same day, the winery also announced the appointment of internationally acclaimed winemaker Alexis Moore, a preeminent wine figure from New Zealand.

“I’m excited to hear you got Alexis,” exclaims Lynn Penner-Ash of Penner-Ash Wine Cellars in Oregon. “What an incredible winemaker,” says Lynn, who herself was one of Oregon’s first female winemakers and today a leading winemaker and consultant on winery design.

“I never thought I’d leave New Zealand,” says Alexis Moore. “After ten years of successfully establishing roots in the wine world, New Zealand had definitely become my home,” she confirms . “My great love is Pinot Noir and aromatic whites,” continues Moore, whose very first vintage of Pinot Noir went on to claim 5 Gold Medals at reputable international wine competitions including Mondial des Pinots in Switzerland. “That moment when Darryl Brooker called me to convey the incredible opportunity to build the Okanagan Valley into one of the five great Pinot Noir regions in the world was something I just couldn’t say no to.”

Ironically Alexis Moore is Canadian and originally from Nova Scotia. Alexis’ winemaking experience transcends international borders having first honed her skills in the vineyards of Provence in France. This led to positions at such notable US producers as Flowers Winery in Sonoma and Oregon’s Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. With 16 harvests under her belt, Alexis’ return to Canada comes from her most recent role with Gladstone Vineyard in New Zealand, where she earned international acclaim for crafting exceptional Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.

Alexis completed her degree in Viticulture and Oenology at New Zealand’s prestigious Lincoln University which created the first cool climate wine production and education program. “I honestly believe that great winemaking starts in the vineyard, in fact, for the first three years of my winemaking career, I worked in vineyards.” proclaims Moore.”I couldn’t believe it, but one of the bonuses of working at CedarCreek is that all of our grapes are Estate grown. And nothing is more fulfilling for me as a winemaker than getting the chance to walk every row and learn about every inch of our Estate Vineyards, first-hand with Darryl Brooker, who knows every intimate detail of this land and whose Single Vineyard Block program is something I am in absolute admiration of.”

“A relentless perfectionist is how I perceive Alexis,” says Darryl Brooker, CedarCreek’s ex-winemaker, who was recently appointed as Chief Winemaker at Mission Hill Family Estate. “CedarCreek means so much to me. I have put my life in to building CedarCreek over the past five years and as I moved on within VMF Estates, I was not prepared to let go unless I found the right person who could take CedarCreek further. Alexis’ passion for cool climate viticulture, respect for sense of place in winemaking, and her outstanding wines that I tasted when I visited New Zealand were some of the things that convinced me she was the perfect fit for CedarCreek.”

“Alexis is passionate and intellectual,” states Proprietor Anthony von Mandl. “It was critical to find someone who embodied the purity of CedarCreek to ensure that we can carry on what Darryl has started here, all the way from the vineyard to the bottle. Alexis comes with an open mind, her sincerity is reflected in her wine and in her philosophy. And the fact that she is actually Canadian provides an extraordinary and very positive twist in the next chapter of CedarCreek’s proud history as one of the first eight pioneering wineries in British Columbia. Indeed what is New Zealand’s loss is most definitely British Columbia’s gain.”

This new appointment comes shortly after the announcement that Darryl Brooker will transition into the Chief Winemaker role at Mission Hill Family Estate.


Hollow wine is like growing grapes in valleys

July 24, 2015 11:04 am - Posted by Jody in Drink
Avoiding hollow wine

Avoiding hollow wine

We all occasionally experience something in a wine that lessens what should be a grand experience. One of my peeves is encountering a hollow wine. What that means basically is there can be great aromatics, and wonderful impressions on the sides of the palate, but nothing seems to be going on in the middle of your… read more

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