Posts Tagged ‘California’

The Insider’s Guide to Wine Tasting in Temecula

November 16, 2015 7:25 pm - Posted by Jody in Travel


Question: Where’s a wine region that has a history of being disrespected, but is now winning medals? Answer: Temecula, my friends. Those lovely rolling hills so near and yet so far have come into their own, and you can enjoy an easy short trip — or spend a week — sipping, rinsing and tasting, all without… 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


US Fine Wine Industry Expected to Grow in 2015

January 22, 2015 12:32 pm - Posted by Jody in Drink


Annual State of the Wine Industry Report Forecasts Growth in 2015:- Increased Demand for Fine Wine Driven by an Improving Economy- 14-18% Sales Growth- Higher Bottle Prices according to a report released today by Silicon Valley Bank.

“We are seeing real strength in the U.S. economy going into 2015, which will increase demand for wine,” said Rob McMillan, founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division and author of the report. “Declining oil prices are transferring wealth to oil-consuming countries, the employment picture is improving, the US dollar is strengthening and interest rates will move at a measured pace. As long as the industrialized world economies can hold their own, the middle-income consumer will see improved prospects. We’ll be toasting to that.”

“We are especially positive on the year ahead,” McMillan said. “We expect the fine wine business will experience accelerating growth, achieving 14–18 percent sales growth in 2015. At the same time, the cellars are full with several consecutive years of very good vintages.”

Based on a survey of nearly 600 West Coast wineries, in-house expertise and ongoing research, SVB’s Annual State of the Wine Industry report covers trends and addresses current issues facing the US wine industry. The report offers unique data and observations that help wine business owners and managers think critically about their business strategies.

Key findings and predictions:

Supply: We expect to see the third consecutive harvest of heavy yield and great quality across most appellations.

Sales Growth: After finishing the year at the top end of our predicted sales growth of 6% – 10% in 2014, we are predicting a breakout year of growth in the fine wine category in the 14%-18% range in 2015.

Pricing: While the large supply of wines in the cellars should normally indicate continued depressed pricing, we believe 2015 will be a year of both volume and price increases in the fine wine segment, driven by an improving economy and higher demand.

Demand: Wines priced below $7 a bottle performed poorly both on and off premise in 2014. This poor performance is likely to continue in 2015.

Planting: Grape planting is shifting regionally. Oregon and Washington are showing strong growth in planting on a percentage basis and we expect that this will continue for the foreseeable future given favorable quality and price dynamics relative to the fine wine growing regions in California.

All in all 2015 looks like it will be a good year for the industry and pretty good one for consumers. We wine lovers may end up paying a little more but the quality and variety of wines should be worth it.


Off the Beaten Path in California Wine Country

February 17, 2014 10:58 am - Posted by Jody in Travel

It’s Time to Drink Wine (in Livermore Valley)!

Reposted by permission of Tales Told From The Road

Tom Wilmer Book

Along with my wife and friends, I’ve made many “Economic Stimulus Trips” (that means eating fine food and drinking fine wine) to California’s famous wine-making valleys:  Alexander, Napa, Russian River, and Sonoma.  I’ve traveled to some of Europe’s top wine regions like the Alsace, Burgundy, and Tuscany. And in October I had a grand time at British Columbia’s Okanagan Wine Festival.But guess what long-time wine producing region, not far from my home, I’ve never, ever, ever, set foot in? If you said “Livermore Valley”, you would be right.  And what’s amazing about my failure to get there is that the very first wine I drank when I came to California back in 1968 was Pinot Chardonnay from the family-owned Wente Vineyards which has been in business since 1883.

The Wine Seeker’s Guide to Livermore Valley by travel writer Thomas C. Wilmer is going to change all of that.  This guidebook to one of California’s “hidden” wine destinations covers Wente (page 141 of Tom’s book) and thirty-nine other wineries.  The names of three are particularly intriguing to me:  Darcie Ken Vineyards & Underdog Wine Bar (I always think of myself as an “underdog”), Longevity Wines (I’ll drink to a long life drinking wine!), and The Singing Winemaker (has Elvis entered the winery building?).

But since man (nor woman) cannot live by wine tasting alone, Tom has included an extensive “Things to Do and See” section at the end of the book with these headings:

  • Shops & Wine Bars (Niles Canyon Railway’s Wine Tasting on Wheels” sounds like the way to go)
  • Events (I worked at a wine country cooking school, so the Taste of Terroir:  Livermore Valley’s Wine & Food Experience has got me salivating)
  • Theater (the Livermore Shakespeare Festival is much closer to my home than the similar theater extravaganza that I often attend in Southern Oregon)
  • Activities (I like to go day-hiking, and this guidebook lists several trails and parks in the Livermore area)
  • Places to See (the Lawrence Livermore Lab and the long-burning Centennial Light Bulb at Fire Station #6 will appeal to “high energy” fans)
  • Golf (best to try making par on Wente’s Greg Norman designed course before you begin wine tasting)
  • Restaurants (stay to dine at Wente after your round of golf, or play bocce ball and then eat at Campo di Bocce)
  • Lodging (major hotel chains, the stylish Rose Hotel, or the rustic Purple Orchid Inn Resort & Spa)
  • Visitors Resources (contact information for the local wine growers association, visitor & convention bureau, and chambers of commerce)
  • Towns (a brief description of the region’s seven towns and Livermore Valley American Viticultural area)

Now that Northern California’s damp and stormy winter has blown away and spring has arrived, I’m excited about using The Wine Seeker’s Guide to Livermore Valley to plan my next wine tasting excursion.  Since it’s also available in a Kindle version, I could read the e-book on my PC and highlight those wineries and other places I want visit on my first trip, then leave my printed version at home and refer to my Kindle notes using my iPhone.  (Thanks to Tom Wilmer for providing me with a review copy of  his guidebook).

(Tom Wilmer got into journalism as a copy boy for the West Coast edition of the The Wall Street Journal.  Since then his travels around the globe have racked up more miles than two trips to the Moon—the one place he hasn’t been yet—and back.  His Audiolog travel programs have aired on Central California NPR affiliate radio stations for over twenty years. Now you can find him on YouTube (as in this clip about Livermore Valley wineries), too. Tom and Dick Jordan are both members of Bay Area Travel Writers.)



Roadtrip For the Holiday – California Dreamin’

December 27, 2013 9:34 am - Posted by Jody in Travel
The Road Less Traveled (via

  The Central Coast prides itself on being off the beaten path, even though this is becoming less and less the case as the area gains notoriety and vineyards continue to sprout up like wildflowers. One can easily find wines of equal caliber to their…

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Wine Of The Week – Paul Dolan Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2009

May 3, 2011 10:59 pm - Posted by Jody in Drink

Each week I like to choose a new wine to introduce to our fans. These wines vary by region, by varietal and even by price. I don’t think cost and value are necessarily related. So I like to focus on wines I have experienced on my travels and I think our fans will enjoy trying. salut!

Region: Mendocino County, California

89 Points, John Szabo MS

Subdued, ripe but fresh example of sauvignon from biodynamic producer Paul Dolan, with intriguing lime cordial, fresh pear and guava flavours. The palate is well balanced, with above average complexity and lingering finish. Very pleasant, still refreshing, sipping or food-friendly wine. Tasted March 2011. Value Rating: **1/2 (Apr 2011)


The Love Of My Life – Is Zinfandel-a-licuous

April 6, 2011 9:05 pm - Posted by Countess Rose Perry in Drink

My love of California Zinfandel is no secret. I’ve often said I’d bathe in it and spray it on my pulse points like perfume if socially acceptable. I am a self-proclaimed Zin-head, Zin connoisseur and Zin snob. I’m basically a walking, talking version of the Zins I adore; big, bold and mouthful of sensual spice with piercing touches of spice and layers of sweetness but no tolerance for bullshit. One of my absolute favorites to date, the one I am salivating over right now at the mere thought of the aroma, look, taste and feel of it, is Chiarello Family Vineyards’ Felicia Old Vine Zinfandel.

Since he was a Southern Italian little boy growing up in Central California, Owner and co-winemaker of Chiarello Family Vineyard’s Michael Chiarello dreamt of being a world class chef. He worked hard, trained hard and fulfilled those teenage dreams. He apprenticed in restaurants as a teen, graduated from the Culinary Institute in New York at 20, voted Food and Wine Chef of the Year when he was 23 and opened his first restaurant, Tra Vigne back in Napa Valley at 24. He recently opened his latest restaurant, Bottega.

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