Maui Wine: Not a complete oxymoron – a novel tasting experience

The idea of Hawaii as a wine producer may seem far-fetched. But Hawaii’s wealth of climatic zones means this tropical paradise has opportunities to create decent, even good wine. Maui Wine offers delicious wines made from Pineapple, as well as up and coming estate grape wines. Faithful readers, please forgive me for my lack of…

Gloria Ferrer: California sparkling house with Spanish Catalonian flair

Sample some French-style, Spanish-influenced sparkling wine (yep, that’s a thing!) made in Sonoma County, California at Gloria Ferrer. Nestled in the cool bayside Carneros region of Sonoma County, the vineyards of Gloria Ferrer are well situated to grow Chardonnay and Pinot noir grapes, the key components of most sparkling wines. Having visited nearby Domaine Carneros…

TwoBirds/OneStone: When you want an amazing meal to go with your Napa wine tour

Today, I highlight the newest breakout in Napa’s wine country restaurant scene. Two Birds/OneStone, located on the property of St. Helena’s Freemark Abbey winery, is Japanese-Californian yakitori fusion at its best.    A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to experience the Grand Reopening celebration for Freemark Abbey’s renovated winery and new tasting room facilities….

The Funk Zone: Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail, Part 2

Curious about wine – but find wineries to be pretentious? Santa Barbara, CA’s Funk Zone is for you! In our last post, the CD showed you three refined tasting rooms along Santa Barbara, California’s Urban Wine Trail. Today, we’ll switch gears and visit a few of the irreverent, well, funky tasting rooms and a brewery…

Wine on the American Riviera: ¬†Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail, Part 1

Join the CD for the first in a two-part tour of Santa Barbara, California’s Urban Wine Trail, where we’ll visit three of Santa Barbara’s more refined tasting rooms. The crown jewel of the self-proclaimed American Riviera, Santa Barbara is part beach resort town, part college town, and increasingly, part wine town. The city’s Urban Wine…

Sommelier 101: Real wine lessons for real wine drinkers

Let’s face it. Wine can be intimidating. While decent wine has become more accessible of late – particularly for those of us in the New World (my European friends, consider yourselves fortunate), the world of wine is vast. That fact became even more obvious as I began studying for my Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam…

Aspiring “Somm:” Studying for the Introductory Sommelier Course

A few months ago, I did something that was either a little brave or a little daft: I registered for an introductory sommelier course and exam.¬† Three months later, I walked into a hotel ballroom, joining ninety-some well-dressed beverage professionals and took my seat. I was instantly petrified. When the lead instructor, a Master Sommelier…

Cotogna: Escaping El Nino with cozy, boutique Italian

There are memorable meals, and there are those meals that give us the sensory equivalent of a photographic memory. Every flavor, every texture is etched into vivid memory. The latter was my experience with Cotogna, one of San Francisco’s outstanding boutique Italian cafes. I realize that saying “one of” doesn’t exactly sound like an overwhelming…

Freemark Abbey: Cabernet (and more!) Greatness in the heart of Napa

Stop by my favorite winery in California’s beautiful Napa Valley for some of the valley’s best wines. From reds to whites to their rare library finds, theirs are truly worth trying. If you have been following this blog, it’s no secret that my interest and appreciation for wine goes hand in hand with my love…