wine events

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Fundraising with a Coastal View, and Pinot Too

When a charity event celebrates 30 years, no doubt it’s not only been successful but has helped beneficiaries and local community along the way. That’s exactly what Winesong, the annual fundraiser on the Mendocino coast of California has done for three decades. “Over 30 years we’ve raised $6.5 million,” says Jeri Erickson, executive director of the Menodcino Coast Hospital Foundation. “Our beneficiary and our sole purpose is to support the Mendocino Coast Hospital, a 25 bed hospital. We service 70 miles of coastline over 540 square miles, as were are a remote region. The closest hospital is an hour away through windy mountain roads, so a hospital in our community is absolutely vital.” Jeri owes part of Winesong’s longevity to its unique location. “All of our events have a coastal view,” she says. Winesong is always the first weekend of September. The Friday afternoon event is the Pinot Noir Celebration…

New! The Essence of Wine and Perfume – A Pairing Workshop in LA

Please join me and master perfumer Sarah Horowitz for a super fun wine and perfume pairing workshop in Los Angeles!  We’ll be pairing wine with fragrant essences curated by Sarah at her perfume studio.  You’ll get to sniff and sip.  The best part of all is we’ll be creating a custom, one-of-a-kind fragrance on the spot, with your input, inspired by one of the wines!  You’ll be able to take a home a sample vial of this bespoke scent.  This is a  great way to learn about both wine and perfume, and how the two are more similar than you ever imagined. Our guest vintner is Sonja Magdevski of Casa Dumetz Wines and we’ll be pouring and pairing her wines with Sarah’s perfumes! Tell all your perfume loving friends, especially those in the Los Angeles area.  Sign up early! Space is extremely limited. Detailed information on, a new perfume boutique finder and…

Come to Napa Valley, but not for the Wine

Several times a year I’m asked by friends and family for recommendations on where to go when they visit Napa Valley. In addition to wineries I think they’ll like, I also include ones with interesting architecture and must see art galleries. That list usually includes The Hess Collection for its impressive display of contemporary art, Mumm Napa for the Ansel Adams photo gallery and Ma(i)sonry for the eclectic mix of art, decorative home items and lineup of Blackbird wines and more.

It’s nice to have options that don’t always include wine. You can only sample so much wine in a day, and it’s good to have a break. If you don’t drink wine at all, you may feel left out. Fortunately there’s more art in Napa Valley than even I knew was on view. Read more

Giving Thanks for Garagiste Wines

You know the legendary stories about how Apple Computers and Hewitt Packard were created in a garage, by visionaries who broke all the rules and changed an industry. Wine garagistes do the same thing. What in the world is a garagiste? Garagiste [gar-uh-zhe-stuh] is a name coined for winemakers in Bordeaux, France making small amount of high quality wines in their home garages and bucking conventional wine tradition. That innovative spirit is alive and well in the United States, particularly on California’s Central Coast. That’s where you’ll find Paso Robles, home to the first ever garagiste festival in the country.

Supporting them is crucial to their survival. Read more

An Ultimate Girls Summer Weekend in Wine Country

I’ve been on at least a dozen girls weekends. The destinations are always great: New York, Palm Springs, Chicago, Miami, the North Carolina mountains. But I’d not done a girls trip to Napa Valley wine country. I’m not talking over the top 5-star accommodations and 3 star Michelin restaurants; we were more budget minded (we’d rather have money for shopping). We ate and drank well, and even found a nice place to stay that was less than $200 per night (thanks Priceline!)

You probably don’t think of downtown Napa as a destination for style or shopping. People used to bypass Napa on their way to winery tasting rooms and St. Helena. Well things have changed. Now Napa is a must stop for great dining, wine tasting and shopping. Read more

Seeing the World Through Rose´Colored Wine Glasses

Pink wine is finally getting the respect it deserves. It can be as sophisticated as any red or white wine. I’ve been a huge fan for years. While Rose´is the perfect wine for warm and hot weather, I like to drink it year round. Lately, I’ve noticed a lot more people drink it year round too. You can find at least one Rose´option on wine lists, and grocery stores have a few more bottles of pink wine on the shelves. Read more

It’s Wine Time

As we head into summer, it’s time for lots of great events happening all over wine country.  Here’s a brief listing of what’s going on.

I love the Santa Cruz Mountains wine country, which is between San Francisco and Santa Cruz.  It’s a beautiful and diverse region, with small wineries producing really great wine.  You can try many of the region’s wines at two upcoming events. Read more

Oakland, CA is Wine Country

When you think of Oakland, the other city by the San Francisco Bay, you probably don’t think of it as wine country.  There aren’t any vineyards, bucolic settings or palatial wine tasting rooms.  Instead, you find a gritty, industrial vibe, one that dares to thumb its nose at traditional wine country.  This is wine country in the city.

23 wineries now call Oakland and surrounding areas home.  This is more than a trend, not only  in Oakland, but around the country. City Winery is in New York City.  Boedecker is in Portland and Henke is in Cincinnati.  While the labels may have appellations from Napa Valley to Long Island to the Willamette Valley, the grapes are brought into a downtown setting to be made into wine.

Part of the attraction for vintners going urban is cost.  They don’t have vineyards, and downtown industrial space can be a lot less expensive than a small plot in Napa or Sonoma.  What you do find is real passion and talent for winemaking.  Most urban wineries make small lots, but it’s the wine they want to make, and drink. The tasting rooms are accessible to a wider population too.  Imagine taking the subway to a winery.  You can in New York.  Urban wineries are changing the landscape, so to speak, and definition of wine country.

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DRINK – Urban wine

Since wine can be made anywhere these days, it’s no big surprise that Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda, CA (also known as the East Bay) are home to many urban wine brands, both established and start ups. So what if there are no vineyards in the city (that I’m aware of).  At this past weekend’s Urban Wine Experience in Oakland, the local wines were showing rather well, paired with bites from local restaurants. The public event was held by the East Bay Vintner’s Alliance. I found a lot to like, and some really good values. There were many good Rhone varietal bottlings, and that made me happy, since j’adore Rhone wines. I might just need to do a little East Bay Rhone wine tour. These are the standouts: One of my last sips of the day was at Stage Left Cellars. It’s a fairly new player in the urban wine scene.…