Books,Public Relations,Wine

The Art of PR ~ Telling someone to eat poop and they’re liking it

DISCLAIMER: Wine-Blog is a journal of my PR wine activities and learnings. 1) I occasionally write stories about wine clients, but don’t charge them hours for that time. 2) Wine reviews (and trips) originate from free samples sent by PR people representing the brands. 3) Images are either mostly mine, some are purchased; a few rare ones are part of fair trade usage.


Dear Jo:

I am writing to introduce you to a delicious cookbook perfect for a holiday post.  Fresh Tastes by award-winning author Lee Clayton Roper, delivers over 170 flavorful recipes, essential cooking tips and delightful stories to spark inspiration in your kitchen.

Lee takes the “complicated” out of timeless classics, simplifying the process while ramping up flavors, using fresh ingredients when and where possible.  She shares personal reflections on lessons she has learned in the kitchen from those who have inspired her, along with 65 beautiful food photos, along with process shots of key preparation steps.

Fresh Tastes epitomizes Lee’s culinary tastes, balancing an innovative approach with uncomplicated preparation techniques. Sophisticated in flavor and beautiful to present, the recipes in Fresh Tastes are prepared with the best quality, readily available ingredients designed to maximize flavor.

Drawing from her decades of experience, Lee delivers helpful advice on what is best for the dish, the flavor and the cook, considering such essential variables as seasonality and availability. Recipes in Fresh Tastes were evaluated by a team of volunteer testers across the country. Only the best, most flavorful, eye catching dishes made the cut. Fresh, flavorful and inspired, this collection of hand selected recipes in Fresh Tastes transcends the kitchen, reminding us all that every meal can and should be a simple yet sophisticated celebration of life.

I know the holidays are just around the corner and your blog schedule is full, but I am writing to see if you are interested in posting a review of this book on your blog and social media outlets before Christmas.  I have attached a preview for you to look at.

If you do want to post a review, please reply with the name of your blog and UVPM numbers and I will email you a PDF of the book immediately.  Once you post your review Lee will send you signed hard copy as a thank you.  We will also provide one copy for a giveaway.

Lee Clayton Roper is an award-winning cookbook author, cooking instructor, public speaker and TV personality. Her first book, A Well-Seasoned Kitchen, was co-written with her mother Sally Clayton, received numerous rave reviews, and is often featured in local and national press. In 2010, A Well-Seasoned Kitchen achieved national acclaim, winning the prestigious “Living Now” gold medal. With Fresh Tastes, Lee expands the A Well-Seasoned Kitchen collection, serving up fresh, delicious and sophisticated dishes guaranteed to inspire creativity in kitchens everywhere. “Fresh,” “organic,” and “local” aren’t simply buzz words for Lee — they’re indelible principles, seamlessly translated from the culinary experiences of her youth. Today, Lee tours the country (in her Airstream trailer) sharing the secrets to her success as a renowned home cook and hostess, teaching cooking classes, leading cooking demonstrations, and providing expert commentary on television, radio and in print media.

I look forward to hearing back from you.


My friend Greg Lint at Oak Knoll Winery told me that I have this gift.  Seems that I do have these situations arise, from time to time.

Hi, Trina,

Thanks for thinking of me. At this time, I’m fighting off EYE EXHAUSTION; yeah, it can happen.

PDF isn’t working for me right now. I have another book that I just said “yes” to, and now I really do have to buy a hard copy.

So, I’m going to pass. And, O do appreciate you thinking of me. (The “O” is, of course, a typo, proving my eye exhaustion.)

The Art of PR ~ Telling someone to eat poop and it’s okay.



France,Imports,Italy,Pinot Noir,Rhone,Russian River Valley,Syrah,Wine

Christmas Fair and Wines to Pair ~ A Seamlessly Delicious Meal

Since November 1994, the Ultimate Thanksgiving issue from Bon Appétit holds the most delicious recipes ever for holiday meals that features turkey, chicken, goose, name the bird and here you’ll find deliciousness. And each year, I run right back to this well worn issue, to continue the journey. In fact, this magazine is the only one that has survived any other magazines over the years and the moves that have gone with it..

Why this issue, among all others? Because Bon Appétit took the time to organize “… [bird] meals-course by course, dish by dish-into its delicious components.”

Turkey and Gravy Stuffing Cranberry Sauce
The Potatoes The Vegetables Pickles and Relishes
Hors d’Oeuvre Bread and Rolls Soups
Salads* Desserts

I decided to taste wines and then think about which recipe would pair well with some of those favorite wines. If you see something you like from a recipe title, just Google the title and similar recipes will pop up, if not the exact one. If you’d like a twist on your Traditional Christmas dinner, these recommendations will definitely take you on a delicious adventure. Just the titles of the recipes are going to pique some interest, I’m betting.

Let’s Get Started with an Appetizer and Some Bubble

Smoked Salmon and Leek Toasts

We’re going for the elegant meal, so let’s start it off with a smashing appetizer. Cream cheese, grated lemon peel, thyme, pepper, sourdough bagettes, leeks and thinly sliced smoked salmon. What better wine than a pink bubbly rosé to match the pink salmon?

Bervini 1955 Spumante Rosé, Friuli Venezia Giulia ~ $19.00 ~ This Spumante is a sparkling wine from the Piedmont region of Italy. (It is also called Asti or Asti Spumante.) The wine is made from blend of Glera (a grape variety that’s used in making Prosecco), and Roboso (a local Red grape, and where the Rosè derives its color.

  • The Bervini 1955 Spumante Rosé was fermented in stainless steel tanks, and its secondary fermentation was in the Chamat method. It took 40 days at 60.8 Fahrenheit to create this bubbly wine. (The Chamat method is a process where still wine undergoes a second fermentation, in a large pressurized vat.)
  • The flavors of this wine are citrusy and malic (think apples). Also, my favorite – strawberries, which – when not in season – are also quite tart. The cream cheese on the tiny toast bites will really smooth out the food and wine pairing. The salmon is just the glaçage sur le gateau. I loved this wine in it’s distinct short, squat bottle, too. Don’t let the bottle fool you, just because it’s not as customary as other bottles of bubbly wine. It’s a real crowd pleaser, with tiny bubbles and lots of spiky zest!


The Bird

Apricot-glazed Turkey with Roasted Onion and Shallot Gravy

2015 Ferraton Père & Fils Crozes-Hermitage La Matinière ~ $23.00 ~ Educational back label copy ~ In the beginning, there was a region: The Rhone Valley. In 1946, there was a man with a passion : Jean Ferraton. Today, our team is committed to ensuring the continuation of the knowledge. With the greatest respect for “Terroir and the vine.

  • Smooth and elegant, with a touch of spice and the deliciousness from a shallots… a member of the French onion family The sweetness of the glaze will be greatly complemented by this Syrah based wine. Syrah is known to be rich and earthy.  Think mushrooms along with it’s earthiness, and you’re on your way to a food and wine pairing that’s perfect for your holiday fowl.
  • 2015 Ferraton Père & Fils Crozes-Hermitage La Matinière ~This is a crowd pleaser. We had it on Thanksgiving day, and I instantly knew what a great Christmas wine it would also be, with the Apricot-glazed recipe as a complement.
  • This wine is 100 percent Syrah. Down to earth delicious, two bottles would do nicely for those having seconds on your entree. Keep this one as seamless as your turkey go-to wine. The cherry aromas and flavors are in the Bing category, but the early one we get first of the season. Not overpowering, it’s light and delicate, and a very delicious wine… reminding me of “Tidings of Comfort and Joy.” Think raspberries, too, lighter red fruit is its character. And it finishes with French saddle leather. It’s got the elegance and style of Audrey Hepburn, and a finish of Juliette Binoche.


The Stuffing ~ Buttermilk Corn Bread

Graciana Pinot Noir ~ When birds of a feather gather together for any holiday season, Pinot Noir is another of me go to wines.  Whether it’s the white meat on the bird, or the dark meat, Pinot is very pleasing. Let’s go with something simple, so the corresponding wine will be the highlight of the food and wine pairing. For a more hearty Pinot, so the Pinot shines through. Gracianna is my choice for the Pinot.

  • 2015 Gracianna Reserve Pinot Noir Bacigalupi Vineyard Designate Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California ~ $75.00 ~ This is “the one” for a holiday that’s as special as Christmas. The label is wrapped in a gold bow, ready to give as a gift in it’s own packaging, too. Dazzle your family an  friends!
  • For the tenth anniversary of Gracianna, the family wanted to honor the legacy of their award winning Pinot. They chose the best four Pinot barrels of Pinot, and this wine is that blend of 667, 777, and Pommard clones, with nuances from being aged in French oak.
  • Aromas and Flavors of this Pinot Noir: This one has aromas of ripe, wild Maine blueberries… the kind we used to pick along the coastline of Mount Desert Island. As with any vegetation growing along a coast line, flavors are much more vibrant and intense. So, these blueberries are not the ones you find in a supermarket. They are tiney-tiny and very intense with flavor. As a bonus, you’ll also taste some baking spices along with rich, ripe Bing cherries that dominate.  Go light on your stuffing, so the Gracianna Pinot and your turkey is a star on your table.


DISCLAIMER: Wine-Blog is a journal of my PR wine activities and learnings. 1) I occasionally write stories about wine clients, but don’t charge them for that time. 2) All wine reviews originate from free samples, sent by PR people representing the brands. 3) Images are mostly mine, some are purchased, a few rare ones are part of fair trade usage.


Education,Event,Marketing,Public Relations,Public Service Announcement,Social media,Social Networking in Wine,Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Writer

How to get what you want from a blogger, by simply approaching it honestly, no deception included

This is a continuation of yesterday’s I would NEVER query for a product first and then ask, “How important are you, anyway?”

Let me just say this, I was NOT looking for a sequel, in any way, shape, or form today.

Nope, I wasn’t. Then… Along came another query today, but this one was well ORGANIZED! What a difference a day makes, and what a difference a solid company makes for an impression.

So, here it is, see for yourself. How to get what you want, by simply approaching it honestly, no deception included, and well thought-out questions.



Thank you to those of you who have already contacted us about the VinoVision invitation opportunity.

As a reminder, VinoVision Paris 2018 is going to select one American wine influencer, journalist or blogger. The winner will receive a round-trip economy flight to Paris, entry badge to VinoVision, and 2 nights’ hotel in Paris during the show. In return, we would ask you to post/Tweet/publish both before and from VinoVision.

In order to apply, if you could write two paragraphs:

About your readership and number of followers on the social media you’re active on.

About the coverage you could offer… it would help if you can tell us how many posts/Tweets/whatevers you would be willing to guarantee before and during the show. Because VinoVision is so new, we’d love to have at least two posts before the show to help with the online buzz and make Americans especially aware about the event. And if you have any creative ideas (video posts, podcast mentions, handing out VinoVision invites at a meeting of a wine association, etc), of course we’d love to hear those!

I’m happy to answer any questions you have. Look forward to hearing from you soon!


Elizabeth Meaney

VinoVision Paris : The International Cool Climate Wine Exhibition

February 12 – 14, 2018

I responded…

by giving Elizabeth more info than she asked to have, in a positive way. I was willing to share, and even put a plan together of what VinoVision would receive in exchange, if I were chosen.

It’s all in the approach: Straight forward, no hidden agenda(s). At least she knew I was the blogger to whom she sent her query. It’s such a relief to know there are some excellent levels of how great PR people and companies approach their intended person of interest.

The difference between the two days of queries was the difference between night and day… Failure and success…

And, if you’re interested in submitting information so that you will qualify, I suggest that you Email Elizabeth Meaney at this link. Tell her Jo Sent you…

And good luck! One of us may actually have that honor…



PR 101,Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Publicist,Wine Related Products

I would NEVER query for a product first and then ask, “How important are you, anyway?”

A day in the life of wine blogging 101…

First Email


Hi Jo,

Share that special bottle of wine on-tap this Valentine’s Day with…

I respond:

Hi, Barbara (name changed),

Thanks for thinking far ahead. (It’s refreshing, since many of us get so backed up. It allows for great planning ahead.)

Yes, I’m interested.

Second Email


Hi Jo,

Thanks for reaching out, I’m glad I can help with early planning! What do you have in mind of [the product] and what will you need? Also can you please verify which media outlet(s) this would be for.

I respond:

Red for Valentine’s day. www.wine-blog.org

And, I’m thinking, “You just emailed me. Don’t you know what it’s for, and you told me why it’s being sent out?

Third Email


Thanks Jo,

Would you happen to have a media kit or something that indicated your monthly traffic?



Okay, I’m thinking… I’m trying to get some work done, here. I agreed, I gave you what you could have seen in my footer, now you want my back end, for free advertising? DONE!

I respond:

(and let this be a lesson to ANY product that first queries a blogger, doesn’t know the blogger URL, then puts the blogger through the first degree…)

Dear Barbara,

This is not about you. Do not take this personally, please.

You’re just doing your job, and bless your heart, it’s not easy to query people and finding the right people. I, too, have to do the same, as a wine publicist. What I do do, that’s different, is that I know who I’m querying first.

Your client needs to know that they need to pay you to create your database, before asking if someone is interested.

I don’t give out the info you’re asking for. I’ve been blogging since 2002, the first wine PR female in the world [to do so]. I’ve been in wine PR for 25 years. Before that I photographed rock and roll stars (Tina Turner, Huey Lewis, Duran Duran, etc.) I have credibility, plenty of it.

If your client needs numbers, don’t worry. I have tons to write about… backed up by a couple of months. So, let’s just let it go.

But, get them to give you money for your time to do intense research, so you can hit home runs all day long.

The most important thing, for me, is that your company came to me, I didn’t come to it. Let your client know that they’ve got the process backwards. This has nothing to do with you. You’re just doing your job. Your client and/or boss, however, needs to get better with messaging.

This actually makes for a great blog story, since my blog is my wine journal as a wine publicist and wine blogger. I won’t name names, but I have plenty of wine blogging colleagues who will chime in on this issue, since it happens to them, too, and it’s insulting.

Again… nothing to do with you, and everything to do with companies who put the cart before the horse.

Bless your heart. Sorry that you have to be the recipient of their practices.

Sometimes, you just have to stand up for yourself. Twelve years of blogging, and my patience has evidently been strained by the system. In my world, for a good reason, I would NEVER query for a product first and then ask, “How important are you, anyway?”


Canned Wines,Holiday,Holiday Cocktails,Wine

St. Mayhem Hückfest ~ Get Ready for a Holiday with Bold Winter Spices

This was a sample.

From their Art + Farm Website:

If you are curious.
If you embrace mistakes.
if you answer to a higher calling and appreciate artisan and hand made products…welcome to our tribe. Pull up a chair and a glass and let’s embark on a journey of discovery.

Kat and Rob McDonald are the provocateurs behind St. Mayhem Wine Coolers. Honestly, I looked for a different synonym for “provocateurs,” but there is nothing better to call Kat and Rob. First of all, it’s in a can. Next, it’s wine with flavors of mulled spices. At first, my palate was shocked. My bad, I had chilled it and couldn’t wait to try it. So, I let it sit and become more room temp. Ah…How delicious. I pour it from the can (sacrilegious?) and then began to sip. Very tasty, I didn’t get all caught up in wine flavors, I enjoyed the spices, the season, and this new addition to my winter options.

Winemaker Andy Erickson called this wine St. Mayhem Hückfest, which combines red wine with bold winter spices for a winter-in-a-can craft cooler, and I love what he’s done. It’s a limited release product, and as of December 1, it became available in 250 ml two-pack cans, which retails for $12, in markets nationwide.

The name “Hückfest” is ski slang for giving it your all. The press release says, “Think of it as the skiing version of leaving it all on the field. Kat, Rob, and Andy’s kids all grew up ski racing together. Rob and Andy would spice wine and put it in a flask, to share while they waited freezingly, for their kids to race down the ski hill. That was the original inspiration for what would become Hückfest.

St. Mayhem Hückfest  is 13.1 percent alcohol, is an Amador County,  GSM blend:

  • 16 percent Grenache
  • 49 percent Syrah
  • 35 percent Mourvedre,

It’s spiced with the following:

  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Orange peel
  • Almond extract
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Blueberries.

Potential ways to enjoy this delicious, seasonal wine:

  • This newest Après ski accessory comes in a can
  • New winter warmers to enjoy
  • Holiday party must-haves for your home bar
  • New canned wine coolers for all of your winter activities

This just spells holiday fun for those who love innovation, a spicy adventure in flavors reminiscent of Grandma’s Christmas house, or a ski-must-have. I know when I used to be on the slopes, this would have been the life of the party, Après or not… Fireside in the lodge, waiting for the kids to take that last run! And, it sure beats the days of wine in a sheep skin bag, right?


Philanthropy Thru Wine,Sonoma County,Sustainablility,Wine

Sustainable in the Vineyards and Winery ~ Trained for Saving Lives

Have you ever saved a life?

When a gentleman was on the floor in a Tobacco/Magazine shop in Lewiston, Maine, at least in the 70s, I did.

I had gone to buy a magazine, and heard groaning on the other side of the rack. I was in the women’s section, and a man was on the other side, in the men’s magazines. All I could hear were the groans, and I was hesitant to take a look. Curiosity got the best of me, though, because the sounds were getting louder. A gentleman was on the floor, his chest was heaving through his ski jacket, and he was holding himself, trying to ease the pain. I snapped into action. I grabbed his tightly zipped jacket and just tore it open to relive that pressure. I called to the clerk, “Call an ambulance! NOW!” It came. He made it. Later I thought, “How did I tear open that jacket like it was made of paper?” Adrenaline is an amazing thing.

With what I’ve learned, preparing the following press release below from what I was learning about AEDs, it has let me understand that even without knowing how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), I’d be able to use one. And, I would, without batting an eyelash, again. That said, I’d be even better prepared if I had Red Cross training.

These devices have easy to follow instruction, I’ve been told. So, if you can read and have great automatic reflexes in an emergency, success rate is much better if you at least try, than if you do nothing.

The following is newsworthy for winery readers and consumers in Sonoma County. It offers some comfort for those with heart problems, and for those who aren’t yet aware of even having a problem, for all of Sonoma County wineries and their visitors. This is going to be the “safe valley.”

Tis the season for giving, and this could result in a gift of life…

This sustainability and safety program is designed to keep everyone at a Sonoma County winery safe and saved, if necessary.

In order for a winery in Sonoma County to qualify to receive a ZOLL AED PLUS, Sonoma County winery owners or representatives must contact Ron Rubin at ron@ronrubinwinery.com.


After a winery’s qualifications are approved to receive a ZOLL AED PLUS, it will be promptly contacted, by a representative from the American Red Cross, to schedule CPR/AED/First Aid training for the winery’s team. Winery participants will cover the cost of their staff training.

To date, the following wineries have taken advantage of this important life-saving program.

  1. ACORN Winery, Healdsburg
  2. Amista Vineyards, Healdsburg
  3. Amphora Wines, Healdsburg
  4. Balletto Wines, Santa Rosa
  5. Blue Rock, Cloverdale
  6. Buena Vista, Sonoma
  7. Donatiello Winery, Healdsburg
  8. Carol Shelton Wines, Santa Rosa
  9. Cast Wines, Geyserville
  10. Cartograph Wines, Healdsburg
  11. Christopher Creek Winery, Healdsburg
  12. Comstock Wines, Healdsburg
  13. DeLoach Vineyards, Santa Rosa
  14. Dry Creek Winery, Healdsburg
  15. Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Sebastopol
  16. Family Wineries Dry Creek, Healdsburg
  17. Francis Ford Coppola, Geyserville
  18. GC Lurton Vineyard, Healdsburg
  19. Grand Cru, Windsor
  20. Hamel Family Wines, Sonoma
  21. Hanna Winery, Healdsburg
  22. Hook & Ladder Winery, Santa Rosa
  23. Idell Family Vineyards, Sonoma
  24. Kistler Vineyards, Sebastopol
  25. Korbel Winery, Guerneville
  26. Lauterbach Cellars, Windsor
  27. Lynmar Estate, Sebastopol
  28. Mauritson Wines, Healdsburg
  29. Medlock Ames Winery, Healdsburg
  30. Merriam Vineyards, Healdsburg
  31. Merry Edwards Winery, Sebastopol
  32. Michael David Winery, Geyserville
  33. Moshin Vineyards, Healdsburg
  34. Muscardini Cellars, Kenwood
  35. Nalle Winery, Healdsburg CA
  36. Old World Winery, Fulton
  37. Owl Ridge Wines, Sebastopol
  38. Patz & Hall, Sonoma
  39. Pedroncelli Winery, Geyserville
  40. Rack & Riddle, Healdsburg
  41. Ramey Wine Cellars, Healdsburg
  42. Robert Young Estate Winery, Geyserville
  43. Ron Rubin Winery, Sebastopol
  44. Rued Winery, Healdsburg
  45. Schug Carneros Estate Winery, Sonoma
  46. Simoncini Vineyards, Healdsburg
  47. Taft Street Winery, Sebastopol
  48. Tara Bella Winery, Santa Rosa
  49. Three Sticks Winery, Sonoma
  50. Trattore Estate Wines, Geyserville
  51. Truett Hurst Winery, Healdsburg
  52. Vinify Wine, Santa Rosa
  53. Virginia Dare, Geyserville
  54. West Winery, Healdsburg
  55. Woodenhead Vintners, Forestville

All of the above Sonoma County wine companies have already committed to the Trained for Saving Lives program. Now, if you have a Sonoma County winery, this is a great gift for your staff. They, too, may get to save a life one day. You never know.



2018 New Year’s Resolution ~ A Line A Day From Livermore Falls, Maine in 1925©

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy (upcoming) New Year!

After writing my blog post story Twelve years of blogging… What do I have to show for it? Prohibition Redux, I realized that I need better time management for 2018’s writing. I love to write, was born to write. This blog is where it’s been living, since 2005.

I’m resolved to slow down my engagement with Facebook, which will create more time to journal, again.

I just posted the following on Facebook (December 9, 2017), getting ready for the 2018 New Year. I’m letting the world know, right here, right now, as a Poor Man’s Copyright, another journal is being brought to life.

A Line A Day From Livermore Falls, Maine in 1925©

ON MY MIND: “A Line A Day.” See the little book in this picture? The small journal is called “A Line A Day.” It was written in 1925, 92 years ago. At the time, the unknown author had no idea that this would be shared with the world. (This author couldn’t even imagine the Internet, are you kidding me?) I bought the book in an antique store, knowing that some day I’d read it. I did about six weeks ago, on a day when I needed to rest.
It became my New Year’s Resolution. In 2018, this is going to be the ONLY post I’ll be sharing. I’ll be commenting on others’ posts [on Facebook], but not forwarding anything, not making any statements and sharing. All of my photos will come through Instagram, so you’ll see those, but I won’t physically post anything on my Facebook timeline.
I’m taking a break from being so engaged in my own causes, and paying more attention to YOURS.
And, you’ll be transported back to 1925, into the life of an ordinary woman, with her ordinary days, in Livermore Falls, Maine… a breath of fresh air for us all.
I’m calling it, A Line A Day From Livermore Falls, Maine©. The copyright begins right now, as this is written (and recorded in time, on December 9, 2017.  Enjoy the process.


Juicy Tale,Legislation,Wine,Wine Blogger

Twelve years of blogging… What do I have to show for it? Prohibition Redux

On December 5, 2005, I took that first step as the first female wine publicist blogger in the world, I didn’t know where it would go. How could I? I’ve written about everything I’ve learned in the last 25 years of being in the wine business. That was my intent, and I’ve been successful in my own mind. That’s all that matters, right?

Lately, after all of these years, along with moving into the Myacamas Mountains, I still love wine, I still love writing, but I don’t love writing tomes anymore. Some of it has to do with so many others just coming into their own, and their passions are as fresh as mine was, in 2005… and I’ve written it already. Some of it has also do with other social media outlets and engagements. It’s so rewarding to have social interactions on Facebook, for instance. Create one paragraph, and get feedback. Write tomes and who knows where and to whom it’s going?

I’ve been wondering lately, “What DO I want to say about my last 12 year journey of wine blogging?”

It hit me this morning, based on the quiet ground swell that has begun. “Prohibition redux.”

It began yesterday, when the cover of Time Magazine was revealed. Not really “begun” yesterday, more like revealed to me. This is what’s lit the fires within. Someone made a comment, “How about we now bring out the men in wine who have abused women.” I thought, “My dear God,  I could write a tome about this, as I’ve been doing on Facebook, since the first #MeToo I saw. I immediately enlisted. And, yes, I’ve met plenty of men in wine who are misogynists. Am I going to name names? Not necessary; however, my circumstances could fill that tome. And, this post is the tipping point for my 12 years of writing. These guys have given me stories of my life, of me always laughing at the jerks who thought they could hold me down, including my own father. It was my husband who said to me, the first night we were together, “I’m one of the good guys.” I was 35 years old when he said that. My reaction? “Yeah, we’ll see about that.” Well, he was right. There are good guys, and I’ve met plenty of them. Everyone I work with now are the “good guys.” For that I’m thankful.

Now, this today got me going: BERN (Sanders): If Frankel Is Out, Trump Should Be Too — Sanders Demands Trump’s Resignation

So do I. Yup! I’ve been saying this since it was revealed. We can’t have a double standard. Com’mon women, #MeToo is the new Prohibition on male bad behavior. Heck, #Prohibition was a force started by women, who were being abused at home, by men who would hit the bars, hit on women working those bars, then go home and hit their wives, for not wanting to get it on with their drunken, slovenly husbands. That’s not love, that’s their own self loathing. It’s abuse. #MeToo is a movement about women being physically and mentally abused, again. Let’s get women into political power, and we’ll demonstrate that that day is over, when they need to treat women as an equal, not a whipping post for their own insecurities. Best part? Emotionally mature men, like Bernie (and my husband, for instance), who already support and love strong women. Own it, girl friends! Trump HAS to go!

There is now a switch toward feminism, again, as I contemplate our sitting president, Roy Moore, all of the guys in Congress resigning, as one-by-one they’re being called out. It’s not as sexy naming wine guys, it’s not going to even matter. What does matter?

Women of America are rising up. This is why the #MeToo movement has begun. Women of Alabama, I know that you’re more educated than the women being interviewed 0n television. This is your chance to prove it to the world. This is your moment to do so. The backward women being interviewed saying, “Yeah, I know, but he’s better than a Democrat.” Really? Those women are NOT modern, educated women. They’re still beaten down women, who believe being beaten is better than correcting that problem. #RiseUp! And, thanks to emotionally mature men, who love a woman as their equal, and celebrate women for it.

So, here I am, I could write forever. I’m not going to. This is what 12 years of wine blogging has brought to me. Say it and move on. This is the real business at hand in my heart and soul. When US citizens have paid over $17 Million in hush money for our elected officials’ misbehavior, that’s  news and that’s wrong. And, this is the beginning of new time, a Prohibition Redux… And now WE’VE got a glass in our hands, too. Double indemnity for those who have been abusive, that’s the ticket. Pass the bottle!



History,Mission,Vineyards,VIT 101,Viticulture,Wine

The Role of the Mission Cultivar in American Wine History

Let’s remember that grapes are part of the American landscape. I used to wait patiently, under my grandmother’s arbor, for her Concord (Vitis labrusca) grapes to ripen in Maine’s sunshine. She’d then put the juice right into her Concord jelly. It was always on our Thanksgiving table. Thomas Jefferson tried ever so hard to make wine from Native grape varieties. More native varieties also include the following:

  • Catawaba – Vitis labrusca
  • Norton – Vitis aestivalis
  • Muscadine – Vitis botundifolia
  • Mustang – Vitis mustangensis
  • Niagara – Vitis labrusca
  • Vignoles – Vitis rupestris (and other varieties, check pout Wine Folly for more)

The following was a final project that I wrote for my enology class at Santa Rosa Junior College, taught by Pat Henderson, when he was the winemaker for Valley of the Moon. We each got to choose one wine grape variety for a presentation (text and a sample also had to be provided). My choice, as everyone else was choosing Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, went off that chart. My choice was easy for me; I really wanted to know more about the Mission Grape’s role in California’s Wine Viticultural history. The Mission grape, unlike the others above, is the first Vitis vinifera grape that we know of on American soil.

After my presentation, which included a tasting of a light, but flavorful, Malvadino Mission wine, Pat asked for permission to use this piece in future classes… Permission granted. You, too, are also able to benefit from this history.

[This photo is of the famed Santa Barbara Mission, which I purchased. I’ve never been there.]

Role of the Mission Cultivar

The Mission Period pre-California (1568-1662) – The earliest winemaking in the continental US is credited to the Spaniards of Santa Elena, South Carolina around 1568. The first wine grapes in New Mexico were planted by Franciscan missionaries at Mission of Socorro on the Rio Grande about 1626. In 1662, Franciscan fathers came from Mexico into El Paso Valley, Texas, where they established the San Ysleta Mission. They came with cuttings of the Mission grapes, strapped to the backs of their pack mules. Because the climate there was so drastically different from the United States’ East Coast, the grapes flourished under these perfect, viticultural conditions, i.e., dry, hot, stony soils. The earliest successful viticulture was established in the 17th century in the great Spanish province of New Mexico, stretching from El Paso, Texas to the Pacific Ocean.

The Mission Period in California (1769-1834) – In the 1700’s, New Spain (Mexico) was home to many Spanish missionaries who were determined to convert the new world’s heathens to Christianity. Establishing a mission had specific criteria; i.e., the site must not only be near woods and water, but it must also be on a rise of ground so that missionaries could clearly see the arrival of ships. Additionally, there needed to be open fields for both grazing animals and planting their food items. The items not only consisted of fruits and vegetables for their meals, but also included grapes for their sacramental wine and their brandy. Once fruit and vegetables were planted, and the vines were in the ground, they were tended and watered by their Indian converts.

Spaniard Father Junipero Serra had a dream of founding a chain of missions up the coast of Alta California. It is he who is known to have brought the first mission grapevines from Baja, California in an arduous, overland expedition to San Diego. Padre Serra established 21 missions stretching 650 miles along El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, today’s California Coastal Highway 101. Each site was set at a one-day’s walking journey apart, and became way-stops for California’s first tourists. “To facilitate trade and communication, each mission was built the distance of one day’s ride or hard walk from the next.” *1

The mission grape is believed to be of Mexican and/or South American (Argentina) origin, related to the Spanish Criolla, and the Pais varietal of Chile. In the early 2000’s when I wrote this report, there were 36,872 acres planted to the Mission variety. Prior to being planted in California, the Mission was first grown in Mexico for 200 years. Criolla means “a New World scion of an Old World parent, adapted to the new condition.” *2 The grape flourished in California, producing a sturdy vine that didn’t require staking, and ripened well in almost any climate. The exception was Mission Dolores in San Francisco, whose climate was, and still is, consistently cool and damp.

Padre Serra arrived in San Diego on July 16, 1769, and established his first mission, San Diego de Alcala. Once the flag had been raised, the tireless Padre Serra, who was small and slight in stature, continued up the coast of California to establish 20 more missions. By 1823, 54 years later, the last of the Spanish missions had been established, stretching along the coast of California from San Diego to Fort Ross, located in Sonoma County, and under the command of Mariano Vallejo. The mission/forts were centers of civilization, trade and industry, manufacturing a wide variety of goods from wine and brandy, leather and saddles, to woolen items and soap. These commodities were traded for objects they could not manufacture; i.e., pots and pans, lighting fixtures, and musical instruments. In 1834, under duress of the padres enjoying the good life, by the provisions of the Secularization Act, missions were turned over to civil government.

In the fall of 1769 in San Diego, Indians were taught to plant, then to tend Padre Serra’s first grapevines. These vines bore abundantly in September of 1772, and the Indians were then taught to make wine. It was fiesta time at Mission San Diego with the first vintage. Mexicans and Indians hurried to press the grapes. The press was a cowhide suspended from four corner posts set in the ground. Baskets of grapes came up, balanced on the heads of scurrying Indians. When they arrived, the baskets were handed to a man on a short ladder that emptied the grapes into the cowhide. When it was full enough, two Indians with scrubbed feet began to trample the grapes. When the grapes became pulp, it was put into cowhide bags for fermenting. More grapes were then put into the press for stomping. The wine was racked into new skin bags for storage.

The missionaries’ contributions to the wine industry were many:

  • Brought the Mission vine to CA
  • Trained growers and winemakers
  • Proved that CA is a world-class winegrape growing region
  • 1986 — 1,800 acres located in CA
  • Links the modern industry to its origins
  • Likes hot country
  • Is very productive, yielding good, off-dry wine
  • The Mission grape remains a significant crop in CA, though rarely seen as a varietal name
  • Created a profitable business, a glimpse of how the future might become
  • Much easier to preserve in difficult conditions than low-alcohol dry wines

Mission wine, which has thus become practically extinct in the second quarter of the century, nevertheless had a curious survival…In the 1920’s, in Paris, an English wine lover encountered an expatriate Pole who told him at the turn of the century, at Fukier’s, the best restaurant in Warsaw, “the choicest and most expensive dessert wine came from California.” The Englishman, finding himself not long after Warsaw, remembered what he had been told, went to the famous restaurant Fukier and asked for its California wine. He naturally supposed that it must be California wine such as other restaurants had, and was curious to know how it could be both the most expensive and the best available in a distinguished restaurant. The waiter told him that, fortunately, there were a few bottles still left, some of which were brought to the curious dinner: “Imagine my surprise when I found that they were of wine from the Franciscan missions of California grown during the Spanish period, a century and a half ago. The wine was light brown in color, rather syrupy, resembling a good sweet Malaga in taste, and in good condition.” *3

Judgment of early Mission wine was harsh, as fermenting and aging in skin produced a wine of inferior quality versus the now familiar barrel and stainless steel fermenting and aging. “One judgment, expressed in 1827,” the grapes of Los Angeles, Captain Duhaut-Cilly wrote, were quite good, but the wine and brandy made from them were “quite inferior, and I think this inferiority is to be attributed to the making rather than to the growth.” *4

Famous California Mission Viticulturists:

  • In 1841, George Yount (the first white settler in Napa Valley) planted at his Caymus Rancho, among other fruit, a vineyard of Mission grapes, and made wine from them for his own enjoyment and that of frequenting guests, using the Spanish method of storing in hides. This planting was located near what later became Yountville.
  • British-born John Patchett cleared some land a mile west of Clay and Calistoga Streets in Napa, and planted a vineyard of Mission grapes for winemaking, hiring a German gentleman by the name of Charles Krug to be his winemaker.
  • Charles Krug, revered as the founding father of Napa County’s winemaking, learned the craft in the town of Sonoma from Agoston Haraszthy, personal friend of Mariano Vallejo.
  • Gottlieb Groezinger, a very prolific vintner, bought land from Henry Boggs in Yountville, which is now part of the Vintage 1870 Mall. By 1873, Groezinger was producing 160,000 gallons of wine; 100,000 of it from the Mission grape.
  • J.H. McCord, a ’49er, had a winery, Oak Grove on the corner of Highway 29 and East Zinfandel Lane in Napa Valley. McCord claimed that his vineyard of Mission grapes was the oldest in the Valley, and was producing 50,000 gallons per year by 1890.
  • Los Angeles vintners: John Chapman planted a vineyard of 4,000 Mission grapevines in Los Angeles in 1824. Dutchman Juan Domingo (a.k.a., Johann Groningen), Frenchmen, Louis Bouchet and Victor Prudhomme were among the first viticulturists of influence. One of the most important Los Angeles vintners was Jean Louis Vignes. Vignes was from the winemaking region Cadillac in France, and in 1833 imported European varietals from France, thereby laying claim to being the first American to plant vitis vinifera. Mexican viticulturists were Manuel Requena, Tiburico Tapia, Ricardo Vejar and Tomas Yorba. One estimate gives Los Angeles 100,000 vines as early as 1831: such a quantity would have yielded 30,000 gallons of wine a year.


Holiday,Wine,Wine Accessories

Wine Related Holiday Gifts for Wine Lovers

All of the following are from Samples:

The holidaze are upon us: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Birthday (yes, some of us have that thrown in for good measure), Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year… They’re all relevant, as is wine, to many of December’s cultures celebrating these festive days. I’ve come to realize, December means that every single one of us, celebrating these holidays, takes on a part time job, on top of everything else we’re doing in December. It can be exhausted just thinking of it, and this is only December 4. Perhaps this list will help you make some decisions. All prices are listed, so match your gift against your budget, and away we go.

Moving on with great excitement, I’ve been receiving some great #samples of wine items related to gift giving. So, I’m sharing them for all of you as a holiday gift-giving shopping list, who might be wondering what to get for that special person who loves wine:

Here’s a gift for you, for starters, and for you to share with everyone you know.

The Color of Wine app ~ This one is free, just go to this link for your FREE download

The coloring craze has cycled back from our hippie-dippie days, and I know why. All you need to do is go to the Apple Store and download Color of Wine: iPhone now, Android in early 2018. Did I mention it’s FREE? You do need to register with Facebook, to save or share your work, don’t forget. And, there are over 300 colors that you can choose! I’ve tried it and it was a blast from the past.

  • Wine & Wine founder Julie Brosterman, in an interview with  says the philosophy behind Color of Wine is to invite men and women to experience, relax and de-stress with the app while enjoying their daily glass of wine. “The benefits of coloring – and the enormous popularity of mobile coloring apps – shows us that we can connect with wine consumers while they enjoy coloring their favorite wine brands and images. We ask a lot from the consumer when we want them to view countless promotions via social media. I think we are all suffering from a kind of ‘social fatigue’. Color of Wine lets people feel the love. Color of Wine was developed to show consumers how much we want them to be happy and engaged while they are enjoying a glass of wine (or two) at the end of the day. Coloring is meditative and mindful – and easy to do. When the company first looked into mobile as a fast-growing social platform, I was stunned by the popularity of mobile coloring apps – 25 million downloads for Colorfy, the top mobile coloring app.”
  • See the fun and how to on bottom of this post, for the YouTube Video.


Wine Buyer’s Record Book from Board and Bench Publishing ~ $5.97

This 5 x 7″ book, ISBN 9780932664983, usually ships within 3-5 days

  • Written by Ralph Steadman, it has 64 pages of color illustrations. “Internationally celebrated cartoonist Ralph Steadman provides a handy and humorous little book to keep track of your wine tasting experiences, your cellar stock, and other vinous notes. Steadman’s whimsical art decorates the book in full-color, providing a chuckle as you make your notes.
  • It’s a great stocking stuffer, and very affordable. On sale right now from $ 9.95 – $ 5.97. (I’m not sure how long the sale will last, so take advantage as soon as possible, I’d say.)


Spirale Wine Glasses by Vacanti ~ Upgrade your wine experience. The package of two costs $50.00

These wine glasses are totally charming, while also creating an important and fun function that was yet to be designed. It’s an invention that’s been a long time coming. We just enjoyed a 1971 Margaux. If we hadn’t been under mandatory evacuation during the California fires, I would have driven home for my Spirales. Yeah, it was one of those moments. Sounds awfully geeky, but sediment is sediment, right?

  • Dishwasher safe…
  • See the little cork screw at the bottom of the glass? As Vacanti states, would you rather spend your time savoring or not straining your wine? Well, with these very special glasses, you no longer need to strain or filter the sediment from your red wines. You simply pour, drink, and enjoy to the last sip. Spirale has revolutionized the wine drinking experience.
  • This is for those of you who enjoy wines that haven’t been filtered or fined (like I love them).  You’ll occasionally get some sediment and this glass captures it all.
  • Margarita and Patrick Vacanti state, “A captivating design. Our elegant hand-blown design is a perfect fusion of form and function. As sediment settles to the bottom of the glass, the spiral in the stem separates it from the wine. Our patented feature keeps the sediment at bay, even while tilting your glass to enjoy the wine.


Loma Living Wine Rack ~ Sold right now for $60 (was $75), and free shipping in the US. (Great benefit.)

This 8-bottle wine rack with dark finish has been created for the minimalist. A tiny house is a perfect spot for this wine rack, or just a tiny kitchen. For me, a space on a kitchen wall would work wonders. Loma Living shows their bottles on a vertical hang, where my picture needs to be turned counter clockwise in a 45 degree angle, so you “get it.”

  • Loma Living creates minimalist home storage for bikes, wine, and more. The designs and crafting are all made in Philadelphia, USA. On their Wine and Bar page, prices range from $25 to $75, and everything is 25 percent off through Christmas., and free shipping. If you’ve got a wine and wood lover, this company is your new best friend.
  • The color of wood, for each item, also varies from dark to natural finishes.


Boutique Wine Club ~ Wines chosen are all 90 Point wines

I received a sample shipment from this wine club, and it was their Santa Barbara Club sampler box. (Sampler is six bottles of 375 ml sized bottles.)

  • If you give this gift, you’ll also have a choice of the Paso Robles Club
  • Or, a combination of Santa Barbara and Paso wines combined club
  • The wines in this Santa Barbara pack contains the following:
      • Stolpman Winery 2016 Estate Grown Syrah
    • Larner Winery 2017 Santa Barbara County Rosé
    • Carr Winery 2016 Cab Franc Santa Ynez Valley
    • Blair Fox Cellars 2016 Petite Sirah Santa Barbara County
    • Andrew Murray E11even Wines 2016 Chenin Blanc
    • Badge 2016 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County
  • The deal
    • 12 Bottles/Year Ships 6 Bottles 2x/year
    • $130-180/shipment + Shipping + Tax
  • About the club
    • Always Free Membership
    • Always Flat Rate Shipping
    • Cancel Anytime
    • Tasting Guide Included in Every Shipment
    • Don’t like it? Return for something new
    • Lowest Price Guarantee
    • Extended Family Opportunities
    • Free Wine Tastings at all Club Wineries
    • 20 Percent Savings on Private Wine Tours
    • Reorder Only the Bottles You Love

Compressor Wine Cooler by NewAir, a 29 bottle rack ($829.95)

This is the big one, Ladies and Gentlemen. This is the one that you hold back, like my parents did to me, when it was my first bicycle. That was the Christmas that my prayers weren’t answered, when I kept praying for snow, so it would be a white one. Then, I got “why,” if that was all truly possible. As it turned out, I got in 10 great days of biking, before the snow finally came and I had to wait for Spring in May… About May in Maine, I’d say, when I could get back out there.

  • With this one, no one has to wait for anything, just get that packaging out of the way, some warm soap and water, dry it, plug it in, and begin to load it. Let the snow flakes fall.
  • The great part of this wine fridge is it’s streamlined construction. This one, as slim as it is, can hold up to 29 bottles of wine. When you first look at the shelves, you think, “What? Only five levels, and I’m counting three across, so what am I missing here?” What I was missing, for a few minutes, is that the shelves pull out for more loading. The depth of the shelves allows for five across, not three, in an up and down placement. All you have to do is move the front bottles to the back, and viola! Five on each shelf. This is the best convenient storage unit going.
  • A few days before this beauty came into my life, I had been longing for a wine fridge, where I could store arriving wine samples, right next to my desk, instead of all over the house. I was queried, I said yes, and delivery happened in the blink of an eye. I thanked NewAir for reading my mind, as you can well imagine.  #AWR-290DB-B, life just got real!


DISCLAIMER: Wine-Blog is a journal of my PR wine activities and learnings. 1) I occasionally write stories about wine clients, but don’t charge them for that time. 2) All wine reviews originate from free samples, sent by PR people representing the brands. 3) Images are mostly mine, some are purchased, a few rare ones are part of fair trade usage.