Education,Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Writer

The comma coma ~ writing wine press releases

One use of the comma

Here’s how it works, just to make your press releases read as they should.

Addressing Ann and Peter:

Michael and Mary moved with their two children, Ann and Peter, to the San Francisco Bay Area, in the fall of 1996.

Talking about Ann and Peter:

Michael and Mary moved with their two children Ann and Peter, to the San Francisco Bay Area, in the fall of 1996.

Another use of the comma

Independent clauses (subject and verb) are separated by a comma. You can see the two dependent clauses above, both needing a subject and a verb to make a complete sentence.

INDEPENDENT: Michael and Mary moved with their two children,


  1. to the San Francisco Bay Area,
  2. in the fall of 1996.

When we separate “Ann and Peter,” we must be speaking directly to them, otherwise, we’re just naming them as the children and the sentence flows accordingly.

I can’t count the number of press releases that I’ve received, when the first example use of a comma is used, as if Ann and Peter are being addressed, versus my being the person who is actually being addressed.

You’re welcome.


Brandy,Holiday Coctails,Spirits,Wine

Holiday Cocktails with NON GMO Zulka

The NON GMO labeling of Zulka Morena Sugar is inspiring to me. I was asked to share a recipe for the holidays, and Zulka was an ingredient. When I learned what it was, I knew that I had to share.

SIDEBAR: Mr. Shapiro, my seventh grade home room teacher helped my class to remember how to spell “conscience.” Mr. Shapiro said… “con” “science.” Interestingly, the prefix “con” means “with.” Imagine a food product working with natural science these days, versus going into a laboratory to create a sugar substitute, using inorganic matter to be used by the human body (organic matter), thinking that the body can be fooled into accepting that which isn’t part of our natural DNA makeup. Is it any wonder that we have so much cancer, heart disease, and diabetes these days, increasing occurring in our children, not just the aging?

Call me ridiculous. I don’t care. I run with ideas and proven science by a minority of scientists who are independent and not on someone’s payroll, and appreciate deep thinkers like Soren Kierkegaard:

“Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion — and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion… while truth again reverts to a new minority.”

First of all, I eat very little sugar; and when I do, it’s turbinado (raw sugar). Even my hummingbirds get Turbinado sugar (with no red dye added) in our humming bird feeders. They visit less frequently (takes their little bodies a bit longer to digest, thereby giving them a more pure fuel). And, they jealously guard their food supply. They just know what they’ve got.

So… Zulka as a sugar…

FROM THE WEB: “Zulka Morena sugar is minimally processed and comes straight from freshly-harvested sugar cane. Zulka sugar is never refined, which helps preserve the fresh, real flavor and natural properties of the sugar cane plant, resulting in a better tasting and less processed sugar.”

Zulka products are a bit more refined than my turbinado choice, and they have the Non-GMO Project Verification seal. It is much better than completely refined sugar. And, they’re not waiting around for products to have to be labeled, and that’s a brilliant move based on integrity. Eventually, just as red dye had to be labeled and MSG has to be labeled, so will GMO products have to have the label. This will allow for educated choices, when we’re buying our food products. Zulka has to go through a rigorous testing process established by the Non-GMO Project for complete GMO avoidance, so I endorse this sugar.

If I couldn’t find Turbinado in a grocery store, I’d reach for Zulka.

If you’re up for a great recipe for this holiday season, since we’re now into the deep party mode, I’m going to share Zulka’s recipes sent to me. Just, for your own health’s sake, reach for a sugar that’s not completely refined. Your body will thank you later.

Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria


  • 1/4 cup Zulka Morena Sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups Apple Cider
  • 1/2 cup of Apple Brandy
  •  750 ml bottle white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc work best)
  • 1 bottle sparkling apple cider
  • 5-6 apples, cored and sliced thinly
  • Cinnamon sticks


Mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. In another small bowl, pour a little of the brandy. Dip the glasses in the brandy and then the cinnamon sugar. Add a few apple slices to each glass. Set aside.

Pour the remaining cinnamon sugar in a large pitcher. Add the apple cider and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Top with the brandy and wine and mix. Add the rest of the apples. Chill until ready to serve.

Add the sparkling cider right before serving. Garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick. Serve chilled. Add ice if desired.

Want more? Check out this one:

Christmas Cranberry Lime Mojito


2- 12 ounce bags of fresh cranberries
2-3 limes
1 cup plus 3-4 Tbsp sugar, divided
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 bottle white rum (such as Bacardi Silver)
Fresh mint
Soda water
3-4 bottles, 10”-12” high with a rubber stopper and snap closure


To make the infused rum:
Pour 1 tablespoon of sugar into each bottle and add a little rum. Swirl it around until the sugar is starting to dissolve.

Poke holes in all the cranberries with either a skewer or knife. Fill each bottle 1/4 way with the cranberries. Take one of the limes and slice the rind into thin strips. Divide half the rinds between each bottle. Add more cranberries then more lime rinds then more cranberries until about 3/4 full of berries. There will be leftover berries to use as garnish for the drinks which can be frozen until using again.

Using a funnel or a measuring cup, carefully fill the bottles almost all the way with rum. Secure the lids and gently tip the bottles back and forth to mix the sugar and get liquid into the cranberries. Let infuse for at least 2 weeks and up to two months. The longer the infusion time the stronger the cranberry flavor.

To make the Mojitos:
Combine water, lime juice and one cup sujar in a sauce pan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely.

Slice the remaining limes into thin wedges.

Add a few mint leaves with a teaspoon of the lime simple syrup to tall mojito/collins glasses and bruise slightly with a cocktail muddler. Add a little ice and some cranberries (fresh or frozen) and a few lime slices, then layer again 1-2 more times. Add 2 ounces of the cranberry infused rum, another teaspoon of the lime simple syrup to each glass and top with soda water. Garnish with cranberries, mint and lime. Serve immediately.




Current Issues in Vineyard Health to be held at UC Davis Extension

Brought to you by the UC Davis Extension Department, the following is the day’s agenda and registration information for the ‘Current Issues in Vineyard Health’ course. It is going to be held this year in the UC Davis Conference Center, on December 2, 2014.

According to Deborah Golino the director of the Foundation Plant Services Department, “We have a great slate of speakers this year, including some new and breaking news about Red Blotch virus. This is being brought to viticulturists, winemakers, and  vintners by the Cooperative Extension Plant Pathology Department at UC Davis.”




December 2, 2014


9:15 “Putting Viticulture Science in Practice Using Innovative Extension Strategies” Matthew Hoffman, Lodi Winegrape Commission Grower Program Coordinator

10:00 Break

10:15 “Overview Of Leafhopper Biology and Management In Vineyards “

Dr. Kent Daane, Cooperative Extension Entomologist, UC Berkeley

11:00 “PD Resistant Wine Grapes – They Look Like Wine Grapes, They Taste Like Wine Grapes And They Are Getting Ready For Release”

Dr. Andy Walker, Professor, Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis

12:00 Lunch

1:00 “Lessons Learned From Grapvine Leafroll Management/ Monitoring For Fall Erineum Mite Migration and Implications for Management”

Dr. Monica Cooper, Farm Advisor-Viticulture, ANR Ce, Napa County

1:50 “Update On the Effect of Grapevine Red Blotch Disease on Fruit Quality And Epidemiology Of Grapevine Red Blotch-Associated Virus”

Rhonda Smith, UCCE Viticulture Advisor, Sonoma County and Dr. Brian Bahder, Post-Doctoral Scholar, Department Of Entomology, UC Davis

2:40 Break

3:00 “A Long and Winding Road…Progress In Understanding the Red Leaf Diseases,

Leafroll and Red Blotch” Dr. Deborah Golino, Director, Foundation Plant Services, UC Davis.

  • 4:00 Close
  • 1 Meeting
  • December 2: Tuesday, 9:00 Am – 4:00 Pm
  • UC Davis: UC Davis Conference Center 550 Alumni Lane, Davis Ca 95616
  • PCA Units Applied For
  • $190 Includes Lunch and Course Materials

Enroll In Section 142vit204 At: Extension.Ucdavis.Edu/Section/Current-Issues-Vineyard


Holiday,I'll Drik to That,Wine

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Each year, once our family is about to have our Thanksgiving meal, we like to first say why we’re thankful.

I, like most of you, have a lot of thanks for the people who have a great impact my life. I’m going to try to include you all here. This is just a snapshot of how many people impact a wine publicist and wine blogger’s life… It’s larger than I could have ever imagined… If I’ve forgotten anyone, I apologize. It’s not intended.

On the personal side, I’m thankful for my family and friends, who bless me with their love, year after year.

On the blogger side, I’m thankful for the 433,004 unique views of this site… That means YOU, dear reader. I write it and you find it interesting enough to read, for whatever reason known only to you.

Also on the blogger side, I’m thankful to those wineries who are sending their wines for me to taste from all over the world, expanding my palate opportunities.

I adore my friends on Facebook, too. Facebook has expanded my friend base in ways I would have never seen coming, just a few short years ago.

On the professional side, thanks to the many editors who aggragate my wine blog stories, because they find it worthy. And wine writers who find what I present interesting enough to publish stories presented to them of our clients.

Our clients make our merry-go-round spin… I’m thankful for the following owners and the people who run their companies. They’ve entrusted Jose and me to help them to present messages, for the past year. Where we would be without them, I do not know…


Anaba Wines Fenestra Vineyard Page Mill Winery
Andis Wines Field Stone Winery Parducci Wine Cellars
Artezin ~ Hess Collection Flying Horse Wines Pedroncelli Winery
Aver Family Vineyard Fulcrum Wines Ranchita Canyon Vineyard
Bacigalupi Vineyards Girard Winery, LLC RIDGE VINEYARDS
Baldwin Wines Glamazon Wines Ripken Vineyards & Winery
Ballentine Vineyards Grizzly Republic Wines Robert Biale Vineyards
Barra of Mendocino Guglielmo Winery Rock Wall Wine Company
Berryessa Gap Vineyards Harney Lane Winery Silkwood Wines
Bogle Winery Heringer Estates Spangler Vineyards
Carica Wines HoppeKelly Vineyards Stags’ Leap Winery
 Line 39 James Geagan Wines Stanton Estate Vineyards
Cedar Creek Ranch & Vineyards Justice Grace | Shoe Shine Storrs Winery & Vineyards
Clarksburg Wine Company Kent Rasmussen Wines Torano Family Vineyards
Clayhouse Klinker Brick Winery Trentadue Winery
Concannon Vineyard Lake Winchester Vineyards Tres Sabores Winery
Crooked Vine | Stony Ridge Las Positas Vineyards Trueheart Vineyard
D.H. Gustafson Family Vineyards Lava Cap Winery Turkovich Family Winery
David Fulton Winery, LLC Marr Cellars T-Vine Cellars
DeCosta Family Vineyards Mettler Family Vineyards Twisted Oak Winery, LLC
Delectus Winery Michael-David Vineyards Venteux Vineyards
Denier Handal Vineyards Miro Cellars Vina Robles, Inc.
Diamond Ridge Vineyards Mounts Family Wines Vincent Arroyo Winery
Don Sebastiani & Sons Nottingham Cellars Wilson Vineyards
Estrella Creek Wines Occasio Winery Wooden Valley Winery
F. Teldeschi Winery Odonata Wines



Thanksgiving Wines ~ The Reds and a White

Today’s blog is about red wines for this coming holiday.

Wines are a natural  topic during this time of giving thanks, since I’m in the wine business… right? During this time of year, from one year to the next, I reflect upon who’s been there for me in the past cycle… entrusting me with their stories. This blog post is more about giving thanks than it is about Thanksgiving wines. It is more interesting, however, if I do tell you about the wines I’ve most enjoyed throughout the year, which have come to me, because of my blogging.

Everyday I give thanks to those who have wanted to share their stories with me. Since this is a journal about my life as a wine publicist, who has also become a wine blogger with tons of back stories about the wine business, it’s only fitting that I have one story a year to give thanks. Thank you to all of you who make my world go round… giving me something to write about.


I’m going international with these recommendations, since we’ve all come from “away.” Perhaps you can honor your roots on this day with these wines.

2012 Trivento Argentina Torrentés Reserve

Think CHEESE appetizers

From the company: Founded in 1996, Trivento Bodegas y Viñedos produces brand-name wines distinguished for preserving the character of the winds. These wines have received numerous recognitions at international contests and in wine industry publications. TRIVENTO has become the most diversely distributed Argentine wine brand in the world, positioning the company among the preeminent Argentine exporters.

Torrentés is one of my favorite white wines. It’s aromatic and floral, there’s a softness about it, and this one is a really delicious example. This Trivento Torrentes brings its fruit flavors to the table with citrus – orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit, and with honeydew and apple. This wine has a bit of  sweet to it, and will complement any dish that you’re serving with a bit of heat in it, as well as your appetizers.

2013 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon Villages, by Michel Chapoutier

Think WILD GAME of  venison or wild boar

From the Roussillon region of the Rhône, this blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan is a perfect wine for our holiday fare. Hand harvesting crop along the high slopes of the Agly Valley, the grapes were entirely destemmed during the fermentation process. Consequently, the bitterness of the stems is not part of the wine’s flavor profile. This step taken during harvest guarantees that the wine will be soft, elegant, and very approachable. It’s very easy for this wine from Michel Chapoutier to be enjoyed with our holidays birds, most especially if you have any French history… and I do.

COLOR: Is a deep garnet.
NOSE: Delivers aromas of rich, and ripe black cherry.
PALATE: As can be typical for a Rhône wine, this one is fleshy and well-structured.  Ripe cherries are very evident, and the soft, gentle finish makes it a very approachable wine. I found the 2012 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon Villages to be equally enjoyable and paired it with Wonton Wrapped Lasagna Napoleons.

2011 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva


From their own story: Aldo Bianchi, a native of San Gimignano, left Tuscany before the Second World War to seek fortune in the North of Italy. In 1960, he came back to the area for a wedding and was enchanted by the view from the terrace of Castello di Monsanto: all the Val d’Elsa with the inimitable backdrop of the Towers of San Gimignano. It was love at first sight which made him buy the property within a few months. But if Aldo was bewitched by the landscape, Fabrizio, his son, immediately fell in love with the wines he found in the cellar. Thanks to a passion for wine handed down to him by his grandmother, who came from Piedmont, and to an innate entrepreneurial spirit, Fabrizio, together with the untiring help of his wife Giuliana, started to plant new vineyards and convert the numerous farmhouses….and an incredible story of love, passion and joy for wine and everything concerned with it, starts from here.

The wine: Be sure to decant this one, because it’s big and bold, and could even be enjoyed with your chocolate desserts, especially ones with cheese or cream… smoothing out the wines’s tannins. A nose and flavors of juicy blackberries, cherries and it’s a bit spicy, all making this wine a delicious complement for your holiday fare. You’ll love the clean, fresh finish that lingers…

 Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May your tables be blessed with abundance this year and forever on….


Wine,Wine Writer

Learning something new everyday ~ Paraprosdokians

Winston Churchill loved paraprosdokians. They’re figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence, or phrase, is either surprising or unexpected.

I came up with one of my own years ago, not hearing it ever said before, and I’ve been using it ever since. I now see it pop up occasionally, as great minds do think alike.

Time wounds all heals.

It a good response for Karma, for someone who really deserves it. (I can think of a few politicians, and I’m betting that you can, too.)

My father’s favorite: I’d like to help you out. Which way did you come in?

I just had a friend send the following to me, and I know that there are a few of you who would also love reading them. So, on the Second Day of Christmas… here my gift to you, today, to enjoy with a great glass of wine…

Merry Christmas!

  •  Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on my list.
  • Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  • War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  • I thought I wanted a career. Turns out, I just wanted pay checks.
  • In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put “DOCTOR.”
  • I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street…with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
  • Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  • A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  • Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  • There’s a fine line between cuddling and… holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  • You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  • To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  • Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  • Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • I’m supposed to respect my elders, but now it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one.



Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt

Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt, The Compete History of Presidential Drinking, by Mark Will-Weber, is a well researched and documented history book, the likes of which we’ve yet had revealed. Enlightening, frightening, and really captivating, this book will never be pried out of my stiffly clutched arms. I think I’ll take it with me for fun and giggles in the great beyond, for sheer entertainment, when I meet this cast of characters on my advisory board.

Only in America? Not really, it’s the way of the world… Kill or be killed has been business as usual since the dawn of time. I’m a peacenic, so this doesn’t sit well with me. I sometimes feel like I got assigned to the wrong dimension. Some of you may understand what I’m talking about. I was reminded of this when I specifically read about former president Andrew Jackson (1767-1845). His checkered past for having a passion for duels – and killing others – didn’t dismiss him from his becoming our seventh president, for instance. Henry Clay of Kentucky stated: “I cannot believe that the killing of 2500 Englishmen at New Orleans qualifies a person for various, difficult, and complicated duties of the Chief Magistracy.” [p. 55] Yeah, well, Jackson was just as good at one-on-one slayings, as in the case of Charles Dickinson, a skilled marksman. There was an insult that was worth killing someone over… Either one was willing to take the other down. They dueled and Jackson won, Dickinson died in excruciating pain. That was in 1806, and by 1829 Jackson was elected President, serving two terms. His drinking habits?  He, like George Washington, owned a whiskey making still at his homestead and at his Hunter’s Hill Farm. Seems like whiskey and muskets made great bedfellows, huh?

Imagine someone today having this kind of narcissistic personality actually becoming a president, if found guilty for the senseless and ruthless killing of others to satisfy a bruised ego?

Here’s the publisher’s take on this book:

From Regnery Publishing:

As America transformed from fledgling nation to world power, one element remained constant: alcohol. The eighteenth century saw the Father of His Country distilling whiskey in his backyard. The nineteenth century witnessed the lavish expenses on wine by the Sage of Monticello, Honest Abe’s inclination toward temperance, and the slurred speech of the first president to be impeached. Fast forward to the twentieth century and acquaint yourself with Woodrow Wilson’s namesake whisky, FDR’s affinity for rum swizzles, and Ike’s bathtub gin. What concoctions can be found in the White House today? Visit the first lady’s beehives to find out!

Hardcover   • 2014  •  $27.99
Regnery Publishing, Inc.  • ISBN 978-1621572107

Here’s my, a wine writer and wine publicist’s, take on this book:


I know what the “house wine” is in the White House these days, but I can’t disclose it; but, I can tell you that it’s a very wise choice. — Just couldn’t help but sharing this one, as it’s been a secret of mine for quite a while.

ANOTHER SIDEBAR: This is from a Washington insider to me, who’s also a wine expert, “When the Democrats are in power, the wine flows; when the GOP is in power, it slows…” (Perhaps that’s because the GOP prefers hard liquor to wine?)


History can be fun…

Mark Will-Weber’s book is delightful and insightful, to our own history of the enjoyment of alcohol as a diversion to daily tasks… how we relax, or not… I, of course, was very interested in what the politics of Prohibition were like. From the early Suffragette Movement to have the right to vote and when it also became a movement for getting their abusive husbands out of back bars and back into the bedrooms as mates without hate, to its being repealed…

Beginning during Buchanan’s time, we all know that Prohibition failed in many ways; but, in my own humble opinion, it did get a generation of men, who were out of control with their behavior of barhopping as being an exclusive activity for only men and naughty women, into bars become a social venue for all men and women who chose to par-tay.

According to Mark and his quoted sources on Buchanan:

“In [Prohibition] I think, they will entirely fail,” he wrote in an 1867 letter. “lager beer, especially among the Germans, and old rye will be too strong for them. Still, intemperance is a great curse to our people, but it swill never be put down by laws prohibition the sale of all intoxicating liquors…”

The Subject of intemperance must have been a curious one for Buchanan to ponder, since the “Sage of Wheatland” himself had such a knack for knocking back alcohol. [p. 121-122]

Prohibition was enacted in 1920 and continued for 13 years, ending in 1933 under the terms of the Eighteenth Amendment. It was enacted during Woodrow Wilson’s second term (1913 to 1921), and ended during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s term in office (1933 to 1945). From Buchanan’s time until Wilson’s term, every president had to deal with Prohibition as a hot bed, until its Repeal in 1933.

I’m not going to give you all of the details here, because I’m not writing a report on it (at this time). I do, however, have a great resource for the day when I do want to write that perspective, most especially inspired from the information shared by Mark Will-Weber.

This is an excellent resource, written in an amusing and entertaining way… A very easy read and even easier recommendation. Mark explains who in the White House abstained, who imbibed, and who over-indulged during Prohibition. Secrets revealed…

Enjoy, people…


Bubbly Wine,California,Chile,Holiday,Italy,Lodi,Organic,Russian River Valley,Sparkling,Wine

Thanksgiving wines with a big thank you ~ The Whites

Thanksgiving wines are a natural wine topic. During this time of year, from one year to the next, I reflect upon who’s been there for me in the past cycle… entrusting me with their stories. This blog post is more about giving thanks than it is about Thanksgiving wines. It is more interesting, however, if I do tell you about the wines I’ve most enjoyed throughout the year, which have come to me, because I’m a wine blogger.

Everyday I give thanks to those who have wanted to share their stories with me. Since this is a journal about my life as a wine publicist, who has also become a wine blogger with tons of back stories about the wine business, it’s only fitting that I have one story a year to give thanks. Thank you to all of you who make my world go round… giving me something to write about.

Thank you to those who aggregate my stories on your sites; most especially Wine Business Monthly, Wine Industry Insights, and Wine Industry Insider.  Thanks to my clients who fill my days and my head with tons of information for me to share.

And, thanks to those of you who read my stories. I appreciate that you agree and sometimes disagree with me.


APPETIZERS: Mionetto Organic Prosecco: What a great way to begin a Thanksgiving feast! Start with this Italian sparkling, and one that’s organic. For this I’m very thankful. These days, the less intervention the better, as our world’s food supply is becoming increasingly more poisoned. Sorry to bring this up while discussing such a joyous holiday, but I feel compelled to remind everyone; we are what we eat, pesticides included. These wine grapes were carefully grown and this wine is the end result of great care. The Mionetto Prosecco Organic D.o.c Treviso is made with certified, organically grown grapes (Bioagricert Srl. Mionetto). Grown without synthetic chemicals and fertilizers, in the cellar these grapes were vinified separately to ensure purity. To reduce the carbon footprint of this wine even further, Mionetto use recycled materials for the bottle, label, and shipper. This delicious Prosecco is beautiful yellow in color and has aromas of  golden delicious apples and delicate flowers, which all follows into to an explosion of vibrant fruit on your palate. I see this one accompanying your aperitifs, and prepping your palate for more delicious foods to follow.

APPETIZERS: 2010  Grape House Chardonnay Lodi ~ from the DeCosta Family Vineyard. The name Grape House was inspired by the DeCosta’s daughter. (I find this totally charming.) A new member of PS I Love You this year, I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve their needs, as regards Petite Sirah; and, to also recommend their Chardonnay. It’s a rich, complex wine and worthy of any Thanksgiving feast, when fish or fowl are being served.

In 2010, the DeCosta family released this first vintage. Their Grape House Estate Chardonnay was hand harvested and crafted in 100 percent stainless steel tanks. It was produced for them by Estate Crush, and is available for tasting at the Estate Crush tasting room in Lodi, located at Two West Lockeford Street, Lodi, CA 95240 [209-368-7595]

This past spring, I was asked to join a Lodi Petite Sirah tasting for newly released wines. I hadn’t expected to be called upon to speak on behalf of Petite Sirah, but I certainly can when someone wants more info. So, I was happy to talk abut Petite’s historical significance to the California wine industry. I went to this event as a media person, but I don’t need to prepare anything on PS. I can ramble on for hours, based on the past 12 year of research and development. But, I deferred to Jose as the spokesperson, when asked about membership. Dennis and Diane DeCosta of DeCosta Family Vineyards were at our luncheon table, and Jose gave them the benefits of being a member, while I just let it be. The DeCostas sent in a check to PSILY as a grower member, and for them, I’m most grateful for their trust and then they shipped samples to me… Both wines were outstanding. The second one was their 2011 Petite Sirah Atomic Vineyards… Yeah, it’s that powerful…

ENTREE: 2012 Gran Reserva Ribera del Rapel Chardonnay from Concha y Toro

The wines presented to me from Concha y Toro have always been consistently good wines. The Gran Reserva Ribera del Rapel is a higher priced wine, versus their other lines; still, it’s well worth the extra price as a great value. Since Thanksgiving is a special holiday, this is the time to step away from everyday wines and into something a bit more celebratory; and this wine will do quite nicely. Great care is taken in creating their Concha y Toro wines, as grapes are grown under sustainable practices. Only 5,500 cases of this wine were made, which is not a lot of wine, as it’s exported world wide. Look for it at your favorite markets.

The nose has a bouquet of richness that complements Thanksgiving fare… Ripe juicy apples and toasted pumpkin seeds give way to a rich palate that will enhance any birds being served.  It’s a medium to full bodied wine, with a toasted almond finish, which lingers… This wine was just so easy for me to love.

DESSERT: And, we’re going to pop a big one for this holiday, saving the most complex for last… 2004 Brut L.D. Iron Horse Vineyards 1.5 Liter. The L.D. stands for Late Disgorged. This is a process whereby the removal of the sediment from dead yeast cells happens before the dosage is added. The 2004 Brut L.D. was aged for more than eight years before disgorging happened. The process has given us a much more complex and creamier wine. It’s a sparkling wine that is equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and has lovely aromas of  fall fruit, like pears and apples. The palate is more citrus than the nose of winter Meyer lemons. This is a dry wine and will work really well at being enjoyed with creamy foods… I’m thinking Crème brûlée, to really finish Thanksgiving on a true high note. Chilled and ready to go, this one promises be a great memory for all.

Tomorrow ~ The Reds

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May your tables be blessed with abundance this year and forever on….


Wine,Wine Writer

Newspapers are dead as we knew them; or, the turkey in the room

One by one, I’ve watched trusted newspaper wine columnists get the sack from their editors. Some have been replaced by younger, rising stars, some columns went into syndication, and some just had wine disappear all together. In all of this, the evolution has been fascinating to watch… But, today the final bomb just fell from the sky; and, in a rush to get this one to print, the owner of the dealership’s name was misspelled. Oh… dear…

It happened in Crawfordsville, Indiana in their Journal Review…


You might want to consider rehiring an editor to cover your own job…

This image was just shared on Facebook by Howard Hewitt.

The stream that followed is priceless. With Howard’s permission to share.

It’s the end of the world as we know it! Local paper puts full page ad on front page!

Howard wrote: It’s the end of the world as we know it! Local paper puts full page ad on front page!
  • Stephen: It’s above and below the fold! Seriously, that is depressing.
  • Greg: That’s no longer a newspaper. It’s just a paper.
  • Dave: Where’s the “news” portion of that paper?
  • Jo Diaz O-M-G
  • Peter: Maybe the fact that they could still sell a full-page color ad is the front-page news!
  • Gregory: Makes those little “ear” coupons on P1 not so bad!
  • Adam: I’m reporting this post! (Still remember your unpublished editorial on this topic. Seems more than appropriate today.)
  • Rob: Wonder how much that cost? (Besides their soul. In addition to that.)
  • Adam: Guess what else? They misspelled Rohrman’s name! Classic.
  • Howard Hewitt OMG Adam, you’re right. Embarrassed to say I hadn’t noticed that …. Classic Indeed. And big shout out for remembering my unpublished rant.
  • Howard Hewitt I’ve written a letter to editor – let’s see if they print it. I may post here regardless.
  • Peter: I’m more interested in WHERE they will print your letter to the editor!
  • Heather: I’m hoping that’s just a wrap, right
  • Howard Hewitt Heather, it’s not a wrap … look at the little note upper right directing readers: “Turn the page for the Journal’s regular content.
  • Howard Hewitt Oh, this has already been shared a couple times…. so I should note here … not only is it an ad on the front page — BUT .. the advertiser – Bob Rohrman – the name is spelled wrong! Ya just can’t make this crap up, folks
  • Kim: I can remember when advertisers begged for page 1, but we said NO WAY. But then our lives changed as we once knew them. Sad day indeed. And misspelling too!
  • Mary: I knew it would come to this some day. The Courier Journal has been running an ad across the bottom of the front page lately.
  • Ray: I wonder if Bob is “Rorhring” mad today. Greg: I didn’t have a problem with the “ear” coupons during my publisher days, but this full-page thing is unconscionable. I am curious as to what readers think. Howard, give us any feedback that you might pick up.
And, I’m one of the people who also shared it. This builds into Howard’s credibility. And, I was pretty disgusted to see this front page… Remember, I was in radio and couldn’t produce a segment of Modern Health, where I disclosed that for every ounce of soda, Sheree’s almost ONE teaspoon of sugar. This was in the 80s, and was pulled by the general manager, who told me that a soda company was one of her biggest advertisers, so it was a no go/no show. Broadcasting 101, people.
I lead in with: Yeah… Okay, finally telling it like it is… Corporations own the news, and copy doesn’t want to tick anyone off, so nothing controversial, please and thank you… So, just put up corporate dribble, in the way of advertisements. It’s still great for starting a wood stove fire, though.
  • Fredric Koeppel speechless….
  • Jo Diaz It’s unthinkable, and truly a sign of how useless papers have become. Everyone’s online; plus, the truth is currently allowed to flourish, because there aren’t any advertisers. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve turned down, who have tried to buy a line in one of my blog stories… Sneaking in their advertising, Fredric. But this? It’s the end of newspapers as we knew them.
  • Katie Jalbert Kelley Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Anyone can take this picture and post a caption that says it’s the front page.
  • Tina Caputo: I talked recently with the director of a creative agency that creates ads for various clients, and even he lamented publishers’ willingness to give up formerly sacred editorial space to get money in the door.
  • Howard Hewitt Hey Jo, I’m so glad you shared this. I’m not sure just how many papers have done this .. but I was beyond shocked this morning. I’ve written a letter to the editor. Let’s see if they print it.
  • Howard Hewitt Katie, I took the picture. It happened in Crawfordsville, Indiana, today. I was in the newspaper business, including being editor of this paper for 2.5 years, some time ago. And oh by the way, the advertiser Bob Rohrman – the name is spelled wrong at the top of the page – PAGE ONE!
  • Katie Jalbert Kelley That’s bad. I only commented because so many pictures are shared, even when the source isn’t known. Magazines have been doing this for a while (an “advertising wrap,” I think they call the fake cover), but a newspaper? That’s so disappointing. Unfortunately, it’s a sign of the times. So many papers are struggling to survive in the age of instant/free news.
  • Jo Diaz i also knew Howard is/was a trusted source for this one. I’m happy that you questioned it, Katie, because anyone else that did, but didn’t speak up, now knows it’s real and a sad commentary of our times…


Beaujolais,Gamay,Marketing,Wine,Wine Making,Winemaker

Beaujolais Nouveau Day is Here!

Beaujolais Nouveau Day is here once again, and I was fortunate enough to enjoy an early bottle, so I could blog about it on this very day. This year the 2014 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is très fabuleux, once again.

It has delicious aromas of bright red fruit, like raspberries and strawberries.  When I sipped it, I found an explosion of tart red raspberries that were very young. But the wine also has some lacy edges to it from young and wild tannins… bouncing around… that are going to help this wine age a bit more, for enjoyment throughout the year. Considering its youth, the promise of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau will be mature enjoyment…

Beaujolais Nouveau Day is celebrated in France on the third Thursday in November with fireworks, music, and festivals. This is the first wine of the harvest, and it’s available nationwide one stroke after midnight on November 20. Nouveau will be uncorked at parties and celebrations across the U.S. (Suggested retail price is $9.99, a bargain of a price, really). And, I wish I could be in Paris, where it’s really happening today! Alas, I cannot, but I certainly did enjoy the wine as we approached the day set aside for Beaujolais celebrations worldwide.

WIKI: Beaujolais nouveau (French pronunciation: ​[bo.ʒɔ.lɛ nu.vo]) is a red wine made from Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France. It is the most popular vin de primeur, fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale on the third Thursday of November. This “Beaujolais Nouveau Day” used to see heavy marketing, with races to get the first bottles to different markets around the globe. The current release practice is to ship the wine ahead of the third Thursday of November, and release it to the local markets at 12:01 am local time.

From the Beaujolais Nouveau Day.com Website: Under French law, the wine is released at 12:01 a.m., just weeks after the wine’s grapes have been harvested. Parties are held throughout the country and further afield to celebrate the first wine of the season.

[Image is borrowed from the Duboeuf Website.]

Last year I had a conversation with Franck Duboeuf, son of Georges Duboeuf, who called from France. We talked about his immediate history, growing up with a father who was so ingrained and invested in the wine business. It’s important to note, for anyone new to the wine world, France’s history is pretty much carved in stone at this point. For Georges to have created something very “outside of the box” is almost unheard of, mostly unthinkable, and very daring… that kind of innovative nature shapes change, and the French wine industry is – as I noted – pretty much carved in stone. And yet, Georges Duboeuf went there in a delightfully positive way… with a big splash. He has that nature that I also embrace, which is to have fun with your wine.

What if?

“What if I create a wine release that’s going to be most phenomenal?

“It should be a red wine, soft and young… supple in body with a spirit of joie de vivre. A cheek with a pleasant, rosy glow greets you… You know you’ve arrived with the wine. . It needs to be one that owns its own day, forever and ever more. A celebration of the most festive kind…”

That’s a tall order, and Georges Duboeuf fulfilled the dream.

“The grapes are mostly hand harvested, still,” said Franck.

[Only the best will still do.]

There were 40,000 pickers during five or six weeks.

[What an interesting influx that must be to see in the vineyards. I see it all here, but what I see is radically, culturally different. It feels more romantic to me, because time moves more slowly there… Slowing down time seems to allow for charm to develop. It’s a French thing.]

While Franck’s father was raised on a small farm, where his family owned a few acres of Chardonnay vines, he grew up in an evolved business and growing up in a vineyard versus the small farm of his father’s youth.

[Imagine growing up in a vineyard… It’s s really a grape farm, for those from other neighborhoods, if you’re wanting to “get it.” All of the elements and sensitivities of nature are there for you. I can’t stop watching the movie “A Good Year.” The film has a very intriguing perspective, having been shot either in the early morning, or just at dusk, for the many interludes presented. It’s a great film, and that’s what I’d imagine for Franck and his sister Fabienne.]

“It was a wonderful childhood, walking, discovering, secrets in the vines. Helping with harvest, because that’s just what everyone does… But, not my favorite work,” he admitted, almost chucklingly to himself. His life evolved as his father’s vocation evolved into a négociant. No longer vinifying wine, the focus switched into checking samples every day during fermentation… tasting the future. It would be at this point that his father… realizing the potential for how the next vintage will taste, and how it should evolve based on foreknowledge, came up with his epiphany. “What if?”

Also, there was another side to that cleverness… the Laws of France… Make a law, government, and there will always be those who will take it right to the very edge… testing the balance between tame and wild, and then experiencing the dream. Georges Duboeuf took it to the limit, and Beaujolais Nouveau Day was born.

The process has winemakers worldwide curious, about the evolved methodology of wanting to perfect the most exquisite of Beaujolais Nouveau. According to Franck, “Each year a few winemakers travel to Beaujolais, France, to absorb what they can. The region has become extremely well experienced with the uniqueness of the Gamay grape and its processes. Beaujolais,” he continues, “Is a local tradition and the first wine we enjoy after hard work. The Gamay grape shows so beautifully just 25 days after harvest, which is why my father chose this grape variety.”

“Your wine is your image,” was his final thought.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, let these two items ignite your imagination, and perhaps your palate. Get in on the fun!