KAY'S WINE BLOG
A satellite view map with six colored highlights of six Santa Barbara region American Viticulture Areas.
Hang Time, Santa Barbara Style
March Madness has begun. Water cooler conversations center on Cinderella stories, acrobatic alley-oops, downtown treys, and gravity-defying hang time. Meanwhile, Santa Barbara wine region has no hometown favorite to cheer, but does have a different kind of hang time to celebrate. Compared to other wine regions, the growing season here is longer, meaning that fruit has a considerably longer “hang time” on the vine.  An East-to-West oriented coastal valley, which is unique among California wine regions, allows a deep inland flow of cool, moist ocean air.  The lengthened ripening pattern and ... Continue reading...
Relief of wine being brought to the Emperor by Armenian ambassadors
Great Moments in the History of Wine
On a recent trip to Napa, I tasted a Cain Five Cabernet, and for me it was a sublime moment.  Here are some other moments in wine history that are of note:     8000 BC -- The earliest known wine production occurred in Colchis, now known as Georgia.  No, not the Georgia next to Alabama.  The Georgia next to Azerbaijan.   4000 BC -- Discovered in Armenia, the ruins of the oldest winery are believed to date back to 4000 BC, and some historians believe they may date back to 7000 BC.   20 to 30 AD   -- Jesus turns water into wine while attending the Wedding at Cana.  The miracle is known as the ... Continue reading...
Auctioneer offering unique small batch productions of exclusive wines in Napa Valley
One night, $3.7 Million of Wine
Last Saturday afternoon, February 23, a few hundred people visited the top floor of the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa County.  A few hours later they left, but not until they had purchased some Napa wine.  $3.7 million worth of Napa wine.   "Premiere Napa Valley" is the annual auction of one-of-a-kind Napa wine selections in lots as small as 60 bottles and no larger than 240.  This year's auction featured 187 lots, mostly from the 2017 vintage, the year of the North Bay Fires.  The October fires wreaked havoc on the Valley and some surmised that the 2017 wines would be ... Continue reading...
View of a stripper pole in a bedazzled party limo
Boarding Now! ...the Party Bus to Nowhere
It's big. It's loud. It has a stripper pole. And it's coming to a winery. It's probably not coming to the winery your friends told you about... the one that has the award-winning wines, spectacular ambiance, and engaging hospitality staff. Nope, it's not coming there, because it's banned. Um, this is a capitalist society, and business owners want customers, right? What winery would say "no" to fun people - people with wallets - who want to sample their wares? Most of them, and more every day. Take a look at this example from one winery's website: "...we take a very aggressive position towards ... Continue reading...
Rows of vineyards with a haze during rainy season in Temecula Valley
It's Raining in Wine Country.
...and that's a big deal, for several reasons. Yesterday morning, calls and emails from wineries started coming in to Grapeline. "We're closed due to rain." First off, don't panic and change your plans if you're coming out on a wine tour. One of the advantages of a tour with a wine country insider is that they will know exactly which of California's 3,700 or so wineries are closed on any given day. Rain is a big deal in California Wine Country, and really big rain is a really big deal. The reason for the closures - many along rural routes like the Deportola Wine Trail in Temecula Valley - was ... Continue reading...
A couple sitting on a tractor at Palumbo Family Winery in Temecula Valley
Put Some Vino in Your Valentine
"Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words." Titus Maccius Plautus said that. You probably have never heard of Titus. Me neither. But when I googled “wine, romance, quotes,” I found his little Valentine's Day aphorism, and it was the perfect sentiment. Titus was a Roman playwright who penned enduring comedies 200 years before Christ was born. Even way back then, as now, wine and romance went together like chariots and horses; like marble statues and columns, like empires and slave labor. So, if you’re still fretting over what to do on Cupid’s day, just put a little vino in your ... Continue reading...
Banner with red wine grapes with information for Vintage Paso in Paso Robles, CA
Vintage Paso - Extra More Funnest
Life is fun. Spending a day in wine country is more fun. Spending a day in wine country when the Vintage Paso celebration is in full force is extra more fun. But if you want your Vintage Paso experience to be the extra more funnest, you should try it the Grapeline way. What is Vintage Paso? It's a three-day celebration of wine, that used to be called Zin Fest, but apparently the other varietals complained about not having their own Fest. So in a nod to political correctness, the name is more generic. But the idea is the same. Three days celebrating (mostly) the heralded Zinfandels Paso is ... Continue reading...
Woman on a hill looking at rolling hills of vineyards in Temecula, CA
Temecula Valley Wine Country - a Worldwide Top Destination
Used to be, if you were a winemaker in Temecula Valley, you probably had a chip on your shoulder. Napa Valley gets all the international recognition. Sonoma, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, and Monterrey are not as world-renowned, but all are well known among more serious oenophiles. But Temecula? Where the hell is Temecula? Change takes time, and Temecula has been rising in the wine country ranks, but locals still lamented that the recognition it deserved still eluded Temecula. This month, the chip comes off the shoulder. Wine Enthusiast, in its just-released February 2019 issue, proclaimed ... Continue reading...
Two sisters smile with Avensole lunch items ready to eat
California Restaurant Month in Wine Country
January is California Restaurant month. If you eat food, and if at any time in January you'll be in California, then you'll be happy to learn that we are now in the midst of California Restaurant Month. For those of you who read my scintillating blog on International Pinot Noir Day (posted on August 17), it will come as no surprise that restaurants in California have their very own month. After all, Pinot Noir has its own day... as do many other wine varietals, and many more obscure things, including Fried Green Tomatoes as one example of how absurd the everything-has-its-own-Day trend has ... Continue reading...
Over one hundred wine barrels lining a rustic wine cave in Sonoma
My Sonoma Wine Tasting Tour
Not long ago, I went on a Grapeline wine tour, which is not a big deal for me. Because I go wine tasting a LOT. But if you have never been on a wine tour, you might want to know what it's like. If so, read on. I woke up at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, and I was already happy. The Fairmont is not actually in the town of Sonoma, but rather in the nearby burg of Boyes Hot Springs. The name refers to the hot water that makes its way to the surface from the ancient mineral springs 1100 feet below the Fairmont. Soaking in these naturally heated mineral-rich waters is one of the many ... Continue reading...