KAY'S WINE BLOG
Napa Valley Wine Country, Just the Facts
Napa Valley is, undoubtedly, the most famous and awarded wine country in the United States. Surprisingly, the Valley produces a relatively small amount of wine compared to the rest of the world, and even compared to the rest of California. Just 4% of California wine grapes grow in Napa Valley. And Napa’s wine production comes in at only 0.4% of worldwide totals. Napa Valley was a relatively unknown wine region prior to the 1976 judgment of Paris, which shone an international spotlight on Napa wine and launched a stunning advancement in the recognition of this tiny and beautiful Northern ... Continue reading...
Wanted Dead or Alive... The Most Sought-after Wine Club
Which winery has the best wine club in the world? Well, if memberships are votes - and it seems to me the best "vote" for a wine club is a person who pulls out their Travel Rewards Gold Card and says "sign me up" - then the best wine club in the world is the one offered by Tobin James Winery in Paso Robles. Purportedly, Tobin James has more wine club members than any other winery -- a whopping 30,000 as recently reported by staff. I've heard their wine club is the largest so many times from so many different sources, that I believe it. There's not really an official arbiter of wine club ... Continue reading...
The Best Winery
Lots of people go out wine tasting with Grapeline every year. More than 25,000 in fact. It seems they all want to know the same thing, because the most frequent question to Grapeline hosts is this... What's the best winery? I talked with several Grapeline hosts, and now I know the answer. Do you want to know? Of course you do. You're just like those other 25,000 people. The answer, it turns out, is that there is no best Winery. I know that answer is like a "fly in your Chardonnay." But hear me out. One host explained to me that people go to wineries for so many different reasons, the ... Continue reading...
The Spirit of the Sonoma Community
Last year, our Sonoma Valley wine region experienced devastating fires. Our hearts broke as many of our partners, friends, and co-workers faced the unthinkable. But now, our hearts swell with pride at how the people of Sonoma have banded together and come back stronger than ever. . Kim and I have a deep love for every wine country region in California. Those valleys are our “happy places," and Grapeline exists because of a desire to share those experiences with others. We want to do everything we can to help Sonoma get back on its feet, and that’s how our “Sonoma Series” was born. Last ... Continue reading...
50 years of Temecula Wine Country
This year, Temecula Wine Country celebrates its 1968 birth. That was the year Vincenzo and Audrey Cilurzo began planting Petit Sirah and Chenin Blanc near Rancho California, a town of 350 inhabitants that would later be re-named Temecula. To get to the vineyard from their L.A. home, they had to travel to Rancho California down sparsely used Highway 395, and then rumble through empty hills and valleys down a narrow dirt track called Long Valley Road. It was an unremarkable beginning to a remarkable story. The Cilurzos grew grapes and made wine for 10 years before opening a winery in 1978. ... Continue reading...
Two Billion Buck Chuck
Quick - where were you when you first heard about Two Buck Chuck? It had that kind of an impact. A "premium" wine available for chump change. Hard to believe, but that was fifteen years ago. And even harder to believe that in that decade and a half, Trader Joe's has sold almost a billion bottles. Yes, with a "b." Charles Shaw wine was an instant sensation. Almost everyone had an opinion. Many scoffed. But many more rushed to buy it, often by the case. To some in the winemaking biz, it was a sign of the apocalypse. Their world was coming to an end - Charles Shaw was the mass produced ... Continue reading...
The Love in the Air...
I’m drinking wine right now, which is not unusual, but what’s different is that I’m feeling a bit melancholy as I do it. One of Grapeline’s Sonoma hosts, Rufina, just sent me a photo of the Mayacama Mountains behind Kenwood Winery. The blackened slopes are a stark symbol of the enormous disaster that just occurred. The fires that swept through Northern California Wine Country this month go beyond disaster. They were a catastrophe on a level that’s historic. Based on the most recent reports I've seen, 42 people perished in the fires, making it the third deadliest fire event in California ... Continue reading...
Wine or Beer?
Our great nation has never been more divided. But we are so much stronger when we recognize that we are all the same species living together on ​one planet, and ​that ​we have​ ​much to gain by working together. So, I beseech all who might read my blog: Put aside your differences and unite, whether you are a wine drinker or a beer drinker. ​ If you know me at all, you know that wine has ​​a special place in my heart, and a permanent place in my glass. Having said that, ​if I'm chomping on a mustard-smeared ballpark frank while watching Clayton Kershaw hurl a 94 mph heater down the pipe, ... Continue reading...
Summer Fizz Fest in Temecula Valley
Before hearing what it actually was, I had already decided that a Summer Fizz Fest was something that I liked... a lot. Now that I know what it is, it turns out I was right, and if you keep reading you’ll know what it is too, and I’m pretty sure you’ll also like it a lot. Fizz Fest is an excuse to celebrate, concocted by people who love sipping wine out among the vineyards. It happens on Sunday, June 25, 2017, in Temecula Valley Wine Country. What’s being celebrated? I’ll get there, but first let me tell you what the celebration entails: a full-day romp through Temecula Valley, sampling ... Continue reading...
Back to the Future at Babcock Winery
Here in California, a lot of really cool things have been started in a garage. Heck, this device I’m writing this on was dreamed up in one. So it’s not all that surprising that one of the wineries Grapeline frequents is home to a vintner who started his journey in a bathtub. Bryan Babcock, the only American named to a list of “Top Ten Small Production Winemakers in the World” by the James Beard Foundation, fermented his first cuvée in the bathtub of his UC Davis student apartment—from grapes that he’d stolen in the dark of night. The friend who helped him orchestrate the heist wasn’t a fan ... Continue reading...