KAY'S WINE BLOG
A large sign in Temecula Wine Country - Celebrate 50 years
Temecula Wine Country - History and Facts
Temecula Wine Country is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. In an earlier blog (see my fascinating post from February of this year titled "50 YEARS OF TEMECULA WINE COUNTRY"), I shared the story of the Cilurzos, who planted the first commercial wine grapes in Temecula back in 1968. And also the story of Ely Callaway, who began planting in 1969, and in 1971 became the first winery in Temecula Valley. However, like most California wine regions, the area's first wine producers were not commercial ventures, but rather the missionaries, who planted and harvested the so-called mission grape ... Continue reading...
She's holding out a glass of red wine in Sonoma Wine Country
Sonoma Wine - History and Facts
Sonoma is where it all started. It's the birthplace of California, the state, and also the birthplace of fine wines in America's most prolific wine-producing state. On June 14, 1846, a band of about 30 American settlers invaded the Mexican outpost called Sonoma, and took as a prisoner of war Sonoma's commander, retired general Mariano Vallejo. Using red paint, they decorated a cotton sheet with a star, a grizzly bear, and the words "California Republic." The so-called "Bear Flag Revolt" created an independent Republic of California that was extremely short-lived. Three weeks later, American ... Continue reading...
Old historical and gnarly vineyards in Paso Robles Wine Country
Paso Robles Wine Country, History and Fast Facts
In 1828 - 22 years before California Statehood - El Paso de Robles ("The Pass of the Oaks") became an officially recorded place. Over the generations the name shortened to Paso Robles. The region has an interesting and varied past. Blessed with mineral-laden hot springs that are said to have powerful healing effects on the human body, Paso Robles became a destination in the early 1900's for wealthy spa-goers including many celebrities. Jack Dempsey, President Theodore Roosevelt, Douglas Fairbanks, Boris Karloff, Bob Hope, and Clark Gable were among those who stayed in Paso Robles. In 1954, ... Continue reading...
1867 Historical mission in Santa Barbara Wine Country
Santa Barbara Wine Country - History and Fast Facts
Santa Barbara wine country, as we know it today, began in 1962 when Pierre Lafond opened Santa Barbara Winery, the first winery in Santa Barbara County since prohibition. But really, the wine making tradition dates back to 1782 when Father Junipera Serra planted mission grapes to provide communion wine for the Franciscan monks and their congregation. By the late 1800's, vineyard cultivation had expanded to 45 vineyards comprising 260 acres. Prohibition put the kibosh on wine-making in the region, and even after its 1933 repeal, the once-burgeoning wine industry lay dormant for more than a ... Continue reading...
A sign welcoming guests to Napa Valley with vineyards behind it
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...
Bottle of Tobin James red wine in Paso Robles Wine Country
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...
Gondola in Napa Valley's Sterling Vineyards lifts guests with a scenic view of vineyards and greenery
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 answer ... Continue reading...
Newly planted vineyards with sign Sonoma County Sustainable
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 month, ... Continue reading...
In 1968 Vincenzo and Audrey Cilurzo begin planting vineyards off of Rancho California in Temecula Valley
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. By ... Continue reading...
Trader Joe's World Famous Two Buck Chuck the undisputed champion of affordable wines
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...