KAY'S WINE BLOG
Guests explore Benziger Family Winery in Sonoma's Wine Country
The Tram Tour at Benziger Family Winery
Wine grape vineyards. Oak barrels. Stainless Steel Tanks. Scottish Highlands Cattle. Which one of these doesn't belong? If you guessed that this is a trick question, you're right. And if you answered that they all belong, then you've probably been to Sonoma Valley's Benziger Winery. Benziger Winery, located in the Glen Ellen neighborhood of Sonoma Valley, has a great winery tour. You can take my word for that, or you can check with the Sonoma Index Tribune, which proclaimed it the People's Choice for The Best Winery Tour 2018. Or Winecountry.com, which lists it in the first spot among The 7 ... Continue reading...
Girl smells glass of red wine before tasting
The Five S's of Wine Tasting
To all of you holier-than-thou wine snobs who say there is a specifically correct way that we should be tasting our wine - and consequently any other way is wrong - I say: Hey, turns out you’re right! I enjoy wine. To do so, I used to follow a simple three-step process: I pour some wine in a glass. I put the wine in my mouth, and then... I enjoy it. It really is that simple. No fanfare, no commentary, no intricate procedures. Wine is actually very easy to enjoy. So I don’t need some bow-tied, French-accented Master Sommelier telling me how to do it. As a human being, I instinctively know how ... Continue reading...
Several bottles of Napa's Rombauer Chardonnay with glasses of wine ready to taste
Take Cover, it's a Butter Bomb!
When you ask her which is her favorite wine, my best friend Tiffany does a shoulder shimmy and uses a Juliette Binoche accent to say "Rrrroommmbaaauuueeerrr." Even uttering the name of Napa's Rombauer Chardonnay is an intoxicatingly happy event. Rombauer Vineyards, located in the St. Helena area of Napa Valley, produces what might be the defining Butter Bomb. Secondary Malolactic Fermentation converts the tart malic acid, naturally present in grape must, to the smoother lactic acid with the buttery natural byproduct diacytl. When a sophisticated Oenophile says about their Chard that they ... Continue reading...
Several bottles of Cashmere Wine on a picnic table in a California Winery
The Types of Wineries I Like
It's easy to describe the type of wineries I like. Some wineries are small, boutique wineries that are only open with a reservation. I like those wineries. Some wineries are big touristy wineries. They are open every day, and in addition to wine tasting, they offer other entertaining stuff, like behind-the-scenes winery tours, gourmet food, live music, and major events. I like those wineries. Some wineries are somewhere in between. I like those wineries. It's important to be unbiased. What's not to like about spending the day sipping the intoxicating liquid masterpieces crafted by passionate ... Continue reading...
Millennials are drinking the most wine in the World
Millenials and Wine
Wine geeks were shocked. Heck, everyone who knows anything about wine was shocked. Wine is an acquired taste, so it stands to reason that younger people would be lower on the wine consumption scale than their “more mature” counterparts. Meaning old people drink more wine. But no. A while back, the wine world was rocked to the core by a report by the Wine Market Council that detailed who’s drinking wine and what they’re pouring into their glasses. Surprise! The biggest consumers of wine are not Baby Boomers or even Gen X’ers. They’re Millennials. Yes, Millennials. You know, the ... Continue reading...
New trend - using Wiskey Barrels to age Wine - Since 1887 Grant's Whiskey
Whiskey, Wine, Both?
A long, long time ago somebody - probably while staring despondently at a broken vessel and a river of spilled Cabernet Franc - realized that oak barrels were way better for containing wine than fragile clay amphoras. Eventually, oak barrels became the norm for aging wine, and the characteristics that oak imparts on the flavor of wine became desirable for many varietals. But barrels lose their oakiness after a few uses So vintners often sell used barrels to whiskey or bourbon distillers who appreciate the already seasoned wood. Recently, somebody - probably inspired by a couple glasses of ... Continue reading...
Perfectly manicured rows of Pino Noir Vineyards in early Spring - Santa Barbara, CA Wine Country
International Pinot Noir Day
August 18 is a very important day. It is international Pinot Noir day. I found out about this important factoid in an email I received from Alma Rosa Winery in the Santa Barbara region. Alma Rosa - no surprise here - is known for vinting up some exceptional Pinot Noir. My discovery of this significant occasion raises several questions. What does one do to celebrate Pinot Noir Day? Who gets to decide that a certain day should be named something special? If Pinot Noir has its own day, does that make Sauvingnon Blanc feel kind of neglected. Do fried green tomatoes have their own day? OK, let’s ... Continue reading...
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...