Welcoming Women Owned Wineries and Winemakers to #WinePW with a Tribute to Sandra Oldfield

In advance of March’s Women’s History Month and in light of the recent website and project by Amy Bess Cook on Women Owned Wineries in Sonoma, the Wine Pairing Weekend group is focusing on women in the wine Industry with an emphasis on wineries owned by women and on women who are winemakers!

To warm us up for welcoming women owned wineries and women winemakers, and to celebrate my birthday, Sue and I opened up two wines by a pioneer in both areas: Sandra Oldfield who recently retired as CEO and head winemaker at Tinhorn Creek in Oliver, British Columbia. Keep reading to learn about how to participate along with the deal, the wines, and the meal plus more about WOW in Sonoma! Continue reading

Be #SonomaStrong: Drink Wine! Here’s Why and 5 to Try #WinePW

In this before fire photo by George Rose, Paradise Ridge shows Sonoma LOVE with this sculpture from Burning Man. Check out George’s new book “VINEYARD Sonoma County,”

The fallout from the devastating 2017 fires in California will be long lasting. Here in Ventura County, the Thomas Fire is FINALLY 100% contained at 281,893 acres. We now sift through the rubble; I spent most of Friday morning with a friend at her house which was destroyed. It was the first time she had been there in daylight. Continue reading

What Went Down in 2017; What’s Up in 2018

Well, here it is: the first week of 2018.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

Here on Wine Predator, we’re taking a moment to reflect on what went down in 2017 and what’s up in 2018.

According to my calculations, I published 108 blog posts in 2017.

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Celebrating the Holidays with Napa Valley’s Flora Springs and Jon Nathaniel

aren’t these the CUTEST reindeer ever?

“When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!'”
from a “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement C. Moore
(complete poem at end of post)

I always thought the line was dash away “home.” I’ve been thinking about home a lot recently because this is the time of year when people head home. However,  this has been quite the holiday season in Ventura County. Not long after Thanksgiving, the Thomas Fire ignited in two places near Thomas Aquinas College between Santa Paula and upper Ojai, and on that first night, consuming at times a football field a second, and an acre a minute. Overnight the hills behind my home burned, and then the fire continued in three directions: toward Ojai, Santa Barbara, and Fillmore.

The bad news is that, at almost 275k acres, the Thomas Fire is now the largest ever in California history. The bad news is that every day I find out about more people I know who not only had to evacuate, but many who returned home to find it gone, one of the over 1000 structures that were totally destroyed.

A simple question– how did you do in the fire? — leads to a story in every case from evacuations to illnesses to poison gases to the loss of everything except an old ice cream truck parked on the street, with the keys destroyed by the fire.

“We’re okay,” everyone says because the good news is that as catastrophic as this fire has been, there have only been two deaths associated with it. The other good news is that the fire is at 65% containment and the toxic smoke is not as bad as it was.


After two weeks of uncertainty, finally, people are out and about completing holiday shopping. Continue reading

Festive Sparklers From Around the World: Ferrari, Jaume, Bruno, Gran

Sparkling wines from around the world: Italy, Spain, France and the US

Welcome winter!

Today is the shortest day, the longest night, and the first day of winter!

How else to welcome the return of the light and the holiday season but with sparkling wine?

Solstice = Sparklers

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Affordable France: 4 Crus Bourgeois Bordeaux Red plus a Dessert Wine #Winophiles


Bordeaux in general and Sauternes in particular are NOT wines that people think of as affordable. In fact, a quick search on 1000 Corks shows Sauternes for sale with the sky seemingly as a limit with a number of wines listed as going for five figures.

Along with Champagne, Bordeaux captures the imagination as “THE French red wine” of note and prestige.

But you might be surprised by the high quality Bordeaux wine you can find for around $25.  For that reason, consider bringing one of these bottles of Bordeaux as a hostess gift or to share at a holiday meal.

This month the French Winophiles group is looking at “sweet wines of France.” But what’s dessert without dinner? That’s how we ended up with opening four bottles of Bordeaux red wines before we opened our Bordeaux dessert wine!!

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