3 Surprising Sparklers from Emilia Romagna’s Terramossa #ItalianFWT

When Rome (what we think of today as Italy) was split between west and the east, Ravenna in Romagna was the eastern Roman empire seat. With eleven UNESCO sites and plenty of Roman ruins in the unexplored areas, plus being the gastronomic and economic hub of Italy with the oldest University IN THE WORLD (Bologna), it’s no wonder In 2018, the Lonely Planet guide named Emilia Romagna as the best place to see in Europe!

While it may be well known gastronomically, the region is less well known for its wines, which is why for this month’s Italian Food Wine Travel prompt, host Susannah includes the area when she suggests “focusing on wines from those regions perhaps you know less about such as Valle d’Aosta, Lombardy or Liguria in the North, Emilia Romagna and Lazio in Central Italy or Basilicata, Molise, Calabria in the South, among others.” She invites us to investigate an area of Italy that we haven’t explored recently…but for Sue and I in Ventura, those wines can be hard to come by without a trip to Winehouse LA or shopping online!

Enter Italian Wine Ambassador and importer Sheila Donahue of Verovinogusto. I contacted her  to see if she had any wines for us to write about because her US warehouse is located only a few miles from my house! More importantly, she’s based in Bologna, knows the region well, and imports a number of wines from Lombardy and Emlia Romagna. In fact, in June we wrote about two wonderful Lambrusco that she imports from Lombardy.

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Ventura CA Dec. 7: Winter Wine Walk or Holiday Hootenanny? Both?

This Saturday, Dec. 7, the Winter Wine Walk marks its 10th event in downtown Ventura from 4-7pm and at the brand new Colt Street location of Topa Topa Brewery the Ventura Land Trust  holds its first Holiday Hootenanny from noon-4pm.

Should you do one? Or both? Continue reading

Loire #CabFranc: Manoir de la Tete Rouge’s “Bagatelle” and “Fat Head”

As we drove south from Champagne through Paris to the Loire by way of the Chartres Cathedral,  Sue anxiously searched for accommodations on Air B N B while I tried to negotiate the highway, particularly the tolls. (At some point, the tolls won and my ignorance lost because I ended up with a ticket.)

We were making our way to Chateau Chambord to compete in the World Wine Tasting Championship as members of Team USA 2019– and we weren’t exactly taking the most direct route there. Continue reading

November in Ventura Vineyards: Dormancy and Grateful for Syrah, Old and New

Baby it’s cold outside!

And that is just fine for the vines!

At the end of the harvest cycle, the vines stop sending energy to the leaves and they turn from vibrant greens to browns, golds, and reds, and by late November, most of the leaves have dropped, and the vines rest in a period of dormancy which helps them manage the colder temperatures.

The vines survive on reserves of energy and they continue to respire as well, and while they look “dead” they definitely are not! Just like bears, they are in a deep sleep waiting for warmer temperatures to rouse them. And just like humans, this period of rest is as important to vines as sleep is for us. Continue reading

#Thanksgiving2019 #Gratitude

by Gwendolyn Alley, Thanksgiving 2019, Mammoth Lakes, California


This Thanksgiving weekend 2019, my family and I are at Mammoth Mountain where it has been snowing and snowing and snowing. We drove through a light snowstorm to get here, and it has been snowing steadily all day; the visibility on the mountain was so poor I got vertigo.

Throughout California, it has been a very wet holiday. For a Californian, that in itself offers a lot to be grateful for– especially when the rain Wednesday (and then snow Wednesday night and today!) helps to contain a fire like the one this week above Santa Barbara about 30 miles from Los Olivos and Solvang, home to many of the region’s tasting rooms. Continue reading

Carménère: Rediscovered 25 Years Ago Today in Chile #CarménèreDay

In 2009, a friend and I decided it would be fun to buy $200 worth of wine from that year’s Wine Spectator Top 100 list. We each spent about $100 and we took home the bottles we bought but committed to tasting them together with a few other wine friends. But then Continue reading

Celebrate Sonoma with Sosie’s Roussanne and Pinot Noir for #Thanksgiving

For three years in a row, Sonoma County’s been struck by catastrophic and fearsome fires. As someone who has also lived through three years of fires too close to home here in Ventura County, I know what it is like: the fire, the fear, the smoke, the ash. Asking friends and acquaintances how they fared. Fearing their losses.

These fires reside forever in our hearts and our soil.

But where we live is NOT ruined. It’s different but not destroyed.

And the wine is fine! “Over 90% of the fruit in Sonoma had already been picked and was safely fermenting,” says Regina Bustamante, co-proprietor of Sosie Wines.

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