Off to the Internat’l Food Bloggers Conference in Sacto & WBC Lodi!


This has been a wonderful summer to learn about wine– and food! This summer I’ve experienced

  • Cusumano wine from Sicily with Sicilian food at Sotto in LA
  • Justin wine and food at the winery’s restaurant where they only offer a five course tasting menu with pairings
  • Rhone food and wine at their event and the meal that Sue prepared at home to pair with Rhone wines
  • Italian food and wine CHEESE vegetarian dinner dinner that Sue prepared
  • South African wine and food that Sue researched and prepared for August’s Wine Pairing Weekend post
    and more!

And now I’m headed to the International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento with great food of course and wine too. Then I attend the Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi which, believe it or not, has even better food and lots more wine!


I have always been fascinated and amazed by what happens when you pair wine with food.

Because while I love wine, and certainly enjoy wine with or without food, there’s something magical that happens when you combine the aromas and the flavors of wine with food!

And just like in love, that magic is CHEMISTRY! When you have great chemistry between two people, it’s a lot easier to fall in love, right? And

Well it’s the same with food  and wine–when the chemistry is right, it’s easier to fall in love with both wine and food. Just as they say about certain couples “a match made in heaven” –the same thing goes with wine and food.

And while there are certain rules of thumb that I share with folks on a regular basis, it’s really fun to experiment and learn for yourself.

Because really there’s no wrong or right when it comes to wine pairing –it’s what taste good to you and your own palate.

Unlike love, with wine and food opposites don’t usually attract. That’s why chocolate and other desserts with wine pairings usually don’t work.

For your own “match made in heaven” follow these three very general rules of thumb

  • Match the color of the food with the color of the wine:
    Red meat with red wine (steak), white meat with white wine (fish), pink meat with dry rose (ham)
  • Match the body of the wine with the body of the food:
    Heavy foods with heavier wine, lighter foods with a lighter bodied wine
  • Match the cuisine of a region with the wine of a region:
    Rhone wines with Rhone food, Italian wines with Italian food etc.

And know when to drink beer! (Seriously, good craft beer can pair just as well with food as wine! Think pulled pork and IPA…)

In fact, I’m so interested in food and wine that I spoke on this subject at the International Food Bloggers Conference in 2011, and I’m heading up to Sacramento to the International Food Bloggers Conference that opens tomorrow!

Here’s the IFBC agenda. Sue can’t join me but as she is such a foodie and follows chefs and cooking shows, I asked her what some of the highlights are for her:

  • After looking at the lineup, these are what caught my eye. First off on Thursday at the kickoff. There will be the Marin French Cheese company. They are the ones that make that French Petite Breakfast cheese we liked so much. It would be fun to see what else they have to offer.
  • On Friday, wish I were going on the Clarksburg Wine Tour.
  • Also am interested in Keynote speaker Chef John Ash – he will be talking about sustainable food issues and focuses on ethically local grown foods which is also something we like to highlight in our recipes whenever we can.
  • Also on Friday. The Taste of Sacramento Culinary Fair Expo and Gift Suite has quite the lineup of attendees and would be fun to experience.
  • Saturday, I am interested in Chef Johnny Carino and how he can make healthy foods that taste great. This is something that I always try to do with our recipes, but great tastes are not always low calorie or healthy for us.
  • This title on Saturday also peaked my interest “Why Insects are the Next super food that will save the planet”
  • Also on Saturday the blind tasting hosted by UCDavis Olive Center’s Dan Flynn and Sensory Scientist Hoby Wedler sounds right up my alley. I love olives and would like to experience the blind tasting. Then lastly on Saturday, the Discovery Session on Olives and Wine from Grove and Vine sounds quite interesting. Love olives and wine and would like to see what that has to offer. Sounds like you will be having a fabulous time.

Bring back some interesting information for us to use and share during our food/wine pairings says Sue.

And I’ll be talking about pairing food (olives!) and wine from Palm Bay at a reception on Saturday:

5:15 – 6:30 PM Olives and Wine Reception:
Come Taste the Divine hosted by Lindsay Olives and Palm Bay Wines
Peter Yealands Pinot Gris 2015 – $15.00
Jean-Luc Colombo Cape Bleue Rose 2015 – $12.50
Callia Alta Malbec 2015 – $9.00

If you are attending IFBC please stop by and say hi! (I’m the one with pink and orange highlights in her hair…)

To get in the mood for wine from the Sacramento delta region, last night Sue and I opened two bottles from Cantara Cellars, a 2011 Griffina zinfandel because that is what Lodi is most famous for, and a 2010 cabernet sauvignon because Lodi will soon be known for a whole lot more after the Wine Blogger’s Conference August 10-14.

And of course, after IFBC I will be going to WBC16 where I will also be speaking!

Lodi is one of those relatively undiscovered and under-appreciated wine regions of California. It’s just a bit east and south of Sacramento yet West of the Sierra.

I’ve developed a fondness of Lodi wines thanks to samples and twitter tastings with Lodi Wine, but much more so because Cantara Cellars in nearby Camarillo sources their fruit from family owned vineyards and the vineyards of family friends o owner Mike Brown.

You wouldn’t necessarily think about putting over dried tomatoes with goat cheese and zin or cabernet, but it paired so well with the zin — the bright flavors of the tomatoes and cheese bring out the sweetness in the wine.

But this is not jammy over the top overripe zin. No, not at all: Mike Brown’s style is more restrained, more elegant as evidenced in this graceful zinfandel. Sure it has plenty of zin character: bramble fruit off the vine (not stewed) and spicy notes too and while there is the presence of oak, it does not overwhelm or mask the fruit.

The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is probably Sue’s favorite wine that Cantara produces, and for good reason: again, this is a restrained, elegant, medium to full bodied wine with plenty of cherry fruit and cigar box, leather. It’s got the barn going on without any barnyard.

Lots to report on! Stay tuned!

PS I am looking for places to stay! I will be at Twisted Oak in Murphys Calaveras County at least one night pre-WBC16 and I have vehicles I can sleep in…

2 thoughts on “Off to the Internat’l Food Bloggers Conference in Sacto & WBC Lodi!

  1. Reblogged this on art predator and commented:

    As the summer draws to a close, before I head back to teaching, I’m attending two bloggers conferences, one on food and one on wine, where I will have the opportunity to share some ideas about wine, food, and writing! I’ll mostly be blogging about these on Wine Predator, with the occasional reblog here. I’m also hitting the trail — The Pacific Crest Trail is the plan to re-hike a Sierra section that I hiked 30 years ago! Now to finish packing and hit the road! This blog posts includes a few tips on how to pair wine and food as well as some tasting notes about two very wonderful Lodi area wines from Cantara Cellars.


  2. Hi Gwendolyn,

    Cool about the Food Bloggers Conference – hope you enjoy that, as well as the Wine Bloggers Conference.

    Just wanted to send you this link – – to my eZine. I gave your Guest Post a few more mentions in it, with a link to your original.

    Drink Wine With Dinner® Month starts on Monday, August 1st, and Drink Wine With Dinner® Day (Julia Child’s birthday, of course!) is on the 15th.

    I’m putting together my August 1st post now, and I’m creating a downloadable Party Kit so people can plan their own Drink Wine With Dinner® events.

    I’ll send you that link when I have it (later today, for tomorrow, I hope…)

    Meanwhile, have fun at the Conferences. And I wish you much success with your presentation at the WBC!

    Cheers and warmest wishes, Rosina


    On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 11:58 PM, wine predator wrote:

    > Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator posted: “This has been a wonderful summer > to learn about wine– and food! This summer I’ve experienced Cusumano wine > from Sicily with Sicilian food at Sotto in LA Justin wine and food at the > winery’s restaurant where they only offer a five course tasting” >


Please Comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s