Wine Predator’s Top 12 Posts in 2016


Even though I started out 2016 with a broken wrist and only published this one really long post in January, I somehow managed to publish 65 or so blog posts during the course of 2016. That’s more than one a week or six a month for the 11 months that I could type!

Since my goal is to publish one a week or 50 for the year, that feels really good.

How did I do it? How did I get 65 posts, many 1000-2000 words written and illustrated this year?  How have I managed to publish 745 posts from November 2008 when I attended my first Wine Bloggers Conference and decided to publish my wine and food writing here rather than on Art Predator which I established in November of 2007? (Art Predator, by the way, has nearly 1800 posts!)


Well, I had help, big help this past year from Que Syrah Sue aka Sue Hill, a school teacher and tasting room manager at Cantara Cellars.  Sue and I met in seventh grade when we were in Girl Scouts together. Over the years, we had many adventures backpacking, rock climbing, sailing, hiking, and camping. We cooked many many meals together too. Then we went in different directions in high school and college and lost track of each other until about five years ago when she found me on Facebook. We discovered that we both still loved spending time in the outdoors but that we both had a passion for food and wine. This has led to us getting together about once a week during 2016 to taste wine, pair it with food, take photos and notes, and then I would turn it into blog posts as fast as I could. We also would meet about once a month to strategize our publication schedule: what wines we were gong to open when, what foods we were going to pair with it, and what the story was we wanted to tell along the way.

This year, in addition to participating regularly in #WineStudio on Tuesday nights and other Twitter wine chats, in June, Sue and I joined three wine and food writing groups and we participated as often as we could. On the first Saturday of the month, it is Italian Wine Food and Travel; the second Saturday of the month is Wine Pairing Weekend; the third Saturday of the month is the French Winophiles. Each one has a theme to prompt and challenge us to learn more about a region or a style of wine. This definitely challenged me to publish posts two or three Saturdays each month! We also joined in celebrations for different wine days or other days in 2016.


In this post, I am going to link to what we think of as our Top 12 Posts; I also intend to do a post about my top wine and food experiences of 2016 because I haven’t had a chance to write everything up yet! Plus I will be posting about a new website WineBam that helps know which wines made which Top 100 lists (like Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2016 or Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2016) and where to find them.

So here’s a Top Twelve Posts of 2016 highlights. Enjoy!


In December 2015, Sue and I had the opportunity to taste a number of wines that had been in people’s cellars possibly too long. Instead of dumping them, we gathered together to open them, and I wrote up our experience for “Open That Bottle Night.” We tasted 30 wines that night! Very fun.

February 27, 2016: Open That Bottle Night Sat. 2/27 + reviews of OLD Ojai Vineyard wines

Our three Women’s History month posts were very popular and we plan to visit and interview women winemakers again this year. It was really fun meeting Kimberly Smith in person after meeting her wines on #WineStudio, Brittany Rice-Claypool makes wine nearby which is exciting, and I wrote about Jenny Wagner after finding her wine on clearance and becoming intrigued.  Both Kimberly Smith and Brittany Rice-Claypool are quite the chefs and their wines are made to pair well with food, something we recognize and appreciate.

March 9, 2016: Women Who Wine for Women’s History Month: Kimberly Smith, La Montagne
March 18, 2016: Women Who Wine: Millesime’s Brittany Rice-Claypool
March 25, 2016: Women’s History Month: Cheers to Jenny Wagner, Emmolo Winemaker

In April and May, #WineStudio explored Albarino from Galicia, Spain. We had heard that it was a great wine to pair with food, and we had a blast coming up with ideas of different ways to pair fresh spring produce with the lively fresh wine. This post summarizes our adventure into Albarino using tweets that showcased the wines and the food. I look forward to returning to our notes and photos and writing more about these wines and food pairings. This post is also one of the more popular ones that I wrote in 2016.

June 9, 2016: All Aboard for Albarino! 9 meals to pair with this white wine from Spain

Another really popular post connected Rose Day, Wine Pairing Weekend AND #WineStudio’s June focus on Rose. We had a lot of fun doing this one: we opened five different wines and put them in paper bags and tasted them blind. We want to do this again but with Sauvignon Blanc and we want to do red wine in 2017 as well.

June 11, 2016: Rose Revolution: Around the World With 5 Roses


In July Wine Pairing Weekend went for Sherry. At first I wasn’t enthused. But then I realized it gave me an opportunity to tell some stories I wanted to share. Turned out there were so many I had to publish it in two parts!

July 9, 2016: A Quest for Sherry: Part 1
July 12, 2016: A Quest for Sherry: Part 2



In August, Wine Pairing weekend challenged us to discover South African wine. After I secured samples, Sue loved doing the research for this meal. It was really fun learning about the South African wines and pairing them with foods we could hardly pronounce when we did not really know the flavor profiles! Amazingly, the dishes work so beautifully with the regional wines.

August 13, 2016: South African Cuisine: Food with spice and wine that’s nice!

One of the most memorable experiences of the past year happened when Sue and I narrowly escaped a car accident on our way to interview Bruce Freeman of Clos des Amis, a Ventura County winery using Ventura County grapes.  It was a bit surreal to dodge cars and utility lines and then an hour or so later be at the winery tasting a delicious Chardonnay and then climbing around the barrels to taste wine that hasn’t been bottled yet.

November 12, 2016: #SoGrateful for a Taste of Local: Food, Wine, Vineyards #WinePW

A post that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves (yet) is the one we did recently about Italian holiday traditions. Sue’s family is from Italy and we prepared a meal using her family recipes and paired them with a series of Italian wines.

December 3, 2016: Italian Holiday Traditions Adapted to CA Conditions: 3 dishes with wine

I had a really hard time deciding on the twelfth post to select so I went with the one that the meal was so incredible and the wines went so well AND it was one that stood out for Sue also. This is a post that combined both Cabernet Franc Day and Wine Pairing Weekend. It was the first time we ever made osso bucco and it certainly won’t be the last thanks to our new Instant Pot!

December 10, 2016: Cabernet Franc Winners With Osso Bucco, Squash Gratin #WinePW

What are some of your favorite wine experiences or posts from 2016? What are you looking forward to in 2017?

A big thank you to Que Syrah Sue for all of her assistance, and to Marshall for his grilling expertise and help in the kitchen cooking and cleaning up.

And a HUGE thank YOU for reading and commenting! See you in 2017!








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