Napa’s Historic Flora Springs: CA Wine

Seems like California Wine Month this September sped by: somehow tomorrow is the final day of a month’s worth of festivities up and down the state! Continue reading

Off to the International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento!

This wine and foodie is very excited to be once again attending the International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento — America’s Farm to Fork Capital– which starts today, September 28 and continues through October 1, 2017. I’m bringing some great California wine for the end of California Wine Month– who wants to do dinner on Friday or Saturday?

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CA Wine Month: Napa and Sonoma Petite Sirah from Rock Wall Wine CO

Continuing our celebration of California Wine Month, Sue and I decided to compare and contrast two wines from Rock Wall Wine Company, both Petite Sirah: 2014 from Sonoma (SRP $35 on sale now for $28) and Napa (SRP $60). We tasted them as a TGIF and paired them with happy hour fare, and then later my husband grilled up a filet mignon with blue cheese for me. What a great way to end the work week! Continue reading

California Wine Month: A Visit to Herzog for Kosher Wine

If you went just about anywhere last Thursday Sept. 21 on the last day of summer, you would have likely seen a lot of harvest activity, and in wine country, you’d see grapes getting picked and hauled along windy roads to crush pads where they will go from being grapes to a fermented beverage — wine — in your glass.

September is California Wine Month, and for California Wineries, it’s definitely harvest time, especially after the late August/early September heat spike, which means everyone is BUSY BUSY BUSY!

It’s wonderful to get out into the vineyards if you can to see the vines plump with fruit, or to visit a winery and see the process in action.

But as I mentioned in the earlier post, for Kosher wine giant Herzog, Jewish Holy Days during harvest means they close down several times and for several days during the busiest time of the year.

In addition to closing on Fridays at sunset and all day on Saturday, Herzog shuts down for the major Jewish holidays even during harvest: for Rosh Hashanah (last week’s New Year’s celebration), then closure for Erev Sukkot on October 4, then closed for Sukkot October 5October 6. The restaurant and tasting room are also closed, and on these dates as well: for Hosanna Raba on October 11, for Shemini Atzeret on October 12, and Simchat Torah on October 13.

Yom Kippur, meaning the ‘Day of Atonement,’ is the holiest day of the year, and this year occurs when Herzog closes on Friday and Saturday. Yom Kippur 2017 begins in the evening of Friday September 29 and ends in the evening of Saturday September 30. To mark the ‘Sabbath of Sabbaths’, Jews fast for 25 hours and pray devoutly for most of the day, with five different sessions – Maariv, Shacharit, Musaf, Minchah and Neilah.

In July, well before harvest, Sue and I visited Herzog. With head winemaker Joe Hurliman as our guide, we toured the facility, saw the bottling line, learned the history, and tasted through a number of California wines. Continue reading

Beyond Apples and Honey: Kosher Wine, Food


Right NOW is the middle of harvest season in California: after months of preparation, it is finally time to pick the grapes and start them on the next step in their journey to become wine. Grapes have been coming in since August and now it is in full swing.

In wine country, it is hectic. Often wine grapes are picked in the middle of the night to early morning to get the right amount of sugar in the grapes.

But because of recent politics around immigration, many vineyards are having a hard time getting enough people to work harvest plus a recent heat wave spiked sugars and a flurry of picking ensued up and down the West Coast. Fortunately, temperatures are back to normal right now and harvest has calmed down — for harvest.

Knowing how crazy it is and how hard everyone works this time of year, I was shocked to learn that Herzog and other Jewish wine-making facilities completely shut down for four days during harvest because the religious holiday of Rosh Hashanah comes first.

That’s why Herzog’s restaurant Tierra Sur closes at 3 p.m. today and the tasting room closes at 5 p.m., in observance of the holiday Erev Rosh Hashanah and closes for Rosh Hashanah Sept. 21 and 22. Continue reading

CA Beer Fest Flows in Ventura Sept 15-17

While September is California Wine Month — which we will get to soon here on Wine Predator with features of several Napa Valley wineries among others — this week is Ventura County Beer Week with the California Beer Festival to wrap it up!
Friday is all about craft beer and gourmet food pairings
while Saturday has 180+ beers on tap for your tasting experience, and Sunday is the Boots and Brews Festival with country music and beer on tap when the 9th annual California Beer Festival arrives in downtown Ventura California this weekend Sept. 15, 16 and 17 with three days of craft beer, food, and live music! This is a fundraiser for the Downtown Ventura Organization which keeps downtown clean and offers festive events, often free and family friendly, all year long. 

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Portugal: Wine, Castles, Cobbles, Coastline, Cuisine for #WinePW

photo by Gwendolyn Alley

Depending on who you ask, Portugal is blessed with somewhere between 250 to 500 native grapes — a number right up there with Italy, Georgia (the country not the state!), and Spain. With such a wealth of indigenous varietals, no wonder they haven’t bothered to make more wine more familiar to Americans like Cabernet Sauvignon. (Although they do make Cabernet and Syrah too!) Continue reading