Intro to Italian Viticulture: #ItalianFWT Preview with 5 Fun Facts

Beyond the familiar straw Chianti bottle, the bubbles of Prosecco, and the simple pleasures of Pinot Grigio, many Americans find Italian wines confusing. Unless you’ve traveled there, or invested time in learning, the many grapes and regions can make it hard to figure out what’s what and what’s where.

But some say Italy’s rich biodiversity is its single biggest asset because these native grapes offer unique aromas and flavors — when they are grown and made to express their terroir.

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February in Ventura County’s Vineyards

young vines in an yet-to be named new vineyard above the small town of Fillmore located only a short drive from the metropolis of Los Angeles

As the days get longer, the dormant vines begin to awaken. The little buds nod their sleep heads and burst from their slumber, unfurling into little leaves that will stretch and reach toward the sun gathering the materials they need for the vine to flower and set fruit. Continue reading

Highlights: World of Pinot Noir 2019 and David Glancy’s Burgundy Seminar 2018


With a kick off this Thursday February 28,  World of Pinot Noir returns to the Bacarra Resort just north of Santa Barbara this weekend with events on Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2.

This will be my third year attending, and I can say without a doubt that THIS is the event for Pinot Noir lovers: last year the 2018 World of Pinot hosted nearly 3,500 people and featured more than 250 wineries from around the globe.

Not only do you have the opportunity to taste a plethora of Pinot Noir at the Grand Tastings each afternoon, but there are also a series of insightful seminars taught by industry leaders and amazing dinners that feature central coast wines and wines from around the world. Continue reading

An Invitation to Investigate Italian Viticulture #ItalianFWT

No this is NOT a vineyard in Italy or a biodynamic one. This is an experimental plot of Chardonnay by a citrus company in Santa Paula where I was pruning today.


Dictionary result for viticulture

  1. the cultivation of grapevines.
    • the study of grape cultivation.


This March, I am hosting the Italian Food Wine Travel (ItalianFWT) investigation into Italian Viticulture. We’re a group of influential wine, food, and travel writers with a passion for Italy, and we get together on the first Saturday of each month to compare notes on a particular topic, for example, last month was Sagrantino hosted by Jeff Burrows and in October I hosted Lugana.

My original idea was to have us focus on biodynamic wines of Italy by finding wines certified by Demeter, but when many of us found this challenging, myself included, I suggested we shift to Italian Viticulture in general with an emphasis on biodynamic, organic, and other green practices but not necessary certified, so we could explore the stories and controversies around this subject.

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With Love From Provençe: A Biodynamic Red and a Kosher Rose with Steak, Quiche, Soup, Salad

“We loved the vines — the ordered regularity of them against the sprawl of the mountain, the way they changed from bright green to darker green to yellow and red as spring and summer turned to autumn, the blue smoke in the pruning season as the clippings as burned, the pruned stumps studding the fields in the winter– they were meant to be here,” says Peter Mayle in A Year in Provence (page 8).

Clearly, Mayle is meant to be in Provençe as well to regale us with tales and stimulate our taste buds and inspire our desire to travel Continue reading

Sparkling La Vieille Ferme or Rotari: Happy Chinese New Year of the Pig! Happy Valentine’s and Galentine’s!

photo by Deniz Nicole

Happy New Year — Chinese Year of the Pig!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Galentine’s Day!

It’s time to SPARKLE!

Regardless of what you’re celebrating and who you’re celebrating with, we’ve got four sparkling wines for you that won’t break the piggy bank: — two from Italy’s Rotari and two from France’s LaVieille Ferme (which in French means “the old farm”).

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, we celebrated the Year of the Pig and Galentines Day when Sue and I were joined by two Burning Man artists, pyropainter Deniz Nicole of Karousal Kandeo and Kaliedescope Kandeo art installations and Margaret Lambert of Elvis Wedding Chapel and Minstrel Cramp theme camps. Continue reading