Matsu’s Tinta de Toro Honors Viticulturists #CesarChavezDay

Today, March 31, is the birthday of labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez. Long commemorated in California, where Chavez did much of his important work, in 2014 President Barack Obama named March 31 as a federal holiday honoring him for his service. Because this year March 31 is a Sunday, tomorrow Monday April 1 will be a holiday with some schools, federal offices, and other sites closed for the day.

mixed media portrait of Cesar Chavez by Dianne Bennet

Among his many accomplishments, Chavez founded the United Farm Workers, and he led marches and boycotts to bring national attention to the plight of the farm workers which led to protective legislation across the United States. The leadership, strength, and sacrifices by Chavez made people pay attention to farm workers who eventually gained many rights that otherwise they may not have achieved.
These three wines from Matsu pay homage to those working in the vineyards. The labels use real-life photos of the viticulturists to showcase and represent the essential character of the wines. While not certified biodynamic or organic on the label, these practices are prevalent in these 80-100 year old vineyards and Bodega Matsu chose these vineyards in the D. O. Toro for their age but also for

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March in Ventura County Vineyards: Clos Des Amis Bottling Day for Rose plus a conversation with Gretel Meys Compton #WomensHistoryMonth

Winter in the vineyard means pruning — it has to be done while the vines are dormant and before the buds break.

So now that the pruning is done and it’s spring, what’s next?

There’s much important work to be done in the winery as well as in the vineyard.

On a beautiful early spring day during the midst of an amazing wildflower season, friends gathered at the South Mountain Winery above Santa Paula, California, to help Clos des Amis winemaker Bruce Freeman and his partner Gretel Meys Compton bottle the 2018 rose Continue reading

#MarchMadness #MerlotMe with Peju plus Pizza and Rabbit Ragu too #WomensHistoryMonth

How about a little March Madness — with wine and a March hare too!

  1. #MerlotMe in March — not October as usual!
  2. Rabbit Ragu — not the expected beef!
  3. #WomensHistoryMonth — featuring a family!

This year for Women’s History Month, I’ve emphasized wines where the women have an important  role in the business — like Erica Crawford of Loveblock,  women in Champagne and couples who make Cabernet Franc.

Today’s feature is similar but different: Napa’s Peju Winery Continue reading

Feeling for New Zealand and an Interview with Erica Crawford of Organic Loveblock Wines #WomensHistoryMonth

Last week, a mosque was attacked and too many people were killed while they were in prayer. Too many men, women, children died once again: one would be too many but in this case so far fifty people died in the shooting attacks at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch. It’s enough that the Prime Minister is leading the country in a direction to harness the killing power of guns by banning weapons like those used in the mosque attacks in Christchurch.

Mikey Napier shared this on Facebook on March 17: Because the international media is not really showing this to the world. I would like to share as a proud kiwi standing by our Muslim brothers & sisters what I am seeing on my newsfeed & from my country’s media after this tragedy.. I ask that we all share these images and show the world how this horrible event has only brought all of nz out as a nation and stand together in our Muslim communities time of need and made us stronger and more loving. EVERYONE that considers NZ home no matter what religion, race, faith, colour, they may proudly be is considered and loved as a Kiwi in our culture, and that is how our people and values will forever remain.

As I’ve listened to the news this week, I’ve also reflected on the stories of New Zealand that I know, and most of them reflect the beauty of the country, the haka of the Maori tribe, and of course, the wonderful wine, particularly the Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. I’ve never visited NZ but I’d love to and I’ve even considered moving there, more so now than ever as the world watches how they are responding.

One story I heard on the radio talked about how important it is to focus not on those who did the killing (and in this case who is now in custody) so as not to glorify the shooter, provide the desired infamy, and spread the shooter’s message. Also don’t focus on the body count. “He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless,” says New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern

Instead, speak the names and tell the stories of those who died and are impacted.
Tell the stories of the good being done in the country.

And that takes me to the story of Erica Crawford of New Zealand’s Loveblock Wines, because Erica is doing a wonderful job making wine that takes care of the planet and people Continue reading

Lamb Stew Paired with Cabernet Franc Created By Couples #WinePW #WomensHistoryMonth

I love how a wine changes — from place to place, from vintner to vintner, over time, and even over a conversation.

I totally get how subjective wine is: what did you have to eat pr drink– what’s the chemistry in your mouth like? What smells are about and how might that impact your experience of a wine? What music are you listening to — how distracted or focused are you — what’s your brain chemistry like? There are so many factors that can change your experience about a wine.

For me, personally, my chemistry and Cabernet Franc don’t always get along so in general I’d rather just see it as part of a blend– a small part. And that’s how it’s been found traditionally — as a small but significant role in a Bordeaux blend. However, it’s dominant in a Chinon from the Touraine region of the Loire Valley about 220 miles southwest of Paris.  Continue reading