April at Clos des Amis: Leaf Pulling and Happy International #SauvBlanc Day

Just a quick post about what’s happening in the vineyard — with lots of photos! — and to wish you an early happy Sauvignon Blanc Day (which is Friday May 3) with a comparison of the 2017 and the 2018 vintages from Clos des Amis!

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An Exploration into California Certifications and Sustainable Explanations #EarthMonth

Who are the Wine Predators?

Two California girls, Gwendolyn Lawrence (Alley) and Sue McLaughlin (Hill) met through Girl Scouts at age 12. They both loved nature and being in the outdoors especially rock climbing, sailing, hiking, camping, and backpacking. They went on many adventures together, they cooked together, and they cared for the planet together.

Some things never change.

Wine Predators: Gwendolyn Alley, Sue Hill plus Kingston and Cisco

Fast forward a few dozen years, and Sue and I reconnected. We both still loved the outdoors, and cooking, but we’d both discovered a passion for wine: Sue worked at a tasting room and I wrote about wine here on this blog.

For the past seven years during the time we’ve been working together, it should come as no surprise that how grapes are grown and how wine is made has been as important an element to us as how the wine tastes and what food we’re pairing with it.

And we’re not alone: 83% of Americans consider sustainability when buying food.*

And yet with all of the sustainable explanations and certifications, it can get confusing!

So for Earth Month AND California Sustainable Wine Month this April, Continue reading

Chablis is… Chardonnay? Comparing 2 from France, 1 from SoCal Paired with Seafood Lasagna #Winophiles

Growing up I remember seeing big gallon jugs of Chablis wine around my grandfather’s cellar and at the grocery store– right there next to the “Hearty Burgundy” and “French Colombard.”

Clearly Chablis was a white wine — but exactly what white wine was in that bottle?

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For #MalbecMonth, look to Argentina! Here’s Why and Six to Try

What’s a synonym for Argentine Wine? Malbec!

While yesterday was Malbec World Day, the entire month of April is #MalbecMonth, so you still have plenty of time to enjoy a Malbec from Argentina.

Why April? Malbec from Argentina is celebrated on April 17 because that is the day in 1853 when Argentina’s wine industry transformed by the invitation of French soil expert Michel Aimé Pouget who showed how to adapt French varietals, including Malbec, to Argentina. Malbec World Day was created by Wines of Argentina “to position Argentine Malbec as one of the most prominent in the world. Every April 17th, and throughout the whole month, different activities are carried out in the main cities around the globe to celebrate the success of our flagship grape.”

Five fun facts about MALBEC in Argentina:

  • 37.53% of the red wine grapes planted in Argentina are Malbec
  • 21.40% of the total cultivated area in the country is Malbec.
  • 163%  increase in plantings of Malbec since 2000 (equivalent to 26,653 ha / 65,862 acres)
  • 85% of Argentinean Malbec is grown in Mendoza
  • leader in volume, quality and exports of Malbec since 2011.

Argentina really is THE place in the world that’s dedicated to Malbec. And, as we show below and here, there is a Malbec from Argentina for every palate, budget, and event!

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Happy World Malbec Day! Toast with Rose of Malbec Sparkling Wine from Alma Negra and Gouguenheim


While Malbec is a wine to enjoy all year around and is grown all around the world, Malbec World Day on April 17 is THE DAY of the year to take a moment to appreciate Malbec, and specifically, Malbec from Argentina. To celebrate Malbec World Day, eight members of the Ventucky Wine Tribe gathered at Drummer Diane’s to pair Argentinean inspired cuisine with eight Malbec from Argentina: six red still wines and two rose sparkling wines! We started off with one rose sparkler and closed the evening with the other with dessert.

This post is about the two bottles of bubbles, and the next is about the six bottles of still red wine, plus five fun facts about Malbec from Argentina. Continue reading

Go Biodynamic this Earth Month with Syrah from Narrow Gate and Cab from Beaver Creek #WinePW


There was a lot Steiner and his compatriots did not know in 1924. What they did know was that the new chemical farming strategies that were taking over the world were destroying the land and our food. They may not have known why, but they knew something was wrong. At least they had the courage to seek a solution.

Our job as biodynamic farmers is to continue the experiments as he requested until we find why biodynamics works, which it does.

There is something clearly working here and in the face of climate change we better figure out what works.

Striving for Demeter certification is like a jazz musician practicing scales over and over again. It is only after they master their instrument that they can improvise and truly create something new.

So writes Craig Camp in his recent and evocative essay “Looking at Steiner in the Rearview Mirror”  — the Steiner in the title is the “father” of biodynamics, Rudolf Steiner.

April is Earth Month, and the Wine Pairing Weekend crew and I invite you celebrate the earth by going green with your wine selection — scroll down to see titles and find links to our suggestions!

And if you ask me, the best way to do that is by choosing biodynamic wines. Continue reading