November in Ventura Vineyards: Dormancy and Grateful for Syrah, Old and New

Baby it’s cold outside!

And that is just fine for the vines!

At the end of the harvest cycle, the vines stop sending energy to the leaves and they turn from vibrant greens to browns, golds, and reds, and by late November, most of the leaves have dropped, and the vines rest in a period of dormancy which helps them manage the colder temperatures.

The vines survive on reserves of energy and they continue to respire as well, and while they look “dead” they definitely are not! Just like bears, they are in a deep sleep waiting for warmer temperatures to rouse them. And just like humans, this period of rest is as important to vines as sleep is for us. Continue reading

#Thanksgiving2019 #Gratitude

by Gwendolyn Alley, Thanksgiving 2019, Mammoth Lakes, California


This Thanksgiving weekend 2019, my family and I are at Mammoth Mountain where it has been snowing and snowing and snowing. We drove through a light snowstorm to get here, and it has been snowing steadily all day; the visibility on the mountain was so poor I got vertigo.

Throughout California, it has been a very wet holiday. For a Californian, that in itself offers a lot to be grateful for– especially when the rain Wednesday (and then snow Wednesday night and today!) helps to contain a fire like the one this week above Santa Barbara about 30 miles from Los Olivos and Solvang, home to many of the region’s tasting rooms. Continue reading

Carménère: Rediscovered 25 Years Ago Today in Chile #CarménèreDay

In 2009, a friend and I decided it would be fun to buy $200 worth of wine from that year’s Wine Spectator Top 100 list. We each spent about $100 and we took home the bottles we bought but committed to tasting them together with a few other wine friends. But then Continue reading

Celebrate Sonoma with Sosie’s Roussanne and Pinot Noir for #Thanksgiving

For three years in a row, Sonoma County’s been struck by catastrophic and fearsome fires. As someone who has also lived through three years of fires too close to home here in Ventura County, I know what it is like: the fire, the fear, the smoke, the ash. Asking friends and acquaintances how they fared. Fearing their losses.

These fires reside forever in our hearts and our soil.

But where we live is NOT ruined. It’s different but not destroyed.

And the wine is fine! “Over 90% of the fruit in Sonoma had already been picked and was safely fermenting,” says Regina Bustamante, co-proprietor of Sosie Wines.

Continue reading

Are You a Zinner? 5 CA Zinfandel With Eggplant Parmesan #ZinfandelDay

Are you a zinner?

We sure are! And not just on Zinfandel Day which is the third Wednesday of every November — just in time for Thanksgiving pairing ideas.

Sue is such a zinfandel fan that she may have a hundred or so bottles in her cellar from some of her favorites including Turley, Rangeland, and of course, Cantara where she is a tasting room manager. She’s a new fan of zinfandel from El Dorado county — she’s found that the altitude gives it something different. Continue reading

Go Grenache, Go Rasteau: 4 Paired with Lamb Daube #Winophiles


Rasteau is a small AOC in the Rhône region of southern France known for making sweet fortified wines, and since 2010, red wines. This means that in 2020, Rasteau will celebrate 10 years of Cru status for their dry reds.

Continue reading

3 Rioja For #TempranilloDay: Rojo, Blanco y Rosado

When I think about Tempranillo, I think of a robust, red wine that I want to pair with lamb.

But when I went to the samples cellar to see what we had for International Tempranillo Day which is held annually on the second Thursday of November, I found I had one red from Rioja, two rosado of Tempranillo and Garnacha, plus a white blend with Tempranillo Blanco.

Hold the tapas! Tempranillo Blanco??

Continue reading