#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.

Last year’s plentiful rains mitigated the drought, but for parts of California, like in Ventura County, we’re still in one, and we need a good rainy season this year to replenish our reservoirs.

I’ve been to SF many many times but this trip was the first time I rode a cable car! What a fun way to travel!


Personally I have a lot to be grateful for: 2019 was an amazing year on and off the blog.

Trip of a lifetime #1: Climbing Kilimanjaro (July/August)
Trip of a lifetime #2: Burning Man (August/September)
Trip of a lifetime #3: France (October)

I appreciate that I am able to spend so much time in nature: I’m grateful that I hike 2-4 miles 3-4 days a week, that I ski 30 or more days a season in the Sierra and in Colorado, that I visited Amsterdam for two days, that I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in August, and that I went to Burning Man for the 19th time this year also.

I’m grateful for all of the music in my life, especially for live music. In the past few months, we’ve danced to the Grateful Dead, Sergio Mendez, and David Byrne plus we saw a Harry Potter film with live music at the Hollywood Bowl. I’m grateful too for my son’s passion for all things Harry Potter: last weekend we saw the Cursed Child play in San Francisco where we also rode the cable cars, strolled through Chinatown, and visited Fisherman’s Wharf.

Earlier this month, on the anniversary of my blog, I wrote about some of the important wine opportunities that I’m grateful for like traveling to France to compete on the US Wine Tasting Team for the World Championships (that story here). Since then I’ve applied for a World Nomads Travel Scholarship to study photography in Mongolia using this story about Vincent Charlot; check out my submission and others here or you can read it over on Art Predator.

I’m grateful to have the opportunity to write more about the trip to France in December in articles about Loire for Cabernet Franc Day (which is next Wednesday dec. 4), two Pet Nats from Loire (Sat. Dec. 14), and Vincent Careme’s Vouvray (Sat. Dec. 21). I’m also looking forward to traveling via wine tasting and food pairings to South Africa and Portugal before the year is over.

But first I’ll be writing about Ventura County Vineyards with a focus on SYRAH: Clos des Amis from South Mountain and a 2007 form The Ojai Vineyard’s Roll Ranch. I am so grateful that I’ve been able to spend so much time this past year in the vineyards and the winery of Clos des Amis with winemakers Bruce Freeman and Gretel Mays Compton.

Almost last but certainly not least, I am grateful to my team at home. Sue Hill is such a whiz in the kitchen, she loves researching the menus, she stops on her way and picks up groceries we still need, and then she takes notes before and during dinner about the wines and all of the pairings we do. And I’m grateful to my spouse who puts up with all of this wine business, takes deliveries of wine at his work, helps with the grilling and the instant pot, and does the dishes!

Finally I am grateful for YOU — my readers. I appreciate that you take the time to read, to comment, to share. I love what I do but it wouldn’t be as meaningful without YOU!

I hope that your Thanksgiving is full of gratitude– and maybe a little wine tasting too! Cheers!

Sign in the pepper tree above the picnic table at the Clos des Amis Winery in Santa Paula.





Please Comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s