Harvest 2021: VC Vineyards Are On Chumash Land


I live on Chumash land here in Ventura County. The Chumash village near my home was known as Shishilop, and thousands of Chumash lived here in this sliver of land between the hillsides and the Pacific, and between two rivers, the Ventura and the Santa Clara. This part of California is technically a desert, but so much water flowed through the area that it created mudflats, and the maritime community of Chumash here were known as “mud people.”  Most of the Chumash lived near the Ventura river and the sea.


According to this site, Shishilop means ”port-on-the-coast” which it was. This village,  just east of the Ventura river mouth, was the largest Chumash village in what is today Ventura county. While the area has been inhabited for many thousands of years, the Chumash settled Shishilop about one thousand years ago or more, and the Chumash thrived with plentiful fish from the seas as well as the river. They made tools, a type of seafaring canoe, and they regularly crossed between the mainland and the nearby islands including large, close Limu (Santa Cruz Island).

Our region still is home to Chumash and to their stories about the land. Continue reading

Organic Domaine Bousquet: Argentine Agronomist Franco Bastias Grows Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay

a line up of 6 organic soon to be biodynamic wines from Domaine Bousquet

Meet Franco Bastias: Chief Agronomist at Domaine Bousquet– 
At only 11 years old, Franco Bastias worked beside his parents picking up stems and irrigating vines in Argentina’s Uco Valley. Growing up, he learned all about pruning, binding vines, maintaining trellises, and picking grapes. Twenty years later, Bastias serves as Chief Agronomist at organic Domaine Bousquet where he oversees a team of 50 (and up to 80 people at harvest), and he’s responsible for 618 acres of vines on the estate, plus 30-35 growers.

Bastias clearly didn’t get there the easy way. Continue reading

I Should Be Packing for Côtes du Rhône OR Who Is Competing on Team USA at #WWTC in CdP 10/2/21?

I should be packing for France.  For over a year now, I’ve been researching the Rhone Valley, and how best to get to Châteauneuf-du-Pape to compete or cover the World Wine Tasting Championship slated to be held there 10/2/21. Should I fly into Lyon? Marseille? Nice? Toulouse? Deals to fly in to Geneva, Porto, and Milan also caught my eye– cities all closer to the Southern Rhone destination than Paris. But in early July, life got a little complicated when it came to the contest. And I may or may not be part of a lawsuit related to this. It’s been quite the roller coaster with Team USA WINE. And if I’m not competing, like I did in 2019 in the Loire, I’d really like to be there covering the story. I just checked flights from LAX! Continue reading

Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms with Navarra’s Galimatias Cuts Through The Rigmarole #WorldWineTravel

Rigmarole. What a perfect word for what we’ve been going through globally during the pandemic: a lot of rigmarole. Masks. Social Distancing. Extra washing. Vaccines. COVID tests. Elbow bumps instead of hand shakes. Elbow bumps instead of hugs. Vaccine card checks. “Galimatias” means “rigmarole” according to Continue reading

Organic Sauvignon Blanc Paired with Fried Calamari Ceasar Sandwiches


Organic Sauvignon Blanc from Bonterra and Kind of Wild Paired with La Brea Bread Calamari Ceasar Salad Sandwiches

There’s little I love more than freshly baked bread. Except freshly baked bread with wine! So when one of my favorites bakeries, La Brea, contacted me about doing a bread and wine pairing, I said ABSOLUTELY!

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AmByth’s Natural Wines: Biodynamic Farming for the Future #WinePW

AmByth wines, olive oil, vinegar, and pairings

As we bounced along on the narrow, straight dirt road in our 1990 VW Westfalia camper van, with a very steep oak wooded hillside to the left, and a rolling dry cow pasture rising to our right, I was sure we’d gone the wrong way. The sign that said AmByth with the arrow? Maybe we should go back and check. And then the road came to an abrupt end in a clump of oak trees with a climb up to the right and the left. To the left was a green gate and another small sign: AmByth. 

“AmByth is the Welsh word meaning ‘forever’. We view it as our legacy,” states AmByth Estates founder Phillip Hart. 

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