Open That Bottle Night: 2009 Ojai Vineyard Syrah at The Beach #OTBN

The Ojai Vineyard 2009 Syrah special bottling is indeed special

The final Saturday of February is “Open That Bottle Night”– a night when you just say, heck why not, life is short, drink the good stuff. Not sure about you but that’s kind of been the mood around here for the past few years during the pandemic anyway…

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Enjoying Jura’s Wine and Cuisine: Biodynamic Champ Divin Crémant du Jura Brut Zéro + Seared Scallops

Champ Divin Crémant du Jura Brut Zéro

Looking for a new adventure in wine, food, and travel? Searching for a region known for natural wines grown using organic, biodynamic, or sustainable practices? Then Jura is the place for you! The word “Jura” comes from juria, a Latinized form of the Celtic jor meaning”forest”, and refers to The Jura Mountains, the French department of Jura, the Swiss Canton of Jura, AND the Jurassic geologic time period first identified here. Located in the mountainous northeastern part of the French Alps on the border of Switzerland, near Germany and Italy, Jura’s dramatic landscapes and forested slopes attract adventurous athletic activities followed by rich cheese, mushroom dishes, and wine soaked chicken along with the regional wines that feature unusual grapes made into wines that may surprise even the most jaded palates. 

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Women Working in Wine Sustainably in France: A Women’s History Month Invitation to Participate for #Winophiles

wine women working sustainably in Bordeaux, France pictured in Los Angeles, CA January 2023

It’s a man’s world, as they say, and James Brown croons, but women are making their way in it: from the famous groundbreaking widows of champagne to today’s women who remind us about the health of workers and their families, the wine industry is changing in France and around the world accepting more women in more roles among the ranks of men. With March 8 International Women’s Day, and entire month of March Women’s History Month, Continue reading

Chocolate + Wines for Valentines: Fonseca’s Bin 27 and Clos des Amis Ponto Forte + Pot de Crème

Fonseca Bin 27 and Clos des Amis dessert wine with chocolate choices

When romance is in the air, just say NO to wine and chocolate candy pairings, I always say. Just don’t go there. Dessert and wine in general is a terrible idea: to make a chocolate and wine pairing work, the wine needs to be sweeter than the dessert. And that’s where DESSERT WINES come in: they DO work with desserts, including chocolate as long as the chocolate dish is not too sweet. For your sweetheart, for Valentines Day or some other special occasion, a great dessert pairing is port –or a port style red wine–and pots de crème, Continue reading

Feeding the Worms with Winemaker Susanna Vasquez plus Pairing Peltier Wines with Smoked Meatloaf

Susanna Vasquez with some of the Peltier worms


Until recently winemaker Susanna Vasquez plied her trade at Peltier in Lodi where a favorite activity was finding, feeling, and feeding the worms. Now we’re not talking about a conventional worm bin. Nope. Susanna feeds A LOT of worms.

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Take Your Sweetheart to Spain: Recipes, Pairings, Organic White and Sparkling Wines for Valentines

Ànima Negra, Mallorca, in springtime Spain (photo courtesy of the winery)

Want to take your sweetheart to Spain for Valentine’s Day? We have ideas: an organic blend from the island of Mallorca? a Garnacha Blanca from northern Spain? Cava from Barcelona? All paired with Spain inspired dishes like mussels with smoke paprika and tomatoes (so sexy!), citrus salad with fennel, and of course, raw oysters plus tapas to start things off! 

Spanish Menu for Sweethearts  

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On The Radar — Festivals in February and Beyond: KFWE, Garagiste, Slow, Rhone Rangers, WOPN, Lucidity

Around this time in 2020, I remember writing and dreaming about all the fun festivals in February and on the horizon. I was packing for Napa Valley Academy’s March Bud Break Spring Break WSET 3 class when the call came that it was postponed due to the pandemic, and the world locked down. While the threat of COVID isn’t over, and I’ve traveled in Italy, Oregon, and California since then, I’m loving filling my new planner with dates for tastings and travel; 2023 feels full of possibility and opportunity. I’m tempted to travel to Continue reading