SoCal Ideas for Wine Tourism Day, Sat. May 11 2013


This Saturday, May 11 is Wine Tourism Day, a day to celebrate North America’s wine tourism industry and all those who enjoy the experience of visiting wine country.

According to organizers, “Local wine industry folks in their respective regions — including wineries, hotels, restaurants, and other wine-related businesses — have created special events for people who love anything to do with wine, food, events, travel and fun!”

Events can be anything from wine pairing dinners to music events to structured tastings. Search for an event near you or register for the Great Wine Tour Giveaway.

Or create your own event! You don’t have to visit Napa–head out on Saturday to a winery near you and celebrate! You may be surprised by what you’ll find in a few hours drive. Please post in the comments and tell us which wineries are YOUR favorites to visit?

Read on for Wine Predator’s picks of places to prowl! Continue reading

The Perfect Clock for Wine Bloggers: Cheers, it’s time for an adult beverage!

I’m a seasoned writer and wine blogger, about to hit 300 blog posts over here on Wine Predator (and 1300 on Art Predator!), but even if you’re a beginning wine blogger, with only a few blog posts and wine samples under your belt, you can probably relate to this Writers Clock!

I do have two revisions: instead of “Toss,” it should be delete or trash, then undo!  And instead of “Submit,” it should be “Preview”!

I love that every hour it’s time for an adult beverage! And I think it’s about time for one for me–an Ojai Vineyard Rose in fact, nice and crisp for this warm spring day! This rose is mostly Roll Ranch Syrah from the upper Ojai Valley (read more about Ojai Vineyard’s Roll Ranch Viognier and Syrah) with 5% grenache and 5% riesling. I opened yesterday to have with our Easter ham, mashed potatoes with castella blue cheese and asparagus. Awesome pairing and a super pretty salmon color–or like the pale pink blush on an apricot or a peach…

Ojai Vineyard Rose crab oysters

The Ojai Vineyard rose is also interesting with oysters, which is what I’m enjoying right now: they bring out the minerality in each other, more complexity in both the Pacific and the kumamoto oysters and the rose. Not a sweet but a tangy tangerine, rose flower and dried petals, dried apricot on the long finish.  Barrel fermented in older oak, it’s got a real cork closure, it clocks in at 13% alcohol, and less than 600 cases were made. join the club like I did and you won’t miss out! With my club discount I think it was about $15.

The Ojai Vineyard Rose is NOT your grandmother or aunt’s pink wine or white zinfandel–it is NOT sweet, fruity or anything that they would probably like, except the color. This is a wine that can hold its own with spicey ham, blue cheese potatoes, oysters and crab drenched in butter…

Happy writing!

PS If you’re experiencing some writer’s block and  you just don’t know what to write about, check out this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday prompt–and when the clock strikes “Adult Beverage”–open a bottle of Barossa! Blog posts are due Weds. April 25.

WBW #73 “Spark” Round Up; WBW #74 “Sparkling” Announced

In response to Cork Dork’s prompt to write about a wine that connects to what sparked your interest in wine blogging, ten bloggers let him know in time to join in his round-up and a few more bloggers chimed in with posts after–better late than never!

Here’s the Wine Blogging Wednesday #73 “Spark” round up.

Here’s my response to the “Spark” prompt–I mentioned Ridge Zinfandel, Grateful Palate Shiraz, and Enoforum wines from Portugal with a review of Twisted Oaks Tempranillo,

Next up, keeping with the idea of “spark” write about value “sparkling” wine. Hosted by Wine Cast aka Tim Elliot, Wine Blogging Wednesday #74 participants will join the 2011 sparkling wine trend; in 2011 Americans consumed 20% more Champagne; like the recent popular Proseco, Moscato went from an unknown sparkler to one that has been produced and appreciated more (even in a Barefoot Bubbly version!).

In the past five years, I have discovered the pleasures of various sparkling wines with food, not just as a special occasion beverage or for a toast. And so it is with great pleasure that I look forward to participating in February’s Wine Blogging Wednesday. I’ve got a rose cremant in mind to pair with ham as well as trying that Barefoot Moscato, Chateau Ste Michelle’s 2005 Luxxe, and ?? with oysters and ?? After all, this is still my birthday month and I’ve got more celebrating to do!

If you too would like to join in, you are welcome! The prompt for Wine Blogging Wednesday #74 includes these instructions:

Just pick a sparkling wine from any appellation, made from any grape but make sure it sells for $25 or less a bottle (€20, £16). This should open up a lot of interesting selections, from Crémant de Bourgogne, to Cava, to California & New Mexico sparkling, sparkling Shiraz, to even well chosen grower Champagne. Just post your notes by February 15th and ping me @winecast on Twitter or email me with your link at winecast (at) gmail (dot) com.

Oh, and I’ve having a birthday subscription drive until the end of the month! Please subscribe in the box in the upper right hand corner! It’s easy to get Wine Predator in your inbox and join in the Wine Predator fun! I’ve got big plans for 2012 and I hope you will be along for the adventure!

Part Two: What Happened to Wine Blogging Wednesday & Ideas on How to Revive It

Yesterday, in Part 1, I was musing about whatever happened to Wine Blogging Wednesday so I took my wondering self to the world wide web to see if anyone else was missing it.

And I found this blog post from August where, voila, I discovered I wasn’t the only one who wanted to see Wine Blogging Wednesday revived.

Seems Tim Elliot was wondering the same thing and eight or so wine bloggers commented.  Inqvine even suggested a theme: “Fungus Among-us” on botrytis wines.

“I would love to see WBW start up again,” Alleigh of A Glass after Work said in the comments. “It was a wonderful way to really become part of the wine blogging community. It was particularly interesting to see how other wine bloggers approached the same topic or the same wines. Inevitably, I learned something new. Now, as a more comfortable wine blogger, I think WBW would still a great way to meet new bloggers and taste new wines, but it always would be a chance to have further discussions about wine with other bloggers and not just my regular readers.”
So, I propose we get Wine Blogging Wednesday rolling again! I think we need to Continue reading

Will the FTC fine wine bloggers $11,000 for non-disclosure?

You can buy a lot of wine for $11,000: Does the new FTC law fine bloggers who don’t report payment or gifts?

Twitterland and the Blogosphere has been hopping lately with news that the FTC is going to start fining bloggers (and presumably other social media users) who do not make it clear that they are getting paid to promote a product. Many wine bloggers who subsist on samples, free or discounted wine shipped to them by the winery or given to them by the winery will run the risk of getting fined if it is not clear that they’re blogging for wine, blogging for the wine industry, or paid in some way.


While there’s been a lot of whining amongst the winos I follow, as well as a general uproar, I think overall this is a good idea. I can usually tell when someone is pimping a product. But not always. And the general public is not as well versed in the sneaky ways of affiliate marketing and various nefarious schemes to make it seem like regular folks are writing about products.

Personally, I much prefer to say where, when, and how–and to know that transparency is the industry standard.

An article today by Jay Yarrow in the Silicon Valley Insider says that’s not what the FTC means. According to the article, “The assistant director at the FTC  overseeing this ruling, Richard Cleland, says that’s not true. He tells Fast Company:

That $11,000 fine is not true. Worst-case scenario, someone receives a warning, refuses to comply, followed by a serious product defect; we would institute a proceeding with a cease-and-desist order and mandate compliance with the law. To the extent that I have seen and heard, people are not objecting to the disclosure requirements but to the fear of penalty if they inadvertently make a mistake. That’s the thing I don’t think people need to be concerned about. There’s no monetary penalty, in terms of the first violation, even in the worst case. Our approach is going to be educational, particularly with bloggers. We’re focusing on the advertisers: What kind of education are you providing them, are you monitoring the bloggers and whether what they’re saying is true?

Mashable was one of the first sites to report on the FTC change.

And here’s a selection of others who rapidly followed suit:

In related news, a blogger temporarily lost her unemployment benefits in confusion on what kind of income she was receiving from Google Adsense:

It’s a new world out there. Watch your step!Will

Have fun, Sonadora, wine blogging in Portugal! Wine Predator Comes in Second!

A twitter post from Jo Diaz about a contest for a wine blogger to travel to Portugal drew me like a mouse to cheese to her blog where I found out that yes, the winner would get an all expense paid trip to travel in Portugal for week exploring the wines and the region plus $1000!

Something right up my alley!! So of course, even though I found out about the contest only a day or two before the deadline, I applied, getting my submission in just in time! Here are my 200 words:

WOW an all expense paid trip to the Alentejo Wine Region of Portugal with Jo Diaz of And to blog five entries?

Choose me, Art Predator aka Wine Predator! Have Macbook, will travel! And blog like mad about wine!

As an established blogger, I’ve posted live at the 2008 and 2009 Wine Bloggers Conferences, at WordCamps and other events.

As Art Predator, I prowl for the aesthetic—that which engages the whole soul, according to Coleridge. Wine, food, travel: I’m always looking for exciting experiences to share with my readers and subscribers.

Plus I’ve never been to Europe! Instead of a post college trek Continental trek, I backpacked from Mexico to Canada. They don’t call me a “wash’n’wear” kind of gal for nothing!

I am thrilled by the opportunity to share with readers the joys of the journey and what I learn about the exciting wines of this region. With my background in creative writing and environmental studies, I will write with flair about the land and the people, because as lovely as the wines may be, it’s the stories that surround them that create a full aesthetic experience which “engages our souls.”

Well the good news is that the wonderful Wannabe Wino aka Sonadora is going to Portugal at the end of the month to attend Enoforum with Jo Diaz of and to write at least five blog posts about the trip and her experiences!

And the other good news is I’m first runner-up to go!

I know, I know, it could be seen as all bad news. But it’s really not. I am thrilled to be first runner-up behind Sonadora. I read her blog, Wannabe Wino, where she was a fabulous host to the August Wine Blogging Wednesday prompt and she has does an excellent and honest job of describing and reviewing wines, we follow each other on twitter, not to mention she had a really great response to the challenge of saying why she should be chosen to go! You can read her response and the announcement that she won on Jo Diaz’s blog here.

What an amazing opportunity for Sonadora! The European Wine Bloggers Conference is happening when they arrive, and I am sure that Sonadora, like I would, will take advantage of the chance to attend everything and do everything she possibly can.

So who or what is this Enoforum which is sponsoring the trip? According to Jo Diaz, “the six founders are the six cooperative wineries from the Alentejo Region, in the south of Portugal. These six wineries encompass 12.000 hectares (296,523 acres) of vineyards, with a yearly production of 60 million litres (6.7 million cases) of wine. In September 2005, new shareholders joined this group: “PME Investimentos, S.A.” and “INVOCAPITAL, S.A.”” They will also be hosting Jo and Sonadora for a few days in Lisbon.

Have a fun time you two! I look forward to reading about the trip!

And what does this mean to me, Wine Predator? And what does it mean to you, oh faithful Wine Predator reader?

I’m inspired! I’m invigorated!

You may have noticed that I’ve slacked off some here…but I’m back! And I have a lot of wine bottles hanging around waiting to be written about!!

So we’ll see you around!!

Hardy Wallace aka “Dirty South” Makes Goode

So his wasn’t the prettiest face on the page, I am sure he’d be the first to admit.

But anybody who knows Hardy, or gets to know Hardy, knows he’s a really Goode guy.

No surprise that Murphy-Goode snapped up the guy who flew across the country to be first in line in San Francisco to sign up to compete for a really goode job as Murphy-Goode Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent–someone who’s seriously been big into wine for awhile–when we met at the Wine Blogger’s Conference, it seemed everybody already knew him!–and someone who certainly doesn’t take himself too seriously.

According to the winery’s press release,

“This is Murphy good!” Wallace said after he was named the winner at a ceremony on the Healdsburg Town Square. “Seriously, this was my dream job before the job ever came along. My dream has come true!”

The good-humored Wallace is founder of the popular “Dirty South Wine” blog, is
a musician, and a Sommelier Guild level I and II.

“This was an extremely difficult decision given the talent of all the candidates, but
Hardy really knocked us over in the interviews with his passion and enthusiasm,” said
Murphy-Goode winemaker, David Ready, Jr. “He’s like us: he’s a people-person who
loves wine.”

Wallace will live for free in a charming, two-bedroom home near downtown
Healdsburg.  He starts “work” on August 15, 2009.

Congrats, Hardy! You ran a great campaign for the job and you deserve the $10,000 a month, the accolades, and all the Liar’s Dice you can stand.

But the real congratulations goes out to all the people (myself included!) who went for it, who said, “hey, I’m in!” People who took a risk, made a video, submitted it, promoted it. People who gave it a go.

Because you never know where something might take you!

(Hey something? I’m ready when you are!) Continue reading