Not Just Nouveau: Cru Beaujolais and Pairings for #Thanksgiving

Today’s the third Thursday of November which means it’s Beaujolais Day, the day that the Beaujolais Nouveau is released.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a wine that was picked just a few weeks before, fermented, and bottled. It’s bright and fresh and meant to drink young. This was the first wine of the vintage but also, if you’d run out of wine, the first wine available. It’s a moment to reflect on the past year — and our hopes for the future!

Beaujolais Day is the perfect time to celebrate all wine from Beaujolais — and Gamay Beaujolais the grape too — as well as this year’s harvest.

Beaujolais is a great wine to pair with Thanksgiving meals — from appetizers through to roast turkey and many of the sides. Today we have a cheese plate, a pear salad, roasted carrots, and fried chicken! Go here to read how in 2016 we paired Beaujolais with pumpkin soup, gourmet mini-pizzas, and a persimmon salad; or here to read about how in 2017 we paired Beaujolais with a dried cherry and pomegranate salad, roasted brussel sprouts with bacon and Coq au vin.  Both posts link to posts from the #Winophiles with reviews and pairings for Beaujolais. And back in 2010, we paired a Beaujolais with pork loin.  And here are more pairings! 

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Together We Rise: The Ojai Vineyard’s 2001 Vin du Soleil GSM for #WinePW

A little less than a year ago, on Monday December 4. the Thomas Fire erupted near Thomas Aquinas College between Santa Paula and Ojai off highway 150. In  spoken word performance piece that I co-created with Rasika Mathur and performed with her at the Lobero Theater, I point out that the Thomas Fire was started by “Thomas” Edison and I ask whether it will convince Doubting Thomas of climate change. At the event, Rob Write also performed the song featured in the video below.

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Another California #WineCountry Fire and updates on a few festivals

As I write this, Ventura County is under fire once again. And that includes the Malibu AVA located near the ridge by the Mulholland Highway between the Pacific Coast Highway and the 101 freeway, which is under siege from the Woolsey Fire which started near the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks where 12 people were killed at a College Night by a man who also killed himself a few hours before on Weds. Nov. 7, 2018. Read more about Thousand Oaks in this personal essay here by Suzanne Roberts.

In addition to evacuation of people and pets, exotic animals are on the run also: Malibu Wines desperately needs help evacuating their giraffes that are part of the wild animal safari jeep safari they offer among the vines.

I imagine the zebras and other animals from the Malibu Wines Safari fit fine in the horse trailers but how do you move a giraffe — especially when the LA Zoo was also having to evacuate their animals because of a fire in the hills above Griffith Park.



UPDATE: Malibu Wine Safaris lied– they left animals behind.

As of 6pm, the fire had made it to the Pacific and most of the Malibu AVA had been hit with fire.

6pm Nov. 9, 2018; the Malibu AVA is on the ocean side of the 101 FWY and is entirely in the orange and red area

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Together We Rise: A Toast to Topa Mountain Winery And Preview of #WinePW Posts on Fire Hit Regions

Last year, as we were finalizing our Wine Pairing Weekend Calendar for 2018, it made sense to do Carmenere for November — what with Carmenere Day  Nov. 24 and all.

But then we in California were hit with fire after fire, and that, added to the fires in Portugal and Spain as well as earlier in Chile made me think that we should focus on wines from fire struck regions; it’s an easy way to support them their time of need and to reflect ton all that we have to be grateful for. Continue reading

#MerlotMe on Merlot Day 2018

In 2017, Duckhorn’s 2014 Merlot from their Three Palms Vineyard was named Wine Spectator’s #1 Wine of the Year. While Renée Ary has been a winemaker at Duckhorn in 2003, 2014 was her inaugural solo vintage.

November 7 is the day set aside each year to celebrate one of the most widely planted red wine grapes in the world —


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Happy Blogiversary to Wine Predator!

11 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with!
You registered on 11 years ago.

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

The other day, WordPress sent me the above notification…

On the night of the time change from Daylight Savings to Standard in 2007, I started my Art Predator blog which followed the model of newspaper columns that I wrote for many years called “Art Predator”– I was on the prowl for that which engages the whole soul. I wrote about art, literature, film, food, and yes, wine! So my new blog, with my first posts published on Nov. 4, 2007,  did the same.

at my first WordPress conference August 2008

But I discovered I was writing quite a bit about wine and those posts were really popular so I started this blog, Wine Predator, and began actively posting here following my attendance at the first Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa, CA late October 2008.

Today, Art Predator has 1915 posts and pages and over 700k views while Wine Predator has 730 blog posts with 123k views. With thanks to Sue Hill, scribe and chef, and my spouse who is always at the ready for grilling, so far this year I’ve produced 75 blog posts and nearly 120k words, averaging over 1500 words per post. Again with their help, in 2017, I published 108 blog posts or two a week. While this is my goal again this year, I probably won’t make it — we’ve had some scheduling challenges and I’ve been focused on writing better posts, not more posts, and to write them as long as they need to be to tell the story.

Because of Wine Predator, I have traveled the world to taste wine and write about it, and I get sent cases of wine to write about every month.

Yet people often ask how much money I make as a blogger. The other day it occurred to me that no one asks how much money people make from their hobbies. Have you ever been asked how much you make from watching sports or Netflix or playing video games or gardening or reading or going to concerts or the movies or writing poetry?

People do many things just for the joy of it — not expecting to make money. Journaling away, many people’s words never see the light of day, never get read– so why do people think I should be making money off my blogs?

Although truth be told, I could say that I do get paid for some of my blog posts on Art Predator since I use them in my college classes and I get paid to prepare to teach…and when I share the blog posts in class as a basis for some of my lessons I am getting paid…

Some people blog because they hope to be discovered and get published. Like I said over at Art Predator in a similar post, I know I’m a good writer, sometimes inspired, sometimes insightful. While some of my friends have encouraged me to cut back on my blogging and make time for serious writing, like a novel, more poetry, or a collection of essays, I don’t want to spend all of my time chasing publication. I’d rather spend my time writing than trying to get published which rarely pays much.

I’d rather continue to spend my time and energy writing about wine here on Wine Predator and doing some freelance too.

I learn so much about the world with each blog post — about the people, the planet, the cuisine, the culture– it’s all there in the world of wine just waiting for me to learn about it.

Don’t get me wrong– I’d love to be published more widely, to write more deeply, to travel to more wine regions.

And I love to read and share my work in public like living history performances about Theodosia Burr Shepherd of Shepherd’s Gardens, and I love it when I receive fellowships for projects, or this grant form the Opus Archives to develop the Thomas Fire piece that I performed with Rasika Mathur at the Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara. I loved getting a commission from Newtown for a poem that would be part of a public art installation in Pasadena and that will be included in a CD.

So why blog?  

  1. Blogging teaches you discipline.
  2. Blogging teaches you introspection.
  3. Blogging teaches you how to use your voice.

If I didn’t blog, I wouldn’t have tasted such an amazing range of wines, met so many awesome wine makers, traveled to Portugal, British Columbia, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and all over California and had the opportunity to tell these stories about people and planet — the land and how it shapes us.

Blogging? It seems to work for me and as long as it does, I’ll be sticking around. Thanks for coming along on the journey! I’m looking forward to what 2019 brings — I know it will include some incredible wines, food, and wine travel! Stay tuned and subscribe!