Pick Up Parties and Pruning: Ventura County’s Lester and Clos des Amis

Steve suckering

“Instead of pruning, how about a pick up party?” I asked Steve Zambrano as we climbed into my car with my dog Cisco.

Steve is always interested in having new experiences and learning more about just about everything under the sun– and the moon and the stars! I’ve known Steve for at least 25 years as we both moved around the Ventura art scene, especially around Art City. He’d helped me with broadsides at Kinkos, he was a regular at poetry and other events I put on, and more. Last month he joined in the rose bottling party at Clos des Amis— where he helped bottle under the tutelage of one of his former Ventura College art instructors, Bruce Freeman.

Give it to Steve, asking him to a pick up party didn’t phase him one bit. In fact Steve is the kind of guy who hangs out in Hollywood with a porn star with a huge handmade sign hawking fake “Maps to the Homes of (Porn) Stars” just to get a response. 

But this wasn’t THAT kind of pick up party. Continue reading

Local Love: 6 Ventura County Wines from Local Vines paired with Watkins Beef, Ventura Fresh Fish #WinePW

This is my 1000 post on Wine Predator.

“Congratulations on writing 1000 posts on wine predator!” says WordPress.

As such, it seems appropriate to make it about “Local Love, Local Wine” because while I first started going wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma then worked at Ridge Vineyards in the early and mid-80s, in the mid 1990s, I got back into wine as the Art Predator by writing a newspaper column that included “all that engages the whole soul” from art to literature to film to wine to food, all local. I didn’t make a lot of money in that gig, but I did have trade: free food and drink at many area restaurants.

One of the restaurants, the long gone Nora’s of Ojai, featured wines from The Ojai Vineyard Continue reading

Congrats to Camarillo’s Cantara Cellars on 10 Years!

Ten years ago yesterday, on October 7, 2007, Cantara Cellars opened their doors to their Camarillo tasting room and winery.

Ten years later, yesterday, they celebrated this accomplishment with a dinner party with 75 of their friends, family, and wine club members sitting at one long table decorated with fall colors and pumpkins with succulents which were sold for $10 to raise for Meadowlarks. Tasting room manager and my writing partner Sue Hill and her sweetie John Walsh were there of course — and so was I.  Continue reading