Reviving the Ghosts

As wine regions go, Napa Valley is quite new to the world stage and thus considered part of the New World of wine. Still, its history is rich with the stuff of classic dramas: struggle, success, near defeat, and ultimate victory. In the late 19th century, thousands flocked to California for the Gold Rush. Many of the miners settled in San Francisco and eventually started new ventures north of the city – planting vineyards. The original Napa Valley wine boom occurred between 1860 to 1890, when more than 140 wineries were operating in the area. The region was booming, wineries…Continue reading Reviving the Ghosts

Summer in the Vineyard

In wine country, the gentle cadence of the seasons grows stronger with each stage; it begins softly in winter when the vines are clipped and bare, and steadily intensifies through the first signs of life at bud break, becomes steady but more urgent during the slow pace of summer, when gloriously green vineyards sway across the valley, marching in time toward the crescendo of harvest. Small, green berries began forming in late spring during fruit set, and now the berries begin to form clusters that will eventually become bunches of grapes. When vines are left to their own devices without…Continue reading Summer in the Vineyard

Enriquez Estate Winery

Handing a 23-year-old with no wine experience a vineyard and winery in California may sound like a risky move, but for Eduardo and Ana Enriquez, it has paid off. Less than a decade after they invested in a wine business with their daughter Cecilia, she’s now successfully running Enriquez Estate Wines on Eastside Road in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County.   As a new winemaker, Cecilia sought out mentors in the winemaking world, and those relationships helped her understand the business and get it off the ground. Cecilia now handcrafts 600-700 cases of wine annually, focusing on small…Continue reading Enriquez Estate Winery

Autumn in the Vineyard

There’s a palpable energy in wine country this time of year, as the wineries and winemakers consult with vineyard professionals to decide the ideal time to bring in grapes from the fields. Deciding on the right time to harvest the fruit requires taking many factors into consideration, and it’s the most important decision made in the vineyard. Grapes are at their peak for only a few days, and uncontrollable events like weather can change plans in an instant. Vineyard workers and machinery must be ready at a moment’s notice, and when it’s time to go, it’s go-go-go. Because different parts…Continue reading Autumn in the Vineyard

Leone de Castris

You Say Rosato, I Say Rosé

Layne Randolph, Napa Valley Register, August 2017 Technically, it’s the French who say rosé; the rest of us have adopted their usage of the word. It’s right that we use the French version; France is the indisputable land of rosé wine. From Côtes du Rhône to Provence, rosé has been a French favorite since long before its recent boom in popularity. Scoffed at for decades, rosé hasn’t gotten a lot of respect from the typical wine drinker since it went out of fashion in the 1990s. That’s why, when I lived in the Salento region of Puglia, Italy almost ten…Continue reading You Say Rosato, I Say Rosé

James Suckling

James Suckling believes millennials will change the way the world approaches wine. The members of his small staff of innovators are all under 30, and he relies on them heavily to influence the look and feel of his brand.  These days, James Suckling does more than write wine reviews, he produces wine-related documentaries, puts on international wine events, and collaborates with luxury designers to create new products for the wine industry.   James divides his time between his homes in Napa Valley, Tuscany, and Hong Kong.  Napa Valley is the site of the premier wine scene in the US, so it makes…Continue reading James Suckling


“The Tormaresca project began with the dream, now a reality, to discover and enhance the precious native varietals of Puglia, leading the wine renaissance of the region.”  Tormaresca Website We actually cheered when we finally saw a building in the distance.  We had been driving for hours across Italy from Rome and in the last half hour, we had seen very few signs and only one indicator of our goal: Tormaresca Winery, in the Castel del Monte DOC in the southeastern tip of Italy known as Puglia. The Tormaresca estate is almost as remote as Tasca D’Almerita’s Regaleali in central Sicily,…Continue reading Tormaresca

Lambert Bridge Winery

Cruising through the vineyards on narrow, curved roads, we come to a sudden stop in front of Lambert Bridge. It’s only wide enough for one lane, so we have to wait for the car coming from the opposite direction to pass through. Once over the Lambert Bridge straddling Dry Creek, we arrive at Lambert Bridge Winery. The winery, named after the original owner, Jerry Lambert, is also a reference to the iconic bridge that marks its 100th anniversary this year.Established in 1975, Lambert Bridge is one of the oldest wineries in Dry Creek Valley. The winemaker Jennifer Higgins, one of…Continue reading Lambert Bridge Winery

JCB Tasting Salon and Atelier by JCB

Jean-Charles Boisset is known as a winemaker with inimitable style, and he’s curated some of his favorite things and put them on offer at the JCB Tasting Salon and Atelier in Yountville, California. And the glamorous and decadent JCB tasting salon is not your average tasting room, either.  The room sparkles as brightly as the JCB bubbles, punctuated by a glorious chandelier over a gigantic extended table in the center of the room.  The myriad of gilded mirrors hung upside down on the ceiling set off the scene, including the Surrealist Boutique glimmering with fine luxury products such as JCB’s…Continue reading JCB Tasting Salon and Atelier by JCB

The Baths of Bormio

Bormio, just south of the Swiss border and smack in the middle of the Italian Alps just a few hours from Milan. The natural hot springs of the area have been in continuous use for thousands of years and are now contained in a lovely resort called the Bagni di Bormio, (the Baths of Bormio). Pliny the Elder was already going on about their beneficial properties back in the first century A.D. And throughout the ages, Leonardo Da Vinci, European royalty and the like, regularly flocked here to “take the waters”. The Hotel Bagni Vecchi (Older Bath Hotel) is a…Continue reading The Baths of Bormio