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

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


If you happen to see Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger behind a bar pouring his family’s almost 300-year-old label’s champagne, with a Black River Caviar bar on one side of him and a Hog Island Oyster bar on the other, either you are dreaming or you are at the first night Welcome Party of the GourmetFest Carmel 2016. The four-day foodie extravaganza featuring an exclusive roster of Relais & Châteaux chefs and the world’s best wine estates took place Feb. 25-28, and we’re still in recovery mode from the decadent offerings. Each year, a world-renowned team of wine experts and Relais & Châteaux…Continue reading Carmel-by-the-Sea