Rock and Vine and a Chance to Win!!

rockandvinebookjacketA beautiful new book, Rock and Vine, will be available soon and I have two gorgeous pre-release copies of this book to give away!  There is no cost involved and no”catches”.

It is the story of California’s evolving wine business.  Most of us know some of the names of the great pioneers of wine in California, the likes of Robert and Peter Mondavi, Mike Benziger, Don Sebastiani, and many other famous wine makers.  The new generation has arrived and many are the children and grandchildren of the first families to plant vinifera and produce wine in the great state of California.

This exciting group has pooled resources and talents to form new companies focused on biodynamic farming which enriches rather than diminishes the land.  Their collective goals include growing and sourcing the very best grapes in order to make extraordinary wines but also to demystify wine and make it easier for the average consumer to understand, select, and enjoy wine.

Punch down

Jordan Kivelstadt watching punch down

The book features profiles and interviews with all of these dynamic wine professionals along with breathtaking photography.  I was struck by the diversity of the group and the wide range of backgrounds and talents.  Another point that resonated for me is that even though the California wine business has matured over time, many challenges remain and it is not easy to make money.  The weather is always an unknown and these grower/wine makers are committed to farming and production techniques that honor the land and result in the best possible wines for their consumers.

So, my good readers, here is how you can win one of the two copies: All you need to do is comment on this post telling me about one of your most memorable wine experiences.  It can be about a particular wine or winery – anything that stands out in your memory.  You must include a valid email address so that I am able to contact you if you are a winner.  I will select my two favorite stories and those two lucky people will win a copy of Rock and Vine.  Please note:  I am only able to make this offer to residents of the United States and the books may only be shipped to a physical address, no post office boxes, please.  Remember to include the valid email address or I will have no way of contacting you!

CA VineyardI can’t wait to read your comments and stories.  This offer closes at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, February 6, 2013.









Written by Catherine

Catherine developed a passion for travel, food, and wine early in life. She owned and operated a gourmet catering business and small restaurant for twenty years, earning a number of awards. Eventually she chose to leave the food and beverage industry, but continues to enjoy cooking and furthering her knowledge of wines.


  • My now-husband and I had the chance to go to one of the most beautiful weddings in Napa Valley. Our good friends, who had had a long distance NYC-SF relationship, were finally tying the knot. I guess the bride’s family had some friends who had an amazing house high on a hill overlooking a valley of vineyards. It was a clear, perfect summer Napa evening with a glorious sunset. We dined on great food, drank delicious wines, danced the night away to a live band, and enjoyed an evening laughing with our friends. What more could you want from a wedding? Oh yes, we got to go wine-tasting the next day in one of the best wine areas in the world! Wish I could do that every weekend 🙂

  • I ventured out to Sonoma back in May 2010, and I just fell in love. My favorite winery was Jacuzzi. Not only were the wines delicious, but they had an olive oil sampling room as well. This place is seriously my idea of heaven. And apparently they are the same people who invented actual Jacuzzis.

  • Last summer I went to two vineyards in Purcellville, VA and it was an experience I’ll never forget. I went with several friends and we had an amazing time. We went to Hillsborough Vineyard and Notaviva Vineyards. The scenery was absolutely exquisite and the wine was too! We brought our own cheese, fresh fruit and berries and ate/drank outside. Would definitely recommend to anyone who is in the area.

  • Some years ago, I stumbled upon the family owned Foppiano Vineyards tasting room off Rt. 101 in Sonoma, which has great wines, including a wonderful petit syrah. The 5th generation daughter was doing the tasting, which was pretty cool in and of itself. She told us that her grandfather, at age 93, still came in daily, so her Dad at age 65 still wasn’t running the vineyard. (shades of Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth). There was a huge mural covering one entire wall. I asked about it and she said it depicted a whole host of family, friends and neighbors drinking wine out of tin cups at the creek because the prohbition agent told them that they either had to drink all their wine or pour it out. In the center of the photo was the prohibition man, tin cup in hand, about to take a sip (or swig) of wine. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Foppiano ever since.

  • I’ve never had the pleasure of going to any vineyards in California, however I’ve enjoyed many wines from there. My girlfriends and I have shared hundreds of bottles together while we have dined, celebrated, laughed, cried, and saved the world’s problems. The Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon was our go-to bottle during a very trying year in my life, and is still one of my favorites.

    A vineyard tour is definitely on my bucket list.

  • Napa Valley and Santa Ynez are both gorgeous, picturesque slices of heaven! The wine, the food, the views – who could ask for anything more! Well…I did ask for more and ended up behind counter pouring wine!

    My husband and I were spending a lovely long weekend in the Napa Valley and tasting wine at Stags Leap Wine Cellars. I was particularly excited because as a Polish Native I was hoping to meet their famous Polish wine maker. I started chatting up anyone who would listen and told them all about how I love their wines and would love to meet my fellow Pole! Well, I didn’t get to meet him but they were kind enough to bring us in the back to taste some super secret wine and even let me behind the counter to pour a few tastes!

    It was such a special day! Wine country definitely delivers the magic!

  • I have great memories of my very first trip to wine county, Sonoma specifically, that also brought with it some lessons. I was way too excited on the first day and indulged so much that I was unwilling to go near any wineries the second day of our trip, when we were supposed to continue with Napa. Highlights of the Sonoma day included finding a lovely boutique winery called Truett Hurst that comes complete with goats, red deck chairs and a quaint creek on their property. They also converted me to a Zinfandel fan and were charming enough to have us join their wine club on the spot (there is another lesson here!). We also found a delicious leftover bottle of an old varietal of a newly defunct winery that we feel in love with and took with us. The story goes that I urged the sommelier of the restaurant we went to that night to try and praise it. However my memory of that is a bit fuzzy. I did end up making it to Napa on various other occasions but that first trip to Sonoma always has a special place in my heart. Sante!

  • Overlooking the Krueger National Park in South Africa a few years ago on a Safari, a friend whipped out an ice cold bottle of Champagne. I don’t know where he got it or how he kept it cold, but we enjoyed it greatly as the sun set and the animal noises started to pick up. Champagne in the middle of South Africa on a Safari. A once in a lifetime experience!

  • One of my most memerable wine experiences was when my husband (boyfriend at the time) and I decided to take our first road trip with no destination in mind – just to keep going until it wasn’t raining anymore. We hit every winery we saw a sign for, and stumbled upon a few unexpected gems along the way. Needless to say, we came home days later with a trunk full of wine.

    He no longer drinks much wine, but every time we are on a road trip, he goes out of his way to find any wineries along the way – and we always end up leaving with a case (or 3) in tow, reminiscing about that first trip.

  • This is going back a few years (2009)… but my sister and I took a trip out to Sonoma during Halloween weekend. We thought it would be fun to dress up and go on a private tour; so we dressed up as bumble bees and headed out. Needless to say, we were the ONLY people/crazies dressed up, but we were welcomed at each winery with smiles! I must say our favorite experience was at Iron Horse. We did a couple of tastings there (mainly sparkling) but the scenery was just breathtaking! The tasting room is outdoors and overlooks the beautiful vineyard. The staff was so friendly that they invited us to a Halloween party in Santa Rosa and we have remained friends ever since! My sister and I still reminisce about that trip and fantasize about the day we can go back!

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