Ballard Canyon

By Catherine | On May 26, 2016 | No Comments

During the 2014 Wine Blogger’s Conference, I was introduced to Ballard Canyon and the world class Syrah that is produced there. While traveling in California recently, I wanted to return to the area and have another opportunity to taste the Syrahs. Ballard Canyon is one of the newest and smallest AVAs (American Viticultural Area).  It is made up of 7,700…

California’s Glorious Central Coast

By Catherine | On Apr 5, 2016 | No Comments

My daughter, Hilary, and I recently returned from a wonderful week in California.  Ever since the 2014 Wine Blogger’s Conference, I have been wanting to return to the Central Coast and this trip presented the opportunity.  After meeting in Los Angeles and spending a relaxing evening in Marina del Rey, we headed up the coast.  Our first stop was at…

Viticulture: Organic? Sustainable?

By Catherine | On Feb 7, 2016 | 2 Comments

Lots of people are making the effort (and spending the money!) to consume more organic foods. But what about wine? Let’s take a look at the various farming techniques and philosophies that include organic, biodynamic, and sustainable viticulture. First, some definitions. Organic Viticulture This is defined as grapes grown in accordance with principles of organic farming which typically exclude the…

Bordeaux Style Blending at the Grand Bohemian

By Catherine | On Jan 24, 2016 | No Comments

The Grand Bohemian Hotel in Charleston holds red wine blending classes several times each week. Yesterday, on a blustery January Saturday, I attended a class, expertly led by Wine Director and Sommelier Scott Newman. The classes can accommodate up to 12 guests; ours was a group of 7, some locals and some visiting from other states. We were greeted with…

Color Counts

By Catherine | On Nov 6, 2015 | 2 Comments

How many of you pay attention to the color of the wine in your glass?  Often, the first instinct is to smell the wine and then quickly move on to tasting.  But the color and appearance of the wine can tell us so much!  In terms of color, wine is described so simplistically – red, white, or rosé.  As we…

Finger Lakes Finale

By Catherine | On Sep 14, 2015 | 1 Comment

Saturday was the last full day of the conference, another busy day of breakout sessions and tastings.  In addition to immersion in the local region’s wines, there are opportunities to attend seminars and receptions hosted by international producers.  A session entitled “The Spectrum of Dry Riesling” was presented by Wines of Alsace.  After three days of learning about and enjoying…

Wine Blogger’s Conference 2015 – Opening Day

By Catherine | On Aug 29, 2015 | 3 Comments

The first full day of the conference opened with an inspiring keynote address from Karen MacNeil, wine expert and writer, who is most well known for her book The Wine Bible. This sentence captures Karen’s philosophy: “For Karen, wine is more than a beverage; it’s a communal passage into the business of living well.” Among the points she made that most…

Finger Lakes Day Two and Its Viticulture

By Catherine | On Aug 24, 2015 | 1 Comment

This is a complex subject to condense down to a blog post.  Nevertheless, let’s give it a try. Regardless of the growing region, there are hybrid grapes and Vitis vinifera. Hybrids are crosses between two grape, or vitis, species and Vitis vinifera are crosses between the same grape species. The Concord and Niagara are examples of well known hybrid grapes…

Introduction to the Finger Lakes

By Catherine | On Aug 19, 2015 | No Comments

The 2015 Wine Blogger’s Conference began on Wednesday, August 12, with a pre-conference excursion. But first, a little geography lesson: About two million years ago, the first of a series of glacial flows began advancing and retreating across what is now New York State. The ice gouged out the land, creating deep trenches and steep inclines. Because of the changes…

Oregon Weather and Vintages – It’s Complicated

By Catherine | On Jul 19, 2015 | No Comments

Because of my passion for Oregon Pinot Noir and many friends in that region, I keep an eye on the weather.  During summer visits in 2012 and 2014, I experienced heat waves with temperatures that I didn’t think were common in the Northwest. Oregon averages about a dozen days of 90° or higher per year.  However, the past three years…


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