Taking my #wine kung fu to the next level: #WSET II & Napa Valley Wine Academy

October 10, 2015

406064_562298363799327_175257724_nI have been immersing myself in the study of #wine in a semi-systematic manner for much of the last 8 years.  Indeed, #Vinopanion‘s 8 year anniversary with @WineLog is approaching in the middle of this month. Yet I have slowly realized that something is lacking in my devotion to the knowledge of the vinous delights: focus, structure and external credibility. You’d think that a trained scientist would have recognized this long ago and I did notice these thoughts in the back of my mind a few years back.  But they were always battered back by “where’s the time?” and “I’m still receiving plenty of media travel & event invites,” along with “my wine consulting services continue to expand.” Then I reached last year and I started to recognize some clear patterns in my wine work. While I had plenty of media opportunities and my fellow wine colleagues were continuing to get work, I could see that the pace of my own trade offers beginning to slow down. It was then that I noticed that most of my colleagues began to sport letters after their names on their business cards: they were taking certified educational courses to formalize their wine training. I needed to set up my wine game. It was then that I contacted the good people at Napa Valley Wine Academy (FB, Tw): “help!”

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When #wine & #triathlon meet: Rodney Strong Vineyards Vineman Monte Rio Triathlon 2014

June 4, 2014

Over the last 7 years (yes, my blogo-versary was just last month!), I’ve managed to overwhelm everyone I know with my mad passion for vino.  So, it might come as some surprise to casual readers that the last 1.5 years have seen a new passion start to share space alongside my wine fridge: triathlons.  I have mentioned this healthy kick a couple of times here on Vinopanion, but this is the first time that those two passions have collided into a wonderful blend of health, wine, and healthy wine.  I’m very happy to announce that I will be partaking in the 2014 Rodney Strong Vineyards Vineman Monte Rio Olympic Triathlon this Sunday, June 8, while proudly sponsored by none other than the kind winemaking folks over at title sponsor, Rodney Strong Vineyards (WLFBTwIGYT)! Vineman (FB, Tw, YT)  has a rich history of triathlons and multisport competitions in the Sonoma County area and this is the second year for this new USAT-sanctioned, olympic distance triathlon.

More #triathlon & #wine details after the leap!

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Underground Cellar: new #wine marketplace, win a #winecation!

April 16, 2014

As mentioned previously on these vinous epages, the Lady and I have happily ensconced ourselves back in the wine country of our roots.  Our move to #NapaMode has been just about as cool as anyone might ever dream…yes, living in one of the most beautiful places in the world, point zero for #wine & #foodie heaven definitely has its benefits, I won’t blathe.  One thing that we’ve come to learn in this fine place is that you can’t get anything DONE during the weekends, however!  Apparently, when one is surrounded by beautiful land to traverse by bike, foot, or DeLorean; wine to sip and food to savor, you just kinda want to do that every day that you’re not in the grind.  Huh…who’da thunk? ;-)

That said…what if you were here on a vacation…that’s free…and filled with free food & wine activities? Why, a #winecation is just the antidote for getting your guilt-free glutton-on! The new wine marketplace Underground Cellar (FB, Tw) has you covered!

More details after the leap!

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Ovation TV presents The Art of: #Wine Country

April 4, 2014

An interesting piece of news crossed my vino desk this week, coming to us from the Ovation (FB, Tw, YT) cable television network.  The Art of series, covering the bleeding edge of non-traditional art,  is in its third season on Ovation. The new season will cover a topic near and dear to VinopanionWineLog.net: wine country.  “The Art Of”: Wine Country” will premiere this Sunday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET. This half hour episode will cover the intersection of #food, #wine, and of course #art within the context of our very own wine country.  Longtime Vinopanion favorites Artesa Vineyard and Winery will be featured, alongside Sonoma Valley Lasseter Family Winery (WL, FB, Tw) and famed Napa farm to fork chef pioneer, Cindy Pawlcyn (FB, Tw). Check it out this weekend!  #theartof

A special video preview of the Artesa segment alongside Vinopanion wine reviews after the break!

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#Napa: Back to home and #wine

December 22, 2013

I’m never one to make big leaps in my life.  Yes, about every ten years or so, the lady Beth Fontaine (Tw) and I seem to subconsciously start the process to evaluate our future in the context of our present. Yet, I can’t say that I have ever just done something on a leap of faith, staring at nothing but risk and hoped for reward, but that is the only way that I can explain our rather sudden move back home to Napa Valley.  And so we’re both happy to say that now after a month+ into our new lives back in wine country, that we’ve made a fantastic decision:

Thank you Napa, for welcoming us with open arms, wine bottles, and tasty menus. :-)

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Longtime Murphys/Calaveras County Winery for sale

February 24, 2013

A longtime winery just outside of Murphys, CA in Calaveras County is up for sale.  Chatom Vineyards, established in 1981 by San Franciscan Gay Callan,  boasts 13 grape varieties planted on across 65 acres, all in the small and picturesque valley of Esmeralda of the Sierra Foothills. In 1990, Callan built the estate winery and tasting room along Highway 4, nicely situated only 2 miles outside of the wine tourism center of downtown Murphys.  The winery makes 3 whites, 8 reds, and one very tasty dessert wine.

More after the jump, including an intro video by First Choice Business Brokers!

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Kickstarting Block122.com

January 27, 2013

I have some very exciting news to share with my happy and wine-loving Vinopanions!  While I hinted at this news earlier this year, I can now announce the official Kickstarter campaign for the fantastic new wine store and web destination, Block122 (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog).  Founded by four BOULEVARD restaurant employees, Block122 will showcase the finest, small production producers of wine from the left coast, much of which lies along the meridian 122° west of the Prime Meridian.  These boutique wineries are those that many times, only produce wines for 1-2 small stores or restaurants, have no distribution, and can’t even provide an online web store. It is these vinous finds that Block122 will revel in sharing with you on their website with stories, videos, and a retail store; all inclusive, with all snobbery excluded.

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January 11, 2013

Or rather, *I’m* back at ZAP this year!  But what is ZAP you say; what is this electric onomatopoeia?  Why, it is the annual ritual to celebrate the grape of Zinfandel; as performed by the masters of Zin, the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (Twitter, Facebook).

The ZAP organization puts on a week-long festival of Zin every year and this year’s ZAP 2013 Festival runs from January 31 until the ZAP Grand Tasting 2013 on February 2, in San Francisco. Four major events are slated for this year’s run, but many smaller events are happening across the city and the bay, in the weeks leading up to the main events.

It is for you lucky readers that I have procured a special discount for tickets to the Grand Tasting, an event that I’m excited to attend again, after a couple years away.   More info after the break!

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2013: It’s So Good to Be Here

January 1, 2013

Welcome, Year 2013 of the Gregorian Calendar!  I am normally not one to set New Year’s Resolutions…if you want to accomplish something, just DO IT!  Don’t wait until the arbitrary date set by a Pope to change your life.  On the other hand, I happen to have a number of things in flux at the moment and today just happens to be the best day to start doing them, following some weeks of drinking wine contemplation.

First off, and perhaps most importantly for all of you Vinopanions, look for a much higher frequency of postings, including many shorter ones.  While I have been rather prolific at reviewing the many wines that I taste and receive as samples, I have not been so good lately at doing actual Vinopanion posts.  This will change and as such, the Vinopanion Facebook page will also be a lot more active.

Find out more, after the jump!

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The Wines of Chile Blogger Tasting (Real-Time)

October 22, 2012

This Wednesday 10/25/12, from 5-7pm PST, I will be a part of another very cool online wine tasting courtesy of the great folks over at Wines of Chile (WineLog, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube).  Chilean wines have had tremendous success in the US over the last decade and a half, with much of that market penetration coming from their tasty, but value-driven brands.  Their discovery of the long lost Bordeaux grape variety of Carménère has further cemented their status in the US drinking game, with that grape becoming their signature wine.  Our tasting will be of a different sort however, as Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer (Twitter, Facebook) will be leading the tasting of 12 wines, live from Santiago, Chile.  The point of this tasting is not only to drive home the value that can be found in these wines, but to also show off their burgeoning sense of place, as the Chilean wine industry continues to come into its own as an winegrowing nation of international quality.

I will also be writing about this event in a different manner than the norm, here at Vinopanion.  Much like a WBC Speed Tasting, I’ll be writing most of my educational and tasting notes in real-time, as I follow Fred Dex and interact with all of the other bloggers tasting from around the world.  You can preview the wines after the jump. Check back in on 10/25/12, from 5-7pm PST and join in the fun using #BlogChile!

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