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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St. Supéry Winemaker Toutsuite

March 20, 2013

Napa ValleySt. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery (FBTwYTWL).  Located in the Rutherford appellation, dead center for some of the best vineyards in all of Napa, St. Supéry has been producing fantastic wines at enticingly low prices since the 1980’s. They have also been the hosts of some fine tastings, including a Bloggers’ Forum, a visit during the Pops & Son Wine Trip 5 (#PSWT5), and another great tasting by family owners, Skalli Family Wines.  Now all of us have a chance to speak live online via ToutSuite with their winemaker Michael Scholz. A lot of the history of St. Supéry has been discussed there, so I won’t rehash their wonderful story right now, but suffice it to say: St. Supéry makes some of the finest Napa Valley wines…the majority priced at a level that we can refreshingly afford.

More tasting event details after the jump!

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#StradaVinoArezzo: Beauty, flavor, & wine along the Strada del Vino Terre di Arezzo

February 19, 2013

My wine travels during the last few years have been nothing short of spectacular.  I never want to leave the places in which I am so fortunate to have forged lifelong stories about wine.  But it was the Strada del Vino Terre di Arezzo (TwFBWL) where I *truly* did not want to leave.  Through the benign wills of the Strada and Sally Fischer PR, I was able to tack on roughly 30 hrs to the end of a previously scheduled media trip in Tuscany. It was here, in the beautiful wine road of “Terre di Arezzo,” or the lands of the village Arezzo, that I found the beauty of this wine road. Indeed, you can see many of the highlights in my first brief article and short video that I’ve already posted to Vinopanion. I discovered that the beauty of this wine road extends beyond it’s food, landscapes, and wine, but also to its people.

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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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Bordeaux Starts Wine Riot in SF

August 2, 2012

Following the great success of the Wine Riot (#WineRiot) events in Boston, Washington D.C., & Chicago, Second Glass (Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo) is bringing their riotous event to the great cities of San Francisco & Los Angeles.  I will be front and center at both with our newest Le Wine Buff, Sam Klingberg (Twitter, Facebook), by my side as we sling the tastiest of affordable Bordeaux (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog) to the vinous masses.  The Bordeaux crew have already hit up the first three Wine Riot events this year, with my boy Sam getting his kicks in before me, repping his home ChiTown. So what exactly is a Wine Riot and how does one partake in this wine drinking tasting event?  Leave it to the crazy peeps at Second Glass to provide a riotous guide for the multitude of activities in which each vinopanion can partake.

More deets after the break!

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San Francisco Vintners Market 5 Comes Alive! (Big Discount!)

March 24, 2012

I attend a large number wine events. That might even be an understatement, to which my fine readers can attest! Thus, I feel that it’s saying something to describe an upcoming wine event as one of my favorite series of wine events, ever. The San Francisco Vintners Market (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog) wine tastings are those exact events: totally fun, onsite wine purchasing available, and of course, fantastic wines to taste in unlimited amounts. And lucky readers, for round 5 (DING) of the #SFVM, I now have a fat discount so you cats can partake!

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Speedy Holiday Wine Recommendations

December 13, 2011

The holidays get busy. You barely have time to shop, decorate, make food, attend parties, try not to get drunk and, OH YEAH, still work! All of this stress adds up, manifesting itself in strange ways and differently within each person, as evidenced by the varying types of “holiday spirit” seen in the photo on the right.

You don’t have time for this! Your time is too precious to waste upon wondering which kind of wine to bring to coworker Aaron’s holiday party and wait, is it Aaron or Erin…CRAP, you’re so stressed you can’t even remember! It is with these conundrums in mind that I have constructed my Vinopanion holiday wine recommendations and pairings, listed below. Short, sweet (or dry!) and to the point. Let’s drink.

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WBC11 Hits Virginia with Le Wine Buffs in Tow

July 21, 2011

2011 North American Wine Bloggers' ConferenceAt this point, my regular readers should know quite well about my participation in the cra cra known as the North American Wine Bloggers’ Conferences (Twitter, WineLog). We’re coming up on the 4th in this great series, after the huge success in 2008, 2009 and 2010. This year we’re invading Charlottesville, Virginia for our very first time plundering the wine life on the right coast (and East Coast wine bloggers rejoice). The state of Virginia has been exceptionally supportive and I’m looking forward to learning a ton about 5th largest wine producing state in the Union. Between the Keynote from Jancis Robinson (Twitter), the Virginia Wine (Twitter) Reception at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello for dinner on Friday, another Keynote from Eric Asimov (Twitter) and the annual Vineyard walks in the local wine country, #WBC11 looks to be just as stunning a time as years’ past.

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TasteLive! – Grillin’ Some Chard(onnay)

July 11, 2011

TasteLive!Backyards and BBQ’s are known as tha bomb during the summer. Indeed, there should some sort of official right of passage, whereby one has enjoyed a tasty, home-hosted BBQ by the time one comes of age. And it becomes that much better when paired with wine. Trust me. I mean, microbrews and certain import beers are cool and all, but BBQ beef with a great Rhone or Syrah and BBQ chicken (beer battered!) with a tasty Chardonnay pretty much makes my day…or my week, even.

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Newton Vineyard: A Mountain’s Secret Garden

July 5, 2011

Newton VineyardI have the great fortune of being invited to a number of wine events each year. All of these events have their merits and many are very cool. It is the more rare event that completely rocks my vinous world, however. The annual Garden Party at Newton Vineyard (Facebook, WineLog), 600 feet above St. Helena on Spring Mountain was one of those rare events. Standing atop the mountain, with a 360 degree view of at least 65% of the entire Valley, with some glorious weather to complement the elegantly balanced Newton wines, paired with nibbles from étoile and the Lady by your side, it’s a bit hard to *not* have a brilliant time. I decided to suck it up and a have a great time (tongue comfortably in cheek).

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