Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone offers urban adventure and entertainment in California

Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone offers urban entertainment

ANALYSIS/OPINION Say it with me: It’s not Funkytown, it’s the Funk Zone. From the Stearns Wharf pier to State Street, from the oceanfront to the perching Santa Ynez Mountains and their awaiting vineyards, Santa Barbara, California, is the veritable apogee of the Golden State promise, with all of California’s coastal advantages and few drawbacks – save… Continue reading


California’s Wine Country – Travel tips, whether or not you love wine

Escaping the Midwest

If you love wine, you must visit wine country.  Take a couple of days to relax, enjoy the beautiful countryside, and just drink wine! 


Everyone always wants to know what the best time is to visit.  It really depends on what experience you are looking for.  Most people want to come for harvest.  So mid-September through October, Sonoma and Napa are full of tourists.  Obviously, harvest is a fun time to go – you see colorful foliage, witness bunches of ripe grapes on the vines, there’s more activity on the vineyard grounds, and the weather is nicer.  If you are okay with crowds, it’s a beautiful time to go.  I, on the other hand, try to avoid crowds, so we visited during the quiet off-season.


I was able to visit Sonoma a few years ago in February.  The weather was rainy and unpredictable, but the 50 degree weather was far better than…

View original post 731 more words

A Wine Revisited

La Dolce Vino

In the summer of 1923 Lord Sebastian Flyte entices his friend Charles Ryder to escape the confines of Oxford and spend the day at his family’s estate. “I’ve got a motor-car and a basket of strawberries and a bottle of Chateau Peyraguey — which isn’t a wine you’ve ever tasted so don’t pretend. It’s heaven with strawberries.”

brideshead460 From the BBC’s adaptation. Aloysius guards the wine.

Evelyn Waugh, one of Britain’s most acclaimed novelists and author of this scene from Brideshead Revisited, was known for creating some of literature’s wittiest characters, many of whom had a glass of wine or a cocktail in hand. Waugh was a knowledgeable oenophile so his selections are both informed and precise, lending scenes that extra bit of authenticity. So why, of all the wines in the world, did he send his two main characters off on a picnic with a bottle of Chateau Peyraguey? It’s an intriguing choice.


View original post 979 more words

Six Boutique Paso Robles Wineries Shipping DTC


Morning view of westside Paso Robles vineyards All images by Lauren Mowery.

If you missed my article in the Village Voice

Halfway between L.A. and San Francisco, bucolic Paso Robles has exploded with wineries over the last twenty-five years. The region, long home to cowboys and farmers, grew from a handful of pioneering grape growers who arrived in the late Seventies to over 200 hopeful winemakers working in eleven recently delineated American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). Although new plantings have stalled due to serious water woes, to locals and visitors, vineyard saturation is palpable, especially when driving along one troublingly expansive, deep-pocketed project. But to East Coast drinkers, the area’s wine boom has largely gone unnoticed.

Because most of Paso’s wineries are small to mid-size, their offerings rarely penetrate the competitive, Eurocentric NYC market. Only a few famous names stick in the minds of drinkers. For example, Justin, known for its red Bordeaux “Isosceles” blend, and Saxum…

View original post 1,369 more words

Podcast: 2014 Phoenix with Del Rio Springs Vineyard

The Wine Monk: Arizona Wine Blog

In this podcast, I sit with Rick & Maricor Skladzien, owners of Del Rio Springs Vineyard in Chino Valley, Arizona, to talk about the release of their first white wine, the 2014 Phoenix. It’s a varietal I had never heard of, so it was really fun to explore.

We also talk about Pinot Noir, Carmenere, Vignoles (while drinking one from Missouri, specifically from St. James Winery), the future of winemaking in Chino Valley, and how different grape clones work in a vineyard and winemaking setting.

I’m quite fond of Del Rio Springs, and I was quite happy to meet with them!  (I also highly reccomend tracking down a bottle of this if you can.  I did see a few at Plaza Liquor Deli the last time I was there!)

Rick & Maricor Skladzien with a bottle of Phoenix! Rick & Maricor Skladzien with a bottle of Phoenix!

View original post

Steps of PinotZen


Spices more than anything– fruit and circling nudges of mint and medium roast coffee… Maybe it’s in my head, but the wine is ordering me outside and away, severely distanced from any box. What flowers I don’t know, just poems to senses all.. Caught and captured by its Beat.. Brought to write my thoughts, this Victorian dream of a red. Ambrosial quandary of syncopated sensuality– never before in a Pinot for me. Till today. This is how the wine wanted to revolve, evolve, for me.

A new meter and fruit arrangement from nose to tactile, but that’s what the Road, the wine highway’s all about I now see so vividly.


View original post

If We Were Having Coffee… Reading and Blog Award!

Eclectic Alli

Today’s post is a part of the Weekend Coffee Share, graciously hosted by Part Time Monster every weekend. A time for us to come together, share a cup of coffee (or our beverage of choice) to share some of what is going on in our lives.  It’s a lovely check-in!

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I’m pretty exhausted.  The week went well,  but it was busy and wore me out.  Thankfully, this isn’t my first run at a week like this so I knew that I’d be worn out.  I was prepared!

I got a lot of awesome writing work done last weekend, and told myself that I don’t have to write any more until Monday — I gave myself the week (and this weekend) off!  I did do some re-reading of the first half of the novel I’m working on, making notes of things that…

View original post 395 more words

Wine Tasting Room Inspirations

Wine & Grapes U.

By: Kathy Kelley

Even when on vacation, I’m sure that you make it a point to visit tasting rooms to get an idea of the local “winescape.” I do this as well and I thought I would share some images from a few wineries I’ve been lucky to visit, as well as a few things that attracted my attention. Some of the images and ideas might appeal to you and be applicable for your tasting room. For now, I’ve focused on four different wineries, with more images and examples to come in future blog posts.

Schlumberger, Vienna, Austria

I just returned from a trip to Austria. While in Vienna I made it a point to visit the Schlumberger tasting room ( where I was able to sample a variety of sparkling wines (at 3 euro for each three ounce pour) produced using the “traditional method” since 1842. The…

View original post 1,138 more words

Why the Saumur Wine Producing Cooperative was re-branded “ROBERT ET MARCEL”

Gites in the Loire Valley

The new label of the Saumur wine co-operative The new label of the Saumur wine cooperative

The ‘Caves des Vignerons de Saumur’, Route de Samoussay, Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg   is the Saumur Cooperative, about 12 kilometres from our gites at Le Clos des Guyons and a  real must visit for our guests during their holiday!  The tour begins with a large, twelfth century vaulted cellar and from there it continues in the maze of 100 kms of underground galleries. Indeed an underground ‘safari’ and great place to visit, taste and buy wines of the region.

And now a change! If you did not know – everyone is talking about their new brand name of “Robert et Marcel”.

Initially we thought why would they want to call a Cooperative Cave Robert and Marcel but apparently the reason for the new name is that Robert and Marcel Neau  were the names of the founding Chairman and Director back in 1957 and…

View original post 169 more words