Winery Profiles

Smith-Madrone featured photo

Smith-Madrone: Elegant Wines from Spring Mountain District

Stuart Smith knew he needed to look to the mountains of Napa Valley, not the valley floor, to find a site that would allow him to make the elegant, balanced, acid-driven wines he enjoyed drinking. He found what he was looking for in a 200-acre property on Spring Mountain. The property had been home to a small vineyard in the […]

Alta Colina feature photo

Alta Colina: Rhone Specialists in Paso’s Adelaida District

Bob Tillman describes himself as someone not content to simply pursue hobbies in retirement. But after listening to the story of how he came to establish Alta Colina in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles, I wonder if he might just pursue his hobbies with a bit more drive than most retirees. Bob didn’t discover wine until he and his […]

Domaine Bousquet featured photo

Domaine Bousquet: A Name Synonymous with Quality Organic Wines

Anne Bousquet questioned her father’s 1997 purchase of nearly 1000 acres in remote Gualtallary in Argentina’s Mendoza region with humor, asking, “What are you doing? Buying a beach? All sand, no sea?” Well, Jean Bousquet has had the last laugh as Domaine Bousquet is now well established with certified-organic vineyards in the Tupungato district of Mendoza’s Uco Valley, a modern […]

Merry Edwards Pinot Noir featured photo

A Taste of Merry Edwards Pinot Noir

Today we’re sipping Pinot Noir, which is one of my favorite varieties. Pinot Noir can be anything from weightless and etherial in the glass to medium bodied and brooding, which is part of the charm of this variety for me. These two expressions of Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, sent to us as tasting samples, are distinctly different.   Merry Edwards […]

Experience the Hess Collection Winery

Hess Collection Winery sits above Napa Valley on Mount Veeder. The drive to Hess from Napa takes you through residential neighborhoods that eventually give way to mountain forest. As the winding road narrows the sights and smells of forest replace those of Napa’s valley floor and it is no longer obvious you’re in wine country. Once you arrive at the […]

Shannon Vineyards: Farming for Flavor in Elgin, South Africa

James Downes met us in the tasting cottage at Shannon Vineyards on a crisp spring morning. The cottage was James’ home in his bachelor days and looks out over a beautiful garden, vineyards and waterway. All of it had been washed clean by early-morning rains. Click on individual photographs in galleries to view. Close to return to the post. Shannon […]

A Visit to Peju Winery

Before visiting Peju Winery in Napa Valley’s Rutherford AVA I knew the winery primarily for its distinctively-pruned sycamore trees arching over the driveway leading to the winery. I always look for them as we drive along Hwy 29.  Click on individual photographs in galleries to view. Close to return to the post. Our first taste of Peju wine came in […]

Ranchero Cellars: Fearless Winemaking by Amy Butler

Is it possible for a winemaker to be both pragmatic and fearless at the same time? Or maybe the question should be whether both qualities are a requirement? Pretty quickly after meeting winemaker Amy Butler it was clear to me she is a very practical person. She’s direct and grounded and also has a keen sense of humor.  We recently […]

Pelletiere Estate Vineyard & Winery: Home to Italian Varieties in the Paso Robles Willow Creek District AVA

Pelletiere Estate Vineyard & Winery is tucked away in the Paso Robles Willow Creek District AVA on Paso’s westside. The 16-acre property is home to an interesting collection of Italian grape varieties covering a hillside above Las Tablas Willow Creek Road. In a sub-AVA that is better known for Rhône-style wines, proprietor Janis Pelletiere Denner’s Italian heritage has inspired her […]

Namibian Wine Tasting featured photo

A Day of Wine Tasting in Namibia

Wine was not the primary reason we traveled to Namibia, but once we discovered there are several commercial wineries located in this arid African county we made it our mission to taste wine from as many of them as we could. It took two trips, but we have now tasted wine from all four commercial wineries in Namibia and visited […]