DAOU Vineyards

DAOU Vineyards

How does a Frenchman who has searched the world for the ideal place to grow Cabernet Sauvignon grapes end up in Paso Robles? Data. Daniel Daou measures everything. After moving from France to California with a degree in computer engineering, he built many successful technology companies under a company he and his brother created. In 2007 when … Read the rest

AVA Santa Barbara Tasting Room

AVA Santa Barbara Tasting Room, photo by Ciro Coelho

Remember when you first discovered your favorite band and you saw them playing in a small venue where you stood close enough to see the lead singer sweat? And then that band became everyone else’s favorite and now plays in places like the Greek Theatre, and you need binoculars to see … Read the rest

Paso Robles Back Roads, Photo by Trish Hartmann

When I’m traveling along the Central Coast, I spend a significant amount of my time in Paso Robles. There are so many new wineries to explore, and the wine quality is getting better each year. Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande and York Mountain are all part of San Luis Obispo Country, … Read the rest

Paraiso Vineyards-Santa Lucia Highlands

Paraiso Vineyards

I’ve been traveling up and down the Central Coast for the last few years peddling barrels to some of the top winemakers in California. I’ve discovered some new small projects started by winemakers who work for larger, more established wineries. Driven by their (insane) passions, they couldn’t resist the urge to have a brand of their own and … Read the rest

Anderson-Valley-VineyardFor years, the Anderson Valley has been a favorite getaway of mine – small, off-the-beaten-path, delicious cool-climate wines plus interesting and friendly people. I’ve talked about a few of the same wineries repeatedly, all of whose owners have vineyards in the area and continue to produce high quality wines that accurately represent the appellation: Drew Family, Elke Vineyards, Foursight. But … Read the rest

Sonoma-Coast-FogI would like to introduce you to a grape growing area you likely haven’t heard of: the West Sonoma Coast. Chances are you’ve seen plenty of wines labeled “Sonoma Coast,” but that AVA (American Viticultural Area) encompasses more than 500,000 acres of land and includes vineyards more than an hour from the coast. So what is considered the “true” Sonoma … Read the rest


La Cuadrilla means the crew in Spanish. You’ll see these words printed on one of the Stolpman wines, a wine that’s the pride of their vineyard crew. Each year since 1994, the Stolpmans’ vineyard manager, Ruben Solorzano, gives his crew a two-acre block of land to farm on their own. By withholding any instructions for that block, the team is … Read the rest

Each year I plan a November visit to the wine regions of the Sierra Foothills to photograph the amazing vistas of fall color and visit some of my favorite winemakers in California. Harvest (and the few weeks following) is the most romantic time of year to be in a vineyard; the vines are heavy with ripe fruit, or the fruit … Read the rest

When I first met Brandon Sparks-Gillis, he was speaking passionately about rocks. He was holding one in his hand – a grayish green-colored rock called Serpentinite. It came from the vineyard where he grows his Sauvignon Blanc in a new appellation called Happy Canyon (sounds like a great place, right?). Brandon often carries rocks around with him to help tell … Read the rest

It’s easy to lose orientation in the Santa Cruz Mountains, looping through miles of thick redwood trunks on narrow, winding roads that rise and fall in elevation. Despite the fact that one of my favorite vineyards is on Memory Lane, I can never remember how to get there and get lost every time I go. But I always enjoy the … Read the rest