ARCHIVE FOR July, 2013

Sam Neill Makes Wine ~ WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR

Sam Neill Makes Wine ~ WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR
The actor Sam Neill (Dead Calm, Jurassic Park, The Hunt for Red October, The Piano and more) makes wine.
He owns a New Zealand winery called Two Paddocks.

We interviewed Sam a while back for our monthly Uncorked wine travelogue, and here’s what he had to say about deciding to start a winery. Pretty funny!

“I think it was a rush of blood to the head. A friend wrote to me and said, I want to buy a vineyard. Advise me. I said, take a cold shower and leave it for a year. You never take into account the fickle nature of Mother Nature. Last year, we lost 100% of our Pinot crop. It’s just as well that I still keep a day job.”

Experiment with something new


Archaeologists discovered label-like inscriptions on wine jars in the tomb of Egyptian King Tutankhamun from 1352 BC.

Doesn’t it feel great to be part of such a long love affair with wine?


California Wine Country — Places We Love – Monterey

Driving just about every main highway and backroad of the Golden State in our search for California Wine Club selections, we have some special spots…

      One is Monterey.  You get such wonderful variety of experiences there.  We usually stay at a hotel on the beach and wake up to the sound of sea otters barking.  Sometimes we go kayaking or to the world class Monterey Bay Aquarium (always new exhibits)–

     Then of course it’s off to wine country, so nearby … we love the Santa Lucia Highlands, about 10 miles inland, these rolling hills going up to the Santa Lucia Mountains where not too long ago, winemakers discovered a mecca for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  

     AND we love the Carmel Valley, a real sweet spot for wine and a very beautiful drive.

     Monterey wine country isn’t often in view … it’s worth seeing!




We started the week asking you, what does MOG mean. Everyone who answered got it right: “matter other than grapes”! Like, leaves, raisins and, okay, even bugs. All sorted out so it doesn’t go into your wine. Just one task those wine workers do.

Our lucky winner (the first responder) is getting a bottle of CWC wine…

MOG ON, everybody!

Dumb and dumber (we’re talkin’ wine)


We’re talkiin’ wine here.  “Dumb” is actually a wine term…it describes a wine that has very little aroma on the nose … it’s not expressing itself very well.  Maybe it’s too young. Maybe in a few months it will open up and say cherries, or ripe fruit.  Not right now.

Kind of like a teenager (we know from experience!).

LOVE IS..all about wine!

What’s love in California wine country?

• Letting your wife have the last pour of the BEST wine.

• Telling a friend to choose any bottle from your cellar for his birthday–and meaning it!

• Sitting in a vineyard and soaking in the vibes.

• Waiting patiently for a table in a popular wine country eatery–just glad to be there.

So, what’s wine ‘n  love for you?

Did you know…some of California’s best wine, you can’t find?

Did you know — California makes 90% of all U.S. wine and is 4th in the
WORLD behind France, Italy and Spain.

No wonder we started The California Wine Club!

And did you know that 80% of California’s wineries are small family
operations whose wines almost never make it out of their local regions?

No wonder we started The California Wine Club!

If you live in the midwest, or the south or the northeast or even in California, we can bring you wonderful wines from California’s small, passionate producers that you’d never find.

Plus a wine country travelogue that puts you right there with us as we drive up hwy. 29 in Napa or shoot down the 101 on the Central Coast.

Hey, we’re getting ready to go to the Sierra Foothills…wanna come along?

Ready … Set … MOG

     Hello Wine Lovers…Let’s start the week right…

     The first one who can tell us what MOG means (it has to do with harvest) will get a bottle CWC wine sent to their doorstep.

      So, ready … set … MOG!

Small Family Wineries Vs. the Big Guys—What’s the Dif?

   The dif is BIG—and means the wine you pour from the little guy is often great quality at a value price. That’s why when we started The California Wine Club, we decided to focus on the smaller, artisan, family wineries. 

    Our thanks to Doug Wilson, Founder/Winemaker Rusina Winery, for his tips about what makes small wineries great:


• Little wineries make little lots of wine and have one shot at it—so they are extra careful.

• They walk the vineyard over and over to catch the perfect moment for harvest.

•  With a small batch, they can hand sort and see every cluster that goes by, and pull out anything marginal.

• The winemaker can taste every barrel every day.

• The winemaker is the one doing all the work – and his or her pride is on the line.  Result?  Likely, a really good wine.

Little Oreana Winery in downtown Santa Barbara is a great example of passionate, limited production California winemaking — worth a visit!  It’s a CWC alumnus!