ARCHIVE FOR October, 2013

We’ve Got Positively SPOOKY Great Reds!

Click the photo for a Halloween Sangria recipe
Click the photo for a Halloween Sangria recipe

Click the photo for a Halloween Sangria recipe

Okay, it’s Halloween and that calls for, what else?

RED wine: the preferred choice for all you ghouls and goblins.

Stuck for a great one?  Here are some wicked fine reds you’ll find at The California Wine Club:

  • Castoro Syrah and Merlot
  • Sterling Albert Syrah and Merlot
  • Selby Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Gnekow Winery Merlot and Zinfandel
  • Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Madrona Vineyards Zinfandel
  • Fields Family Cabernet Sauvignon

So get out your leftover Halloween candy, uncork that red, and party on!

A Tip for Touring Wine Country

wine tasting

wine tasting

When you’re touring wine country or simply attending a tasting, remember this:

We have two words for you –

Spit Bucket.

wine spittoon

Think of the spittoon as a tool so your taste buds can go the distance, and you’ll be able to remember all those great wines.


What is a “Cooking Wine?”

cooking wine

You should cook with mediocre wine, right? Save the good stuff for drinking.

People usually think so, but chefs disagree! The wine you use to prepare the food should of premium quality, and it needs also to complement the flavors of that dish.


Glazes, sauces, marinades, soups.

What great recipes have you discovered with wine as an ingredient?

Which is your Favorite California Celebrity Winery?

california's celebrity wineries

California’s celebrity wineries are multiplying.  People love the idea of buying wine from a rock ‘n roll star, or race car champion or famous actor, and these wineries do a brisk business.

There’s even a book, Celebrity Vineyards: From Napa to Tuscany in Search of Great Wine, that tells the story of some of the wineries.

California can boast many wineries owned by or partnering with celebrities from Mario Andretti to Fergie to Mick Fleetwood.

Check out the list on Wikipedia. Celebrities own wineries all over the world, but the ones in California are a real eye opener.

Have you ever purchased a wine from a California celebrity winery?

Do you have a favorite celeb winery?

Andretti Winery in Napa

Our favorite is Mario Andretti in Napa. It’s a gorgeous little winery with lots of fun memorabilia, and of course, great wine.

Buy yourself some great wine from our wine store.

California Wine – Who’s Your Daddy?

father of California wine making

father of California wine making

Who had the most impact on California winemaking during the post-Prohibition wine renaissance? During those formative years when California winemakers were basically starting pretty much from scratch?

Our vote?

André Tchelistcheff.

This Russian émigré (1901-1994) was a passionate advocate for traditional winemaking techniques, and he mentored dozens and dozens of California winemakers during his 56 years among them.

Who gets your vote?

California and Wine – Our Favorite Subjects!

wine regions of California

wine regions of California

Here a few fun facts –

  • If the Golden State were a country, it would rank fourth in the world for wine production, behind only France, Italy, and Spain.
  • Chardonnay is the most planted grape in California — 95,000 acres.
  • In 2005, two out of three bottles of wine sold in the U.S. were from California.
  • 14.5 million visitors flock to California wine county each year. Wow!  We’re happy to join the crowd.

How Much Do You Pour?

Wine Splash Painting from Etsy
Wine Splash Painting from Etsy

Painting by ViktoriaMajesticArt on Etsy

The publication Substance Use & Misuse published a study by Doug Walker and Laura Smarandescu of Iowa State University and Brian Wansink of Cornell University, showing that people often don’t know how much wine they are pouring.

They evaluated more than 500 pours from 73 wine drinkers. Among their discoveries was that the shape of the glass has a lot to do with how much people pour – wider glasses tend to lead to more wine poured.

It seems like most people don’t know what a “standard” moderate pour is or how to gauge it (the government lists 5 oz. as a single serving); they simply monitor their intake by “number of glasses”.

Do you pour a 5 oz. serving or a glassful?

Whatever you’re pouring, you can order it in our wine store.

Bottle Shock is Worth a View

bottle shock movie

bottle shock movie

The indy movie Bottle Shock has been out since 2008, but if you’ve never seen it, check it out.

It’s the story of how Chateau Montelena Winery in Napa won top honors at the Paris Tasting of 1976—and beat the top French wineries at their own game.

There’s drama (father/son conflict), suspense (will they win or won’t they), and charm (the Napa Valley as it was).

It’s a great movie that, in our opinion, never got the attention it deserves. Uncork it tonight!

Any other wine movies out there we should see?

More Chocolate Wine Pairings

chocolate wine pairing

chocolate wine pairing

With Halloween coming up, chocolate is a screaming sensation! Have you tried it with wine?

Since we brought the chocolate/wine topic up a few weeks ago, we’ve been experimenting.

In addition to our old favorite wine with chocolate – a rich Cab with chocolate notes – we are now in love with SYRAH (the spicy style) and ZINFANDEL (the very berry style) with our nightly nightcap of chocolate and wine.

How about you? What is your favorite wine and chocolate pairing right now?

NorthWestward Ho!

walla walla winery

When people ask us, “What’s the best way to learn about wine?” We always say, “Try something new.”

walla walla winery

Here it is—

The Pacific Northwest Series

We’ve always loved the northwest, from green and beautiful Portland to spectacular Seattle. So we are super excited to launch our Pacific Northwest Series this month!

Upcoming are some terrific wineries, like tiny, family Va Piano out of Walla Walla, Washington, recognized as one of that state’s top appellations. The Va Piano Cab and Sauvignon Blanc are deliciously flavorful and really show off the treasures Washington holds.

Next month, we’re off to Oregon just outside of Eugene where, since 1979, Silvan Ridge has been a pioneer for great northwest wines. We were floored by their Malbec and Pinot Gris.

Here’s the Wylie family of Walla Walla Washington, at their Va Piano Winery–our first Pacific Northwest Wine Series feature.

walla walla