How-To Store Wine Properly

Screenshot 2015-03-30 09.12.12

How you store your wines can significantly change what you taste in your glass. Whether you are storing wine for a few months or a few decades, there are some basic rules to help prevent wines from aging prematurely.

In this short video, “How-to Store Wine Properly,” we’ll cover humidity level, temperatures, location and discuss storing cork versus screwcap bottles. You’ll get some easy tips to help keep your wines in perfect condition.

Continue Reading >

Got Wine? Get Healthy!


Are you skeptical about all the studies showing the great health benefits of wine?  There have been so many of them, and often the media seems to make wine seem like the ultimate health drink.  (And remember, it all depends on moderation.)

Recently, along came an article that really put wine and health into perspective for us.  Check out “Head to Toe Health Benefits of Wine” in the Nov. 2014 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine (a great mag, by the way).  It’ll make you dance.

Continue Reading >

Holidays in Wine Country


Being in wine country during the holidays is a terrific idea.

All the wineries are dressed up in their best holiday finery, and everybody’s in a festive mood.


The wine country also offers festive fun.  Robert Mondavi Winery kicked things off on Dec. 6th with its annual Tree Lighting Ceremony (and buggy rides through To Kalon Vineyard–fun!)

• 8th Annual Sonoma Valley Gingerbread Contest — See them at the wineries and vote for your favorites during December.

• “Wine Tasting All Winter Long” in Santa Barbara’s Santa Ynez Valley. Buy a pass, and taste wines throughout the valley  anytime during the winter months.

• Dec. 1 – Dec. 31– Sonoma’s Holiday Wine Trolley – Every Wednesday, take the Holiday Wine Trolley decked out in Victorian splendor from Sonoma Square. Visit 4 festive wineries, catered lunch and get your holiday shopping done!  Fee.

• Dec. 13-14- Grape Vine Wreath Making Party, Inspiration Vineyards, Santa Rosa

• Dec. 13 – Gloria Ferrer Winery Holiday Crab Feed

• Dec. 19 – Summerland Winery’s “Ugly Sweater Party”! With wine, of course! (just south of Santa Barbara).

Sip with the Season!

Which Varietals Are “Hot” Where in California?

Wine quiz

Here’s a quiz to test your savvy about which California wines are the superstars in which regions.  Gift suggestion:  Treat someone special to a gift membership with The California Wine Club so they can discover California superstars—they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness.

1.  Santa Barbara County is known mainly for which wines?
a) Zinfandel
b) Syrah
c) Pinot Noir
d) Sparkling wine

2.  Where are you most likely to find Pinot Noir grown in Napa Valley?
a) Rutherford
b) Calistoga
c) Carneros
d) Howell Mountain

3.  Which regions are emphasizing Rhone wines?
a) Mendocino
b) Sonoma
c) Napa
d) Santa Barbara
e) Amador County, Sierra Foothills
f) Temecula

1. b) Syrah and c) Pinot Noir
2. c) Carneros
3. d) Santa Barbara; e) Amador County; f) Temecula

It’s the Holidays — AND You Have a Small Family Winery


Too many parties, not enough time?  Wrestling with wrapping paper?  If you’re feeling overwhelmed during the “holidaze”, just consider what California’s small families wineries face.  When we spoke with Sunstone Winemaker Bion Rice the other day, second generation at this remarkable small winery in Santa Barbara’s Santa Ynez Valley, we asked him was most surprised him about having a winery.  “How challenging it is, operationally.   As much as I think I can control all the elements in Nature (he laughs), the wine industry is highly complex.  Many people think it’s just farming a vineyard but there are a hundred decisions between grapes to bottle and a hundred variables.  Then, you add hospitality (Sunstone recently opened Villa Sunstone, a one-of-a-kind- ultra lux facility constructed of vintage European materials).  We have over 100 people a day on average coming to our winery.  We have 100 events a year here from weddings to private parties.  Add to this selling wine to restaurants and stores and direct to customers, our wine club …”

Add the holidays, and well, you get the picture!  Harvest time isn’t he only busy season at California’s small family wineries.

Holiday Parties – New Trends & Wine Suggestions


Pure Joy, one of Santa Barbara’s top caterers, recently clued us in about some party-giving trends that you might see this year.  Owner Lynette Le Mare says hosts are moving from sit-down dinners to “small plate food stations” that allow guests more choice in food and wine.  These might include mini-comfort foods like tiny burgers.

As for wine, may we suggest a few guidelines for you hosts and hostesses?

1.  Have plenty of variety on hand, both reds and whites.

2.  Include some “out of the ordinary” varietals like Malbec or Viognier.

3.  Definitely have very well chilled sparkling wine on board.

4.  Have a non-alcoholic beverage ready to go.