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The world of Wine can be so confusing. What are the types (grape varietals) where do they come from? Do the years make a difference? Why is wine so damn expensive? If it’s cheap does that mean is gonna be lame? Why are wine guys pretentious and creepy? Are those wine magazines right about ratings? Is it uncool to drink Merlot? Do people really pay a hundred bucks for a bottle of Napa Cabernet?
People always seem to ask many of the same questions about wine. And during the wine tasting events, we’ll demystify these questions and more about the world’s wine regions, varietals, vintages, and how your own taste is much more important than any magazine’s rating system.
I’m a big years guy.
What do the years (vintage) have to do with wine? A lot, as the weather has a huge effect on grapes, varying the quality of the wine quite a bit from year to year. 2007 was a great year for California and 2009 a great year in parts of France. Do your homework with the years because a bad year can produce some great wines too. A good year in Napa like 2007 was great year for Chardonnay Cabernet, and Pinot Noir varietals.
During a ”bad” year certain grapes can do better than others. What’s behind a bad year? Factors such as too much rain, too cold or too hot at the wrong times. Other factors like our recession can play into it as well. 2006 a decent year, got looked over, because 2007 was such a great and much talked-about year. Since people were holding on to cash, the 06′s were discounted in price quite often. My favorite wine years in Napa are 2001, 20202 and 2007. 2000 and 2003 were not so good. In France ’09 is turning out to be a banner year, along with ’00, ’03 and ’05, which are also pretty great vintages hailing mostly from Bordeaux. Read More…
Nearly three-quarters the size of France, California accounts for nearly 90 percent of total wine production in the United States. The production of wine in California alone is one third larger than that of Australia. If California were a separate country, it would be the world’s fourth-largest wine producer. Read More…
Concierge Trip Planning Service
I first went went to Napa about fifteen years ago. At the time I didn’t know that much about the area. Napa itself is an amazing place, with beautiful rolling hills and grapevines everywhere. The hot sun streams through the trees, and everywhere you look there are amazing views, one after another. Plus WINE everywhere you look, as of course wineries abound. And Sonoma with its bigger sunnier hills looks like a Impressionist painting. Back then there was about two hundred wineries. Today that number has doubled to around four hundred in total. Since then I have returned to Napa and Sonoma many, many times. It’s a very tranquil place to relax and decompress from the regular work world.
Over the years so many of my friends have hit me up for advice on where to go in wine country, it’s become second nature to help them plan their trips. Whether it’s Napa, the Central Coast or the Santa Ynez/Santa Barbara Wine Valley, my years of experience enjoying the various California wine regions are at your disposal. You’ll be amazed at how many excellent, unknown, off-the-beaten-path wineries there are out there.
After the wine boom of the ’90′s and ’00`s a lot of extremely wealthy people purchased wineries. They may know a great deal about making money but not necessarily a lot about making good wine. So when people tell me they went to wine country, had so-so wines and got lost going back and forth, trying to figure out where to go, I am sad for them but not surprised. There are as many mediocre wineries out there as there are truly great ones. If you, like most of us, have limited and valuable vacation time, let me help you make the most of it with advise and itinerary planning for winery tours and tastings, accommodations, dining and activities.
I can create the perfect vacation plan for you within your budget and time frame. After a brief phone or email interview, we will figure out your taste in wine and food, what kind of outdoor activities you prefer, and your vacation style in general. Then I will help you plan the perfect wine country getaway, and help secure your reservations in accommodations, tastings, tours and activities. If you only have two days to spend, you don’t want to spend it figuring out where to go, backtracking on small country roads, and wondering if you’re really tasting the best the area has to offer. Planning ahead helps avoid wasting valuable vacation time, and ensures you get to relax and enjoy.
Here’s an example of how it works.
A couple from Chicago, Charlie and Fran, wanted to go to Napa for two days. He had a business meeting in San Francisco and they were able to squeeze in a couple days in Napa. Like a lot of people, they have young kids and limited time. In our interview I asked them what they like in wine, food, outdoor activities, etc. Charlie likes big reds like Cabernet or a nice Meritage. Fran likes whites and sparkling wine (remember, we can’t call it Champagne unless it’s from that region in France) . He is an outdoorsy dude who likes biking, hiking, etc. Fran is a shopper, who likes to take her time exploring and relaxing. I was able to put together a two day experience for them which fit both their tastes. Each day they tasted at 3 great wineries, ate great food, she went shopping and he went for a hike. Then they both returned to their hotel, laid out at the pool and had a great dinner together. Charlie sent me this note after;
“Pat - Thanks so much! We of could never have done that on our own. We had the perfect trip and got to discover some cool stuff by accident, too!”
Contact me to set up your perfect wine weekend (or longer) and get ready to discover an amazing part of the world.