I love to entertain. But let’s be honest, entertaining can be a lot of work. It can be just as expensive as it is time consuming, regardless of the size of the affair. That’s why it’s always nice to find ways to have stress-free summer parties without breaking the bank. To help, I’ve consulted with some of Santa Barbara’s coolest ladies (who also happen to be small business owners) for their tips on throwing the best summer parties. In fact, we threw a party to test everything out, so that we could help YOU throw a summer get-together with friends without feeling overwhelmed.
One of my favorite things about writing my blog and for various publications is getting to meet so many different people in the wine industry. Although everyone shares a similar passion for wine, there are as many different personalities as there are wines. That’s part of the reason I started my Q&A series over a year ago — I wanted you as the reader to get to know the people I am lucky enough to meet, but in an easily digestible and fun way. Hence the start of the ’12 Questions’ format of the series. Up next: my Q&A with winemaker Dave Potter, the man behind Municipal Winemakers and Potek Winery in Santa Barbara.
Earlier this year, I was tasting wine in Buellton and stumbled across a brand new tasting room tucked away in the industrial area off Easy Street. The tasting room, aptly named the Easy Street Wine Collective, had only been open a couple of days, but since I was short on time, I knew I wanted to make a point to come back. Luckily, I was able to return shortly after to meet with winemaker Rob Dafoe and his wife Emily to taste wines from their new label, Rake Wine. Rake Wine is one of the two Santa Barbara labels offered at Easy Street Wine Collective, the tasting room they share with winemaker friend, Etienne Terlinden.
Okay, okay… by now you’re all very aware that I am a fan of rosé. Although I drink rosé all year long, pink wine is a summertime staple in my eyes, just like picnics, bbqs and the beach. Rosé, which can be made from any grape, falls somewhere between a red and a white wine, but is more like a state of mind than anything — it’s just really fun to drink, regardless of how ‘serious’ the wine is. In my quest to find some killer rosés this summer, I have managed to taste quite a few, but these three Pinot Noir rosés are some of my favorites. In fact, one has earned the crown as my new favorite rosé!
I’ve written about the Funk Zone more times than I can count on one hand… for magazines, online publications, on my own blog as well as on other blogs. I don’t just talk the talk, I actually live close by and frequent the area regularly. So, it goes without saying that I was excited for the highly anticipated Helena Avenue Bakery to open. Freshly baked cookies and bread? Sign me up!
It’s true that the majority of my travel involves wine, but sometimes it’s nice to unplug for a few days outside of the wine world. After a fun wedding in Big Fork, Montana last month, Nick and I headed to Glacier National Park with some friends for a couple of days of doing just that — unplugging to enjoy the outdoors. Although I had been to Montana before, it was my first time to Glacier, so I was excited to hike, paddle board, camp and see some wildlife (no bears, luckily!). Here are some snapshots from our little summer vacation!
You’ve probably noticed that I am a big fan of rosé, especially this time of year. Even diehard red wine drinkers seem to be charmed by pink wine in the summer months. And what’s not to love? Rosé is an easy choice — it’s food friendly, typically low in alcohol and refreshing. You don’t even have to be too picky about the variety or blend when you choose rosé; it’s just its own all encompassing category of “rosé.” Although I do love to try new wines, it’s nice to have a few in your back pocket that deliver year after year. One of my go to California rosés has got to be the Matthiasson Rosé, produced by famed winemaker Steve Matthiasson.
I had been hearing good things about Denner Vineyards since after Nick and I got engaged. Actually, it was our wedding photographer who first told us we should try the wines! So when we were planning our trip to Paso Robles, Denner was near the top of the list.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a special South African Wine ‘Master Class’ here in Santa Barbara along with several wine industry professionals from SB and LA. I love attending these types of seminars because they’re so informative, but it’s also a great chance to try really interesting wines I may otherwise not have the opportunity to. South Africa in Santa Barbara? Sign me up!
It’s true that Blaufränkisch is pretty hard to find outside of Europe. Most people have never heard of it, but it is one of the prominent grapes of Austria (also known as Lemberger) and can be found in other parts of Europe. Known for its unique characteristics, it’s sort of a combination of Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo and Syrah all in one. I admit that I didn’t know anyone was making Blaufränkisch in California, let alone Santa Barbara County, until meeting David and Anna deLaski. They’re the owners of Solminer Wines, and yes, they make a Blaufränkisch!