The market of $20 and under wine is a bit saturated these days… just walk into any supermarket and it’s easy to see why. At this price point, there’s a whole bunch of less-than-stellar stuff out there from producers emphasizing quantity over quality. Yes, there are good deals out there, but it can be a bit daunting to find the good stuff. That’s why it’s nice to discover producers like Cameron Hughes Wines. Cameron Hughes produces a wide variety of quality, approachable wines at everyday drinking prices. A $19 blend made with Napa Valley fruit? Yes, you read that right!
As evident from a recent trip up the coast, Paso’s wine scene is booming. Sure, there are plenty of wineries, but Paso Robles has become a bonafide wine destination partly due to the growing number of places to stay in the area. Let’s face it, wine tasting and driving don’t mix. One of my favorite places to stay in Paso is the quaint Hotel Cheval, located just a half block off Paso’s historic town square.
I recently shared on my blog 7 tips for stress-free entertaining after collaborating on a cocktail party with a few local business owners. The ambiance and company were great, but we also ate and drank really well thanks to Le Petit Chef and Riverbench Winery. Le Petit Chef owner Denisse Salinas’ food was so delicious and accessible, so I just had to share this tomato tartine recipe and wine pairing with you all!
I spend a fair share of my time wine tasting throughout Santa Barbara County, but surprisingly, it’s not often that I have the time to revisit places. So, although I had been to Gainey Vineyard in the past, I was excited to hear they had launched a new jeep tour and barn tasting experience. Wine tasting and jeep combos are always fun, so throw in a cool barn and I will make a point to be there!
Although I love to explore the world, there are very few places that have the beauty and charm of Santa Barbara. And, since I don’t have the budget nor the time for exotic travel on the regular, one of my favorite ways to create the feeling of a fun getaway is to check into a local hotel for a ‘staycation.’ Recently, my husband and I had a Santa Barbara Staycation at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. It was amazing to say the least!
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference, sponsored by the Lodi Wine Grape Commission. The event included various seminars and wine tastings, but my favorite part of the weekend was the Friday night excursion to Oak Ridge Winery. Located in Lodi’s wine country, the family-owned winery put on a special vineyard tour and dinner for 12 of us. With a cheese plate as big as a truck (literally) and dinner under the stars, it was incredible.
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!