Wine Education: June 2008 Archives

Courtney & Hip Tastes Come to St. Helena!

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htb_header.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

St. Helena, Napa Valley: I'm thrilled to announce a rare Napa Valley appearance tomorrow night, 6/25 - I'll be chatting about my book, Hip Tastes: The Fresh Guide to Wine, and signing copies as part of the 1st Annual Books on Wine Festival at the St. Helena Public Library. I'm thrilled to be included in a super lineup of wine books published in 2007, including A Moveable Thirst, New Classic Winemakers of California, Small Plates Perfect Wines, and The Art of Terroir.  Refreshments begin at 6pm and are followed by author chats from 7 to 8:15, with author signings to follow.

Benziger Swaying With The Palm

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thepalm.jpgBy Robert Farmer

I'm typically not a "chain" guy, when it comes to restaurants. Indeed in most instances I avoid them by personal writ. But of course some chains are better than others. And some are cut from different cloth entirely. So it was when I entered for the first a couple summers ago The Palm Restaurant in Miami.

I knew the Palm was one of the most feverishly followed steak houses in the U.S., and I was eager to discover what all the fuss was about. Besides, with only 25 Palms in existence, this particular chain was decidedly "short" which made it easier to bend my own rule.

Wine Popping With Climate Change

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climate2.jpgBy Robert Farmer

It's easy to overlook just how pervasive the topic of climate change really is. Not everybody lives in the South Pole, where massive sheets of ice are breaking away at alarming rates and melting into the ocean. Not does the threat of coastal waters rising to overtake entire cities sway the minds of most people on earth.

But the fact is, climate change can and will impact nearly all parts of our current lives. Yes, dear wine lover, that includes wine. And so it was with a great interest that I heard the news recently of a planned Wine Industry Seminar on Climate Change, scheduled for July 31-August 1 at Gloria Ferrer Winery in Sonoma.

Go Go Camp Mendo

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glasshand.jpgBy Robert Farmer

Those familiar with this space know that I am a fan of "immersion learning." Especially when it comes to wine appreciation, there's no better way to "go deep" into it than to live it for a few solid days. Wine camps are a great way to do it. And increasingly, regions are offering innovative, educational, and above all fun, opportunities to experience wine like you never have.

Mendocino gets into the act with Wine Camp 2008, a three-day, three-night immersion into Northern California wine and all of its various nuances and tendencies. I like this Wine Camp because it takes place in one of California's lesser-known regions and provides "insider info" to the intrepid camp-goer about one of Northern California's under-discovered gems. And, with each camp limited to just eight campers, it promises to be an intimate excursion, with ample opportunity to get one-on-one contact with winemakers and other participants.

Deep In the Heart of Texas

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texaswine.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Texas has long been known for many things - BBQ, the Alamo, Dynasty, a fantastic music festival called South By Southwest (to name just a few) - but until recently something the Lone Star State most certainly was not known for was its wine.  On the heels of this year's well-attended Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival (texaswineandfood.org), however, that's all changing.
solarbration.jpgNapa Valley, CA - This summer solstice, wineries at the heart of the solar power trend in Wine Country will celebrate the day of the year when the sun shines the longest with the first annual Solarbration.

On June 21, from 5:30 p.m. until sunset, ZD Wines, Honig Vineyard & Winery, and Peju Province Winery will host a solstice celebration, with special wine tastings, sustainably grown gourmet cuisine, and live entertainment at each of their facilities. Guests are invited on a behind-the-scenes tour of the solar energy systems that power the wineries. Ticket price includes entry to all three wineries. All proceeds will be donated to The Land Trust of Napa County. Land Trust personnel will be at the wineries to answer questions about their land-saving work.

Wine List Anxiety

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winelist.jpgBy Robert Farmer

With only one or two exceptions among my decent-sized group of regular dining-out companions, I am always first to grab the wine list. And once I get it, I rarely let it go. Not to say others don't take a look, but instead I tend to keep hold of the list throughout the meal - occasionally prying it open to peruse depending on which stage of the meal we happen to be in.

I love looking at wine lists--the imagination of the sommelier or wine-steward is in full view in these lists, which can range in size and scope from a single-sided sheet of paper, to a handsome, leather-bound book that looks more like an Encyclopedia Britannica. This I know is not the norm. Many people shy away from a wine list like the waiter was waving a plate of liver and onions beneath their nose.

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