Category Archives: san francisco

Pinot Days – 2010 San Francisco

Last Sunday Larry and I went to Pinot Days 2010.  It was held at Fort Mason in San Francisco.  This was the 6th annual event here and it looks like there will be one this November in Chicago and another one in Southern California in January 2011.  This event is put on by Bay Area Wine Project.

There were over 200 wineries, about 14 food purveyors and over 20 exhibitors represented on this given Sunday at Pinot Days.  About 95% of the wineries were from California and 80% of that was from Northern California.  Russian River, Sonoma County, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, Carneros, Napa Valley, Monterey, Monterey County and Buellton, Santa Barbara County, are the most prominent Pinot Noir producers in California.  

Larry and I love a good Pinot Noir.  The Pinot grape is a beautiful, versatile, complex grape nuanced like a little baby grape.  Its also cranky, difficult to grow and thin-skinned, making it prone to all sorts of perils in the vineyard.  A good Pinot has a medium body, very fruit forward, a little bit of pucker power and goes great with food.  Check out my website at for some recipe ideas.  Besides a good Cabernet, Pinot Noir is the next best wine to pair with food.  It’s light enough to go with fish, yet it’s bold enough to go with tri-tip.  I love it with any Asian Food.  Pinot Noir is not made to be laid down for a long period of time; at the most, five years.  But in reality the Pinot that you buy should be drunk within two years of the year you bought it in, not the year of the vintage.  Each winery decides on how long they are going to leave the wine in the barrel vs. the bottle.  Some leave it in the bottle as long as they leave it in the barrel.  Its tricky how to handle this grape once it’s picked and how you do that will greatly show up in the final outcome.  This grape likes to be pampered, so a lot of wineries have a gravity flow system so that the juices hardly have any stress during the wine making process.  .

Of the wineries that we stopped at and sampled, here is a selection of the ones that stood out to me and was worth mentioning.  Now don’t forget we all have different taste buds and preferences when it come to wine and food.  

Alma Rosa Winery – Buellton
Blink Wines – Benicia
C. Donatiello Winery – Healdsburg
Cartograph – Healdsburg ***
Chronicle Wines – Sonoma
Cru – Madera ***
Dutton Goldfield – Sebastopol ***
Gary Farrell – Healdsburg ***
Hagafen Cellars – Napa
Hirsch Vineyard – Cazadero ***
Inception Wines – Buellton
Joseph Swan Vineyards – Forestville
Kanzler Vineyards – Sebastopol
Kastania Vineyards – Petaluma
Kendric Vineyards – San Anselmo
Lynmar Estate – Sebastopol ***
MacMurray Ranch – Healdsburg
McIntyre Vineyards – Soledad
Pillow Rd Vineyards – Angwin
Rusack Vineyards – Solvang ***
Testarossa Winery – Los Gatos
Thomas George Estate – Healdsburg ***
Windy Oaks Estate – Corralitos ***

*** Lori’s top wineries from this day

Most of these wineries were serving their ’08 vintage, however, a lot of them are not yet released.  Some were still pouring their ’07 (which is one of my favorite years for Pinot Noir) and a very few were pouring anything older.  

We also enjoyed the food purveyors that were showing their products.  Most were different cheese companies, olive oils and some chocolate companies too ☺.

If you get the opportunity to go to this event either in Chicago in November, Southern California in January or Northern California next summer I strongly suggest it.  It’s a really nice way to sample the grape, and really taste the difference in the Terroir.

Chronicles of Lori’s Slim Down Journey – Days 5-7

Two days ago I got up and took Elmer for a 20-minute walk.  We did 2 of the neighborhood hills.  Then I went to play bridge.  There were no edible temptations at the tables so that was good.  Luree the hostess, had out fresh cantaloupe, grapes, and pretzels.  Mid morning I took some fruit.  I heated up a Trader Joes beef and barley soup box for lunch.  I said no to the cake for dessert but I did take a bowl of the strawberries and raspberries.  I was very proud of myself.  At work I brought ½ cucumber cut up and a dozen small carrots.  I had that for my mid afternoon snack.  For dinner I had a ham sandwich on an Orowheat light bun.  I had some of my trail mix, especially the dried fruits and almonds.  On the way home from work I stopped off at Blush frozen yogurt shop and picked up Larry and I small sizes for dessert.  No toppings.  This was good, as I hadn’t had my milk portion for the day.  

Yesterday I just couldn’t get out of bed early enough to do my exercising.  I had cold cereal with banana for breakfast and a Fiber One bar for a snack.  For lunch I had a piece of chicken and an orange.  Dinner was a potluck at our bocce ball championship tournament.  I brought an orzo salad with spinach, pine nuts, tomatoes, Gorgonzola cheese, basil and roasted garlic-lemon vinaigrette.  The main dish there was pasta with a meat sauce.  I was pretty good.  I started out with two slices of baguette with Brie spread (probably shouldn’t have done that).  Then I took a little bit of the pasta and sauce, my salad, no garlic bread and some fresh fruit.  I shared a ½ beer with Larry.  Then the dessert came out and I lost my willpower.  Three cakes were there!  I had a little piece of each cake.  I feel a bit guilty, but also happy that I got to enjoy the cake but not go crazy like I could have.  We won the first game 10-5, lost the second game 10-5 and then lost the last game 10-9 in the dark!

Today Larry and I took Elmer for a ½ hour walk.  For lunch we went to a new Thai restaurant in town.  I had their papaya salad.  No great temptations today.  We will be having hot dogs tonight with some friends.  I will be serving corn on the cob and salad with the meal.  I plan not to have a bun with my dog.  We will be eating late enough to not have the urge to have dessert.  I did have an apple for my afternoon snack and was still very hungry.  So I had some trail mix and I’m trying to get my 6 cups of water down.  Having a little bit of trouble with that today.

I give myself a “B” for the three days.

I’m going to have a challenging weekend with going out to dinner tomorrow night and then going to an event on Saturday night.  But I will be staying active as we are going to be harvesting about 2-3 acres of grapes for Brandon to make the wine from this season.  I will keep you informed.

Catch Some Great End of Summer Wine Events

There is still over a month until summer is officially over, but kids are going back to school and the temperatures outside are changing.  So with the end of summer coming up, it’s a great time to go some wine festivals.  For example:

Family Winemakers of California – August 23 – Fort Mason Center – 3-6pm  $50 in adv. $60 at the door. 
This event will feature more than 300 of California’s small, family owned wineries.  More than 30 new wineries just this year! 

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend – Sept. 4-6  MacMurray Ranch, Healdsburg
Choose from dozens of winemaker lunches or dinners ($75-$160)
The 30th annual TASTE of Sonoma (Sept. 5 11am-4pm).  There will be over 150 wineries pouring their finest offerings and more than 60 chefs whipping up fantastic food pairings.  ($150-$195).

Wine and Cheese Train Ride on Board the Niles Canyon Railroad – Aug. 30 & Sept. 6 – Sunol, $37.50
Wineries of Livermore are highlighted by the Pacific Locomotive Association.  Boarding at 3pm, departure at 3:30pm and return at 5:30pm are thescheduled times.  This is a fund raiser for the PLA with the goal that guestsexperience and appreciate fine railroad service while learning more ofLivermore Area wines.

Edna Valley Wine Tour – Aug. 22nd 10:30-4:00  San Luis Obispo  $109
Travel along back county roads. Discover the familiar to hidden localfavorites. Taste at four distinctive wineries, fees included and enjoya fabulous gourmet picnic lunch in the most picturesque of settings andmaybe make some new friends along the way!

Santa Monica Pier Seaside Wine Tasting – Sept. 3 – 6:00-10:00pm $20 for 5 tastes plus a glass of your favorite wine
Take in a concert, sip some great wine, and breath in the Pacific Ocean.  The Wine Bar opens at 6pm, 1 hour before the concerts start and stays open until 10pm, as the concerts are winding down.

Have Fun!

Pinot Noir Lovers – Be Alerted To The Pinot Days Grand Festival This Weekend

Sunday, June 28, 2009 from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm at the Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason
Center, San Francisco.  Cost is $50/ticket.

The Grand Tasting will showcase 200 producers of pinot noir.  This is
California’s largest
single gathering of pinot producers, as well as
its most varied.  If you go you will be able to
sample up to 400 pinots from
every important region in California, Oregon, New Zealand,

As winemaker Ed Kurtzman, Freeman Winery
says, “For anyone who already loves Pinot,
this is an excellent
opportunity to try many new wines as well as some well-established
favorites.  For those who don’t have a lot of Pinot experience; my bet
is that they’ll be in
love with this grape by the end of the weekend.” 

Enjoy the countless pinots and sample a variety of artisan cheeses & other specialty foods. 
They will feature a pinot
production demonstration in which you can learn about the
of pinot from the vine to bottling and every step in between. They will
also offer a
number of pinots for auction, benefiting various

Larry and I will be volunteering at the silent auction booth until 2:00 pm.  Then we will
be set free to taste away!  If you are a twitter friend come find us @WineTravelLori and
@WineTravelLarry.  Brandon, aka @winemakerb, assistant winemaker for Dutton Goldfield) will be
there pouring on Saturday.  If you are going to be there then I suggest that you go
“clink a toast” and say hi.

Please, if you go, reply about it on this blog next week we want to hear all about your experiences.

Happy Pinot Drinking!!!!!!!!

California Wine Festivals in June, July, August and Beyond

This is an update of what is going on in the California wine
regions.  I’m not going to post what the individual wineries or wine
shops are doing, but I will post the wine festivals that I’m aware of. 
If I’ve missed anything, please inform me at, so I
can add it to the list.  Some future events are listed down below.


          Current California Wine Events June – August ’09

June 6th & 7th, 11-5pm – Santa Cruz Mtns. (western side) June 13th & 14th Santa Cruz Mtns. (eastern side) Santa Cruz Vintners Festival

June 6th, 1pm-4pm – Two Harbors, Avalon 8th Annual Wine Festival, Catalina Island

June 13th, 3pm-7pm – Historic Escalle Winery, Larkspur – 5th Annual Marin County Pinot Noir Celebration

June 24th-28 – San Francisco San Francisco Pinot Days 2009

June 26-28th, 11-5pm – MurphysCalaveras Passport Weekend 

June 28th – San Francisco Pino Days, Grand Festival Wine Tasting

July 9, 5:30-9pm – Sacramento California’s Grape and Gourmet

July 23, – 6pm-9pm – Livermore Taste of Terroir

July 26th, – 1-6:30pm – NapaJewish Vintners Wine Trail

July 26th,  1-4 pm – Camarillo22nd Annual Wine Food Festival

August 8th, 6pm-9pm – Paso Robles Winemakers Cookoff

August 8th, 12-3:30pm – Monterey 17th Annual Winemakers Celebration

August 14-16th – Sonoma County14th Annual Russian River Valley Wine Growers “Grape to Glass” Weekend

August 16th, 2-5pm – MoragaSaint Mary’s College Wine Festival

August 29, 10am-6pm, August 30th -10am 5pm – Bodega Bay Bodega Seafood Art and Wine Festival

August 23, 3-6pm – San Francisco – Family Winemakers of California

     Belly Dancers at Mounts Winery – 2009 Dry Creek Passport Weekend –   Live band at Martorana Winery

                                   Future Wine Events

September 4th – 6th,  Healdsburg – Sonoma Wine Country Weekend which includes TASTE of Sonoma

September 6th & 7th, 12-5 each day – Livermore – 28th Annual Harvest Wine Celebration

September 11 & 12, 11-5 each day – Fort Bragg, – 25th Annual Winesong!

September 27, 12pm-6pm – LodiTaste of Lodi

October 25th – Russian River, Sonoma County 6th Annual Pinot on the River

November 18-22 – San Diego  –The 6th Annual San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival

June 12th, 2010Russian River Passport Weekend – Sonoma County