Moshin Vineyards Is “Pinot Heaven” ~ Russian River Valley’s Little Gem!


Calling all Pinot-philes… Time to experience a “range of motion” at Moshin Vineyards on the westside of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley.  Specializing in small lot, hand-crafted wines, there are always several interesting Pinot Noir wines to taste on any given day.

IMG_8385Upon arrival, a towering spectacled iron clad hummingbird greets visitors outside the eclectic tasting room.

Local Artisan’s wares are exhibited in the tasting room with special artist receptions hosted throughout the year.   IMG_8391

Besides a fabulous line up of Pinot Noir wine, Moshin Vineyards also showcases Vin Gris, Pinot Gris, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.  Other estate varietals include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Merlot.  Continue reading

Santa Ynez Valley’s Sunstone Winery ~ C’est Tres Magique!


Reminiscent of a Provencal manor in Southern France,  Sunstone Winery features one of the grandest tasting rooms in the Santa Ynez Valley.

The south-facing vineyards sway in the breeze along the Santa Ynez River, creating an ideal microclimate for producing high quality Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.  French varietals planted on the 28 acre estate include Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.


Founders Fred and Linda Rice had a grandiose vision for Sunstone Winery, scouring reclamation yards in Marseille and Provence for artifacts and furnishings for the 8.500 square foot villa.

sunstone_winery_kitchen“Reclaimed materials, such as French limestone, hand-formed roof tiles, a fireplace from the Bordeaux region of France, enormous hand-hewn pine beams from Queen Victoria’s lavender factory, a prison cell door from Normandy constructed during Napoleon’s reign, and a thousand-year old limestone kitchen sink were all incorporated into their dream building.”

IMG_8802 Continue reading

San Pasqual’s Hungry Hawk Vineyards Soars High!

IMG_8792Hungry Hawk Vineyards, is one of the newest, and most promising, boutique wineries to join forces with the San Diego Vintners Association in the San Pasqual Valley AVA.

Nested in the rural outskirts of Escondido, Hungry Hawk Vineyards officially opened its doors in the summer of 2014 after several years of vineyard installation, tasting room construction and endless county and state ordinance permits.

IMG_8795Through the hard work of Ed and Jeanine Embly, Hungry Hawk Vineyards has morphed into a top-notch production facility and upscale tasting room.

Hungry Hawk Vineyards has already earned Silver Medals at the 2014 Florida State Fair and the 2014 San Diego County Fair.


Hungry Hawk Vineyards, a former avocado estate, has been planted to 17 grape varietals.  White varietals include Albarino, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Pinot Gris.  Bordeaux varietals include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec.  Grenache, Mouvedre, Petit Sirah, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and the little known Syrah Noir round out the list.  Continue reading

Chateau St. Jean Vineyard & Winery Exudes Elegance & Old World Charm


Magnificent gardens, ornate statuary, grand water features and an incredible backdrop of Sugarloaf Ridge greet guests at Chateau St. Jean Vineyard & Winery.  Just outside of Kenwood in Sonoma County, this heavenly estate is reminiscent of a turn of the century French manor, surrounded by 90+ acres of vineyards.

IMG_8338Chateau St. Jean was constructed in 1920 as a summer home for the Goff family, who were iron magnates from Michigan.  Today, the home has been listed in the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is open to the public.  Parlor-style tasting rooms on the upper level are available for private tastings and events.


Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren has handcrafted over 30 vintages for Chateau St. Jean.   An early pioneer of single vineyard grape sourcing, it is Margo’s belief that “great wines are grown”. Continue reading

If Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs’ Old Vines Could Talk…

IMG_0330Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs in the Dry Creek Valley AVA in Northern Sonoma County boasts a treasure trove of history and many noteworthy red varietals.

IMG_8431The expansive views are breathtaking in every direction, looking out toward the Alexander Valley.  Cool, foggy mornings, hot afternoon sun and breezy evenings are ideal growing conditions for Zinfandel.

Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs’ current flagship wine is the 2012 Lytton Springs, a spicy field blend of 113 year-old vines of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Mataro.  Having survived Prohibition, climate change and years of neglect, these grapes are hand-selected from the five to seven center rows of the vineyard for the iconic field blend.

IMG_8434Historically, Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs vineyard was once part of land owned by Captain William Litton, who developed the springs and built a hotel just east of the vineyard during the last half of the 19th century.   The resort was built for wealthy San Franciscans who would travel to the area by train to “take the waters.”  Continue reading

Iconic Merry Edwards Winery Embraces Pinot Noir Lovers

IMG_8521 Sooner, rather than later, Pinot Noir aficionados seek out Merry Edwards Winery near Sebastopol in the picturesque Russian River Valley AVA.  Considered a perfectionist and a wine muse by all who meet her, Merry Edwards is now in her 40th year of wine making.


Merry and husband/partner Ken Coopersmith  manage five estate Pinot Noir vineyards: Coopersmith, Cresta d’Oro, Flax, Georganne and Meredith.  The Chardonnay and  Sauvignon Blanc grapes are sourced from other vineyards in the Russian RIver Valley.


Private tastings are hosted by appointment in the state of the art facility’s elegant tasting rooms.  Guests are educated about the diurnal temperatures, climate micro zones and soils of the Russian River Valley and the diversity between the estate vineyards.   Continue reading

SDCVA Wine & Food Festival Rocked Bernardo Winery


The mood was light and fun at the 20th Annual San Diego County Vintners Association’s Wine and Food Festival staged at Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo last weekend.  Well-attended, the event showcased 25 local wineries, several exhibitors, a silent auction,  live music, gourmet small bites and food and wine demonstrations.


Both urban and traditional wine makers and winery owners were on hand to greet guests and pour two hand-selected wines crafted with San Diego County grape varietals.


The California wine industry traces its roots back to San Diego in 1779 with the first sustained vineyard planted by Franciscan missionaries at Mission San Diego de Alcala.

It was a fitting tribute to hold the SDCVA Wine & Food Festival at  the Bernardo Winery.

The landmark winery was established in 1889 by the Rizzo family and is the oldest family owned and operated winery in Southern California to this day.


The San Diego County Vintners Association is composed of vintners, growers, trade and wine lover members who strive to promote awareness and appreciation of the locally grown grape varietals.

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