Blogs from Napa Valley, California, United States, North America


North America » United States » California » Napa Valley November 28th 2021

Today we plan to hire bikes and cycle the Napa Valley Vine Trail. From the map, I had assumed it to be a ‘Dr Beeching’ style trail along a disused railway. In fact, the railway is still there and the trail is a tarmac strip which runs parallel to the track and the adjoining freeway. It’s not, therefore, as idyllically rural and scenic as I’d imagined, but it’s a pleasant 9 mile ride from Napa to Yountville in the morning sunshine. We reach the quaint little town of Yountville and stop for brunch amidst the tourists and Mamils at a café in a converted train. We take a wander along the high street, stopping to purchase the obligatory fridge magnet. Along the way, daughter no 1 manages to lose the card containing the combination number for ... read more
Napa Valley Vine Trail
Napa Valley Vine Trail
Napa Valley Vine Trail

North America » United States » California » Napa Valley November 27th 2021

We have an early start this morning – not a big deal for daughter no 1 and me, as our body clocks haven’t adjusted to the 8 hour time difference and we are up and raring to go by 5.30 am. When the kids were little and recently arrived in the US, I used to take them to Walmart in the middle of the night as it was the only place open where they could run around and let off steam until the rest of America was awake. Now she is older and less hyper, we make do with tiptoeing to the living room and checking our social media. This morning, daughter no 2 and I are running Byxbee parkrun. Daughter no 1 cannot be persuaded to join in. Byxbee park is an area of wetland ... read more
Byxbee parkrun
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

North America » United States » California » Napa Valley November 14th 2021

Regardless of the other great wine regions, like Lodi, Central Coast, and Temecula, California's famous Napa Valley remains number one in my heart. Why is that true? In 1968, the Napa County Board of Supervisors passed a landmark zoning ordinance that made Napa Valley the first Agricultural Preserve in the United States. The Ag Preserve, as it is known, mandated agriculture as the “highest and best” use of Napa Valley land. The effect of the ordinance was to severely restrict commercial development not directly related to agriculture. As visitors discover, with the exception of the small town of Napa itself, there are no strip malls or department store complexes in the valley proper. Instead, Napa Valley is home to 40,000+ acres of beautiful vineyards, and the picturesque rural landscape remains intact. As for the other possible ... read more
More bottles please.
Love the champagne cellars

North America » United States » California » Napa Valley November 10th 2021

Written in 2014, my first email regarding wine or champagne. From the Napa Valley Vintners: As winemaking activity in the Napa Valley transitions from the vineyard to the cellar, we asked our vintners to respond to frequently asked questions about this year's harvest.When did harvest begin?The first sparkling wine grapes were picked on July 30; however, for most vintners and growers, harvest didn't really kick into high gear until the third week in August. (Earlier than normal, Aug. 4 at Gloria Ferrer)... read more
A beautiful sight

If you did not already know, the Napa Vine Trial is a 47-mile walking and cycling trail, linking Vallejo with Calistoga, basically the entire Napa Valley. I have ridden portions of this trail several times, There are still sections that need development. Background: In 2008, the Napa Valley Vintners, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and the Land Trust founded the Vine Trail Coalition. The Napa Valley Vine Trail will be a 47-mile walking & biking trail system to physically, artistically and culturally connect the entire Napa Valley from Calistoga to the Vallejo Ferry and the greater Bay Area.Beginning near the Ferry Terminal in historic Vallejo (thus linking with the greater Bay Area), the Vine Trail will continue north for 47 miles, through the world-renowned vineyards and towns of Napa Valley, to its northern gateway ... read more
The 4 person champs!!!!
Morning vines

I love this short video. Wine Clip: Why I Drink ChampagneKaren MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible and editor of WineSpeed, tells you about the reasons why she drinks Champagne. For ... read more
Domaine Carneros, another favorite

North America » United States » California » Napa Valley January 22nd 2021

Tan-fastic: Tannin in wine provides two things: structure and ageability. Found in the grape’s skins, seeds, and stems, tannin is a natural preservative. Red wines, with considerably more tannin than white, can thus age longer. Tannins belong to a class of complex compounds called phenols, powerful antioxidants. Some scientists believe that antioxidants offer a way to also slow fresh food spoilage by reacting with chemicals that cause oxidation. Paul Kilmartin, a professor of wine chemistry at New Zealand’s University of Auckland, discovered that plastics impregnated during the manufacturing process with discarded grape solids retained the tannin's antioxidant benefits. Testing their effect on packaging for various edible oils, Kilmartin was able to extend the oil’s shelf life up to 30%. Yes, thirty three of the world’s ... read more
The big wine fires
Smoke taint is real.

From Winespeed: While in the Army and stationed near Fresno during WW II, Joe Heitz got a part-time job at Italian Swiss Colony in Asti, Sonoma County. After getting bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of California at Davis after the War, Joe worked under the legendary André Tchelistcheff at Beaulieu Vineyard. In 1961, he left to start Heitz Cellars. Five years later, in 1966, he made the first famous vineyard-designated Napa Valley wine—Heitz “Martha’s Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville’s “Martha’s Vineyard,” owned by Tom and Martha May. When it was released, the 1966 Heitz Cellars “Martha’s Vineyard” was $7 a bottle—an astronomical price since Heitz’s regular cabernet sauvignon, released just three years earlier, was only $1.99 a bottle. Tucked against the Mayacamas mountains on the west side of Oakville, Martha’s Vineyard is surrounded by ... read more
Red wine for your health
Buy the Wine Bible

This was a rude awakening to me, but makes sense. From Karen at Winespeed: Amount (in U.S.$) that a restaurant dish’s price rises ($0.18) for every increase of one letter in the average length of words describing that dish. Now that restaurants are cautiously reopening, you can check it out for yourself. According to Dan Jurafsky, author of the James Beard book award finalist The Language of Food, "When a restaurant uses longer words to describe a dish, it charges more for the dish.” Jurafsky is also professor and chair of linguistics and professor of computer science at Stanford.More startling numbers: Humans metabolize alcohol 40 times faster than other primates, according to a new study, published last month in the journal Biology Letters. According to the study, humans produce an enzyme called "al ... read more
Titos, numero uno!
Only three??

OK, all of you chardonnay sippers out there, beware! We can all use a little bit more wine knowledge than we already think we have. Do you need it to enjoy wine? No. But would you like to be slightly more knowledgeable than your average "Two Buck Chuck" neighbor or friend who seems like a "know-it-all"? Here are some wine basics: It takes about 2.8 pounds of grapes to make one bottle of wine. Over 21 million people visit the California wine country each year. Ninety per cent (90%) of the wine... read more
Oregon grapes
To red wine health

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