About Me:

Weekly columnist for The Washington Times Communities in their Food + Travel section: Wine Country Weekly & Out and About San Francisco.

Wine travel writer for TheGrapeHunter.com.

I love wine and love writing about it even more. I've slowly been drinking and writing my way through Napa, Sonoma and beyond! Cheers!

Wente Vineyards   0
3.5
10/30/2015

The rich history of wine making in Livermore can be dated back as far as the 1760s when Spanish missionaries first planted grapes to provide wine for church services, much like in the wine regions of Sonoma and Napa to the north. Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines in the 1840s. Then family winemakers James Concannon, Charles Wetmore and Carl H. Wente saw the area’s potential and likeness to rocky French soils, and founded their wineries in the early 1880s.

Well before the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 that put Napa ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
3.0
4.0
4.0
3.5

Wente Vineyard Tasting Room   0
4.0
10/30/2015

The rich history of wine making in Livermore can be dated back as far as the 1760s when Spanish missionaries first planted grapes to provide wine for church services, much like in the wine regions of Sonoma and Napa to the north. Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines in the 1840s. Then family winemakers James Concannon, Charles Wetmore and Carl H. Wente saw the area’s potential and likeness to rocky French soils, and founded their wineries in the early 1880s.

Well before the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 that put Napa ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
3.0
4.0
4.0
4.0

Concannon Tasting Room   0
4.0
10/9/2015

Concannon Vineyard & Winery is located in charming Livermore Valley, and is actually closer to downtown San Francisco than most of the Napa Valley and Sonoma County wineries. In Livermore there is a real down-to-earth quality and true generational feeling you might not get while in other California wine tasting regions. Guests will not feel like guests, they will almost feel like old friends, or in some instances, family.

There is a rich history of wine making in Livermore that can be dated back as far as the 1760s, when Spanish missionaries ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
3.5
5.0
5.0
4.0

Lasseter Family Winery   0
4.5
9/22/2015

Famed animated movie producer John Lassetter (Pixar) and his wife own and operate Lassetter Family Winery. John and Nancy have a deep love and passion for wine that dates back to the 1980s when they traveled through France by train. Their love for wine eventually drove them to Sonoma in 1993, where they discovered that they not only had a passion for drinking wine, but also for making it. What began as a bit of “garage wine” with a group of friends, eventually became Lasseter Family Winery. John and Nancy both adore the old-world style of making wine, ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0

Homage Vineyard   0
4.5
10/29/2014

Micro-winery standout Homage Vineyard, is an absolute must-stop for serious Cabernet Sauvignon lovers when visiting Napa Valley. Owners Simon and Avia Hawksworth are a pure delight. Long story short, they met in Portland, moved to Minnesota together and eventually worked their way west to Calistoga nine years ago.

The vines were five years old when they bought the property but hadn't been properly maintained. So they hired a vineyard manager and made their first non-commercial vintage in 2005 (2009 was their first commercial vintage). A year later, they hired the magical vineyard manager duo ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
5.0
5.0
4.5

Jericho Canyon Vineyards   0
4.5
9/1/2014

Calistoga, in lovely Napa Valley, is breathtaking year-round. Nestled at the base of the Palisades Mountains and Mount Saint Helena, and at the very north end of the Napa Valley, you will find Calistoga. It is a small town treasure in an otherwise vast and often crowded wine country. If I had to choose only one word to describe Jericho Canyon, it would be "breathtaking." Although often overused, the word breathtaking might actually be an understatement of the speechless beauty visitors will encounter at this winery. There are a total of 135 acres that make up Jericho Canyon, ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0

Paradise Ridge Winery - Kenwood   0
4.0
6/17/2014

Paradise Ridge, located in the hills of Santa Rosa, is owned by the Byck Family. Walter Byck bought the winery property in 1978 and began planting the vineyards. The winery became a reality in 1991. In addition to wine tasting with a stunning view of Santa Rosa and Russian River Valley, Paradise Ridge also boasts an eclectic art sculpture garden. The winery also has a quaint tasting room in downtown Kenwood.

The Winery:  The Kenwood tasting room offers an excellent way for Sonoma Valley visitors to experience a bit of Paradise without traveling the ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
3.5

Paradise Ridge Winery   0
4.5
6/10/2014

Paradise Ridge, located in the hills of Santa Rosa, is owned by the Byck Family. Walter Byck bought the winery property in 1978, and the winery became a reality in 1991. In addition to wine tasting with a stunning view of Santa Rosa and Russian River Valley, Paradise Ridge also boasts an eclectic art sculpture garden. The winery also has a quaint tasting room in downtown Kenwood.

The Winery:  The winery seems to be hidden in the middle of the town of Santa Rosa. When driving there, you will pass elegant homes on the beautiful ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0

WALT Wines   0
4.5
3/25/2014

WALT Wines, based in the town of Sonoma, specializes in the production of artisan Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Pacific Coast’s most distinctive vineyard sites, spanning nearly 1000 miles. Vintners Kathryn Walt Hall and Craig Hall of both Walt and Hall family wine industry fame own WALT Wines. They began in 2009 as an idea to get back to their grape-growing and winemaking roots that date back to the early 1970s. Kathryn Hall and her family have been grape growers in Mendocino County since 1972. The Walt family owns 63 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Zinfandel and ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
5.0
5.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
3.0

Sojourn Cellars   0
4.5
7/25/2013

Sojourn Cellars is based in the town of Sonoma and specializes in the production of artisan Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Their wines are highly acclaimed and are often rated and featured in The Pinot Report, California Grapevine and Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Sojourn does not own any vineyards. Rather, they source their fruit from some of the most recognized and celebrated vineyards in Sonoma and Napa Counties.

The Winery:  Sojourn is conveniently located in the town of Sonoma just off the historic town square. This is ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
5.0
5.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
3.0

Hanzell Vineyards   0
5.0
5.0
4/12/2013

Hanzell is literally a hidden gem in the town of Sonoma. One would think since they’ve been making wine since 1957 that everyone in the wine world would know Hanzell, but that just is not the case. They are greatly respected in the industry and hardly known to the average wine consumer. Hanzell has been making wine for over fifty years, and their accumulated knowledge of viticulture and winemaking really shows through in not only their wines, but also in their general approach to life and all things wine. In those years, they’ve only had a handful of winemakers, ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0

Deerfield Ranch Winery   0
5.0
5.0
4/7/2013

Overview:  Deerfield Ranch winery is located in the heart of Sonoma Valley California, and Robert Rex and his wife PJ are the founders and owners. Robert has been making wine since 1972, and with the 2012 harvest he celebrated 40 years of consecutive winemaking. The Deerfield story is steeped in love and patience that is reflected in every wine they make and with every experience you have at Deerfield Ranch. If you are lucky, you might just catch one of the winery events where you not only get a chance to meet the Rex’s, but you also might get ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
5.0
5.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0

Concannon Tasting Room   0
4.0

Concannon Vineyard & Winery is located in charming Livermore Valley, and is actually closer to downtown San Francisco than most of the Napa Valley and Sonoma County wineries. In Livermore there is a real down-to-earth quality and true generational feeling you might not get while in other California wine tasting regions. Guests will not feel like guests, they will almost feel like old friends, or in some instances, family.

There is a rich history of wine making in Livermore that can be dated back as far as the 1760s, when Spanish missionaries ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
3.5
5.0
5.0
4.0

Deerfield Ranch Winery   0
5.0
5.0

Overview:  Deerfield Ranch winery is located in the heart of Sonoma Valley California, and Robert Rex and his wife PJ are the founders and owners. Robert has been making wine since 1972, and with the 2012 harvest he celebrated 40 years of consecutive winemaking. The Deerfield story is steeped in love and patience that is reflected in every wine they make and with every experience you have at Deerfield Ranch. If you are lucky, you might just catch one of the winery events where you not only get a chance to meet the Rex’s, but you also might get ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
5.0
5.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0

Hanzell Vineyards   0
5.0
5.0

Hanzell is literally a hidden gem in the town of Sonoma. One would think since they’ve been making wine since 1957 that everyone in the wine world would know Hanzell, but that just is not the case. They are greatly respected in the industry and hardly known to the average wine consumer. Hanzell has been making wine for over fifty years, and their accumulated knowledge of viticulture and winemaking really shows through in not only their wines, but also in their general approach to life and all things wine. In those years, they’ve only had a handful of winemakers, ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0

Lasseter Family Winery   0
4.5

Famed animated movie producer John Lassetter (Pixar) and his wife own and operate Lassetter Family Winery. John and Nancy have a deep love and passion for wine that dates back to the 1980s when they traveled through France by train. Their love for wine eventually drove them to Sonoma in 1993, where they discovered that they not only had a passion for drinking wine, but also for making it. What began as a bit of “garage wine” with a group of friends, eventually became Lasseter Family Winery. John and Nancy both adore the old-world style of making wine, ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0

Sojourn Cellars   0
4.5

Sojourn Cellars is based in the town of Sonoma and specializes in the production of artisan Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Their wines are highly acclaimed and are often rated and featured in The Pinot Report, California Grapevine and Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Sojourn does not own any vineyards. Rather, they source their fruit from some of the most recognized and celebrated vineyards in Sonoma and Napa Counties.

The Winery:  Sojourn is conveniently located in the town of Sonoma just off the historic town square. This is ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
5.0
5.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
3.0

WALT Wines   0
4.5

WALT Wines, based in the town of Sonoma, specializes in the production of artisan Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Pacific Coast’s most distinctive vineyard sites, spanning nearly 1000 miles. Vintners Kathryn Walt Hall and Craig Hall of both Walt and Hall family wine industry fame own WALT Wines. They began in 2009 as an idea to get back to their grape-growing and winemaking roots that date back to the early 1970s. Kathryn Hall and her family have been grape growers in Mendocino County since 1972. The Walt family owns 63 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Zinfandel and ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
5.0
5.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
3.0

Paradise Ridge Winery   0
4.5

Paradise Ridge, located in the hills of Santa Rosa, is owned by the Byck Family. Walter Byck bought the winery property in 1978, and the winery became a reality in 1991. In addition to wine tasting with a stunning view of Santa Rosa and Russian River Valley, Paradise Ridge also boasts an eclectic art sculpture garden. The winery also has a quaint tasting room in downtown Kenwood.

The Winery:  The winery seems to be hidden in the middle of the town of Santa Rosa. When driving there, you will pass elegant homes on the beautiful ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0

Paradise Ridge Winery - Kenwood   0
4.0

Paradise Ridge, located in the hills of Santa Rosa, is owned by the Byck Family. Walter Byck bought the winery property in 1978 and began planting the vineyards. The winery became a reality in 1991. In addition to wine tasting with a stunning view of Santa Rosa and Russian River Valley, Paradise Ridge also boasts an eclectic art sculpture garden. The winery also has a quaint tasting room in downtown Kenwood.

The Winery:  The Kenwood tasting room offers an excellent way for Sonoma Valley visitors to experience a bit of Paradise without traveling the ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
3.5

Jericho Canyon Vineyards   0
4.5

Calistoga, in lovely Napa Valley, is breathtaking year-round. Nestled at the base of the Palisades Mountains and Mount Saint Helena, and at the very north end of the Napa Valley, you will find Calistoga. It is a small town treasure in an otherwise vast and often crowded wine country. If I had to choose only one word to describe Jericho Canyon, it would be "breathtaking." Although often overused, the word breathtaking might actually be an understatement of the speechless beauty visitors will encounter at this winery. There are a total of 135 acres that make up Jericho Canyon, ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0

Homage Vineyard   0
4.5

Micro-winery standout Homage Vineyard, is an absolute must-stop for serious Cabernet Sauvignon lovers when visiting Napa Valley. Owners Simon and Avia Hawksworth are a pure delight. Long story short, they met in Portland, moved to Minnesota together and eventually worked their way west to Calistoga nine years ago.

The vines were five years old when they bought the property but hadn't been properly maintained. So they hired a vineyard manager and made their first non-commercial vintage in 2005 (2009 was their first commercial vintage). A year later, they hired the magical vineyard manager duo ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
4.0
5.0
5.0
4.5

Wente Vineyard Tasting Room   0
4.0

The rich history of wine making in Livermore can be dated back as far as the 1760s when Spanish missionaries first planted grapes to provide wine for church services, much like in the wine regions of Sonoma and Napa to the north. Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines in the 1840s. Then family winemakers James Concannon, Charles Wetmore and Carl H. Wente saw the area’s potential and likeness to rocky French soils, and founded their wineries in the early 1880s.

Well before the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 that put Napa ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
3.0
4.0
4.0
4.0

Wente Vineyards   0
3.5

The rich history of wine making in Livermore can be dated back as far as the 1760s when Spanish missionaries first planted grapes to provide wine for church services, much like in the wine regions of Sonoma and Napa to the north. Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines in the 1840s. Then family winemakers James Concannon, Charles Wetmore and Carl H. Wente saw the area’s potential and likeness to rocky French soils, and founded their wineries in the early 1880s.

Well before the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 that put Napa ... Read full review



Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance
3.0
4.0
4.0
3.5