Archive for the 'wine travel' Category

Where in the wine world was he? Mendoza, Argentina!


Where was the small man with the big hat? Or was it a big man with a small hat–and even bigger vines?

I stopped by the Cavas Wine Lodge in Mendoza, Argentina last spring after it had just opened. Proprietor Cecilia Diaz was showing us around the new lodges interspersed among the vines with breathtaking views of the Andes. This guy rode out and started doing his thing but posed for me to take a picture. Cecilia said that he had worked there forever so they kept him on when they bought the property and gave him a new bike. And, no, he wasn’t very tall, in fact.

Nice guess, Luiz, with Zuccardi in Mendoza! In fact, I took another photo of Jose Zuccardi gesticulating wildly under his similar trellis system. They grow them vines big there!

It was a wide range of guesses that emerged in the comments including: Golan Heights; Bekka, Lebanon; Brazil; Rias Baixas, Spain; Greece; Portugal; California; the Swan and Barossa Valleys of Australia; Thailand; and “the outback region of Mukwonago, Wisconsin” (thanks, Gary!).

There were good captions for the photo too, including “Frodo Baggins better destroy that damn ring or I’m going to be making wine for that sulky serpent Saruman!”

So without further ado, thanks to a roll of the dice at, the winner of The Emperor of Wine is: Philippe Newlin! Congratulations, Philippe! And thanks to all for the participation and humor.

You can read more on my trip to Argentina. And send in a photo if you’d like to stump us the next time.

Paris wine shops, a map!


Are you in Paris today during the 24-hr public sector strike and wondering what to do? Why, set up a wine-drenched itinerary of local wine shops! Check out my brand new map of Paris wine stores–and wine bars that sell wines to go!

I give you the scoop on over 40 places including my faves, ranging from neighborhood places to super-luxury stops. If you’re a local looking for “natural” wines or a tourist looking for wines you can’t find at home, click through to start setting up your own itinerary for your next visit!

Paris wine shops, a map

Is one of yours not on the map? Drop me a line with the address and why you think it should be included.

Related: Bringing wine back with you from France
Paris/France wine round-up
All posts in French wine
The map room

Kids at wineries, the winner is… Jackson!

And the winner in the kids at wineries photo contest is…Josh for his son, Jackson, propped on a new oak barrel. Even though Josh had an inside edge thanks to starting his own winery in Sonoma and his own blog at pinotblogger, site reader Damon mounted a formidable campaign for photo of his adorable daughter Avery. It was such a heated battle that there was a lead change as recently as yesterday! But the late surge put Josh/Jackson over the top with 47% of the 377 votes cast when polls closed. There is some poetic justice in Josh’s victory since it was his original comment that sparked this whole kids at wineries thread about six weeks ago.

Josh wins a complete set of books by my wife, Michelle, in the Urban Babies Wear Black series, including the New Baby Baby’s Journal, and the black onesie/tshirt. Do Sonoma babies wear black? Time will tell…

Thanks to everyone who submitted very cute photos. One of the other finalists, Amy, has her own winery in the Rhone and put up a posting related to this thread. Amy sez: “I can certainly tell you that here at La Gramière we couldn’t get along without kids! They are always an enormous help to us during harvest, and they add such a wonderful esprit to the whole event. So here are some of my favorite kid photos from our past 3 harvests…”

One final vignette: I was on a panel with Joel Peterson of Ravenswood Winery last week and he told a story about grape ripeness. Thirty years ago he would throw his son on his back and walk through the vineyards to check the sugar levels with his refractometer. The best measure for ripeness, he found, was simply to pass a grape back to his son, Morgan: if he ate it they were ripe, if he spit it out, the grapes had to stay on the vine a little longer.

So here’s to responsible kids and parents at wineries, something (nearly) everyone can raise a glass to!

Kids at wineries: let the voting begin!
Kids at wineries, a photo contest
Poll: should kids be banned from wineries?
Urban Babies Wear Black

Kids at wineries, let the voting begin!

Following the controversy generated by a recent poll on this site about banning kids from wineries, we add another poll! But this one has content from you, dear readers, of this site! Grateful for all the photos, the hastily convened Kids At Wineries Committee surveyed the submissions and picked the top five–wait, top six with a late and provocative entry crossing the line! They were all very cute–well, except for that last one that the Committee included for diversity.

Unlike the previous poll, this one has prizes! A complete set of children books by Michelle, my wife, starting with Urban Babies Wear Black and running through the just-about-to-be released Winter Babies Wear Layers. Five books in all, with a black onesie, and a grape juice box thrown in for good measure, these prizes will go to the person who submitted the photo here with the most votes as of Sunday the 7th.

So without further ado, to the photos! Read more…

Fred Franzia, blind tastings, fifty kids, gringo vino – Sipped and spit

SIPPED: Freddy boy
If there were no Fred Franzia, would journalists have to invent him? In this story, the man behind Two Buck Chuck swears, slams all wine over $10 a bottle, mocks the concept of terroir, and relieves himself near his car–all in the first paragraph! Business 2.0 lapped it up talking about his “wars” and why he has an Enya CD in his Jeep. [Business 2.0, now defunct]

SPIT: Blind tastings
Eric Asimov writes “maybe as wine drinkers we’re all a little more grown up now and don’t need to taste blind all the time.” Indeed! Three cheers wine evaluation without numbers! [The Pour]

SIPPED: Gringo vino

Are Americans finally heading to Argentina to make wine? Fortune Small Business found a few. I hope they read my article from January about the pitfalls! [Fortune SB]

SIPPED: Bambino vino
Gabriella writes up her experience taking 55 elementary school kids on a winery tour in Spain. Could this ever take place if it were in America? [Catavino]

SIPPED: green wine
Whole Foods rolls out an “organically grown” wine in a tetra prisma! [Seattle dbusiness]

SIPPED: merlot
The grape, spit in Sideways, will get it’s own defense on the silver screen with a new documentary. Key question: will anyone notice?

SPIT: The greenback
The US dollar falls to 15 year lows. Say hello to more expensive imported wine–and wine travel overseas!

(Photo credit: Fair use is made here of a reduced-size crop from a larger image in Business 2.0 attributed to Michael Kelley)

The new Douro wines and the Douro Boys


Zooming down the Douro River at 35 knots provided relief from the noon-time heat. Vintner Joao Ferreira Alvares Ribeiro powered the boat across the placid water, sparing us the the twists and turns of the roads that curve through the valley. Whoever planted the first vines here must have been a sadist and a masochist as well as a hedonist: elaborate terraces for vines that represent generations of work now score the vertiginous hillsides on either side of the river.

The mighty Douro wends 600 miles from its start in the middle of Castilla-Leon in Spain (where it is known as the Duero), across northern Portugal and down to the city of Porto where the river opens into the Atlantic. In a different era, the river was narrow, fast moving affair with rapids. Now, since five dams have been built on the Portuguese side, it is languid and wide, making for our great boat ride. Indeed, our ride was symbolic of the fast pace of changes in the region. Read more…

Poll: should kids be banned from wineries?

Discussion on a recent posting highlighted that the new Sattui castle winery in Napa has a “no kids” policy, which set off brief exchange with one reader supporting it. One dad emailed that he thought there should be a “no asshole” policy instead. As a wine-loving dad, I certainly enjoy going to wineries with my wife and four-year old–heck, we’ve even been to NYC wine bars together, though at an early hour.

So I thought I would give this a more public airing with a poll. What do you say: should kids be banned from wineries?

Thanks for voting; poll now closed.

Related: “At Wineries, the Visitors Can Be Young and Bubbly: Napa Valley” (NY Times, May 22, 2005)


Where in the wine world am I?


If you’re up for a challenge, where am I that I took this photo today? Be the first one with the correct guess and all the glory will be yours. More soon.

UPDATE: Read more…


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