In Kenwood………

Kenwood is very quickly becoming one of my favorite places in Sonoma County.  I am purposely trying to time my days so I can end up near Kenwood to catch lunch at Cafe Citti .  The town along Route 12 has some of the county’s best restaurants, tasting rooms and wineries.

When friends took us to Cafe Citti for the first time we parked in front of the En Garde tasting room.  Curiosity about the winery and the wines brought us to make a future appointment to taste.


It was definitely a good choice.  En Garde focuses on Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.  The coveted grapes from the vineyards on Diamond Mountain in Napa for the Cabs and the Russian River for their Pinot Noirs make many of the wines created by owner and winemaker Csaba Szakál true standouts.


Our host for the tasting was Paul Morand. I still have a grin on my face from meeting him!  Humor and ancedotes aside, He is an excellent host!

I found these wines to be the most appealing:

  • 2013 Malbec Alexander Valley
  • 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain
  • 2014 Gold Ridge Pinot Noir
  • 2013 Le Bijou Du Roi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

They are not everyday wines.  They are quite amazing and most definitely worthy of serving with a special meal, special friend, or for a special occasion.

I am looking forward to going back for another taste and with hopes of having the chance to try their Magdalena berry port.

Thank you Paul and En Garde for a great tasting experience!



Sonoma Underground……..

This past weekend we attended the first ever “Sonoma Underground” event held at Longboard Winery in downtown Healdsburg.  Elizabeth Schneider and Laura Perret Fontana created Underground to” help family-owned, unique producers thrive.”

The event showcased 15 small, independent wineries. Owners, winemakers and their families were there to pour.

Some of the standouts as determined by our group of seven were….

Kieran Robinson Wines was pouring Sparkling Brigade which was delicious.  Sadly they don’t sell it. You have to visit their winery to try it.

Longboard had an eye-catching Woody parked out front that was pretty irresitsible.

The vehicle warning was pretty catching too!

I’ll look forward to more events from Underground as this one was extremely well done.



Events in the Wine Country……..

We’re on our way to Truett-Hurst’s New Release Party. There is an endless schedule of wine events this time of year.  Picking and choosing is tough!

Truett-Hurst is in the Dry Creek Valley and has a great property along the creek for picnics and gatherings.

This release party featured Got Ball’s meatball sliders and some amazing chocolate brownies!

The brownie was the perfect accompaniment to a glass of Truett-Hurst’s 2015 Burning Man Petite Sirah.

Good wines, good food and wonderful music on a sunny day in the vineyards – It doesn’t get much better than this!

                         ___________ .  __________

The next weekend we headed off to Copain Winery. The drive alone through the county to wineries is beautiful this time of year with the Santa Rosa Plum trees in bloom.

Copain Winery has a majestic location.

Their newly released rosé was being showcased for the party……

and there was no shortage of Copain’s other wines to taste!

Sharing wine and wood fired pizzas with great friends at a spectacular winery makes my day!

This was a winery member /guest event.  Every weekend there are one or more of these scheduled throughout Sonoma.  There are also larger ticket events scheduled.  One coming up in April is Passport to Dry Creek Valley.  This will be our first year attending Passport.

If you’re looking for an excuse to get out here, I’m told by many this is the event to come for.





Our start in Healdsburg……..

There is no shortage of wine here!  For those of us who totally enjoy the hunt for, and discovery of, wonderful wines, Sonoma County is one of the greatest places to land!

Sometimes it seems like candy land ………………

The experience visiting a winery is special, relaxing and almost always unique.    Visiting the Bottle Barn is more like a run to Total Wine only on steroids!  You’ll be tempted to stay for hours looking over the massive inventory.

We were here maybe a week and we headed off to Preston for their famous jug wine only to remember when we arrived that Sunday is “jug day”.  But, for our first outing, its a great winery to revisit.  I purchased a bottle more for the creative labeling than anything (something John typically frowns upon).  It’s kind of a habit of mine! I expect it will be pleasing when opened at home.

The winery and its organic farm are linked. You can buy eggs, produce, and some excellent polenta milled at the farm. The winery and farm offer a more than great picnic space.

The day we were here field workers were beginning the laborious task of hand trimming the vineyards.  And….their infamous cats were easy to find over the sprawling grounds.

For our second outing we chose a dog friendly vineyard – Dutcher Crossing in Dry Creek Valley.  Remember, this is winter, the very best time to visit.   You receive the most attention and often the opportunity to interact more with staff, winemakers and owners.

Collyn Scott poured for us and provided a wealth of information about the wines, the winery and the area.  Their wines, and they make many, are wonderful. We picnicked there with a bottle of Dutcher Crossing’s 2015 Bacigalupi Vineyard Zinfandel.

We also had the chance to taste, with staff, Collyn and Lily, a Sauvignon Blanc the winemaker was putting the final touches on. I picked up notes of grapefruit – others not so.  We’ll see when its released!

Before leaving the winery we had the pleasure of meeting owner, Debra Mathy, Dutchess her canine sidekick, and winemaker, Nick Briggs.It was a great afternoon!  We’re looking forward to returning and to attending some of their upcoming member events.




Westward Ho!

The next adventure in our lives begins……..

Knowing our latest renovation project is in the hands of great owners……… We’re off on a 3,000+ mile cross country trip with a destination of Healdsburg, California.

We packed in the dog and the wine and headed out.

In the Panhandle of Florida – This is pretty darn amazing!  It goes on and on! The Old Spanish Trail in Milton – built between 1919-1921.

The drive through Louisiana and east Texas was rice fields and refineries.   It reminded me of how important a crop rice is to the south.

Our third day we cruised into Austin, TX for a relaxing lunch on S. Congress Street.

South Congress on Martin Luther King Day. Lunch at Güero’s was fantastic.

We drove on to San Antonio for the night and spent some time on the River walk and The Alamo!

When in Texas – try the Texan wine!  We ate at a terrific place – Zinc Bistro and Bar. The wine was a disappointment but the food was fantastic.


There was a winter ice and snow storm moving in.  Schools and business were closing the next day in preparation for bad road conditions.  We opted to make a run for it at 5:30 am.  It was our first encounter with freezing rain and 28 degree weather in decades!

Our car was an icicle! BUT an hour and a half outside of San Antonio we were on clear roads.  We were crossing the state of Texas, not exactly on our planned route but we were safely out of the winter’s worst storm to hit the south in 2018.

The first of too many trains to count from this point on.

Not many towns on the route but when we did come across one it inevitably had some terrifically crazy additions among its buildings!

And…..signs like this one – “Hitchhikers May be Escaped Inmates” –  This one definitely made you want to pick up speed!


This requires no comment.  Heading into Marfa……….

Marfa, TX


On the way to White Sands National Monument out of El  Paso, which had to be our best detour of the trip……….

The Military area is full of some weird sightings!

White Sands National Park is in the Chihuahuan Desert, NM

Honestly,  it was cold enough to believe this was snow!

The park service sells sleds to hit the dunes on!

Look closely!  There is yet another weird site in this field!

Another town that may have been worth spending some time was dotted with donkey statues colorfully emblazoned with paint- Carrizozo, NM.

On our way to Santa Fe…………..

It was frigid cold!

We had a reservation at Luxx Boutique Hotel. It’s a challenge to find great accommodations when traveling with a canine.  This one was very nice and just 2 blocks off the Plaza.

We dined that night at Geronimo’s sharing a terrific 2015 Gigondas with a Wild Mushroom Bisque that rivaled my favorite at Indigenous, along with Wagyu Beef Carpaccio and Elk Tenderloin.

Before heading out in the morning we had coffee and a quick breakfast at The Famous Plaza Cafe.  It’s been there forever. The all time favorite in Santa Fe is Café Pasqual’s which we will have to catch on a return trip.  I can’t wait!

The ever changing landscape is so awesome.  How can mountains take on so very many different shapes and colorations?

Poisonous snakes and insects? We didn’t go too far walking the dog!

Crossing the Mojave Desert……..

Rocky was ready to give up the car!

A welcome sign!

And truly a nice surprise welcome from good friends after 8 days on the road!







Leaving home……….

Saying goodbye to Sarasota and to our newly built / renovated cottage was huge!  The process was daunting having just unpacked our belongings and filled the wine room less than 8 months ago.

Aside from the normal packing…….It was necessary to sell off a major amount of the wine inventory, pack and ship some ahead, and arrange for a small amount to travel with us.  A big help with the process was arranging to have a wine storage facility, All Ways Cool in Santa Rosa to store and accept our deliveries.


Our friends were so gracious to entertain us before we departed.  We had a truly amazing time sharing special bottles together.

The time also presented an excuse to finally try some of those wines that had been laid down for years.  Sadly, some were down just a tad too long, others were great!

I wish I had remembered to snap photos of all of them! I’m definitely missing some incredible wines, especially sparkling ones!


Thank you to all for the wonderful send off!

And…… thanks so much over the final days for the food delivery, the care packages, help distributing our goods to charities and for packing our car safely! Nothing moved or rattled!

Looking forward to your visiting us in California!

On the road………





A Time to Help………..

Photo credit -SFGATE


The residents of Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino Counties want you to know they are open for business.  The fires were devastating. The lives of 42, over 6,000 homes and nearly 50 commercial buildings were lost. All businesses have taken a huge financial hit.  So, how can you help?………Their message for you is simple.

“Come,” … “Sonoma needs you.”  says winemaker Sara Roach

  • Visit Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino Counties
  • Buy the region’s wine
  • Drink wine!

And, if you can do more ………….

The fund will serve to assist ag workers who lost their homes in the fires by helping to fund the re-establishment of new households.

100% of your donations to the Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief fund will go directly to support those affected by the fires.


Reeve’s fundraiser:

Buy a ticket for this drawing!  The prizes are incredible!!!!

+ By donating money you have a chance to win a Healdsburg vacation package valued at over $15,000 that includes unique experiences you can’t buy.

+ RUNNER UP PACKAGE: Three night stay at the Montage Laguna Beach, in a suite, with dinner and wine pairings at their restaurant Studio, and massages for two.  $4500 value.

+ 100%—every penny—of all the money raised will go to help fire victims, with a focus on giving to the most vulnerable and those who were uninsured.

+ A series of donors who will match DOLLAR for DOLLAR all the money Reeve raises here.  That means this DOUBLES the impact of your gift.

D O N A T I O N S:  All funds raised will be divided to three different organizations—the Redwood Credit Union FundRedwood Empire Food Bank, and to a local to Healdsburg organization called Corazon.

C O S T:  Tickets are 1 for $25, 5 for $100, 15 for $200, 50 for $500.

W H E N:  Drawing will be held on Facebook Live at 11AM PST, November 1.


100% off all funds raised will be donated. $185,819 raised so far!

Today, 98% of the wineries are open for you to visit and taste.  I encourage you to make it out there.  I’m ready to go!!!