Posts Tagged ‘wine blog’

Valentine's Weekend Wine Activities in Sonoma Valley

MANY events going on this weekend –  Wine and Valentines Day are the perfect pairing!

Welcome to this  week’s events in Sonoma Valley. (Calendar information courtesy of Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers.) Please note this is Sonoma VALLEY,  not the entire county. See the bottom of the blog for websites for more events throughout Sonoma and the Wine Road.

Tuesday, February 01 – Monday, February 14
Make your sweetheart fall in love with Robledo’s chocolate and wine pairing! Choose one of two flights for $5.00 (Free to “La Familia” wine club members). Indulge in a milk or dark chocolate truffle paired with Robledo’s 2005 Syrah, 2006 “El Rey” Cabernet Sauvignon and Port OR a white chocolate truffle paired with Robledo’s 2006 Moscato, 2008 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc and White Port…..simply irresistible! Receive 10% off your entire purchase through February 14th.

Tuesday, February 08: 5:30 pm – The Lodge at Sonoma
On Tuesdays, Sommelier Christopher Sawyer presents tasty wines – Annual Romantic Movie & Wine Pairings. Complimentary,

Thursday, February 10: 6:30pm – 8:00 pm
Special guest Greg Nemrow of Audelssa Winery. Relax in Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar with host guest winemakers or proprietors discussing their wines. It’s as easy as rubbing elbows with the big shots and joining in some educational wine talk. Complimentary,

Saturday, February 12 – Sunday, February 13: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sweethearts Weekend! Cupid Strikes the heart of all loyal Zin Fans and treats them to a delicious Zinfandel Suite (a Late Harvest Zinfandel) along with a zinfully delicious chocolate truffle. Extra special tasting menu that is sure to delight you and your Sweetie for this Holiday of Love! Any Ravenswood fan wearing RED can enter a special drawing to be announced after the weeken $10 Contact: 707-933-2336 707-933-2323

Saturday, February 12 – Sunday, February 13: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
9592 Sonoma Highway (Highway 12), Kenwood, CA 95452
For more information call (707) 282-4228.

Saturday, February 12: 12:00 am – 4:00 pm
February’s new releases are a bundle of love! Celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend by enjoying the newest vintages of  very limited 2006 Syrah, Kuljian Vineyard, 2006 Syrah, Arrowood Estate Vineyard and 2006 Syrah, Saralee’s Vineyard. $10 Guest, First in Line Wine Club Complimentary.

Saturday, February 12 – Sunday, February 13: 10:30am – 4:30pm
Deerfield’s artisan wines paired with Robert’s handcrafted chocolate truffles. No better way to say “I love you”. Grand Room in the Cave, $15 per person, Club Members taste free. For more information email

Saturday, February 12: Doors Open at 7:30 pm. Concert begins at 8:00 pm
Join Gloria Ferrer in a special Valentine’s Day performance by Flamenco guitarist Eric Symons and special guest Patrick Imbimbo, who is an international recording artist and performer specializing in flamenco and Spanish classical music. Event includes Dessert Buffet plus 2 glasses of award winning sparkling wine. Price $35 per person, $29.75 per person wine club members.

Saturday, February 12: 6:30 pm
Make Valentines Day memorable with a very special dinner at St. Francis. Celebrate with great wine and food as Executive Chef David Bush creates an exquisite menu for you and your special someone. Share an intimate candle lit experience, with each tantilizing course expertly paired with their premium Artisan Series wines. There’s no place quite as romantic as the rolling vineyard-covered hillsides of Sonoma Valley!
$125.00 Public, $99.00 Wine Club Members (+tax+gratuity) 888-675-WINE,

Saturday, February 12 – Monday, February 14: 10 am – 5 pm
B.R. Cohn Winery ( is pleased to announce a special Valentine’s Weekend wine and massage pairing. February 12th, 13th and 14th and visitors to the winery will be treated to a flight of B.R. Cohn Cabernets, including the Silver Label Cabernet, Olive Hill Estate Cabernet and the Special Selection Cabernet along with The Perfect Pair of chocolate. The cost is $20/person, will be presented in the VIP Tasting Room and will include four other B.R. Cohn wine tastings. The massages will be located in the vineyard, sunny skies permitting, or in the poolside salon if raining.. The cost is $100/couple for 60 minute massages with reservations made through Vallerie Cohn at (707) 934-7400, although walk ins are welcomed if openings are available.

Saturday, February 12 – Monday, February 14: 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm at Carneros Bistro at The Lodge at Sonoma
For the menu and reservations go to or call (707) 931-2042.

Saturday, February 12 – Sunday, February 13: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Add a little sparkle to your Valentine’s weekend with some Schug “Rouge de Noirs”! Sample this perennial favorite paired with some of Chef Kristine’s delicious appetizers. $15.00 per person. Club members free plus 1 guest.
R.S.V.P. to

Saturday, February 12: 11 am – 6 pm
No cost! Pick up your February 2011 wine club order and stay for the party. Enjoy nice light appetizers, fun music & excellent wines. Taste some of Ty’s newly released 2009 vintage wines, too! The party is co-hosted with Muscardini Cellars. For more information, contact Ty Caton Vineyards & Muscardini Cellars Tasting Room, Kenwood Village Plaza, 8910 Sonoma Highway

Saturday, February 12 – Sunday, February 13: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Bring your sweetheart out to indulge in some of Larson’s sweets. Serving  Estate Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Three Lab Cab Chocolate Cabernet Sauce and Estate Carneros Chardonnay paired with  chardonnay wine brittle.

Saturday, February 12 – Sunday, February 13: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Nothing says, “Be my valentine!” quite like chocolates and a great red wine. Get both of them at Audelssa’s new tasting room in Glen Ellen. Truffles from Wine Country Chocolates, infused with the 2007 Audelssa Cabernet Sauvignon, will be featured along with other locally-produced, artisinal chocolates paired with current release and library Audelssa wines. For more information call (707) 933-8514 or visit

Sunday, February 13
A yearly favorite: Nicholson Ranch wines find their love matches in a delectable array of small plates, from appetizers to dessert, served at table in the Vintners Room. Mark your calendars now as, with so many repeat guests, this event fills up quickly! Price: $100.00, Wine Club: $ 95.00.

Other Resources

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Wine of the Week – Dutton Estate 2008 Russian River Valley, Thomas Road, Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir – my first non Bordeaux love, before my Rhone mistress. You never forget your first real experience with a woman; Pinot Noir, thankfully ahead of Sideways, awoke my palate after many years of Bordeaux varietals  (Cabernet, Merlot, etc.) I was seduced by this seductive, layered, complex varietal that didn’t require tannin condom on my tongue to drink.

I speak  passionately about Rhones, but  a elegant, silky Pinot Noir fills a void no other wine does.

Dutton Estate

I had a very pleasant re-visit to Dutton during my frenetic garagiste harvest. Consumer sales guru Martini Bagget had been corresponding with me to stop in. Dutton Estate’s tasting room is casual and non-pretentious, which worked well since I was coming back from Saralee Vineyards with my trailer after dropping off bins, in harvest attire. It was a quick stop from Saralee , so I decided to treat myself to a visit amidst the fall frenzy of activity.

Unfortunately I didn’t make a blog about my entire tasting – but sometimes even wine writers ‘just enjoy’, and I did. Martini was a very gracious, enthusiastic hostess.

My goal for Wine of the Week is to share a special wine I think others will enjoy, and will strive for something in reach of most. Granted, at ~$45, this is a bit higher than others, but small lot, well made Pinot Noir simply isn’t inexpensive. Like an expensive mistress, it’s a high maintenance grape that needs special attention, and comes with a higher production cost for a true Pinot Noir experience.

Dutton Estate 2008 Russian River Valley, Thomas Road, Pinot Noir

Dutton Estate is a grower first, vintner second, managing 80 distinct vineyards in Russian River Valley, much located in Green Valley. Thomas Road is planted with Dijon clone 115, which produces a darker, bolder Pinot Noir. Nonetheless this Pinot Noir maintains her form. Don’t let the clonal descriptors through you off, this is not a Syrah tainted Pinot.

I wish I had created this quote myself, but I must share one of the Cellartracker reviews: “A big, curvy, sexy Pinot, stuffed into a simple elegant dress…” This is a woman, not a girl.

To The Eye: Garnet.  Modestly opaque, unfiltered.

On The Nose: Cranberry, black cherry, spice, and a hint of earth

In The Mouth: Bold front palate; black fruit, cherry; wonderful mid palate, lush, nice mouth feel. Fruit carries through to a nice finish, with lingering acidity.

Where To Buy: Online on their website, $48

Food Pairing: This Pinot has enough heft to stand up to a number of  meats – Lamb. Filet Mignon. Duck.

Other Info: 14.4 % Alcohol. Only 15 barrels (375 cases, unless using Napa math) made

Recommendation: A Russian River Pinot Noir worthy of a spot in your cellar. Not quite as delicate as other Pinot Noirs I often favor, but seduced me nonetheless.

Rating: Outstanding, 91 points

Cheers and thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog !

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Announcing Simple Hedonisms New Writers; additional AVA Coverage Expansion, Apply Within

One of the beauties of the ever expanding wine industry (new wineries  continue to open despite the downturn) is the never ending source of wineries, new releases, winemakers, wine venues, and events to explore.

Frankly it’s downright daunting…I can’t get to all of the 180+ wineries in a 30 mile radius of where I live, let alone get deep into Napa, an hour away, all of Sonoma Valley 45 minutes away, and remote areas I love including Paso Robles, 3.5 hours away, Willamette Valley…and so many more. (Not too mention my full time VP of Sales/Marketing job, the social media assistance I offer, and my runaway garagiste project.

Simple Hedonisms, due to time constraints, has yet to fully evolve into what I want to write; which is the stories of artisans producers, and consumer wine education. It does to some extent achieve it’s goal of “connecting enthusiastic consumers to passionate artisans” via event coverage, and wine reviews, but it is still my desire to go much deeper.  By adding more writers, and AVA (wine region) specialists, I hope to be able to capture more individual focus on AVA’s, and free me up to broader focus, as well as add more local insider views and expertise.

Are we trying to become Palate Press…not even close, completely different intents and focus. Simple Hedonisms is a non-monetized blog (we attempt to cover costs is all, not that anything is wrong with monetizaton!) designed to assist the wine industry and associated local businesses.

Two New Writers

A few months ago we announced the addition of Katherine Parker, a resident of Sonoma Valley. Today I am pleased to announce the addition of new writers Deborah Kravitz (who’s guest articles have been a big hit) and Tracy Logan-Immordino.

Deborah brings a great perspective of both avid consumer and now some hospitality experience. She is my personal go to person for California Pinot, and tips on Mendocino County. Tracy is a long time employee of the Wine Road, representing the AVA’s of the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys.  You can read more about them in the new Writer’s Bio tab.

What Simple Hedonisms is Looking For

  • People with decent writing skills and a passion for wine, and the industry.
  • Living in or close to,  a key area or AVA: Napa, Mendocino, Paso Robles, Monterrey/Carmel, Santa Cruz, Willamette, Walla Walla, etc. and the desire to make that a focus.
  • Ability to write two (minimum) – four  short articles a month on local events, wineries, related topics. People generally write best about what excites them, so I to embrace each writer’s personal focus and passion.

What Do I Get out of This, Why Not just Start, (or Continue) my Own Blog

  • If you think starting a blog presence and getting a following is easy in today’s crowded world, guess again. It takes substantial persistence to get momentum underway, and then maintain it. Not to mention design, creation, maintenance and regular content. The Simple Hedonisms brand is already well established, with a good following, and one that can be easily expanded.
  • Training and assistance on using WordPress.
  • Readership and traffic grows steadily each month; as of Sept 2010 averaging around 3,000 unique readers and 200,000 hits. It’s not Vinography, but for 12 months that’s respectable, and the wider focus will grow readers.
  • If you publish your own blog, with some discussion, content is open to re-use.
  • After a successful trial period, you will be provided with business cards, and occasional wine samples and event tickets. This is not the main incentive for coming on board, but an additional perk.
  • This format is open, with possibilities for future evolution, growth and ideas.
  • You will be part of a collaborative team and benefit from idea sharing, knowledge growth, and exposure.

What Simple Hedonisms Isn’t

  • We aren’t sample or ticket whores, are fully against bloggers that are, and any discovery of aggressive solicitation, or behaviors will result in parting ways.
  • We aren’t argumentative (when writing), engage in ‘blogger wars’, or drama. Our focus is consumers and the wine industry.


If you, or someone you know would be interested, contact me and we can discuss live. We will start with several new writers, then possibly phase a few more in.  A sample of writing is request, if available.

What do Readers Think?

Ultimately this is for you. Additional writers means more regular articles, broader coverage, and view points. Would 4-5 short pieces a week be too much? Do you like, or dislike covering more AVA’s?

2010 Wine Bloggers Awards – Nominations Are Open

If you subscribe to wine blogs, invariably you are starting to see the stream of posts about the 2010 Wine Blog Awards.

It’s hard to believe only  6 months ago I launched Simple Hedonisms. Its been incredibly rewarding to watch traffic grow. March traffic doubled with 2000 readers and 180,000 hits. That’s peanuts compared to guys like Vinography and Fermentation, but the difference in Simple Hedonisms is that the audience is highly localized, by design,  First to Sonoma, then the Bay Area, and California. Eventually I will focus on growing National Readership, but that can’t really occur until I have the proper time to dedicate, and am not traveling 4 days a week working  12+ hour days. Besides, the main goal of Simple Hedonisms was to “connect passionate consumers to dedicated Artisans” and that’s much easier to do initially on a smaller scale.

For those of you not local, it isn’t just the blog, its the involvement and participation in the local wine industry that I unfortunately rarely write about, that I spend a lot of rewarding time doing. Whether it’s organizing the monthly Facebook Wine Meetups for 60+ people, helping a winery or an association promote an event, or just helping spread the word and help people make connections. I have been blessed to meet and work with many amazing people and organizations, and more importantly, be able to call them friend.

That’s a typical William verbose way of saying its a pure Labor of Love. And to that extent, almost all wine blogs are, since most generate little/no income. (Mine runs in the red.) I’d ask that Blog readers take the time to nominate, and then vote for, blogs that you read. Would I be honored if it was Simple Hedonisms? Of course. But I am not about to embark on the heavy self promoting campaigns that will follow, as its not my style, and your readership is my true reward. I do look forward to attending this years Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla and meeting many of my fellow bloggers in person.

The Categories for Nomination are below with a link; each has a description of the award in more detail:

Nominate Now: Best Overall Wine Blog

Nominate Now: Best New Wine Blog

Nominate Now: Best Writing On a Wine Blog

Nominate Now: Best Winery Blog

Nominate Now: Best Single Subject Wine Blog

Nominate Now: Best Wine Reviews on a Wine Blog

Nominate Now: Best Industry/Business Wine Blog

Nominate Now: Best Wine Blog Graphics, Photography, & Presentation

Thanks for reading, nominating, and voting. Cheers!

Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog Launches New Facebook Fan Page – Fan us up and Spread the Word

Up until now I have been using my personal Facebook site for Simple Hedonisms. I will still of course maintain that and do some wine updates there, but I recognized there may be people who want to follow and interact with the blog and not me per se. Also technically now that the blog is gaining momentum and do advertising and writing for events like Wine Road Barrel Tasting, The Pinot Noir Summit, The Hospice du Rhone, and more, technically its (becoming) a small business, and should have a Fan site. (I am going to keep just one Twitter account however.)

This blog is intended for, and will remain mostly written to consumers; however as I do more and more work and consulting on Social Media and Marketing, I will publish an occasional piece on that as well, given Simple Hedonisms readers are winery’s in addition to consumers.

Lots of great new articles, events, contests, and promotions to come, as Simple Hedonisms continues its goal to connect consumers to passionate Artisans.



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