johnk's blog

johnk's blog

Wine Anyone? San Diego Wineries - Hidden Gems

Sun, 01/08/2023 - 10:19 -- johnk

San Diego has a dynamic and energetic wine growing culture. The number boutique wineries continue to grow. You have intimate access to the wine making process, to vineyards and the winemakers of this growing wine region. With more than one hundred wineries both in the city of San Diego itself along with other tasting rooms within a one-hour drive. This delightful combination come together to make San Diego a destination for those in search of superior wine and to discover and enjoy the California Winery Experience.

History of Wine Making in San Diego County

The region is not new to wine grown. As early as 1769 Grapes have been growing on the hillsides of this Southern California region. Monks at Mission San Diego de Alcalá were the first to plant vines. Father Junipero Serra is commonly referred to as the “Father of California Wine.” We can begin to see that San Diego County is not new to wine growing, nor the producing of wines. The vines and grapes reach back to when the Franciscans first established San Diego's Mission.

Once the vines were planted the records indicate that wine has been produced in San Diego County since the year 1774. California’s first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, was well known for the quality of its wine. Those first planted vines thrived in San Diego until about the mid-1830s when drought and disease killed them off.

After the U.S. Civil War, San Diego once again saw an interest from winemakers arriving from the east. These wine farmers brought with them clippings from grape vines of European origin. During the early 1900’s there were a couple dozen wineries to be found from Rancho Santa Margarita to Ramona and south to wineries in El Cajon, Otay Valley, and parts of what is now the San Diego South Bay.

Lodi Wines and Wineries: Tasting - Markus Wine Co – 2018 domo, Carignane Blend

Mon, 12/26/2022 - 14:18 -- johnk

Markus Wine Co And Their Winemaker Markus Niggli

Swiss-born Markus Niggli was brought on by Steve Borra in 2006 to handle the cellar for Borra Vineyards, but Markus steadily climbed the ladder to winemaker in 2010. Markus was an early believer in natural winemaking with a goal of expressing the vineyard and each vintage as authentically as possible, resulting in his first releases of critically successful fresh and racy whites. These show his European influence with higher acidity, rather than the typical rich, full-bodied California style.

He has made a fan in noted wine writer Randy Caparoso, who wrote: “Borra now produces the most ‘contemporary’ style wines grown in Lodi today, period.”
But Markus does much more than make about 5,000 cases of wine each year. He works along with designers to come up with new labels; manages the cellar crew; and most importantly handles all wholesale and direct wine sales. Markus and his wife, Diane, are raising a family together in the City of Lodi.

Markus and Diane Niggli

Diane Niggli - Co-Owner
Supporting Markus Wine Co. is Markus’s wife, Diane Niggli who is a California native. Assisting in the business operations and future growth for the consumer market, she is an influential part of the program. Her own experience as an independent meetings consultant is a nice compliment to her passion for both wine and the tourism growth of Lodi.

Paso Robles Wines - Vino Vargas Si! - Petite Sirah 2018 - Paso Robles

Mon, 12/26/2022 - 09:25 -- johnk

Pulling the Corks and Vino Vargas - Paso Robles Wines and Wineries

Vino Vargas is located in the rolling hills of the Northwest Paso Robles region. Vino Vargas is a modern winery, both an efficient example of winemaking and a warm place for you, your friends, and family to discover some truly unique wines. What can you expect when you arrive for your tasting appointment? While it will be personal, educational, it will also enhance your appreciation for the winery experience. This means that will you get to interact with the winery’s winemaker, Pedro or the sommelier Vicky, or both.  What a delight to really talk about the wines, winemaking philosophy or just sit back and enjoy the magnificent views as you leisurely enjoy your visit.

Vino Vargas produces small lot, single vineyard wines. All the wines produce at Vino Vargas are hand-crafted to achieve truly remarkably well-balanced wines with the best fruit that Paso Robles has to offer. The winery is family owned and operated, to ensure that you receive personal service and attention among the beautiful views of nearby vineyards.

Clear Lake Wines and Wineries: The Ultimate Guide

Sun, 12/18/2022 - 08:44 -- johnk

Clear Lake wines and wineries is only a part of the focus of this article. While we will look at wines and wineries in the Clear Lake area, we will also consider other points of interest. As you are reading this article it is fair to say that you enjoy wine tasting and visiting wineries. Still if you are spending a day or days in any give wine area or region, we usually don’t spend our entire time in the tasting room. That being said, we will look at other ways to make the visit to this wine producing region of California by considering accommodations, dining, tasting rooms, and other activities of interest that Clear Lake has to offer.

While I don’t visit Clear Lake as often as I use to, the lake and the countryside hold fond memories for me. I remember staying at the Marina Hotel with my parents and later taking my family as well to enjoy a getaway. The Marina is a simple place to stay but it was oh, so convenient if you had a bass boat you want to launch. I remember going out with my dad in his boat and fishing for some lunker bass. Taking my family and just enjoying the stay for a few days away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In fact, both my father Jack Krause and my cousin Danny Krause did more than one Bass tournament at Clear Lake.


Lodi Wineries: The Ultimate Guide

Tue, 11/29/2022 - 08:10 -- johnk


Lodi Wineries: The Ultimate Guide. The Lodi AVA, part of the larger Central Valley wine region of California. You will find that this little town has a big heart when it comes to wine grapes, wines, and much more. Lodi Wine Country is found directly east of San Francisco Bay, and between the cities of Sacramento and Stockton. The west of the region of Lodi lies close to the edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin counties.

Easy Access

It’s simple to get to Lodi Wine Country from just about anywhere in California. Whether you hop on the train from Oakland or Sacramento, drive or book a flight, you will find your way to this Central Valley oasis in no time at all. 

Why growing in recognition by wine lovers Lodi is still one of the best-kept secret in Northern California. This little town is HUGE on Wine, Eats and rolling out the welcome mat to visitors. My goal is to help those of you that have not visited Lodi to learn why you should your to-do-list for one of your upcoming weekend destinations.

Lodi being near the Delta has an excellent impact on wine grape growing and on the wines that are being produced in Lodi. Turns out grapes also really grow well in Lodi Wine Country. As a result, Lodi has become one of the hotspots for wine lovers living in California and guests to the Golden State as well.

Lodi Wines and History

How to Hold a Wine Glass

Sun, 11/27/2022 - 17:29 -- johnk

When I first started to drink wine, I tried to do it the as I had seen people in the movies or on television. You know with hand clasped around the glass’s bowl. Perhaps the television and movie screen aren’t the best resource for learning the ropes. Because yes, there is a proper way to hold a wine glass—and it matters. So, let us fine-tune our skills, enhance our wine experience. Here is everything you need to know to hold your next glass of wine like a pro.

How You Hold a Wine Glass - Does it Really Matter?

There are so many different wine glasses to choose from. Decorative, elegant, and so many different types to select from in size, shape, and of course price.

Did you know that there is a wine glass for just about every kind of wine?

Some basic wine glasses are for full-bodied red wine, light-bodied red wine, Rose or a spicy red wine, sparkling wine, light-bodied white wine, and fortified wines.

We will share more on the different types of wine glass in a future article; "Why are there so many different types of wine glasses?"

Before learning how to properly hold your wine glass, and if it matters, let's look at the "why's" of holding your glass of wine. How you handle your glass helps you get the most out of your wine experience for three main reasons:

It Preserves the Wine’s Temperature

Here are some things to consider in holding your wine glass. Your hands—especially your palms—give off heat. Therefore, holding a wine glass with too much skin contact can alter the wine’s temperature, which is critical for bringing out a wine’s intended flavor profile and characteristics.

Why Are There So Many Types of Wine Glasses?

Wed, 11/16/2022 - 12:58 -- johnk

Have you been in the wine glass and accessories department recently? Did you happen to notice that there is a glass for nearly every type of wine you might decide to pour? The fact is, at first look it might be a challenge to look at all the options and wonder why so many choices. Let’s look at wine glass from A –to- Z as it were. We will review glasses you may just decide that you need for your favorite Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sarah, or that Zinfandel you just purchased. After we have looked at the different shapes and sizes of wine glasses, I believe it will make a bit more sense.

Variety of wine glasses available

Courtesy Riedel Wine Glasses

According to the Court of Master Sommeliers there are nearly two dozen types of wine glasses available for serving wine today. That’s a lot of cabinet space dedicated to wine glasses! It’s little surprise if you’ve recently browsed the glassware section of a home goods store. There are wide glasses and short glasses, tall and slender glasses — even funny-shaped glasses with special curved rims.

If you are someone that has pondered the question; “Why so many different wine glasses” you will discover that each size and shape of does matter in that each glass is designed specifically with the aim of enhancing the wines unique properties, flavors. The wine’s own characteristics if you will. Keep reading to explore our complete guide to the kinds of wine glasses and their uses, as well as the various wine glass shapes and purposes.

Livermore Valley Wines and Wineries: Cuda Ridge Wines – Winemaker Larry Dino of Cuda Ridge Wines

Mon, 09/05/2022 - 16:30 -- johnk

A little bit about Livermore and the history of winemaking
Founded on April 1, 1876, Livermore is known to be California's oldest wine region. In fact--Livermore had its own winery before it was founded! Livermore has been making and selling wine since 1849, the first winery owned by Robert Livermore. Whom the town was named after. Since then, Livermore has been a popular stopping point to visit. In fact, it was while traveling back to the San Francisco Bay Area after a business appointment in Tracy, CA that I stopped in at a couple of wineries and on a napkin, I started my blog at one of the tastings.

Wine Tasting: 16 Tips to Remember

Sun, 01/09/2022 - 19:49 -- johnk

Woman in a testing room pouring red wine

Photo Courtesy Riedel Wine Glasses

You are planning to go to your first wine tasting at a winery. This adventure can be both exciting and intimidating. For those new to the Wine Trails of California, or any state for that matter, it may seem like certain wine and winery protocol and understand is required to enter the world of wine. The goal here is to provide some wine tasting tips that will help you to enjoy the winery experience. If you consider yourself knowledgeable about your winery adventures and tasting wine I hope that you enjoy these reminders.

While it is good to understand some basics you do not have to become a wine expert to enjoy you visit. With a little knowledge you can calm any pre-tasting jitters that you might have. While wine tasting at wineries and tasting rooms have some common etiquette, it is still about enjoying yourself and the wines that are served during your visit. Here are a few tips and important points to keep in mind to help you step up to your next tasting with confidence.

You Are in The Tasting Room - What to Expect

Bottles lined up on a table in a tasting room

Photo Credit Cuvee Wine Cellars - San Carlos, CA

Wine Tasting - Indian Peak Vineyards - Take 5 Red Blend

Thu, 09/23/2021 - 14:55 -- johnk

California Wine Tasting a mountain red blend from Indian Peak Vineyards. I have made several trips to Indian Peak. I had family that lived in the area just West of Lassen Park in Shingletown, CA. Shingletown is just a short windy drive to Maton, CA. This small mountain community is home to a few mountain wineries and Indian Peak is one of them. 

Indian Peak Vineyards 2014 Take Five is a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 9% Malbec, and 4% Cabernet Franc. Fred and Donna Boots only produced 397 cases. At the time I am drafting this post I fear for the wineries in Maton. I have a freind that works at Lassen Volcanic Park and just recently I heard that the Dixie Fire was extremely close to the Park Headquarters that he works out of and the the Park is closed. It wasn't that long ago my wife and I went up Shingletown to stay at a BnB for our anniversary, only to pull out due to smoke and the red skies due to the fire. We gathered important documents and such at my mothers home with radio and TV on that night in the event the fire jumped the ridge and the highway. While we didn't have to evacuate, not that far as "the crow files" the wildfire burned. Fred was among the wine growers that were dealing with smoke taint. I hope that they and the other wineries fair better this time around. I think I will shoot an email, or a message off to Fred and Donna as I am thinking about them.

Well, on a happier note, let's get the Zip Sips wine review started. This 2014 has been laying down for some years and has survived a couple of moves with other wines that were laying down as well. This Tehama County Red Wine is a delightful Bourdaux style blend. 


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