West of West is the early August weekend festival devoted to wines made from grapes farmed on the far western coastline of Sonoma County. This year was the event's third outing, and it was one of the most enjoyable and well organized regionally focused wine events I've ever attended.
The Santa Cruz Mountains American Viticulture Area (AVA), in northern California, running along the Pacific coast south of San Francisco to Santa Cruz, is one of the most diverse wine growing regions in the world.
Sanford & Benedict is one of California's most historically significant and renowned vineyards because it proved two things: Santa Barbara County is a superlative spot for growing Pinot Noir, and the Sta. Rita Hills appellation is a fabulous cool climate location for vines in general.
We have been visiting Burgundy for fifteen years, and although wine has been made here since the first century AD and tradition reigns strong, there is always something new afoot in the original home of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Miljenko "Mike" Grgich of Grgich Hills Estate winery in Napa Valley is walking, living history. He's also quite the charmer, and one of his favorite sayings is, "Good wines and good ladies improve with maturity."
California certainly has a long history with the variety, and there are numerous older vineyards, going back to the 1970s, that are hitting their stride as sources for lower yielding, more complex grapes.
And we wonder why women aren't advancing in the boardrooms. Rather than seeing examples of what they can become -- a scientist, a vineyard owner, a chef -- girls and young women are watching examples of females as teen moms, housewives or socialites (Kardashians).
Oregon has been growing Pinot Noir since the mid-1960s. Pinots from Oregon tend to have some of the delicacy and minerality that red Burgundy is known for, as well as some of the ripe red fruit most typically found in California Pinot