California Wineries

Out of Town: A Day Exploring Temecula’s Wine Country

Last year, I finally took advantage of the opportunity to visit Temecula’s Wine Country. With iPods loaded with crazy throwback tunes, playlists roaring and near perfect weather, my friends and I hit the open road on our way through the hills to Temecula. What was I expecting upon arriving? To be honest, I had no idea. I had been to Stone Brewing Company the previous year so the scenery I was looking for was similar to that. Desert hillsides lined with sparse greenery, palm trees and a lot of rocky soil. As we approached the "Welcome to Temecula" sign, we drove past gorgeous housing communities and neighborhoods, which had me scratching my head. Okay... so, where is wine country? [...]

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Valley of the Moon Winery; A revitalized Sonoma hot spot (AmericanWineryGuide)

Last year, the wife and I made our rounds throughout Sonoma and Napa. The week leading up to our trip, we met at a local wine store in Northern Virginia, Dan Zepponi who is the Proprietor of Valley of the Moon. Dan and I had a conversation about the new life that he plans on breathing into Valley of the Moon, so we had to make it a point to visit while in the valley. I put together a piece late last year on AmericanWineryGuide covering our trip to the winery. Enjoy! The STORY “We decided to venture out to Valley of the Moon after visiting Ram’s Gate and Buena Vista. Historically speaking, Valley of the Moon has winemaking roots that stem from the mid-1800s (1863 to be exact) when George Whitman planted the initial 60 acres of vines and began producing close to 50,000 gallons of wine and 2,000 …

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Tablas Creek Vineyard; A taste of Rhône in Paso Robles

Visiting Paso Robles for the first time was nothing short of amazing. The laid back setting, rolling hills, and less crowded viticultural area provides wine enthusiasts with what most people seek when visiting California wine country – peace and quiet, great food, great people, and AMAZING wines. This particular day brought us to a hand full of wineries, all of which showed very different wines. We were able to stop by two Neil Collins wineries, including Tablas Creek Vineyard. English-born Neil Collins was actually a trained Chef, but eventually came to dabble and subsequently focus solely on winemaking and vineyard management. With stints at Adelaida Cellars and Wild Horse, Neil met owners Robert Haas and the Perrin family when Tablas Creek was beginning its journey, and Neil had to be a part of it. Tablas Creek was founded by the Perrin Family, proprietors of Château de Beaucastel in famous Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, …

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Halter Ranch Vineyard; A touch of Rhône, Ranch style (AmericanWineryGuide)

Paso Robles has some of the finest Rhône style wines in not only California, but the United States as well. Our latest AmericanWineryGuide contribution covers yet another gem that Paso Robles has to offer. Do not sleep on Paso, especially if you are a fan of small family-style wineries.   The HISTORY “Halter Ranch is located in the Paso Robles Westside Adelaida District and produces Bordeaux and Rhône-style wines made from 100% sustainable, estate-grown grapes. The ranch itself has been around since the late 1800s when it was originally owned by businessman Edwin Smith, who was a dealer in produce and livestock and was part of 3,600 acres of land he owned. Edwin built a Victorian farmhouse that later burned down, but was rebuilt and utilized until his business collapsed. In 1943, about 1,200 acres were purchased by the MacGillivray family and was farmed for over 50-plus years until the …

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Orin Swift Cellars; The former Prisoner pioneers’ latest offerings (AmericanWineryGuide)

Part of our Napa trip a couple of months back included a stop in downtown St. Helena. So I guess it’s safe to say, that we ‘stumbled’ upon Orin Swift when Jaymie screamed out “There’s Orin Swift, WE HAVE TO GO!”, nearly knocking me to the ground across the street. Being familiar with the Prisoner Blend, and reading about Orin Swift Cellars in one of the newer wine magazines, I felt it was time to give some of the other offerings from Dave Phinney a try. The results were to be expected, and with that I give you the latest submission for AmericanWineryGuide. The HISTORY “The origins of Orin Swift as a brand dates back to 1995 when David Swift Phinney accepted a friend’s offer to study abroad in Italy. He instantly fell in love with wine and everything surrounding it. After graduating, David worked as a vineyard hand during …

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Lava Vine Winery; A couple of regular folks making excellent wine (AmericanWineryGuide)

To kill sometime in Napa before our next tasting appointment, we stumbled upon this hidden treasure of a winery right off of the Silverado Trail. Check out what we found within our latest post for AmericanWineryGuide.   HISTORY “In 2000, Joe Cabral purchased property containing a 4 acre vineyard in Franz Valley and began reworking the steeply sloped vineyard and produced his first port style wine. Four year later, after teaming up with a winemaker friend, Lava Vine was created. That same year, the two friends grafted the vineyard with Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2007, Joe and his wife Jill purchased a winery property on the Silverado Trail and opened the doors in 2008. The Knights Valley Estate vineyard they purchased has steep slopes, loose rocky soils, and tight row spacing; all of their vines have to be tended by hand. The vineyard is also organically farmed …

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Storybook Mountain Vineyards; One of Napa’s (and the world’s) best Zinfandel Producers (AmericanWineryGuide)

Another vineyard review from our recent trip to Napa/Sonoma/Paso Robles a month ago. This vineyard was hands down one of the highlights of our trip, and has been listed as one of the world’s top Zinfandel producers for over ten years by some highly noted Wine publications. Please enjoy this AmericanWineryGuide.com contribution! HISTORY “The original estate was purchased in 1883 by Adam Grimm. Mr. Grimm’s family had grown wine in Germany, and he began planting Zinfandel on some of the 405 acres of land sitting just above Calistoga. His brother Jacob would later join him and assist in directing laborers to dig the three wine caves about 100 feet deep into the mountainside and establish Grimm’s Vineyard and WineVault. Nearly 20 years, the brothers decided to go in separate directions with Adam moving to San Francisco, and Jacob producing “sacramental and medicinal” wines. The property was subsequently abandoned and finally …

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Scribe Winery: Gorgeous views, great history, and a one-on-one experience! (AmericanWineryGuide)

Last month, we were fortunate enough to hop around wineries in Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles. Of the nearly 20-something wineries we visited, a bunch we decided to contribute reviews for AmericanWineryGuide.com. Here is one of our most unique, that just so happens to have ties to one of the best wineries in Virginia, Rappahannock Cellars. Please enjoy! HISTORY “When most visitors arrive at a winery, the last thing they really focus on is the history of the land… unless they are visiting Scribe Winery. Most wineries also have tasting rooms where large groups flock around a small bar, jam through the doorways, litter the grounds with blankets, or stand outside until there is room for them to enter. Scribe has none of any of this; in fact, you are required to make an appointment to visit, and a fee of $25 is required. Scribe provides visitors with a truly …

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