Solage Paves The Way For Bike Trail

Any cyclist who’s ever been buzzed by a truck while riding in the “bike lane” on Route 29 can appreciate Solage Calistoga’s $16,000 donation to the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition. But the donation should also pay off for the tourists who visit the valley and rent bikes from one of the local shops or [...]

Buds Broke

Let the Countdown Begin

According to winemaker Aaron Pott, who has worked in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Napa, the growing season, almost invariably, is 220 days from bud break to harvest. That means the clock has started ticking and it’s time for some good old-fashioned heat and sunshine. Pott, who has noticed a climatic pattern toward later bud break over [...]

Drambuie Nail or Fail Bartender Showdown in San Francisco, photo by Gwen Rogers

Bartenders: 10 Tips For Winning a Cocktail Competition

We recently had the opportunity to serve on a panel of judges for a cocktail competition in the city of San Francisco. Now, having participated in such competitions in the past ourselves, we were fully aware of the time and energy bartenders spend preparing for these. And for what? In some cases, little more than [...]


Middling Mediterranean Falls Prey To The Plague of Mediocrity

It can’t be easy to open a new restaurant in one of the most well-trod dining destinations in the world. But most restaurants that open in Napa Valley do not aspire to be crowned with Michelin stars or spawn series of cookbooks. Instead, restaurateurs hope to be consistent enough to attract a devoted local following [...]

Smudge Pots

Water, Wind and Fire Fight Off Frost

After three weeks of nearly non-stop rainfall, it might seem strange to wake up and see sprinklers going off all over the Valley. Counterintuitively, those sprinklers are protecting the just-bursting buds from early-spring frost invasion. According to Tom Hsieh (pronounced shay) of Hanson-Hsieh vineyard in Oak Knoll, the water creates a layer around the bud [...]

Riding Out Gosling’s Dark n’ Stormy in a Can

I have a deep-seated connection with both Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and, of course, the legendary cocktail made with the same, but I also have an inherent mistrust of things I love that suddenly decide to come premixed… in a can… When the press release for the soon-to-the U.S.-market Gosling’s Dark n’ Stormy cocktail in [...]

Boss Hogg: Spoils of The Flesh in LA

Black Hogg is that rarest of places in Los Angeles. One where men can eat, women can indulge, and life stops for a few hours or so.  The staff understands this fact and accommodates the diner, not pushing him out the door, but instead encouraging him to make a night of it and indulge in [...]

Jerry Brown über alles

California Über Alles Redux

When the Dead Kennedys wrote, recorded and released the single “California Über Alles,” a nasty litte ditty about hippies’ more fascist  tendencies (and the irrational fear of the same), Jerry Brown was governor. And when singer-songwriter Richard McGraw released his cover version (a B-side from his excellent album Popular Music) earlier this month Jerry Brown, of course, sat once [...]



When it rains, as they say, it pours. And it couldn’t be more true for Napa Valley this week. According to Accuweather, St. Helena got over five inches of rain between March 14 and March 21st. Well, be careful what you ask for, because while some rain was sorely needed, we have seen some flooding [...]

Glenfiddich 125th Charity Gala On Liberty Island

A Wee Bit O’ Scratch: Glenfiddich 55-Year Fetches Princely Sum at Auction

Just how much money is it possible to drop on a wee bit of dram? Mix up the perfect blend of ego, rare aged Scotch whisky, an anniversary party, toss in a celebrity charity, add a dash of hubris and the answer is quite a lot. On Thursday night Mahesh Patel — who has alternately been [...]

More Goose & Gander Details

More details on Goose & Gander,  the highly anticipated restaurant filling the Martini House space in Saint Helena have rolled in. And from the sound of things the spot is going to be worth the wait. And a hearty affair. For starters, literally, you’ve got Chef Kelly McCown’s housemade charcuterie to whet your appetite for menu anchors [...]


Juicy Details: Oxbow’s New Juice Bar

You already know you can get farm-fresh local produce (and usually ferret out some interesting heirloom or uncommon varietals) at Oxbow Produce & Grocery in the Oxbow Public Market, but starting today you can also get fresh juice made from those self-same fruits and vegetables. Today the Oxbow Produce unveiled Juicy, its new juice and (soon) [...]

Check Out Coffee Caboose in Yountville’s New Crepe Menu

Hungry java junkies, wasted winos and famished Francophiles now have a new options amid Yountville’s scant but growing choices for a quick bite. Coffee Caboose, the coffee stand across from Bouchon houses in an old train car, has been serving up crepes both sweet savory for the past week. The classics — ham and cheese [...]


Liquid Assets: Premiere Napa Valley Makes Bank

Last week, Premiere Napa Valley, an annual week-long event that attracts retailers, restaurants, distributors, importers and media to the Valley, and culminates in an auction of wines blended especially for the occasion (think the Hospices de Beaune) raised a whopping $3.1 million dollars. The money is “for charity.” The specific charity, in this case, is [...]

Bud Breaking News: #notspringyet

They may have Punxsutawney Phil on the East Coast to let them know there’ll be six more weeks of winter, but here in Northern California we have Cathy Corison’s Twitter to set us straight:

Why Thomas Keller Can Shill For American Express And It Not Be Bullshit

It’s easy to be cynical about Chef Thomas Keller getting all weepy and nostalgic for Yountville and his bay laurel tree while hawking for American Express, as he did in the above ad that aired during the Oscars last night. It’s easy because Yountville is a wine country theme park, and Keller is one of [...]


Orange Wines Explained (In a Comic)

Orange wines are not the easiest to wrap your head around, and misinformation abounds. We’ve even heard the ill-informed speculate that the wines came from mystical pinkish-orange grapes. While this isn’t true, there is a fair amount of magic involved. Wine lover and illustrator Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka has been producing a series of comics exploring [...]

Wine Country Represents: James Beard Semifinalists Announced

More thrilling than the Oscar and the Grammy awards combined (for us, at least), the annual James Beard Foundation Awards recognizes some of the best, most interesting and most dedicated professionals in the food and wine world. And while not surprising, given the number of restaurants and producers in this area, we were excited to [...]