Category Archives: Musings

New Year, New Look, New Content

Hi Everyone! This year since I’m coming up on my 4th year birthday of this blog (yes 4TH!!!) I decided to inlist the help of my SUPER talented graphic designer sister in law, Katie, to help redesign my blog. If you love fashion you will love her own blog,
I’m still amazed at the number of times I hear “Winemakers don’t blog” or “I’d love to see a winemaker blog.” People are always surprised and astounded when I mention that I have one and it has been around for so long. I mean really! Aren’t blogging years kind of like Dog years? If I’ve been blogging for 4 actual years does that equate to 20 years in blogging terms? I’ll have to ask Mr. Joe Roberts of 1 Wine Dude his thoughts next time I chat with him.

ANYWAY… This year I will be including more things beyond the general winemaking stuff including personal recipes like last week’s post and of course more MW study trials and tribulations given that I only have 4 months and 25 days before my last shot at the Practical exam. I might even throw in some gardening tips to use my horticulture degree from way back when! Enough about me though. I still want to hear from you too! Let me know what you want to read about and if you like the new design and layout.

Thanks so much for your continued support and Happy New Year to you and your families!


12 Days of Christmas Broken Down

This blog post is brought to you by 3:30pm Bay Area traffic trying to get over the Bay Bridge. My husband and I were listening to Christmas music and the 12 Days of Christmas came on. We started discussing the ramifications of actually receiving the entire list of gifts and decided it was not only impractical but down right rude of one’s true love to give such gifts. The complete list of what you would end up with is below with our comments and suggestions for a suitable alternative.

12 Partridges in 12 Pear Trees
Ok. Not such a bad start. Partridges are cute and small and fun to watch run around. The pear trees are a bit more challenging but assuming one has some land on which to plant them not insurmountable. Especially if one’s true love has had the foresight to send different varieties each day. If you like pear flavors though a far more suitable gift would be 12 bottles of Prosecco.

22 Turtle Doves
Your true love apparently is operating under the assumption that you will enjoy birds. It is a recurring theme. Turtle doves are very romantic, soft, gentle and cute but 22 is a bit excessive. I suggest a Pinot Noir, soft, gentle, and far less guano.

30 French Hens
This begs the question what differentiates a French Hen from any other hen. At least the hens, unlike the turtle doves, could lay eggs and bring some sort of usefulness. This gift also assumes you have a coop and hen house to keep the hens in but if you’ve already planted the 12 pear trees you probably have enough room for the coop. If you want to keep with the French countryside theme of the hens I would recommend going for a wine from Provence or the southern Rhone. 30 Chateauneuf du Pape bottles would be ok by me. *According to Google, French hens originate from Northern Central France so maybe 30 bottles of Sancerre or Chinon would be more appropriate.

36 Calling Birds
I can’t think of anything more annoying than 36 calling birds. At this point I would be re-questioning one’s true love’s motives. Maybe these would be best released into the wild unless you have quite a few acres that you could install a bird house after you’ve planted pears and built a hen house ( which hopefully your true love helped you build). When I picture calling birds, I picture exotic parrots, so an appropriate alternative might be 36 bottles of Torrontes from Argentina.

40 Gold Rings
Finally, a practical gift! Given the price of gold is at $1,217 per oz. I’d keep this one. Alternatively 40 bottles of Sauternes or Tokaji might be a little easier on the wallet.

42 Geese a Laying
Again with the birds and these are coming already laying! Make room next to the hen house! Of course you’ll probably need a lake for the geese. At minimum, a small pond. Good thing you’ve got a TON of land. What’s a good wine alternative to renting a backhoe and digging a large hole in your back yard? 42 bottles of Barrossa Valley Shiraz.

42 Swans a Swimming
They come swimming??? What do they come in? A large pool? Maybe we should rent the backhoe after all? On the upside, swans are elegant and graceful. Maybe 42 bottles of Russian River Chardonnay would be more appropriate.

40 Maids a Milking
If they come milking, what are they milking? Cows, goats, or sheep? Maybe a mix? Apparently you now need a barn and are going into the cheese business but at least you have help with the milking. If you would like a milky wine alternative I would go with something with a lot of lees stirring. 40 bottles Muscadet or Chablis would be preferable to the livestock in my opinion.

36 Ladies Dancing
Seriously? Isn’t your house crazy enough with all the animals? You don’t need 36 random women chasseing their way through the hallways. If you want a dancing wine I’d go with something from the bubbly category. 36 bottles of Champagne sound good to me! You are going to need it after tending your flocks.

30 Lords a Leaping
Perhaps they can keep the ladies and the maids company? Hopefully they have strong backs to help dig the pond. A better solution? 30 bottles of a full, rich Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux or Napa fit for a Lord.

22 Pipers Piping and 12 Drummers Drumming
So a Highland Pipe Band just marched in. I’m sure the birds went crazy at that! On a good note, the music is great to drown out the calling birds, clucking hens, and quacking geese. If you need briskness and high toned flavor I’d go with 22 bottles of Riesling and for the beating drum after dinner nothing beats a few nice bottles of fortified wines! A mixed case of Port, Sherry, Madiera and the like would do nicely and round out the end of a very nice and diverse wine cellar for which you could gratefully thank your true love!


We are celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with Brian’s parents this year. I’m VERY thankful for our amazing family. Both sides are super supportive of our careers even though it has taken us very far away from home. It has also given us reasons to spend long stretches of time together during the holidays which includes great food and of course wine. We started off the holiday with the 2011 Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Merlot, the first major wine for Mondavi that I helped make. To round out the reds we have the Beringer 2010 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (also a wine I helped make), Ruffino 2011 Chianti Classico, Chapelle St Arnoux 2010 Vacqueyras and of course what Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without some 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau (ours by Georges Duboeuf). For the whites, a Gabbiano Muscato, a 2009 Pouilly-Fuisse and rounded out by a Gavi from Principessa Gavia.

Good times to study and to celebrate!