Join me as I take the drive to Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery perched high atop Spring Mountain. It provides a unique viewpoint of Napa Valley (in more ways than one). Stuart and Charlie Smith have been up there since the early 70s crafting wine the way they feel it should be made. Their style hasn’t always been in favor but as tastes have changed they’ve become fashionable again. If you enjoy hearing opinions on the wine industry from those who have spent 45 years within it you’ll appreciate this podcast.


Wine & Spirits Magazine presents the Top 100 Wineries of 2017, profiled in the Annual Buying Guide published last week. The Wine & Spirits 14th Annual Top 100 event takes place Tuesday, October 10th, at City View at METREON in San Francisco. The tasting—a benefit for San Francisco Baykeeper—will honor the year’s Top 100 Wineries, including an unprecedented 30 new wineries to earn the award this year. In addition to the Top 100 Wineries pouring at the event, there will be food pairings from more than 20 of San Francisco’s best restaurants and food purveyors.

In addition to this year’s festivities is the first annual Sparkling Kickoff on October 9th from 7:00-9:00 pm at 1760. This event is exclusive to VIP ticket holders, Top 100 winemakers, and select guests to celebrate the great work put out by these winemakers and their teams. Louis Roederer, Iron Horse, and Movia, all Top 100 Wineries of 2017, will be pouring their sparkling wines.

The Top 100 Wineries will be announced today on, the award-winners are also included below. The 2017 Buying Guide will be available on newsstands October 10, 2017.

Tickets to the Top 100 event, including exclusive VIP Early Entry and access to the Sparkling Kickoff are now available for purchase via the Wine & Spirits event site. Discounted trade and media tickets are available upon request, and subject to availability.

Sparkling Kickoff + Top 100 Tasting
October 9th: 7:00-9:00PM
October 10th: 5:30-8:30PMM
Tickets include admission to the Sparkling Kickoff and exclusive early admission to the Top 100 event on October 10th.

October 10th, 2017
Tickets include exclusive early admission to the Top 100 event on October 10th.

General Admission
Tickets include wine tastings with the Top 100 Wineries and food pairings from San Francisco’s top restaurants and purveyors. Admission also includes a one-year subscription to Wine & Spirits magazine.

For the list of 2017 Wine & Spirits Magazine Top 100 Wineries click here.


I truly enjoy sharing the stories of winemakers, and I really get a kick out of finding distinctive gems that are outside the norm. This is certainly one of them, steeped in multiple layers of rich history. Aimée Sunseri is a 5th generation winemaker from Napa County’s oldest family-owned winery, the Nichelini Family Winery, which dates back to 1895. She is also the winemaker for New Clairvaux Vineyard in the small, dusty town of Vina, Ca. The original winery was the largest producer in the world in the late 1800s. It just so happens her partners are Trappist-Cistercian monks, whose viticulture history goes back nearly 1000 years! It should come as no surprise that with all that winemaking history Aimée recently won an international women’s competition. Click the play button to hear their surprisingly unfamiliar story.


           New Clairvaux