One thing I love most about the wine industry is the sustaining longevity of many historic family wineries. In an era defined by rapid change and shifting tastes, inspiring younger generations to carry forward the family tradition can be a challenge. That said, what a milestone the Serres Family has reached as they celebrate a remarkable 100 years!

Nestled just north of the town of Sonoma, you can’t help being captivated by the expansive beauty of their sprawling ranch vineyard when driving by. You can experience the property yourself with an ATV Vineyard Tour with a charcuterie and cheese pairing featuring their flavorful Bordeaux varietals. It’s an enjoyable sensory experience you may never forget.

If you missed my podcast interview with fifth-generation family member Taylor Serres, you can listen or download it here.

For deeper details of their rich history and a description of the ATV Tour, click here. (Compliments of Lombardi Marketing)

Congratulations and Cheers to the Serres Family!



To be able to acquire an unexpected home and winery in Tuscany is truly a fantasy come true. It’s a story that follows the “rags to riches” life of an American with an Italian heritage.


My guest is Gudrun Cuillo, an Austrian woman who was working for an opera company when she met Robert, the American. The incredible part of the story is not that they ended up in Tuscany, but had the good fortune to turn their newly purchased property into a winery that sits near a long abandoned medieval village. What they were able to do with each property is remarkable.

The Novel

After 20 years of exasperating work and the loss of her husband, what does Gudrun do? She writes a fictional novel inspired by what she experienced with her unexpected home and winery in Tuscany, Casalvento, House of the Wind. 

I recorded this interview on June 7th, the day after her book was released. She was thrilled with how well it was selling. It almost makes me wonder what she’ll do next. She actually answers that question at the end of the interview. I found this dynamic woman quite entertaining to talk with, and hope you’ll find her entertaining to listen to.

Here are some links with images that will add to the story: (the village)

Casalvento property tour

Inspired Italy

The Interview


The Unexpected Home and Winery in Tuscany

               Gudrun’s novel



I didn’t mention it in the interview but the story of Anne Moller-Racke is one of an immigrant achieving the American Dream. In Anne’s case, it was propelled by two exceptional mentors, and her drive to create something special, like designing a Sculpture Park throughout the rolling vineyards at Donum Estate. She also developed relationships with winegrowers who could provide the grapes she needed to create ideal Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for Blue Farm Wines. Her impressive career is what prompted me to choose her as the subject for National Women in Wine Day.  To truly understand all that she accomplished in just a couple of decades be sure to listen to the full interview.



Anne Moller-Racke

Anne’s daughter Hannah who joined us at the table

Anne Moller-Racke

some of the wines we discussed


In this podcast you’ll meet Thatcher, a rising name in wine who is making waves within the industry.

Thatcher Baker-Briggs is a young sommelier who is fast-becoming a modern-day trailblazer for minorities and millennials in the wine industry.

Not only can he procure impossible-to-get vintages and bottles for an international clientele list, he also launched an online import company, Thatcher’s Wine. And there’s more…

If you’re still hanging on to the belief that sommeliers are self-absorbed, and stodgy, Thatcher will quickly dispell that image, because he’s quite pleasant and cool as a cat can be. Pull up a chair and join us at the W Hotel Lounge in Hollywood as I delve into his impressive past.


Click image for Thatcher’s Consulting and Thatcher’s Wine

Meet Thatcher

I’ve taken the trip to the San Francisco Wine School a number of times in the past to expand my wine knowledge while enjoying a selection of fine varietals. Heading into “the city” is something I enjoy.

Since I’ve been impressed with the classes and tastings I have attended at the San Francisco Wine School I thought you might find it an appealing option as well. They offer so many workshops, programs and events there’s bound to be one that appeals to you. So I sat down with co-owner, Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator David Glancy a couple of weeks ago for this interview, and it gave me the chance to ask…what led him to opening the school.


San Francisco Wine School

From the January 2022 class featuring Australian Shiraz


San Francisco Wine School

The different Shiraz wines we tasted. And yes, they were fantastic!

When you see this banner on Grand Ave in S. San Francisco, you’ve found the school



This is a shorter podcast that features the Mount View Hotel and Spa in Calistoga, Napa Valley. It’s an historic, beautifully designed art deco hotel that offers many enticing experiences for their guests.

This interview aired on my radio show last Saturday and I wanted you to hear it in case you’re panning a trip to Napa Valley or Sonoma in the coming weeks. On April 1st, The Mount View is offering a one of a kind experience that combines wine tasting, a film, dinner – featuring one of the performers in the film, and a night’s stay at the hotel. Scroll down to see the flyer for this full day of enjoyment.

If you can’t make it that night keep the Mount View in mind for a future stay. I hope to see you there on April 1st!


Young Indie Blue, Michael and Stephanie Woods

The lobby of the Mount View Hotel and Spa

The stylish lobby

The Indie Blue Salon at the Mount View Hotel and Spa

The Indie Blue Lounge








The Cottage Spa

The Mount View Pool

The Mount View Pool








The Spa Cat

One of the beautifully decorated rooms

One of their beautifully decorated rooms








A Distiller and An Author: Jeff Duckhorn and Paula Moulton.

On this podcast I’ll take a detour from the wine road to talk whiskey. It’s another adult beverage that has really be exploding in the last decade or two. In the California town of Graton, head distiller Jeff Duckhorn and his team are crafting Redwood Empire Whiskey. They’ve gone through a transformation with new branding and adding two more whiskey’s to their line-up.

Then you’ll meet author Paula Moulton. This multi-faceted woman gave up city life to become a grape grower, an author, an accomplished chef, a winemaker and all while raising children. She tells you how you can do it too! Maybe not all of it but even some of it would be cool. Her first book and follow up are called Seasons Among the Vines: Life Lessons from the California Wine Country. Strap yourselves in for another ride On The Wine Road.

The Lost Monarch photo is courtesy of Mario Vaden.  I thank him for allowing me to share that stunning image. 

Half of Redwood Empire Whiskey’s warm barrel room






The Lost Monarch Giant Redwood

The Lost Monarch with the lovely Kiera providing reference to the size of this giant redwood.


This podcast offers something a little different. Yes, I do talk about wine – Italian and French varietals, but tasty cuisine as well.

The settings for VJB Cellars and The Girl and the Fig Restaurant are entirely different, yet each offer extraordinary experiences. My guests are Italian immigrant Vittorio Belmonte and Sonoma chef & restaurant owner Sondra Bernstein. Their wine and culinary businesses are successful but both started from humble beginnings. Needless to say, that provides a compelling story.



Cappuccino with Vittorio & a Chat with Sondra of Girl and the Fig

It’s another day on our incredible, beautiful and struggling planet. This podcast focuses on the positive impacts people are making as I present Part Two of my Earth Day celebration.

Much like the Slow Food Movement, Italy’s Slow Wine crusade promotes sustainable practices within the winemaking industry. The Slow Wine Guide features those who operate within those parameters. The 2019 edition contains 370 wineries from Italy, 121 from California, and new this year, 50 Oregon wineries. I chose two from Northern California who have been selected by Slow Wine; Larkmead Family Estate in Calistoga, Napa Valley, and Littorai Wines of Sebastopol, Sonoma County. They’re both highly respected in the industry. You’ll be impressed with the efforts they put forth to create their exceptional wine. Cheers to that! Happy Earth Day.

It’s hard to imagine that since the late 1600s nothing has been discovered or invented that seals a bottle of wine better than the all natural product of cork. Sure, now there are screwcaps and synthetic closures but neither provide the positive aspects that cork can deliver. To learn more about this fascinating, timeless product I hooked up with Peter Weber of the Cork Quality Council. Together, with ETS Laboratories, they are conducting exhaustive research to discover and eliminate TSA, or cork taint, in wine. In this podcast you’ll learn a little about this research and the many environmentally beneficial properties of cork.

To see a video with Dr. Eric Hervé of ETS Laboratories explaining part of the detection process, visit YouTube.

Here are links that will provide even more interesting facts about cork – Cork Quality Council    100% Cork


ETS Laboratories

The machine in the middle is the gas chromatograph with mass spectrometer detection at ETS Laboratories. It can detect 1 part per trillion of TCA.

ETS LaboratoriesETS Laboratories


ETS Laboratories

The many bottles of wine sent in to ETS Laboratories for testing.

She’s been called “the most respected wine critic and journalist in the world” by Decanter magazine. Jancis Robinson recently honored the UC Davis Shields library by donating her personal writings, papers, photographs, and even tasting notes. Her long list of credits include co-authoring The World Atlas of Wine with Hugh Johnson, editing The Oxford Companion to Wine, and co-authoring American Wine with Linda Murphy. She is founder of the award-winning Naturally, I jumped at the chance when offered the opportunity to interview Jancis at the Shields Library prior to the event celebrating her donation. As you’ll hear she was quite gracious.

To learn more about Jancis, her donation, and to watch a video of the the event click here.

To dig deeper into the collection and to locate the department of Special Collections click here.


Jancis Robinson and Jeff Davis

This is a sample of the numerous writings and personal notes donated by Jancis now on display at the Shields Library

Jancis Robinson and Jeff Davis

I read that Garrett of G. Love and Special Sauce is a fan of wine and that his sister imports Burgundian wine for a distributor in New York. This gave me a good reason to set up an interview prior to a show at the Fillmore in San Francisco a while back. I’ve been a fan for many years and it was very cool to spend some time with him. We talked wine, music and family. After the interview he asked if I wanted to hear a song he’d been working on called “Drinkin’ Wine.” It was a great start to an extraordinary evening.

An excerpt of  “Drinkin’ Wine” is featured in the interview but you can see the longer video here:–c


G Love

Not long after college, and with a degree in French Language, Michaela Rodeno talked her way into getting hired as the second employee at Moët & Chandon’s new American winery, Domaine Chandon. It was 1973 and the office was in a garage on Mt. Veeder. After 15 years of helping Chandon become a success, she left as a V.P. and became Napa Valley’s first female CEO at the newly established St. Supery Vineyards and Winery. While there she formed Women for WineSense with Frog’s Leap Winery’s Julie Johnson, to combat the rising anti-alchohol movement of the 1990s. Michaela is now retired from the industry and focuses on the family’s Villa Ragazzi Wines, while Women for WineSense has continued to grow across the country. When you hear this interview you’ll understand why she is a beloved member, if not an icon, of the Napa wine industry.



I had a feeling of great anticipation before meeting this international wine icon. Agustin Huneeus began his career by saving Concha y Toro in Chile, a brand now recognized across the globe. He also worked for Seagram’s, eventually overseeing their international brands. That position brought him to Napa Valley which led to his decision to get back into running his own winery again. He’s done very well and continues to do so at Quintessa and with other successful wineries here and in Chile. Like me, I’m sure you’ll be captivated by his voice which resonates with the wisdom he has gained and the miles of dusty roads he has traveled.



quintessa        the-prisoner      casillero-del-diablo

Last fall I had the chance to chat with travel guru Rick Steves prior to his talk Lessons from a Lifetime of Travel, the content of which seemed to rely on his books, The Value of Thoughtful Travel and Travel as a Political Act. Why feature him on a show about wine? He’s been fortunate enough to enjoy wine in the world’s most beautiful places. Plus, why not take advantage of the opportunity to talk with this travel guru? It’s a short conversation but well worth it.



Rick & Jeff closer



If you enjoy a glass of wine while reading a good mystery you’ll appreciate this story. Zinfandel has been in the U.S. since the early 1800s yet no one knew for sure where it originated. Is it related to Primitivo? Finally in 2001, with help from others around the globe, U.C. Davis professor Carole Meredith solved the mystery and in turn helped save the heritage grape from extinction. Carole shares her exhaustive research and discovery with me in this in-depth interview. You’ll also hear about her own vineyard, Lagier Meredith, which sits high atop Mt. Veeder overlooking Napa Valley.

Pour yourself a glass, it’s a good story.


bottle shot

This legendary winemaker still holds the world record for the most money raised for one bottle of wine at auction. She talks about that experience, her family, and the many clients with whom she continues to work, which includes La Sirena Wines: Heidi Barrett’s Own Winery.

Heidi Barrett glass

In this music related show you’ll hear my interview with two guys who were at Woodstock. Graham Nash was one of the first major acts to play the new City Winery venue in Napa. During the same week Rolling Stone photographer from the 60s, Baron Wolman, appeared at Markham Vineyards for his 40th Anniversary of Woodstock exhibition. I talk with Greg Strange about the exhibition, then Baron by phone prior to his arrival.


Baron Wolman

Kerry is a sought after wine consultant in California, India, Israel and now Costa Rica. Join me as I talk with Kerry about his travels and experience while enjoying his wine, Palmeri.


The girl and the fig is nationally, if not internationally, recognized as a pioneer in the farm to table experience. The French country themed restaurant fare pairs nicely with their wine list which highlights Rhone varietals. I speak to wine manager Brian Casey and chef, creator Sondra Bernstein about their ever-popular Sonoma, CA location and the fig cafe and wine bar in Glen Ellen.