This is one of the most unusual podcasts I’ve offered yet. Prompted by an invitation I spent 3 days exploring the village and area of Saratoga, California in San Francisco’s South Bay. This historic community is situated next to San Jose, Cupertino and Los Gatos in the Santa Cruz mountains south of Silicon Valley. From wineries and restaurants, to Japanese gardens, stables and a mysterious house, the area has a lot to offer. This is your invitation to ride along as my wife Meredith and I experience Saratoga.

 

Saratoga, CA

The Village of Saratoga on Sunday morning

Saratoga, CA

Our suite at the Saratoga Oaks Lodge

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saratoga, CA

Winter Berries at Hakone Estate and Gardens

 

Saratoga, CA

Plum Flower at Hakone Estate and Gardens

 

 

 

 

Saratoga, CA

With Shozo Kagoshima at Hakone Estate and Gardens

 

 

Saratoga, CA

The Lower House overlooking the Dry Garden at Hakone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saratoga, CA

In the Cooper-Garrod Tasting Room

 

 

 

 

 

Saratoga, CA

Winemaker Bill Cooper of Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards

 

 

 

Saratoga, CA

Horseback riding at Garrod Farms

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saratoga, CA

The many rooftops of the peculiar Winchester Mystery House as seen from an outdoor balcony

Saratoga, CA

One of the staircases that go nowhere in the Winchester Mystery House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saratoga, CA

One of the original cabernet vines planted at Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Estate overlooking the South Bay

 

 

 

 

 

Saratoga, CA

In the tasting room at Ridge Vineyards before our Estate Tasting

 

 

 

Saratoga, CA

Enjoying a wonderful dinner at Hero Ranch Kitchen. Look at those redwood tree plates!

This year’s Wine Expo in Sonoma County featured a seminar on Pét Nat, or Pétillant Naturel. It’s an ancient method of making a sparkling wine with a single fermentation. It predates the more common methode champeniose that is used in Champagne and sparkling wine. On the panel was natural wine producer Jared Brandt of Donkey And Goat. He intrigued me. There’s been a natural wine movement in recent years but Jared and his wife Tracey have been at it for over 2 decades. They rarely filter their wine and add as little sulfur as possible. He explains the reasoning behind that and their process as he shares their story.

 

Donkey and Goat

Donkey and Goat

Donkey and Goat

Donkey and GoatDonkey and Goat

This is the story of Frisco Liquor, an American take on Pisco. I received word that a guy in San Francisco was releasing a new liquor which is essentially a white brandy fashioned after the South American grape liquor Pisco. He’s cleverly calling it Frisco (pronounced Freesco). How Charlie O’Connell came to craft this idea stems from his travels to Singapore, Argentina and Chile. He credits a leather-skinned gaucho with a dusty old flask as the genesis of his inspiration. Click below to hear his tale.

   Frisco Liquor
Frisco Liquor

There is so much to do when you visit San Francisco you may not consider the fact that there are wineries and tasting rooms in the bay area. In this podcast I’ll focus on Treasure Island Wines and Winery SF (part of the Winemakers Studio group) on Treasure Island, and Bluxome Street Winery in San Francisco. Their offerings are on par with the wines you’ll find in wine country to the north as they all source their grapes from Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino and Napa counties. Listen in as I talk with those in the bay area.

 

Bluxome Street Winery is the first fully operational winery to open in San Francisco since Prohibition. You’re sure to enjoy their wine, the design of the tasting room, and facility. In other words, it’s an ideal urban winery. I met up with co-founder Matthew Reidy to learn about the history of the building, to taste the wine they make, and to share their story as we took this trip “South of the Slot.”

 

Bluxome Street Winery  Bluxome Street Winery

Bluxome Street Winery  Bluxome Street Winery