Orange Coast Magazine

Author Rusty Gaffney

  • Rusty Gaffney

    Wine Dude

    William “Rusty” Gaffney, M.D. is a retired Orange County ophthalmologist who has had a love affair with wine, and in particular, Pinot Noir, for nearly fifty years. When he retired in 2001, he decided to devote his energies to writing the PinotFile, an online newsletter that was the first wine publication exclusively devoted to Pinot Noir.

    I taste Pinot Noir almost daily along with other varietals, I read about wine and Pinot Noir constantly through all available sources on wine, and visit the wine regions of California and Oregon frequently. I also lead wine tours, organize wine tastings, correspond for the most popular wine podcast on the internet, Grape Radio, and participate in the video-driven offspring of Grape Radio, Grape Vision.

    Over the years, upon my urgings, many wine drinkers have developed a preference for Pinot Noir. They would remark, “Rusty, you’re such a ‘prince’ for introducing me to Pinot Noir.” The moniker stuck, and today my proud title is “Prince of Pinot.”

    I have an enthusiastic reader base throughout the world, in part because I do not take wine or myself too seriously as reflected in the humorous slant to my writing and reporting. I urge wine consumers to explore, experiment and find out what is magical for them, but I hope they always return to Pinot Noir because, “If you drink no Noir, you Pinot Noir.”


Sangria is a Little Sweet, Very Hot, and Definitely Cool

Sangria was part of my life growing up, and I polished off many bottles of Spanada, one of a long line of fruit and wine blends introduced by E.&J. Gallo. It was first released in 1970, a time when the country’s palate was changing from dessert to table wines. I spent many evenings sipping Spanada over dinners with paramours. This inevitably led to romance, and I thanked Gallo many times for that. Read more...

Summer Wine Dinners

Two notable Orange County restaurants are featuring summer wine programs. Read more...

Beyond Cerveza: Vino is Now a Good Option at O.C.’s Top Mexican Restaurants

Many of today’s local Mexican restaurants are nothing like the ones baby boomers and gen-xers grew up with. Modern Mexican cuisine can be sophisticated and very wine friendly, and the wine lists from three notable Orange County restaurants reflect this compatibility. Read more...

Must-Try Wine of the Week: 2011 Wild Ridge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Let’s be honest. Pinot noir is a prima donna, a fickle grape that won’t grow just anywhere, fitting for the phrase “grown on the edge.” It’s a fastidious mistress that likes maritime breezes to cool it off in the late afternoons, plenty of sun midday—but not too much heat, which can burn its delicate skin. It desires well-drained soils to keep its roots out of water, and impeccable grooming for, well, appearance’s sake. Read more...

Bacigalupi Family Marks 50th Anniversary of Historic Chardonnay Planting

I had the opportunity to attend a momentous event in Healdsburg, Sonoma County recently. The Bacigalupi family celebrated the 1964 planting of chardonnay on their Goddard Ranch vineyard, now known as the Paris Tasting Block. Read more...

Must-Try Wine of Week: 2012 Margerum Sybarite Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara County Sauvignon Blanc

I don’t usually seek out sauvignon blanc, but this wine from one of California’s best sauvignon blanc growing regions caught my interest. Handcrafted by Margerum Wine Company in Buellton, the wine is composed of grapes from the top four sauvignon blanc vineyards Margerum works with: McGinley (50 percent), Curtis (15 percent), Grassini (20 percent) and Star Lane (15 percent). Read more...

Wine in a Can?

Oregon wine producer Union Wine Company, owned by Ryan Harms, has launched Underwood Pinot Noir and Underwood Pinot Gris in 375-milliliter cans (equal to two glasses or about a half bottle of wine). A canned Underwood Rosé is planned for early 2015. The wines are the first noncarbonated wines to be bottled in a can. Read more...

Do You Dare Bring Your Own Stemware into a Restaurant?

In California, as in many states, it’s legal to bring wine into a restaurant for your personal enjoyment. Most restaurants charge an uncorking fee to cover the use of wine glasses and wine service, which I find acceptable. I’m perfectly comfortable bringing wine into a restaurant since I have an extensive cellar to draw from. I’ve even invested in proper carriers to fashionably transport the bottles. Read more...

The Doctor is In: New Developments in Wine & Health

As a retired physician and wine enthusiast, I follow all the peer-reviewed scientific literature on wine and health. Here are summaries of recently published studies. Read more...

Sage Advice About Aging Wine

I have been a regular reader of the BKWine Brief newsletter for many years. This monthly publication is written by Britt and Per Karlsson and is offered free to online subscribers at The Karlssons are respected wine journalists and authors who yearly visit some 200 wineries all over the world and also offer wine tours. Read more...

Priscilla Mayfield on Food in Orange County

Wine Program Review


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