Hot product

I've been getting a lot of male attention lately—which is awesome for a chubby chick approaching her 53rd birthday—but only when I'm wearing my very special T-shirt. Plain, chocolate brown in a soft wash-and-wear fabric, it's a walking punchline: a wine opener with the words "Screw It" in sparkly rhinestones. Hot-looking 40-something party boys (I told you I was middle-aged!) do a double take. "LOVE the shirt!" Or they  point to it from across the tasting room with a thumbs

Chasing Booker

I joined Booker’s wine club about a year ago and so far I hadn’t received a single bottle of vino. Here’s what happened. On a trip to Paso in June 2010 I fell head over heels for Booker White, a luscious roussane blend fermented in a hip Euro concrete tank. Golden in color, it drinks like pure nectar.

Packable Desserts

Cookies can go just about anywhere you care to take a meal. Neater than a cupcake and easier than pie, they require little more...

Glassy-eyed tasters

A big topic of discussion among winos is always stemware. Do fancy glasses really deliver? Are bargain vessels just as good? Lately there has even been talk about clay glasses. And it's very specific if you troll around on Wine Spectator's chat site. Does glazing make a difference? Some say definitely yes, that when you drink from an unglazed clay vessel it softens the tannins in your red

Cool new product: wine straws

Jenny LaFever had girlfriends over during the holidays and two had just whitened their teeth. So she broke out some bulky, too tall, soft drink straws. The next day she thought there had to be something more elegant. “I was shocked that there wasn’t,” LaFever said. So she decided, “I’m making one.”

Get to the ghetto!

In most family businesses the elders mentor the younger employees. But at Zotovich Cellars, vintner Ryan Zotovich, right, often gives advice to his uncle Steve. “He asked, ‘Where should I grow?’” Ryan said. “He ruled out Napa: too expensive. And Sonoma: Way too far from O.C. He thought syrah and cab in Paso, but I wasn’t sold on it. I said, ‘Have you looked into Santa Rita Hills?’”

Happy campers

While everyone else argues about synth vs. real cork, writers keep getting bombarded with box wine samples. I think it's really the same issue. With synth cork or wine in boxes vs. bottles it's really about the loss of wine's romance—the packaging just isn't as sexy. But the come-ons from the box wine promoters are hilarious, basically they say, "Box Wines: they don't suck as much as they used to."

Drinko de Mayo

No one says you have to subject yourself to a crowded cantina and swill margaritas on May 5. Give it a rest and head to your favorite restaurant with a great wine list. Or just get out your credit card and go shopping. There are so many great white wines in California they deserve their own celebration. Here are a few recommendations to get you started.   Chardonnay—California chards have been taking it on the chin for being overly oaked and buttery. The s

Paso Wine Man rides again

They just keep getting funnier and if you haven't seen Paso Wine Man yet, hit this link to view his latest video, a promotion for the Paso Robles Wine Festival. He's gotten more Shakespearean as he proclaims that Paso wines will "live forever in tastebud glory," and releases those who would prefer Napa or France with "Their passports shall be

Local guy grapes good

He started out as a teenaged dishwasher at Nordstrom Café in Brea but within nine months he was assistant manager. Little did Craig Becker know that a cleanup job not many Orange County kids would want could kick-start a stellar career in the food and wine industry.