J Vineyards Makes it Right

A few weeks ago I wrote about a negative experience my friends and I had at  J Vineyards & Winery in Healdsburg. The short story is that we were part of a Wine Club special event tasting where employees were uneducated about the wines and food pairings, they lacked attention to detail and their guests and the “sparkling only” wine shipment was overpriced and handed to me not with pride but apologetically.

A few days after sharing that experience I was contacted over Twitter and the phone by Carolyne, a representative of the winery. We talked at length about what happened, what should have happened and what will happen in the future. Carolyne was kind to listen, apologize and provide me with the confidence that myself and others will not be dealt the same poor service ever again at their tasting room. Continue reading

J Vineyards and Winery, a Bitter Taste

I tweeted earlier in the week that Kayla, Marris and I had a dreadful wine tasting at J Vineyards in Healdsburg. J Vineyards responded on Twitter requesting I direct message them my story so they could make it right. I told them I’d put it together here and so I have. A direct message, while definitely tidier for J, would never allow me to fully explain my disappointment. Here goes:

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you probably know about the never-ending renovation I’ve been doing on my house in wine country. I find myself going up north to meet with a contractor or furniture delivery person at least once a month. While this might be annoying to some, and it is to me, the best part of these trips is getting to see Kayla.

It’s a rare event that Kayla and I are in the same zip code and don’t do some sort of wine tasting. So on this trip to Sonoma County, she and I decided to hit up J Vineyards for a quick tasting and pick up my wine club shipment. Marris was in town and joined in on the adventure. But before we go there, let’s learn a bit about the winery and my history visiting them. Continue reading

Westside Road Barn

Over the last few weeks, two of which I lived out in Healdsburg, I passed this particular barn probably half a dozen times. Each and every time I passed it I thought to myself, “Wow, that barn is pretty, I should take a photograph of it.”

Unfortunately, I suffer from the photographer’s version of acute-onset hipsterosis. That is to say that I fear photographing things that other people would also photograph.

Luckily (?) I broke down, but the bullet and flicked the shutter. I present to you the barn that begs to be photographed.

Westside Road Barn

I mean, come on. How could you not photograph that? It’s distressed, it has a rusty red roof, it’s in a beautiful grape vineyard with the remnants of a late morning storm breaking apart in the skies above.

It’s overwhelmingly kitsch, but I like it.

A Sunny Day in Wine Country

Today I had an absolutely wonderful, and necessary, trip to wine country where I visited Kayla and a handful of new-to-me wineries. Right now I’m chilling at a Starbucks in Petaluma charging up my iPhone so I’ve got a few minutes to catch you up on the day. Continue reading

Wine and Friends

You might remember that I went to court just a couple of weeks ago to deal with a squatter who had been living in our family cottage in the wine valley. We won the lawsuit and he was to be evicted 5 days after the judgement had been made official, ie, after he was informed and the Sheriff had posted notice on the house.

Well the day came that I was going to have to meet the Sheriff’s deputy and do the official turning over of property from the squatter back to me.

Not a fun trip to make really. Luckily my dear @KaylaGettys organized a super fun blind wine tasting with some of her friends in Healdsburg. So, the night before I had to be in Forestville, I went to Healdsburg, met some really amazing people, drank some fun wine and generally had an amazing time.

Without that night I don’t think I could have made it through the day that followed.

Impromptu Visit to the Wine Valley

A jaunt over to Ikea to buy a dresser becomes a trip to Sonoma Valley for @Marris_Returns and I. We met up at Ikea where said dresser was purchased. Meanwhile Marris gets a phone call about a cousin about a trip to Napa.

One thing lead to another and the trip to Napa was cancelled almost as soon as it started. But, instead of getting all down about the whole deal, we decide to surprise @KaylaGettys with a trip to her winery in Healdsburg, Seghesio Family Vineyards.

Well, that trip to Seghesio became a trip to Seghesio, Mauritson Vineyards, Amista Vineyards and finally Sbragia Family Vineyards where we met the owner’s daughter, Gina. We hoped to squeeze in one more winery, Preston Vineyards, but we were a bit too chatty with each of these great, small production wineries.

Continue reading

I’ve Always Loved Healdsburg

For as long as I have been visiting California, I have been visiting Healdsburg. I remember coming here as a kid, going to Oakville Grocery for the most amazing sandwiches and then heading west to Armstrong Woods in Guerneville.

If you haven’t visited Healdsburg California, you really must. It’s like one of the picturesque scenes from the movie Pleasantville, only more wine, color and public displays of affection.

After my court date, I headed up here for some time at The Flying Goat, one of my favorite coffee shops for a fantastic cappuccino and some wifi time. Unfortunately the wifi didn’t work out so I was forced to head over to Starbucks for actually functional wifi.

I got a lot of work done there, more than I’ve gotten done in a single day since moving back to California! It felt great knocking so many tasks off my todo list. Afterwards I met up with Kayla and proceeded to pour a venti mocha on her driver’s seat… Yeah, that happened.

So while she worked out, I washed, vacuumed, shampooed and otherwise cleaned her car. I mean, after making it smell like chocolate (and not in a good way) it was the least I could do.

Later dinner at her aunt’s house, where I am being graciously hosted for the night, with Matt and a fantastic bottle of French wine.

The photo up at the top is of my little work station here at Kayla’s aunt’s house. It’s just about perfect for me and my laptop, the heater on the left is keeping me warm as I type this out and the lamp provides a perfect blanket of light across my keyboard.

Now it’s off to bed for me. I’m hoping to get an early start to the day, get some more work done before meeting up with Kayla back at The Goat around 9. After that, we head south to San Francisco!