Adventures in San Francisco with Alex and Joey

San Francisco, well California in general, is one of those places that you just want to show off. When I lived in Columbia the extent I would show off my town was really limited to the University of Missouri campus, Shakespeare’s Pizza, the Artisan (RIP) and Top Ten Wines. If they were especially adventurous we might hit up the Pinnacles north of town or Rock Bridge Memorial State Park south of town. We could get everything done in a day, easily. 

San Francisco and Northern California are so different. I’ve lived here for a total of four years and I feel like I’ve only skimmed the surface. I am regularly thanking my friends Jimmy and Aaron for helping me discover new and often inspiring features of this part of the country. Whether it’s a mountain to be climbed or a fantastic restaurant at which to be dined.

So when friends visit me here in California, the list of things to do is almost certainly longer than the days they will be here. Such was the case with Alex and Joey. I picked them up from the airport a Wednesday afternoon and drove them straight to wine country for tastings at J Vineyards, Seghesio Family Vineyards and Preston of Dry CreekContinue reading

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