California wine month

It’s time to celebrate! September is California Wine Month. California makes a significant contribution to the state and the nation by providing quality jobs and bolstering the economy through hospitality, taxes and tourism.

Its 4,800 bonded wineries, predominately family owned, produce 81 percent of U.S. wine. This accounts for $35.2 billion in retail sales and $1.53 billion in wine exports, according to the Wine Institute.

If you’re ready to party and looking for one, go to I found one, not too far away, and the Navigator agreed!

The Madera Vintners Association event will be held at Papagni Winery, 9505 Road 30.5, Madera, on Sept. 21st from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be live music, appetizers made by local restaurants/caterers and of course, wine from local vintners. The MVA will announce awards to members in the local wine industry and will recognize the grant recipients from Fresno State’s Enology and Viticulture Departments. Tickets are $35 and available at Good food, wine, music and a great cause, what’s not to like? See you there.

Yosemite Culinary Festivals

The Taste of Yosemite is a monthlong culinary event that features celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations, a mix-and-mingle reception and a five-course gala wine dinner, all at The Majestic Hotel. This year the event will have two- or three-day sessions starting Nov. 4. If you don’t visit Yosemite very often, opt for the three-day session. It will give you more time to take in the grandeur of Yosemite.

Go to and check out the schedule. For fun, Google some of the celebrity chefs. I chose Victor Scargle, Nicolai Lipscomb and James Syhabout. I’m pretty sure you’ll figure out why I chose those three.

The Grand Grape Celebration featuring four wineries follows the same format, starting Nov. 25. Four tasting seminars, a mix-and-mingle reception and a five-course dinner with wine pairings. The final culinary event of the year is the Bracebridge Dinner, a sumptuous Old English Christmas feast of centuries past. The Bracebridge dinner dates are Dec. 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22. Move quickly on securing tickets. Remember, it’s Yosemite.

What’s on Our Table

Reader Fred, from Modesto, sent me a picture of a 2013 Boccantino Sicilia Reserva from the Grocery Outlet. It’s now his house red and at $4.99 I can understand why. It’s 100 percent Nero d’ Avola, delicate red fruit flavors, soft tannins and medium long finish. Good hunting, Fred.

Bonny Doon Vineyards’ Vin Gris De Cigare is one of my favorites and the 2017 is no exception. Mostly grenache but blended with five other Rhone varietals and sale priced around $13, definitely worth the hunt. Cheers!

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