Food & Drink

Cheers to California’s wine month

Tribune News Service

September is California Wine Month. It is the Wine Institute’s annual celebration of the harvest season. Throughout the state, wineries and regional wine associations will host a variety of special barrel tastings, concerts, food and wine pairings, grape stomps and more. The 15th annual event recognizes the innovative spirit of California vintners and growers. It is the world’s fourth-largest producer and the source of 81% of the wine made in the United States and is home to 3,900 wineries and 5,900 grape growers. It is also the most visited state for wine and food experiences with 24 million visits annually.

Sept. 12-15 is the Lodi Grape Festival and Harvest Fair with great entertainment (Los Lonely Boys, War), food, carnival rides, wine exhibits and tastings of some of Lodi’s award-winning wines. For more information, visit The Madera Wine Trail’s celebration is Sept. 20 at the Toca Madera Winery from 6-9 p.m. Eight local wineries will be pouring their best, along with delicious appetizers prepared by local restaurants. Add some cool live music and that’s a real party. The Navigator and I went last year and had a blast. To support your local wineries, go to To see more special celebrations in California, go to

What’s on our table this week is the 2018 Alexander Valley Vineyards Rose of Sangiovese. It is a brilliant pink color with strawberry, watermelon and raspberry flavors, bright acidity and a nice long finish. The suggested retail is $16 but it is sale priced under $12 (Safeway).

Wine Line Celebrates

Wine Line first appeared Sept. 5, 2007, which means I just finished 12 years and 288 columns. My goal was to keep it simple by making it consumer friendly. Every September, I question if I’m still on track. It sometimes helps to repeat my mission statements which originally included five statements. I found this was way too many to remember so now I’ve cut it down to just two.

Wine is Simple, Enjoy it: Wine is just fermented grape juice not rocket science. Wine should be fun, there are no rules and try to avoid wine snobs.

Trust Your Palate and Drink What You Like: Develop your own taste for wine. Don’t outsource your palate to wine critics or inflated wine scores. Trust your palate and drink what tastes good to you. Follow these three simple steps, find a wine that you like, one that you can afford and enjoy it. That’s all there is.

Thanks to all you Wine Line readers. And please let me know when I go astray, just like the Navigator does. Let’s raise a glass and on to year 13. Cheers!

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