Cabernet Vineyard at Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena Cabernet Vineyard

With the 40th anniversary of the Paris Tasting coming up next month I thought I’d post some of my sketches of Chateau Montelena. As the story goes, on May 24, 1976, a wine tasting took place in Paris that changed the world’s view of California wines forever. The 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. and the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay from California won first place in a blind tasting. I sketched this under a shady oak at the far end of the property looking back towards the Chateau.  This sketch is from my book Impressions of Wine Country available on Amazon.

Good Friends, Good Wine

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For those of you who live in the Bay Area, specifically Sonoma County, get a copy of today’s paper (Sunday April 17, 2016) and you’ll see the first installment of an ongoing series of stories about wine and grape growing. The Press Democrat will be publishing excerpts from my new book, “Impressions of Wine Country” over the next year!

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My book “Impressions of Wine Country” is, of course, available on Amazon.

Impressions of Wine Country

Wine tasting at Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena WIne Tasting_sIn honor of Alan Rickman, here’s a sketch from my new book “Impressions of Wine Country.” Aside from his role in the popular Harry Potter series, Rickman starred in countless other films. One of my favorites is his turn as British wine merchant Steven Spurrier in “Bottle Shock.” The film captures a pivotal moment in California wine’s history, as it transitioned from a serviceable bulk product to its current status as a serious contender in today’s world of wine. It was Spurrier (played in the film by Rickman), who organized the blind tasting of 1976 that has come to be known as the “Judgment of Paris.” Though the screenplay is not historically accurate, the story is fun, and of course, Alan Rickman’s performance makes it all worth while.
 
I drew this sketch in the Sun Room at Chateau Montelena, while tasting their Chardonnay, Cabernets, and newly released Riesling. If you haven’t yet been to the winery, I highly recommend a visit, as its estate is as gorgeous as are its wines.

Tofanelli Vineyards, Napa

Vince's Vineyard in Napa

Sketch of Vince Tofanelli’s vineyard located in Calistoga (Napa County) just before harvest. Though Vince sells most of his grapes to wineries, he reserves a portion for his own label, Tofanelli Wines. They are some of the best I’ve tasted. Vince was nice enough to allow me access to his vineyards many times over the course of a year. I cover all the details in my book, “Impressions of Wine County.”

Impressions of Wine Country

Impressions of Wine CountryI am proud to announce the publication of my new book, “Impressions of Wine Country”. In this book, I talk with a number of winemakers and grape growers to uncover the artistry of viticulture and viniculture in this unique area of the world. It is both a story of how wine is grown and crafted from the vine to the glass and a picture book containing over 170 of my watercolors (drawn mostly on location). Travel with me as I explore the seasons of the vineyard in Northern California.

Preston Vineyards and Farms

Preston_sOver the past month, I’ve visited Preston Vineyards and Farms several times for produce, sketching, and of course, wine tasting. The property is situated in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley and is a beautiful place to visit, especially in fall. The farm store is loaded with gourds, pumpkins, herbs, zucchini, and much more. Picnic tables are in abundance and make perfect places for lunch and a quick sketch.