Is Napa growing too much wine? Residents seek to preserve treasured land

Napa county has California’s densest concentration of oak woodland, thanks to the rich foliage that still carpets the hills. While much of it is privately owned and not public land in the classic sense, the woods are regarded as a public resource – a place of recreation and biodiversity, a vital part of the valley’s […]

Wine Country Grape Growers Fear Significant Damage From Wildfire Smoke

It’s a dilemma facing a lot of Bay Area grape growers right now: whether or not to harvest at all. Smoke damage, called “taint,” can affect the taste and aroma of wine and the industry doesn’t want to do anything to degrade the region’s reputation for quality.

Winemakers are worrying about smoke taint, but wine drinkers should not

Finally, even if the smoke damage to California’s 2020 grape harvest is widespread — and we don’t know whether it will be — the chances are quite slim that your particular favorite wine will be ruined. Consider the case of Australia. Its catastrophic 2019-2020 fire season played out during its wine grape harvest, too. The […]

Everything you need to know about Mendocino wine

This time, I focused on the Anderson Valley, and we dispatched critic Sara Schneider — the longtime wine editor of Sunset magazine, and current contributor to the Robb Report — to the winegrowing regions further inland. Sara and I were both struck by how unassuming Mendocino wineries are: Many tasting rooms were staffed by their […]

Trump visa restrictions add obstacle to California winery harvest season: no international interns

International harvest interns typically come to the U.S. under the J-1 visa, a non-immigrant visa designed to promote cultural exchange and job training. The program can cover au pairs, visiting professors and some students. Unlike H-2A visas, widely used by California wineries to secure seasonal agricultural labor, these J-1 visas cater to winemaking trainees — […]

The Art of Selecting the Perfect Bourbon Barrel

That visit, and the many more to come, set Zoeller on a path to understanding how the type of wood and the different kinds of barrel treatments, from toasting and charring to texturizing, could be used to alter the flavor of bourbon. One of his favorite successes from these experiments was the Jefferson’s Reserve Twin […]

As dangers rise, many fear their California Dream is fading

This is the debit side of the California Compromise. It is an economy, the world’s fifth largest, that is built by government policy and private enterprise to favor the skilled in Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the wealthy everywhere else. The rest of California is increasingly a service economy that pays a far larger share of […]

California wildfires: Live updates Sept. 10-11

9:12 a.m. On Orange Wednesday, “The world didn’t end”: One of the pearls of wisdom from Mary Ellen Carroll on the Fifth & Mission podcast is to remember just that and keep yourself in the present moment. As S.F.’s director of the Department of Emergency Management, she knows a thing or two about handling crisis […]