Movie Review: American Wine Story

Last weekend, I had the chance to preview an incredible film from Three Crows Media titled American Wine Story.  American Wine Story is a documentary that chronicles the journeys of several winemakers and wine professionals who, for the most part, don’t follow the path into the wine industry that most Americans seem to envision.  The movie draws you in from the start with tales of tragedy, hard work, and success.

American Wine Story
American Wine Story

American Wine Story’s underlying theme is following passions and pursuing dreams, which in this case, revolve around making wine.  While the movie centers around the death of Oregon winemaker Jimi Brooks of Brooks Winery, I found the stories of many of the other featured winemakers equally intriguing.  As a viewer, I was captivated to learn about the winemakers’ day jobs, personal and professional struggles, and what ultimately led them to pursue wine.

Some of the featured winery owners in American Wine Story
Some of the featured winemakers, winery owners, and wine professionals in the film

While the storyline can seem a little slow at times, for the most part the film keeps the audience engaged. American Wine Story also neglects to mention stories of failure, which are as prevalent (if not more prevalent) than successes in the wine industry.  However, in spite of the aforementioned flaws, I found the film very enjoyable.

If you are interested in watching (and you should be), the film is now available to audiences everywhere on iTunes, Amazon, On Demand and at  So grab a bottle of wine, relax, and enjoy the movie!

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Don’t Miss Rhone Rangers Los Angeles 2014!

Heads up to all my LA friends…Rhone Rangers is coming to LA on September 9th! This is my favorite annual wine event in all of Southern California.

Rhone Rangers is a non-profit organization dedicated to “advancing the knowledge and enjoyment of Rhone wines produced in America” and they do a fantastic job.  Their event in Los Angeles showcases some of the best Rhone winemakers outside of France (think Bonny Doon, Two Shepherds, and Tablas Creek).

Last year's event held at the Vibiana...a beautiful setting and even better wine!
Last year’s event held at the Vibiana…a beautiful setting and even better wine!

This year’s event will be held at the Vibiana in Downtown LA.  The Vibiana is a breathtaking location (it was held there last year as well) and the list of participating wineries seems to get better every year.  Check out Rhone Rangers for more info.  This event is not to be missed!

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Los Angeles Finalists for the 2014 James Beard Awards!

It may have been announced a few days ago, but I want to highlight several chefs and restaurants from my new hometown have been nominated as finalists for the 2014 James Beard Awards!  I am so excited to be part of a city with such an exciting culinary scene.  And the nominees are…

LA nominees for the “Best Chef : West”: 

– Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal

– Michael Cimarusti of Providence

LA nominees for “Outstanding Chef”: 

– Suzanne Goin of Lucques

– Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza

LA nominees for “Outstanding Pastry Chef”

– Dahlia Narvaez of Osteria Mozza

LA nominees for “Outstanding Restaurateur

– Caroline Styne of Lucques, A.O.C., Tavern, etc.


Check out the full list of finalists here: James Beard Awards Finalists

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Wine Cooler Review – NewAir AW-180E Thermoelectric Wine Cooler

Wine coolers…with the amount of wine we purchase and drink, they will always be in demand in our house.  It is definitely best to store wine at a proper serving temperature but, sadly, a lot of wine drinkers don’t do this.  This being said, I was pretty excited to receive NewAir’s 18 bottle wine cooler and give it a try.

The AW-180E Thermoelectric Wine Cooler has a sleek design and is compact enough to fit in small kitchens or other environments where space might be an issue.  The cooler stores up to 18 bottles at serving temperature (range of 54-66 degrees) and features a vibration-free cooling system to protect against sediment. The controls are digital and the system is very quiet.

A sleek and sophisticated wine cooler from NewAir
A sleek and sophisticated wine cooler from NewAir

Overall, we have been pretty impressed with the cooler.  The only con is that storing large bottles (especially 18 large bottles) can be challenging as the space between racks is a bit tight.  I think that this is an excellent cooler for storing everyday bottles.  Not only would it be great in a home kitchen, but it would also be an excellent system for an office environment.  As a matter of fact, that is where we will placing ours so we can offer clients a glass of wine at proper temperature when they come to visit us 🙂 .

So, if you are on the market for a new wine cooler, definitely look into NewAir’s 18 bottle system.  It is practical, modern, and a perfect fit for tight spaces! 

*Media Sample

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Delectable – A Wine App Actually Worth Using

I have downloaded countless wine applications on my iPhone over the past couple of years and, time after time, they have been pretty disappointing.  After hearing some buzz from friends, I broke down and decided to give Delectable a try.  To my surprise, it has now been on my iPhone for over 4 months and I log in almost daily.

Take a picture, upload it to Delectable, and it identifies the wine for you!
Take a picture, upload it to Delectable, and it identifies the wine for you!

To give you a brief over view of the app, it allows you to upload pics of the wines you drink along with brief tasting notes.  It identifies the wine (slowly sometimes but surely) and it is added to your profile.  Those wines are shared with your followers and you can interact via comments and “likes”.  You can also search for specific wines and see history of tasting notes that others have provided.  The app even offers wine suggestions based on what you have recently drink.

For me, Delectable rocks because it allows me to see what my friends think of wines on my radar (or perhaps not) that I haven’t had the chance to try yet.  I have purchased some great bottles because of high ratings from friends who I know have similar palates.  So, if you like wine, social media, and don’t have Delectable yet, you are missing out.  It’s a wine app that is actually worth using!

P.S. Look me up if you are using it!

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Wine and Good Food is on Vacation…

I am calling it a vacation because that is what my grandmother would have wanted me to call it.  She passed away over the weekend at the age of 88 and Brandon and I are heading back to the East Coast to celebrate her life with the rest of our family.

My grandmother taught me more about life than I can put into words and also ignited my love for food.  She came from a very large Italian family and began cooking with her mother at a young age.  Some of my first memories of her include her and my grandfather cooking course upon course for family dinners at a table which seemed a mile long.  She made many Italian dishes, including delicious pasta and marinara sauce from scratch, pizzelles, and Italian Wedding Soup.  She also kept the Italian tradition of “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” (Festa Dei Sette Pesci)  every Christmas.  I could go on and on about the fantastic meals she cooked and the memories surrounding them.

I will miss the Matriarch of our family terribly but I will strive to keep her memory alive through her recipes and stories.  Cheers Nunna…I only hope to live a life as full as yours!


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10 Great Wine Quotes

I wanted to share a few of my favorite wine quotes for your weekend reading pleasure.  Hope you enjoy!

Wine Pic

“Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it.” Anonymous

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.” Benjamin Franklin

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Benjamin Franklin

“In victory, you deserve Champagne. In defeat you need it.” Napoleon Bonaparte

“A bottle of wine begs to be shared; I have never met a miserly wine lover.” Clifton Fadiman

“Life is too short to drink bad wine.” Anonymous

“Age is just a number. It’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine.” Joan Collins

“If food is the body of good living, wine is its soul.” Clifton Fadiman

“I love everything that’s old, old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine.” Oliver Goldsmith

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”  W.C. Fields

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