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Category: Joie de Vivre

Joie de vivre translated is “the joy of living.”  There is so much that brings joy into my life.

Ketcham Estate – A Lunch Tasting

Allie Ketcham comes to Charleston. We meet for lunch and sample three wines. Recently, Gary and I had the opportunity to meet up with Allie Ketcham, owner of Ketcham Estate—a woman-owned winery with a female winemaker in the Russian River Valley. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Ketcham Estate, a very brief history Mark Ketcham’s (1955-2020) dream of owning a vineyard and making wine began in the year 2000 with the purchase of 17.5 acres (13 planted to vine) in the heart of the Russian River Valley. Four years later, he founded Ketcham Estate. Mark was a hard-core fan…

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Wineries Say Farewell {sad face}

Since 2019, Gary and I have worked with some fantastic wineries in Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, Lodi, California, and Willamette Valley in Oregon. We host tastings and do what we can to promote small direct-to-consumer wineries. This past year, we learned that two of our favorites have or are closing, and we want to say goodbye. So, we wish these two wineries a fond farewell: Methven Family Vineyards I met Laura Lee, the then-general manager of Methven Family Vineyards, in 2019 at the Gamay seminar for the Willamette Valley Wine Writer’s Education Tour. We immediately bonded over their Rosé of…

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2022 What a Year !

The other day Gary and I shared a bottle of LXV Rosé of Cabernet Franc. It was the perfect way to cap the day. As we drank it, I kept thinking about how fortunate I am. And that led me to think about the year that was 2022. But also the depth of gratitude I feel for the folks surrounding me. 2022 Gratitude… for Some Important People in my Life My Husband – we are approaching 35 years together, and I would not do it with anyone else! My Sisters – I am not sure what our parents did, but…

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Confessions of a Wine Geek 2022

Ahem… Not Wine Geek but Wine Enthusiast. I did a confessions post like this back in the Spring of 2018. That list is still reasonably accurate, with the exception that after our last wine fridge purchase, Gary has vetoed getting any more. (for the record, the last wine fridge purchased holds 350 bottles, so I dare not complain.) New Confessions 2022 I have been known to use an Infrared Thermometer Gun to check the drinking temperature of my glass of wine. We always use the “Three Sip Rule” before we say anything about the wine we just tasted. Or you…

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Rick’s Pick – Wine of the Week

This post, Rick’s Pick – Wine of the Week, is something new that I am trying to get me back to posting more often. So, let’s begin. Over the New Year holiday, a new friend brought a bottle of 2020 Champalou Vouvray to the festivities. After my first sip, I knew I had to buy this wine and keep it in my rotation. This post will also be a mini-lesson for those unfamiliar with French wine regions and bottle labels. A Bit About Vouvray Wine from Vouvray is made from the Chenin Blanc grape. Vouvray is an AOC (appellation d’origine…

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It’s All Good! Just Crazy Busy

My last post was a month ago. Yikes, sorry!  But it’s all good! I wish I could write more quickly and be able to post a minimum of once a week, or at least stockpile some posts for times like these, but that is just not me.  I am a thinker—a ponderer. So instead, I process everything in my head for a while, and then I write.  And trust me, it takes a bit for things to slosh around up there before I can spit the words back out. And when I have other big projects on the “to do”…

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Wine Enthusiast -> Essential Items

As a wine enthusiast, I can go a tad overboard on my gadgets and specialty items. However, I am always game to try something that claims to enhance my wine-drinking experience. I have tried many items you will never find on the blog, but these… These are essential.  You might use the items in this post as future gift ideas for you or your wine enthusiast but trust that I have used every one of these items. In the post, I will also explain why they are deemed essential to me. Red Wine Enthusiast WHY -> Saves You TIME Wine…


Banner Elk: Chill in the Mountains

It has been almost two months already since we returned from my birthday weekend in Banner Elk, North Carolina. With all of our wine trips and personal vacations canceled, we had to get something on the books where we could be “distanced and safe.”  And a cabin in the woods outside a small mountain town seemed like the right answer. Gary and I, along with another couple, spent four nights and five days chilling, drinking wine, and sitting by the fire. Banner Elk: The Cabin We chose this cabin after seeing our friends/neighbors post about staying there over the summer.…