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Bri's Best Bottles

February 3, 2021
Bri's Best Bottles: February Edition

Things seem to be settling down around us as we turn the corner into February, which is a good thing. Today I’m hosting a Zoom Webinar where I share with you my Best Bottles…the 10 wines I am going to enjoy in the month of February. If you missed the Zoom, don’t fret, all the […]

January 13, 2021
Bri's Best Bottles: January Edition

2021 came in hot, didn’t it? It sort of feels like an extension of 2020 a bit, right? All we can do is move forward with life, as difficult as it may seem. I am focusing on doing things that bring me joy, which includes enjoying some spectacular wines. Today I’m hosting a Zoom webinar […]

Bubbly

May 5, 2020
How Does Bubbly Get Bubbly?

I’m revisiting this topic from an earlier blog post, because I recently hosted an “All Things Bubbles” #VirtualVino class and I thought it was worthwhile to come back to it. Wine education can be a bit daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! I like to take wine concepts and break them down in digestible, […]

February 25, 2020
Domaine Carneros: A Touch of France in the Napa Valley

Last year I was invited to a wine pairing dinner at Avra Estiatorio in Beverly Hills featuring the wines of Domaine Carneros. Joining us for dinner was no other than winemaker, Zak Miller. I have only ever tried the widely distributed opening pricepoint sparkling from Domaine Carneros, so I jumped at the chance to taste other selections from their portfolio.

February 26, 2018
#WineStudio Nino Franco

Everyone knows that Prosecco is on fire……did somebody say brunch? Last week I shared about a quality-level Prosecco worth exploring with my piece: Prosecco….Not Just for Mimosas.

What is #WineStudio?

February 18, 2018
Prosecco: Not Just for Mimosas

When I was in college in my 20s, day drinking wasn’t what it is now. This was before Sunday Brunch became a “thing” and before Vegas started doing “day parties”. In my 20s, it was a simpler time. Binge drinking only occurred at night (much easier to manage!). Weekend days were spent recovering, eating Taco […]

January 30, 2018
The Magic of Moscato d' Asti

Wine lives and breathes, like a character in my life. Moscato d’ Asti is that beautiful, feminine, and delicate friend. The kind of friend that makes you wonder how she makes it look so effortless, yet, every time she manages to knock it out of the park. While you’re barely able to slip on your […]

November 25, 2016
My Gift Manifesto

Happy Consumerist Friday, known as Black Friday to most! Black Friday is a day that I proudly do not like to participate in. Most people start their holiday shopping on Black Friday, whereas I do not to participate in holiday shopping at all. As a general rule, I don’t do gifts. I don’t give them […]

Event Production

July 7, 2020
6 Tips To Produce a Live Event Post-COVID

It’s July now, and I assumed that when I wrote this blog post, we would be in a post-COVID world and that I would be giving you tangible suggestions for how to produce a live event post-COVID. Hilarious, right? When COVID hit in March, it first felt like a blip on the radar, then it […]

June 30, 2020
Virtual Fundraising Events. Yay or Nay?

Since March, we have all become Zoom masters. Depending on our line of work, and connectivity with our family/friends, Zoom is now something we say and do daily. I know some in the corporate sector who have no fewer than five to seven Zoom calls per day, and that does not include personal Zooms with […]

June 16, 2020
Nonprofit Events: Now What?

For the last couple of years, nonprofit events have been on a high. Many event producers were fat and happy: lots of clients and growth in event budgets. In many ways, the economy was booming, and events rode the wave. Specifically, I work in nonprofit events, and things were looking good. When the economy is […]

Food & Wine Pairings

July 21, 2020
Wine and Food Pairing: Chalk Hill Estate

On March 6th, I hopped on a San Francisco-bound plane to work with a client on an upcoming event. That weekend I spent some time with friends in Marin, and our visit to Chalk Hill Estate was my last public outing before COVID got serious in California. I flew home on March 8th and woke […]

April 20, 2020
Dreaming of Austria

Exciting trips on the books? Wine tasting excursions to wine country? Reservation at your favorite restaurant?  Nope…me neither:) As we are stuck home in quarantine, I enjoy writing about the most fabulous food and wine pairings I have been lucky enough to enjoy.  We’re not quite at a place where we can do any of […]

April 14, 2020
Food and Wine Pairings to Dream About

Sitting here on my laptop at my dining room table as I work from home. Which, mind you, is a normal occasion for me as I am self-employed and frequently work from home. However, the tone of “work from home” is quite different now that I have just entered week 5 of quarantine with a maximum of one trip outside of the house per week. My mood changes daily. It’s almost like that “fire danger” scale with the arrow moving across the scale of colors. I’m somewhere in the “orange” range. Mental health is ok and my energy levels and moods vary throughout the day. And I am ok with all of that. Not aiming for perfection here. Just focusing on making each day the best it can be. 

August 20, 2019
Titus Vineyards: 50 Years in Napa

In 1968, Titus Vineyards was born with the purchase of their property. They have farmed this land continually since 1969, which gives them 50 years in Napa Valley. Today, Titus Vineyards remains family-owned. The property consists of a 50-acre vineyard, winery, and tasting room at the base of Howell Mountain in the St. Helena AVA, near […]

May 10, 2019
Sella & Mosca: Simply Sardinia

In my wine journeys, I have the opportunity to experience fabulous wines and attend events where I get to taste these wines and meet the winemakers. One such occasion was when I was introduced to Sella & Mosca, the largest winery on the island of Sardinia. Sardinia lies south of France near the island of […]

March 5, 2019
Planeta: An Exploration of Nero d’Avola

More and more people are talking about Italian wine. Italy’s rustic and interesting wines appear to be on an increasing number of wine lists, beyond the requisite Prosecco and Tuscan wines. And while Italy has always been a major tourist destination, people seem to be diverting to some of the lesser traveled regions not normally […]

Fortified Wines

December 3, 2018
Got Pineau?

Over the summer I had the opportunity to attend a Pineau des Charentes tasting at Lucques in Los Angeles. And I can confirm that I had no idea what Pineau des Charentes was before this MasterClass! But, I am VERY glad I went as I am now looking to integrate Pineau in my cocktailing wheelhouse...and I think […]

October 11, 2018
Oh Sherry Baby

Sherry is an adult beverage that is a victim of the past. The word “sherry” conjures up images of elderly ladies sitting in a living room (doilies on the tables!) drinking a sweet cream sherry. Harvey’s Bristol Cream anyone? What people do not know about sherry is that it is made in a wide variety of styles. Sweet and dessert wines are less popular these days, which has made sherry naturally fall out of style. However, today we will talk about two DRY styles of sherry that may be more up your alley.

November 30, 2016
Drink Like a President

I had intentions of drinking this wine on election night and going live with this blog post the following day.  However, the unexpected outcome of the election had me in a state of shock that no amount of fortified wine could get me out of.

October 31, 2016
No Tricks, Only Treats

Happy Halloween to everyone out there! Last night I had a few friends over to carve pumpkins, share a meal, and try out some Port cocktails. When I received these samples, I knew that I wanted to do something different instead of standard tasting notes. It is the Fall season (though I’m in LA and it’s about 80 degrees out) and Port cocktails felt appropriate for All Hallows Eve!

September 2, 2016
Hallelujah, We Have Been Fortified!

Forgive me if there are a lot of exclamation points in this post, but I have received word that I passed the Fortified Exam I took back in June!  Whoo hoo!!!

Rosé

June 12, 2020
Kick-Ass Rosés

No need for an introduction here. These are the best rosé wines I’m loving at the moment. If you so choose: find them, drink them, the end.  Tomorrow is National Rosé Day and may I suggest you grab a glass! Personally, I prefer dry rosé wine, and all of my recommendations below fall under that […]

June 8, 2019
Picks for National Rosé Day

Disclaimer: These wines were all received as samples. I’m not normally one to celebrate and capitalize on any National _______ Day. BUT, today is National Rosé Wine Day and if ever there is a day to celebrate, today it is! I won't open this piece by boring you with statistics about how much rosé is […]

Sprits/Cocktails

May 27, 2016
Final Word on Spirits

It is with excitement and relief that I share that I have passed the Spirits exam I took back in March! This spirits exam was the hardest exam I have taken thus far (as you can see below from my initial observations immediately after the exam). When I got the results via email from our […]

February 9, 2016
Spirits!

Talk about a change of pace! A few weeks ago we began the Spirits section of the WSET Diploma. Most people are surprised to learn that spirits is part of my Somm certification, however the program is called the Wine & Spirits Education Trust! The focus is definitely wine, as five of the six units relate to wine, but we do have one unit on spirits.

They Make Wine?

February 12, 2019
They Make Wine? Maryland Edition

When you hear "Mid-Atlantic" do you think of wine country? Me neither! But alas, at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac, lies Big Cork Vineyards. Big Cork is a family farm in Rohrersville, Maryland started by David Collins, who spent many years making wine in Virginia (see my Virginia wine post HERE). David Collins formed a partnership with Jennifer and Randy Thompson (owners of the land), and Big Cork Vineyards was born. The first 22 acres were planted in May of 2011 and they have now surpassed 5,000 cases in annual production.

April 23, 2018
They Make Wine: Michigan Edition

I tried my first Michigan wines a couple of years ago, on New Years Eve no less! Fun fact: Michigan has over 13,000 acres under vine, making it the 4th largest state for grape growing! However, most of that acreage is for grapes that are used to make juice. If we drill down a bit, […]

July 14, 2017
They Make Wine? Viginia Edition

Welcome to my new series entitled "They Make Wine?", where we explore both domestic and international areas not usually associated with grape growing and winemaking. Today we'll explore Virginia.

Up Your Wine Game

October 12, 2020
Goodbye Sauvignon Blanc, Hello Albariño

Sauvignon Blanc, I love you. You were there when I needed a break from Chardonnay. You were there when I wanted a crisp, clean, high acid white. Thank you. Thank you for being a constant in my life. But Sauvignon Blanc, I need a break. It’s not you, it’s me. You have been lovely, I […]

May 5, 2020
How Does Bubbly Get Bubbly?

I’m revisiting this topic from an earlier blog post, because I recently hosted an “All Things Bubbles” #VirtualVino class and I thought it was worthwhile to come back to it. Wine education can be a bit daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! I like to take wine concepts and break them down in digestible, […]

October 21, 2016
16 Ways to be a Wine Festival Pro!

Wine festivals have become ubiquitous around the United States. I live in Los Angeles and there seems to be a different festival every other weekend. Most are in the $50-$75 price range and tout anywhere from 20 to over 100 wineries participating. If each winery pours 2 wines, you’re looking at anywhere from 40 to […]

June 30, 2016
Make a Wine Entrance

How can you make an entrance when arriving at a party? A stunning new outfit? Arriving late enough so that everyone swings around to see who just walked in? Waltzing in with your ex on your arm? Those are a few options. But this wouldn’t be a wine blog if I was suggesting one of […]

January 11, 2016
Up Your Wine Game: Tasting Room Etiquette

Happy New Year to my readers! This is something I get asked about all of the time. What is the proper way to taste wine? Do I smell the wine? Spit it? Swallow it? Do I tip? Can I ask for more? Is there a cost to taste? Etc? I find that the more I […]

August 3, 2015
Up Your Wine Game: How do Bubbles Get in Bubbly?

Most people can wrap their heads around how alcohol is made. It’s a simple fermentation process. Yeast converts sugar (i.e. grape juice) into alcohol (i.e. wine). Bada-bing, bada-boom, you have yourself some vino. If we’re talking about spirits, a distillation process happens after the fermentation, but that’s a different blog entry!

Vintastic Voyage

September 21, 2020
Vintastic Voyage- Southern Oregon

One of my last wine country trips was in December on a self-guided press trip to Southern Oregon wine country with Neal and Alyse of Winery Wanderings. We met a few years ago at the Wine Media Conference and became fast friends! This was our second trip together, the first one being to Napa Valley […]

August 31, 2020
Vintastic Voyage: Wine Tasting Paso Robles

I spent the first 5 months of COVID daydreaming about when I’d be able to “get out of dodge”. Finally, just after my birthday (in late July) I took a weekend trip up to wine tasting Paso Robles. Shockingly, I had never been there. Crazy how I have been all around the world, but never […]

June 25, 2019
Vintastic Voyage: Napa Valley

There is no shortage of articles/blog posts related to the Napa Valley. BUT, I wanted to share a tested and approved Napa itinerary that I’d recommend to the wine novice and the wine geek alike. This itinerary has something for everyone. I visited the region in early Spring with my friends Neal and Alyse of Winery Wanderings and found this itinerary to be relaxed and easy to follow.

August 7, 2018
Vintastic Voyage: Valle de Guadalupe (Part 2)

This is my second installment (first one HERE) of Vintastic Voyage featuring the Valle de Guadalupe area of Baja California. And it won’t be my last! Valle de Guadalupe is my new favorite weekend trip from LA. For one, the food scene is insane….trust me. You will eat VERY well while you are here, and will […]

June 12, 2018
Vintastic Voyage: Experience the Willamette Valley at Youngberg Hill

A short 45-minute drive from the Portland airport and we had arrived to a peaceful, pastoral wine country setting in the Willamette Valley. The sign signaled our arrival “Youngberg Hill: Wine-Inn-Events”. A mile-long driveway (more about that later) separated the main road from the tasting room. The views here are beautiful. Views of rolling hills […]

March 26, 2018
Vintastic Voyage: Napa (and a little Sonoma)

Confession: Napa Valley has never been my “go to” California wine region to visit. The wines are quite pricey and there can be an air of pretension at some of the larger tasting rooms. However, my experiences in Napa over the last year have helped me see that there is a whole lot more to Napa than egos and flashiness.

Wine Media Conference

August 24, 2020
Tamburlaine: Hunter Valley Wine

Today we go down under to Tamburlaine Organic Wines, Australia's largest independent organic producer with over 300 hectares of organic wines in the Orange and Hunter Valley wine sub-regions of New South Wales. Independent meaning that they don’t sell to big-box retailers. Quite impressive for a 120,000 annual case production. Tamburlaine’s Entry into Hunter Valley […]

January 7, 2020
Tyrrell’s: The First Family of the Hunter Valley

“Our wine business has been in the family for over 160 years, which is an amazing thing. We are lucky enough to make wine from vines planted by our great great grandfather in a time when they had no electricity or any of the luxuries we have today. It is an honor to work with […]

September 9, 2019
New South Wales: Wine Country

Next month I am traveling to Australia for the second time. My first trip in 2012 was purely for pleasure. I went with two girlfriends and we explored Sydney, the Hunter Valley, Brisbane, Cape Tribulation, and Uluru (Ayers Rock). It truly was the trip of a lifetime. In October I will be there for the […]

April 2, 2019
Wine Tasting in the Columbia Gorge

As the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, Washington came to a close, my post-conference excursion was just beginning! We headed off to the beautiful Columbia Gorge to visit Maryhill Winery and Cathedral Ridge Winery. The Columbia Gorge, 60 miles east of Portland is part of two AVAs, the Columbia Valley AVA and the Columbia Gorge AVA. The unique climate of the Columbia River Gorge earns it the title “Mediterranean of the Northwest”. I will say that we visited in October and it was sunny and the weather was beautiful. Insert gratuitous scenery shots!

March 19, 2019
Bodegas LAN: Rioja in Three Letters

At the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla last October, I attended a seminar about the wines of Bodegas LAN, led by Doug Frost, one of only four people in the world with both the MW and the MS certification. The thought of that seriously makes my head hurt. I digress...... Bodegas LAN was “born” in 1972 and is named […]

February 19, 2019
Three Rivers Winery: Where Family Comes First

As a wine blogger I get to try A LOT of really great wines. And occasionally, I get to partake in some pretty exciting food and wine pairing events. This was definitely one of them. It is not often that you get to enjoy a 6-course meal, plus wine pairings, with the winemakers onsite at […]

WSET

April 4, 2018
London, Here I Come!

I just received the results from your January 9, 2018 WSET Diploma Unit 3 exam. Congratulations, you passed the exam. If you can't already guess by the title of this post, I passed the final exam I needed in order to secure the WSET Diploma sommelier certification! I just got news yesterday and have been […]

January 18, 2018
WSET Diploma: Unit 3 Tasting Exam……take 2!

Last week I took the WSET Diploma Unit 3 tasting exam for the second time. If you recall I took both the tasting and the theory exams in June (read more HERE). I felt pretty good about the tasting (after all, that’s the easier portion of the exam and has a higher pass rate) and was nervous about the theory.

November 6, 2017
Cabernet Sauvignon Masterclass: The Great Grape

In late Spring I was honored to be invited to a Cabernet Sauvignon Masterclass. The event was hosted by Louis M. Martini Wines and our fearless leader for the day was Christy Canterbury, MW. The backdrop was the lovely Redbird restaurant in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Cabernet Sauvignon is a grape we all know a lot about. […]

September 12, 2017
Exam Results Are Here!

After 12 LONG weeks waiting for my test results, they are here! Let's recap. In June of 2015 I embarked on a 2-year adventure known as the WSET Diploma program. This program consisted of 20 in-person classes, 6 exams, and 1 research paper on topics including the wine business, viticulture (grape growing), vinification (winemaking), spirits, fortified wines, […]

August 18, 2017
The Mystery of Blind Tasting

As a wine student, the most frequent question I am asked is: how do you blind taste? While I enjoy talking about blind tasting, I don't really enjoy doing it! Why? Because it's fucking hard. It's interesting, people are fascinated by blind tasting wines.  A typical conversation goes like this: Me: I'm a student of […]

July 10, 2017
Holy Exam Batman!

On mornings like today, I find myself waking up, having a Nespresso, checking the news (translation: scrolling through Facebook), and cuddling with the kids (translation: Zoe, my dog and Ziggy, my cat). Next up, I go to the gym and work my tail off, then put in a full day at work. Around 6:30pm I […]

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