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Big Rick


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Big Rick shares all kinds of fun California Stories. Listen to his show Monday-Friday 3-7pm to hear more about the best of wine country!


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California new laws allow wineries more flexibility in marketing, philianthrophy

North Bay Business Journal

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed three bills that will relax restrictions for wineries on opening an extra tasting room, pouring wine into consumer containers and promoting charitable contributions.

These laws take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

On Sept. 23, Newsom signed Senate Bill 19, which doubles the number of off-site tasting rooms a winery can open to two.

On Sept. 22, Newsom signed Assembly bills 239, which allow staff at off-site tasting rooms to fill consumer containers uch as bottles or jugs, and 1267, which permits vintners and other beverage alcohol producers to note that they will be donating a portion of the purchase price to a charity or nonprofit.

While wineries have been able to donate to charity already, they have been barred from giving a gift or “thing of value,” as that is considered an enticement to consume,

Direct flights to Sacramento now available at Palm Springs International Airport

NBC Palm Springs

Nonstop flights to Sacramento are now available through Southwest for those in the Coachella Valley.

Lisa Middleton, Mayor pro tem of Palm Springs says,

“It’s going to take traffic off the roads. But it’s such a convenience. Sacramento area is such an incredible market for us to connect to directly. Ultimately for conventions travel there’s so many organizations that are headquartered in Sacramento.”

Mayor Pro Tem Middleton mentions this is huge for the community especially since many used to have to drive over an hour to Ontario just to fly to the State’s Capital. Now the stressful process of travel can be tapered back by just a bit.

Howl-O-Ween & WildLights Return At Living Desert Zoo, Palm Desert

The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens – a Riverside County gem – is hosting two of its popular extravaganzas for 2021. And tickets could go fast

The Living Desert Zoo’s Howl-O-Ween and the holiday season’s WildLights extravaganza are back for 2021 in Palm Desert, and tickets are on sale.

Howl-O-Ween, set for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 30-31, is a family-friendly fest with a self-guided scavenger hunt, animal encounters and “Boo in a Bag” giveaway, while supplies last.

WildLights will run Nov. 23 through Dec. 30., featuring a walk-through “herd of life-size, luminescent animal lanterns,” plus a tunnel of lights, holiday music and model trains.

Both events are popular, annual attractions at the zoo park, routinely heralded for its displays and care of exotic and endangered species, including being named in 2018 as the only California zoo to receive USA TODAY’S 10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award.

Dress up like a box of wine for Halloween? Franzia Winery near Ripon has you covered

Modesto Bee

Fans of Franzi boxed wine can show their devotion in a truly big way: dressing up like the product for Halloween.

The winery northeast of Ripon is selling adult-size versions of its boxes online for $40. Each has a side pouch that dispenses real wine – your choice of chardonnay or a red blend.

“The new Franzia costumes make you the life of a party, just like an actual box of Franzia,” said Collin Cooney, marketing director for the brand, in a news release.

Franzia was among the pioneers in the 1980s in selling wine in plastic-lined cardboard rather than glass bottles. It is now the top-selling boxed brand in the world.

The real boxes hold 1.5, three or five liters — as many as 34 glasses of wine. The costumes are made of soft material and reach from the shoulders to thighs of a typical adult.

Yes, it’s a 21-and-older product. No one suggests dressing up a toddler, despite the fact that a real five-liter box could be nice fit.

The costume sales started last Halloween. The company enhanced them for 2021 with glow-in-the dark text.

They can be purchased on a part of the website that also offers Franzia clothing, pillows, beach towels, party cups and more. The backpacks that carry boxed wine had sold out but are now back in stock.

Franzia also has online instructions for making costumes out of plain moving boxes.

“Our Franzia Halloween costumes were inspired by our fans, who we fondly call ‘Franz,’ that have been creating homemade Franzia Halloween costumes for years,” Cooney said.

Rapper Cardi B to launch vodka-infused whipped cream

drinks business

Cardi B has teamed up with California brand consultancy Starco Brands to create a non-dairy, vodka whipped cream.

The squirty cream, which has 10% vodka content, is said to be the result of four years’ worth of research and development, and does not require refrigeration. Instead, it is designed to be stored on shelves alongside other spirits.

“There is a tremendous amount of intellectual property built into the formulation and manufacturing of Whipshots,” Ross Sklar, founder of Starco Brands, told Forbes. “We are the only business in the US with a license to manufacture aerosols in a distillery.”

The potent whipped cream will come in three flavours – caramel, vanilla and chocolate – and can be used to spruce up a cocktail, add a decadent kick to desserts, or anywhere else you might like to use whipped cream.

Ridge and Cakebread Cellars join IWCA initiative

The Drinks Business

Two California heavyweights – Ridge and Cakebread Cellars – have joined the International Wineries for Climate Action initiative as applicant members.

Founded in 2019 by Spain’s Familia Torres and California’s Jackson Family Wines, IWCA is dedicated to decarbonising the global wine industry.

“Climate change is real. Ridge has suffered through the impact of extended drought and wildfires. In collaboration with our partners at IWCA we look forward to providing leadership and innovation in the critical process of decarbonising the wine industry,” said Ridge’s president, David Amadia.

Cakebread Cellars in the Napa Valley has also been welcomed into the IWCA fold.

“Over the next few months, we will be working collaboratively across departments and with the support of our Green Team to complete our first greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory.

“This inventory will assist us in calculating and verifying Cakebread Cellars’ emissions and will serve as our annual guide to continued improvement in sustainability and climate change,” a spokesperson for the estate said.

Oakland’s vibe is alive: Triumphant return for First Fridays

Updated: 3 days ago


For the first time in 18 months, First Fridays recently returned to Oakland, bringing art, music and culture back to the open streets.

Organizers said people love the event because it is “authentically Oakland” and that it’s been a long road to get the popular event back to Uptown Oakland.


The city of Oakland once covered some of the costs associated with the monthly event, but this time around, organizers said they had to raise the funds on their own.


The First Fridays event covers a six-block stretch of Telegraph Avenue and draws a large turnout.


“We keep it real. It has the Oakland vibe,” Shari Godinez, First Fridays executive director, said of the event.


The live entertainment included a fashion show, and a touch of nostalgia with a classic car show.


Organizers hope the beat goes on for First Fridays. There is relief that this integral part of Oakland is alive once again.

St. Supéry Estate Celebrates ‘Everyday Heroes’

Updated: 3 days ago

Napa Valley winery pays tribute to community volunteers with an inspirational photo exhibit, virtual tastings and more


This autumn through March 2022, St. Supéry, a Napa Valley community leader with a deep commitment to sustainability, will celebrate unsung everyday heroes who make a difference in communities and neighborhoods across the country. Through the #InJoyEverydayHero project, St. Supéry hopes to inspire people to give back and spread joy.


“During the 2020 wildfires, unasked, our neighbors showed up with bulldozers and shovels to cut firebreaks. We lost 98% of our crop but they halted the fire’s progression. We are celebrating these everyday heroes and those around the world who just show up to help,” says Emma Swain, CEO of St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery.


Nominate your own hero at and view the inspiring photographs and stories at the winery and online.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures’ New Restaurant Fanny’s

LA Eater


Los Angeles would like to thank the Academy for debuting its highly anticipated new motion picture museum on Wilshire Boulevard. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures’ big new ground floor restaurant, Fanny’s, has arrived for its moment of fame.


While the full Fanny’s experience has yet to hit the red carpet, the all-day space is now partially open for cafe basics ranging from espresso drinks and pastries to salads, sandwiches, and natural wine.


Eager museum-goers and local diners can enter the cafe area of the restaurant from the patio that runs alongside Fairfax (or from the lobby of the museum itself) before ordering at the counter and snagging a seat


Dinner, which is set to debut later this fall, will have a much more cinematic flair thanks to a service staff intent on throwing back to the golden age of American dining.


That means tableside service, captains who float through the room in dinner jackets to oversee the experience, and bigger, richer cooking from chef Raphael Francois, who carries a Michelin-level pedigree.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe plans $7.5M terrain expansion with new express lift

Updated: 3 days ago

South Lake Tahoe Now


Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe announced today that plans are underway to expand the Lakeview area of the mountain to include additional ski terrain and a new high-speed chairlift.


Estimated to be the largest capital improvement project in the resort’s history, the new lift will be a key piece of Mt. Rose’s efforts to enhance the overall experience in the Lakeview mountain zone, which will include trail additions, existing trail improvements and new skier traffic patterns.


The expansion is estimated to cost upward of $7.5 million dollars, and is expected to be complete ahead of the 2022-23 winter season.


“For 41 years, the Lakeview triple has provided access to incredible skiing and riding and expansive views of Lake Tahoe.


“When completed, the Lakeview zone of the mountain will offer even greater access to beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain and help give skiers and riders of all ability levels more lift and terrain options to enjoy.”

Y&T rocker takes winemaking curtain call

Updated: 3 days ago

Mercury News


Blame it on the pandemic, but Meniketti Wines—the second act of Dave Meniketti of the heavy metal band Y&T and his wife Jill—is coming to a close.


The Menikettis had been planning to open a tasting room in Saratoga or Campbell, but those dreams were dashed by the pandemic and fires, and they made the painful decision to not make any more wine.


Winemaking may seem a strange sideline for a rock musician who credits his longevity to avoiding potent potables and other vices that did in so many of his contemporaries. Dave Meniketti is the last surviving member of the original band, which started in Oakland in 1974.


“I was the sober, responsible one,” he says. “I wasn’t into partying. We really got into wine by spending time in Europe on tour.”


“In 2001, we went to Italy on vacation, and found ourselves drinking the local wines, eating this great food,” his wife adds. “Friends in the wine biz kept touting Dave’s great palate and telling us we should make our own.


“We’re really proud of every vintage. Sabrine is so very talented. She and Dave have created such excellent wines for us.”


The Menikettis are offering all their wines at 50% off at, using code MERC50

Campbell company makes wine barrel dreams come true
Updated: 3 days ago

Mercury News

On several hundred acres in Hollister, old wine barrels sit in the sun, the wood aging as the vintages they once contained did.

“People love the old, rustic look,” says Brian Preetz, founder of Barrel Dreams, whose headquarters are in Campbell.

The Hollister ranch is used to store the barrels Preetz’s company rents to use as cocktail tables at corporate events, weddings and the like.

“Wine barrel events add a lot of unique character,” he says.

They can also have entertainment value. At a Google corporate team building event, employees took off their shoes, got on barrels and stomped grapes.

“There were thousands of people at that event,” Preetz says. “People said that we were entertaining, fun and that we made the party.”

“We take old wine barrels and make benches, chairs, dog beds, bistro tables and bar stools,” Preetz says. “We make over 50 items out of these barrels.”

Preetz purchases thousands of barrels at a time from vineyards that are rotating them out of service. He says barrels have a useful life of about four years when it comes to storing and aging wine.

For more information, visit

As California’s drought deepens, water use drops only 1.8%


Officials warn that next year’s cuts in water supply could go even deeper as severe drought grips nearly 90% of California. Residents of the North Coast and Bay Area conserved more than Southern Californians did.


Californians reduced their water use at home by a meager 1.8% statewide in July compared to last year, even after Gov. Gavin Newsom urged residents to conserve 15% and drought continues to spread across the state.


Officials today warned water providers south of the Delta who rely on state water allocations — already slashed to 5% this year — to brace for the possibility of zero supply next year.


“Californians always have hope, and that’s healthy. But we need to be prudent,” Karla Nemeth, director of the state Department of Water Resources, said in an interview. “We’re doing more conservative planning than we’ve ever done.”


“The challenge is there is no water,” Nemeth said.


“We’re planning for the worst, but we are hoping for something better,” Nemeth added

At least two trucks now hauling water from Ukiah to the Mendocino Coast


At least two large trucks are now hauling more than 20,000 gallons of water from Ukiah to the Mendocino Coast, Ukiah City Manager Sage Sangiacomo reported this week.


Sangiacomo said the first delivery of water from Ukiah to Fort Bragg, which will be treating the water and making it available to people making water deliveries on the coast, began Sept. 8 “with a single truck, carrying about 5,000 gallons of water, but the truck was able to make two trips for about 10,000 gallons a day.”


As of Sept. 14, Sangiacomo said a “second certified water truck is in service, bringing the daily haul volume to approximately 23,000 gallons.” If and when more trucks begin hauling, Sangiacomo said the daily volume could reach 55,000 gallons.


“This is an unprecedented effort that has been made possible through a Mutual Aid agreement between the city of Ukiah, the county of Mendocino and the city of Fort Bragg,” Sangiacomo continued, explaining that the city of Ukiah is “simply supplying the water, (which) is then being picked up by haulers that the county is procuring, and then being delivered to the city of Fort Bragg and put into their system, and from there it is distributed to water haulers in the region for health and human safety purposes.”

Paso Robles named one of the best small towns to retire to in America, magazine says


The city of Paso Robles continues to collect accolades.


The latest? It’s listed as one of the 10 best small towns for retirees in the United States, according to Travel + Leisure Magazine.


“A walkable downtown features restaurants ranging from casual coffee shops to upscale dining, shops, galleries, breweries, wine tasting rooms, and entertainment,” the magazine wrote. “Nearby, wineries are set among picturesque rolling hills, many with outdoor areas for picnics.”


The magazine also highlighted the city’s, temperate weather, access to outdoor activities such as golf, camping and biking, and its Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays, along with its proximity to San Francisco and Los Angeles and the coast.


Roughly 5,000 of Paso Robles’ 30,000 residents are 65 or older, according to the latest population estimates from Census Reporter. Travel + Leisure mentions the numerous retirement communities and access to healthcare as benefits for residents of retirement age.

Iconic Giusti’s Place in Walnut Grove destroyed in fire


Giusti’s Place, a popular Delta restaurant and saloon in Walnut Grove, (south of Sacramento) was destroyed in a fire on Sept. 9.


“It took over 100 years to create a local gathering hole and it took about 2 or 3 hours to destroy it,” third-generation owner Mark Morias said.


People at the scene said the restaurant, which has been featured in an episode of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” was open when smoke was smelled inside. Employees put out the fire near a propane water heater with an extinguisher, but it had spread inside a wall and up into the attic.


Mercury News


Giusti’s has been run by one family for more than 100 years, first as a saloon and store and since the mid-1940s as a restaurant. Mark Morais and his wife, Linda, are the third generation.

Drake Is Now a Major Investor in LA Chain Dave’s Hot Chicken

LA Eater


Drake is officially in the hot chicken business. That’s according to Dave’s Hot Chicken co-founder Arman Oganesyan, who says the massively popular rapper/entertainer recently signed on as a major investor to the Los Angeles-based restaurant chain. Oganesyan isn’t saying how large Drake’s claim to the business is, but it’s pretty significant. “He has a large stake,” says Oganesyan. “As far as investors go, he has a very good stake.”


…Dave’s is on track to debut 40 new restaurants this year, with plans for some 280 locations eventually, according to Restaurant Business.


Though Drake isn’t the first big name to sign on with Dave’s Hot Chicken — actor Samuel L. Jackson and Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner are both stakeholders — his participation should give an even bigger boost to the Dave’s Hot Chicken name.


Per Oganesyan, the pairing started in July when Drake’s team wanted Dave’s Hot Chicken to cater his party to celebrate receiving Billboard’s Artist of the Decade award. While serving food, the partners connected with Drake’s crew, and the rest is history.

Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation Donates Record $10 Million to Napa Valley College

PR Newswire


The Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation is donating a record $10 million to Napa Valley College (NVC). The gift will support the construction and expansion of the NVC’s Viticulture, Wine and Technology (VWT) program teaching spaces, which will be named the Wine Spectator Wine Education Complex at Napa Valley College. The announcement was made by Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator.


“If there was ever an educational institution poised for significant contributions to the growth of the California wine industry, this is it,” said Shanken. “It is our hope that the door for learning opens wider for young adults from all walks of life, providing a path for future leaders in the wine industry.”


Located in the heart of Napa Valley, Napa Valley College’s VWT program is one of the largest college viticulture and winemaking programs in the country, with an annual enrollment of 800-1,000 students, complete with a five-acre vineyard and commercial winery.

South Lake Tahoe evacuation zones see increase in bear break-ins


With neighborhoods throughout the Caldor Fire evacuation zones beginning to repopulate, there’s a new concern about what residents might find when they return home.


“When you come home and if you find that it looks like a window’s open or door’s open and something has accessed into your house, don’t rush in and definitely don’t block that spot,” said Tahoe bear expert Toogee Sielsch.


“It might be a wild animal that has made ingress into your house because that spots the only way they’re going to know to get out of your house,” Sielsch continued.


South Lake Tahoe Police Chief Dave Stevenson said 15 of the 17 calls they received for break-ins this week ended up being bear break-ins.


“They know when people aren’t home, so they’ve taken advantage of that. We’ve definitely seen an uptick in bear break-ins to garages and some homes,” he said.

Downtown LA’s Historic Cafeteria and Bar Space Clifton’s to Reopen Soon


Clfton’s, the historic Downtown cafeteria, restaurant, and bar property, is set to reopen — at least in part — this October, reports the Los Angeles Times.


Owner Andrew Meieran spent years remaking the entire Broadway building after buying the business from the original family back in 2010, pouring millions into a deep renovation of the entire building. While the bars and ballroom spaces have proved popular, the cafeteria struggled along before closing again back in 2018.


More recently the property has been shuttered for the duration of the pandemic, but now Meieran says that several aspects of the hospitality complex will likely return in mid-October. That includes the Pacific Seas tiki bar on the fourth floor and the Monarch Bar on the second floor. The cafeteria itself will take more time, in part because the ongoing pandemic makes the high-volume, fully enclosed space a challenge.


Now known as Clifton’s Republic, the multi-story property at 648 S. Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles has undergone a tidal wave of changes in the past decade-plus. At its post-Depression height, the cafeteria’s whimsical faux woodsy dining room was capable of feeding up to 10,000 people per day, but in recent decades the property had fallen on harder times, in part because of lower foot traffic and slowed sales. Meieran tells the Times that he still plans to return the property to its rightful glory.

Explore Lompoc, NASA and USGS Celebrate Landsat 9 Launch


The NASA/USGS Landsat 9 satellite is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base on September 23rd. The public can get a front-row seat for the blastoff at locations throughout Lompoc and surrounding areas.


This year’s launch marks the 50th anniversary of the NASA/U.S. Geological Survey’s Landsat program, that provides a valuable resource for decision makers in such diverse fields such as agriculture, forestry, land use, water resources and natural resource exploration.


To commemorate Landsat and its importance to our understanding of Earth, Explore Lompoc, NASA, and USGS are hosting a number of “Launch Week” events in the city of Lompoc during the days prior to the launch.


“We are working together with Explore Lompoc to make the week leading up to the launch a fun and educational experience by offering Landsat-themed events.” says Ginger Butcher, NASA Landsat 9 Communications and Public Engagement lead. “There will be something for everyone–including a geocaching tour, a family fun night, an art exhibition and collage workshop, plus hands-on activities at the Lompoc Airport launch viewing site. All are designed to provide a deeper understanding of the Landsat mission and an appreciation for our planet.”

Old Farmer’s Almanac Says A Mild, Dry Winter Lies Ahead For CA


The Old Farmer’s Almanac says a “season of shivers” with brutally cold temperatures and lots of snow awaits much of the United States this winter. In California, the almanac predicts a mild and dry winter.


The old almanac’s prediction is not far off from what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast last month. There’s a 70 percent chance that the Golden State could be in for another La Niña winter between November and January 2022, according to NOAA.


“Just saying there’s going to be a La Niña doesn’t mean it’s going to be dry and drought,” NOAA climate scientist Michelle L’Heureux told KTLA. “We have certainly had La Niña winters where, lo and behold, there’s more precipitation than expected. That’s just less common.”

Temecula Teens Dishing Out Free Help For Technophobes

Struggling to figure out how to use your new device, but unsure where to get help? Temecula has you covered.


The Teens Teaching Tech program will return to the Ronald H. Roberts Temecula Public Library beginning Tuesday, October 5.


Get one-on-one tutoring and coaching for free on your cell or smartphone, SmartTV, laptop, desktop computer or other device from Heart of Temecula Leo Club teens every first Tuesday of the month.


“The Heart of Temecula Leo Club is dedicated to empowering volunteers to serve their communities and meet humanitarian needs. Through this partnership, the Ronald H. Roberts Temecula Public Library and the Heart of Temecula Leo Club provide an important and educational service to the City of Temecula to keep up with the ever-changing advancements in, and reliability on, technology and devices,” according to city officials.

Roadside Spot for Wagyu Burgers Opens in Encinitas

San Diego Eater


Located on N. Coast Highway 101 just blocks from Moonlight Beach, Hamburger Hut is a new coastal North County spin on a classic roadside hamburger stand.


The streamlined menu from executive chef Andrew Halvorsen revolves around flat top-charred patties made from a wagyu beef blend. Available with or without cheese as a single, double or triple burger, they’re served on a King Hawaiian rolls and topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and 10,000 Island sauce, Halvorsen’s take on traditional Thousand Island dressing. There’s also fries or Jabba Fries, a riff on carne asada fries, and a mostly local beer and wine list.


For now, Hamburger Hut is open Wednesday to Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. but the restaurant does plan to expand its hours in the future as well diversify the menu with fish tacos and a vegan salad.

Berkeley Is the Next Wine Route You Need to Visit



A Myriad winemakers have flocked to this industrial part of southwest Berkeley. Newcomers like Maître de Chai and Hammerling Wines offer small-production California wines alongside old favorites like Donkey & Goat and Broc Cellars, longtime natural wine producers. And they’re all just a short drive from north Oakland’s bars and restaurants, nestled in the East Bay.


Josh Hammerling, for one, will make you wonder why you haven’t always been drinking domestic bubbles. Hammerling Wines’ 2019 Sunflower Sutra, made with grapes from several cool climate vineyards, is a classic example of California sparkling wine—and exactly what you want to be sipping with freshly shucked oysters.


Hammerling set up shop in Berkeley because it’s “surrounded by wine country.”


“We’ll never have an estate vineyard of our own, so I wanted to position us to source fruit from distinctive sites in Mendocino Ridge, Russian River, Monterey, San Benito, and the Sierra Foothills,” Hammerling said. “It gives us a wonderful palette to work with in the cellar.”


For the winemakers behind Maître de Chai, Berkeley offered the opportunity to have their own space to create zinfandel, chenin blanc, and more. Alex Pitts, a former French Laundry chef, and Marty Winters, sommelier at the now-shuttered Restaurant at Meadowood, cook wood-fired pizzas on the weekends at their Fourth Street winery—each pie tossed into a Stefano Ferrara oven shipped over from Italy. Previously, the duo made wine in the corner of friends’ Napa facilities.


“Napa has become a place where small producers like ourselves struggle with the cost as well as miles of red tape with permitting and licensing from the county with opening a winery and tasting room operation,” the pair added. “The other option is to work through a custom crush facility where, in essence, the physical winemaking is done through emails and work orders.


“We feel that by having our own space, the soul of our wines are truly crafted with the hands that touch the grapes in the vineyard and winery.”

California gearing up for low yielding 2021 harvest


With the 2021 harvest in full swing in California, winemakers are reporting a high quality but low yielding vintage after an extended period of drought.


As reported by, California is on track to harvest approximately 3.6 million tons of grapes this year, down from a four million average.


Water issue continue to plague California growers, with some winemakers in the Russian River Valley having their water allowances curtailed since May.


Yields at vineyards on the Central Coast are predicted to be average this year. The lower yields across the state are putting the vines under less stress, so the need for water is less, which is a blessing given the dry conditions this year.


In Napa, Matt Crafton of Chateau Montelena told the Napa Valley Register that while yields were “slightly below estimates” this year, the grape quality so far has been “”excellent to outstanding, with plenty of concentration”.


At Trefethen Vineyards in Oak Knoll, Jon Ruel reports that the Pinot, Sauvignon and Chardonnay crop is on the light side “but the flavours have been fantastic.”


The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) and Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) hosted their annual Harvest STOMP fundraiser Saturday night, August 28, at Round Pond Estate’s historic Pole Barn.


The event was record-breaking, with a dedicated community of grape growers,

vineyard managers, winery owners, wine lovers, and vineyard professionals, raising a

record-breaking $2.7 million net for the two organizations.


Another highlight of the evening was the annual fund-a-need, which raises critical donations for the NVG and Farmworker Foundation. The funds raised go directly to supporting the preservation of Napa Valley agriculture, education and professional development for Napa Valley farmworkers, and helping the Napa Valley community through trying times.


Founded by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers in 2011, the mission of the Napa Valley

Farmworker Foundation is to support and promote Napa Valley’s vineyard workers through education and professional development.


The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation is the only one of its kind in the United States, providing educational opportunities, advanced training programs, leadership and management classes, English literacy programs, and much more. To date, the Farmworker Foundation has offered education and professional development opportunities to more than 21,000 vineyard workers and their families.

Beauregard Vineyards Embarks on 76th Harvest in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Beauregard Vineyards began harvesting estate Chardonnay from the family’s Beauregard Ranch in the early morning hours of September 1, in a blanket of fog. For Winemaker Ryan Beauregard, who grew up on the Bonny Doon ranch where his father, Jim, still lives, this day represents not only his 23rd harvest, but also a profound departure from last year, when the CZU fire nearly wiped out his entire livelihood, home and vineyards. Due to the unrelenting smoke and ash, last year’s beautiful crop was rendered unusable, but efforts by Ryan and his stalwart neighbors saved the vineyards.


Says Beauregard, “This is a proud moment for my family as we celebrate our 76th harvest from a property that was originally planted in the 1880s by the Queistorff family. It’s amazing to think that grapes have been harvested from this land for 135 years! We may have lost all our crop last year, but we are going to do our best to make the finest wine ever from this vintage.”


He has something to aspire to, as Wine Enthusiast just released their scores for Beauregard’s latest submissions, and the 2019 Beauregard Ranch Chardonnay ($60) was just awarded 95 points, its highest score ever. The sister Chardonnay from the family’s Bald Mountain Vineyard ($60) scored 96 points, also its highest score ever.


The Beauregard family also owns the Slow Coast Wine Bar in Davenport, on Highway 1

For more info, visit


Jean-Charles Boisset plans a Napa tasting room

Napa Valley Register


First Street Napa has announced that Jean-Charles Boisset will open a tasting room for his Buena Vista Winery in the 1929 Gordon Building in downtown Napa


As always, the energetic vintner will combine his love of history (and especially California history) with a Frenchman’s innate appreciation of the good things in life, especially when it comes to food and wine. Also, fun.


Boisset painstakingly restored Sonoma’s Buena Vista Winery, believed to be California’s first premium winery.


“When Buena Vista was founded in 1857, it spanned from Sonoma to Napa,” Boisset said, “and we have always dreamed to re-establish the winery with a permanent destination in the Napa Valley, in addition to our St. Helena Vineyard.


“The historic Gordon Building is the ideal Napa destination to unveil our a new vision of Chateau Buena Vista, which pairs the dream of Cabernet Sauvignon, caviar, and chocolate, in collaboration with our friends at Earth & Sky chocolates,” he added.


The project is slated to open in November at First and Coombs streets in Napa.

California Wineries Are Pulling out All the Stops with Unique Tasting Experiences



There are myriad options to enjoy wine in new ways ahead of harvest season, from art in Napa to sports in Sonoma. A flight over vineyards? Check. Meet-and-greet with falcons? Check. A game of shuffleboard? Got that, too.


While some wine tasting experiences offer an intimate encounter for a handful of people, others can be shared among a larger group.


You can


Cruise high above Napa Valley during this 20-minute open cockpit flight in a Boeing PT-17 Stearman before heading to Brasswood to sip Aileron Estates sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon.


Meet the falcons that mitigate damage from birds and rodents at Bouchaine’s Napa Valley vineyards before a glass of wine. Kate Marden, a master falconer with West Coast Falconry, leads the demonstrations for both small groups and private events.


Abbot’s Passage Winery and Mercantile launched a Shuffleboard Social Club where guests can rent a court among the Sonoma Valley vineyards accompanied by a seasonal grazing board and a bottle of wine.

Alaska Airlines opens new SFO Lounge

Alaska Airlines opens new SFO Lounge featuring local craft beers, build-your own-sourdough toast bar, hand crafted espresso drinks and a SF Giants-themed kids play area


“After much anticipation, we’re thrilled to give our guests a place to work, relax, unwind and enjoy some of the best of what the Golden City has to offer when they travel through SFO on Alaska or a oneworld partner,” said Sangita Woerner, senior vice president of marketing and guest experience at Alaska Airlines. “Hands down Alaska offers the single best value of any airport lounge membership in the country. Our eight lounges redefine the guest experience and offer a calm oasis for every type of traveler including kid-friendly spaces, peaceful nooks, local wine or beer and tasty, locally sourced bites.”


Flyers will discover a variety of welcoming experiences in the new Lounge — with a range of approachable spaces and amenities throughout, each guest will find a place they feel at home.


Those looking for a refreshing beverage will enjoy a full bar featuring complimentary Bay Area craft brews on tap, wines from local vineyards, and an espresso bar staffed by a trained barista. Guests with a sweet tooth can choose from a wide selection of favorites like made-to-order pancakes or dig into locally-based, mouthwatering sweet treats at the candy bar including Ghirardelli chocolates, Jelly Belly jelly beans and custom travel-themed cookies by Oakland Fortune Cookie Factory—a third-generation family business we are proud to support. Still hungry? Treat yourself to fresh meals at the bistro or belly up to the new sourdough toast cart, featuring San Francisco’s famous sourdough from The Acme Bread Co.

Southern White Rhino Calf Born At San Diego Zoo Safari Park


An newborn female southern white rhino calf is now exploring the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s 60-acre African Savanna —running, playing and curiously getting close to Cape buffalo that share her habitat—all under the watchful eye of her protective mother.


The calf, yet to be named, was born in the early hours of Aug. 22 to first-time mom Kianga, and father J Gregory.


“We are delighted to welcome this calf to the Safari Park’s crash of southern white rhinos,” San Diego Zoo Safari Park Executive Director Lisa Peterson said. “Babies are always delightful—cute and fun to watch grow—but more importantly, they serve as ambassadors for their species. Seeing a rhino up close allows our guests to connect with them, with the hope they gain a greater appreciation for them, and the vitally important need to conserve and protect rhinos and their native habitats.”


Wildlife care specialists report the calf is healthy and nursing well, and Kianga is proving to be an excellent mother, who is very attentive to her offspring. Estimated to weigh around 125 pounds at birth, the little rhino will nurse from her mother for up to 12 months; and she is expected to gain about 100 pounds a month for the first year. When full grown, at around 3 years of age, she could weigh between 4,000 to 5,000 pounds.

Santa Barbara’s luxury Hotel Californian sells to Foley Entertainment Group



The picturesque Hotel Californian, near the Santa Barbara waterfront has been purchased by the Foley Entertainment Group.


Chairman Bill Foley has had a deep connection to the Santa Barbara area for years, and his Foley Estates Winery is nearby in the Santa Ynez Valley.


The 121-room hotel on State Street at Mason covers three corners.


In a statement, Foley said, “Hotel Californian’s reputation for five-star service perfectly aligns with the philosophy of Foley Entertainment Group and allows guests to experience true luxury at one of the finest oceanside properties in all of California. What makes the acquisition even more special for us is our family’s connection to and love for the city of Santa Barbara. It is a magnificent place.”


Foley Entertainment Group co-CEO Randy Morton said, “Hotel Californian has

embraced the incredible opportunity of being part of the renaissance of Lower State Street and the growth of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. We look forward to innovative

collaborations with the Foley Food & Wine Society and other FEG entities to enhance the

guest experience even further.”


The group is also announcing plans to make the Blackbird restaurant the future home of the Foley Food & Wine Society tasting bar, with plans for an opening this fall.

New Malibu to Palm Springs Travel Experience

Luxury Travel Magazine


Stay One Degree, a community which allows luxury travelers to experience the finest vacation homes around the world directly from like-minded homeowners, has launched a brand-new Coast to Desert: Relax & Rejuvenate California Style experience.


Guests who book the relaxing retreat will stay four nights in a four-bedroom / four-bathroom stunning home in Malibu offering private beach access, rooms with jaw-dropping views of the Pacific Ocean, large floor-to-ceiling glass windows bringing the light in, a hot tub with stunning ocean and sunset views and more.


After four nights, guests will take a limousine to their private helicopter to go from Santa Monica to Palm Springs for the desert part of the getaway where they will stay three nights in a vibrant architectural masterpiece home. Guests will experience ultimate relaxation with spa treatments from a dedicated therapist, a personalized dinner with private chef service, and a beautiful pool with two infinity edges.


The Coast to Desert: Relax & Rejuvenate California Style experience starts at $41,000

Jean-Charles Boisset plans a Napa tasting room

Napa Valley Register


First Street Napa has announced that Jean-Charles Boisset will open a tasting room for his Buena Vista Winery in the 1929 Gordon Building in downtown Napa


As always, the energetic vintner will combine his love of history (and especially California history) with a Frenchman’s innate appreciation of the good things in life, especially when it comes to food and wine. Also, fun.


Boisset painstakingly restored Sonoma’s Buena Vista Winery, believed to be California’s first premium winery.


“When Buena Vista was founded in 1857, it spanned from Sonoma to Napa,” Boisset said, “and we have always dreamed to re-establish the winery with a permanent destination in the Napa Valley, in addition to our St. Helena Vineyard.


“The historic Gordon Building is the ideal Napa destination to unveil our a new vision of Chateau Buena Vista, which pairs the dream of Cabernet Sauvignon, caviar, and chocolate, in collaboration with our friends at Earth & Sky chocolates,” he added.


The project is slated to open in November at First and Coombs streets in Napa.

California Wineries Are Pulling out All the Stops with Unique Tasting Experiences



There are myriad options to enjoy wine in new ways ahead of harvest season, from art in Napa to sports in Sonoma. A flight over vineyards? Check. Meet-and-greet with falcons? Check. A game of shuffleboard? Got that, too.


While some wine tasting experiences offer an intimate encounter for a handful of people, others can be shared among a larger group.


You can


Cruise high above Napa Valley during this 20-minute open cockpit flight in a Boeing PT-17 Stearman before heading to Brasswood to sip Aileron Estates sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon.


Meet the falcons that mitigate damage from birds and rodents at Bouchaine’s Napa Valley vineyards before a glass of wine. Kate Marden, a master falconer with West Coast Falconry, leads the demonstrations for both small groups and private events.


Abbot’s Passage Winery and Mercantile launched a Shuffleboard Social Club where guests can rent a court among the Sonoma Valley vineyards accompanied by a seasonal grazing board and a bottle of wine.

Paso Robles’ Justin Vineyards and Winery Buys Napa’s Lewis Cellars

Wine Spectator


Paso Robles-based Justin Vineyards and Winery is acquiring Napa’s Lewis Cellars, Wine Spectator has learned. The price was not disclosed. The deal includes the brand, winery and inventory. Justin, owned by the Resnick family’s California based Wonderful Company, a large farming firm that owns brands like Fiji Water and Pom Wonderful, will provide a marketing and sales arm to the brand, while co-founder Randy Lewis and president Dennis Bell will remain at the helm of operations, along with winemaker James McCeney.


“Randy and I have been seeking a compatible partner to maintain the quality and consistency of our wines while taking Lewis Cellars to the next level,” Bell told Wine Spectator. “We’ve found that partner with Justin.”


Lewis Cellars was founded in 1992 after Lewis put race-car driving in the rear-view mirror following a crash at the 1991 Indianapolis 500. Lewis and his wife, Debbie, founded the winery, with Lewis learning the winemaking craft from friend and fellow vintner Bob Miner at Oakville Ranch. Debbie focused on the business side, and her son Dennis Bell joined the family operation in 1999.


The small brand has an impressive track record of outstanding-rated Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah. The Lewis Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2013 was Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year in 2016.

Penguins missing visitors, say keepers, at locked-down Thai Zoo


The flip flop sound of penguin feet rang out at an empty zoo in Thailand on Thursday as a parade of birds waddled out of their enclosure for their daily splash in a pool to keep them healthy during a COVID-19 lockdown.


Thailand is fighting its biggest coronavirus outbreak yet and has introduced strict movement curbs that have seen many public places, including zoos, shuttered.


“I noticed that they felt a bit confused because when they walk out, there’s usually a lot of people waiting for them,” said Tossapol Kosol, a penguin specialist at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo just outside Bangkok, the Southeast Asian country’s capital.


“Now when they come out and there’s no one here, they sometimes stop to look around, as if they’re wondering where all the people have gone,” he said.


Over the last year, Tossapol and his colleagues at the zoo have had to find ways to exercise the animals despite the lack of visitors.


After feeding the 41 penguins 25 kilogrammes (55 pounds) of mackerel, Tossapol and his colleagues march the penguins in unison down a long gangway that leads from their air-conditioned enclosure to an outdoor pool for exercise.


Zoo director Tawin Rattanawongsawat said that although he was unable to accept visitors – most of whom would have helped feed the penguins during normal times – life at the zoo had to find a way to carry on, for the welfare of its animals.


“There’s no visitors these days, so they’re being fed by their carers instead,” he said. “They must be wondering why it’s always the same faces, where are the children and their parents?”


“They must be a bit lonely.”

Sinatra’s Palm Springs hangout, The Purple Room, to reopen on Aug. 31


After a troubling year of being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Purple Room supper club in Palm Springs is poised for a comeback.


The venue, which played host to a number of Hollywood personalities in the 1960s and 1970s and was a favorite hangout for Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, reopens on Aug. 31.


The Purple Room raised more than $100,000 through GoFundMe last April in a bid to avoid shuttering permanently.




“Due to the extraordinary gifts of our friends, audience members, and performers, it is possible to see a bright future with all of the joy, dining, and entertainment that has been missing these last 16 months,” said Michael Holmes, who besides being a featured and beloved performer, owns the historic desert location, having bought and restored the venue in 2015. “We can’t wait to embrace you all in person and celebrate life again!”


17 CA Disney Stores To Close Soon


Disney stores in California are among the dozens nationally that are set to close in the coming weeks.


Seventeen Disney stores in the Golden State are listed on the company’s store locator as one that will close soon as Target plans to open more than 100 Disney shops inside a variety of their stores nationwide, USA Today reported. Nationwide, 57 Disney stores are closing before Sept. 15, according to the report. Disney said earlier this year it was closing 40 other stores nationwide.


The announcement brings the number of stores Disney plans to close to 97.


Stephanie Young, the president of consumer products, games and publishing for Disney, told USA Today in March the company has “been focused on meeting consumers where they are already spending their time, such as the expansion of Disney store shop-in-shops around the world.”


“We now plan to create a more flexible, interconnected e-commerce experience that gives consumers easy access to unique, high-quality products across all our franchises,” Young said.

California Wine Grape Crop Looks Light


It’s early in the game but as harvest kicks into gear with grapes for white wines coming in, some varieties are picking out light, particularly along the North Coast and even more so in certain specific vineyards.


With a lighter crop of whites, growers have been able to move through fields fairly quickly, and with inventory relatively balanced, scheduling and deliveries have been smooth so far.


Earlier this month, the National Agricultural Statistics Service released its Pacific Region Crop Production Forecast, estimating California is on track to harvest approximately 3.6 million tons of wine grapes in 2021. A more typical California harvest would yield close to 4 million tons of wine grapes.


“Overall, it’s going to be on the lite side from what we can see,” Allied Grape Growers president Jeff Bitter said.


Nearly three quarters of wine grape tonnage in California comes from the Central Valley, which skews the numbers. The total includes big varieties producing a few hundred thousand tons in the interior alone.


Yields in the Central Valley on the whole appear about average this year, but are lighter in the Southern Central Valley.


Some varieties are looking average in size along the coast, but some North Coast vineyards are way, way off in tonnage according to anecdotal reports. Some of that is being attributed to the drought. There are early reports of some North Coast vineyards with yields down as much as fifty percent.


A lack of winter rainfall led to dry soils, which led to an uneven budbreak and uneven growth early in the season.“You had the early uneven growth and that led to uneven maturation, and some people had to drop crop to even it up,” Mark Greenspan, with wine-growing, consulting and vineyard management firm Advanced Viticulture said.


The drought may have positive consequences in terms of better quality this year, Greenspan said, but that could be offset by the uneven development. “It’s not a slam dunk that the drought is going to yield better quality, but it could have a benefit.”

Dry Creek Vineyard Begins Historic 50th Harvest

Press Release


Dry Creek Vineyard announced the beginning of its 50th harvest just one day after the winery’s anniversary of 49 years of family winemaking in Sonoma County, California. This historic vintage was marked with the arrival of 10.35 tons of Sauvignon Blanc from one of the family’s estate vineyards.


“Competition is at an all time high in our industry, so being true to our wines, our vineyards and the terroir of our region is more important than ever before,” said Stare Wallace. “Instead of getting sucked into the increasing corporatization of the industry, our family winery is bucking the trends and is an increasingly rare breed.”


“We are proud to be looking towards celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2022,” continued Stare Wallace. “Our goal is to continue forward into the future as an iconic, family-owned, heritage brand – reflecting the true essence of Sonoma County.”


To learn more, visit

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley Now Accepting Reservations

Press Reeleae


Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley is now confirming reservations. Representing Napa Valley’s first and only resort set within a working winery, guests will be treated to an incomparable hospitality experience centred on exceptional food, wine and spirits, plus wellness-inspired amenities, authentic service, and an approachable yet elevated environment akin to its locale in the charming town of Calistoga.


General Manager Mehdi Eftekari adds: “This is an exciting moment for our Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley family, as we open up reservations and begin planning guest visits. The property proudly delivers an authentic luxury retreat without pretence, bringing a distinctive, laidback wine country ethos and style of hospitality that can only be found in the illustrious Napa Valley. Scenic vineyard views, exceptional wine and cuisine, holistic wellness, high design, immersive experiences, and so much more await guests at this ultimate wine country oasis.”


Book online

Oakland-grown Ale Industries brewery to feature homeless pets on their cans


Ale Industries will highlight cats and dogs from East Bay SPCA


“We felt it was important to get as many of the East Bay SPCA’s available animals on beer can labels as possible,” Ale Industries CEO Yunyi Zhang said. “Our goal is to create awareness of how many adorable animals there are waiting at the East Bay SPCA, and how the community can help. We’re hoping this helps drive adoptions and also highlights other available animals.”


Each of the 20 unique labels contains a QR code that leads to an adoption webpage with details on the featured pet.


Our team clearly has a soft spot for furry creatures,” said Jonathan Acosta Rosales, director of marketing and distribution. “We’ve been incredibly fortunate to work alongside organizations that commit to the welfare of animals in our community. This East Bay SPCA project opens the door for us to build from here and help these organizations on a more consistent basis.”


In addition to helping out with adoptions and awareness, proceeds from the sale of this pet-centric beer will go directly to the East Bay SPCA.


Four-packs are available at the Ale Industries Fruitvale Taproom. They also can be purchased with local delivery or UPS shipping to 38 states via the Ale Industries web store,

WatchDuty For Fire Info


We built Watch Duty to help fight back in the best way we know how, through community resilience supported by world-class telecommunication infrastructure. We are a non-profit and non-government organization building tools and systems to help citizens and first responders recognize and track danger from extreme weather events, to help everyone stay safe and informed.


Our team includes skilled radio operators, firefighters, and citizen information officers who will provide up-to-the-minute information pushed directly to your phone. We pull information from public channels like police and fire scanners, satellite data, fixed and aerial photography and more. Our goal is to help you discover and track wildfire hazards in real time and very soon we will allow you to upload photos of what you’re seeing to help first responders and your community.


Watch Duty currently provides updates for Sonoma, Lake and Napa counties in California.


see the map

The 2021 Lafayette Art & Wine Festival has been cancelled

from website


The 2021 Lafayette Art & Wine Festival has been cancelled.


One of the many charms of the Lafayette Art & Wine Festival is how it integrates into our downtown and allows people to freely mix and mingle at vendor booths, local businesses, local restaurants, and music stages.

But as we all know, there has been a significant setback in the public health response to the pandemic, driven by the delta variant and low vaccination rates (not in Lamorinda, but elsewhere). Logistical issues have made it impossible to implement effective guidelines or rules to allow for a safe and comfortable event for everyone. Therefore, the 2021 Lafayette Art & Wine Festival has been cancelled for this September.

We thank our volunteers, especially our committee members and the Chamber Board, our partners, and of course, all our sponsors, beer & wine booth hosts, vendors, artists and musicians for understanding that the health of our community is of utmost concern.

We look forward to a terrific 2022 Lafayette Art & Wine Festival where we can once again welcome everyone to our charming downtown and celebrate together with amazing music, art, food, wine, beer, shopping, and friendship.

Indio extends development agreement with Coachella Music Festival until 2050

Desert Sun


Indio will continue to be home to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival until at least 2050.


The Indio City Council on Wednesday approved a decades-long extension of the development agreement between the city and Goldenvoice LLC, the company that has put on the festival since 1999.


Indio lost millions due to cancellations of its Goldenvoice festivals amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In 2019 alone, the city made over $3.5 million in ticket sales and taxes from Coachella and Stagecoach.


The next Coachella Valley Music Festival is scheduled for the weekends of April 15-17 and 22-24, 2022, with Travis Scott and Rage Against the Machine set to headline. Stagecoach, the country music counterpart also from Goldenvoice, is set for April 29 to May 1, 2022.

Experience Mathew Bruno Wines at New Rutherford Tasting Destination in Spring 2022

A new era will begin for a historic property in Rutherford when Mathew Bruno unveils its first-ever tasting destination next year. Opening in Spring 2022, Mathew Bruno will offer a one-of-a-kind environment for guests to discover esteemed single-vineyard wines from some of the most sought-after sites in the Napa Valley.


“Our wines are classically elegant in style, and our aesthetic is to present the unique atmosphere of the Napa Valley. So, it is fitting that we’ll be able to welcome guests to a location rich with history. From the first time we saw this beautiful property, it has felt like our home. We’re bringing the same thoughtful care and attention to detail to this space as we do to our wines,” said Mathew Bruno, winery founder.


“Rutherford is also a special place for us – our flagship Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a vineyard that was originally planted by Mrs. Thomas Rutherford in the late 1800s and is a few short miles east of our new home.”


“We’ve built our following on personal relationships and word of mouth and can’t wait to introduce our wines and our style of hospitality to Napa Valley visitors and locals alike,” Bruno continued. “Opening our tasting destination has long been a dream for our family, and we are elated about joining the Rutherford community.”

Sonoma Valley Rings in the 197th Harvest


The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance (SVVGA), a non-profit trade association representing more than 100 wineries and 140 grape growers in the Sonoma Valley, continued the tradition of their annual Harvest Kickoff Ceremony and Bell Ringing at the Mission San Francisco Solano in the Sonoma Valley.


Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance developed this ceremony to recognize and celebrate the demanding work and unprecedented dedication of Sonoma Valley growers and vintners, as they continue to produce the highest quality winegrapes and wines.


On August 17, the entire community of Sonoma Valley participated in the bell ringing, symbolizing the beginning of Sonoma Valley’s most anticipated time of year, which signals to the community at large that harvest has begun.


“The bell ringing and harvest blessing is one of our sweet valley’s most exciting and anticipated traditions,” said Prema Behan, SVVGA Board President.


“The energy is always high as we prepare ourselves as a valley and an industry to get to the magnificent work of harvesting grapes and making some of America’s finest wines.


To mark the 197th harvest is a point of immense pride for our entire region! It is an honor for me to serve the SVVGA and our amazing membership as we leap into action for the vintage”

Heineken Launching Canned Sparkling Wine in Select Markets


Heineken USA is launching a canned sparkling wine that it said is a modern take on traditional mead.


Comb and Hive is a crisp wine made with wildflower honey and real sugar fermented with orange blossom flower and a hint of fizz, the company said.


The drink will be test marketed in Denver and Nashville, Tenn., starting on Labor Day. It will be sold in 12-ounce four-packs. Each has 6.9% ABV with 150 calories and 2 grams of sugar.


“For Comb and Hive, it’s all about connection,” said Karla Flores, director of commercialization innovation marketing at Heineken USA. “The honeycomb prominently displayed on the front of our can symbolizes connection in its purest form, allowing bees to knit themselves together and produce golden wildflower honey. Marry that with orange blossom and you have a drink crafted by and made for connection.”


Off-premise canned wine dollar sales are growing, up 186% from 2018 to 2020, Flores said, citing Nielsen, Chicago, data. Comb and Hive’s marketing will focus on adults 21 and up who drink wine, hard seltzer and cocktails, looking for a new wine to enjoy in social occasions.

IHOP tests beer and wine in New Mexico and San Diego

The new Bubbles, Wine & Brews menu features national beer brands including Bud Light, Blue Moon and Corona, and Barefoot brand wines by the glass including Bubbly Brut, Bubbly Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mimosas — sparkling wine with orange juice — are also available.


The new menu might also feature locally sourced beer and wine in different communities, IHOP said. The new options are available for dine-in only, except where carryout alcohol is allowed, and prices vary by location.

“Our recent ‘Drinks and Dining Survey’ of Americans unveiled that 66% of our recent guests and 58% of our younger guests (ages 21-34) have been craving an alcoholic beverage to accompany some of their IHOP favorites,” IHOP president Jay Johns said in a release announcing the test.


“With dining out regularly returning to Americans’ routines across the country, it is the perfect time to launch this offering and gauge excitement from our guests about the new selections. As we continue to focus and expand on our daytime and evening menu options, adult beverages offer a terrific innovation and evolution to enjoy IHOP for every occasion.”

Parklets to be removed in Paso Robles later this year


Should they stay or should they go? Paso Robles decided to get rid of parklets later this year and some business owners aren’t happy. “I just think it’s a very irresponsible stance at the moment because nobody knows where this coronavirus delta variant is going to go,” said Carole MacDonal, owner of Il Cortile Ristorante and La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant in Paso Robles. The Downtown Paso Robles Main Street board of directors sent out information this week affirming what the Paso Robles City Council decided: to close down all downtown parklets by Nov. 1. “I was shocked when I found out that the Main Street Association was going to do that because I just don’t feel they’re representing all the businesses that they’re supposed to represent,” MacDonal said. The announcement read in part: “It is understood that the parklets were a temporary response due to an emergency situation,” but MacDonal says we’re not out of the woods yet. She says the parklets allow her to space out tables, bring in more streams of revenue for both restaurants and the city and that patrons want to sit outside to feel safe.

14-year-old becomes youngest to swim length of Lake Tahoe


A 14-year-old California boy has become the youngest person to swim the entire 21.3-mile (34-kilometer) length of Lake Tahoe and complete the alpine lake’s coveted Triple Crown.


James Savage of Los Banos completed the trip across the scenic lake, which straddles the California-Nevada line, in 12 hours on Aug. 1.


Savage and his mother, Jillian, agreed the physical training was a lot easier than the mental endurance it takes to complete such a long-distance swim. The trip across the lake started in South Lake Tahoe, California, and ended in the Nevada town of Incline Village.


She said she knew after the first mile that he would get the job done.


“I had no doubts whatsoever,” Jillian Savage told the Tahoe Daily Tribune. “He’s been swimming almost every day, six, seven days a week since he was 8. With open water, it’s just what he does. But mentally, even though it takes a whole bunch of us to make the swim possible, he’s really out there by himself.”


James Savage said he enjoys swimming in pools, but they’re pretty much “all the same.”


“Open water, you can swim in oceans, lakes, and you get to travel around,” he said.


And at age 8, he swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco.

10th annual ‘Kids Free San Diego’ returns in October

Attractions Magazine


More than 100 San Diego hotels, restaurants, attractions, museums, tours, and transportation companies are offering great savings for families during the entire month of October during the 10th annual “Kids Free San Diego” month.


“Kids Free San Diego” provides parents with a variety of special deals for kids, ranging from complimentary admission at local attractions to free meals at restaurants to welcome amenities and experiences at area hotels and much more.


Offers include


San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The San Diego Zoo

SeaWorld San Diego

Legoland California Resort


All “Kids Free San Diego” offers are valid Oct. 1-31, 2021.


for more information and deals click on plan

Santa Barbara Zoo after dark Zoofari Ball XXXV

You can experience the Santa Barbara Zoo after dark during Zoofari Ball XXXV.


The event is set for 5:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday Aug. 28


This year’s theme is “Return to Basecamp.”


Guests are encouraged to don their safari gear and join the party on the hilltop, where there will be music under the stars and cocktails.


Zoo CEO Rich Block said, “If there’s one thing for sure we can say about this past year, it’s been wild. We’re looking forward to celebrating together in person finally, and also shining a light on the continued need for support to make up for what was lost due to the pandemic.


“We can’t wait to welcome you back to the hilltop for Santa Barbara’s biggest ‘fun-raiser’ of the year!”


Zoofari is currently sold out get more information at

Fieldwork Brewing’s sweet new Napa Valley taproom, beer garden


Berkeley, Calif.-based Fieldwork Brewing Co. officially opened its brand-new Napa Valley location featuring a large outdoor beer garden and expansive indoor taproom at the Oxbow Public Market Annex.


Fieldwork Brewing first opened its taproom inside the Oxbow Public Market in 2016. At the adjacent Annex, Fieldwork now operates a much larger locale with an indoor footprint of 1,450 square feet and a 900 square feet outdoor European-style beer garden.


“We are excited to have a much bigger indoor/outdoor space to present a Fieldwork environment that is more akin to our other Bay Area locations,” said Barry Braden, CEO and Co-Founder of Fieldwork Brewing Company. “Our goal is always to provide the best hospitality, a casual environment, and exceptional beers — as fresh as possible and directly from the source.”


Brewing well over 500 unique beers since opening its West Berkeley brewery in February 2015, Fieldwork brews with as much a sense of purpose as a sense of place as they honor Northern California’s magnificent outdoor landscapes with an array of idiosyncratic beers.


The esteemed brewing team led by Head Brewer and Co-Founder Alex Tweet focuses on innovation for its ever-evolving roster of highly aromatic and well-balanced beers.


Steve Carlin, Founder and Managing Partner of Oxbow Public Market stated, “Barry and Alex always produce a terrific product and fun atmosphere. We expect their new space to be lively, comfortable, and a major part of Oxbow Public Market for years to come.”


learn more about Fieldwork at

BottleRock Napa Valley COVID Rules: What To Know



The sold out BottleRock Napa Valley music, food and art festival is set to take place Friday Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3-5, over Labor Day Weekend at Napa Valley Expo.


Festival organizers have implemented stringent COVID entry requirements.


From the event website, here’s what to know about health and safety protocols at 2021 BottleRock Napa Valley:


1. Guests must show proof they are fully vaccinated or proof of negative COVID-19 test results.


Upon entry to BottleRock 2021, all guests (including children of all ages) must show proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or proof of a negative COVID-19 test


The test must have been taken within 72 hours of each day a guest is attending.


Documentation will be checked daily upon entry. A photo of a guest’s vaccination card or negative test result saved to their cell phone is sufficient.


2. Face masks are required for all indoor festival spaces including but not limited to The Spa and The Club. Masks are recommended in outdoor festival spaces but not required, per state guidelines.


3. BottleRock will issue touchless wristbands


4. No cash transactions


5. BottleRock will provide hand sanitizer at more than stations throughout the festival grounds


6. BottleRock asks guests not to attend if any of the following is true for the guest or anyone in their party:


Within 14 days before attending the festival the guest has tested positive, or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for, COVID-19;


Within 48 hours prior to attending the festival, the guest has experienced symptoms of COVID-19


Within 14 days prior to attending the festival, the guest has traveled to any international territory identified by federal or applicable state or local governments as being subject to travel or quarantine advisories due to COVID-19.


“An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public space where people are present,” organizers state on the website. Guests of Bottlerock Napa Valley attend at their own risk, agree to comply with guidelines, and waive “all claims and potential claims against the event organizers and their affiliated companies relating to such risks.”


Visit for complete event information at

Covid Outbreaks Tied to Music Festivals Raise Outdoor Transmission Concerns

Rolling Stone


Health officials are investigating Covid-19 outbreaks tied to two recent outdoor music festivals in Michigan and Oregon, raising new concerns about the safety of events with tightly packed crowds, even outside, as live music surges back and the more transmissible Delta variant spreads.



“These events are the warning shot across the bow,” says Dr. Emily Landon, executive medical director for infection prevention and control at the University of Chicago Medical Center. She also points to the numerous cases reportedly tied to July’s Verknipt Festival in the Netherlands, which was also held outdoors. “I think we’re finding it does matter what you do outdoors,” Landon adds. “And even though people are vaccinated, it looks like we may need to be more careful with super-crowded events.”



Landon is most concerned about pit-type areas and crowded festivals. Even seats at a stadium are far more safe than those scenarios, she says, thanks to increased distance between fans and the lack of the countless close contacts that occur when wading through a sea of people. “When you get people in an orderly setup, facing the same direction, it’s really different,” she says. “Even that couple of feet of distance between the seats makes a big difference, compared with being in a pit at a show.”


She recommends that festivals and concerts require vaccinations, and that fans who insist on going into packed areas wear a mask — and eye protection as well. “Expecting someone to wear an N95 and a face shield to a summer music festival is a big ask,” she writes in an e-mail. “But if I had to go, that’s what I would do.”

‘Making a difference’: 8K pounds of trash removed from Tahoe

Sierra Sun


Founded in 2018, Clean Up the Lake’s team of volunteer divers have dove into Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake, bringing up thousands of pounds of trash from beneath the surface. This year the nonprofit set out to pull trash from depths of up to 25 feet around the entirety of Lake Tahoe.


On Wednesday, Clean Up the Lake celebrated its first milestone on its way to cleaning 72 miles of shoreline, announcing that 8,122 pounds of trash have been removed along 22 miles of Tahoe’s eastern shore.


Clean Up the Lake Founder and Executive Director Colin West said that last year the team of divers pulled out 990 beer cans from within a mile of the area, and found an additional 500 cans this time around.


Originally, West planned to cover a mile per day, but said he expects the eastern side of Tahoe to be the dirtiest area to dive in due to winds, current, and rocks. Plans are to finish the project by winter.


for more information or to donate to Clean Up the Lake, visit

Solvang Danish Days Event Canceled For Second Year in a Row


The Solvang Danish Days Foundation, planners and organizers of the traditionally-annual “Solvang Danish Days” festivities have officially announced the cancellation of the 2021 event weekend.


California’s premier Danish heritage festival, Solvang Danish Days was previously scheduled for a two-day, in-person event line-up, Sept. 17 and 18.


Solvang Danish Days 2021 would have celebrated the festival’s 85th anniversary.


“The decision to cancel this year’s Danish Days, for the second, unprecedented year in a row, breaks our hearts. The festival weekend is a tradition for so many members of our community, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to our city for this annual cultural event,” said Max Hanberg, Solvang Danish Days 2021 co-chair.


Hanberg continued, “However, with Danish Days scheduled for just over a month from now, and with so many unknowns due to the impending COVID surges, we felt that the safest thing to do for our residents and for our tourists, was to cancel the event.”

California’s Athletes More Likely To Succeed In Olympics: Report


If you’ve watched any of the Tokyo Olympics this summer, chances are you’ve seen a California resident or college student with eyes raised toward the American flag on the medal stand.


Since 1984, more Olympians than ever have hailed from the Golden State, according to a recent study by Active Iron. The report studied athletes from 1984 to the current 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Analysts discovered that women from California who competed in the Games were more likely to climb the medal stand than those from any other state in the nation.


To date, California athletes topped the Olympic totals of athletes from all states, with 417 total athletes and 168 total gold medals.


Athletes who attend California colleges dominated the top 10 colleges with the most Olympians.


Stanford University: 89.

University of California, Los Angeles UCLA: 85.

University of Southern California USC: 47.

University of California, Berkeley: 40.

San Jose’s Doobie Brothers house headed for historic landmark status


A San Jose home where world-renowned rock band The Doobie Brothers got its start and wrote some of its biggest hits is poised to become a part of history.


San Jose’s Historic Landmarks Commission voted unanimously Wednesday night to recommend that the City Council declare the Craftsman-style home at 285 S. 12th St. a historic city landmark. The council will make the final call in the coming weeks.


The single-story home, tucked away in the Naglee Park neighborhood, was rented by the band’s singer and songwriter Tom Johnston from 1969 to 1973 while attending San Jose State University.


During Johnston’s time on 12th Street, he wrote some of the group’s best-known hits, including “Listen to the Music,” in the home’s living room. The band also released its first three studio albums during that time frame, including “Toulouse Street” and “The Captain and Me.”


In a 2019 interview with this news organization, Johnston reflected on his time in San Jose, calling it a “really neat place to be” and to pursue a love for music.


“There were always people at the house playing,” he said. “I would come home from school and find guys down in the basement blasting away.”


The Doobie Brothers went on to sell more than 40 million albums, becoming the most successful pure San Jose band in city history.

San Diego Moves To Protect Sea Lions At La Jolla Point



San Diego is taking emergency action to keep people and sea lions from hurting each other at the rocky shoreline of La Jolla Point.


The city after working with the California Coastal Commission is asking for approval to close the sea lion rookery next to Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Park.


The tension between the marine mammals who rear their pups on the rugged shoreline and onlookers has been simmering for years.


The attraction of baby sea lions hauled out on the sliver of rocky coast is too enticing for the thousands of people who walk by the region every day.


Local Sierra Club volunteers have been raising the alarm for more than three years and they are quick to share video proof that the animals are being harassed by onlookers.


So city officials hope a temporary emergency closure of the rocky shoreline through mid-September will help minimize dangerous interactions.


“It is imperative that we are taking steps to minimize potential injuries to both the public and the sea lions during pupping season as interactions between the two continue to increase,” said Andy Field, director of the city of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department. “It is of utmost importance that we are protecting adults and children while respecting the sea lions as they care for their young.”

Wine grapes fall to No. 5 in Santa Barbara County crop values, strawberries No. 1, cauliflower No. 2


For the first time since 1995, wine grapes fell out of the top four crops in Santa Barbara County, giving way to cauliflower, broccoli and nursery products in its slide from No. 2 to No. 5, while strawberries remained at the top, according to the 2020 Crop Report


Cauliflower was followed at No. 3 by broccoli, which stepped up from its 2019 sixth-place slot with a value of more than $104.6 million, an increase of nearly $24.3 million.


Broccoli captured the No. 3 spot from nursery products, which dropped to No. 4 at almost $98.6 million, still an increase of more than $942,000 from the 2019 value.


The county’s newest major crop — cannabis — was not included in the total production value, but if it had been, it would easily have claimed the No. 2 position with a total value of nearly $194.6 million.


“Right now, it’s not included as agriculture by the [U.S. Department of Agriculture],” Martel said. “It’s still federally illegal.”

Apple collabs with Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa for remix lessons


Apple has announced a collaboration with two of today’s hottest music artist, Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa. It comes in the form of two new Remix Sessions for the iOS/iPadOS version of GarageBand (sorry, Mac users). In addition, Apple is making available seven new Producer Packs full of beats, loops, and instruments created by some of the music industry’s top producers.


The new free offerings are timed to coincide with the launch of Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson on Apple TV+, which premieres on Friday, July 30. That documentary series gives the inside story behind the creation and production of some of today’s most popular music. There’s even an eighth Producer Pack available that serves as a companion piece to the show, allowing users to experiment with sounds and instruments inspired by it.


The Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa tie-in comes in the form of two Remix Sessions: in-app tutorials that let you follow along to learn how to use GarageBand. The video sessions are led by an Apple Retail Creative Pro, and let you follow along using Live Loops to remix “Break My Heart” by Dua Lipa and “Free Woman” by Lady Gaga.

New surfing company launches in Sonoma


Founded by longtime local surfer Dave Eilert, a new Sonoma company launched last week provides expert surfing instruction ranging from a 90-minute introductory lesson to broader all-day packages.


A Sonoma native, Eilert graduated from Sonoma Valley High in 1989. After 25 years in the medical industry, he decided to follow his true passion “to help others discover the positive benefits of surfing for the mind, body and soul,” he said.


Wisewater Surf lessons include safety instruction, paddling technique and surfing etiquette. Eilert offers solo lessons, group lessons and team building sessions for all ages. Prices include the boards, wet suits, towels and all the equipment, and transportation is available.


The company goes beyond the waves to offer optional add-on experiences like post-beach craft brew and cider tastings, gourmet beach picnics from Delicious Dish and transportation with local touring companies.


The surfing spots chosen vary, based on weather, waves and the experience of the surfer. Some locations include Bolinas, Doran, Stinson, Pacifica and Ocean beaches.


Eilert’s team includes full-time instructors Graham Scheiblich and John Thompson, and part-time instructor Chapman College freshman Ruby Eilert.


With four decades experience on the water, Eilert feels strongly that surfing and time in the ocean not only improves physical fitness but also clears the mind and acts as an emotional stabilizer.


Down the road, Eilert hopes to include special offerings for people with autism, veterans suffering from PTSD and inner-city youth.


“Nothing else like this is offered nearby,” said Eilert. “And it has been a lifelong dream of mine to share my love of surfing with others.”


Prices start at $175 for a 90-minute lesson.

Famous Japanese Cream Puff Chain Beard Papas Coming to La Jolla

Eater San Diego


A global Japanese bakery chain with more than 400 stores in 15 countries that built its empire on cream puffs is in construction on a storefront in downtown La Jolla.


Founded in Japan in 1999 by owner Yuji Hirota, whose own beard inspired the chain’s name and iconic logo, Beard Papa offers a menu based on cream puffs constructed from a double layer of choux pastry topped with bits of crispy pie crust. Customers can choose between the original shell or one with a chocolate, strawberry, honey butter, or green tea glaze while other puffs are crowned with crushed Oreos or toasted marshmallows. The filling, made of whipped cream and custard, comes in vanilla, chocolate, or green tea. When the new La Jolla store opens, it will likely carry a secret flavor exclusive to San Diego.


There are also cream-based beverage versions of the puffs, as well as lattes, tea drinks, and other desserts like cheesecake and chocolate cake. A rep for the company tells Eater that it currently only has the one La Jolla store in the pipeline for the San Diego area.

Chef Gordon Ramsay Opening Hell’s Kitchen Restaurant at Harrah’s Resort

Eater San Diego


Fans of Michelin-starred chef and television personality Gordon Ramsay will get to experience his long-running global reality series via his signature Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, which is coming to Harrah’s Resort Southern California by Spring 2022. This will be the fourth location worldwide, joining outposts in Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Caesars Bluewaters Dubai, and Harveys Lake Tahoe, and this new location will be Ramsay’s largest Hell’s Kitchen restaurant so far.


Starting this summer, the casino’s buffet area will be remodeled to make way for the new restaurant, which is designed to make diners feel like they’re on the set of the Hell’s Kitchen show; the space will seat 332 guests across a bar, lounge, and full-service dining room. From its show kitchen, Ramsay’s chefs will cook up a menu that features many of his most famous dishes, including Beef Wellington, lobster risotto, and sticky toffee pudding. A rep for Harrah’s tells Eater that there will also be new dishes exclusive to this SoCal location. (North East of Escondido)

Spoto Family Wines and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Robin Zander Announce New Wine “Surrender”

Wine Business


Spoto Family Wines, an ultra-boutique, third generation, family owned and operated small production winery, handcrafting premier wines from legendary vineyards in the Napa Valley, announced today its partnership with Robin Zander best known as the lead singer for the iconic rock band Cheap Trick. The Spoto-Zander 2017 Oakville Special Select Cabernet Sauvignon “Surrender” (SRP $175) is rock ’n’ roll approved and sure to be a chart topper.


“We’ve been huge fans of Robin and the band for years and have discussed launching a label together for some time as we both have a passion for winemaking and music and wanted to bring together those two elements that make life so enjoyable,” said Stuart Spoto, winemaker and owner of Spoto Family Wines.


Robin Zander and Christy Spoto are both passionate animal lovers. Christy is a longtime supporter and Puppy Raiser for Canine Companions, and Zander has announced that proceeds from the sales of the “Surrender” Special Reserve Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon will benefit Save the Elephants to help protect the threatened animals.


The winery says

Aged four years in a custom made French oak barrel, “Surrender” is a perfectly balanced Bordeaux-style Cabernet consisting of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, and 2% Malbec. The Oakville Station, where the grapes were sourced, is part of one of the most historic vineyards in Oakville, located due west of the “Welcome to Napa” sign in the heart of the Napa Valley.

Solvang Bakery celebrates 70 years in business



A Solvang bakery is celebrating 70 years of business


Birkholm’s Bakery & Cafe on Alisal Rd. first opened its doors on July 26, 1951. It was founded by Carl “Cookie” Sr. and Charlotte Birkholm, who brought traditional Danish pastries to locals and tourists.


Today, the bakery is owned by their son, Carl Birkholm. He says their shop has enjoyed competition with other bakeries in Solvang.


Carl Birkholm expressed pride in the business his parents built.


“We’re family-run, we take care of our customers,” he told KSBY. “Everybody seems to be happy and leave with a smile on their face.”

Walnut Creek First Wednesdays Street Festival Returns


Walnut Creek’s street festival, First Wednesdays, is back for two days of food, drinks, music and activities with the community in August and September.


The street fest will be on Aug. 4 and Sept. 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Cypress Street, between Main and Locust streets.


Attendees can order food and drinks from one of several Walnut Creek restaurants within walking distance in the city’s downtown area.


Hosted by Walnut Creek Downtown, the event will feature live music, activities and shopping from local vendors.

Historic Museum of Pinball to Close for Good


California’s Museum of Pinball is closing for good, and its collection of “over 1,100” machines is going up for individual auctions, ArsTechnica reports.


The nonprofit museum’s lead tech Chuck Casey announced the closure on Monday, stating that museum organizers were unable to arrange a move of the collection, secure a single buyer, or secure a sponsorship before a deadline. Museum organizers previously attempted to arrange a move from Banning, California (about 2.5 hours outside of Los Angeles) to the resort city of Palm Springs 20 minutes away.


Casey added that all of the museum’s games would go up for auction in the future at the Banning location, with details to come. Participants will be able to place bids online or in person. The failure to secure a single buyer will likely mean the collection will become scattered to numerous different owners.


The 18-acre campus that houses the pinball collection will be turned into a cannabis farm, according to the local news.

Palm Springs International Airport reports June air travel record


Palm Springs International Airport recorded its highest passenger travel numbers for June last month, besting the previous record set two years ago, officials said today.


The airport reported 129,872 passengers flew in June, which is a 23% increase from the previous record of 105,350 set in June 2019.


“We’re not just seeing a return to pre-pandemic numbers and consistent month-over-month gains in our passenger traffic; we’ve set a new passenger record,” said Ulises Aguirre, the airport’s executive director of aviation. “Additionally, the number of available flights and seats are exceeding what we saw in the summer of 2019. We originally forecasted a return to pre-pandemic numbers sometime in early 2023, but Palm Springs has already reached that and did so sooner than anticipated.”


Officials at the city-owned airport said that the addition of several new service routes have contributed to a rebound in air travel, and that the trend is expected to continue in the fall when more airlines and service routes will begin serving Palm Springs.

JCB Launches JCB Unity Cabernet Sauvignon to Celebrate Unity in the Wine World


JCB Collection has produced two new wines with a portion of the proceeds going directly to organizations that help Black and underserved communities thrive in the world of wine.


JCB UNITY is a California Cabernet Sauvignon available at Sam’s Club and JCB UNITY RESERVE Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is available at the winery and through Boisset Ambassadors. Both wines benefit the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV) and Wine Unify.


The national launch follows the successful debut of a limited-edition JCB Unity Napa Valley wine in the fall of 2020 that immediately sold out and raised $30,000 for AAAV and Wine Unify.


“Love, hope, unity, diversity and equality are the guiding principles of our JCB and Boisset Collection wines, where we believe the world of wine exists to unite us – across the table and beyond… Oceans separate us, wine unites us!” said Boisset Collection Proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset. “We are committed to creating the most inclusive, passionate and inspiring wine community in the world.”


Donations from the sales of JCB Unity wines are expected to raise nearly $200,000 for the Association of African American Vintners and Wine Unify in 2021.

Monarch Autonomous Electric Tractor Demonstrated in Lodi Vineyard

Lodi winegrape growers saw a field demonstration of the Monarch autonomous/driver-optional electric tractor July 9th at Round Valley Ranches Clay Station Vineyard in the Lodi American Viticultural Area (AVA). The new tractor technology, designed to provide environmental, labor and cost savings benefits for vineyard operations has been attracting interest through a continuing series of field demo days held since 2020 in California vineyards.


Monarch’s head of growth Douglas Kolker explained the benefits of the tractor’s technology and provided ordering and pricing information. He said, as an electric tractor, it eliminates diesel emissions and costs, reducing a farm’s carbon footprint. “The tractor is driver-optional, able to operate autonomously, it can be run 24/7 to save on labor costs and overtime, and it provides reliability while improving driver safety with less time in the field,” Kolker said.


The Monarch Tractor has been in development since 2016. The Livermore-based company was founded in 2018. Its mission is to elevate farming practices to enable clean, efficient and economically viable solutions for farmers.


Current prices for two versions of one model available are $58,000 for a two-wheel drive unit and $68,000 for a four-wheel drive unit.


More information is available at

Larger-than-life Performance Actor George Webber Retires from Role as Count of Buena Vista


For a decade, George Webber came to work to Buena Vista Winery as “Count” Agoston Haraszthy, the Hungarian immigrant who pursued his dream of making great wine in America and founded the Sonoma winery in 1857.


Beginning this week however, Webber will spend more time in cargo shorts. At 67, Webber is retiring from his 40-hour-a-week job as the Count of Buena Vista, top hat, vests, cane and all, to slow down a tad.


As the brand ambassador for Buena Vista, Webber – a.k.a. The Count of Buena Vista – crisscrossed the country to represent the winery at tastings, winemaker dinners and special events. He’s led virtual wine tastings during the pandemic and managed the winery’s social media presence. Webber has also portrayed other historical characters, depending on the special event.


“It’s been a great ride,” said Webber on Saturday, dressed in full Count regalia, as he greeted guests at the winery before leading a lecture, “How Count Haraszthy & Charles Krug Created Wine Country.” Buena Vista’s History Day also featured a fast-paced, multi-act play in the courtyard with Webber portraying the Count of Buena Vista and K-8th grade teacher Carlo Ligotti as Charles Krug.


Buena Vista owner Jean-Charles Boisset recruited Webber in 2011, shortly after acquiring the historic winery. The ‘interview” was off the Sonoma Plaza, where Webber, a former child actor and stock trader, led walking tours portraying various historical characters.

Street dogs find homes, vocations after being rescued by Mexican army


An unoccupied kindergarten building has been transformed into a shelter for street dogs near an international airport under construction in Zumpango de Ocampo, on the outskirts of Mexico City.


The Doggies of Santa Lucia shelter run by the Mexican army was set up after the airport’s architects and workers noticed a large number of stray dogs wandering near the construction site.


The shelter can host up to 50 dogs that will receive medical attention, food and shelter.


“The shelter’s objective is to give the dogs a temporary home and to adapt them to live with humans and other dogs so they can be adopted by a family,” said Second Lieutenant Carla Medellin, a veterinarian.


Not all dogs that arrive at the shelter are intended for adoption. Specialists and veterinarians will also look for dogs that can work at the airport by detecting COVID-19 patients or even drugs.


“Dogs can help us as medical alert dogs. They can detect cancer, hypertension, early diabetes or COVID-19,” said Pamela Diaz, an architect at the airport. “Mainly at the airport, they will provide a way of carrying out fast tests.”

Avelo launching Las Vegas-to-Sonoma flight service

Las Vegas Review Journal


Travelers now have a direct flight option between Wine Country and the Entertainment Capital of the World.


Avelo Airlines is launching nonstop flight service between Las Vegas and Sonoma County, California, beginning Sept. 16, the airline announced Thursday.


“Our expanded service at STS (Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport) demonstrates Avelo’s commitment to providing the Bay Area with more choice and affordability in air travel,” Avelo Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy said in a statement. “This new route makes it easier than ever for our customers to visit the Entertainment Capital of the World from the region’s most convenient and relaxing airport.”


Flights between McCarran International Airport and Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport start at $39 one way.


“Avelo Airlines is ensuring that there is once again service between these two renowned destinations, something we’ve been lacking for years,” Chris Jones, McCarran spokesman, said in a statement. “Whether travelers are looking for the entertainment of Las Vegas or the allures of Wine Country, this new nonstop service will provide that opportunity in a quick and easy manner.”

It’s Official: Parklets Are Here to Stay in San Francisco

SF Eater


Restaurants and bars will be able to keeping building and serving in parklets, long after the pandemic is over


the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to pass an ordinance that would make the Shared Spaces program permanent. This legislation is a relief for restaurants and bars that have poured money into building these outdoor spaces in order to continue serving diners and drinkers during the pandemic and are now struggling to recover from debt. Parklets were originally a temporary emergency measure, but now they stand to change the landscape of SF forever.


“We are thrilled that the Shared Spaces legislation … has passed at the Board of Supervisors today … ” said Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA), in a statement. “Shared Spaces has been a lifeline this past year for restaurants, bars, cafes and retail businesses in San Francisco. Making this program permanent brings a continued bright light to all our neighborhoods, including downtown, Union Square and SOMA, and is a huge draw for visitors and residents alike.”

Careful in the water stingray stings on the rise along Santa Barbara’s South Coast


Shuffle those feet while entering the water. That’s experts’ advice to avoid a stingray sting. In recent months doctors at Cottage Health are seeing an increase in stingray sting patients.


Cottage Health emergency room physician, Dr. Brett Wilson, said if someone is stung they should put warm to hot water on the sting. The warm to hot water will help remove the venom from the sting. But the water shouldn’t be too hot it burns the skin.


Marine experts said Santa Barbara’s South Coast is filled with stingrays. They mostly hang out on sandy beaches where they can hide from predators and prey.

New multi-use trail opens at Lake Tahoe


A new trail that recently opened is destined to become one of Lake Tahoe’s most iconic.


The new 2.1-mile multi-use trail provides access to Fallen Leaf Lake and Desolation Wilderness for non-motorized users and features stunning views of each, along with Lake Tahoe.


The trail was completed by the US Forest Service and the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association using about 4,000 volunteer hours and contributions from Tahoe Fund donors, including the Mathman family, and a triple match from Vail Resorts’ EpicPromise guest donation program at Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood.


The trail officially opened on June 30.


“At Vail Resorts, we’re proud to partner with organizations like Tahoe Fund through the Vail Resorts EpicPromise community investment program,” said Deirdra Walsh, vice president and general manager of Northstar. “Their focus on sustainable recreation allows the region’s unparalleled trail systems to expand, and we can enjoy new adventures on the Lily Lake Trail for the days to come.”

NBC Sports Grill & Brew is now open at Universal CityWalk


The all-new NBC Sports Grill & Brew is finally open at Universal CityWalk.


The sports-themed restaurant and bar — which took over the space previously occupied by Tony Roma’s Steakhouse Restaurant — is filled with HDTV screens for premium sports viewing. It’s decked out with tons of sports memorabilia and large specially commissioned art pieces, and it will broadcast continuous, in-depth sports coverage. It also offers patio dining with a giant 23-foot by 13-foot HDTV monitor that will broadcast games, races and other sporting events live.


The NBC Sports Grill & Brew menu covers all the bases by providing a fresh take on traditional pub fare, including tasty appetizers, flavorful sandwiches and burgers, fresh salads, hearty grain bowls, and indulgent desserts.


Some of the highlights include the Roadside Chili Burger, Broccoli & Cheddar Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Nashville Hot Chopped Chicken Salad


There are also plenty of wing options, fish tacos, artisan pretzels, Smoked BBQ Pork Ribs , and vegan and vegetarian offerings as well.


At the bar, there’s a selection of over 40 beers, atrons can also customize their beverage orders with beer flights and build-your-own mule cocktail options.

Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Latest Summer Blockbuster, Brought to You by Yellow Tail


Sarah Michelle Gellar is now partnering with Yellow Tail to promote Pure Bright, a trio of Australian white wines starring Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc and priced at $7 per bottle.


Pure Bright is also joining the growing category of “better for you” wines: The Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are each 80 calories per glass and just 8.5 percent alcohol, while the Chardonnay is 85 calories and 9.6 percent ABV. “Until now, lower calorie wines have been seen as light on flavor. That was a trade-off we weren’t willing to make,” said John Casella, managing director of Yellow Tail parent company Casella Family Brands, in a statement issued by the brand. “We took the opposite approach, ensuring great taste and then working our way backward to deliver on making it lighter.”


Gellar told Wine Spectator. “You learn a lot about a culture, a city and a country based on what they drink. … [The Pure Bright lineup has] a very specific flavor profile. Yellow Tail kept the essence that makes a wine beautiful.”

Tyra Banks Opened a ‘Smize’ Cream Shop in Santa Monica Last Week

eater LA


Banks maneuvered through different projects over the decades from being an entrepreneur and teaching classes at Stanford business school to producing the Emmy award-winning show America’s Next Top Model. But now Banks has a new venture that opened July 3 in the Santa Monica Place mall: An ice cream shop called Smize Cream, a clear nod to her modeling term “smize,” which describes smiling with your eyes.


Smize Cream started as a springtime pop-up in Santa Monica.


To be clear, Smize Cream is made with more egg yolk than its sister ice cream variety, so this qualifies stuff as frozen custard, with a cookie dough truffle covered in sprinkles at the bottom of every cup. For now, Smize Cream will begin with seven flavors, and of course, flavors will have names that her fans will likely adore:


The best vanilla I ever had

Strawberry ‘birthyay’ cake

Brownies, I love you

Purple cookie mon-star and me

Salted caramel king

Cookie caramel queen

Chocolate barbecue


Smize Cream will also be available for nationwide shipping via its online shop.

CA’s Healthiest Counties: How Did Yours Rank?


Twenty California counties ranked among the healthiest in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report and Aetna Foundation.


Twenty Golden State counties were among the 500 healthiest communities in the nation, according to a recently released report from U.S. News & World Report in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation.


The San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California regions were particularly well-represented in the rankings, though a few Southern California counties also made the cut. Just four California counties cracked the top 100 — all of which were in NorCal.


Here are the California counties that cracked the top 50.


#35: Placer

#40: Santa Clara

#43: San Mateo

#49: Marin

Volunteers Pick up Half-Ton of Trash at Surfrider Beach Cleanups Following Holiday Weekend


Dozens of volunteers canvassed San Diego County beaches on Monday in a cleanup organized by the Surfrider Foundation to remove garbage left behind by litterbugs over the Independence Day weekend.


On Monday morning, which the Surfrider Foundation refers to as “the morning after,” volunteers removed trash and debris left behind at county beaches by thousands of residents and visitors who flocked to the shores for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.


According to Surfrider, more than 500 volunteers turned up at a half-dozen locations up and down the San Diego County coast and picked up more than a half-ton of trash (in pounds)


Thankfully, this year’s numbers pale in comparison to the last pre-pandemic morning after. According to the Surfrider Foundation, nearly 800 volunteers turned out in 2019 and removed a collective 3,900 pounds of trash — including 5,930 cigarette butts — from five beaches in a three-hour span.

All-Outdoor Restaurant Pops Up at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Eater San Diego


The Del Mar Social Club kicks off summer fun with cabanas and fire pits


With summer in full swing and San Diego getting back to business, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar is launching an outdoor pop-up restaurant this weekend that will run until October and potentially beyond. Earlier this year, the luxury hotel debuted the Fireside Lounge, an open-air dining area that proved to be so popular that it’s been transported outside to property’s Grand Lawn where the significantly expanded space now spans 10 cabanas, eight fire pit-topped tables, and a 24-foot communal table.


Now called the Del Mar Social Club, the hotel is aiming to make the experience accessible to locals and families by offering free parking and no booking fees for the fire pits tables or cabanas, which can be reserved online and feature full service, while walk-ins are accepted at the self-service communal table. To start, the casual restaurant will be open Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., but the hotel says that it will likely extend the hours and days of operation.

Another Piece of Santa Barbara Culture Is Restored with Return of Nite Moves


People were bustin’ their moves again on a Wednesday evening at the Santa Barbara waterfront.


Nite Moves, a weekly family-friendly endurance sports series and party that has been a spring-summer tradition since 1989, was back after the 2020 season was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.


More than 300 participants of all ages gathered at Leadbetter Beach for the delayed opener, as Nites Moves normally starts in May. They were pumped to do either a 1-kilometer ocean swim or 5k run/walk, or both events. Kids were excited about running a 1k dash that ended at the same finish line as the 5k.


At the conclusion of the swim, run/walk and aquathon (the combined events), athletes relaxed at a party that included live music, carnitas tacos and McConnells ice cream.


Nite Moves owner and director Jay Campbell stopped from loading equipment in a van, gazed over at the party and smiled. He was elated to be back in business.


“I think it went really well just because we were out here, and I loved it,” he said, proudly. “Everyone has been so supportive. I feel so blessed and I just feel honored that the people have come out for this event. The excitement level is top notch, and you can’t beat that.”


Nite Moves will run every Wednesday through Aug. 25.

San Diego Humane Society releases injured bald eagle after month of rehab



An injured bald eagle found in Warner Springs with a wing droop and unable to fly, was released back into the wild following a month of rehabilitation at the San Diego Humane Society, it was announced Friday.


The eagle was brought to San Diego Humane Society’s Pilar and Chuck Bahde Wildlife Center on June 8. The bird has been rehabilitated and was released back into the wild on Thursday.


While at the Bahde Wildlife Center, Project Wildlife’s medical team provided the injured bald eagle with heat support, fluids and nutrition. Veterinarians performed radiographs and blood tests, including a lead test, to ensure all levels were normal. The bird was then sent to San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Campus to gain flight strength in an aviary. After nearly a month in care, the bald eagle was deemed strong enough to fly and was released at the Lake Henshaw Scenic Overlook.


“Bald eagles have been a longstanding symbol of freedom, so it’s incredible to see this bird return home just before July Fourth,” said Andy Blue, campus director of San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center. “The Lake Henshaw Scenic Overlook is a perfect location because of its proximity to several locally active Southern California bald eagle’s nest territories.”

8 small towns to visit this summer in California


For the second summer since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, more Californians are taking trips closer to home, postponing international vacations and opting for longer stays at more familiar local destinations instead. Unsurprisingly, we’re also choosing to visit places in natural settings — campgrounds, state parks and forests — over big cities.


All this means a lot of pressure on high profile places like Lake Tahoe, Wine Country and Yosemite: more crowds, more traffic, less time to just relax.


Which is why we asked travel writers around the state to help us curate this list of eight small-town escapes where you can unplug and explore at your own pace. These aren’t the hottest tourist spots of 2021. Here you’ll find insider guides to towns you may have never visited or even heard of.


June Lake




Moss Landing


Mount Shasta









21st Annual Woodies at the Beach


The “Best of the Best” Woodie Wagons from all over the western United States will gather together on the west lawn of Santa Barbara City College overlooking the blue Pacific Ocean.


Come and enjoy the artistry and craftsmanship that made the Woodie legendary.


Bring a picnic and enjoy friendly people and the cool beach vibe.


Public Welcome – No Admission Fee

No Entry Fee – Registration starts at 8:00 a.m.


Special parking for our Classic Car friends; pre 1973


Presented by the Santa Barbara Woodie Club


21st Annual Woodies at the Beach

721 Cliff Drive

Santa Barbara, CA 93109


The Santa Barbara Woodies Chapter will host their annual Woodies on the Beach as follows:


Show Dates and Information:


July 30, 2021 – Friday Evening 5:00pm – 8:00pm “Meet and Greet” dinner at Cody’s Restaurant (no host food and beverages available) 4898 Hollister Blvd. Santa Barbara, CA


July 31, 2021 – Saturday 9:00am to 3:00pm – 21st Annual “Woodies at the Beach” Show – West Campus, Santa Barbara City College – 721 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara

CA REAL ID Upgrade Offered: What To Know


Californians who renewed their driver’s license or identification card during the pandemic just became eligible to get a REAL ID upgrade for free, officials said Monday.


The fee normally associated with the REAL ID will be waived for those who qualify, the Department of Motor Vehicles said in a statement Monday.


“We don’t want Californians to pay the price for not getting a REAL ID during the pandemic,” said Steve Gordon, DMV director. “While the federal government has extended the enforcement date for a REAL ID, there is no need to procrastinate. If you act now, you can take advantage of this offer and upgrade to a REAL ID for free.”


Eligible Golden Staters can upgrade online here.


Although residents seemingly have plenty of time — until May 3, 2023 — to get their REAL ID, officials are urging residents to complete the process as soon as possible.


You have until December 31, 2021 to get a free REAL ID.

Cruise Ships to Return to San Diego This Fall


The Port of San Diego said each Holland America Line cruise ship that docks in San Diego contributes $300,000 to the local economy


Port of San Diego Chairman Michael Zucchet says the calendar for the fall season is already filling up with names like the Disney Cruise Line and Carnival joining the list.


“We expect to have anywhere from 70 to 80 cruise calls starting in September or October for the season, which is obviously down from pre-COVID levels but that’s a fairly healthy come back,” Zucchet says.


The return of the line’s cruises will have a big impact on the local economy, which was estimated to have lost $282 million since last March due to canceled cruises.


The Port of San Diego said each ship that docks locally contributes $300,000 to the local economy in provisioning, port taxes, and spending. Holland America Line works with more than 35 local vendors who supply the company and its ships with goods and services.


“Usually what happens is out of town visitors will stay overnight the night before and then oftentimes, they’ll stay in San Diego when they come back to dock. So, we can get pre and post-stays out of it,” explained Julie Coker, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority.

The Differences Between Mountain and Valley Wines, Explained


Elevation is the most obvious influence on wines made from grapes grown in these areas. It also impacts factors like fog, topography, soil type and diurnal range, or difference in day and night temperatures.


The most obvious ways mountain wines announce themselves in the glass is by mouthfeel and tannin texture, Wineburg says.


“As a gross generalization, mountain tannins are tighter, stronger, with a lot of length and need more time in barrel and bottle to develop,” she says. “Valley floor tannins are plush, dense, but without the length.”

Wine Tourism Roars Back in Napa and Sonoma


“We are seeing a strong return to travel,” says Todd O’Leary, vice president of marketing and communications for Sonoma County Tourism. “There’s been a huge pent-up demand for it, and now that consumers are getting vaccinated, they are booking travel now and/or into the future.


“We’re definitely seeing our fans spending time here, but we’re also welcoming new first-time visitors, as wine country is oftentimes a bucket list destination,” he says.


“Anecdotally, we’re also hearing that wineries and restaurants in Napa Valley are booked to capacity on most weekends,” says Linsey Gallagher, president and CEO, Visit Napa Valley.


“Many of our wineries, restaurants and hotels are dealing with labor shortages,” says O’Leary. “So, while consumer demand is strong, capacities have been and will continue to be constricted. We’re advising visitors to plan ahead by making reservations well in advance. Most wineries are already appointment-only nowadays.”

Elvis Presley Fans Can Now Drink Like a ‘King’ With New Limited Edition Wine


Ready those wine glasses! If you love both Elvis Presley and a bold-sounding Cabernet Sauvignon, then you’re in luck – as “The King” is available for your sipping pleasure.


Originally coinciding with Elvis’ 86th birthday, Wines That Rock (The Official Wine of Rock ‘N Roll™) put out the red carpet for The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll this year.


Working with Graceland and the Elvis Presley Estate, Wines That Rock “enlisted Brett Ehlers from E2 Family Winery” to bring fans a California Cabernet Sauvignon in spirit of The King himself!


“The limited-edition Elvis Presley Wine is a powerful, full-bodied wine that has rich flavors of blackberries, toasty oak, and espresso – fit for a KING!” tweets the Elvis Presley Estate

A Temecula Staple Celebrates 20 Years

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

This summer, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa is celebrating 20 years in business. The property boasts award-winning wines, 63 acres of rolling vineyards, locally sourced cuisine, luxury lodging and soon, live music.

South Coast Winery was the first winery among 750 of the states’ top wineries to win “California Winery of the Year,” — and it won four times.

During the trying months of the pandemic, Temecula’s wine country came together, with locals continuing to support wineries by purchasing the essential elixir online.

“The valley is coming out stronger and closer than it was before we went in,” said Jeff Carter president of Carter Hospitality that runs the resort.

“I think that everybody, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, should come out, sit on our veranda overlooking the vines and just have a wonderful meal at the Vineyard Rose.”

Cho-choo! Sonoma’s TrainTown reopens


TrainTown, the iconic 10-acre Sonoma amusement park on Broadway, reopened to the public at full capacity on June 15, after being closed more than 15 months.


“Our team has worked tirelessly to get the park rolling again, and I’m confident to say it is better than ever,” said Monica Frank, whose family owns TrainTown, who added that the enhancements include a new roller coaster.


TrainTown was founded by Stanley L. Frank of Oakland in 1958, and the park fully opened to the public in 1968. The TrainTown website describes Frank as an “Oakland printing magnate, adamant table-top model builder, and M.B.A. Harvard University graduate.”


TrainTown’s amusement rides are all railroad-themed. The park features a quarter-scale railroad on four miles of track. Each train trip lasts 20 minutes and goes through tunnels, over bridges and makes a stop at a miniature town and petting zoo. The other amusement rides include a carousel, a Ferris wheel, a mine train coaster, an air scooter and more.


Starting this week, TrainTown is open for the summer season daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 20264 Broadway. Rides range from $3.75 to $8.25. Learn more at

Delivery Service for Sushi and Japanese Bar Snacks Expanding to San Diego

Eater San Diego


A variety of sushi and small plates straight out of a Japanese izakaya will be soon be available for delivery to local diners. Kumi, a new ghost kitchen that launched last week in several cities including Los Angeles and Chicago, will be activating in San Diego in late August as part of its nationwide expansion.


Run by C3, a food tech platform from the LA-based SBE Entertainment Group, Kumi is the latest addition to its roster of digital brands that includes Sam’s Crispy Chicken and Krispy Rice, an online offshoot of famed sushi bar Katsuya. Beyond its many virtual locations, a brick-and-mortar version of Kumi will be opening inside the Le Méridien New York, Central Park hotel later this summer.


Kumi’s menu includes chirashi bowls, soy paper-wrapped temaki (sushi hand rolls), seared onigiri (rice balls) and nori tacos, which feature a tempura nori shell and rice topped with everything from truffled avocado to salmon roe. The virtual restaurant also offers bento box sets that hold a variety of dishes.


Another C3 concept called EllaMia is also coming to San Diego later this year. The café and bakery will serves a daytime menu that ranges from pastries and coffee to sandwiches, salads, macarons, and specialty chocolates.

Alameda Corks, Forks, Rhythm & Brews

The Alameda Boys & Girls Club (ABGC) just announced the return of their annual fundraiser, Corks, Forks, Rhythm & Brews, happening on Saturday, October 2, 2021 from 12p.m. – 5p.m. PDT. Held in the heart of the Bay Area at the scenic Alameda Point, Corks, Forks, Rhythm & Brews features some of California’s best wineries, spirits, breweries, gourmet food, restaurants and live music in its benefit for the Alameda Boys & Girls Club.


A variety of local chefs, tastemakers, and food and beverage influencers in the industry will be attending this event in part to help raise donations for the Alameda Boys & Girls Club while showcasing their diverse creations of food and beverages.


“We are so thrilled to see Corks, Forks, Rhythm & Brews come back after a year off due to the pandemic,” explains Jeff Miller, CEO of the Alameda Boys & Girls Club. “The community is so excited that live events have returned and look forward to having a good time for a great cause. We are so grateful for our exhibitors and sponsors who continue to share their time, participation, and support for the return of a one-of-a kind experience.”


The event will feature VIP experiences, live entertainment, chefs, tastemakers, influencers and more. The festival is inclusive of food and beverage sampling throughout the day. Early bird tickets for general admission and VIP admission are currently 20 percent off with the code MEDIA21. Early All proceeds go directly to the Alameda Boys and Girls Club and tickets can be purchased at

Splash House returning to Palm Springs for two weekends in August

Palm Springs Desert Sun


Ready to jump back in the pool? The dance music-fueled pool party Splash House is returning to Palm Springs for more fun in the sun this summer.


The festival will take place over two weekends, Aug.13-15 and Aug. 20-22 at the Renaissance Hotel, Margaritaville Resort and Saguaro Palm Springs, organizers announced Thursday.


After-hours programming at the Palm Springs Air Museum will also return.


Organizers did not release a lineup for the festival.


Founded by Palm Springs residents Tyler and Kelly McLean in 2013, Splash House has become a major contributor to summer tourism in Palm Springs. From 2018 to 2019, the festivals sold out both weekends, drawing 7,000 attendees to the city. Los Angeles-based Goldenvoice, producer of the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals, is a partner of the event.

Famous Big Sur landmark reopens after being closed for 12 years

Mercury News


For generations, it was one of the most popular attractions in Big Sur.


Thousands of people every year hiked up the Pfeiffer Falls Trail, a 1.5-mile round trip route through a redwood-lined stream in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park leading to a 60-foot waterfall.


But the trail and six of its wooden bridges, stairs, signs, hand railings and an observation deck, were destroyed in the 2008 Basin Complex Fire. The landscape has long since recovered. And now a new trail has risen from the ashes after years of back-breaking work interrupted by floods, more fires, budget shortfalls, the COVID pandemic and other delays.


“This trail is going to make a lot of people’s day,” said Marcos Ortega, superintendent of state parks’ Big Sur sector, on a recent hike through the redwood forest. “It’s kid-friendly. You get to see a waterfall. You’re in the redwoods. It gives you the full Big Sur experience.”


Following a $2 million renovation, the new Pfeiffer Falls Trail will reopen to the public on Friday.


With its stunning rocky coastline, majestic mountains and deep redwood-shrouded valleys, Big Sur, the writer Henry Miller once said, is “the face of the earth as the creator intended it to look.”

Dynamic Duo Release Optik Wines


Bien Nacido Vineyard Owners Tap Joey Tensley for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah


For all of the sources that syrah stud Joey Tensley tapped — and critically established — over his three decades as a Santa Barbara County winemaker, he’d never waded into the historic rows of Bien Nacido Vineyard until two years ago.


First planted by brothers Steve and Bob Miller nearly 50 years ago, the Santa Maria Valley property put cool-climate California syrah on the global map by grafting some for Qupé founder Bob Lindquist in 1987. That rippled into coastally influenced plantings of syrah across the state, delivering the umami-laden, pepper-powered character of what I think is the most interesting style of wine in the galaxy, reflecting in uncanny ways the gamy hallmarks of the variety’s ancestral home in the northern Rhône Valley of France.


Tensley, meanwhile, was building his own legacy, turning both cool and warmer syrah sites into unctuously expressive wines, bagging big magazine scores, and becoming the darling of wine lovers from Chelsea to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. So when the Millers gave him a call in August of 2019 about possibly collaborating on a wine brand — one that also included chardonnay and pinot noir, Bien Nacido’s best-known grapes — the Bakersfield-raised, Los Olivos–residing winemaker was intrigued.


“A lot of places talk the talk, but these guys are walking the walk,” said Tensley of what he realized during his first tour of the vineyard, a leader in innovative and sustainably minded farming that’s overseen by Chris Hammell, for whom Tensley has massive respect. “I was instantly hooked.”

Flagship Apple Tower Theatre store in downtown LA opening on June 24


A new flagship Apple Store location in Los Angeles, Apple Tower Theatre, is nearing completion and will open to the public on June 24.


The Apple Tower Theatre store will be located in a historic theater in L.A.’s Broadway Theater District. When it opens, it’ll be Apple’s first retail location in Downtown L.A.


“Once a groundbreaking cinema, Apple Tower Theatre represents the creativity and innovation that both Los Angeles and Apple are known for,” Apple said of the store. “The first Apple Store in downtown LA, this will be the place where you can discover new products, find inspiration, and let your creativity shine.”


Apple has been renovating the Tower Theatre for several years now. Back in 2018, the company shared a mockup of what the interior could look like.


At the time, Apple said that the location will be in the “upper echelon” of Apple Stores and would be unlike anything else in the city. Part of the design could incorporate the theater’s historical Renaissance Revival architecture, while incorporating new theatrical touches.


Apple also said that the brick-and-mortar store would host events meant to draw hundreds of people. The store would take advantage of L.A.’s role as a media and cultural center to host talks by experts in TV, movies, and music.


Originally built in 1927, the Tower Theatre itself was the first theater in the city to be wired for sound. It has long been unused and is only known as a local landmark in L.A.’s Broadway Theater District, which boasts about a dozen theaters.

Livermore Wins All-America City Award For 2021


It’s official: Livermore is a winner of the 2021 All-America City Award.

Livermore was among 20 finalists and was the only California state in the running. In the end, it was among 10 winners picked for excelling in this year’s theme: Building Equity and Resilience.

Cities gave presentations to an awards jury panel this week, according to the National Civic League, which runs the contest. Livermore highlighted its efforts to: battle vaping; improve youth mental health; create a working group on equity and inclusion; open a wellness center; address housing inequity and homelessness; and launch diverse clubs at public schools.


Livermore’s application was filed in February by the city, Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District, Livermore Area Recreation and Park District and Las Positas College. “Each winner leveraged civic engagement, inclusiveness and innovation to successfully address challenges facing their communities,” said Doug Linkhart, president of National Civic League, in a news release. “These communities serve as examples to others facing similar issues and provide hope that collaboration among community leaders, elected officials and concerned residents will help communities of all sizes tackle complex issues.”

The Notorious B.I.G.’s Daughter Opens a NY-Style Pizza Place in Los Angeles


The new Juicy Pizza is shaping up to be a collaboration for the ages, pairing Tyra Myricks (daughter of the late Jam Master Jay, of Run-D.M.C. fame) with Tyanna Wallace, daughter of the late Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious B.I.G. The pair have been friends for some time, Myricks told Business Insider last month; both stay busy with a variety of projects, including their own fashion lines, but wanted to collaborate to give Los Angeles some of the New York City-style pizza they felt was missing.

“The more I thought about how to bring that New York theme to Los Angeles, I felt, who represents New York more than Biggie Smalls?,” Myricks told Business Insider.

the new Juicy Pizza will open at 615 N. La Brea in the former Pizza Romana space

It’s also worth mentioning that the upcoming Juicy Pizza will not only carry merch and clothing from Myricks, but it will have a members-only cannabis lounge run by Black-owned Presidential Cannabis in the back

Coachella Pre-Sale Tickets Sell Out In 4 Hours

Pre-sale tickets for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival set for next April sold out soon after going on sale Friday.

Coachella, which typically brings upward of 250,000 fans over two weekends to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, is slated for the weekends of April 15-17 and April 22-24.

Event promoter Goldenvoice said fans can still sign up for the waitlist.

The Coachella Valley’s economy lost upward of $700 million due to the absence of both festivals, according to a previous report issued by the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership.

Groth Announces Oakville Neighbors Series

Groth Vineyards & Winery has released the Oakville Neighbors Series, a new portfolio of limited-production, single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons sourced from distinguished grower-partners who have helped make the Oakville AVA one of the most highly regarded appellations in Napa Valley. Coinciding with the Groth family’s 40th year of growing grapes and making Cabernet Sauvignon in the Oakville AVA, the Oakville Neighbors Series is only available directly through the winery tasting room, wine club and website ( The three wines in this initial release are priced at $75 each.

“The Oakville Neighbors Series is a platform for exploring the incredible diversity of Oakville Cabernet,” President & CEO Suzanne Groth said. “The wines tell stories about this place we call home, narratives about the land and vineyards, and also the people who have believed in, shaped and brought to prominence the Oakville AVA.”

Groth’s Oakville Neighbors Series debuts with three single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons from the 2018 vintage. “These are winery-driven wines, that is, small lots from the 2018 vintage that presented themselves in the cellar,” Groth said. “The vineyard sources for the series may or may not change from vintage to vintage. The only parameter is that each wine stand on its own as a distinct expression of the Oakville appellation.”

The 2018 wines in the Oakville Neighbors Series are sourced from grower-partners with whom the Groth family has had long relationships, reaching back as far as 35 years or more. The names of the wines are fanciful, homages to the growers vs. the names of the vineyards themselves.


The city of Long Beach regained control of the Queen Mary Friday for the first time in four decades, with the previous operator surrendering leases for oversight of the vessel, which is in need of millions of dollars in urgent repair work.

Recent reports on the state of the vessel concluded that it could potentially sink absent an estimated $23 million in immediate repairs.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said the city plans to take swift action to restore the ship now that it has operational control of the vessel for the first time since 1978.

“For the first time in decades, Long Beach has full control of the Queen Mary,” Garcia said in a statement. “We will be fully engaged in the preservation of this historic landmark and are incredibly grateful for this opportunity.”

San Diego Listed Among Best U.S. Cities To ‘Staycation’: Report

Three Golden State cities ranked among the best places to “staycation,” according to a new list compiled by WalletHub. San Diego snagged no. 9 out of 182 cities across the U.S.

The financial advice website used several metrics to determine how cities ranked, including the number of parks, swimming pools, ice cream shops, museums, coffee shops, beer gardens, zoos, aquariums, tennis courts, public golf courses and spas per capita in each city. It also took into account local restaraunt meal costs and entertainment.

In sunny San Diego, locals have a plethora of sandy beaches with rolling surf right at their fingertips.

Here are just a few suggestions to add to your San Diego staycation bucket list:

Balboa Park

San Diego Zoo

Hotel del Coronado Curio Collection

San Diego Natural History Museum

Maritime Museum of San Diego

La Jolla Shores Park

Windansea Beach

Sunset Cliff’s Natural Park

Japanese Friendship Garden

Mingei International

San Elijo State Beach

Annie’s Canyon Trail

Other California cities that ranked above no. 20 were San Francisco (no. 3) and Los Angeles (no. 15). Fremont, the Bay Area’s fourth-largest city, was listed at the bottom of WalletHub’s staycation list, ranking as the worst city for taking a local vacation.

Alaska Airlines announces nonstop flights from Santa Barbara to San Diego

Santa Barbara Airport will provide nonstop flights to San Diego starting June 17.

Alaska Airlines will offer nonstop flights to San Diego International Airport starting June 17,

The flight is expected to be only an hour long bypassing the normal four hour plus drive through Los Angeles.

“We are honored that Alaska Airlines has chosen SBA for this new route to San Diego and we are reassured summertime travel to southern California just got easier with this new direct service says Airport Director, Henry Thompson. “This new flight will offer a quick trip to sunny San Diego for families and those needing to travel for business.”

Food Trucks Roll Back into Downtown San Francisco

After more than a yearlong hiatus, food trucks are rolling back downtown next week, scheduled to coincide with California’s official June 15 reopening. Lamas Peruvian Truck, Bacon Bacon, and Rice Bucket will be among the offerings when Off the Grid launches its food truck spots at Salesforce Tower (Tuesdays and Thursdays), Levi Plaza (Tuesday through Wednesday), as well as further south in Menlo Park (Wednesday only). Additional food trucks are set to join the rotation in the coming weeks.

This Brilliant Wine Hack Will Chill Your Bottle of Rosé in Record Time (Sommeliers Agree)

well + good

“Spin the bottle in a salted ice bath and it will be chilled and ready to drink in less than five minutes,” reveals sommelier and Good Clean Wine co-founder Michelle Feldman. She elaborates on her instructions saying to fill a metal container large enough to hold your bottle—a large, tall stock pot works perfectly—with 50 percent ice, 50 percent water, and two cups of salt. Then, submerge the bottle up to the bottleneck in the ice water and twist the bottle and swirl it for about five minutes.

Sommelier Samantha Capaldi has another smart tip for chilling your wine ASAP: she pours the wine and adds a few frozen grapes to each glass. “This way, it gets chilled immediately without the chance of watering it down with ice cubes,” she says. This is actually her preferred method. “I always remember to grab a pack of grapes from the grocery store and have them in my freezer at all times,” she says, adding that between four to eight frozen grapes per glass typically does the trick.

So… what’s the consensus re: ice cubes?

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: just adding plain old ice cubes to your glass of wine. When it comes to this (ahem) ‘older-school’ method, Capaldi and Feldman both have a “you do you” attitude about it. “The best way to drink wine is how you like it. It’s totally acceptable to add ice to red, white, rosé, or sparkling,” Feldman says. “Spritzes, wine cocktails, and sangria are often poured over ice. Adding ice can dilute the colors, aromas, and flavors, but it also makes wine more refreshing on a hot day.” If you want to add ice cubes without diluting the flavor, you can always use whiskey cubes ($8) instead of real ones.

Sushi, Craft Cocktails, and More Newness in Napa and Sonoma

Bay Grape Napa

The little Oakland bottle shop that could has grown up with a Napa outpost. It opened in the last week of March with an enormous patio for drinking wine and enjoying snacks. The snacks include bread from fellow newcomer West Won Bakery, a custom-made paté from Contimo Provisions, and local cheeses, cured meats, and olives, too.

Ace and Vine

A late-night destination has hit sleepy downtown Napa, known for its early last call. And notably it has the only gaming license in the city of Napa, making its debut as a California Casino, too. Card games but no slots. A very extensive menu of “Asian fusion” dishes for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Cocktails, beer, wine, and fire-pits can also be found on the patio, which overlooks the Napa River.

Empress M, a 5,000-square-foot restaurant serving dim sum and other Chinese delicacies at lunch and dinner.

From Top Chef alum Casey Thompson comes Folktable, a bright and airy daytime restaurant located in Cornerstone Sonoma.

SF’s Ferry Building Farmer’s Market launching home delivery across 9 Bay Area counties

San Francisco’s popular Ferry Building Farmers Market is starting a new way for food lovers to get fruit and vegetables that will help growers across the region.

The nonprofit group CUESA (the Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture) that operates the market, developed market boxes for curbside pickup to help the farmers. Now comes a new strategy as the market sees how consumers have become accustomed to home delivery. Next week, Ferry Building Farmers Market Delivered will launch.

“If you cannot come to the Farmers Market on a particular Saturday, that’s OK,” said Christine Farren, CUESA Executive Director. “You can still order online from your favorite farmer and have it delivered to your house”

A dozen growers will participate to start with more added in the months ahead. Delivery will be handled by The Fruit Guys, another family run business, with service to all nine Bay Area counties for a $10 delivery fee. There’s no minimum order.

Online orders will be taken Monday through Thursday night for Saturday delivery. In time, it plans to expand to 24/7 ordering and more frequent deliveries.

Disneyland to introduce a $100 sandwich

The Disneyland Resort will soon be home to a new attraction – one of the most expensive sandwiches in the world.

The Anaheim, California resort will feature a new panini sandwich that will debut when Avengers Campus opens at Disney California Adventure Park on June 4.

The sandwich will cost $99.99. The menu says it will serve 6-8 guests.

The quick-service restaurant called Pym Test Kitchen is themed to the movie Ant-Man and the Wasp and will serve meals that have been shrunk or expanded in size.

So, what’s in the Quantum-sized Pym-ini Sandwich?

It comes with salami, rosemary ham, provolone, and sun-dried tomato spread on toasted focaccia. It is served with marinara dipping sauce and arugula salad.

The sandwich will also be available in a single serving for $14.99.

Also on the menu is an oversized can that is filled with soda. That drink will put you back $22.99.


Santa Barbara Airport Adding New Service to Chicago Starting in June

Santa Barbara Airport on Monday announced that United Airlines will offer nonstop service to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago starting in June.

Beginning June 3, daily flights on United Airlines are scheduled to depart the Santa Barbara Airport at 7 a.m. and arrive in O’Hare International Airport at 1:20 p.m. local time in Chicago, according to Angi Daus, marketing coordinator at SBA.

“We are honored that United Airlines has chosen SBA for new service via its Chicago hub,” SBA Airport Director Henry Thompson said in a statement.

“For Santa Barbara area residents, it will be our farthest direct flight with connections to more than 40 destinations across the Midwest and East Coast and will also shave hours off the typical routes via Denver, Los Angeles or San Francisco. As international travel opens this route will connect Santa Barbara to over 60 international destinations.”

Big Bay Boom fireworks show over San Diego Bay returning on July 4

After being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the popular Big Bay Boom fireworks show is making its return as an in-person event this Fourth of July.

Port of San Diego officials announced the show over San Diego Bay will happen on Sunday, July 4, starting at 9 p.m.

Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Michael Zucchet said, “We are excited for the return of the Big Bay Boom. Not only is this event incredible to see and to celebrate our nation’s independence, it has a major economic impact on the Port and the region, and that will be especially important this year as we emerge from a very tough period. We can’t wait to enjoy this San Diego Bay tradition once again.”

Sandy Purdon, the executive producer of the Big Bay Boom, added, “The Big Bay Boom this year will be our 20th and we hope it welcomes everyone back from a year under COVID. Besides being one of the largest July 4 fireworks shows in America, it supports the Armed Services YMCA and our military families in San Diego.”

The price of a tasting has almost doubled in Napa and Sonoma in the past five years

If you haven’t been to a California winery for a tasting visit in a while, you might experience sticker shock. The average price for a standard tasting fee has almost doubled in five years and is now $58 in Napa County and $30 in Sonoma County.

This was one of the most striking figures released today from Silicon Valley Bank’s 2021 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Survey Report. The report is based on self-reported data from 460 US wineries. The majority (69 percent) are in California; only 35 (7.6 percent) are outside the West Coast.

The survey lists the average standard tasting fee in the US as $25, but that is brought up by Napa and Sonoma, as only those regions average more than that. Paso Robles, Oregon and Santa Barbara have average tasting fees between $21 and $24. Washington state is the bargain region for tasting: high-quality wines with an average fee of $15.

Many wineries also reported having a higher “reserve tasting” fee, which averages $90 in Napa and $50 in Sonoma. Once again, Washington state is the value play, with average reserve tasting fees of just $20.

“Over the past 20 years, wineries have moved from walk-in to a by-appointment model only when forced by local regulations,” the report says. “Covid-19 restrictions forced wineries into by-appointment in 2020. From conversations, we believe when fully open the majority will retain a by-appointment option or remain fully by-appointment.”

Only one major US wine region – Santa Barbara County – actually reported more average monthly visitors so far this year compared to 2019. Napa and Sonoma Counties are seeing less than half the average number of visitors that they did in 2019, according to the survey.

The Vice Wine, in Partnership with the USA Triathlon Foundation, Reveal “The Tri” 2019, Napa Valley

The Vice Wine, in partnership with the USA Triathlon Foundation, today announced the release of their limited edition triathlon-inspired “The Tri” 2019 with a portion of proceeds being donated to the USA Triathlon Foundation in support of its mission, which is to transform lives through sport by providing opportunities to swim, bike and run.

The Vice Wine co-founder and winemaker Malek Amrani is a multi-time member of USA Triathlon’s amateur Team USA and a USA Triathlon Foundation Ambassador. Amrani, passionate about sharing his love of both multisports and wine, combined those interests to create the specially crafted Tri Blend.

“The Tri” is the one and only wine blend by The Vice Wine, known for single varietal luxury Napa Valley Wines. The limited release wine is based on triathlon’s three disciplines, with the 2019 vintage inspired by 2016 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team Member Joe Maloy and his race at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The blend is made from 18% Cabernet Franc, 52% St. Laurent and 30% Malbec to celebrate Maloy’s time spent on each discipline (swim, bike, run), respectively. Maloy is a longtime friend and daily mentor to Amrani.

“It is an honor to be able to collide the two vices that I am most passionate about. I am eternally grateful to The USA Triathlon Foundation and to the athletes and future athletes that have inspired “The Tri” blends and will inspire future blends to come,” Amrani, Founder and Winemaker of The Vice Wine, said. “Triathlon became a vice for me in 2017 and has helped me tremendously in winemaking. I’m proud that the simple pleasure of enjoying a glass of The Vice Wine will contribute to someone’s healthy lifestyle, participation in sports, or even Olympic dreams.”

SLO Coast Wines’ Roll Out the Barrels Celebration Is Back — Refreshed and Reinvented for 2021

Wine Industry Advisor

The SLO Coast Wine Collective’s annual Roll Out The Barrels celebration, which has drawn thousands of wine lovers to San Luis Obispo’s wine country since 1990, returns this year with an all-new format: A series of exclusive events held at member wineries throughout the Central Coast, and for the first time, an auction of rare bottles curated by the winemakers.

All of the events and the auction will take place June 24 through June 28.

As the region emerges from the 2020 Covid-19 shutdown, the SLO Coast Wine Collective is committed to restarting its popular yearly event, but in a way that is safe and comfortable for participants and winemakers. “Roll Out the Barrels is the perfect opportunity to taste new wines and say hello to our winemakers as Covid restrictions loosen up,” says Stephen Ross Dooley, President of the group’s Board of Directors. “We’re excited about being open again and seeing the people who’ve enjoyed our wines all these years.”

Roll Out the Barrels 2021 will offer unprecedented opportunities for wine lovers throughout the long weekend: Most events will be limited to 10 to 25 participants, allowing plenty of individual interaction with winemakers — and giving winemakers the chance to pour wines made in limited quantities and older bottles pulled from deep in their cellars.

Where does Stanislaus County rank among California wine spots? You might be surprised

Stanislaus was second only to Napa in an online ranking of California wine counties.

“Wait, what?” might be a wine fan’s first reaction to Monday’s announcement by LawnStarter. Stanislaus is among the nation’s top producers by volume, but Napa and other premium regions usually dominate the talk about quality.

A look at LawnStarter’s methodology explains this. The criteria include the number of awards won by the wineries in 2019 and 2020. Many of these competitions have divisions for low-priced and mid-market wines, along with the high-end stuff.

E.&J. Gallo Winery of Modesto has racked up its share of medals. So has Bronco Wine Co., south of Ceres, which is much smaller than Gallo but still a major industry player.

Raymond Vineyards Opens New Entrance from Highway 29 in the Napa Valley

Guests now arrive to the winery on a nearly one-and-a-half mile route through the winery’s Rutherford estate. No mere entryway, the opening of the road to Raymond reflects an ambitious endeavor in the Napa Valley to unite two distinct estates, create a dramatic entrance that brings its guests through an experiential voyage among organic and Biodynamic vineyards, while reducing traffic on the valley’s main thoroughfares.

The winery has deemed its entrance The Avenue of the Senses, a name created through a crowd-sourced social media campaign that garnered nearly one thousand entries.

“Raymond Vineyard’s Avenue of the Senses is the culmination of a grand journey to unite Raymond’s Rutherford estate, the Ticen Ranch property and Highway 29. It has been the dream, not only for us, but also for the Raymond family before us,” says Proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset, “Uniting these two estates and leading our guests through the heart of the Napa Valley presents an incredible opportunity to bring our guests among the vineyards and into the magical environment essential to Napa’s unique sense of place – the vineyard treasures that create world-class wines.”

Barefoot Taps Sweeter Styles, Alternative Formats To Connect With New Drinkers

Shaken News Daily

As the second-largest wine label in the U.S., E.&J. Gallo-owned Barefoot surely fits that description. The core Barefoot brand was up 12% to 17 million cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank, not including its Bubbly, Spritzers, Wine To Go, Seltzer, and Barefoot On Tap offerings

Both Barefoot Seltzer and Barefoot On Tap earned Impact “Hot Brand” honors for their 2020 performances. Barefoot On Tap, the brand’s 3-liter box offering ($19), jumped 55% to 1.7 million cases last year, while Barefoot Seltzer topped a half-million cases in its first year on the market.

“Alternative formats will continue to play a critical role for Barefoot and for the broader wine category,” Gallo’s director of brand marketing Adam Weinberg tells SND, adding that Gallo “expects to see continued growth of On Tap with larger formats staying in high-demand. We also expect to see strong acceleration of our single-serve formats, such as our line of Barefoot Wine To Go 500-ml. and canned wine offerings including Barefoot Spritzer and Hard Seltzer.”

Another area of growth for Barefoot is within its range of fruit-flavored Fruitscato wines, which debuted in fall of 2019.

Weekend At A Winery: Add Big White House To Must-Visit List

No fancy fountains or manicured lawns at this boutique winery in Livermore – just a laid-back atmosphere and really great “wine nerds.”

Big White House Winery and John Evan Cellars is a smaller venue in the Livermore Valley wine region, but one that should not be missed by vino aficionados (AKA: “wine nerds”), whether locals or visiting out-of-towners.

“We are HUGE wine nerds,” said Jessica Carroll, the vineyard’s winemaker and general manager. “We love everything that’s involved in our craft: It starts in the vineyard, goes to harvest, on to cellaring, and finishes with sharing bottled wines.”

Known for its Syrahs, Petite Sirahs and such uncommon varieties as Teroldego and Montepulciano, Big White House launched in 1998, after years as a backyard, grape-growing hobby of former Lawrence Livermore National Lab scientist and engineer John Marion II and his group of friends.

La Jolla restaurants ‘thrilled’ after San Diego approves one-year extension for outdoor dining

Outdoor dining patios, corrals and parklets that have become familiar sights in La Jolla will be allowed to remain until summer next year following a May 18 vote by the San Diego City Council.

The council unanimously approved a one-year extension of interim urgency regulations to allow the city’s Temporary Outdoor Business Operation permit program to continue until July 13, 2022.

The approval extends the expiration date for all permitted outdoor operations and allows restaurants and other businesses to continue outdoor operations at their discretion, even if COVID-19 health orders are rescinded.

Randy’s Donuts expands into San Diego

L.A. landmark Randy’s Donuts has announced plans to expand into San Diego County with 10 franchise locations over the next few years. It’s part of a global expansion that will eventually expand the now seven-store chain to 164 locations worldwide.

Randy’s is best known for the 33-foot giant doughnut sculpture on the roof of its original store in Inglewood that has been seen in dozens of movies, TV shows and commercials. Launched in 1952, Randy’s specializes in classic doughnuts made by hand each day from a proprietary dough.

UB40 is launching vegan red wine nearly 40 years after releasing its hit single “Red, Red Wine.”

Vegann News

This week, the members of British pop band UB40—known for its 1983 hit “Red, Red Wine”—released actual red wine and it’s vegan. Ali Campbell and Astro (born Terence Wilson) worked with wine company Eminent Life to create vegan Red Red Wine to celebrate the band’s 2021 tour. “We have always wanted to release our own red, red wine and we’re very excited to finally be doing this,” Campbell said.

The band previously worked with Eminent Life to create wines but this launch is the first time that Red, Red Wine is labeled as vegan and organic. The new wine features a deep color with purple glints and notes of sweet red cherry and black plum. “Red, Red wine has great balance and is really satisfying to drink,” Astro said. “Like our music, we are always looking for balance and harmony.”

The vegan Red Red Wine is available for £24.50 ($34.63) per bottle on both the UB40 and Eminent Life websites. “I am delighted with the exceptional partnership between Eminent Life and UB40,” Eminent Life Founder Jerome Jacober said. “It has been a pleasure and honour to work with Ali and Astro and we look forward to launching this organic, vegan red wine, which is so befitting of the great track ‘Red Red Wine.’”

Production to cease at Sebastiani Winery in downtown Sonoma

North Bay Business Journal

It is the end of an era for Sonoma’s largest downtown winery. Foley Family Winery plans to lay off most of its workers at the Sebastiani Winery and close its winemaking operations at the eastside facility. The winery’s tasting room and administrative offices in Sonoma will remain open. according to Foley President Shawn Schiffer.

Sebastiani is located on the east side of Sonoma’s downtown, occupying the equivalent of two city blocks on either side of Fourth Street East. Its production and storage buildings run along the town’s bike trail. A multi-million dollar remodel of its tasting room and hospitality center was completed in 2001. There are about 32 acres of vines situated around the winery.

“This is not a spot that anyone would choose to locate a modern winery,” Schiffer told the Index-Tribune about the Sebastiani production facility. “A variety of factors (have) led us to the conclusion that the Sebastiani site is not the right place to bear a large share of our manufacturing needs. The size and layout of the facility as well as environmental concerns like the encroachment of the surrounding residential neighborhood and public access trail all played a part in our decision.”

Mondavi Sisters Now Accepting Cryptocurrency for Cult Wine Brands Aloft and Dark Matter

PR Newswire

The Mondavi Sisters, 4th generation of the iconic Napa Valley wine family, continue a history of winemaking innovations by offering purchases in cryptocurrency

This groundbreaking move makes the four sisters the only winery in the Northern Hemisphere to offer members the ability to exchange cryptocurrency for their wines.

A limited allocation of each wine will be available through their respective websites – and

“Innovation has always been a key element of our family’s involvement in the wine industry – this is just the next step to expand our 100% female-owned and operated company to a global audience while diversifying beyond the US Dollar. More importantly, over 100 years of family experience in the wine industry, provides an opportunity to preserve the past, live in the present, and lead for the future – and that is exactly what we are doing, without hesitation.” – Giovanna Mondavi, Co-Proprietor and Brand Ambassador.

To execute this they consulted with one of their long-time collectors and friend, Jon Geenty, a Data Scientist @ Coin Metrics

Esteemed Napa restaurateurs open location in Paso Robles

A new restaurant is open in Paso Robles’ Paso Market walk.

FINCA is a Napa based Mexican restaurant and is located in a historic farmhouse.

The restaurateurs, who run La Taquiza in Napa, have many esteemed distinctions including being on the Michelin Guide since 2009.

The co-owner Patrick Aguirre worked as the head baker of the Napa staple Buchon Bakery alongside the famed owner Thomas Keller.

FINCA is a casual restaurant which highlights Baja and Sonora style Mexican food with an emphasis on wood-grilled seafood and carne asada.

There’s a hot tub crisis bubbling in Lake Tahoe. Here’s why.

At the moment, wait times for hot tub orders in Tahoe are up to six months long. Before the pandemic, the wait was about three weeks.

“The pandemic progressed, and we found that more people who were staying at home and were able to work from home were bored,” said Pammie Pomin, who co-owns one of Tahoe’s oldest hot tub companies with her husband, Randy

“So they’re buying toys. They wanted to all buy hot tubs. But you have to understand what happened. The plant was shut down.”

“We have an enormous amount of tubs on backorder,” Pomin said. “Marquis picked up the pace since the pandemic. It’s been more under control. It’s still not in a great place, but it’s getting better, let’s put it that way.”

“We just got a shipment last week of six spas, so we got some happy customers,” she said. “And we’re just progressing as best as we can.”

California vineyard sales, demand booming

Western Farm Press

A recent survey of land and farm data found 100,000 acres of vineyards in California with “For Sale” sign on them with a combined value approaching a half-billion dollars, according to one West Coast broker.

Jenny Heinzen Real Estate is a leader in the dealing of vineyard and winery properties. The Paso Robles, Calif.-based broker notes: “Despite the stresses of 2020, we’ve seen a significant upswing in demand for vineyard acreage and wineries and I saw encouraging signs of active grape buying during harvest. The wine industry sees growth through innovation and renewal and this is especially evident with the current robust vineyard sales activity.”

Calling the growing of grapes and making of wine “a promising arena,” Heinzen concludes: “There was a big planting boom in the 1990s and a lot of those vineyards are of the age where they need to be replanted, so it’s redevelopment time, a kind of replanting or selling opportunity for a lot of people. It’s an exciting time to see the next generation come forth and carry the industry on its next journey.”

California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base renamed to Space Force Base

“Redesignating Air Force installations as Space Force installations is critical to establishing a distinct culture and identity for the Space Force,” a base statement said.

Vandenberg’s host unit, the 30th Space Wing, will be redesignated Space Launch Delta 30, under Space Operations Command.

Vandenberg was originally established in 1941 as Camp Cooke, an Army garrison for tank, infantry and artillery training.

Its geographical location near Lompoc in Central California made it ideal for missile tests and launches into polar orbit.

The Space Force was created as the sixth uniformed military branch in 2019 during the administration of former President Donald Trump.

A pitmaster shares 5 mistakes you’re making that are ruining your at-home barbecue

Oakland Pitmaster Matt Horn shares his tips for home barbecue cooks.

1. Stop washing your meat

Dry it off!

2. Avoid over-seasoning

salt and pepper might be all you need

3. Let your coals get hot enough

wait until they are all coated in white

4. Don’t crowd your pan and avoid flipping your meat too soon

Leave some space and let it cook

5. Give it time to rest

Just like a steak or roast no matter what you cooked let it rest when you are done

Hot August Nights Preparations in Full Swing

Updated: May 8

Thousands of classic cars will be making their way back to Northern Nevada in August. The event was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

“As of right now, we’re going one hundred percent strong,” said Hot August Nights Executive Director Alan Tom. “The city needs it, the county needs it, and with everything being postponed and not having any events last year, it’s going to be amazing thing to be able to bring this economic impact back to the city of Reno, the city of Sparks and Virginia City.”

The Kick It Off Old School event in Virginia City is already sold out, but there’s still plenty of space to register your car for the main event in Reno. So far, about 3,800 cars are signed up; they can take about 6,000. All the crowd favorite events will be back this year – everything from drag racing to cruising, and the same venues are going to be welcoming back these classic cars the first week in August.

“All of these participants, they’ve basically had their cars locked up in their garages for the whole year,” Tom said. “So we’re asking everyone to dust off their cars, get their engines revving, and it’s going to be great for all the participants and for all the people that want to see the classic cars.”


Updated: May 8

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway announced the tram will return to being open seven days per week starting Monday, May 10.

“For the convenience and enjoyment of both local residents and our Valley’s many visitors, we are delighted to be back to seven-day-a-week operations just in time for our summer season,” said Tramway General Manager Nancy Nichols.

Monday through Thursday, the first car up will be at 10:00 a.m., the last car up will be at 6:00 p.m. and the last car down will be at 8:00 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays, the first car up will be at 8:00 a.m., the last car up will be at 7:00 p.m. and the last car down will be at 9:00 p.m.

more information is at

Comedian George Lopez to Offer Virtual, ‘Delivery-Only’ Taco Concept in San Diego

Updated: May 8

Comedian and actor George Lopez is getting in on the food scene’s “ghost kitchen” trend, launching a delivery-only taqueria in San Diego and other locations this summer.

George Lopez Tacos will be a delivery-only restaurant centered on Mexican street taco recipes developed by Lopez. The menu features slow-cooked meats and lots of special salsas. There are also mini churros involved.

The menu is big on family-style street tacos – like a pile of carnitas with tortillas, salsas, cilantro and onion – that can be built at home.

Other cities launching the George Lopez Tacos virtual restaurant on June 8 include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, Atlanta, Dallas and Denver.

Santa Barbara’s ban on vacation rentals is rejected by court

Updated: May 8

Santa Barbara’s ban on most short-term vacation rentals near the beach was rejected by an appeals court.

The city’s decision in 2015 to treat rental homes as hotels effectively banned them in the coastal zone, a strip extending about a half-mile inland from the beach. Previously, 114 homes were available for short-term rentals in that area; after the decision, there were six.

Judge Steven Perren wrote that the city erred in failing to seek the approval of the California Coastal Commission for the change to the local coastal plan

Urgent Volunteer Appeal to Help Tens of Thousands in Need of Food

Updated: May 8

PR Newswire

The Redwood Empire Food Bank urgently needs more volunteers in order to keep feeding families.

The Redwood Empire Food Bank which continues to see increases in the need for food. In fact, last month, volunteers distributed the equivalent of more than 1.5 million meals. At the same time, other individuals are moving toward a more “normal” day-to-day, which means they no longer have the time to put toward volunteering.

“What we realized within days of the initiation of the lockdown was that people have very little to live on and food insecurity is right around the corner,” said David Goodman, CEO, Redwood Empire Food Bank. “We’ve had dramatic growth of individuals seeking food assistance. And if you’re wondering if that growth will taper, well, we just had our largest month ever.”

For more information on volunteer opportunities and to register, please visit

Walmart To Provide COVID-19 Vaccines At All Stores

Walmart and Sam’s Club will provide COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone who walks in or schedules an appointment at their pharmacy locations in California and across the nation.

As vaccine supplies surge in the United States and eligibility has opened to people age 16 or older, Dr. Cheryl Pegus, who oversees Walmart’s health and wellness unity, says the company should prioritize distributing the vaccine to underserved and vulnerable populations.

“Widespread vaccination is the only way we will eventually end the pandemic and help our country re-open, and we don’t want anyone to get left behind as we enter this new chapter in our fight against COVID-19,” Pegus said.

Walmart and Sam’s Club have launched an educational campaign, “Get Out the Vaccine,” to galvanize people to get vaccinated and have partnered with organizations in vulnerable communities.

Napa to maintain outdoor dining, downtown Main Street closure through February 2022

Updated: May 8

North Bay Business Journal

Downtown Napa restaurants who have set up tables on a one-block stretch of Main Street during the coronavirus pandemic will be able to continue their alfresco service through this year and into the next.

Temporary permits allowing eateries to offer outdoor service will stay in effect through Feb. 28, 2022, City Manager Steve Potter announced

“The restaurants need the extra seating, and the community seems to love the look and feel of it,” Craig Smith, executive director of the Downtown Napa Association, said after the program’s first weekend.

Napa is not alone in the county in recently extending outdoor dining permits well into the next year. On April 6, the Yountville Town Council approved a continuation of temporary dining and retail permits on walkways, lawns and patios to the end of June 2022, even if businesses are cleared to return to full indoor capacity before then.

a stunning new sky walk through the redwoods

Updated: May 8

Want to explore the world’s tallest trees from a bird’s perspective? Plan your next vacation to Northern California’s new Redwood Sky Walk for a once-in-a-lifetime, up-close-and-personal experience of the famed California Coast Redwoods.

The longest sky walk in the western United States, the Redwood Sky Walk, located within Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka is just under one-fourth–mile to the end and back, stretched out across a network of suspended bridges.

At the highest point, you’ll stand more than 100 feet above the forest floor and about one-third of the way up in the old-growth and mature second-growth redwood grove. The upper canopy of the trees in this region reaches approximately 250 feet

Along the way, posted signage celebrates local redwood history and ecology.

visit for more information

Music Festivals Are Back, But Their Covid Risks Are All on You

Rolling Stone

Make sure to read the fine print on any concert tickets this summer

In 2017, a stage diver landed on a man’s head at a punk music festival in New Jersey. That man, who experienced significant spinal damage, successfully sued the show’s organizer for $2 million.

Will we see an explosion in these types of liability lawsuits in the coming months, as music festivals come roaring back around the world, bringing an increased risk of Covid-19 cases with them?

The answer is largely not — because festivals have preempted such scenarios. New coronavirus-specific liability clauses are springing up on most large-scale festival websites that suggest you’d be wasting your time, energy, and money lawyering up if you contracted Covid-19 at a show. Take Bonnaroo’s statement, for example. While the four-day, Tennessean extravaganza planned for September says its team has “taken enhanced health and safety measures for you, our artists and employees,” festival-goers must still “follow all posted instructions” while on site, and, most importantly: “By attending Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19.”

“You’re going to see this specific language pop up everywhere,” Audrey Benoualid, music attorney and partner at Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light LLP, tells Rolling Stone. “It’s in all the agreements we’re doing just generally now.”

Language similar to Bonnaroo’s can be found on the website for San Francisco festival Outside Lands, due to take place in October. But at press time, Milwaukee competitor Summerfest and Southern California’s Coachella did not have a clause specific to Covid-19 on their websites.

The Essential Napa Valley Cookbook Available for Pre-release

Updated: May 8

The Essential Napa Valley Cookbook isavailable for pre-release.

Featuring 35+ recipes from top Napa Valley restaurants and chefs, proceeds from this first-of-its-kind Napa Valley cookbook will go directly to Napa Valley restaurant workers, who have been heavily impacted in the past year by the pandemic and wildfires.

Created in partnership with Feed Napa Now, The Essential Napa Valley Cookbook will enable Napa Valley lovers to enjoy iconic wine country dishes at home, like the Gott’s Ahi Burger, Mustards Mighty Meatloaf, and Charlie Palmer Steak’s Lobster Corn Dogs.

order and get info at

Sonoma Raceway says fans can return to the stands starting with June NASCAR event

North Bay Business Journal

For the first time in more than a year drivers at Sonoma Raceway will hear the roar of fans the first weekend in June.

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to the venue June 6, with the ARCA Menards Series West General Tire 200 50-lap race on June 5.

Track officials announced the change Thursday. Because Sonoma County is in the orange tier this allows for 33% of the facility to be occupied by fans.

“We are thrilled to be able to open our gates and welcome fans back to the raceway for our annual NASCAR race weekend in June,” Sonoma Raceway Executive Vice President and General Manager Jill Gregory stated in the announcement. “We are fortunate to have a beautiful, outdoor facility that is perfect for social distancing and will provide a safe and memorable race-day experience for our guests. We look forward to welcoming the greatest fans and drivers in motorsports back to Northern California.”

Spectators will discover several things have changed because of the pandemic. All tickets will be digital and all transactions will be cashless. Food must be ordered via an app. It will be delivered to a person’s seat or can be picked up at a window in a contactless manner.

Everyone must wear a mask even with the race being outside. A maximum of 10 people will be allowed in each pod, with no more than three households per group.

The NASCAR weekend in wine country will feature the 90-lap Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday as well as the ARCA Menards Series West General Tire 200 50-lap race on Saturday.

As California theme parks reopen, Disneyland announces reservation system

points guy

How to make a Disneyland theme park reservation

Part of Disneyland’s reopening plan included a reservation system. In order to visit a park, you need both a paid ticket and a free reservation — both for the day you wish to visit. You need a reservation whether you’re visiting Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure. This is a requirement for all guests ages 3 and up.

According to Disneyland’s website, “Only California residents may visit the parks, and in groups no larger than three households, in line with current state guidelines.” Here are the particulars about ticket sales and reservations, according to Disneyland.

Sonoma County airport gets new Southern California flights via startup Avelo Airlines

North Bay Business Journal

Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport will be among 11 destinations served by Avelo Airlines, a new commercial carrier with a low-fare business model focused on the western United States. The airline and the airport made the announcement today.

“We are the inaugural flight and destination, so that is very exciting from an airport operations standpoint,” said Airport Manager Jon Stout.

Avelo will become the fourth commercial air carrier servicing the Sonoma County facility, joining Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines, the latter which is expected to resume flights June 3 after pausing in November because of the pandemic.

Burbank-based Avelo Airlines will make its maiden roundtrip flight on April 28, with reservations available starting today.

The airline’s initial nonstop routes also include Arcata/Eureka and Redding; three markets in Oregon (Bend, Eugene and Medford), along with Bozeman, Montana; Grand Junction, Colorado; Pasco, Washington; Ogden, Utah; and Phoenix, Arizona.

new online tool to find certified sustainable California wine

North Bay Business Journal

California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance has launched a new website dedicated to the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing program at

“It is developed for trade, media, consumers and visitors who want to find sustainable wines, wineries and vineyards that are certified with a rigorous third-party audit, the website also illustrates how sustainable vineyards and wineries are making wine in an environmentally and socially responsible way,” the nonprofit states.

Included in the website is a find function in which users can search for certified wines, wineries and/or vineyards, and sort by varietal, region or appellation. The organization reports there area 2,247 Certified California Sustainable Vineyards in the state.

Also included is a “visit” function to help visitors find certified wineries with tasting rooms open to the public.

Disneyland releases ticket prices and pricing calendar for April 30 reopening

Mercury News

Ticket prices will remain unchanged from when Disneyland and Disney California Adventure closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Disneyland will still employ a five-tiered pricing system that charges less on slower days and more on busier days. Prices for single-day, single-park tickets continue to range from the $104 Tier 1 to the $154 Tier 5. The Tier 2 ($114), Tier 3 ($124) and Tier 4 ($139) ticket prices also remain unchanged. Parkhopper and multi-day tickets cost more.

The newly released pricing calendar shows what ticket tiers will be available on specific days over the next two months. The 60-day rolling calendar will reveal new dates and prices over time.

The ticket calendar will help visitors with unused tickets and those purchasing new tickets determine which days they can make a reservation to visit the reopened parks.

Visitors will need both a ticket and an advance reservation to get into Disneyland or DCA. Those with previously purchased tickets will need to make a reservation. Those without tickets will need to buy one first and then make a reservation.

Southwest Airlines begins long awaited Santa Barbara service to three cities

It has been a wish from Santa Barbara area travelers for years.

Travelers hoped for a low cost airline with multiple flights to many cities and now it’s happening.

Southwest Airlines now has service to and from Las Vegas, Oakland and Denver from Santa Barbara.

Travelers will have access to multiple other cities, and continue to find lower cost airfares. Some flights will be $39 one-way.

Some passengers said they found $29 introductory fares.

Santa Barbara tourism and hospitality leaders also say it will be a heavily marketed addition to the area and should be an economic stimulus on its own.

This could lead to more corporate meeting plans in-person and also weddings or special events.

The first flight, coming from Las Vegas touched down about 10:35 a.m.

Passengers coming off the plane were greeted with Santa Barbara gift bags and a ring of balloons to walk through.

Mayor Cathy Murillo personally spoke to dozens of passengers coming to Santa Barbara and taking off.

Some of the departing passengers were cheering and screaming to show their enthusiasm for the new service.

The first plane was called California One in the Southwest fleet. It has the Golden Bear and California design painted on the side.

The Santa Barbara City Fire Department has its airport engines positioned to spray a shower of water on the plane as it made its way to Gate 3 in a picture perfect arrival out of the morning overcast.

Southwest is flying the 737 planes and recently announced it has a new order in to Boeing to upgrade to the new 150-seat 737 MAX 7.

In addition to Santa Barbara, Southwest is also beginning new service in Fresno.

Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Launches the California Zinfandel Trail

Updated: Apr 15

The California Zinfandel Trail is Geared for Virtual and Live Exploration of Zinfandel Website Tool Creates Travel Itineraries — ZAP Hosts Virtual Tours

Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) announced that it officially launched The California Zinfandel Trail March 29, 2021. Zinfandel lovers and the Zinfandel-curious now have a powerful new tool to explore wineries and plan custom itineraries. This new platform is designed to boost tourism and raise interest in wineries that produce America’s time-honored heritage wine, Zinfandel.

“Consumers and wineries alike will benefit from this fast-track connection directly to Zinfandel winemakers, featuring small production artisanal wines that are available to consumers only by visiting the winery in person or virtually,” according to ZAP Executive Director, Rebecca Robinson. “So many of these wines are from historic vineyards and come with wonderful, colorful family stories that are the fabric of American agricultural heritage,” she continues.

Mindful of travel restrictions due to the COVID 19 pandemic, virtual visits and tastings have been made available, in addition to the traditional in-person winery tastings and experiences. Visitors should contact wineries in advance about their latest visiting policies and experiences.

The Zinfandel Trail website includes an easy-to-use interactive map of California’s Zinfandel wineries for plotting and planning itineraries to vineyards across California. Here, visitors can explore Zinfandel winery experiences by region, such as vineyard and winery tours, specialized tastings, picnicking, food service, and pet-friendly policies. In addition to winery listings are featured winery to winery routes with beautiful Zinfandel vineyard images, regional travel blogs, points of interest, and winemaker stories.

Comic-Con 2021 ‘Special Edition’ in San Diego to be held in November amid COVID-19 concerns

Updated: Apr 15


Comic Con recently updated their plans by announcing the traditional Comic-Con in-person event in San Diego, normally held in July, has been postponed until summer 2022. However, Comic-Con@Home will return as an online event on July 23-25, 2021.


This fall they are planning a smaller, supplemental event Comic-Con Special Edition, taking place on November 26-28, 2021. They hope that by that point, conditions will permit in-person public gatherings of this kind. As details are still being finalized, badge cost, attendance capacity, and related information will be forthcoming.


Comic-Con typically attracts more than 135,000 fans to Southern California and generates an estimated $147 million for the San Diego economy each year.


Click here for more information.

A Nob Hill Icon, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco Reopens

PR Newswire


The City’s Only AAA Five Diamond Hotel Welcomes Guests Back


Set within the city’s prestigious Nob Hill neighborhood, once home to the mansions of the “Big Four” railroad barons, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco will reopen its doors on April 15, 2021. Renowned for its personalized service and luxurious city-view accommodations for the past 30 years, the award-winning hotel on the hill is the perfect destination in which to rediscover one of the world’s most famous cities, yet it offers a quiet respite from it all.


The 1909 Neoclassical landmark building features 336 well-appointed guestrooms inclusive of 60 suites, presenting some of the most elegant and unique accommodations in San Francisco. Drawing inspiration from the Bay and the city’s iconic fog, the design showcases a palette of steely blues and greys, while furnishings take their cues from the styles of couture fashion and men’s fine tailoring.


The Ritz-Carlton Suite features panoramic views of Coit Tower and the San Francisco Bay, while The Presidential Suite presents a fully furnished 1,200-square-foot balcony overlooking the courtyard and the Financial District.


The distinguished property is also welcoming back meetings and events, with 24,000-square-feet of function space including a 9,300-square-foot ballroom and an outdoor courtyard with skyline views which also serves as a private interior park for guests – the perfect place for a morning coffee or to read a book.


Hotel amenities available to guests include a Contemporary American breakfast in The Lounge and a fitness facility with state-of-the-art cardio machines and strength-training equipment.


Retail shopping is available in the lobby at The Ritz-Carlton Gift Shop and at the legendary Krigler store, the perfumer to the royal family and Hollywood stars.


Rare wines for purchase and private member tastings are available at The JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset Tasting Lounge.

Alaska Airlines makes move with new Burbank-Sonoma County flights

North Bay Business Journal


Alaska Airlines service to and from Burbank from the Sonoma County airport will begin June 1, according to an April 14 press release from the Seattle-based air carrier.


The additional flight to Hollywood Burbank Airport will be the sixth destination Alaska Airlines services out of the Santa Rosa airport. Alaska also flies to Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Portland and Seattle.


Alaska also announced that starting Sept. 8, it will add additional flights to both Orange County and San Diego from the Santa Rosa facility.


“We’re grateful for the 14 years of commitment, growth and Alaska’s outstanding service to the North Bay and the heart of wine country,” Jon Stout, airport manager at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, said in the announcement. “Alaska recognizes the potential in our market and (the airport) looks forward to many more years of a prosperous partnership.”

Kitchen Door Moving to New Downtown Napa Location


Napa’s Kitchen Door announced it will relocate to Napa’s open-air downtown collective, First Street Napa. The new, larger space, complete with additional patio seating, is the perfect backdrop for the beloved local restaurant. Chef Todd Humphries will also refresh Kitchen Door’s menu, though classic favorites will remain. Opening in Winter 2021, the new Kitchen Door will be located at 1300 First Street, Suite 272, off Clay Street Promenade.


The restaurant, which has anchored Oxbow Public Market for a decade, will formally close that location in June 2021.


Locals and tourists alike appreciate the open-daily schedule with lunch and dinner service, and brunch service on Saturday and Sunday. Fresh salads, wood-fired pizzas, and other favorites like the roasted half chicken will remain on the menu, along with drink selection combining locally crafted favorites with globally inspired offerings.


“Kitchen Door is an established favorite in Napa, with an ambiance and menu that invites guests to relax,” said Andrew Mazotti, director, First Street Napa. “With a loyal fanbase and great appeal for visitors, it’s an excellent fit for downtown, and we look forward to welcoming them to First Street Napa.”

Wine cellar worker training is focus of new Santa Rosa Junior college program

North Bay Business Journal

Santa Rosa Junior College has announced it will offer either a degree or a certificate in the job through its wine studies program. Students who pursue a certificate will be required to take only wine classes, while an Associate of Arts degree course path will include wine classes and general education classes.


In preparing participants for a job as wine cellar worker, the program focuses on the theory and practices used in the production of wine, including basic grape growing practices and vineyard decisions, steps in the winemaking process from harvest to bottling, basic wine lab analyses, and the use of winery production equipment.


“We are incredibly pleased to offer this new program. There is great demand for qualified wine cellar workers in the North Bay. Historically, cellar workers have come to us for training. Now they can leave with a certificate or degree to document their hard work,” said Kevin Sea, professor and coordinator of the SRJC Wine Studies Program.

El Mexicali Café Honored, 40 Years In Indio


For four decades, El Mexicali Café has served up authentic home-style cooking — even in times of hardship and uncertainty.


INDIO, CA — El Mexicali Café’s iconic location on Indio Boulevard over the last four decades is special. The restaurant has survived the tenures of six U.S. presidents (going on seven), and many big changes in the Coachella Valley.


The family-owned restaurant has shown a commitment to serving up authentic home-style cooking even in times of hardship and uncertainty.


On Friday, El Mexicali Café’s owner, Monica Murguia, and her family will be recognized with a proclamation from City of Indio Mayor Elaine Holmes celebrating the eatery’s 40 years of success.


“Not only is El Mexicali Café a staple in our downtown, but during Women’s History Month it’s also fitting we should mention that it is the oldest woman-owned restaurant in the Coachella Valley,” Holmes said. “In addition, to recognize this achievement on the one-year anniversary of the COVID-shutdown shows the resiliency of this family and our community.”


El Mexicali Café was started by Murguia’s mother, Carmen. The business now has two

locations, including one at 43-430 Monroe St., which is run by Monica’s sister Laura.


In 2016, El Mexicali Café was honored as the 56th Assembly District Small Business of the Year.


From May this year there’s be a new offer under the Kendall-Jackson brand, whose Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay has been the US’s most popular Chardonnay for more than 26 years.


Called Avant, it’s a ‘lower calorie’ Chardonnay that boasts “only 85 calories, no sugar and 3 grams of carbs per serving”, according to the producer, Jackson Family Wines.


This means that the new wine contains around 23% fewer calories than the standard Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay, based on a 150ml serving of wine at 14% abv, which contains 111 calories from the alcohol alone.


Indeed, the new Avant Chardonnay contains fewer calories because it has a lower abv, with just 9%, a level achieved by picking the grapes earlier in the ripening period, when they have a lower concentration of sugar.


However, to ensure the Chardonnay is not unpleasantly tart, this early-harvest portion of grapes is then blended with a second pick of fully ripe berries to bring the tropical fruit flavours that lovers of Californian Chardonnay desire.


Kendall-Jackson winemaker Randy Ullom explains, “An initial harvest of grapes picked on the earlier side ensures lower sugar. A secondary harvest later in the season offers more complexity and concentration, which complements the wine, producing a full-bodied blend that’s structurally balanced and delicious, yet lower in alcohol and calories.”


Like the Vintner’s Reserve, the Avant Chardonnay is aged in oak barrels to bring a touch of vanilla to the wine, which is described as tasting of “grapefruit, pineapple, creamy lemon meringue and delicate white flowers”.

NBA Players Are Making Wine More Inclusive


How stars like Dwyane Wade and Josh Hart are driving a more equitable future for the wine industry.


“I love wine now, but if I hadn’t been a Laker, my being in the wine world probably wouldn’t have happened,” Hart said, reflecting on his time with Los Angeles’ team. “As an NBA player with a platform, I can help minorities who don’t have the resources, or who are nervous or hesitant, to get into the wine space.”


Beyond awarding a WSET Level 1 course to 100 recipients, Hart’s program will sponsor five students in Level 2 and three students in Level 3; those top three will get to travel to Napa with Hart for a wine-filled weekend. “My dream is for people in the program to further their pursuit of a career in wine,” Hart said. “Hopefully we keep this program going, and in 10, 15, 20 years, there will be a winemaker in Napa who first started with the WSET from this partnership.”


In the more immediate term, Hart hopes to influence the perception of wine itself. “I’m trying to change the stereotype around wine as something for old, rich, white men,” he said.


Other players, like Wade, share this goal. “One of the reasons I got into the wine industry was to change the common misconception of wine as pretentious,” Wade said. “I didn’t grow up knowing what wine is. Wine was perceived in this really uppity kind of way and I wanted to be a part of showing that it’s not that—of respecting what goes into making one simple bottle of wine.”


In 2014, Wade created his own wine brand, Wade Cellars, in partnership with Napa’s Pahlmeyer winery. The next year, while on vacation, Wade was photographed sitting on a banana boat and toasting with red wine with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul. The group became known as the Banana Boat Crew, and that moment ignited a wine frenzy within the league. Ever since, Wade has been a role model for others looking to get into the business.

The Best Things to Do in Napa and Sonoma, According to Locals


How to get the most out of a long weekend in California wine country.


Day 1: The Yountville Ride

…Napa Valley Vine Trail. This section covers 12.5 miles through the city of Napa’s working-class roots, into Yountville’s luxe center. Rent rides from Napa Valley Bike Tours in downtown Napa, then cruise a couple blocks to La Esperanza Tacos, St. Clair Brown Brewery and Winery, a handy early hydration stop and rare crossover: Elaine St. Clair stakes a claim as the nation’s only woman working as both winemaker and brewmaster.

Yountville stops include Elyse winery, Bouchon Bakery, Ciccio


Day 2: The Carneros Point-to-Point

Cornerstone Sonoma, Angelo’s Wine Country Deli, Gundlach Bundschu, Scribe, Hudson Ranch and Vineyards, di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art


Day 3: Exploring Olivet Road in Russian RIver Valley

DeLoach Vineyards, Harvest Moon, Hook & Ladder Winery, Iron Horse Vineyards, Canneti Roadhouse

San Diego, LA Rooftop Cinema Club 2021 season

After canceling the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rooftop Cinema Club is back with a full lineup of classic and beloved movies — all screened on the roof of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego.


This year, the space has expanded to ensure proper social distancing. Guests are invited to arrive early to enjoy the city views, play games, take photos and grab a cocktail. Food is also served and the menu includes charcuterie boards, pretzels, nachos and, of course, movie staples like popcorn and candy.


Some screenings include interactive elements like a costume contest or a sing-along. While most screenings are limited to guests over age 18, some special family-friendly films are also being offered this year.


Programming for this season includes films like “Grease,” “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “Mean Girls,” “La La Land” and more.


There is also a screening of “Selena” happening on April 16, which would have been the late singer’s 50th birthday.


For info on all Rooftop Cinema events including the LA locations visit

Andretti Winery will close its Napa Valley winery


The company said it has decided not to extend its lease of its site on Big Ranch Road. The Oak Knoll winery also stressed in its message that customers will “always be able to order” wine online on the company’s website.


“This isn’t ‘goodbye,” this is ‘we’ll see you later’…at our future location!,” the message read. However, no new sites have been announced.


Andretti and co-founder Joe Antonini, former CEO of Kmart Corp., who started the winery in 1996, could not be reached to comment on the decision to leave the Tuscan-style winery on the edge of the Napa.


It is unclear who will next occupy the winery site owned by the Laird family.


Andretti WInery

Best beaches in San Diego


Grandview, Beacon’s, and Stone Steps are the popular surf spots


Moonlight State Beach, a charming coastal park near downtown Encinitas that’s perfectly suited for sunning and picnicking, and features inviting beach volleyball courts, too.



Best beach for all-day activities


Coronado Beach is consistently voted one of America’s finest beaches by countless guides and travel publications, year after year.


Pacific and Mission Beaches

Best beach for living it up

Popular among the 20-something sunkissed crowd, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are connected by a groovy three-mile oceanfront boardwalk, with a steady stream of inline skaters, skateboarders, runners, bikers, and energetic beachgoers alike.


La Jolla Shores

Best beach for families


Point Loma and Shelter Island

Best beach for daredevil surfers and sunsets


Imperial Beach

Best beach for groups



All 30 cities listed below received the most votes after we surveyed a broad number of professional writers, photographers and travel industry specialists. Each voter was asked to select their favorite five small cities – with a population between 10,000 and 250,000


West Coast cities on the list


South Lake Tahoe, CA

Santa Barbara, CA

Palm Springs, CA

Napa, CA

Bellingham, WA

Ashland, OR

Penfolds Partners With Australian-Born NBA All-Star Ben Simmons



Two Australian icons celebrate Penfolds inaugural California Collection release


To support the launch of Penfolds inaugural California Collection, the esteemed Australian winery has partnered with Australian-born NBA All-Star Ben Simmons. Best known for its flagship red wine Grange, Penfolds has always believed in relentlessly pushing boundaries to achieve the extraordinary – values also embodied by Simmons.


A lover and collector of premium Australian wines, Simmons has joined forces with Penfolds to launch the new California Collection, led by the 100-point 2018 Quantum Bin 98 Cabernet Sauvignon – a wine that combines Napa Valley cabernet fruit with a significant addition of prized South Australian shiraz. Over the coming weeks, a digital and social campaign featuring Ben Simmons and Penfolds California Collection will appear across North America.


“What an amazing opportunity to partner with such an iconic Australian brand. As a younger wine consumer, I am looking forward to being able to grow and learn with the Penfolds family, and to take my family, friends and fans along for the journey. I identify so much with what Penfolds represents; always pushing the boundaries and constantly striving for excellence. I am looking forward to some great times ahead,” said Simmons.

Legendary Kiss rocker Gene Simmons moves to Lake Tahoe

Tahoe Daily


The New York Post recently reported that Gene Simmons, 71, the founding member of Kiss, has relocated from Beverly Hills and now lives in a 12,000-square-foot mansion that sits on 4 acres in Incline Village.


Simmons told The Post he is done with Southern California and that he and his wife, model and actress Shannon Tweed, is tired of big city living.


“We are moving out of LA for a number of reasons: one of which are the tour buses,” Simmons told The Post. “After a certain point, we have had enough of that, even though we appreciate the attention. I’m done. There are earthquakes, fires and pandemics every year. Even though there is nice sunshine, I’m done.”


Simmons cited better quality of life at Tahoe among the factors for moving and “going hiking without bumping into people.” He also mentioned that taxes are much more appealing in Nevada.

Apple Maps Displays COVID-19 Guidelines for Airports Worldwide


The Apple Maps app was this week updated with new COVID-19 guidelines for airports, providing iPhone, iPad, and Mac users with a quick look at COVID-19 travel requirements and easy access to each airport’s full list of guidelines.


Airport data is being provided by the Airports Council International, with the information displayed at the top of each airport card. The Airports Council International collects the COVID-19 information directly from airports.

La Jolla teen donates 20,000 masks to San Diego service organizations

La Jolla Light


Looking to help, Ezra Granet, a student at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, created the charity Donate4Masks to collect donations to buy a bounty of surgical masks and get them to those who need them most.


“I noticed doctors and first responders needed masks and I wanted to do what I could to help,” said the 14-year-old eighth-grader. He partnered with Clinical Supplies, a mask company, and negotiated a bulk price so he could buy large amounts of masks.


To raise the money needed to buy the masks, Ezra launched a GoFundMe page, received a grant from the Rotary Club of Coronado and sold a mask tether called MOMO (Mask On Mask Off) that takes the pressure off one’s ears when wearing masks for extended periods. Soon he had enough ($2,000) to purchase about 20,000 masks. Half of them went to firefighters, the rest to other organizations.

New Study Looks At Covering California’s Canals With Solar Panels



Scientists in California just ran the numbers on what would happen if their state slapped solar panels on 4,000 miles of its canals, including the major California Aqueduct, and the results point to a potentially beautiful partnership. Their feasibility study, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, finds that if applied statewide, the panels would save 63 billion gallons of water from evaporating each year. At the same time, solar panels across California’s exposed canals would provide 13 gigawatts of renewable power annually, about half of the new capacity the state needs to meet its decarbonization goals by the year 2030.


“With or without climate change, the supply of water in California is tightening, and the demand for water in California is increasing,” says Kiparsky. “And those two facts together mean that, indeed, any water savings is good, and it’s welcome.” says Michael Kiparsky, director of the Wheeler Water Institute at the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Helen Mirren chased off a ‘naughty bear’ at her home in Lake Tahoe


Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren lives in Nevada now and keeps having run-ins with “naughty bears” near her home.


Mirren opened up having “a bit of a meeting with a bear” while quarantining with her husband at their Nevada home in a segment called “Helen Mirren Talks About Animals” during Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. The actress made an appearance on the prerecorded show as a presenter.


“I shooed the bear away,” Mirren said. “I told him he was a naughty bear.”


“He was a young bear, so I just said, ‘no, naughty bear, go on, go, off you go,'” she added.


“You’re supposed to make yourself as big as possible and say, ‘Bad bear,'” she continued. “‘Cause it was not a big bear, it was a smaller bear, so I just said, ‘you naughty bear. Go on, go away.'”

Visit the Santa Ynez Valley sweetens the pot on a Sun-Thur visit with up to $60 in dining credits…

Midweek Vibes in the Santa Ynez Valley Just Got Even Better, Thanks to New Passport Incentive Program to Welcome Back Travelers


Visit the Santa Ynez Valley sweetens the pot on a Sun-Thur visit with up to $60 in dining credits, six complimentary wine tastings, or a combination of the two


As if there weren’t already enough reasons to plan a getaway to the Santa Ynez Valley, Visit the Santa Ynez Valley has unveiled a new Midweek Membership Club passport program that provides up to $60 in dining credits, six complimentary wine tastings, or a combination of the two to visitors who book at least a two-night, Sunday through Thursday stay for travel between now and April 30.


“A visit to the Santa Ynez Valley is special any day of the week, but particularly midweek when the pace of the valley provides an even more relaxed respite from our daily grinds,” said Shelby Sim, President and CEO of Visit the Santa Ynez Valley. “The return of leisure travel combined with the flexibility of remote working creates a unique opportunity, and we wanted to give visitors even more reasons to come back to what they know and love most.”


Guests who book a qualifying stay at one of 35 participating Santa Ynez Valley lodging properties will receive three physical Midweek Membership Club passport cards upon check-in. Each card can be redeemed for a tasting for two at participating wineries and tasting rooms, or a $20 coupon at participating restaurants. Midweek Membership Club travelers will also receive club member pricing on wine purchases at participating wineries.

California Pizza Kitchen is the Dodgers’ official pizza

California Pizza Kitchen is extending its partnership with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Playa Vista-based restaurant chain has signed a multi-year deal to be the official pizza of the 2020 World Series champions, according to a news release.


CPK will have concessions at four places within Dodgers Stadium, according to the release. They are on the Field, Loge and Reserve levels and the Left Field Pavilion.


Founded in 1985, California Pizza Kitchen is known for its West Coast creations such as BBQ Chicken Pizza.

Wine cellar worker training is focus of new Santa Rosa Junior college program

North Bay Business Journal

Santa Rosa Junior College has announced it will offer either a degree or a certificate in the job through its wine studies program. Students who pursue a certificate will be required to take only wine classes, while an Associate of Arts degree course path will include wine classes and general education classes.


In preparing participants for a job as wine cellar worker, the program focuses on the theory and practices used in the production of wine, including basic grape growing practices and vineyard decisions, steps in the winemaking process from harvest to bottling, basic wine lab analyses, and the use of winery production equipment.


“We are incredibly pleased to offer this new program. There is great demand for qualified wine cellar workers in the North Bay. Historically, cellar workers have come to us for training. Now they can leave with a certificate or degree to document their hard work,” said Kevin Sea, professor and coordinator of the SRJC Wine Studies Program.

Snoop Dogg launches new Rosé with 19 Crimes

On Monday, the hip-hop superstar’s partnership with wine brand 19 Crimes launched Snoop Cali Rosé, which is a blend of Grenache and Zinfandel with notes of fresh raspberry, strawberry and red cherry.


“We did it big with 19 Crimes Cali Red, so you know we had to do it again – and this time, I was thinking pink,” Snoop Dogg said in the announcement. “I can’t wait for everyone to sip on my Snoop Cali Rosé and bring those fresh feels from spring into summer and beyond. I hope when you open a bottle of this wine you take a little mind trip to my Cali home. This is how we Rosé the Snoop Dogg way!”


The California rosé is the first wine of its category for the brand that has experienced huge success with the “Doggystyle” rapper. The San Francisco-based company’s first collaboration with Snoop Dogg, Cali Red, was recognized as the No. 1 selling wine innovation of 2020.

Cannabis Taxes Total $2.6 Million for Latest Quarter in Santa Barbara County

Cannabis tax revenues continue to increase in Santa Barbara County, with a reported $2.6 million received in the last quarter.


Financial analyst Steven Yee of the County Executive Office said the figure represents a 30 percent increase for the quarter that ended Dec. 31 from the same period in 2019.


“Cannabis tax revenues continue to remain strong despite the economic impact of the (COVID-19) pandemic,” Yee told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday during a second-quarter report on cannabis compliance, enforcement and taxation.


Based on the amount of revenue received in the quarter, staff estimates that cannabis tax revenues could generate as much as $14 million in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, according to a letter filed with the board. That is about $3.4 million more than the anticipated revenues for the year.


The tax revenues were received from 56 operators that reported gross receipts, Yee said. Over the quarter, 37 operators reported zero gross receipts and 25 operators did not submit any reports.

CK Mondavi and Family Launches Color-Changing Labels to Celebrate 75th Anniversary

In celebration of its 75th anniversary, CK Mondavi and Family released a set of wines with thermochromic labels that use temperature-sensitive ink to change color as the bottle becomes colder. Once chilled to approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit, the light, cream-colored labels transform into brighter hues—the Chardonnay turns orange, the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio become different shades of green, and the Moscato to teal—and a new design appears in the background.


“We’re always on the lookout for new ways to make our wines really pop at retail, and also give our fans even more reasons to reach for CK Mondavi and Family,” said Riana Mondavi, a fourth-generation family member and director of chains, western region.

This Sonoma Winery is Among Elizabeth Olsen’s Favorite Places in the World

The Hollywood actress likes to sip wine in Sonoma County and calls it her “breathing space” from L.A.


The actress, who is the younger sister of twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, gave a shout-out to Sonoma County in an interview with luxury and lifestyle magazine Condé Nast Traveller, citing Sonoma County as her favorite place to visit during the pandemic.


“The last place I travelled to was Sonoma, a trip I’ve taken quite often during the pandemic,” Olsen told Condé Nast Traveller. “My fiancé’s [musician Robbie Arnett] family has a place in St Helena, so we spend a lot of time up there.”


Like her sisters, Olsen started her career as a child actor and has since starred in indie films such as “Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene,” for which she received critical acclaim. Olsen’s fanbase has continued to expand after she landed the lead role as Avenger Wanda Maximoff in the new Disney+ miniseries “WandaVision,” in which she stars alongside Paul Bettany (as Vision). She said her visits to Sonoma County have provided “breathing space” from L.A. and her work; the perfect relaxing destination.


Olsen also mentioned that her favorite spot to sip wine is Ryme Cellars in Forestville.


“Their tasting is this kind of backyard set-up, but with beautiful wines and great people. A lot of Napa Valley feels old and too fancy and too serious for something that should be really enjoyed, but they’re not like that,” Olsen said.

Newlyweds donate $20,000 from canceled party to feed Sonoma Valley hungry

Press Democrat


When COVID-19 restrictions at last persuaded a betrothed Bay Area couple that they must cancel the wedding party of their dreams, they discussed the nearly $20,000, most of it refundable, that they’d prepaid prominent Wine Country caterer Elaine Bell.


The couple then did something astonishing.


They reached out to Bell and asked her to return none of the money she’d received from them for a deposit and retainer. The couple directed the caterer: Please use the dollars to feed as many people as possible.


Blown away by the act of caring, Bell and her kitchen crew are busily preparing and delivering fine meals to thousands of people in Sonoma Valley unaccustomed to such pleasures.

Some Tahoe ski resorts extend closing dates as new storms bring snow

SF Chronicle

Snowfall averages have been relatively low across the region this winter, and the Sierra snowpack is only 61% of average for this time of year. But storm surges in late January and early February dumped 100 inches of snow at certain spots around the basin and more is on the way. Storms moving through the mountains this week and early next week are forecast to bring between 2 and 3 feet of snow to the Tahoe basin.


With spring in sight, many resorts have set their closing dates. However, some might push them back with strong late-season snowfall.


Here are the closing dates for Tahoe’s 11 major ski areas:

Squaw Valley: May 31


Alpine Meadows: May 31


Heavenly: April 18


Northstar: April 18


Mt. Rose: April 18


Boreal: April 18


Sugar Bowl: April 18


Homewood: April 11


Kirkwood: April 11


Sierra at Tahoe: April 11


Diamond Peak: April 11


March 8, 2021 5:20 PM PST

Singer and actress Miley Cyrus was in the Coachella Valley over the weekend.


The singer paid a visit to Eight4Nine in Palm Springs Saturday night where the restaurant shared this photo of her with a caption, “To say she is Lovely would be an Understatement.”


Some people on Facebook also said they saw Miley Downtown.


Miley posted selfies on Instagram at the restaurant saying, “Harry Styles took these.” She also posted a video on TikTok over the weekend laying out tanning with a caption, “A short video directed by Harry Styles.”

Blackout dining restaurant to launch in San Diego in May

San Diego Union Tribune

San Diego diners are more than ready to get back inside local restaurants for an indoor meal. But are they ready to eat that meal entirely in the dark? A Spanish events company hopes so.


Dining in the Dark, which will launch May 26 in an as-yet unannounced Gaslamp Quarter restaurant, is being produced by Fever, a global events producer in Madrid. Since last July, Fever has introduced Dining in the Dark at locations in 48 cities worldwide. The first U.S. locations were introduced a few weeks ago, beginning in Chicago. San Diego, Los Angeles and 16 other cities will be rolling out the experiential dinners this spring. Organizers say this will be a permanent San Diego attraction, though the venue will change every three months, and a spooky theme will be introduced during Halloween season.


Dining in the Dark is a three-course, 90-minute meal served to diners wearing black velvet blindfolds in a darkened restaurant. The cost is $90, not including alcoholic beverages. Diners can choose between a meat, seafood or vegan menu theme, but everything else will be a surprise to the taste buds. So far, the price tag hasn’t been an obstacle for pandemic-weary diners eager for a memorable meal away from home.

‘Baywatch’ Star Pamela Anderson Selling Malibu Colony Home for $14.9M

Pamela Anderson, star of “Baywatch,” is parting with her Malibu beach house and departing for Canada. Her sweet retreat is now available for $14.9 million.


After years spent enjoying the coastal compound, which she had a hand in designing, the animal welfare activist is heading north, after marrying her bodyguard, Dan Hayhurst, according to the New York Post. The couple are focused on renovating a home there that she bought decades ago. (It had been a $40,000 a month rental)


“I feel more settled on my sustainable ranch on Vancouver Island with space to rescue more animals. It’s still beachfront. One foot away from the water—and I’m lost,” the 53-year-old bombshell told the Post.


For a buyer looking to swoop in, her Malibu abode presents an alluring option.


“The Malibu market has become the destination of choice for high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals from across the nation. Malibu Colony, in particular, is one of Los Angeles’ most important enclaves, dating back to Hollywood’s heyday of ’20s glamour,” the listing agent, Tomer Fridman of The Fridman Group, said through a representative.


Anderson purchased the place for $1.8 million in 2000. She gave the modern abode a complete refresh in 2013, tapping the architect Philip Vertoch and the interior designer Josh Chryssanthou. She also added her own signature touches, such as a bathtub in her bedroom, which she told People magazine is her favorite room in the house.


With four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, the 5,500-square-foot, privately gated home boasts teak wood imported from conflict-free areas. Other highlights include a roof deck with fireplace and views, a pool and spa, and a guesthouse. Another area on the grounds features a spa and fire pit.


The master bedroom, along with the tub, has custom closets with built-in lighting, a bath with dual sinks, a sauna, and a private balcony.


Sustainable elements include solar panels and a sustainably built, irrigated vegetable garden.


The owner also enjoys private beach and lagoon access, the listing notes.

Cowgirl Creamery is closing its S.F. Ferry Building store after 18 years

SF Chronicle

Cowgirl Creamery is closing its famous cheese shop and Sidekick Cafe at the San Francisco Ferry Building on April 10 after 18 years in business — a blow for the food hall that some critics said was already losing its status as a culinary destination even before the pandemic.


Cowgirl, one of the Ferry Building’s last-remaining original tenants, attributed the closure to the pandemic. It will be the eighth vacancy in the famed food hall, which usually has just one or two empty spaces.


Cowgirl exemplified everything the Ferry Building marketplace is supposed to be about: artisanal, locally made food that had rightfully earned national acclaim. The closure doesn’t impact the creamery’s production: Cowgirl will continue to make cheese, selling in stores nationwide and at its Point Reyes Station location.


Amanda Parker, managing director of Cowgirl, said the Ferry Building was always a challenging place to operate a business because of the unusually busy, chaotic environment. But foot traffic came to a grinding halt last March when shelter-in-place orders first took effect, and it never fully came back, she said.


“No ferry traffic, no locals except on farmers’ market days, no tourists,” she said. “We tried really hard to make it work and ultimately it’s just not an operation we could sustain any longer.”

Healdsburg debuts biggest floating solar farm in nation

North Bay Business Journal

Over the last four months, two ponds at Healdsburg’s wastewater treatment plant were transformed by workers assembling rows of solar panels and pushing them out one by one to float gently on the water’s surface.


The project covered roughly half the combined 15 acres of ponds with 11,600 panels. It is likely the largest floating solar farm in the United States, the builders said, and will provide 8% of the city’s annual electrical needs.


The two-sided panels capture the sun’s energy as it strikes them from above, and also from below when sunlight reflects off the water. Metal cables anchor the floating farm to the ponds’ banks, while floating walkways give technicians and wastewater treatment plant workers the ability to check the panels.


… the solar farm was a way to shade the pond, prevent evaporation and at the same time, help power Healdsburg…

Monte Rio restaurant draws complaint after skeletons confused for bar patrons

North Bay Business Journal

Two skeletons at Northwood Restaurant in Monte Rio recently caused some trouble after someone mistook them for real people and reported the restaurant to Sonoma County for COVID-19 violations.


The plastic skeletons first appeared at the restaurant as Halloween decorations in October before co-owner Chrissy Cronquist and her staff decided to keep them year-round, Cronquist said. But someone confused two of the skeletons stationed at the bar for real people. They reported the restaurant to Sonoma County, who sent a code enforcement investigator on March 4 to look into the complaint.


Cronquist said the man introduced himself as an investigator and explained they received a complaint that the restaurant was defying coronavirus restrictions and allowing patrons to sit at the bar. He added that they could face a $1,000 fine for the violation.


Cronquist thought he was joking.


“At first, I was kind of angry,” she said. “There’s nobody sitting at the bar. And then I looked over (at the skeletons) and said, ‘You meant these people?’ I went, ‘Oh my lord.’ And then I realized he’s talking about these skeletons.”

Stuntman Sits In Pool Of Bean Dip For 24 Hours To Support Mexican Restaurant

A stuntman put his skills to work to support his favorite restaurant in Chatsworth.


Hunter Ray Barker pledged to sit in an inflatable pool full of bean dip for 24 hours in an attempt to bring more diners to Los Toros Mexican Restaurant on Devonshire Street in Chatsworth.


To pull off the stunt, which Barker says he has never attempted before, he created his own concoction of beans, starch flour and seasoning and filled an inflatable pool with it.


“I just think we have a golden opportunity to grab the bull by the horn and support local businesses in a big, explosive way, ’cause why not?” Barker said.


Barker said the restaurant was always his family’s favorite place to celebrate when he was growing up.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway To Reopen, Again!

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tramway will initially be open on a Thursday-through-Monday schedule, with the first car set to head up at 8 a.m. and the last car down at 6 p.m.

The tramway has been shuttered for much of the coronavirus pandemic, although it did open briefly between October and December, until Gov. Gavin Newsom issued regional stay-at-home orders which were lifted late last month.

All passengers must make advance reservations, cover their faces while inside the tram or inside the Valley and Mountain stations, and submit to temperature screenings. People must also cover their faces while inside Mount San Jacinto State Park when social distancing is not possible.

Tram car capacities will be significantly reduced to allow for social distancing, and the time between each trip has been lengthened to allow for sanitization of tram cars between trips.

link Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Oakland Gets Its First Dedicated Detroit-Style Pizza Restaurant

Along with hot chicken and quesabirria, Detroit-style pizza has been one of the biggest food trends to hit the Bay Area in the past couple of years. But in Oakland, Detroit-style rectangular pies, with their characteristic thick crusts and charred, crispy-cheese square edges, have thus far mostly been found at pop-ups and ghost kitchens, or as one option on a broader pizza menu.

That is, until now. The SoMa-based Detroit pizza restaurant Square Pie Guys has opened their popular take on the genre in the former Benchmark Pizzeria location in Old Oakland. It’s the brand’s first East Bay expansion, and by all appearances, it is be the city’s first full-fledged, dedicated Detroit-style pizza shop.

Penfolds Debuts California Collection

Decades in the making, new bottlings include a Napa Valley Cabernet and a Cabernet-Shiraz blend

Australia’s Penfolds is perhaps best known for its iconic Grange bottling, but the iconic winery doesn’t stand still. Under the direction of chief winemaker Peter Gago, it continues to release innovative new wines. The latest endeavor has just been unveiled, a lineup of four California-based wines from vineyard holdings in Napa, Sonoma and Paso Robles, with prices ranging from $50 to $700. In a twist, two of the bottlings also include a small amount of Australian wine.

“This is not us marching into California to show people how to make wine,” Gago told Wine Spectator. “It’s made with respect.”

Gago adds that this project follows decades of investing in vineyards and building relationships in California, led by senior winemaker Stephanie Dutton and winemaker Andrew Baldwin. In the late 1980s, Penfolds started experimenting with planting vine cuttings from esteemed sites in South Australia, including Kalimna and Magill Estate, in the company’s Paso Robles vineyard holdings. Now that Penfolds is a part of the Treasury Wine Estates portfolio, the winemaking team now also has access to prime grapes in Napa and Sonoma owned by sister wineries such as Beringer and Sterling.

Apple releases Billie Eilish-themed gift card

Coinciding with the release of the Apple TV+ documentary “Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry,” Apple is offering a limited-edition version of its gift card themed to represent the musical artist.

The Billie Eilish Limited Edition Apple Gift Card is listed in the online Apple Store alongside Apple’s other designs. The new option is both the top listing and the default for the page, and is one of nine designs users can choose from.

The Billie Eilish-themed Apple logo is green on a blue background, with gradients on each of the sides to give a form of glowing effect. The logo matches the aesthetic of the documentary’s promotional images, as well as Eilish’s signature green hair coloring.

Apple Reopens All 270 Retail Stores in the United States

As noted by 9to5Mac, there are still restrictions at many of the Apple Stores in the U.S. Some are offering in-store shopping appointments, while others are only set up for Express pickup of online orders and Genius Support appointments.

Apple uses local health and safety guidelines to dictate which stores operate, so there is still a chance that there could be additional shutdowns going forward should there be a change in a particular state.

Napa wine country home where Elvis stayed: $6.95 million

The Ink House is at Hy 29 and Whitehall Lane south of downtown St Helena

A historical home in Napa Valley known as the Ink House — where Elvis Presley stayed during the filming of “Wild in the Country” in 1960 — is on the market for $6.95 million, according to Compass real estate firm.

The stunning property at 1575 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, is the former home of early Napa Valley settler and agriculturist Theron Ink. Updated with an amazing interior design and beautiful renovation in 2017 by celebrated architect Howard Backen, the property is currently home to a luxurious boutique inn.

The two-story Italianate house, built in 1885, spans 4,660 square feet with six bedrooms and eight-plus bathrooms on a 1.23-acre lot. The price tag includes the home’s furniture and artwork, according to a Compass representative.

Ink House listing

SoCal man using mannequin for carpool lane!

Mannequin photo at the link!

A California driver who said he had used a mannequin as his passenger for at least a year and a half in order to access carpool lanes has been cited and faces a fine of at least $400.

The mannequin — adorned with gray hair, wrinkles, glasses, a Cleveland Indians baseball hat and a face mask — sat in the passenger seat of the driver’s Toyota Tacoma when he was pulled over on Feb. 19.

Officer S. Sullinger was patrolling the eastbound 210 freeway in Glendora in search of carpool violators.

The officer noticed the front passenger in the Toyota was suspicious and that the vehicle had tinted windows on its front passenger side, which is illegal.

Open By Summer? Emergency repairs announced for Highway 1 in Big Sur

Emergency repairs on Highway 1 in Big Sur at Rat Creek will begin in March, Caltrans announced on Thursday.

Caltrans said that major repairs would begin March 1 and the roadway could reopen as early as Summer 2021 after debris flow from the Dolan Fire burn scar washed out a 150-foot section of the highway.

“Caltrans crews have been on site since this highway section washed out in the recent storms to assess the damage, and we’re pleased to announce emergency construction begins next week to repair and reconnect the highway,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin.

Fry’s Electronics permanently closes nationwide

The company posted closure information on its website.

Fry’s has more than two dozen stores mainly across California and Texas.

There are six stores in Northern California, eight in Southern California, eight in Texas, two in Arizona, and one store each in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Imagine Dragons bassist Ben McKee pledges $1,000 donation every day for a year

Imagine Dragons bassist Ben McKee, who grew up in the Sonoma County community of Forestville and graduated from El Molino High School, has announced he will donate $1,000 a day to a different community organization for a full year.

“The past year has been a particularly challenging time for a lot of people,” McKee wrote Tuesday on Twitter. “The organizations that fight to support and protect the most vulnerable of us have been pushed beyond their limits. I have set aside $365,000 and over the next year I will be giving away $1,000 a day.”

Sting Scores Again as Top Celebrity Wine

One thing is for sure: Sting knows how to send a message in a bottle. In wine expert Mark Oldman’s latest celebrity wine competition, “Celebrity War of the Luxury Red Wines,” the British music legend once again drew top honors for wine made at his Tuscan estate Il Palagio.

Sting’s Il Palagio “Sister Moon” Tuscan red won the day with 32% of the votes, while actress and cookbook author Ayesha Curry, who is the wife of NBA player Stephen Curry, notched second place with her Domaine Curry Cabernet garnering 18% of the votes.

This is the second time that a Sting wine won over voters, with his “Roxanne” wine voted top celebrity white in the white wine competition conducted by Oldman last year.

In the most recent competition, 328 households logged in via Zoom, and Oldman instructed the group on how to evaluate luxury red wine – i.e., wine priced at $50 or more. He then presented the six contenders. Participants voted through Zoom’s online polling system, with the following results:

1] Il Palagio “Sister Moon” Tuscany 2016 (Sting) (32%) winner

2] Domaine Curry Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Ayesha Curry) (18%)

3] tie) GoGi “29” Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills 2016 (Kurt Russell) (16%

4] tie) Yao Ming Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2017 (Yao Ming) (16%)

5] LVE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2015 (John Legend) (10%)

6] Halleck Vineyard “Find Your Light” Pinot Noir Sonoma County 2016 (Josh Groban) (8%)

San Diego Face Mask Sewing Group still going strong after already providing 70,000 masks

Founder Michelle Harvey is modest about what her passion and compassion have accomplished.

Michelle estimates they’ve provided about 70,000 masks to recipients ranging from health care workers and first responders to service members.

Michelle says, “I felt like I could give them some joy, something in their day to make them feel like out here, we see them, we support them and we care.”

The San Diego Face Mask Sewing Group now has more than 1,800 members who sew, drive or supply fabric.

The group itself has entered a new phase prompted by a troubling message Michelle received about some health care workers. She says she found out, “Nurses are not getting breaks, they’re not able to sit down and eat a full lunch.”

So Michelle put out another call, this time for things to put in goody bags. The gratitude was immediate.

The bags are filled with everything from fruit to lotion and lip balm. Each bag comes with a handwritten note.

San Diego Face Mask Sewing Group on Facebook

Airstream link Flying Cloud 30FB Office Starting at $107,500 story

Airstream has introduced a brand new trailer to the family of iconic silver-bullet trailers, and it’s directly influenced by the need to work from home as a precaution in the ongoing international health crisis. If we’re going to work from home, we might as well make sure that “home” is wherever we want it to be.

So Airstream took the Flying Cloud trailer, which was first introduced in 1949, as a starting point and developed a mobile home office that delivers the best of both worlds: it allows you to fulfill your daily professional obligations and it keeps you on the road for as long as you want – and have money for gas. Meet the Airstream Flying Cloud 30FB Office, a combination of a home office with a luxurious 30-feet (9.1-meter) trailer packed with all the amenities you’ve come to expect from Airstream.

Online exhibition Hidden Treasures: Unseen Originals from the Schulz Museum offers a rare look at original Peanuts comic strips

SANTA ROSA, Calif., February 3, 2021—A new online exhibition from the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center brings Peanuts fans inside the world of Charles M. Schulz—and beyond the walls of the Museum—from the comfort of their home. The Museum’s most in-depth online exhibition to date, Hidden Treasures: Unseen Originals from the Schulz Museum shares more than 65 rarely seen original Peanuts comic strips with new, exclusive audio and visual enhancements designed for online audiences.

The original comic strips featured in Hidden Treasures have been displayed only once during a 2019 exhibition of the same name at the Museum. From Snoopy’s doghouse to the Great Pumpkin, the exhibition explores the foundational themes of Peanuts and offers an intimate look at classic favorites. Audiences are invited to zoom in closely on the original strips to view Schulz’s pen strokes, margin notes, and other fine details that are lost in newspaper and book reproductions.

“The original Peanuts strips presented here have very rarely been exhibited to the public,” said Exhibitions Manager Lauren Figueroa. “This includes some consecutive storylines that until recently, likely had not been seen together since they left Schulz’s drawing board years ago!”

The online presentation is also paired with new, behind-the-scenes commentary from the cartoonist’s widow, Jean Schulz, Curator Benjamin L. Clark, and Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates staff members Alexis Fajardo and Justin Thompson.

“To have the opportunity to listen to such personal insight from Jean Schulz and hear the group discuss the comic strips, themes, and storylines is what makes this online exhibition truly unique,” Figueroa added. “It’s an entirely new experience that we’re excited to be sharing with the Peanuts fans.”

Hidden Treasures also takes a deep dive into the anatomy of a comic strip and provides a close look at nearly a dozen objects from the Museum’s archives and collection, including correspondence, sketches, animation cels, and classic Peanuts products.

Available directly on the Schulz Museum’s website (, access to the online exhibition is free for members, and $10 for up to 30 days for non-members. Those interested can get a sneak peek before purchasing via a sample shared on the website (

Repairs will keep collapsed stretch of Highway 1 near Big Sur closed for months

Caltrans officials say landslide repairs will keep Highway 1 south of Big Sur closed for months, rewriting travel plans for anyone who had been hoping to make a coastal road trip from Southern California in early spring.

The biggest problem is a 150-foot-long chasm where the highway used to run at Rat Creek, two miles south of the Esalen Institute. That area, authorities noted, lies below the “burn scar” left by the Dolan fire, which blackened about 125,000 acres last August.

In addition to the Rat Creek damage, authorities said about 60 points along the highway suffered damage. Many “need to dry out and stabilize before we can get in there and do full repairs and cleanup,”

Santa Maria, known for its barbecue and wineries, is offering a $100 Visa gift card for use toward a minimum two-night qualifying hotel stay.

You can also use the credit in neighboring Orcutt.

While the state continues to discourage nonessential travel to any destination that’s 120 miles or more from one’s home, Governor Gavin Newsom lifted the stay-at-home order for all regions across the state last week, allowing hotels to reopen to tourists and restaurants to offer outdoor dining with safety measures in place. After a major widespread shutdown in the winter, the state is slowly beginning to reopen.

“Santa Maria Valley has maintained an open-for-business approach and inviting attitude throughout the pandemic,” said Jennifer Harrison, director of tourism for Visit Santa Maria Valley. “Our destination is less crowded than other California destinations, and offers more for less to budget-conscious travelers during a time of economic rebound. We intend for the travel stimulus to help our local businesses while ensuring our experiences are safe and memorable for everyone who travels here.”

Research from Taiwan shows that tannins in wine can help fight Covid-19 by effectively inhibiting the activity of two key enzymes within the virus.

Mien-Chie Hung, President of China Medical University, Taiwan, led a scientific research on the anti-coronavirus treatment. They discovered that tannins in wine can effectively inhibit the activity of two key enzymes of the virus.

As TVBS reported, Hung said: “The initial plan of the research is to call out natural compounds that may have an effect on SARS, and then use the protease of the new coronavirus to detect them and tannic acid was found in the result. It bears the strongest inhibitory ability.”

Hung explained tannic acid is a water-soluble polyphenol. Polyphenol compounds have antioxidants and free radical scavengers, which have anti-inflammatory effects.

During the SARS pandemic in 2003, relevant studies have proved that the treatment of tannic acid is effective. This time we are facing a new type of coronavirus and the research team has further performed detailed molecular experiments for new discovery.

The principal said that tannins can prevent infection and control the growth of viruses. Tannins are readily found in fruits such as bananas and grapes, as well as wine, tea and vegetables.

He explained tannins could be further developed as a drug for pharmaceutical treatment in the future. He believed that the consumption of adequate food and drinks with tannins is also a way to boost up one’s immunity to the virus.

“Grape and sorghum have relatively high tannin content. In fact, we are doing research in this area. We hope that in near future, we can come up with the decision of whether wine or baijiu is more potent in tannins.”

Big Rick’s Super Bowl of Chili

Yes this makes a super bowl of chili. I would get in legal trouble if I combined the first 2 words before “of chili” but it does go well with watching the “big game.”

It is not 5 Alarm hot. It really doesn’t need that much heat. If you like it hot then add heat after you have some in your bowl or play around with the heat as you make it. I don’t make it hot because that way everyone can have some no matter their spicy heat tolerance. A simple hot sauce like Crystal or Tabasco is salt, red peppers, and vinegar and adds good heat and flavor to anything including this chili.

And yes it uses a can of pumpkin!

full recipe here

Pandemic forces cancellation of Levi’s GranFondo cycling event until 2022

The ride will return in the spring of 2022, its founder, ex-pro cyclist Levi Leipheimer said Friday.

The 12-year-old event, which has drawn upward of 5,000 participants in the past, already had undergone notable changes going into this year. Instead of starting and finishing in Santa Rosa, cyclists were to stage at the Town Green in Windsor. Long a fixture on the fall calendar for cycling buffs, the GranFondo was switched this year to late May, a concession to the wildfires that have plagued Sonoma County in recent years.

“I would hope everyone understands,” said Leipheimer, who divides his time between Sonoma County and the Lake Tahoe area. “If it were up to us, we’d have an event. But it’s just not safe. It’s not possible.”

6 of the Best Wines to Pair With Pizza

on the list Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir

Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua introduced California AB 239, which will allow consumers to refill their personal wine containers at a winery or tasting room, helping to:
– Reduce consumer waste
– Expand sales for family wineries
– Increase parity in the marketplace

“Taking this next step will help to expand business opportunities for family wineries, reduce consumer waste, and bring parity to our marketplace,” said Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua of Stockton. “While existing law allows for breweries to sell their product in this manner, it’s time we offer the same opportunity to the winegrowers of California.”

Snow in San Diego!

The storm that gave greater San Diego a welcome soaking Saturday will be followed by a much larger, colder system that could dump up to 1.5 feet of snow on Palomar Mountain beginning Sunday night and close to an inch of rain in some areas near the coast.

The National Weather Service says the new system will peak on Monday when it races through Southern California, with much of its energy focused on San Diego County, where the snow level could drop as low as 2,500 feet, affecting travel on flat, open expanses of eastern Interstate 8.

Forecasters say Julian could get 4 to 6 inches of snow, adding to the roughly 2 inches of snow that slowed traffic on Main Street late Saturday. The California Highway Patrol ordered motorists to use chains on state Route 79, from I-8 to state Route 78.

Closed – Sally’s SF Iconic Potrero Hill Breakfast Destination

Potrero Hill breakfast institution Sally’s Restaurant, which for at least three decades has fed locals and area tech workers with all-day breakfast from its De Haro Street kitchen, appears to be shuttered for good. Google marks the venue as permanently closed, its phone number is disconnected, and Eater tipster Molly Ditmore, who visited the scene, says that that the restaurant is “totally dismantled” and that “Sally’s is gone

Cook Popcorn in Bacon Grease

Something primal has awakened in me, and my devotion to the bacon fat lifestyle has been renewed. I don’t know if it’s finally getting a fridge that’s big enough to accommodate my vintage grease crock, or the cold, rainy weather, but something has got me cooking everything in rendered animal fat. My current favorite snack is “meaty popcorn,” which is exactly what it sounds like.

Like all good popcorn, bacon fat popcorn is crispy and crunchy; unlike other popcorn, bacon fat popcorn is permeated with meaty, salty flavor.

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed another business — the popular Beachside Bar-Cafe at Goleta Beach County Park.

The restaurant, which has served customers for nearly four decades at the base of the Goleta Pier, is expected to close its doors by the end of the month

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce that after 36 years Beachside Bar-Cafe is closing its doors permanently,” the company posted on Facebook. “We want to thank our local community for your support and patronage through these ever-changing times.”

You Should Air Fry Wet Tortellini

Just boil some water, cook the pasta until it floats, then remove it with a spider (or slotted spoon) and put it in a bowl. Season the tortellini to taste—I used Kraft green-top parm and Lawry’s garlic salt—and give it a toss to coat. Dump the tortellini in an air fryer set to 400℉ for 13-16 minutes, until they are hot, golden, and crispy on the outside. Serve with marinara or some sort of marinara-like dipping sauce (I used pizza sauce).

Founders of Sonoma County’s Cowgirl Creamery retire

Pioneers in U.S. organic artisan cheesemaking, chefs Sue Conley and Peggy Smith on Thursday announced their retirement from Cowgirl Creamery, which they started in 1997 and grew to the point it attracted the attention of a global dairy giant.

“Creating and building Cowgirl Creamery, has been the greatest adventure in our lives,” they wrote in a letter to friends and colleagues, released Thursday. It noted that their last day was Jan. 1. “The development of Cowgirl Creamery built many careers in cheesemaking, mongering, food safety, sales and distribution. We leave a seasoned team of leaders, each with their own team of passionate people working together to strengthen this artisan cheese movement.”

Noted achievements are their work with the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, or MALT, which protects rural properties for food production, and promotion of “the Northern California milkshed,” described as including dairy farmers, cheese producers and the chefs who use their products.

Swiss dairy products company Emmi acquired Cowgirl Creamery in 2016, providing an infusion of capital and operational support that helped the company expand production in Petaluma in 2017 and bring on new top leadership in training in 2019.

Petaluma cannabis farm celebrates first harvest

The ranch, named Sonoma Hills Farm, recently celebrated its first official harvest of locally grown cannabis, herb that some say could establish the baseline for Sonoma County-specific weed identified by terroir like wine.

The buds are now available in several different strains at dispensaries across the Bay Area.

While cannabis is without question the farm’s most high-profile crop, Sonoma Hills has other ranching operations, too, including cattle and vegetables. Since the spring of 2020, the farm has spread good will by donating produce to local restaurateurs struggling to keep their eateries open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aaron Keefer, vice president of cultivation and production, said his goal at the farm is to grow high-quality products, whatever they might be.

“The way I look at it, cannabis is just another plant,” said Keefer.

Sonoma Hills Farm

Pliny the Younger will be shipped!

Life is nowhere near normal right now, but Pliny is coming. Russian River Brewing is gearing up to release its seasonal favorite, Pliny the Younger, in bottles this year — and under different conditions. You won’t be able to stand in line with other Pliny devotees to get a fresh pour and the full Younger experience. There won’t be an in-person release at either of the two locations. But Russian River will be shipping 12-bottle, mixed-pack cases — within California — that include four bottles of Pliny the Younger, along with some of their other popular beers and one special, new brew no one has seen before.

Co-owner Natalie Cilurzo told me, “We’re trying to re-create the experience of Younger in person.”

Most people who visit the brewery for Pliny the Younger order a sampler of Russian River beers, too, hence the mixed case. And Natalie and brewer Vinnie Cilurzo will be posting Facebook Live tastings of Younger and other beers so fans can taste along with the Russian River duo.

“While we’re disappointed that we can’t do (Younger) in person,” she said, “we’re still doing what we can to make it available to as many people as possible and still make it fun, while at the same time being responsible business owners and keeping everybody safe.”

This is a one-time thing just for 2021, she said. Barring anything unforeseen, Younger will be back at the brewery the following year, so if you want to try it in a bottle, this is your shot. Pre-sales will begin at 11 a.m. (Pacific Time) on Jan. 28 at the brewery’s online store

SoCal skier rides giant waves at Mavericks on custom water skis
Daredevil surfers have been riding giant waves for years, but a Southern California skier is breaking new ground by skiing the same big surf.

Chuck Patterson spoke to FOX 5 from Dana Point about tackling the world-famous big waves at Mavericks surf break near Half Moon Bay. Patterson said he has been skiing since he was 2 years old and got into big wave surfing when he was older. So it seemed only natural to combine his two interests.

“It’s kind of a cool thing to blend the two — a little spicy obviously,” he said. “Nowadays, being ordinary is a little too ordinary.”


The Central Coast’s Legendary Pea Soup Andersen’s Future Is in Jeopardy
The Buellton restaurant is for sale for a cool $4.7 million, and it’s unclear what that might mean for the property

This historic and well-known restaurant off the 101 freeway north of Los Angeles is one of Central California’s quirkiest spots, complete with the old-school dining room as well as gift shops and banquet rooms for tourists and weekend guests. Even those who have never eaten there are familiar with the name, thanks to the many pale green billboards that dot the freeway for many miles in either direction. The restaurant’s pea soup is of course a staple, but it also serves everything from pickled herring to supreme chicken quesadillas.

For now it’s unclear how much, if any, of the business and building would remain post-sale. On its website listing, Santa Barbara company Radius Commercial Real Estate described the building as “prime for redevelopment.​” The building has stood since at least 1924, and has held a variety of businesses over the years, but with easy access to the freeway and the growing wine country region, a full demolition is well within the realm of possibility.

NHL ‘blown away’ by Lake Tahoe; Perfect fit to host outdoor games
STATELINE, Nev. — National Hockey League officials wanted a picturesque landscape where they could build an ice rink surrounded by snow-coverered mountains for maximum visual impact, and Lake Tahoe “fit the bill.”

The NHL officially announced on Monday it will hold two games on an outdoor rink set up at Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, Nevada.

Vegas will play Colorado on Saturday, Feb. 20 and Boston faces Philadelphia on Sunday, Feb. 21 on a temporary rink set up on the 18th hole at Edgewood, site of the annual American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. The rink will be on the 18th fairway, near the green, and will take approximately two weeks to build after construction starts on Monday, Feb. 8, just after Super Bowl weekend.

The golf course offers plenty of space to set up a temporary rink and the resort at Edgewood allows the league to have a bubble-like environment, which worked during the ACC in July.

No fans will be allowed to attend and players will be under strict protocols due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the visuals on TV and social media should be spectacular.

Petaluma cannabis farm celebrates first harvest
The ranch, named Sonoma Hills Farm, recently celebrated its first official harvest of locally grown cannabis, herb that some say could establish the baseline for Sonoma County-specific weed identified by terroir like wine.

The buds are now available in several different strains at dispensaries across the Bay Area.

While cannabis is without question the farm’s most high-profile crop, Sonoma Hills has other ranching operations, too, including cattle and vegetables. Since the spring of 2020, the farm has spread good will by donating produce to local restaurateurs struggling to keep their eateries open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aaron Keefer, vice president of cultivation and production, said his goal at the farm is to grow high-quality products, whatever they might be.

“The way I look at it, cannabis is just another plant,” said Keefer.

Disneyland ends its annual pass program after 40 years, citing pandemic uncertainty

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has claimed yet another Disney experience: After nearly four decades, Disneyland has terminated its annual pass program.

The announcement is effective immediately, given that Disneyland theme parks are still closed, and affects all four tiers of passholders: Signature Plus, Signature, Deluxe and Southern California Select. All current passholders will be issued prorated refunds for the duration of time remaining on their passes.

“Due to the continued uncertainty of the pandemic and limitations around the reopening of our California theme parks, we will be issuing appropriate refunds for eligible Disneyland Resort Annual Passports and sunsetting the current program,” Disneyland Resort president Ken Potrock said in a statement on the company’s website.

From IPAs to Craft Lagers, Six Non-Alcoholic Beers to Try

Booze-free lagers and IPAs are the focus for many breweries, but stouts, hefeweizen and blond ales can also be found for patrons looking for a pint without the pain.

on the list

IPNA, Lagunitas Brewing Co.
The California-based brewery is owned by Heineken, which knows a thing or two about nonalcoholic beer. It’s been testing its NA IPA recipe for the past year, and settled on one that includes Mosaic, Citra, Columbus hops as well as English crystal malt and Alberta barley. This has all the hop bite one would expect from a West Coast brewer. Contains 80 calories per 12-ounce bottle.

Oakland Restaurant Week Is Back with Delicious Deals

The event is definitely a little toned down this year, given the stay-at-home order, but there are still a few sweet deals to be had. Per usual, restaurant “week” is a misnomer, it’s more like a week and a half, running across two weekends from January 7 to 18. Visit Oakland has a running list of more than 300 restaurants that are currently open for takeout and delivery, which is a great resource in general. And specifically for restaurant week, about 20 to 30 of those will be featuring special menus or items.

some favorites of mine

Zachary’s Chicago Pizza

Home of Chicken and Waffles

Bird & Buffalo

Hollywood’s Historic Pink’s Hot Dogs Begins Months-Long Closure Due to COVID-19

Owners hope to protect the health of Pink’s staff and customers with a closure that will last at least two months

Pink’s closed at the start of the pandemic from March until August, only to reopen with a new set of protocols in place that included a “front door ambassador” and “full-time sanitizer monitor” to clean and ensure the use of face masks, even adding delivery options and phone orders for the first time. And while the pandemic and rolling lockdown orders have kept many of the tourists away, Pink’s loyalists have continued to stand in line to order food for the past many months. Now, the time has come for a small hiatus in order to protect staff, ownership said on social media over the weekend. Owner Richard Pink will continue paying furloughed employees until unemployment insurance benefits kick in, according to CBS-2.

A California law that took effect on January 1 has prompted the removal of tens of thousands of restaurants from food delivery apps like SF-based Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, and Caviar. The law, which was approved last fall, requires apps to offer delivery only from restaurants with which they have a direct partnership and to pull listings from any restaurants with which they do not have a current contract.

The legislation was born out of a scandal that began in the Bay Area: In January 2020, Pim Techamuanvivit, the owner of San Francisco’s Michelin-starred Thai restaurant Kin Khao, was stunned to discover that delivery services including GrubHub, Seamless, DoorDash. and Yelp’s delivery platform (also GrubHub, as it purchased Yelp’s Eat 24, then shut it down) were offering food purportedly from her menu for delivery without her permission.

Its final language states that to list a restaurant on its platform, food delivery apps online company must have a contract with the restaurant “expressly authorizing the food delivery platform to take orders and deliver meals prepared by the food facility.”

7 California Metros On Top 50 Most Fitness-Friendly Places for 2021

Santa Cruz-Watsonville, No. 6

San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, No. 12

Napa No. 17

Chico, No. 19 (tied)

Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, No. 31

Santa Rosa-Petaluma, No. 43

San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, No. 50

Open! Pasadena Outdoor Restaurant Seating Spawns ‘Nearby Dining’

Although state health orders forced the closure of all outdoor dining service throughout California early last month, policy in Pasadena permits restaurateurs to maintain their outdoor seating arrangements — without wait staff service — for members of the public to use, leaving what some worry is a loophole in public safety measures.

While the practice of keeping outdoor furnishings out is allowed by Pasadena, only a handful of local eateries are doing so, according to city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian.

In early December, Pasadena, which has its own municipal health department and thus operates under its own health orders separate from the county, had allowed outdoor dining to continue even as Los Angeles County public health officials ordered it to cease in all surrounding cities.

All of our local restaurants need your support more than ever. Here are some ideas. Much more at the links

San Diego Restaurants Offering Christmas Takeout Meals [sandiego.eater]

Urban Plates is serving up a traditional turkey feast and three-course meal available this holiday season. They have locations all over So Cal.

Bahia Resort Hotel

Pop Pie Co.

Tamales El Mexicano

Villa Manila This National City restaurant is offering a Filipino-centric holiday meal to-go.

17 Restaurants to Order Celebratory Holiday Takeout in LA [la.eater]
Wok-fired lobsters, roasted prime rib, truffle pasta, and more

How to Celebrate Christmas 2020 in San Francisco [sf.eater]
All the prime rib roast, cookies, and nog to get through the holidays

26 Bay Area restaurants celebrating Christmas with takeout meals [SF Chronicle]

9 Fabulous Christmas Takeout Dinners in San Francisco and Oakland [7×7]

20 SF Restaurants Offering Holiday Specials [The Infatuation]

19 SF Restaurants That Have Christmas Dinner Covered [Thrillist]

Where to order Christmas takeout in the East Bay [Berkeleyside]

Where to order Christmas takeout in the East Bay [Oaklandside]

18 Bay Area restaurant options for Christmas dinners to go [Mercury News]

Where to get Christmas meals on the Peninsula [Palo Alto Weekly]

Who’s serving Christmas dinner? [Sonoma Index Tribune]


How to Monitor What Your Kid Is Watching on Netflix

Netflix has started rolling out new tools that aim to make it easier for parents to monitor what their kids are watching

First, the Kids Activity Report will break down the types of shows your kids are most watching and the top “themes” in that content; it will spotlight their favorite characters.

Secondly, a new “family profile” setting will be released to act as a sort of bridge between the kids-only profiles and regular ones. That is, it will include shows with more mature ratings (up to a PG-13 rating for movies, and up to a TV-14 rating for TV shows), but which are commonly considered to be more family friendly if kids are watching with their parents.

There is a way to quickly check your kids’ recent viewing activity:

Go to the Netflix home page in your browser
Mouse over the account symbol in the upper right-hand corner and click “Account.”
Scroll down to your kid’s account, click the down arrow, and then click “Viewing Activity.”
All their activity will appear, starting with the most recently viewed shows.

No Rose Bowl game in Pasadena this year; CFP semifinal moves to Texas amid coronavirus concerns

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and fans not being allowed in the venue, the semifinal will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

In November, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses made its first appeal for a special exemption to allow a few hundred spectators inside the 95,000-seat stadium and made a second request to the state this month. Both requests were denied as health officials try to curb the spread of COVID-19.

It is not clear whether the game in Arlington will have the Rose Bowl name.

There will also be no Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, a decision that was made months ago.

Sunnyvale mayor visits and reviews local restaurants

Mayor Klein’s Sunnyvale Restaurant Project

During the pandemic shelter-in-place, as Sunnyvale Mayor, I have been doing an almost daily spotlight of one of our Sunnyvale restaurants open for business during these difficult times.

It’s fantastic to be able to publicize these Sunnyvale restaurants, highlight favorite dishes, thank the owners and employees, and learn more about our diverse city.

I’ve received lots of feedback from residents and requests to visit their favorites. PLEASE shop local and support our local businesses.

I’m also encouraged to hear more people are “following in the Mayor’s footsteps” to frequent the path of restaurants that I’ve highlighted.

Lake Tahoe, Mountain House named 2 of the hottest neighborhoods for 2021

Lake Tahoe, Calif., took the No. 1 spot this year, as median views per listing went up 280% year-over-year, according to Redfin
“The Lake Tahoe housing market is hotter than ever. People are coming from San Francisco in droves and they’re bringing their Bay Area salaries with them — everyone here drives a Tesla now,” Redfin real estate agent Jaime Moore said in a statement.

“City folks have decided that if they have to work from home and shelter in place, they might as well do it in the mountains. In their mind, Lake Tahoe is affordable because they can buy a second home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms for $750,000. In the Bay Area, they’d be lucky to find a one-bedroom condo for that price.”

Coffee is Being Widely Used as a COVID-19 Diagnostic Tool

“One of the things that can be done pretty easily, pretty objectively by someone at home would be to take some ground coffee and see how far away you can hold it and still smell it,” Tufts University School of Medicine Professor James Schwob recently told the University’s news service. “Or do the same with rubbing alcohol or your shampoo. If your nose is not congested and you have trouble recognizing those or other scents that are familiar to you, you might want to call your doctor about getting tested.”

Richard Doty, director of the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, shared a similar thought regarding coffee’s taste.

“If you discover that coffee has no taste or chocolate seems to no longer have any taste other than bitterness or sweetness, then it’s likely that you may be experiencing smell loss,”


I just traveled to Hawaii: Here’s what it’s like for tourists right now

Right now, Kauai has opted out of the program that lets you avoid quarantine with a test so visitors will need to quarantine for 14 days in Kauai. Unfortunately, even for other islands, getting a valid test isn’t as simple as heading to your local clinic of choice the week before you leave. You need to take your test within 72 hours of departure from one of Hawaii’s approved testing facilities and have to have the correct test results in hand before your trip. That tight turn around can be extremely challenging.

We’ve covered the full run-down of what you need to know prior to visiting Hawaii, but here’s my experience with Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program.

The process is cumbersome, but if you prepare properly, going through the actual check-in process on the ground is simple. They’ll ask for your name, scan your QR code, verify your test results and then send you on your way.

Not everything is open and some places have reduced hours, but by and large, my trip was unaffected by any closures.

I took a surf lesson, went snorkeling, enjoyed the pool areas, did some shopping, hit up a farmers market and tried out food from restaurants both at the resorts and in nearby towns. Hiking trails are also open to the public, as well as parks along the beach.

State of Hawai‘i official info

Keeping Hawai‘i Safe. Today and in the future
We are excited to welcome travelers to the Hawaiian Islands with a pre-travel test

Lagunitas Brewing joins sober segment with new no-alcohol craft brew

Lagunitas head brewmaster Jeremy Marshall called the less potent craft brew “all pleasure, no guilt” by placing the focus on a detailed hop selection that came out of Washington’s Yakima Valley. The project has been under development for a year and was initially taste tested by customers at the Petaluma taproom and they gave it mostly positive reviews.

Released on Dec. 1, IPNA beer contains no alcohol while retaining a full-bodied flavor of Mosaic and Citra hops.

“I think that the non-alcohol thing is all about millennials. I think the pandemic has done even more in the department of health consciousness,” he said. “I think it’s here to stay and we will see a lot more of it.”

Solvang Mayor: City will support businesses that defy stay-at-home order

The Solvang City Council supports the idea of creating a new ‘Central Coast’ region and says it won’t actively enforce the new stay-at-home order.

Councilmembers said they want to maintain the status quo of “safe, open outdoor dining and other business practices.”

Solvang Mayor Ryan Toussaint said in a statement that the city can’t direct businesses to defy the state order, but it will support them if they do decide to stay open.

You Can Get Guy Fieri’s Trash Can Nachos Shipped to Your Door 

GiveBelly subscription meals in cities like SF, NYC, Miami, Chicago, LA, NOLA for $80 a month
Each box will contain enough food to serve 4 people.

With every purchase of a GiveBelly Subscription, 100% of all net proceeds will go towards delivering Goldbelly boxes to healthcare workers and first responders. You’ll be helping both restaurants and those working hard to keep you safe at the same time — and gifting yourself or a loved one something tasty in the process.

Good eats and drinks in north Lake Tahoe

Good eats and drinks in south Lake Tahoe

‘Workcations’ are this year’s biggest travel trend — here’s where you can try it for yourself

How Essential Workers Can Get Free Coffee This Month at Starbucks 

Through December 31, front-line workers will receive a “free tall brewed coffee, hot or iced,” Today reports. The offer brings back the company’s original giveaway back in April, in hopes to “reignite the movement of gratitude and to show those on the front line how much they are appreciated,” Starbucks’ vice president Virginia Tenpenny told USA Today.

What’s a qualifying front-line worker?
Starbucks names front-line worker and first responders for the offer. Eligible workers include active-duty military, as well as:

Front-line health care providers and first responders

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Public health workers
  • Pharmacists
  • Dispatchers
  • Firefighters
  • Paramedics
  • Police officers
  • Dentists and dental hygienists

Hospital staff

  • Janitors
  • Housekeeping
  • Security

Mental health workers

  • Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers
  • Counselors

Foo Fighters & Casa Vega Team Up For A Limited-Edition Charity Taco Collaboration

the Casa Vega team is excited to announce the next installment of their series of taco collabs. Christy Vega, owner of the 64-year-old LA dining institution, is teaming up with longtime friend Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters to create an all-new limited-edition taco

The Foo Fighters taco ($7) is inspired by Dave’s passion for smoking meat (they’re bringing a smoker to Casa Vega specifically for this taco!) and features smoked brisket in a Mexican spice rub and drizzled with backbeat BBQ sauce, topped with Mexican coleslaw, pickled onions, and cilantro, served on a homemade flour tortilla.

The profits from each taco will be donated to No Us Without You, a charity providing food security for undocumented back of house staff and their families created by Va’La Hospitality in the early weeks of the pandemic. New to this collab, there will also be special Foo Fighters x Casa Vega tee shirt sold on Casa Vega’s website, with the proceeds also being donated to No Us Without You.

Casa Vega will be sharing videos and fun behind-the-scenes content with the band on their Instagram @casavegarestaurant throughout the month.

Casa Vega Sherman Oaks Food To Go Menu

Lady Gaga and Oreo Are Collaborating on ‘Chromatica’ Cookies 

The Chromatica cookies are pink Golden Oreo wafers (so, not chocolate FYI) with green-colored creme sandwiched in the middle. (Frankly, it seems like a missed opportunity for a flavor that’s as innovative as Gaga herself, but I digress.) The cookie portions are also embossed with both the traditional Oreo design, as well as exclusive Chromatica designs. Starting in January 2021, the limited-edition cookies will be available in six-packs at convenience stores, but Oreo says full-size packages are also on the way.

Lady Gaga x OREO Stan Club 

Mariah Carey Has Her Own Virtual Cookie Brand 

The cookies come in five year-round flavors (Chocolate Chunk, Triple Chocolate Chunk, Heath Bar, Lemon Cooler, and Spiced Oatmeal Raisin) and a trio of holiday specials (Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and White Chocolate Cranberry). They’re available in boxes of six or 12, and can be ordered one flavor at a time or in self-explanatory combinations like “Holiday Hits” or “Try Them All.”

Mariah’s Cookies 

These Oreo-Scented Candles Are a Gift Nobody Can Refuse 

Sold on Oreo’s website, a product description implies that it’s the perfect gift “if you’ve ever wanted to trick your guests into thinking they just stumbled onto a tour of the Oreo factory.”

Oreo says

Get a whiff of Milk’s Favorite Cookie! If you’ve ever wanted to trick your guests into thinking they just stumbled onto a tour of the Oreo factory, our deliciously-scented Oreo candle is exactly what you need! We suggest accompanying the scent with a few sleeves of Oreos for that full 360 experience.

The Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation MOXI is Santa Barbara’s newest science museum and center for interactive STEAM learning. STEAM refers to science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.

They are having a Rock Star Raffle fundraiser!

The only thing more fun than dancing and singing to Katy Perry songs is partying with Katy herself! If you’re the lucky winner of this Rock Star Raffle, you and your family will enjoy a private hangout with Katy – scheduled via Zoom to ensure everyone’s safety.

Katy will share some of her favorite things with you in a special Party Gift Basket that will be delivered before your exclusive time together!

In Quarantine with the Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola 

What’s it like to spend seven months holed up with the director and 25 members of his family? For starters, wine, movies, and zero regrets

Coppola and his family are on the expansive acreage of the old Inglenook estate near St Helena in the Napa Valley

“I have a wine fridge like everyone. It’s a small one,” Coppola said. “I looked at what I had up here, and I took all the wines out, and I replaced them with all the best wines that I had in the wine cellar. Why not put out the best wines that I have, because I don’t know how much longer I’m going to live?”

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Releases Spiked Ice Cream Just in Time for the Holiday Season

The star of this year’s festive ice cream collection with the Oregon-based creamery is a flavor called Dwanta’s Teremana Spiked Eggnog ice cream, which is made with the Skyscraper star’s Teremana tequila that he launched earlier this year. Unlike traditional eggnog, which is typically made with rum, brandy or bourbon, the frozen dessert boasts oaky vanilla notes from Teremana’s reposado tequila, which shine against rich, silky custard that’s flavored with amontillado sherry, nutmeg and a dash of salt.

This special eggnog flavor is available on its own or as part of the Dwanta Claus Holiday Pack, which includes five festive pints of ice cream

What’s more? The pack also includes an exclusive note signed by Dwanta Claus himself along with pint labels also handwritten by Dwanta.

Pliny The Younger to be sold online in bottles 

“We simply cannot go a whole year without making at least some Pliny the Younger!” the brewery wrote on its blog. “Pliny the Younger 510 ml bottles will be for sale on our website for a limited time late January, early February, date TBD.

Russian River Brewing 

LAX offering interim COVID-19 testing 

The interim COVID-19 testing initially will be available for purchase at three locations:

Tom Bradley International Terminal on the Upper/Departures level at the check-in counters located in Aisle C, along the north side of the terminal

Terminal 2 Lower/Arrivals Level at the information booth

Terminal 6 Lower/Arrivals Level at the information booth Clarity Lab Solutions will offer FDA-approved COVID-19 tests using a standard Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) nasal swab test and provide results directly to participants within 24 hours.

my Thanksgiving wine was Ghost Block single vineyard cabernet sauvignon

Is the vineyard haunted by the ghost of George C. Yount the founder of Yountville and the first person to plant grape vines in Napa Valley? Maybe!

38 Standout Dining Destinations in Los Angeles 

LA’s definitive restaurants across an of array cuisines, neighborhoods, and price points — even during the pandemic

Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010 and is officially cosponsored by the US Small Business Association 

Now, the country’s 30 million small businesses—which typically employ half the U.S. workforce—are struggling to survive.

In 2019, consumers spent an estimated $20 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on the holiday.

According to American Express, over 60 percent of small businesses say they need to see consumer spending return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year in order to stay in business.

Shop In Store, On Small Business Webpages, Buy Gift Cards

look for hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday #SupportSmall #ShopSmall

Facebook page SmallBusinessSaturday

A Totally Calm and Doable Thanksgiving Menu for First-Timers

Rachael Ray Shares Her ‘Simplest Thanksgiving Meal’ That You Can Make in One Roasting Pan 

How to Have a Low Carb Thanksgiving During COVID

Where Can You Find Thanksgiving Takeout for One Person in San Francisco?

Thanksgiving Options for Dine-In or Takeout in San Diego 

20 Best-Bet Restaurants for Thanksgiving Day in Sonoma County


SoCal Hot Chicken Spot Prepares for Major San Diego Expansion
Main Chick is flooding the zone with Nashville hot chicken

An eatery that got its start at Los Angeles’ popular 626 Night Market, which opened its first brick-and-mortar last December in West LA and has since expanded to Pasadena and Long Beach, is setting out to conquer San Diego. Main Chick is the latest entry into the area’s competitive Nashville hot chicken scene.

Its menu of chicken tenders and bone-in chicken, served straight up or in sandwiches, is spiced at a range of heat levels, from ‘naked’ to ‘supreme’.

A debut local outpost, which opened this past weekend at Clairemont Town Square, will be the first of its locations to offer beer and wine. All told, the company tells Eater that it plans to launch seven locations throughout San Diego.

New Version of ‘The Godfather Part III’ Gets a New Trailer

Francis Ford Coppola always thought of The Godfather as a two-part film with an epilogue — which Paramount forced him to call The Godfather Part III, but he always wanted to title The Godfather: The Death of Michael Corleone, partly because he didn’t want to suggest this was the third “part” of the story, and partly because he apparently gives no effs when it comes to spoilers.

30 years later, Coppola is finally getting his wish — as part of the release of a totally new cut of the movie. The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone restores the film to Coppola’s original vision; he supervised an edit that created a totally new beginning and ending for the movie, along with a lot of reshuffling of other scenes throughout.

see the trailer here 

How to Support California Wine Country With a Visit This Winter

Joseph Wagner, a fifth-generation winemaker recently opened Quilt & Co. in the heart of historic downtown Napa.

“Quilt & Co. is not your traditional tasting room tied to a winery,” Wagner says. “It is more of a lounge with a fun atmosphere where guests can learn as much as they want about the Copper Cane portfolio, or just relax and taste the wines.”

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020 they rose to prominence as the winery that won the Cabernet Sauvignon competition in the famous 1976 Judgment of Paris—a win that put Napa Valley on the map.

Charles Krug The recently launched Cabana Experience features five new Wi-Fi-enabled cabanas on the winery’s beautiful picnic grounds. It’s built outside around a central firepit, offering privacy from other groups, and tailor-made to your preferences.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards has The Insignia blending experience deconstructs the revered red blend and has enthusiasts develop their own, comparing it to the original.

Tower Records launches online music store

The plan was to relaunch during the South by Southwest Music Festival and as pop-up shops. But, Danny Zeijdel, Tower Record’s new CEO, said because of the pandemic, it is now an online store selling vinyl, cassettes and compact discs.

Tower Records also hosts interviews on Instagram Live with up-and-coming artists and has future plans to collaborate with musicians.

The real reason your olive oil is probably fake

Lots of olive oil including big name brands in grocery stores isn’t really Extra Virgin Olive Oil!
It might be mixed with canola, colza, soy, and even hazelnut oil.
It might not really be from Italy.
The Mafia is involved in making and selling fake olive oil!

Thankfully it’s easier than ever before to buy real uality EVOO in the United States, including top-quality brands from California.

California Olive Ranch, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Costco’s Kirkland brand are among the brands you can trust.

West Coast states recommend 2-week travel quarantine

Three West Coast states issued a travel advisory Friday urging against nonessential travel and recommending quarantines for those who do travel between states and internationally.

California, Oregon, and Washington Gov. recommend travelers to their states and residents who leave and then return home self-quarantine for 14 days.

This recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state borders for essential travel, which includes travel for work, study, critical infrastructure support, economic services, health, immediate medical care and safety.

statement from Gov Gavin Newsom

In light of rising cases, West Coast states issue travel advisories recommending 14-day quarantines for inter-state and international travel; ask residents to stay local

SACRAMENTO – As COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the country, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued travel advisories today urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. The travel advisories urge against non-essential out-of-state travel, ask people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country and encourage residents to stay local.

“California just surpassed a sobering threshold – one million COVID-19 cases – with no signs of the virus slowing down,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians. Travel increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, and we must all collectively increase our efforts at this time to keep the virus at bay and save lives.”

In addition to urging individuals arriving from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, the states’ travel advisories recommend individuals limit their interactions to their immediate household. The advisories define essential travel as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and safety and security.

“COVID-19 does not stop at state lines. As hospitals across the West are stretched to capacity, we must take steps to ensure travelers are not bringing this disease home with them,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “If you do not need to travel, you shouldn’t. This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home.”

“COVID cases have doubled in Washington over the past two weeks. This puts our state in as dangerous a position today as we were in March,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “Limiting and reducing travel is one way to reduce the further spread of the disease. I am happy to partner with California and Oregon in this effort to help protect lives up and down the West Coast.”

Inside the ‘world’s nicest Taco Bell’: Social media goes wild over beach-front fast food location in California, which boasts stunning views, has an indoor-outdoor fireplace and surf board station – and even sells alcohol

The ‘world’s most beautiful Taco Bell’ is located on the beach in Pacifica, California, near San Francisco

It has a walk-up ordering window for people with sandy feet and a place to leave surf boards
In addition to indoor dining with floor-to-ceiling windows, there’s a large outdoor terrace with beautiful views

There’s also a mural by a local artist and an indoor/outdoor fireplace

The Taco Bell was converted into a cantina in 2017, meaning it serves alcohol

10 Easy Day Trips When You Just Need To Get Out Of LA

Oxnard the Strawberry Capital Of The World
Idyllwild Hiking
Santa Barbara Loon Point Beach
Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, great Vietnamese food at the Rooster And The Pig
San Diego, Julian, Ocean Beach, Del Mar, La Jolla, Sunset Cliffs Park

more info and ideas at the link

What’s new in Downtown Napa?

Be Bubbly recently opened its doors in Downtown Napa as the first and only dedicated Champagne and sparkling wine lounge

Brandy House is the first stand-alone tasting room dedicated solely to luxury California brandies.

Oxbow Public Market El Porteño offers savory and sweet empanadas
Bar Lucia was created and designed by founders of the iconic Kara’s Cupcakes. Bar Lucia features a variety of local rosés, sparkling wines and a menu of seasonal light bites.

more at the link

Jordan Winery in Healdsburg offer Five Tips for Making Holiday Meals More Wine-Friendly

Don’t focus too much on the bird. There are lots of flavors on the plate!

Make your own cranberry sauce
“I love serving this side dish because it’s the best cranberry sauce recipe I’ve found for Thanksgiving wine pairing,” says Executive Chef Todd Knoll of Jordan Winery.

Don’t forget dessert
pair low-sugar blackberry cobbler with cabernet sauvignon


San Francisco has a new waterfront park

SF’s newest park is nothing like any other in the city. And that’s a good thing.
Crane Cove Park has opened in Mission Bay with picnic grounds,a grassy area, is dog friendly,  and has great views.
It was a vital home in the progression of modern shipbuilding, largely from 1884 to 1945
What perhaps makes the 7-acre park most special and divergent from other city parks is its small sandy beach that wades gently into the bay waters.
Crane Cove Park has sparked a robust paddleboard community.


There is no dearth of winter getaways in California, the Golden State of USA. Thanks to mild winter weather in most parts, there are plenty of places to visit in California in winter to escape that dreaded cold that grips most of the northern hemisphere. Besides the obvious choices of popular cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, there are several other winter destinations in California which offer a variety of activities for your enjoyment, be it wine tasting, dining al-fresco, relaxing on a beach, hiking, swimming, surfing, i.e. pretty much all the things you wish you did rather than being bundled up at home all the time.

As a California resident of 10+ years who has traveled quite a bit throughout the state, I hereby present 12 amazing warm(er) weather places in California that are perfect foils to a dreary winter and will spoil you with a variety of things to do, see and enjoy outdoors.

From small towns to (somewhat) lesser known cities and attractions, these are some of the best places to visit in California in December (or even January).

Support Local Restaurants For Thanksgiving!

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving 2020 in San Francisco

19 Feast-Worthy Los Angeles Restaurants for Thanksgiving

Tesla unveils ‘Tesla Tequila’ for $250, product sold-out on website

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk finally made good on his promise to sell “Tesla Tequila” – two years after teasing the effort in a tweet, and the $250 bottle quickly flew off the virtual shelf.

Musk tweeted the idea of ‘Teslaquila’ on April Fool’s day in 2018, which many of his followers thought was a joke

Tesla Tequila

Introducing Tesla Tequila, an exclusive, premium 100% de agave tequila aged in French oak barrels, featuring a dry fruit and light vanilla nose with a balanced cinnamon pepper finish.

San Diego Beer Week

A 10-day celebration, promoting more than 150 independent craft breweries in San Diego County. San Diego Beer Week is brought to you by the San Diego Brewers Guild with participation from the region’s local craft breweries, allied and affiliate members.

Taking place November 6-15, 2020, events are held throughout San Diego County at participating breweries, bars, restaurants and more!

San Diego is tops in the nation with more than 150 independent craft breweries

Lots of events with new releases, limited releases, collaboration beers, and beers of every kind.

Ron Howard film Rebuilding Paradise about the Paradise fire airs on Nat Geo Sunday

On the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, a devastating firestorm engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise, California. By the time the Camp Fire was extinguished, it had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents and destroyed 95% of local structures.

It was the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years — and the worst ever in California’s history.

REBUILDING PARADISE, from Academy Award-winning director RON HOWARD, is a moving story of resilience in the face of tragedy, as a community ravaged by disaster comes together to recover what was lost and begin the important task of rebuilding. Staffers Pick Their Favorite Instant Pot Recipes 

Beef barley soup
Mac and cheese
Lemongrass coconut chicken
Pork chile verde
Plus a few more things to try. I love my Instant Pot and these all sound great!

Silver Trident Winery Offers New Potato Chip Extravaganza

Silver Trident Winery is adding a new tasting experience – The Potato Chip Extravaganza. It features five different artisanal potato chips paired with five Silver Trident wines.

Winery founder Bob Binder came up with the idea while on a flight back to Napa Valley: “I was on the airplane drinking the standard screw-top mini-bottle of wine and crunching away on some potato chips and I found myself smiling. Hence the idea of the Potato Chip Extravaganza. Enjoying a nice glass of wine, crunching away on some potato chips and smiling. We could all use a bit more of that nowadays.”

Pinot Noir paired with Zapp’s Spicy Cajun Crawtators
Sauvignon Blanc with Route 11 Sour Cream & Chives
River Pinot Noir with Zapp’s Cajun Dill “Gator-Tators”
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Kettle Style salted potato chips enveloped in dark chocolate ‘bark.’ Silver Trident and Kollar Chocolates are Yountville neighbors and teamed up to pair world class wines and world class chocolate.

Want to Just Up and Move to Australia for a Year? It’s Surprisingly Easy

If you fit the criteria of being both American and under 30, you can apply online for the Working Holiday Visa as long as you pay $345 USD and submit any requested documents. Just make sure you’ve got a rough idea of your travel dates, as you’ll have exactly 12 months to enter Australia from the day you’re approved, and your visa clock starts as soon as you get there.

There’s Only One Right Way to Cook a Hot Dog And It’s Called ‘Hydrotoasting’

‘Hydrotoasting’—a term coined by Tony Fragogiannis, founder of The Brooklyn Hot Dog Company—produces a flavorful frank that’s juicy on the inside and the perfect balance of snappy and browned on the outside. Every. Time.

Guy Fieri produces new documentary about restaurants weathering the pandemic

Celebrity chef and Sonoma County resident Guy Fieri is executive producing a new documentary chronicling how the coronavirus pandemic has affected restaurants nationwide, according to Food Network.

“Restaurant Hustle 2020: All On The Line” is slated to premiere at the virtual DOC NYC festival in November and airs on the Food Network on Sunday, Dec. 27.

The film follows four restaurateurs ― Food Network stars Maneet Chauhan, Antonia Lofaso, Christian Petroni and Marcus Samuelsson ― as they’re forced to change their business models during the pandemic.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the impact on the restaurant industry was immediate,” Fieri told Food Network. “ ’Restaurant Hustle 2020: All On The Line’ provides a real and intimate first-hand look into the lives of four top restaurateurs navigate through it all.”

Flavanol-Rich Diet, Including Wine, Linked to Lower Blood Pressure

The results showed that high flavan-3-ol intake, specifically from tea, wine and apples, was associated with lower blood pressure. Kuhnle’s threshold for hypertension was 140 mm Hg (millimeter of mercury) for systolic blood pressure and 90 mm Hg for diastolic blood pressure.

The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Reading, Cambridge University and the University of California at Davis.

10/25/- 10/26 Red Flag Warning

A Red Flag Warning means warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger.

PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs PSPS in effect information on affected areas here

Napa’s newest tasting room is a fancy picnic set in a gothic fairy tale and just opened in Sept

Faust is a practitioner of a Wine Country hospitality style that might be best described as “fancy Millennial picnic”: a place where a group of friends can come for a leisurely, casual hangout with farm-to-table snacks and picturesque views.

Faust Wines

How To Roast Perfect Pumpkin Seeds For Halloween

You Can Zipline Over A Picturesque Vineyard And Sip On Delicious Wines At This Historic Ranch

Margarita Adventures’ “zip and sip” experience might just be your new favorite weekend activity. You’ll get the rush of soaring above Pinot Noir vines with breathtaking views of the Santa Margarita, then you’ll get to mull over the experience upon landing at Ancient Peaks Winery on Highway 58.

Oakland Zoo Boo At The Zoo
A safe, family-friendly ‘pink flamingo scavenger hunt’ look for costumed pink flamingos hidden throughout the Zoo.
Instead of trick or treating in the Zoo this year, we are safely handing out pre-stuffed goodie bags!

Charles Paddock Zoo Atascadero Virtual Halloween Costume Contest

Dress up in your cutest costume and come to the Zoo any time between October 17th and November 1st. Model it in front of our Halloween Photo-Op and send us a pic.

Santa Barbara Zoo Spooky Zoo

Grab your costumes and head to the Zoo for an outdoor Halloween spell-ebration! Discover frightfully fun decor and photo opps, all while visiting your favorite animals.

L.A. Zoo Drive-In Movie Nights 2020

Welcome to movies at the Zoo!
We’re proud to present our first-ever drive-in movie series, featuring cool themes, tasty movie-theater fare available through mobile ordering, and a special preshow video presentation with the Zoo’s biggest animal stars, trivia challenges, and more. This wildly wonderful nighttime experience offers safe, physically distanced fun for all ages and is produced in accordance with county and state health and safety guidelines.

Capacity is limited, and sell-out is expected!

Saturday, October 24 – The Lorax (2012, PG) SOLD OUT
Sunday, October 25 – Lake Placid (1999, R)

Thursday, October 29 – Clue (1985, PG)
Friday, October 30 – Goosebumps (2015, PG)
Saturday, October 31 – The Addams Family (2019, PG)
Sunday, November 1 – Poltergeist (1982, PG-13)

Beer and Wine animal benefits

Harpoon’s New Beer Allows You to Help the Adorable (and Adoptable) Dogs on the Can
The annual Dogtoberfest helps you do good and drink a delicious beer while you’re at it.

One dollar for every four-pack of beer sold will go towards helping dogs at the Lucy Mckenzie Humane Society and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA).

Chateau La Paws

In tribute to our founder’s love of dogs, we have revitalized the Chateau La Paws wine brand from Rosenblum Cellars. Located in the heart of the wine-growing region of Central California, we wanted to create a brand that would not only taste great as an affordable everyday wine, but give back to a cause that is close to our hearts – no kill shelters

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Courtesy Mayank Istwal, executive chef, Musaafer by The Spice Route Co., Houston

The cuisine at Musaafer, a new and notable spot in Houston, is inspired by the culinary diversity across all of India’s states. Chef Mayank Istwal developed this seasonal soup recipe for the home kitchen. Though he prefers to garnish with pumpkin-seed brittle and pumpkin mousse, pumpkin seeds and purée work almost as well.

10 of Our Favorite Northern California Wines for Less Than $30

…in general, when targeting a particular price range, look for wines with smaller, county-wide appellations or regional AVAs to give yourself an edge. Mendocino County reds and Chardonnays, and Lake County Sauvignon Blancs are good examples. The North Coast AVA is not well known but this multicounty appellation encompassing Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake and Marin Counties—is likely going to produce a better Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot than a California-appellated wine at the same price.

The northern part of California’s vast and fertile Central Valley is another place to remember. Lodi, Clarksburg and River Junction are better-than-average regions within the big valley due to the cooling effect of the river delta they border. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, red blends and, increasingly, unsung whites like Albariño and Chenin Blanc from here are worth seeking out.

see the list here

The Coolest Hikes, Bike Trails and Parks in California, According to Winemakers

Winemakers are an adventurous bunch who love getting out into the natural world, and not just to spend time in the vineyard. Surrounded by northern California’s beautiful nature preserves and miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, most Napa or Sonoma producers will openly gush about more than a few favorite trails and outdoor retreats. Read on to see how they get away from it all.

This Bankrupt Pizza Chain May Be Gone for Good

California Pizza Kitchen saw its sales drop 77% by the end of March as restaurants across the country were forced to close their doors earlier this year amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The struggling pizza chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July, joining a long list of major restaurant chains which have filed for bankruptcy during the pandemic.

An auction to sell the company’s assets was canceled in early October after there were “no qualified bidders,” according to Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN). Before bankruptcy and the pandemic took their toll on the pizza chain, California Pizza Kitchen had already reached out to 61 parties about a potential sale, four of which sent “indications of interest and/or proposals.” Could this mean the bankrupt pizza chain may be gone for good?

Facebook message from Buena Vista Winery

We are honoring & celebrating today the incredible life of our friend Charles Sullivan…historian and writer who has been a fabulous inspiration to all of us through his passion of history & wine… Among all the many great books written like ‘The Napa History”, Charles wrote with us “The History of Sonoma & Buena Vista Winery”…a magical memory to the heritage of the wine culture in California, its sense of pioneering new territories and where it really all started….a must read !

Charles, through his works gave us knowledge, confidence & profoundness…each of his books & great essays will forever change the world & have a deep impact on how we relate to the past, present & future…
To Charles, who reached total enlightenment & who will be eternal in peoples’ mind & libraries.

All our condolences & prayers are with the Sullivan family.


#sonoma #winehistory #charlessullivan

1 California City Among Money’s Best Places To Live In 2020

Sacramento suburb Roseville ranked #45 out of communities on this year’s list.
The publication then analyzed 115 separate data points on each community’s economy, housing market, education system, employment, weather and more.

A Napa Winery Is Turning Smoke-Tainted Grapes into Brandy

A lot of Napa grapes won’t be picked this year because of the smoke from the recent fires.

Hoopes Winery hopes it has found a creative solution to smoke tainted grapes.
The idea goes back to the 2017 Napa fires.

Lindsey Hoopes says “I had a feeling something interesting could be made from smoke and grapes; they are two flavor profiles I love,”

The Hoopes brandy is still in barrels and should be released next year.

Hotels want remote workers, parents to pack their bags

Work from Hyatt

Head to a hotel and get a workspace that’s either a separate, private space or a complimentary second guestroom. Enjoy things like complimentary or discounted laundry services, high-speed Wi-Fi internet access.

Hyatt’s Andaz in downtown Napa has booked workers from tech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, plus a teacher who made Andaz her virtual classroom.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, in the town of Sonoma has a “School & Pool” offer

The 25 Best LA Pizza Places

Over 100 Commercial Beer Clone Recipes From the Breweries Themselves

Ballast Point Brewing San Diego $99 2.5 gallon starter kit

10 California Pumpkin Patches You Can Still Visit In 2020

Make Strawberry Ice Cream in a Ziplock Bag

It’s easy! It works! It’s science!

Combine ice and salt in a gallon Ziplock bag; set aside.

Combine half and half, sugar, vanilla, and strawberries in a quart Ziploc bag; seal tightly. Place quart bag inside gallon bag; seal.

Cover gallon bag in a kitchen towel.

Shake vigorously until half and half mixture is thick and chilled, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from bag to serve.

recipe and ingredients

New Discovery Channel show CAL FIRE

In the series, multiple camera crews have been embedded with Cal Fire’s frontline firefighters across the state – from Shasta in the North to San Diego in the South for the past three months, deploying cutting edge technology including fire-resistant helmet cameras to bring viewers an ultra-immersive perspective on the blazes. Crews had to undergo “Red Flag” training and were equipped with special protective gear in order to accompany the firefighters on the fire lines. During California’s most destructive fire season ever, Cal Fire has deployed all of its 7,000 firefighters, and the worst is likely yet to come as they prepare for the fast-approaching Santa Ana wind season in Southern California. With more than 3.5 million acres burned, 6000 homes destroyed, and more than two dozen lives lost, Cal Fire is waging war on the catastrophic fires.

Episodes will be available each week this year on the Discovery GO app

Xfinity On Demand

and you can watch here

Times Square New Year’s Eve Goes Virtual Due To Coronavirus

The ball drop has taken place almost every year since 1907

For the first time in more than a century, crowds will not flock to Times Square for New Year’s Eve this year, organizers of the annual event said Wednesday, announcing that the pandemic will force the ball drop to become a mostly virtual occasion — with some limited in-person components.

Movie Theaters Reopening At 25 Percent Capacity

Reopening rules say 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
Other health safety protocols that Cinemark has put into place include once tickets are purchased two seats immediately to the left and right are blocked from sale
tickets are sold only in every other row.

Face masks and gloves are required for all employees.
Auditoriums are sanitized after each show.
Moviegoers are required to wear masks unless eating or drinking.

Light a candle don’t curse the darkness!

Eater guide on ways to help make 2020 better

“The Ultimate Source For Ways To Give Back”

The Eater LA Guide on How to Help
The projects, groups, and organizations that are addressing food insecurity in light of COVID-19

information on

Mutual Aid Groups

Volunteer Opportunities

Hunger Relief: Food Banks, Food Rescue, and Food Pantries

Worker and Restaurant Relief

Drink Wine with NBA Stars in This Virtual Tasting Series
talking—and tasting—with five current and former NBA players on Zoom: J.J. Redick, Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce, Kevin Love, and Kyle Kuzma

Each 1 hour session will allow wine-loving basketball fans not only to listen in to the discussion, but also ask questions and even taste along by purchasing corresponding wine packages from the Acker website.

Creative Ideas for Romantic SF area Lunch or Dinner

Drive thru Taco Bell in Pacifica on the beach!
Cheese and more from Cowgirl Creamery and wine from the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant
Mel’s Drive-In car hop service
Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay
Swan Oyster Depot San Francisco

Del Mar Dine on the Deck

We’ll provide the sunset. You provide the tablecloth.
Bring your own tablecloths and a meal from one of Del Mar’s many eateries to enjoy at one of 16 tables on the Del Mar Civic Center courtyard.

The program is set to run Thursdays through Oct. 9
Guests can reserve a table for a maximum of six people
All must be from the same household
Two seating periods: 4 to 6 and 6:30 to 8

Tables and restrooms will be cleaned between seating sessions to create a safe space to enjoy a great view and fine meal.

Sam Adams and Auntie Anne’s Collaborated on an At-Home Oktoberfest Kit

The Oktoberfest at Home Kit is now on sale, complete with beer and DIY pretzels.

Despite the name, Oktoberfest actually starts in September (the main event in Munich typically lasts from mid- to late September until the first Sunday in October), so it’s nearly time to celebrate.

The kit includes a six-pack of Samuel Adams OctoberFest beer, an Auntie Anne’s DIY pretzel kit, four hats, four koozies, four suspenders, two steins, curated Oktoberfest-inspired recipes, and more. You can purchase the kit online for $89 starting Monday, Sept. 14 (while supplies last), just in time to celebrate the annual event.

Solvang’s Lost Chord Guitars

One of the positive aspects of life in the midst of the lockdown was the recent release of a long-labored-over project, a special Jeff Bridges model acoustic guitar, created by master craftsman Tom Bedell and his acclaimed, boutique Breedlove Guitar brand. The custom instrument, made from myrtle wood and bearing Bridges’s axiomatic motto “All in This Together” on the fretboard, is a model sold through Lost Chord, with partial proceeds going to the Amazon Conservation Team, “so we are helping out the lungs of the Earth,”


…Modern Times / Stone Wizards & Gargoyles Hazy Coffee IPA is an achievement of collaborative awesomeness between two San Diego craft beer trailblazers. Both teams are hop fanatics, so the classics alone wouldn’t do. Centennial, Cashmere, Citra and Azacca hops are joined by two in-development hops. Altogether, these yield juicy notes of tropical citrus that play beautifully with the robust flavors and aromas of the coffee. And we’re not going to be vague about this “coffee” either. The Modern Times blend of Ethiopia Dame Dabaye and Guatemala Huehuetenango features bright blueberry and melon character underscored by decadent notes of toffee and dark chocolate.

Best Tasting Room: Corner 103 in Sonoma, California

Lloyd Davis, founder of Corner 103, created this Sonoma tasting room for all those people out there who might feel a little intimidated by the wine world. The staff ensure an educational and comfortable tasting experience that includes wines from Corner 103 and the rest of the Sonoma County American Viticulture Areas.

Paso Robles Harvest Update
Is harvest early? Maybe by a week, but at this point most reports are saying that fruit is progressing nicely with acids up, forecasting a possible freshness in the finished wines of 2020

Aaron Wines, Aaron Jackson, Owner/Winemaker
Overall, crop loads look rather generous, much like the past few vintages, and quality looks to be very high.

Napa Valley Vintners explain why there is a night harvest

It keeps the vineyard crews safer than picking during the high heat of the day
It gives the crews a longer time to work without worrying about heating up the grapes which results in oxidation of the grapes
The cooler grapes result in better concentrated flavors and more consistent sugar levels, resulting in a higher quality fermentation

more at

Bay Area residents flock to Sonoma County, boosting home prices to record high
If you can work from home work from a nicer home in wine country!

Local real estate agents say the demand is in large part driven by buyers from San Francisco, the East Bay, Silicon Valley and even the Central Coast. That’s pushed Sonoma County’s median existing home price up 10% in July from a year ago, to an all-time high of $720,000

In July, sales of single-family houses in the county soared 36% from the same time last year.

Tunity an app to take to a Sports Bar or to use at home or anywhere to hear a muted tv

Tunity it’s free and is used for hearing TV audio. So if you are at a sports bar you use the app to listen to the audio on your phone through earbuds.
Maybe airports or even at home.
What’s the catch? Uses data on your plan It has ads on the free version

Your personal safety checklist for Bay Area outdoor dining during coronavirus

This Coffee Frappé Recipe Is a Delicious Way to Curb Your Starbucks Addiction

Star Trek Adds Two New Limited Edition Wines to Its Fleet

Oakland Restaurant Week

LA Restaurant Week The 34 Best Labor Day BBQ Recipes, So Summer Never Has to End

Labor Day: Which beaches are open around the Bay Area

Lifeguards anticipate busy holiday weekend in San Diego amid heat wave

Orange County Beaches Open Over Labor Day Weekend



All Monterey Bay beaches close for Labor Day weekend

Hot Rice with Cool Tomatoes

This very simple dish is remarkably satisfying, especially if you can walk outside and snag cherry tomatoes from your garden. If you don’t finish it all, it’s also quite good the next day, chilled.

Wildfire smoke is already risking 2020 wines

There is little scientific consensus about the details of how smoke taint works, and it’s often difficult to gauge whether it’s even present or not. Many laboratories test for only a few of the compounds that can contribute to it. Sometimes, a wine may taste fine initially, but smoke-taint compounds can become volatile as a result of fermentation or aging, revealing themselves later.

Dine LA Restaurant Week

Enjoy special lunch and dinner menus at nearly 300 restaurants. During the Summer 2020 event, in addition to on-site dining, we’ve added menu options for take-out and delivery.

There are no tickets or passes required for dineL.A. Restaurant Week. Simply dine out at a participating restaurant, ask for the dineL.A. Restaurant Week menu.

LA’s Battered Dining Scene Hopes for a Shot in the Arm With DineLA Restaurant Week

All Santa Barbara County Beaches Closed to Stationary Activity for Labor Day Weekend

Physical Activities Still Permitted Under Newly Announced COVID Restrictions

Anyone hoping to sizzle their skin into a fine shade of bacon over this coming Labor Day weekend had best find someplace to do it other than the beach. Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg announced that all county beaches would be closed for next week’s Labor Day weekend from Friday to Monday to anyone hoping to luxuriate in the sun, eat, drink, or otherwise just lie out and perhaps even read a trashy book. In other words, no chairs, beach umbrellas, or barbecues will be allowed.

That’s not to say the beaches are totally off-limits. People hoping to surf, swim, boogie-board, toss footballs, jog, play fetch, or even have a long romantic walk at sunset will be allowed, just so long as they keep moving. Likewise, all City of Santa Barbara beaches will be shut down with all the same stipulations.

Napa County rural bar survives Hennessey wildfire

As flames spread the afternoon of Aug. 18 around the intersection of Highway 128 at Knoxville Road, it didn’t look good for the Turtle Rock Bar and Cafe.

By around 2:30 p.m., the longtime rural hangout was in the cross-hairs of the Hennessey Fire.

“It was just us” at that point, recalled Pete Leung, the bar’s owner.

There were no fire crews or helicopters on site yet, and the winds were blowing about 40 mph, said Leung on Aug. 19. “The wind and smoke was coming right at us.”

“The Turtle Rock motel (across the street) looked like it was catching on fire,” Leung said. He was very much afraid that if that went up in flames, his bar would be next.

But Leung, 43, was determined to save his family business.

And he had one big advantage: his own 2,600-gallon water tank, pump and fire hoses. The equipment was installed after the 2017 wildfires hit the area, he said.

Exclusive look: Inside what is left of California’s historic Big Basin State Park in the heart of Bay Area wildfires

BOULDER CREEK — The headquarters buildings at Big Basin Redwoods State Park are all burned to rubble, but the vast majority of the park’s famed ancient giant redwoods are still upright — although many are no longer standing quite as tall, two journalists from this news organization confirmed Thursday.

It took a nearly five-mile hike through the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains to reach what remained of California’s oldest state park after the CZU Lightning Complex wildfire was through with it. They found scattered among the tall trees some fallen giants. One, found just before the headquarters and with a base more than a dozen feet across, had burned and shattered, sending the massive trunk crashing to the ground, where it lay in a deathbed of ash and blackened undergrowth.


The National Park Service has reopened visits to Alcatraz

Now is your chance to explore Alcatraz Island without the usual crowds and in time to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the influential Occupation of Alcatraz by Indians of All Tribes.

Due to COVID-19, outdoor areas will be open for a small number of visitors each day.

This is a self-guided experience as staff led tours are currently not offered. Visitors will be able to experience the windswept Island and learn about its layered history through outdoor interpretive signs, a free Discovery Guide and digital Apps with historical information, stories, and more. Rangers will be stationed around the Island to assist visitors and answer questions.

Movie theater trade group establishes coronavirus protocols for reopening

AMC is only selling to 30% capacity, which in this location meant about 25 people per screen. Each film only gets two screenings a day to give employees ample time to clean. And showtimes are also being staggered to help prevent too many people from congregating in the lobby.

New movies are soon to follow, though, which the theaters are counting on for survival. Disney’s much-delayed “New Mutants” will debut on Aug. 28 and Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” will follow soon after, with some screenings as early as Aug. 31.

Recipe Link: Memphis Style Dry Rub Ribs

Memphis ribs are world famous because of their famous origins. They hearken back to a side alley in Memphis in the 1940s when the now legend Charlie Vergos opened up his spot, Rendevous. Charlie’s ribs were unique. Grilled at a higher temperature, spritzed or mopped often, and seasoned liberally with his secret, signature dry rub seasoning.

Nowadays, many pitmasters in Memphis have added their take on the “Memphis style” rib and their recipes are more unique and varied. You can even specify how you want your ribs in most Memphis BBQ spots. You’ll order the ribs and the person taking your order will ask “wet or dry”. That means do you want your ribs wet: slathered with sauce, or dry: sprinkled with more of their tasty dry rub.

How to Plan the Perfect Car-Camping Date

Camping can either be a romantic night out in nature or the worst date ever (think The Parent Trap or Backcountry). We all prefer the former, but that takes the right equipment and a lot of planning. Some gear is optional—a date can still be saved without a table or slippers—but lacking other necessities will make your experience less than ideal. Forgetting matches or having your only lighter break makes for a cold night and potentially no dinner.

…car camping allows for a really romantic date. For years I focused on perfecting the kit in my trunk to create date-night-quality romance from the comfort of a tent in the Sierra. Here are step-by-step instructions for having the best time possible and equipping yourself with the tools you’ll need to make it happen.


10 Top-Rated American IPAs, from Session Beers to Hazies

97 POINTS Firestone Walker Flyjack – Hazy India Pale Ale

A session IPA that boasts just 96 calories, this has all the flavor of a full IPA, as one would expect from this revered hop-forward brewery. It is a lively combination of citrus and spearmint that leaves the palate cool and refreshed. Perfect for a hot afternoon in the backyard, there is a cracker-like malt backbone that brings the beer into balance.

The Firestone Beer Taproom Restaurant is open in Paso Robles for outdoor dining and take out

Paso Robles cabernet wines with top scores from Wine EnthusiastJ. Lohr 2016 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles); $100 – 97 points. Cellar Selection
Daou 2017 Soul of a Lion Cabernet Sauvignon (Adelaida District); $125 – 95 points
Vina Robles 2017 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles); $26 – 93 points. Editors’ Choice

Nine All-American Grenache Rosés

California rosé I bought last week

2019 Fiftyrow Old Vine Valdeguié Rosé

2019 Raymond Sonoma County Rosé

2017 Laird Family Sparkling Brut Rosé

2017 Hoopes Rosé Napa Valley

2019 Elizabeth Rose Rosé

2019 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon – Pink They are donating a portion of the sale of each bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon Pink to the medical support personnel who are working hard for us every day!

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle secretly buy family home in Santa Barbara

Recipe: Texas Brisket

Coat with yellow mustard and apply a 2 to 1 black pepper and salt rub

mix in some Post Oak wood to your fire and cook at 250 degrees

At 170 degrees wrap in butcher paper and put it back on bbq

At 200 – 205 take it off and let it rest for at least 2 or up to 4 hours until it gets to 140 degrees then slice across grain to serve!

10 scenic waterfront restaurants open in the Bay Area right now

Alaska Air adds San Diego – Santa Barbra route. The flights will begin Nov. 20

Napa County’s hidden destination: Will Lake Berryessa’s future shine again?

RV destination search at RV Camping At 1175+ Wineries, Breweries, Farms and More! A membership network that invites self-contained RVers to stay overnight for free

Harvest host Christian Ahlmann co-owns Six Sigma Ranch, a 40,300-acre working ranch and winery in Lower Lake, California, with his family, and they’ve been welcoming HH guests for several years. In the beginning, says Ahlmann, they offered just two spots for RVers: flattened-out gravel stretches large enough to accommodate any size RV out there. Now the property is home to six “official” spaces, as well as an area by the winery for overflow on especially busy nights, which are fairly frequent these days. “A few of the sites are also down by the creek and out by the barn,” Ahlmann says,