Thursday, March 24, 2016

Some insights on the book, and the author of WINERIES OF THE SIERRA FOOTHILLS

Antoinette May, mentor of many authors and a founder of the Gold Rush Writers yearly conference, wrote about many authors who are local, or writing about local topics.  The full article is here   This tidbit falls near the end of the article in the Sierra Lodestar, a publication of the Calaveras Enterprise...

"Lest you think that all the writing around here is fiction, there’s more. “Wineries of the Sierra Foothills” is a guidebook, both elegant and extensive. (Expect a lot more than sherry!)  Author Barbara Keck’s provocative subtitle is, “Risk-Takers and Rule-Breakers.”
“My academic background includes an MBA from Harvard Business School,” Keck said. “I look at the business world through the lens of risk and reward. There’s a joke in the wine industry: ‘How do you make a small fortune in the wine business?’ The answer is, ‘You start with a large fortune.’”
Each of Keck’s 21 informative and engrossing chapters looks at a different aspect of risk, be it financial, agricultural, product-oriented or marketing-related and all of them includes a signature recipe.
“But,” she said, “it wasn’t until I went to the Gold Rush Writers Conference last year that I got off my duff and made a lifelong dream come true – writing and publishing a book.”Keck has been a wine columnist for the past eight years. She said she loves wine, but she also loves good stories.
So does she have a favorite wine?
Smiling, she demurs, “That would have to be the wine that combines experience with a winery, admiration for a winemaker and something that is really yummy without killing my pocketbook. That’s what I encourage a wine drinker to look for. There are plenty of great wines in the Sierra foothills. And, in my estimation, wine drinkers should look no further.”

For more information on the book, go to the website:    There is also an online store there from which you can purchase the book  ($19.95) and a preview of many pages from the book

Sunday, March 20, 2016

ART & WINE: Lexi Boeger Creates in Many Media, on display at Boeger Winery in Placerville EL DORADO COUNTY

The sake cups created by Lexi Boeger are an extension of her creative ventures; available at the Boeger winery tasting room, priced $8-40.  

Lexi is an artist and writer with a wide range of interests, currently pursuing many “mediums, materials, modes and adventures,” she says, “going where there is energy and excitement.” 

Lexi built a world-wide reputation as a fiber artist, hand spinning yarns and incorporating other textiles into her works.  Rumor has it that some of these creations will be on display in her studio on the Boeger winery property during the upcoming El Dorado Passport Weekends.  

Reach her via the contact button on her blog: 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

WINE ROAD-WARRIOR: Jess Havill of Bella Grace Vineyards AMADOR COUNTY

WINE ROAD-WARRIOR:  Jess Havill is Director of Sales for Bella Grace Vineyards, which has a vineyard and wine cave in Plymouth, and also a tasting room in Sutter Creek, both located in AMADOR COUNTY.  

Jess makes “a couple dozen” road trips a year, generally on the road twice a month.  

The winery produces about 7500 cases, and counts Old Vine Zinfandel and Barbera among its Landmark wines.  

For more information on Bella Grace, go to

Monday, March 14, 2016


This “Day of the Dead” image, an 11x14 giclée print entitled "Dama De Rojo, is a limited edition print priced at $175 by artist/illustrator Saul Serna. 

Saul’s work for Bodega Del Sur Winery (Murphys, CALAVERAS COUNTY) is aligned with the Latin themed tasting room and currently focusses on skeletons per the “Dia De Los Muertos” holiday. 

Despite a demanding career in the tech industry, he has been creating art for many years. An inspiring trip to Mexico City in 2006 unlocked his creativity after seeing murals by famous political Mexican muralists, David Alfaro Siqueros, Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, and José Clemente Orozco at the “Castillo De Chapultepec” and “Bellas Artes”. 

A variety of limited edition prints by Saul are available at the tasting roon, This print shown became the prototype for a Bodega Del Sur label for their Merlot.  

“When I visit Evelyn in the Bodega del Sur tasting room, I like to sip her Cabernet Sauvignon,”  Saul notes. He is also a Wine Club member at the winery.  

Saturday, March 12, 2016

WINE ROAD-WARRIOR: Chris Leamy, Terra d'Oro/Montevina, AMADOR COUNTY

WINE ROAD-WARRIOR Chris Leamy, winemaker at Terra d'Oro, Plymouth, AMADOR COUNTY, poured their 2014 Deaver Vineyard Zinfandel at the ZAP tasting in San Francisco on January 27. 

To promote their Sierra Foothills wines, Chris makes six trips a year, usually lasting a full week each, once a month from January through June. 

Chris has been in the wine business for over 19 years, first at Sebastiani, and now for the last 16 years at Terra d'Oro. He's helped the winery achieve nationwide distribution.

Friday, March 11, 2016

STARFIELD VINEYARDS: Action Photo of the Week


Pruning has been going on in the Sierra Foothills for a while, how much and where is very dependent on the locale. 

At Starfield Vineyards near Jacquier Road in Placerville, EL DORADO COUNTY, tempranillo vines received the loving touch recently.

Starfield -- well, we are starting to hear about it a bit now -- but the plans for a mass of rhodendendrons and daffodils, a Lake Pavillion and and event area, a new winery -- are afoot. It will be another year until Grand Opening, but we will keep you abreast of developments.

For more information, go to

Thursday, March 10, 2016


"California, Where Wonders Never Cease", an 11”x11” collage, is now on display and for sale in the tasting room at Andis Wines, 11000 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, AMADOR COUNTY.  

This piece  which sells for $175, was created by Anje Olmstead, Fine Artist. 

Anje’s favorite Andis wine is the Sparkling Wine, a delicious, Champagne-style wine made from Chardonnay with a touch of fruit.  

Anje has been an exhibiting artist for 35 years. Her mediums have ranged from watercolor Pointillism, tapestry art to mosaic collage. Anje's early work can be found in the "Encyclopedia of Living Artists in America."  Many of her works are on display at the Sutter Creek Gallery.

For more information and to view other examples of her work, go to

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

WINE ROAD WARRIOR: Jane O'Riordan, Terre Rouge-Easton Wines

In honor of International Women's Day, I'm giving a shout-out to this WINE ROAD-WARRIOR. And I'm hoping to see more women in the wine business (in the interest of inclusivity, men welcome too...)

JANE O'RIORDAN, co-owner of Terre Rouge/Easton Wines: AMADOR COUNTY, has road-warrior duties particularly in Southern CA and Colorado. Although the winery has a full time national sales manager, Jane steps in and lends a hand when winemaker and co-owner Bill Easton is busy making wine. Jane is also a talented chef and her travels often provide new inspiration for the special foods served at winery events.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Sierra Foothills Wineries and ZINFEST; Barbera Festival Queues up Next!

Zinfandel was the star at ZAP's Zinfest Grand Tasting in San Francisco on Feb 27, but a clear subtext was the presence of so many Sierra Foothills wineries. Twelve (12) Sierra Foothills wineries constituted 10 percent of the Zin producers... and Cork Dork Radio's host was happy to hear about the burgeoning wine scene in the Sierra Foothills.

Barbara Keck, author, rounded up a group of Sierra Foothills winemakers present there at Zinfest to talk about both Zinfandel and the upcoming Barbera Festival too. 

The Cork Dork Radio show airs on March 9 and you'll see a link to it next week. 

Left to right: Chris Leamy (Terra d'Oro/Montevina), Joe Shebl (Renwood Winery), Barbara Keck ("Wineries of the Sierra Foothills" book), Adam Montiel (Cork Dork Radio co-host), Jana Harvey (Scott Harvey Wines), Jeremy West (Cork Dork Radio co-host) and Kevin Riley of Proulx Wine of Paso Robles.