Unlike our last virtual destination to Italy’s Amalfi Coast for Aperol spritz and lemon motifs, in this edition we’re staying stateside. Join us across the US for a sensorial tour of California’s famed Wine Country. The lifestyle of wine making and those who study and appreciate it is both mysterious and accessible, gritty yet luxurious. Dwayne Bergmann, like most of us, enjoys a glass of vino just about any time, but Napa Valley hold more than just wine in its aged barrels. Discover how to capture the history, casual elegance, and undeniable design influence of the must-see destination at home.

Nothing makes you feel quite so relaxed as a crisp, chilled glass or two of wine on a balmy Southwest Florida summer night. But before you pour your next glass, treat yourself to some entertaining and useful context about your favorite wind down beverage. With countless movies, documentaries, books, and websites devoted to the craft of wine making, Dwayne touts the Somm series on Amazon Prime as the most comprehensive snapshot into the vast world of wine. The insight into the complexities that go into producing, evaluating, pairing, and buying wine offers a whole new appreciation for the final result in your glass. Consider taking an online course or look for local restaurants or wine shops that offer tastings. It’s an education that will continue to serve you, as you learn to identify what you like, what to look for, and thus enriching your experience sip after sip. Specific to California Wine Country, the industry was rooted in the ethos of not taking life too seriously, but rather enjoying the ride. Taking a page out of Bottleshock, the true story of the first California wine to win a blind taste test against French wine, it doesn’t take pedigree to appreciate good wine.

Close your eyes and picture the perfectly uniformed rows of grape vines, endlessly blanketing the hillsides, basking in the California sun. As you’re strolling past row after row, you finally see the estate house emerge from between the trees. Earthen tones, sweeping archways, cavernous ceilings, time-worn wood, and natural stone juxtapose modern floor to ceiling windows and perfectly manicured grounds overlooking the vineyards. Napa and Sonoma, two of the counties that comprise California’s wine country, sit where rustic meets luxury. The rolling hills are dotted with converted farmhouses, cathedral-like estates, and ultra-sleek structures that blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living. The key to capturing the look of this stunning setting is restraint and purity. Allowing natural elements to speak for themselves is a practice seen throughout the region, including and most especially its byproducts.

Bring Sonoma home with a Cali Wine Country-inspired fete for family and friends. All you’ll need is an assortment of wines, at least 2 red and two white, along with a selection of bites to enjoy along the way. As a centerpiece, a simple garland of leaves makes an elegant statement. Wood and stone serveware pair beautifully with delicate stemware. Display uniform glasses in front of each guest and consider asking your wine merchant for their advice on when to open and how to serve each selection, as you may need a decanter as well. If you’re attending a wine tasting party as a guest, hello housewarming gift! As a rule of thumb according to the CA Wine Club, “Beef and other rich meats, like duck, love high tannin wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon. Lighter meats, like Pork or even Tuna, are complemented by Pinot Noir. Acidic foods, like goat cheese, pair well with acidic wines, like Sauvignon Blanc. Rich dishes can benefit from either the contrast of a high acid wine that cleanses the palate, like Pinot Noir, or a rich, buttery Chardonnay the complements the flavors.” Serving up a variety of dishes? Pair with a sparkling wine, dry rose or Pinot Noir for a complimentary sipping experience. There are countless wine tasting resources online, but Dwayne highly recommends Masterclass for a fun and informative event. You’ll learn to listen to your palette to identify notes and walk away with a whole new appreciation for the art of enjoying wine.


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