A view to the Pacific from CA RTE 46 

Driving Rte 46 from Paso Robles towards Cayucos, you will see several mountain vistas–stop and enjoy the view! Fog was rolling in from the ocean, creating a beautiful layer of clouds between the water and the sky…

These pockets of microclimates are incredibly important for growing grapes, and the temperature between inland and the coast often differs by twenty degrees–Paso might be at 101 degrees Fahrenheit, but Cayucos on the ocean might be in the mid 70’s range. Location is everything! 


FLX Rosé in SLO, CA

Something wonderful showed up in SLO, California for me the other day…a box. A box from the Finger Lakes. A box for me, full of wine! A delivery of happy from Ian Barry and family, proprietors of Barry Family Cellars in Burdett, NY…Grapes that I helped hand harvest, the fall before we left the Finger Lakes, now bottled and ready to drink….Chardonnay, Riesling….and of course, the 2016 Rosé of Cabernet Franc…because Rosé is my JAM, and Ian knows that! Lucky Boozy woman that I am…

Barry Family Cellars 2016 Rosé of Cabernet Franc is a light, dry, slightly floral, herbaceous, fruity delight. Pairs beautifully with flavors of tart juicy strawberry and red fruit, bright acidity, and a clean crisp finish. Lovely with a picnic by the pool, at the beach, or on the lake.  It was absolutely a perfect match to my spicy Thai Green Curry with chicken–tempered the heat and still held up with a lovely finish. This is a smaller batch wine, so, if you’re in the Finger Lakes, get thee to Barry! You won’t be sorry, and say hi for me…I miss those crazy guys! 3821 Main Street, in tiny Burdett, NY…garagiste winemaking at its best 🍷

BoozyLife is On the Road

We have left the snow and cold of the Finger Lakes for the sunshine and surf of San Luis Obispo, CA! 

Currently, our big ole RV is in New Mexico–tomorrow, I will be hitting a bucket list tasting at Caduceus Cellars in Jerome, AZ. For those that aren’t in the know–Maynard James Keenan of Tool, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle, master of ceremonies and creator of much of the soundtrack of my life is also the owner and hands on winemaker. Homework–check out the movie Blood into Wine about Maynard’s love of AZ viticulture 💀🍷

Harvest in the Finger Lakes 2016

Well, that’s pretty much it! Harvest 2016, for the Finger Lakes wine area of upstate NY, is in the bag. Winemakers are busy in the cellars, but the backbreaking labor of bringing in the fruit is over. 

Watkins sunset on Seneca


The drought of summer 2016, along with hot late summer temperatures, created a harvest situation different than in years past. Usually, whites ripen first, and there is a window of staggered time to pick the grapes. This year, almost every variety was ready to pick at once, creating a push for helping hands–as well as a more aggressive grape seller’s market. Winemakers that buy grapes had to make fast decisions or be priced out to the next highest bidder. ‘Time crunch’ was the big term of this year’s harvest. 

riesling ready to go


I had the opportunity once again to get my hands dirty and hand pick for a few different, local, smaller FLX grape growers. First-hand knowledge of grapes and fields make for a more educated taster and pourer of wines, so I take the chance where and when I can. 


I exclusively hand picked on Seneca Lake this year-Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. As always, I learned so much from the people I worked with, the experience alone was worth the labor put in. Long hours, little pay (mostly), but you really get out of it what you put into it, and the access you get to the winemakers will absolutely change how you think about making (and drinking!) wine.

Even Master Somm’s sort grapes in the FLX


Look for 2016 vintage FLX reds as well to be exceptional–the extensive drought and heat really created an intense, smaller crop of beautiful fruit. I’ll be back in NY from California next year to try some of the Rieslings, Cabernet Francs, and Gewurtztraminers, that I helped pick, for sure…

WineBloggers Conference 2016, Lodi, California 

I’m currently sitting in Syracuse airport, starting the journey to Lodi, California! Hundreds of wine and lifestyle writers will be spending this weekend exploring local wines, farm to table foods, and networking–and BoozyLife will be one of them! 

WBC2016 looks to be a very informative and fun weekend….you can follow along right here, live time on Twitter @boozylife, on my FB BoozyLife page…and look for some Periscope videos on @BoozyLife, because why the hell not 🍷😎🍾 #SeeYouInLodi

Adirondack Wine & Food Festival, Lake George NY 

Lake George, NY

The last few months of our lives have been insane, and that is absolutely why the husband and I needed a day trip out of Ithaca! Thanks to Lenn and New York Cork Report, I was gifted a pair of tickets for a day at the Adirondack Wine and Food Festival in Lake George (ADK FEST LAKE GEORGE LINK)–excellent opportunity for a day trip, so we hit the road on a sunny Finger Lakes Saturday morning for a three hour escape to Lake George and the Adirondacks.

Lake George, NY is a quaint, picturesque town in the Northeast of NY that comes alive Memorial Day-Labor Day: cottages, restaurants, boaters, and mini golf are the main things I recall from my youth, I spent a bit of time in elementary school at a friend’s lake cottage in the village–bbq’s, lake swimming, and dock jumping, mostly…but I randomly remember a Paul Bunyan mini golf course, and rainy days of complete, excruciating boredom.img_5080-1

My first reaction to a Food and Wine fest in Lake George was  initially surprise; would that little town attract enough wine lovers to make it an actual festival, or more of a little gatherings? There were over 60 vendors in attendance, from wineries, distillers, cideries, breweries, food trucks, and local artisans selling products ranging from goat milk soap and local cheeses all the way to fresh cut, organic potato chips and baked goods. Saturday looked like a sell out, and the crowds were enjoying the weather, the fresh air, and everything that the vendors had to offer. Long lines were friendly, and almost always worth the wait.

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Lake George, NY

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Lake George, NY

Right through the gate, we saw the booth pouring for Hudson Chatham Winery. I met winery co-owner Carlo DeVito at a Taste Camp event in the Hudson Valley two years ago, and am always on the lookout for their fantastic Old Vine Baco Noir. I had a chance to taste the 2014 vintage, which was absolutely one of my favorite wines of the afternoon…dark berry color, lots of body, and a smooth, lingering finish.

imageFinger Lakes wineries pouring included Americana Vineyards, Sweedish Hill, Goose Watch, Tug Hill, Miles Wine Cellars, and Three Brothers. Long lines and hot sun kept me from tasting many FLX wines, considering how close we are to the lake trails. I definitely had a great time tasting things that are harder to find at home.

Nine Pin Ciderworks out of Albany had some fantastic dry hard ciders; I really enjoyed the Signature Cider Blend, as well as the Ginger Hard Cider (infused with ginger and orange peel) and Blueberry (sparkling blush color, and infused with tart blueberries) for a surprisingly dry, but fruity cider. Really nice on such a hot, sunny day!

Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery is located just east of the Hudson River and situated on a 290 acre apple farm. Along with AppleJack and Vodka made with their own apples, they produce Core Black Raspberry Vodka, an incredibly light, fresh, and dry raspberry infused vodka. It would be incredible as a mixer, or standing on its own over ice, with a splash of seltzer. I need to make an effort to tour their distillery before we head for the West Coast. I love craft and local farm distilleries.

All in all, the festival was large enough to enjoy, but the crowds were manageable (except for a few food trucks) and everyone was really about enjoyment. I was very surprised at how many people in attendance were heavily tattooed, as well! Definitely not something I remembered about Lake George, but I was definitely asked for business cards, more than once!

Side note, the gal at the ID gate exclaimed our tattoos looked so ‘hardcore’ and asked if husband and I had any matching tattoos (which we do, but I had a momentary lapse of memory) which almost got me into trouble 😂 yes, we have matching Eiffel Towers that we had done at the Paris convention, two years ago!

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Lake George, NY

 

BoozyLife is Heading to Whiskey 101

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Happy National Drink Wine Day! I’m going to Whiskey School tonight 🙂 One of the best things about living in the Finger Lakes, especially in the winter, is the ability to take advantage of incredible local resources while the crowds are in hibernation!

A number of our local wineries, entire wine trails, and distilleries run programs to attract guests during the cold weather lull. Last year, while we were in Paris for work, I saw advertised a series of whiskey classes at Finger Lakes Distilling on Seneca Lake, but obviously couldn’t make it. This year, we’re staying more local for the beginning of the tattoo convention year–so it’s the perfect time to broaden my boozy knowledge before hitting the tattoo convention travel road again!

I have always had a keen interest in the process of distillation and whiskey making, maybe because of my Scotch-Irish roots…and a few spots the Finger Lakes region are making incredible spirits! Finger Lakes Distilling is a pioneer FLX distillery that makes a selection of aged whiskey, spirits, and liqueurs. Locally sourced ingredients are distilled using old school, traditional methods,  with an imported 350 gallon copper potstill imported from Germany.

Check out their website above, and follow along tonight live on Twitter @BoozyLife, Instagram as @MissusMolina, and FaceBook on my BoozyLife page 🙂