Tag Archives: Wine trail

Santa Rosa Tattoos & Blues Festival 2018

A tattoo convention, in the heart of Santa Rosa wine country? YES PLEASE! Hot rod car culture, live rockabilly bands, and talented tattoo artists…that was the winning formula for (a newly revamped) The 27th Annual Santa Rosa Tattoos & Blues Festival, held February 23-25, 2018.

Located at the old-Hollywood-glam-style Flamingo Resort Santa Rosa, packs of pinup girls in full regalia meandered through rows and rows of classic cars outside, eyes stylishly shielded from the sun in retro cat-eye shades…

Once inside, tattoo artists from all over busily buzzed away, while groups of tattoo collectors mingled, perused, and added to their ever growing collection of tattoo work-be it a new tattoo, art hanging, or a hand painted, one of a kind sign for the studio. This is not a huge crowd convention, but has a big main room featuring the bulk of the artists, with a couple of smaller, more private satellite rooms. Hardly any vendors selling merch, but lots of cool tattoo work happening- and the lounge was often jumping with live music, long after the show had ended for the day. Musicians performing included local favorite rockabilly bands “The Rev Tones”, “The Vintage Vandals”, and “The Aces”.img_9378Heads up, when the convention floor is overwhelming….the Flamingo Resort has a pool area (featuring two Olympic sized pools, with lap lanes), a gym (including hot yoga classes), massage therapy, and is the perfect place to get your self-care, pamper-time on! Too bad it was chilly outdoors, the water was quite nice and warm…not lay by the pool weather, even in CA.

Tip for the pinup buffs, hanging on the wall by the lounge, there are some really cool vintage photos of Jayne Mansfield in a bikini, posed by the Flamingo Resort pool in ultra pinup glam fashion, circa 1960.

The updated Flamingo hotel lobby design also features wine displays from Ehret Family Winery in Santa Rosa, which focuses on sustainable growing practices, growing Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux grape varieties. img_9456Sonoma and Napa Counties were hit hard during the Thomas fire, and there was structure damage in Santa Rosa–but less than three percent of local wineries were impacted! The best way to support the winery trails are to get out there, and visit tasting rooms. The Santa Rosa wine community is ready to welcome wine tasters and tourists back, complete with open arms and full wine glasses…the least we can do is show up and enjoy the world class hospitality they have to offer.

Full sad disclosure, I was still getting over a sinus infection, so my tasting tour for Sunday was mostly as a photographer–the mustard cover was in full bloom, and it’s on my bucket list to see! We stopped at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens to explore the property and frolic through a bit of ground cover mustard greens (*plus, I wanted to report back to our winemaker friend Nathan Kendall in the Finger Lakes that I had finally visited and toured the notorious behemoth KJ winery that has all the rights to his last name…).

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img_9425Even with the sniffles, husband took me for a quick taste (and of course to grab a couple of bottles) of the delicious new 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé at Balletto Vineyards. The tasting room was hopping with guests, and our tasting host was nice enough to give me a complimentary pour of the rosé…even though I was sick, and already sold. Gorgeous light pink blush color, partial whole cluster crush, and juicy ripe fruit on the nose is what I have to look forward to once I’m recovered–a perfect way to end the weekend–with a haul of rosé….

A quick detour to Bohemian Creamery in Sebastopol led to the discovery of a boutique goat cheese spot, crafting some of the most lovely, delicately nutty, funky cheeses I’ve tasted this side of Corsica. We bought a chunk of delight home with us, especially to pair with the Balletto Rosé. Don’t miss it! Super fun spot, and a cheese tasting is always worth stopping off for.

A big thank you goes out to the folks that worked hard to put on the new incarnation of Santa Rosa Tattoos & Blues, from the entertainers and artists, to the security and convention center crew. It was fantastic to attend a tattoo expo, right in the heart of California wine country, bringing my two loves together in a way I’ve never seen before! We will definitely be back…and just maybe, next year, there will be an official BoozyLife booth!

Harvest in the Finger Lakes 2015

Fall in the FLX

Fall in the FLX

I’ve been off the grid! Gentle readers, sometimes business takes it all out of you for a bit, and quite frankly being business owners was rough for a patch. I’m happy to report things are currently fantastic at our tattoo shop, and I’ve been able to once again turn my attentions towards the fields and this year’s harvest bounty.

It’s finally October first, which means lots of the grapes have already been harvested and pressed around the Finger Lakes, and one of the busiest times of year is here! Tasting rooms will be extremely lively on beautiful fall weekends, so if you’re visiting, be civil and expect crowds of other tasters. The good news is, the views are heading towards incredible – enjoy, and don’t be in a rush. The Finger Lakes are all about taking a breath and enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Pick some apples, peep the fall leaves, hike a waterfall, taste some locally made wines, ciders, beers, spirits…chocolates….cheese…

Beauties in the sunlight

Beauties in the sunlight

Harvest 2015 is in full swing, with lots of grape picking, pressing, and cellar happenings currently in the works, area wide. My Instagram feed is currently full of grapes being pressed, yeasts going in and fermentation starting, and lots of rain gear the last twenty four hours! It’s been dry and warm the last two weeks, so many growers got their grapes in before rains started in earnest. Our local weather called for over three inches of rain into today, with more over the weekend. Hopefully it dries out so that everyone gets their remaining crops in!

It’s also fun to see the apple farmers harvesting for their upcoming vintages of hard ciders. The movement is growing nationwide,  and the Finger Lakes area is at the center of high quality, heirloom farmed fruits, classically made, dry to off-dry, sometimes fermented in bottle, hard apple and pear ciders. This coming weekend (October 3rd and 4th) is the Apple Festival in Ithaca, with FLX Cider Week also kicking off. I’ll be attending some local happenings on that front, so stay tuned! October is going to be fun, and fall is the best time of year to be in this area, in my humble BoozyWife opinion…that’s why we tend to stay local until the snow flies again….

#WBC15 WineBloggers Invade the Finger Lakes! A Brief Overview of #WBC2015

imageAfter a long week of jumping through hoops as a tattoo wife and shop owner, it was a pleasure to attend the Wine Boggers Conference 2015 in the Finger Lakes area of NY, or as I like to call it, ‘home.’

Over two hundred and fifty wine writers and bloggers would be participating in a three-day weekend (plus some pre and post excursions!) of wine tasting, exploration, seminars, and networking. I’m an old pro at the tattoo convention scene— but a wine blogger convention? What was that going to be like? I had a few notions, but seeing that it was to be held in our backyard of viticulture in the Finger Lakes area, I couldn’t miss it! This area is exciting, vibrant, and on the cusp of great things…I wanted to see what the OTHER bloggers thought, as a way to see our area (and my ‘hood) through fresh eyes.

All three days were pretty heavily scheduled with events, some as writing workshops, mentoring, and pro panels, excursions to several different wineries and events, and LOTS of wine tasting.

Karen MacNeil and women in wine

Karen MacNeil and women in wine

Keynote presenter Karen MacNeil, wine goddess and author of The Wine Bible, was as inspirational as she was fierce. HERE is a woman to idolize, ladies….strong, professional, and absolutely taking no shit from anyone. Honestly, if that was all the conference had for me…Karen’s words would have been enough. She’ll get a post all of her own, because Karen is an incredible spirit– that the women in the wine industry MUST recognize — as a door opener and trail blazer. She may be in Napa now, but she has the heart and fire of a New Yorker. One of my favorite quotes that she dropped on women in the industry during the weekend was, in relation to sexism in the wine industry: “the barrier has never been sex, it is mediocrity. The door is open, walk through it.” ABSOLUTELY!

a few of my favorites

a few of my favorites

Tastings were a huge part of the event, and I counted over seventy-three wine tasting notes over two days that I took–not too shabby! LOTS of spitting, kids….don’t try to be a hero. You will fail and quite possibly make an ass of yourself.

The tastings ranged from the normal table and pour, to a “speed dating” version of a tasting (wine makers came to your table with their bottle, gave some wine notes, and had five minutes with you, then it was off to the next table!), to a mystery bus excursion….get on the bus, go to a secret location, have an AMAZING TIME, return later to hash out where we all ended up!

Element Winery is taking things to a new level in the Flx

Element Winery is taking things to a new level in the Flx

BoozyLife ended up on the bus headed to Element Winery in Arkport, vision of the incredibly talented and hard-working Master Somm Christopher Bates-whose  dinner and wines will get their own post as well, because I saw things happening there that DEFINE what the Finger Lakes can and will be to the wine industry, in the near future and beyond.

In short, the weekend was exactly what I was hoping it would be, and it opened my eyes to magic happening right under my nose! BoozyLife can’t wait to share some of the wine makers and their creations with you all, because the Finger Lakes are where it’s all happening right now in New York State.

Now, just let me sort out all of these tasting notes…

Rosé Soirée 2015 – The Finger Lakes Through Rosé Colored Glasses

The Rosé Lineup! (Photo by David Diaz)

The Rosé Lineup! (Photo by David Diaz)

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It truly was the perfect night for a Rosé Soirée in Geneva, NY on Saturday evening. A warm summery day gave way to a coral and light pink sunset, and Finger Lakes wine lovers sipped rosé, sampled foods and local culinary temptations (including incredible hotdogs, sausages, and goodies from Fingerlakes Wienery!!), and socialized under strung carnival lights. The atmosphere was light, jovial, and oh so pink!

Blurs of pink and coral

Blurs of pink and coral

Over twenty local vineyards and winemakers were on hand to pour their dry rosé wines and talk shop. The event was a great introduction to several new dry rosé wines that I had not tried yet, and also a nice chance to meet the men and women that are the vino creators themselves! it’s always fun and interesting to be able to talk to individuals that are so proud of their wines.

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Me n Ronata

There were so many different flavors and variations to the wines, it was incredible. Many were made from Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, or a blend of the two. Lemberger often made an appearance in the blends, and Dr. Constantine Frank’s Rosé was a blend that included Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc as well.

I tried to make it to as many tables as I could, and I had a good head start on the Finger Lakes rosé tasting as it is. I’m already a fan of a few: Damiani’s Pinot Noir Rosé is killer, Sheldrake Point has a lush Cabernet Franc Rosé, and Lamoreaux Landing’s Rosé is always my bottle for home (I pour in the tasting room at Lamoreaux a couple of days a week…how could I not want to work in a winery?). Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard Rosé is always a hit for the table, the blend has a hint of Chardonnay that adds another level of depth. Hosmer didn’t bring my favorite rosé that they made, Rosé of Merlot, but if it’s not sold out yet I’m sure it will be soon!

Action shot of rosé colored roses!

Action shot of rosé colored roses!

As the night went on...with the Barry crew

As the night went on…with the Barry crew

There were also definitely a bunch of wines that were new to me. I finally got to try Ian Barry’s (of Barry Family Cellars) Cabernet Franc Rosé, which was absolutely dry, with a bright acidity and ripe cherry. I also really liked his Gamay Rosé, a lightly sparkling petillant wine that brought out an earthy fruitiness. The end ferment in bottle, with the unfiltered Gamay, creates a very unique wine. August Deimel, head winemaker for Keuka Springs Vineyards, brought his delicious, bone dry Cabernet Franc and Lemberger Rosé that had the most beautiful, light color and fragrant nose. Also on the list for lightest color and dry, herbal notes was Knapp’s Rosé of (mostly) Cabernet Franc and (a bit of) Pinot Noir. Head winemaker for Knapp Winery (and Glenora), Steve DiFrancesco has created a very food friendly and easy drinking wine. The Italians always score when it comes to wines that are great with foods! When is a rosé ever difficult? Barnstormer Winery’s Rosé was also quite a surprise, mostly Sangiovese with a touch of Cabernet Franc-savory and herbal, with strong notes of mint on the nose.

The evening was intimate, informative and delicious.  This is one of the reasons we live here in the Finger Lakes! Keep an eye out for most of these wines on the trails, or in your local wine store. Also a big thank you to Microclimate Wine Bar, for letting us buy the last bottle of Local bubbles from Wiemer 🙂

The Fingerlakes of Ice , Frozen Falls, and ONE WEEK UNTIL PARIS

Ice on Seneca : photo by Melissa Brewer

Ice on Seneca Lake : photo by Melissa Brewer

Uuuuugh

Uuuuugh

Ice crust on the lake : photo by Melissa Brewer

Ice crust on Cayuga lake : photo by Melissa Brewer

Taughannock Falls iced over : photo by Leah Kaller

Taughannock Falls iced over : photo by Leah Kaller

Icy blue sky : photo by Melissa Brewer

Icy blue sky over Seneca Lake : photo by Melissa Brewer

It has been a VERY frigid February in the Finger Lakes, with temperatures falling below zero for extended cold snaps lasting multiple nights. The Finger Lakes themselves are freezing over, with only Cayuga and Seneca not completely iced over. Seneca has not frozen over for generations, and the view of the lake with ice crusts floating on the surface is stunning. Time will soon tell if the temperatures have caused damage to grapevines along the shores of the Finger Lakes. The lakes create microclimates that help keep temperatures just a bit higher near the deepest bodies of water (Seneca and Cayuga are deepest), but this February has been brutal. Although the cold is difficult to bear, the beauty of a frozen winter here is beautiful.

Today Is February 22, which means in ONE WEEK I will be headed to Paris, Corsica, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam with my husband Eddie-I’m a lucky bitch. Keep checking in on this BoozyWife, things are about to get interesting!

Happy National Drink Wine Day!

National Drink Wine Day

National Drink Wine Day

Today is February 18th, which means its National Drink Wine Day 🙂 Spreading the love of wine through social media, share what’s in your glass! Check out the website to follow along on Twitter and Facebook, and enjoy something fun tonight– let me know if you love what’s in your glass, because I absolutely want to try it 😉

http://www.facebook.com/drinkwineday

http://twitter.com/drinkwineday

Sleeve Trip!

We’re getting out of town for a bit so I can get more work on my sleeve by Cory Ferguson! Keep your eye on my InstaGram and social media, this should be a fun little trip 🙂 check out some of Cory’s work on his IG page @coryferguson or his shop Good Point Tattoos website  www.gptattoos.com

Eddie n Cory, my magicians

Eddie n Cory, my magicians

New York State Finger Lakes Bubbles To Ring In the New Year

Chardonnay vines in the snowAre you looking for some bubbles to bring in the new year, but, as always, you want to drink locally made NY booze? The Finger Lakes region is LOADED WITH local wineries that produce world-class sparkling wines (it’s only called Champagne when the booze is made in the Champagne province of Northern France, with certain grapes…your wine nerd moment for the day. The more you know, right?) Grape varieties vary from traditional Chardonnay to blends utilizing hybrids like Cayuga White, and styles range from dry and off dry to sweeter with crisp acidity. There is such a range of flavors, from fun and fruity to dry and slate stone–everyone can find something to drink happily.

These are some of the BoozyLife’s favorites, but there are LOTS to try now, so let me know if you loved one I didn’t mention. I’m always looking out for YOUR recommendations too! Click on the blue link for each winery–it’ll take you to their Sparkling Wines menus. You can also find MANY of these in your local wine shop. Ask around, and if they DON’T carry something you’d like, MENTION it to a manager! The Finger Lakes sections of our wine stores are growing, thanks to the interest and exposure of the area. Hey, if we’re good enough for the New York Times… 😉 Here are a few of my faves!

Dr. Frank Sparkling list. Traditional double fermentation in bottle- labor intensive process and delicate, beautiful bubbles.

Sweedish Hill Styles styles range from dry to sweeter, one of my very favorites is the Blanc de Blanc-crisp, off dry, with a light citrus and green apple nose.

Lamoreaux Landing Very traditional, standout sparkler. Only one style, and it is damn good. 2007 Blanc de Blanc still on shelves, made from 100% Chardonnay grapes-crisp acidity, mellow creamy finish.

Damiani Wine Cellars Traditional Sparkling Wine, as well as a fun Italian style Prosecco sparkler – 2012 Bollicini.

Red Tail Ridge Winery produce a few different styles of sparkling wine, including one of my faves, the Sparkling Teroldego-a sparkling red with jammy, juicy red fruit and black raspberry notes. Only 53 cases of the 2011 vintage produced, so grab it while the getting is good!

HAPPY 2015 to all of my new readers, as well as everyone that’s supported this venture along the way! I can’t wait to get this new year going, so many things in the BoozyLife works….Stay tuned!

October in the Finger Lakes – Grape Harvest 2014

Cayuga Lake from Goose Watch Winery

Cayuga Lake from Goose Watch Winery

Fall in the Finger Lakes area of Upstate Ny is magic. Leaves change colors against perfect blue skies, fall harvests of grapes, apples, and pumpkins showcase the bounty of the area, and the vintners can be found along with crews in the rows of grapevines.

Fall in the vineyard

Fall in the vineyard

It was a tough winter, with well below average temperatures, a late and chilly spring, a few freak hail storms in late summer, and now one of the sunniest and warmest September grape ripening seasons ever. Insane but inspiring: The 2014 grape harvest might be light due to damages along the way, but what DID make it through looks to be pretty damn spectacular!

October looks to be busy at BoozyLife, so keep checking in-lots of harvest info, talks with a few vintners, tours of a few press pads, and a trip down to the Hudson Valley for Taste Camp 2014 (NY Cork Report) . THIS is why I love living in the Finger Lakes…

Colors of fall in the Finger Lakes-my favorite ti

Colors of fall in the Finger Lakes-my favorite time of year, in one of my favorite places

FLX Winery (and Wienery) guide in Edible Manhattan

My Italian Sausage with mustard n all the fixins

My Italian Sausage with mustard n all the fixins

Our hearts go out to all in the Napa area that suffered damage last night. Winemakers have a tight bond with Mother Nature, even at her most cruel.

Edible Manhattan listed Ten Wineries to visit and drink at in the Finger Lakes (and also included our favorite Wienery as well!) what do you think of the places they chose? Who did they miss? And have you tried out FLX Wienery yet?!? If not, get your carnivorous ass OUT THERE! It seriously rocks…and they now have beer & wine to go with their gourmet in house made dogs, brats, and burgers…did I mention poutine? Yeah, they got it like that.