As our PTWG spring break tour winds its way north out of Healdsburg, up Dry Creek Valley Road, past mom-and-pop "we're blending juice in our barn" set-ups,  all of a sudden,  boom!  Statement winery on the left! The Ferrari Carano estate, Villa Fiore, is a little bit of Italy plopped down in Northern Sonoma County.  No, make that a BIG bit of Italy.  A 25-thousand square foot Tuscan-style villa surrounded by five acres of meticulously-landscaped grounds and gardens.  Not a blade of grass out of place.  They say they...

So many wineries, so little time.   That's the dilemma as we storm through Sonoma County on our northern California spring break tour.  Speaking of storms, just as we settled in at our next stop, the rains began, intensified and refused to let up.  We left Portland for this? No, we left Portland for this: Sonoma Cutrer. When we mapped out wineries for this tour, we had two requirements:  The wineries had to produce wine that you can find on retail shelves in Portland.  And the wine had to be...

In some ways, it's the typical American winemaker success story.  The family started making their own wine in the basement.  The second son continued the tradition.  He eventually built a nice business out of the family hobby. Happens all the time.  But this particular story took a detour when the second son temporarily focused on another passion and did pretty well with it.  He won six Academy Awards. Francis Ford Coppola is a film-making legend.  Now semi-retired, Coppola has two wineries, one in Napa and another, which we visited,...

 For Portlandia-types such as us, Disneyland is a very popular spring break destination. So that’s where we’re going for our spring break. Our version of Disneyland. The Disneyland for wine drinkers, located just a little north of Anaheim. We’re going to California wine country. In years past, we paid our Disneyland dues. Waited in line to park. Waited in line to ride the rides. Waited in line to buy Mickey ears.   Waited in line to catch the shuttle back to the parking lot where we waited in line to leave. As appealing as...

A week after launching Pat The Wine Guy, we’ve gotten great feedback. And a number of questions. Here are some answers and, more importantly, here’s how you can get the most out of our site.   We’re offering free advice, highlighting good wine buys and where to find them in the Portland area. That’s it. No hidden agenda. Many people have asked, “how are you making money on your site?” We aren’t. But that’s not the goal. We are trying to build a base of followers and a local wine community. So if you like what you see...

One of the great minds of our time, Terry Bradshaw, said it best. “I may be dumb but I’m not stupid.” As I struggled to figure out Safeway’s current Washington wine sale, I felt a little bit of both: dumb AND stupid. First, let’s be clear: we like Safeway. Most Safeways have good wine sections with many selections in our $15-$30 sweet spot. And Safeways are conveniently located for many of our wine-drinking followers. Pat The Wine Guy will continue to keep you current on Safeway recommendations and availability. But their pricing structure can be a...