The Pat The Wine Guy Spring Break Wine Tasting Tour was supposed to be all wrapped up. But we took it into extra innings. I flew down to the Bay Area to visit my son this past weekend. Initially, we had no Saturday afternoon plans. That lasted about 90 seconds, the amount of time it took for us to plot out a Napa/Sonoma wine tasting itinerary. (Before we go any further, if you’re planning a trip to Napa/Sonoma...

At Pat The Wine Guy, one of our mantras is “wine you can find”.  We’ll always focus on wines that are available where you shop. Thus, during our “PTWG Spring Break Northern California Winery Tour” (that’s a t-shirt just waiting to be printed),  we visited wineries that make wine you can find in the Portland-metro area. Our final tour stop, Ridge, was a slight exception. Ridge wines aren’t on every shelf around town. Those that are might be slightly above our $15-$30 sweet spot. We stopped at Ridge anyway. And we’re glad we did. Timing...

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...