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Friday, October 14, 2016

This Post is Not About Wine...

Not that folks have noticed, but the Goddess of Wine hasn't been writing much. Oh, I keep Tweeting and Facebooking and Instagramming, which keeps me alive in the social network world, but I've been so overwhelmed with the changes JD and I made in the last year that it's been hard to focus.

However, the events of the past few weeks have stirred up memories, anger, and disgust, so I thought I'd exorcise of few of my demons. Spoiler alert: This post is not about wine. And it's long. Deal with it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Wining in Santa Maria with the #LAWineWriters...

One benefit to staying members of the #LAWineWriters despite our move out of Los Angeles, is that we are able to participate on some of the field trips the group takes. This latest adventure took the Goddess of Wine and First Acolyte, JD, into the wilds of...Santa Maria.

Santa Maria is a city around an hour north of Santa Barbara (and 40 minutes south of our digs), and is notable for its wine industry and Santa Maria-style barbecue. Home to an increasing number of vineyards, wineries and winemakers, and centrally located to both the Santa Ynez and Foxen Canyon areas of Santa Barbara County's wine country, and San Luis Obispo County's Edna Valley-Arroyo Grande wine country, Santa Maria is an area that JD and I have often visited.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wining with the Rhone Rangers...

Do you know about the Rhone Rangers? That merry band of winemakers whose vision is to expand our knowledge and appreciation of grapes and blends that historically came from the Rhone Valley in France.

From the Rhone Rangers' website: The Rhone Rangers is America's leading non-profit organization dedicated to promoting American Rhone varietal wines. American Rhone-style wines are made from the same grapes that have flourished for centuries in France’s Rhone River Valley, and their growing popularity in the United States speaks to their versatility with food, wide range of rich flavors, and to the skills of American winemakers.

The Goddess of Wine has been a fan of the Rangers for many years, and now that JD and I are living in the Central Coast, it's easier to get to many of the events that are put on by the large and very active Paso Robles chapter. This year, the organization has put together a schedule of "Varietal Nights" designed to enhance, and in some cases, introduce folks to specific varieties and styles of wine.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Wining with film...

The Goddess of Wine and JD were invited to attend one of the International Wine Film Festival events, with selected wine-themed videos paired with a wine featured on the big screen, all organized by whiz kid Wil Fernandez. This event was hosted by Presqu'ile, one of the most beautiful wine estates in the Santa Maria Valley.

Accompanying each wine and film pairing were amazingly delicious passed appetizers by Chef Adam Measurall of the Far Western Tavern.

View from Presqu'ile
The event started with a casual reception on the patio, a location with panoramic views of the Santa Maria Valley. We could see the fog rolling in from the west as we sipped Presqu'ile Rosé of Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley, CA) and munched on a selection of artisan breads from Bob's Well Bread Bakery in Los Alamos.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

More random thoughts at the end of the year...

It's that time of year when we examine the year-gone-by. It would be easy to talk about the obvious changes and accomplishments of the year, but I need to talk about grief; that comes with both loss of loved ones and with change.

We lost a lot of family this year. My sister, who was strong and active and the ultimate caregiver, had given so much of herself that there was nothing left of her. Over the last few years, she had slowly starved herself to the point of physical breakdown, and not enough of us had realized how lost she was. Her birthday is coming up on Christmas day, and I really don't know how to celebrate her life at this moment. Our relationship was complicated, what with 15 years between us. We had become very close during the years our mom needed assistance, but when Phyl herself was in trouble, she pushed me away. She died February 16th, in hospice, at home.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

More random thinking...

Change is hard. I'm missing some familiar faces and places. I found a manicurist; so far, so good - and yet, she's not Kim, who took care of me for 25 years. I watched her children grow up and have their own children. I made life-long friends of her other clients. Every other Saturday morning for over 20 years. It's a long time.

I miss the Mistress of Pain, Pilates instructor Debbie, who pushed me to physical strengths that I never imagined.

I miss my Wineaux - Shawn, Xochitl, Rico, Debra, Michelle, Barbara, Marya. It's strange to not just run out to meet Shawn for dinner.

I miss my Friday morning meetings at WW; hope Sandy and Sally find a good person to take my seat. Group therapy once a week in a safe, non-judgmental place is a good thing. Great leaders, too - Christy, Casey, Donna, et al.

Grateful for social media and email. And telephones.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Random thoughts and some wining from the Central Coast...

First try at the living room
It's still kind of odd to be here in Los Osos. Not odd in a bad way. Just odd. After 26 years of living in our "starter" house in Burbank, we uprooted ourselves just in time to miss a hellacious heat wave, for which we are hugely grateful. We're still dealing with the death of John's dad the day after our arrival, but with the love and support of our cousins here in town, and the knowledge that Jim made his own decisions right up to the end, we're moving forward. We're still unpacking, and that will continue for a while, as we still need to have our POD delivered. We miss our books and art! And the other 80% of our belongings.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wining during the first days in Los Osos...

It's been a heckuva month! The Goddess of Wine and JD have successfully moved to the Central Coast! For those of you who have been following the hashtag #movingtotheCentralCoastsoon, it's been quite a ride.

We packed and packed and packed, with help from dear friends Xochitl and Mari, who packed up my kitchen and linen cabinet, respectively, as well as taking "treasures" to a local veterans' charity. And Mari, thanks again for the lovely bubbly and pizza break in the middle of the day. It helped. Big time. In fact, I think I'll never pack sober again.

The cake
Because we wanted to make sure to see all the folks who decided they needed to see us off, we threw a going-away party 2 days before the move, with the caveat that "If you want to eat, bring something to share, if you want to drink, bring something to share". We have the BEST friends! Everyone brought great stuff to share. Lots of lovely wines and snacks. Around 50 folks showed up and partied. Thanks again to Joe and Delia for the table and chairs, and to Shawn and Debra for staying late and helping to clean up. What a great send off!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Wining during the last days in Burbank...

The old house in Burbank
Yikes. The Goddess of Wine just realized it's August 1st, and we haven't written anything other than Facebook posts and Tweets since June. It's been an interesting, odd, and tremendously stressful couple of months, with at least another month to go. So here's what's happening with the Goddess and JD:

We're moving! It's really happening. This whole year has been leading up to the move. As previously reported, we started #decluttering in February, even hiring an expert to help us remove the accumulated detritus from our lives. So much stuff gone - so much still to go. But we are traveling MUCH lighter than we have been.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wining at Urban Exposure...Coming on 7/11...

‘Rare and Reserve’ Tasting Raises the Curtain on Garagiste Wine Festival: ‘Urban Exposure’ at LA’s The Wiltern July 11th

Garagiste winemakers share special, tiny case-lot, library, and reserve wines, rarely available to the public, as well as pre-release and barrel tastings at exclusive festival pre-event; Grand Tasting features over 50 winemakers from across CA, including 12 from Napa/Sonoma

Paso Robles, CA –June 17, 2015 – Garagiste Events, producers of The Garagiste Festivals, today announced the addition of a new tasting, ‘The Rare and Reserve Hour’ to kick off this year’s Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure, which returns to Los Angeles on July 11th. Rare and Reserve raises the curtain on special library and reserve wines that are rarely available to the public, as well as on some pre-release and barrel tastings, from over 45 of the participating wineries. The tasting is available to VIP ticketholders only and takes place at 1pm at the stunning art deco masterpiece, The Wiltern, which has never hosted a wine festival like this before. Tickets available at

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Wining...and packing...and whining...

The Goddess of Wine and JD have been busy, busy, busy lately. So busy, we haven't done any writing. That's 'cause we're busy packing up the house so that we can move to the Central Coast.

It's been pretty crazy here at Chez Lowe/Dickey. In order to get the house ready for sale, we've had to go through 25 years' worth of...stuff. Mostly JD's stuff. Sigh...

When we moved in together back in 1989, I was traveling pretty light. I had moved six times in five years, so all I had with me was my bedroom furniture, a dining room set that had been in storage for quite a while, my books, and my clothes. JD, just this side of being a hoarder, had lived alone for WAY too long, and even though we had made a noble effort of cleaning out his cave, I mean, house, still had WAY too much stuff.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wining with Arnaud Debons at San Antonio Winery...

JD and the Goddess of Wine had last been at the historic San Antonio Winery in the heart of downtown Los Angeles back in 2009. That visit had turned out to be quite serendipitous when we met Santo Riboli, who took us on a personal tour of the winery, tasted us through the current releases, and sent us home with some lovely wines. Over the following few years, we had the opportunity to work with family scion Michael Riboli at various events and wine festivals in the greater Los Angeles area.

This time, we were invited to join winemaker Arnaud Debons for a private barrel tasting. We were joined by Public Relations Manager, Melissa Gonzalo, and the charming Augustín Durán of Hoy Los Angeles, the Spanish language version of the Los Angeles Times.

A bit of California history: Winemaking in California began with the Franciscan monks who used native grapes as well as some Spanish varieties to make wines used in the Missions, hence the rise of the "Mission" grape, which made a foxy (not a good thing) and not very tasty wine. In 1833, French winemaker Jean-Louis Vignes brought the first European vines (vitis vinifera) from his native Bordeaux, planted them in downtown Los Angeles and built a winery. The aptly named Vignes, considered to be the father of California’s wine industry, has a street named after him. The wine industry grew to become an economically significant industry in Southern California. By the 1880s, Los Angeles was the top California region for grape growing and winemaking, and within another decade vineyards were planted and producing in Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Wine in the Pines 2015...

Wine in the Pines 2015:
Sipping, Sampling, Listening and Perusing In The Woods

PINE MOUNTAIN CLUB, CA - Can you imagine leisurely sipping wine and sampling gourmet food while listening to live music and perusing an art show – in the woods? And that scene will unfold just an hour or so north of Los Angeles in Pine Mountain Village at the top of the 5-freeway known as the grapevine. The festivity takes place on June 13 from noon to 4:00 p.m. Many of the guests that have come to Wine in the Pines for over a decade have discovered an oasis of fresh air, cabins, pine trees and wine lovers. Come see what all of the talk is about and join us for this year’s event.

“Seeing the wineries participating this year promises it to be one of the best wine events ever,” Mark Bailey, owner of the local Madd Bailey’s Pub and the Wine Room Gallery said. “I’m especially excited to see a special section of the village devoted to the fabulous Lompoc Wine Ghetto Trail.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wining out of your comfort zone...

Aspiring acolytes and wine aficionados often ask the Goddess of Wine this question: "What is your favorite wine?" I reply, "Why limit yourself?" There are so many wonderful wines in the world, from myriad regions, thousands of winemakers - and just a limited amount of time to taste as much as you can! So today, we're going to talk about some wines that you might not know, and we'll see where it leads us.