Sutter Home Vineyard

I think everyone’s first thought when they think of Sutterhome is I’ve seen that wine in a gas station or drank it when I turned 21 and was broke.

Well remember just because they have affordable wine doesn’t mean it’s all cheap tasting. They are a part of the Trinchero Family which owns most of Napa! They can afford to mass produce and sell for cheap.

To be honest I don’t care for most of Sutterhome wine in the store. But there was two that I enjoyed.

My Favorites:

Reserve White Zinfandel: ($12) Aromas of fresh strawberries and melon and flavors of strawberries. Try with Thai or Latin food!

Triple Cream Sherry:($12) Flavors of nutmeg and sweet orange peel. Try over ice cream! That might be a game changer.


No need for a reservation. This is a great place to stop grab a free tasting and parouze their store as you head to another winery all along

Complimentary tastings!!!!

4 wines off their tasting menu.

Sum it up:

  1. Cheap wines
  2. A few gems
  3. Free tastings!!!!

Madonna Estate

This boutique winery only sells at the winery and online via their website. I enjoyed the feel of this winery due to the humble and warm staff and great reds.

For a rather smaller winery they have quite a variety. I enjoyed during the tastings walking around the tasting room and looking at the merchandise from local artists and craftsmen but mostly I enjoyed speaking with the staff and hearing their stories. One was a wine lover and enjoyed coming on Saturday’s to meet new people and talk wine and the other was a nice High School math teacher that had a passion for wine as well.

Madonna Estate emanates that country rustic feel that just warms your heart.


2013 Estate Pinot Noir: ($32) Aged in French Oak for 9 months and is extremely fruit forward, and is an excellent “food” pairing wine that accompanies many dishes such as; grilled salmon, stuffed mushrooms, polenta, and tenderloin of beef.

2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: ($34) It is aged in oak for 18 – 24 months. On the nose I got Jalapeno! On the palate our Cabernet has a structured mouth feel with soft tannins and herbal undertones. Our Cabernet Sauvignon compliments filet mignon, pork tenderloin, and hearty tomato based pasta dishes.


My purchases:


I ended up getting the Pinot Noir – My husband enjoyed the fruit forward flavor.

Visiting & Tasting:

$15 – includes 4 wines :

  1. 2013 Estate Chardonnay
  2. 2013 Estate Pinot Noir
  3. 2014 Barbera
  4. 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon


Sum it up:

  1. Great reds!
  2. Extra friendly staff
  3.  Prices are a bit high but boutique small batch wines.



Stolo Family Vineyards

As my husband and I made our way down Route 101 to Saint Luis Obispo we decided to make a quick detour off the route to a little town called Cambria. This town is just the quaintest cozy little place. We saw on Yelp there was a winery located there called Stolo Family Vineyards so naturally we jetted over there ASAP to get a tasting before their last pour.

This winery is tucked back on acre and acres of land with perfectly line grape vines. The owners of the vineyard the Stolo Family live next door and have the cutest rustic farmhouse. The tasting room is bright and welcoming. There is picnic tables on the lawn for a nice day to sit eat some cheese and crackers and sip their wines. The atmosphere is great.

The staff was a young women and older women who were polite and knowledgeable. I enjoyed speaking with them and hearing their stories. Come to find out the younger women who attends Cal Poly is one of the winemakers there. So humble and cute.

If you are heading to Paso Robles or driving down or up Route 101, make sure to stop at Stolo Family Vineyards it will be sure to charm you.

My favorites:

2014 Estate Chardonnay: Bright straw in color with aromas of ripe honeydew, stone fruit, lime zest, and a touch of cream. This medium bodied white has magnificent minerality with concentrated flavors of crisp white peach, tangerine, pear, and a hint of fresh herb.  Rich tropical notes linger. We ended purchasing this one, the husband liked which isn’t common!

2014 Estate Pinot Noir, Creekside: On the nose, this beauty boasts notes of high-tones raspberry, black cherry, cocoa, rose petal and barrel spice.  Elegant dark fruit and strawberry flavors flood the silky palate along with notes of cinnamon and allspice. Ripe berry flavors linger for a long finish.

Visiting & Tasting:

No reservations required.

Tasting Room Hours:Open Wednesday-Monday 11:30am-5pm, last pour 4:45pm, closed on Tuesdays

$10 taste per person for 5 wines

Sum it up:

  1. Will charm the socks off ya.
  2. Affordable tasting fee and wine prices are reasonable.
  3. Warm staff that welcomes tasters with open arms.


Up & Coming Wine Region in East Bay

Today I ended up strolling to the far back of Total Wine & More where there was a 5 cent tasting. Of course I gathered 5 cents from the bottom of my purse to have a taste. There were over 10 different types of wines to taste.

There stood local winemakers with their hard work being poured into small tasting cups. My attention was quickly captured seeing that these wines were made less than a few miles from where I live & I had very little clue this was going on.

lamorinda_ava_map2On Feb. 24, 2016 after the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau established the 29,369 acres of Lamorinda as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). The new-ish wine region includes Orinda, Lafayette & Moraga (map shown).  The 3 winemakers I met today gave me a warm feeling as they seemed humble and excited to have people tasting their hard work.


The two local wineries there were Meadow View Winery & Los Arabis Vineyards.

Meadow View had 4 wines to taste 

  1. Meadow View Super T Lamorinda ($21.99)- French Roast  coffee and ripe cherry on the nose. In the mouth Dutch cocoa with hints of raspberry.
  2. Meadow View Cab Lamorinda Joyce ($21.99) – A violet nose with fruit and earth. In the mouth, earth and minerals blend plums and dark chocolate.
  3. Meadow View Pinot Noir ($21.99) – Dark cherry and hint of licorice in the nose turning into lush ripe strawberries in the glass.
  4. Meadow View Rose Lamorinda ($15.99) – hints of cherry blosson, hibiscus flowers, watermelon.

Los Arabis Vineyards (Ward Family Wine) had 1 wine to taste:

  1. 2013 Pinot Noir ($21.99) – dry and silky, with flavors of cola, nutmeg and mace.

*Prices are without pick 6 price, if you pick 6 you get 10% off.

I ended buying the Dry Rose from Meadow View and the Pinot Noir from Los Arabis both can be purchased at Total Wine & More.


I see this wine region as a little gem of the East Bay. As flocks of tourists head to Napa, I will take the road less traveled to Lamorinda AVA. Get the wines in local stores or online at most of their website or simply take a trip down.


My First BevMo! Experience

Today I ventured out into the rain to make my debut at BevMo! I can’t believe living in California for nearly a year this is my first experience. I spent WAY to long in the store perusing through the aisles of wine, beer and liquor.

Not only do they have a huge selection of wine they also have a large selection of cheese! I made a few laps sampling cheese and then decided to go back to select a wine. I will say I was a bit overwhelmed but kept my cool and diverted to my previous blog posts about coping with wine overload.

I wasn’t trying to pair wine with food just going for the causal drinking wine. I was directed by the “BevMologist” to check out the “Unruly” wine. I decided to give it a whirl since it was buy 1 get the 2nd for 5 cents!! WHAT A STEAL!

I am writing this post as I sip on the Unruly Red. It’s super fruity & honestly it tastes very similar to a fruit juice with a splash of alcohol. I don’t mind it but I wouldn’t say I am in love however, it’s exactly what I was looking for, a affordable red table wine.

Here are a few other Unruly Wines at BevMo! 

Unruly Zinfandel –

Spice things up with a thunderous burst of blackberries and spice. There’s a darker side to this big wine – tons of black cherries and toasted oak reverberates throughout the set.

Unruly Cabernet Sauvignon –

Flavorful and showy, this Cabernet Sauvignon has giant flavors of juicy blackberries and plums, with generous chops of roasted coffee and smokey oak.

Unruly Chardonnay –

This Chardonnay showcases righteous aromas of tropical fruit, with a rebellious kick of spice. Massive flavors of pineapple and vanilla cream makes this one a hit at any gig.