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Still the Great Wine Pretender

Wine Bottles while wine tasting

Virginia At Kunde Winery

When I tell people I live in Sonoma County, they typically comment on how lucky I am to live in the wine country of California. And, I agree. It is a beautiful and wonderful place to live! We have gorgeous weather and lovely views.

Still, with work, kids, paying the bills and other pressures, I have to admit that I don’t get out wine tasting that often. As a matter of fact, it is embarrassing that I know so little about wine, other than “Uh, this one tastes pretty good….”

Yes, typically, when people know where I live, they assume expertise in wine.  Mistaken expertise is a hazard wine country dwellers face. It sometimes leads to awkward situations. Often, in a restaurant, my guests turn over the wine menu to me and say “You pick- you must know great wines”. As much as I disagree, they think I’m being modest.  The just don’t believe I know so little.

wine, wine bottles

Wine bottles while wine tasting

So, I’ve been on a campaign to learn a little about wine. If I learn a little, I figure I can fake the rest.  To help me, I’ve had a few wine-tasting adventures recently and I’ve learned some surprising things-

Did ya know?

There is nothing in wine but grapes.  So, when you read “notes of chocolate” or “subtle hints of berry” it doesn’t mean that they have put in some cocoa or cranberry juice.  I never knew! Actually it’s illegal to put flavorings in wine- it is grapes only.  Go figure…

Screw caps are good.  They not only prevent corking, but are better for the environment because they save trees.  I didn’t realize that almost one bottle in 12 is corked. Seems like a waste of wine to me, so screw tops are a good idea.  I thought screw caps meant the wine was cheap.  Not so.

Prosecco is just champagne by another name.  According to some wine rule somewhere only wines from the Champagne region of France are supposed to be called champagne.  So, Italy calls it Prosecco and the US calls it sparkling wine.  Well, let’s face it, we call it champagne in the US, because it’s in our nature to be rebellious.  But, that’s what the rule says.

Chablis kinda doesn’t really exist– it’s Chardonnay by another name. Chablis wine is created from chardonnay grapes grown in a cooler climate and fermented in steel. So, it’s missing the oakiness that Chardonnay tends to have.

Wine doesn’t need to age. As a matter of fact, most wines should be drunk within a year.  Wine doesn’t necessarily get better with age, as opposed to moi.  I’m definitely getting better with age…

Nose The smell of the grapes is aroma, the smell of the wine is bouquet and smell of both together is called the nose.  I thought nose meant the person was sticking their nose into the glass.  Not so.

To learn, go to small boutique wineries.   The best wineries to visit for the novice are the smaller boutique wineries.  They typically aren’t as busy so they are much more open to questions and ensuring that sippers understand what makes them different from other wineries.

So, I am blissfully enjoying my wine education and continuing the charade that I actually know something about wines. Last week I visited three wineries recommended by my daughter; one with wonderful local history and charm, a small new boutique winery, and a larger winery that produced a chardonnay I knew and loved.

Larson Family Vineyards- A wonderful local winery with friendly people, a great place for a picnic and lots of local history they will share with you.

wine tasting winery visit

A wine tasting andf a lesson at Loxston

Loxston Winery- This was a very small boutique winery that produces a port that’s out of this world.  As with many small boutique wineries the tasting was in their barrel room with little amenities.  Still they were friendly, helpful people. They gave  nice pours and lots of wine information.

Kunde- Other than having a name that I mispronounce no matter what I do- Kunde winery was wonderful.  It’s a much bigger winery, so it was much more crowded.  We were less able to ask questions.  Still Kunde is renowned for their buttery chardonnay and beautiful views. It’s definitely worth a stop while out tasting.  Sit outside and enjoy the views.

winery, wines, visit

Kunde Winery in Sonoma

I highly recommend adding these three to your wine tour list.  I’m thankful my daughter recommended them.

Let me know your favorite wines or tasting stops- I’ve love to hear from you! Visit me at



    • Virginia

      Thanks Lois- so glad you shared this. Such a good cause! V

  1. Missy Leathers

    Great information Virg! Thank you! Happy Tasting!!!

    • Virginia

      Yes Missy, it was so much fun- and who knew that wine doesn’t get better with age? Thx, V