Award-winning wine columnist Dan Berger has been writing his nationally syndicated column since 1979 and continues to be one of the most outspoken and informative people writing about this subject can be very to understand.

In just over a week, wine lovers will have a chance to experience one of the two major categories of great wines — a category often overlooked by most wine consumers.

Henry Fonda personified the youthful Tom Joad in the 1940 movie version of Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath,” notably in his poignant soliloquy with Jane Darwell.

A French wine maker took me by surprise: He allowed me to try his sparkling wine, to get an idea about what sort of flavors it had, and then asked for my glass.

In about two to three weeks, we’ll see some of the first white wines from the 2017 harvest hit store shelves and restaurant wine lists.

Marketing fads develop rapidly, almost explosively. But they are transitory, flaming out quickly. Longer-term trends usually unfold more slowly, like the petals of a flower opening in spring.

A decade ago, I wrote an April Fool’s Day wine column about an optimistic winemaker in Sweden (!) who had planted cabernet sauvignon, anticipating that climate change would put him ahead of the curve.

Walk-around holiday parties entailing wines usually include finger foods with simpler flavors. So aim for wines everyone will appreciate — simple, young, and unpretentious, for the reasons listed below.

There is an old saying in the wine business: “Americans talk dry but drink sweet.”

Once there was a well-known wine columnist who thought it amusing to write about which wines went with every American holiday or celebratory moment — a tactic that reached absurd depths the day Jimmy Carter was sworn in as president.

Decades ago, the late Orville Magoon asked some workers to clear brush on an old, long-neglected hillside vineyard on his Guenoc estate in Napa County that was part of his Lake County property.

That phrase “like fine old wine” has less relevance today than it ever did – because no one really ages red wines the way they were aged decades ago.

The devastating fires throughout wine country over the last week hit so many areas of the multi-county region in so many ways that it’s hard to calculate or quantify the magnitude of the losses.

No one who calls him or herself a wine lover deserves that title, in my book, if he or she doesn’t have a great bottle of Sherry in a wine cache. Or a dozen!

For decades, it has been called the Sonoma County harvest fair and the main reason is that it is held every year at the time of California’s wine grape harvest.

Of the hundreds of wineries in California, startups, recent acquisitions of older established projects, and properties with major stories to tell get the most publicity.

The chief of design for the Ford Motor Comp. probably knows the design chief for Cadillac. But regardless of how friendly they may be in off hours, trade secrets are always verboten.

One of the most widely acclaimed wines in the world is Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. Some people say this red Bordeaux is about as good a wine as you can buy.

Trivia question: If you should hear a conversation in which Person A asks, “Is this wine sweet or dry?” and Person B replies, “Yes and no” — and is correct! — what wine is being talked about?

Dried and/or fresh herbs mark the aroma of a well-made sauvignon blanc, which was precisely the reason the grape variety seemed to be so daunting to many people almost exactly 50 years ago when Robert Mondavi began selling his first such wine, from the 1966 harvest.

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Thirty-odd years ago, during a long interview with America’s greatest wine maker, Andre Tchelistcheff at Beaulieu Vineyard, I asked the maestro about his use of oak in aging cabernet sauvignon.

Marketing of wine may not be considered a science, but those who specialize in this unique activity often use sophisticated Madison Avenue concepts, image-enhancing strategies, brand building, and many other kinds of sleight-of-hand manipulations to sell us wine.

Wine trends go through cycles, some of which are difficult to predict. Today, we face the fact that millennial buyers may be history’s least predictable wine-buying group, and one of the most challenging.

Several seemingly unconnected economic events have conspired in 2017 to provide wine lovers with some of the greatest bargains of the last decade, most of which are currently available on store shelves.

The oldest wineries of Europe date back hundreds of years. By contrast, California is a mere wine-producing infant.

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If you’ve been paying attention to wine for the last 60 or so years, a new brand now appearing on many store shelves might catch your eye, and raise at least one brow.

One of the least appreciated wines in this country is riesling -- and even less appreciated than younger bottlings are those with some maturity.

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There may be no more iconic name in American popular culture than Walt Disney. There may be no more iconic image in American sports than a National Football League athlete.

One of the most popular white wines in America these days is sauvignon blanc, made from a grape variety that had such little support in the 1960s that Robert Mondavi changed its name.

One of the most important long-term trends in California wine over the last decade has been the dramatic rise in both quality and volume of rosé wines.

Rioja, Spin’s most renowned red wine, may not get much recognition as one of the world’s greatest red wines because the variety that dominates, tempranillo, typically does not have very high acidity.

The ambiance of candles can create an attractive setting, which was what we first saw on entering our hotel in Washington, D.C., at 5:30 p.m. when the lobby wine service began.

A decade ago, I got a call from a researcher at UC Davis who was doing work on a topic she wouldn’t disclose.

New wineries often gain a measure of recognition when they explain how the founder had a vision, and then how hard work (usually involving small children) leads to a world-class property.

After evaluating several 2015 and 2016 domestic sauvignon blancs last week, a thought ran through my head that was slightly unnerving. Were many of them sweet?

Every sub-region for wine grapes in California has a calling-card variety that seems to work best in that area, and which is relatively well-recognized.

Just about every wine retailer in the United States has, at one time or another, has faced this problem:

Some people may find this hard to believe, but I began to buy wines that I did not like or understand based on the passion of three people who did not know each other, but were really persuasive.

David Stare, founder of Dry Creek Vineyards 45 years ago, is an avowed lover of sauvignon blanc, a grape variety he has long supported with exemplary attention to varietal and regional perfection.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The most amazing fact that came out of last week’s Pinot Noir New Zealand 2017 conference here was that just 20 years ago, the country’s most widely planted grape was Muller-Thurgau, a grape that makes boring wine.

The trend du jour for the American wine industry is the amorphous red wine blend, which I consider to be one of the best frauds to come along in decades.

A wine magazine of some repute regularly publishes a list of restaurants to whom it gives awards for the quality of their wine lists.

Being called a professional cynic has never bothered me. So when I sat down to write a beginning-the-year wine article, I immediately was drawn to New Year’s resolutions that only a curmudgeon could put down.

The past year was one of change for many in the wine industry, though not so much for true visionaries who could read grape leaves and who made key decisions years ago that paid dividends in 2016.

Wine is a fragile product that’s susceptible to all sorts of problems, some of them trivial, but some cataclysmic, but most of which can ruin the enjoyment that wine makers intend.

Champagne and other sparkling wines generally are consumed in greater amounts during two different months each year – June at weddings and graduations and December at Christmas parties and on Dec. 31 to celebrate a new year.

A half hour before the International Riesling Foundation (IRF)’s annual board meeting in Woodinville, Wash., this past summer, I was chatting with IRF marketing vice president Janie Brooks Heuck.

I’m sure that the phrase “Any port in a storm” refers to a maritime crisis solution, and thus the P in port isn’t capitalized.

No U.S. winery has a patent on or a rigid formula for a red Rhone wine blend, and there are literally dozens of them.

Thirty years ago, mid-November was the beginning of the wine season, which culminated on Dec. 31 with bubbly, and it all started with a silly promotional campaign that was called “the race to market.”