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.

As a wine-producing nation with widely divergent soils and climates, the United States has adopted literally dozens of grape varieties from other countries (mainly Europe) to make into wine.

As we enter the fall and winter feast season, with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Years parties, and the Super Bowl ahead of us, thoughts turn to foods and the wines that (we hope) go with them.

Thirty-odd years ago, I was dining with good friend, who also was an East Coast wine merchant. An hour earlier, he had spent an outrageous sum on a case of a famous wine at an auction.

I’ve preached for years that too many restaurants serve red wines too warm — even ritzy joints that have trained wine waiters. Many of them ought to trade in their tastevins for dunce caps.

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Ask a wine lover which is better: a Chardonnay that’s only 75 percent varietal plus 25 percent French Colombard or a wine that’s 100 percent Chardonnay. Before you get an answer, you’ll likely get a question back: “Where was the fruit grown?”

The host of a wine/food radio show was concluding an hour-long interview. With five minutes left, he asked me: “If you were stranded on a desert island and had only one varietal wine to drink, what grape would it be made from?”

UKIAH —For at least four decades, Mendocino County has shown great potential to be California’s third most important wine region after Napa and Sonoma.

In the 39 years I have written a weekly wine column, the two most frequently asked questions I get, and the most difficult to answer, are:

Those seeking alternative red wines might be intrigued by the latest efforts from the world of Petite Sirah – especially since it has improved so much in the last decade.

About 20 years ago, I was a judge at the Virginia Governor’s Cup wine competition, where, after two decades of slow improvement, many of the wines were dramatically better than they had been.

To some people, wine is a destination, a place to experience multitudes of exotic taste treats, an elixir, a hedonistic beverage that makes food taste better and acts as a social lubricant.

If you regularly order wine when dining out, what follows may not seem particularly egregious. But each frustrating episode happened to me in the four decades of writing about wine.

As hot an item as it is nationally, dry rosés wines were, not long ago, a pariah few winemakers would even admit to knowing.

The first hint I had that some California white wines could age came in 1986 when I was cleaning out my “wine cellar” — an old walk-in dairy refrigerator that kept all my wines very cool year-round.

HEALDSBURG — As much justified acclaim as the Napa Valley has received in the last 30 years for the greatness of its Cabernet Sauvignons, so has Sonoma County gained similar praise for the excellence of its Pinot Noirs in the last 20… albeit with a more limited audience and a lot more recently.

My first recollection of tasting a Chilean wine is from the early 1980s. It was a Cabernet Sauvignon and it was surprisingly characterful.

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Mendocino County in the 1950s was known mainly for its forests, tiny population, and diverse agricultural crops including hops, pears, prunes, and marijuana.

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.