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.

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.

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.