Napa Valley native Tim Carl, a former chef and current vintner, explores the valley and reports back on what he finds in “Local Tastes” – cutting-edge food, premium wines and the often-fascinating people who make them happen." 

The wine industry is facing a turning point. With consumer behaviors changing, slowing demand, shifting demographics and a growing chorus of voices extolling the harmful health impacts of alcohol consumption, wine-growers and producers are feeling anxious about the future.

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The reasons for purchasing a Napa Valley vineyard and making wine abound, and every owner has a different story. For Kisha and Jason Itkin, it was a chance to become part of a community with which they had established a bond.

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Napa’s newest winery just opened, and it is a game-changer — bringing both opportunities and omens. In what had been the Franciscan Estate Winery just south of St. Helena is now a renovated and reimagined winery concept — The Prisoner Wine Co. Based on the widely popular wine brand, The Pris…

I write about food and wine because I think about food and wine a lot. I spend my days pondering the business, products and people associated with food and wine.

The annual Premiere auction has come and gone, bringing in $4.1 million. The numbers were down for the third year in a row, although only slightly from last year ($4.2 million in 2017), but way down from the peak of $6 million reached in 2015. This year’s results point to a trend that sugges…

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Rolando Herrera and his wife Lorena had a dream — create their own Napa Valley winery. But what to call it? Waking early one morning, Rolando turned to his wife and said, “We have to call it Mi Sueño.”

In 1976, Margaret and Dan Duckhorn founded a small winery. Their goal was to make a merlot wine from Napa Valley grapes that might stand up to any wine in the world. Their first vintage was the 1978. Forty years later, their commitment to that original vision has been recognized as the Wine …

I gripped the broom with two sweaty hands as my grandmother watched me sweep the kitchen floor. We were preparing for holiday guests and had been working all afternoon getting the house ready, hanging garland and dusting every nook and cranny as my grandfather strung lights outside on the ho…

Constellation Brands, based in New York, owns numerous Napa Valley wineries — Mondavi, Franciscan, The Prisoner and many others — and is the second-largest wine and beer company in the United States with some 50 million cases of wine sold every year.

For years, the world of business, and especially the wine industry, has pinned its hopes for increased growth on the millennial generation (roughly those born between 1980 and 1995).

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My stepsister has stage-4 breast cancer. She has lived with it for the last few years and is an example of strength and grace to all who know her. Her daughter, now 15, her husband, and her family and friends want to know a few things: What was the cause, what is the prognosis, what are the …

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The ongoing fires in Northern California’s wine country are tragic beyond comprehension and have resulted in a still unknown but already too high number of people losing their lives, thousands of families losing their homes and hundreds of businesses being burned to the ground or otherwise a…

The economy and the wine industry are charging ahead at a breakneck pace. However, some data suggests that what lies ahead might spell trouble for those without a clear strategic plan.

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“Lynn, just a reminder, I’m heading out again tonight,” I called to my wife from our living room as I readied for my trip up the California coastline.

Thomas Brown makes wine for many clients, often producing some of the highest-scoring and most sought-after wines in California. One of these brands is Schrader, a small producer based out of Calistoga that makes a few thousand cases of cabernet sauvignon-based wines that primarily source gr…

No one else seemed to notice the old man who stared at me from the street for what had seemed like minutes, his matted beard and filthy clothing hanging off his emaciated body like so much Spanish moss, his vacuous eyes unblinking.

Changes in Las Vegas, the sale of Ovid Winery and the closing of the San Francisco restaurant RN-74 and the Santa Rosa-based Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine seem unrelated, but they are not. All of them point toward the changing future in the world of wine, and those who are listen…

Even if the president’s budget never gets through Congress wholly intact, the chilling effect on the wine market will have broad unintended consequences.

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If you’re like me you’ve become almost numb to headlines touting another Napa Valley auction that has brought in millions of dollars for some worthy cause. But what has become more interesting to me is how these raised millions are being used and what the generated-fund levels might indicate…

The 2017 Wine Business Monthly rankings are out, and the results highlight what everyone in the wine business already knows: The competition in the world of wine sales is staggering.

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The definition of synthetic is a substance made by chemical synthesis to imitate a natural product, and it is a word that is growing in importance and value as a rush of new companies seeks to reinvent food as we know it.

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When Jen Rainin, owner of Rainin vineyards in the Diamond Mountain appellation in the hills above Calistoga, woke on New Year’s Day 2016, the first thing she did was check her email. One message informed her that a Hall wine made from their grapes had received 100 points from the influential…

Everyone in Napa recognizes Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous quote, “Wine is bottled poetry.” His statement adorns Highway 29 at the entrance to the heart of the Napa Valley.

In the Napa Valley veraison, the onset of ripening when grapes begin to take on color and accumulate sugar and flavor, normally begins in July, with different varietals starting the process a few days or weeks apart. In contrast to last year, 2016 seems to be pretty normal in both ripening a…

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Every year, Silicon Valley Bank puts out a highly anticipated wine report. This year’s news is cautionary at best, with only a few positive highlights.

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Bettina Rouas knows what it takes to make and sustain one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the Napa Valley. Owner of the Angèle’s eatery on Napa’s waterfront, she’s spent her life in and around restaurants. Her father, Claude Rouas, was one of the world’s leading restaurateurs, and…

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Back in July 2015, I wrote a story in The Weekly Calistogan titled “Calistoga: A cornucopia of dining options.” I believe it might be good to revisit some of that article and see where we stand. Below are a few of the highlights:

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A friend of mine from New York, Eric, called me the other day. He was coming out to California for a meeting in San Francisco and planned to spend the weekend visiting the Napa Valley. Eric told me he’d recently divorced and met a new woman, and he wanted to show her “the best of what the Na…

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