The Blue Rock Chronicles is my year-long journey, in residence, with Blue Rock Vineyard in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. Recently, I had the great privilege of sitting in, and joining, the blending of Blue Rock’s most popular wine, Baby Blue. My favorite part of being a wine merchant, for many years, was the opportunity to taste so many finished wines upon their releases. Now, after the many thousands of prêt à boire products I have tried, for which I believed many could have been better with my professional input, I was getting my chance to put my money where my mouth is. [Read more…]
The Housewrighter has embedded with Blue Rock Vineyard for a 1 year exploration of an estate, its winery, and the people who manage them. Kenny Kahn is the magnanimous owner of Blue Rock, in the Alexander Valley. This, recently fashionable, enclave of excellent wine is showing up all over the press lately. Blue Rock is one of the reasons it is. The wines are excellent, but I am not here to write about wine flavors, organoleptic compounds, or scores from critics. I am here to talk about people, to share my observations living at the winery once a month, and to learn just what the hell goes on day-to-day during the winery year. It all starts with Kenny, a native of Memphis, and while his southern charm is evident, do not be mislead by the lilt of his voice when he describes his estate. Kenny is no bumpkin. He is cool, well-dressed in French berets, country denim, and possessing the savoir-faire to relate to kings and countrymen. He is clearly well-traveled and conscious of his presentation. In the first 15 minutes of hanging out with him, it is apparent he owns the place, and not just in deed, but in show. [Read more…]
The Housewrighter’s photography will be published in a 10 page article in the upcoming December issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The article, penned by the venerable Virginie Boone, focuses on some of the outstanding wineries of the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County, California. Michael Housewright will receive a photo credit by-line, and his work over 5 days in the AV is flush with the signature drama and movement in his images. Photographer Loren J Root assisted Michael on the shoot and his work was integral to the project. Loren’s work will be seen in the AV piece and will be featured in an article on soil consultant Paul Skinner, also in the December issue. [Read more…]
My next iPhone Imaging class is in the California Wine Country’s El Dorado County Feb. 22nd at Miraflores winery. This is my third event with Miraflores and I could not be happier working with this fine winery and great group of people. I am pleased to announce we have 6 spots left for this 4 hour intro to iPhone imaging (and wine tasting).
We will touch on composition and light, as well as the tools to process images into fantastic memories and/or pieces of art. Please see the winery posted details below and give them a buzz if you would like to join.
Hope to see you there! [Read more…]
What a wonderful and sometimes intense set of responses from my previous post – The Italy Rules. I want to take a little time today to expand and expound on some of my thoughts and provide further insight into traveling in Italy.
1. Italy Guides – Here is my short list of who I would travel with and why in Italy.
- The Rome Digest - This new and wonderful consortium of talented Rome guides includes my dear friend Katie Parla, who is my champion of all things Roman (pork, gelato, beer, wine, art, history, and life) If you are going to spend time in Rome, and you should, let the Rome digest draw a map for you
- Venice – Row Venice Nan McIlroy is one of the most knowledgeable people in Italy regarding living life, eating well, and getting out on the water. Don’t pay 200 euro for a snooze on a gondola. Pay less and get out there and learn to do it yourself. Easily one of the greatest experiences I have ever had in Italy
- Tuscany – Judy Francini will cook with you and teach you what it means to truly experience life in Tuscany. Reach out to her. She has been cooking successfully for her Italian husband for years. She will teach you how to impress anyone.
- Puglia – this is a bit biased but I can vouch for the unbeatable quality of Southern Visions Travel. Antonello Losito leads this superior company leading the most authentic excursions into Italy’s tastiest region. From 1 day to 1 month, these guys are amazing
- Le Marche – Mariano Pallottini – the best guides are sometimes not guides. For this truly under-the-radar region no one can show visitors the ropes like Mariano. Please tell him I sent you.
- Travel for Teens - If you would like to send your son or daughter on one of the most amazing experiences to be had. I strongly suggest using Travel for Teens. Managed and operated by a group of passionate, intelligent, and experienced men and women, TFT is the leader in volunteer and cultural travel in Italy for students. Ask for Ned or Nick and your young adult will be blown away
- For other Italian regions I have friends of friends and would be happy to do some research for you [Read more…]
Friuli Friday Photos Finale is my final Friday blog of 2012. These shots are from an extraordinary spring adventure in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and one from the Veneto just next door. We are in Northeast Italy here, in a land still seeking an identity after changing hands frequently in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I never would have thought I would have eaten the best sauerkraut of my life in Italy, and I did. Tall people, Fascist art, pork in a dozen ways on one plate, my kind of weirdness shared with friends. Nicolas Emery, the famous Rubicon explorer, his fiancée Giulia Laveto (aka juujee), and of course The Schmee were all present and on board for wine, food, and Friuli. [Read more…]
The Blissful Adventurer – 2012 Blog of the Year
Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the link from Cara Olsen to her outstanding blog This Little Light and saw she had selected me among a few of her very talented peers as Blog of the Year for 2012. Cara herself had received the honor and as the protocol dictates shared her love and recognition with other writers she admires in the same vein. Cara, as many of my readers already know, is a novelist/blogger of exceptional mettle and integrity. Her work proves one can have faith and a firm grasp of the human condition and that they are not mutually exclusive. To be chosen by such a talented scribe is truly a blessing in these end of 2012 days. Thank you Cara Olsen. You are blessed and blessed with good taste [Read more…]
Sicily – Theatrical Friday Photos – Is a journey across the enigmatic island using photos that conjure emotions reminiscent of the theater. I am more and more returning to my theatrical roots and seeking inventive and resourceful ways to tell you my stories. This is one of them.
We left the airport at Trapani in a rented Fiat Punto our Garmin Nuvi GPS device had not been updated in 3 years, and roads in Sicily are museums for allied bombing runs from the 1940s. Then, there was this structure in its abandoned glory. Nino Rota played in my head and I fought the urge to look for sheep to herd. In reality I barely took enough time to stare at the gorgeous wreck before getting lost a few more times on the roads that go and go yet no distance ever seems overcome. [Read more…]
Hipstamatic fun photo Friday is a joyful exploration of the depths in iPhone photography that help me to document The Blissful Adventurer. These images represent my particular vision of the images I see and are intended to alter mood and shift perspective. Hipstamatic is an application for mobile phone cameras that has inspired me since its inception and I hope very much it remains a fixture in the app world. [Read more…]