Barrel Thief
28th July, 2014

Paso Header1

This post could have an alternative title of  “Death March Day 1″ and then maybe you could grasp the intense bombardment of wines I went through that first day. I had to start my day at 6:30 am in Sacramento by catching the train for a three hour ride to San Jose station. Bless my mother for getting up early to take me and for running towards the track with me, which was about a half a mile away from the ticket counter! After boarding and without any internet I texted friends and family from my phone and even managed to curl my hair using my Ipad as a mirror in my seat. Sure a few people did a double take at the little girl with the hot iron up against her head, but I didn’t want to look shabby in front of all the new bloggers I was going to meet so I took darting glances. After my three hour train ride I used my handy dandy Lyft app to hail a ride to the airport and proceeded to freshen up and look for my companions for the next two days.

Sara Wolcott was cheerfully herding all the wine bloggers near terminal A, so I introduced myself to Eveann  from Vino-Con-Vista and Lisa from Wine with Lisa and waited to board the bus. While we were all boarding our luggage I saw the tallest most lovely blonde woman drop her purse and I watched as what looked like a cell phone rolled under the bus. I dived down close to the tire to see if I could rescue the lost mobile and tried to solicit her help as she just stared at me in beguilement. I said ” your phone, didn’t it just go under the bus?” she responded with “no I hope not, nope it’s right here.”. Sheepishly, I let know how panicked I was for her pseudo lost phone and tried to save it. This would be known throughout the conference as how she met Kayla diving under the bus to save a water bottle story.

From  there, I boarded the bus and waited to take off. This broad shouldered, tall bearded guy shouts “Let’s get this party started!” and we were off! With our tour guide/ Paso Robles communications director Chris Taranto leading the way we made out first stop at Niner Estates. Note: The” tall bearded guy” is not Chris Taranto….



We were greeted by rows of banquet tables and  tall stemmed glasses that were standing at the ready for all of us to explore and savor. I was preoccupied taking a few photos and trying really hard to appear professional in the front row. I could tell a few of the winemakers were trying to guess at my age. I wasn’t sitting in the best place to be making faces in case I didn’t like something. Which is something that is totally unprofessional in the wine tasting world and yet I have a tendency to do anyways.

Paso Seminar 1


I was able to taste through 6 amazing wines and my three stand out favorites were the Balena White Blend, Grenache Rose, and the modest El Magnifico. I wanted to down the whole glass of El Magnifico and I should have but regrettably left behind most of the wine I was served. I kept looking over, thinking The Drunken Cyclist was going to look somewhat tipsy with 6 empty glasses but being over a foot taller than me and maybe twice my weight he didn’t even waiver! I was very jealous he could enjoy and I was left to chug water to keep myself upright.


Castoro Cellars 

2013 Balena White blend (Whale Rock Estate)- SRP $23

48% Pinot Grigio, 37% Grenache Blanc, 15% Falanghina

Hug Cellars 2011 El Magnifico- SRP$29

Giornata- SRP$45

2011 Nebbiolo Luna Matta Vineyard

Eberle Winery SRP $40 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

Hope Family Wines

2002 Treana Red- No Longer available (of course….)

60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Syrah

The property was beautiful and I wish could have stayed to enjoy the place. Alas we were whisked away and I didn’t even manage a photo of the heart shaped brush on the hillside. So close! I really wish TSA hadn’t confiscated my bottle of olive oil…. damn airport security. That bottle was at least $18! Thanks for reading and check back for part 2 of my Paso Robles excursion!

Niner Estates 1

Cheers Truly,

The Barrel Thief

09th July, 2014

WBCscho headerlIn the words of my husband’s friend Brad, “OH DANG, OH DANG!” Usually reserved for  hot women that walk by the bar patio, today I’m using it to describe how excited I am about being awarded the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship. I started a blog back in 2010 and had horrible writing and no real focus other than posting pictures. So I shut that hot mess down and re-engaged last April in 2013. I put a great amount of thought into my scholarship application and BAM! I’m on my way to my first Wine Bloggers Conference tomorrow!

Between July 9th- 10th I’ll be gallivanting across Paso Robles countryside on a bus with 30+ wine bloggers to 6 different wineries tasting through about 6-10 wineries at each stop. I probably going to take 50+ wines a day, easy. The conference picks up in Buellton on July 11th at the Santa Ynez Marriott in Santa Barbera County. I love Marriott! I heard your allowed to take one pillow every time you stay at one. Could just be a rumor. Visit to see my full agenda.

I haven’t been to Paso Robles since the first time I ever went wine tasting at age 21 with my friend Robert. It came  as a pleasant surprise to me that I’ll be visiting Tablas Creek Winery which I haven’t been to since that first visit there. I remember paying $10 for my tasting, trying some gourmet olive oils and Robert gave me his logo wine glass. I was over the moon excited! Since then, my two favorite wine glasses have been victims to my sink faucet and have broken.

I believe this conference is important for the wine blogging community as well as the wine industry because wine bloggers make up the community speaking to consumers. They have the trust and ear of people looking to learn more about wines. If it wasn’t for 1 certain wine  blogging dude I wouldn’t have had many of my questions answered at the fresh age of 21. Less than 24 hours to go until starting my adventure.

Special thanks to the scholarship corporate sponsors Rodney Strong Vineyards, Malm Communications,, HelloVino, Tercero  and Cornerstone Cellars. As well as the scholarship committee @dallaswinechick, @awanderingwino, @academicwino, @grapeexp_cindy, @wannabewino and @winebratsf! Without your annual commitment, this wouldn’t be possible for me.

Wine Bloggers Conference
Cheers Truly,
The Barrel Thief






27th May, 2014



This is one of my favorite place to visit in Amador because the view is so beautiful all year round and the atmosphere reminds me of being at my in-laws cabin in the Utah mountains. In the summer they have a concert series and a huge concert pavilion build into the hillside. I’ve always wanted to go in the winter when they have fireplaces going and maybe some space heaters with blankets and smores roasting with table service and a flight of wine. Doesn’t that sound fabulous! Enjoy my photographs.



Twitter- Helwig Winery









Cheers Truly,

The Barrel Thief

23rd May, 2014


I’ve visited this place three times now and my last visit was so sunny and beautiful that I took a bunch of photographs. We even stopped for lunch. There’s nothing like a ham and brie panini in wine country on the patio. Our host Kevin was great and had luxurious long blonde hair and looked like a surf champion.








Cheers Truly,

The Barrel Thief

19th May, 2014


I am way backed up on wineries I haven’t written about but visited. This was the first place I stopped on my birthday trip last year to Murphys. We pulled in pretty fast on a long unpaved road and parked ourselves down along the gavel path in front of the this little country house. The owner was there helping wine club members and was from England. Nice guy and very personable. His customers seemed to like him. Lewis wanted to talk soccer but he was pretty busy all on his own. It would have been great to picnic on the lawn but it was raining lightly. About a ten people showed up all at the same time and the bar only holds about 6 people comfortably. Here are some of the photos I took while visiting!

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Facebook- Four Winds Cellars


Cheers Truly,

The Barrel Thief



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