I’m a photographer and writer and an enthusiastic oenophile.  Just as I prefer to photograph California’s amazing varieties of wilderness, I am a fairly California-centric wine drinker; this is primarily because it’s easy to go to the source–and that’s precisely its greatest appeal for me.  I have always loved to learn how things work.  I’m the person who bellies up to a tasting counter with a million questions (you can take the woman out of journalism, but you’ll never kill those reporter’s instincts).  I want to know how you made this amazing liquid in my glass go from grape to bottle (and

Robin Black
Robin Black

while we’re at it, talk to me about where the grape came from, the soil it grows in, and every other little thing).  Show me how the magic works!  I also love telling peoples’ stories–and the California wine (and related) industry has SO many great stories.  This is where I share those stories, and offer my take on certain wines in between the stories.  Because when I find a tasty wine, I like to share.**

It’s tremendously fun to explore a wine region and get to know the lovely people who work it into existence.  And this is my outlet to spread some enthusiasm about wine and how it’s made.  The reason I was instantly hooked when I began wine tasting 15 or so years ago is that, overwhelmingly, there was a complete lack of pretension.  Sure, there’s the occasional place that tries to build its rep on status and exclusivity (a personal turn-off for me), but with most places–especially smaller wineries–it’s just all about the wine, and the passion that goes into making it.  Being able to explore wine that way was a game-changer for me, and I’ve been a devotee of small producers ever since.  If you’ve ever felt intimidated by the very idea of shopping for or learning about wine, I hope I can help dispel the notion that wine should ever be intimidating.  It’s a product of passion and skill, and a thing to be celebrated and enjoyed.

If you visit regularly, you’ll see me occasionally veer into non-California wines, into other spirits (can we just talk about the growing California cider scene for a few? PHENOMENAL), and even into other artisinal products that co-exist in wine regions (oh, the olive oils we will try together…).

This blog is about my sharing what I’ve learned–and continue to learn–and spreading a little vino love.  Grab a corkscrew and a glass, and join me!


**So how do I choose the people and wines I profile?  You have to make good wine (and extra points for having a great story to tell).  All of my profiles are a result of my having tasted, and been impressed by, their wines and/or spirits.  It’s that simple–if I like (preferably if I REALLY REALLY like) your wines, I’m going to be interested in your story, and quite possibly in sharing your story in a profile article.  I am constantly on the look for new (or new to me) and interesting wines, and the people behind them.

If I don’t happen to stroll into your tasting room or encounter you at a wine event of some kind, feel free to send your wine.  Check my samples policy for more info.