July 2018 - Please The Palate
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A few weeks ago, I went wine tasting for the weekend in California. I did not go to Napa or Sonoma. I did not go to Paso Robles or Santa Barbara. I did not go to Temecula. I went wine tasting in Ramona Valley in San Diego. Yes, the Ramona Valley is a quickly growing wine destination that I wrote about in my recent column in the Napa Valley Register.

Living in California, we are lucky that no matter what city we live in, there is a wine region in our backyard. San Francisco has Napa and Sonoma, Los Angeles has Santa Barbara, Orange County has Temecula and San Diego has the Ramona Valley.

Yes, there is a wine region in San Diego County. In 2006, the Ramona Valley AVA was the 162nd area to be designated as an American Viticulture Area. It was only the second AVA to be designated in San Diego County (San Pasqual Valley was designated in 1981) and the third in Southern California (Temecula Valley was designated in 1986). These three AVAs all fall within the large South Coast AVA, which covers all of Southern California south of Santa Barbara.

Two things that go well together are wine and music. And for ten days each year, wine and music come together for Festival Napa Valley. Epitomizing the elegance of wine country life, Festival Napa Valley is the Please The Palate pick of the week. Every July, for ten days, more than 200 artists, wineries, resorts, theaters, restaurants and vintners participate in Festival Napa Valley. Extraordinary performances in breathtaking locations make up many of the experiences for guests. There are vintner luncheons, winemaker dinners and most importantly, the concerts. The arts are such an important part of our lives. Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects. Music helps with language development, spatial-temporal skills and increased IQ. Music makes us happier and less stressed. I grew up in a family of professional classical flutists and started playing at a young age. I played in orchestras my entire childhood and went to music camp each summer. Music has played such a significant part in my life and gives me great pleasure to see other young people experiencing the same.
Recently I was heading up to Paso Robles to be a judge at the Central Coast Wine Competition. On my way, I went to meet with winemaker and owner David McGee of Monochrome Wines. His tasting room is located in Tin City, an super-hip wine tasting destination in Paso Robles. But, Tin City has more to offer than just wine tasting some of the best boutique wineries in the region. There are a few other surprises. You can read all about it in the story that I had written for California Winery Advisor. So what is Tin City Paso Robles and why should wine lovers care? Fifteen minutes south of the town of Paso Robles, an unassuming industrial park is home to an unexpected experience: Tin City. While pool supply companies, auto body shops, and air conditioning distributors are still located here, there is no mistaking that Tin City is Paso’s hippest wine tasting destination. Add in a brewery, cider maker, and distillery and it is clear that Tin City is a drinker’s paradise!

Before We Get To The Tiny City Wineries