Wine Tasting In El Dorado

One of my favorite parts about living in Sacramento is when I want to get out for a weekend adventure I don’t have to travel very far. Within in an hour driving distance of my house there are all kinds of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Recently I was introduced to El Dorado wine country for their 2016 Passport Weekend. I know when most people think of Northern California wine it conjures up images of Napa or Sonoma, but I was excited to find what other amazing wines existed outside of these regions. My official photographer, I mean husband, and I braved grey skies and rain sprinkles to taste new wines and take in beautiful views, we were not disappointed.


2016 Passport Weekend

We spent the most amount of our time at C.G. di Arie Vineyard and Winery where we tasted our way through the property. First stop was the patio where we met Elisheva, co-owner of C.G di Arie, and she gave us a brief explanation of the history and types of wines they produce. We were excited to learn they regularly host open house events for wine releases and vineyard tours. I mean, with this view how could we not plan on coming back?


View From the Patio

Why is my glass empty?

After taking in the views we headed inside to meet the winemaker Chaim, who also happens to be the husband of Elisheva. We were challenged to put our palates to the test and identify which eight wines made up their soon-to-be released Onstage Act II blend. Always up for a good challenge my husband and I tasted, chatted with the winemaker (we couldn’t pry any hints about the blend makeup out of him), and submitted our best guesses. People who correctly identify the makeup of the blend win a case, so keep your fingers crossed and if you’re lucky we might share.

Decoding the OnStage Act II Blend
Meeting the maker.
Casting the ballot, may I have one more taste just to be sure?
Barrels of fun at G.G. di Arie

We really enjoyed out experience at Passport Weekend and can’t wait to come back, on our visit we will definitely plan on staying overnight so we can experience more. Haven’t been yet? Plan your getaway here. Have a favorite winery, restaurant, or hotel we should try next time? Let me know in the comments!

Hey Girl Thanksgiving 2015


My parents have been divorced since I was small so for most of my life Thanksgiving was about the shuffle.  My brother and I would show up at one house, hug everyone, eat a little bit of food, and then leave for another house to repeat the pattern. This tradition continued well into adulthood and, not surprisingly, was not relaxing at all. In 2009 I moved out of my hometown of Tempe, AZ to Southern California but would still travel back for Thanksgiving every other year, these trips consisted of more shuffling. Cramming in visits with family, friends, and family friends over four days usually meant there was little time left for napping.

Last October my husband and I bought our house in Sacramento and decided our first tradition as a married couple would be to not leave our new house for the holidays. We also established a few other very important rules that accompany this tradition: relax, eat a lot, pajamas are acceptable at the table (or some version of pajamas like leggings/sweats, etc), and there will be champagne.

Our first Thanksgiving in the new house began with coffee,  bubbles, something a little sweet for breakfast, and watching the Macy’s Day Parade.  Dinner consisted of a mini-feast for two that was served on a folding table in our living room because we hadn’t purchased a dining room table yet. We sat at that tiny table stacked with food and drank too much wine, ate too much pie, and mapped out the future remodel of our kitchen (that we just recently finished, yay!).

Even though I missed my family back in Arizona I was Thankful for a quiet evening full of laughter and love. We talked about foods we loved (canned cranberry sauce for life) hated (you can take a hike green bean casserole), and family traditions growing up. This is how I want to spend every holiday forever, with the most amount of love and laughter and least amount of stress.

I want to always remember to be thankful that I want more than I need in life, I am surrounded by miraculous human beings who are pretty hilarious, and I love more than I stress.

This year we have a beautiful new kitchen that is perfect for cooking the big meal and I am excited to welcome family to our new dining room table. I’m still working on the menu, but I can guarantee there will be canned cranberry sauce and bubbles.


Hey Girl Guide to Wine Tasting at Home

WIne Tasting Party

Oh glorious Friday, the best day of the week. The day where we always know exactly how many minutes until five o’ clock. What are you doing this weekend? We’ve been friends long enough now that I am going to assume it will involve a glass, or bottle, of wine. I am heading to Napa this weekend (full disclosure I did final editing of this post from my hotel room in Napa) so I will definitely be consuming some vino, you can find follow all the tasting fun over on my Instagram.

If you want to bring Napa into your house this weekend, why not throw a wine tasting party? I’m not talking a fancy, stuffy wine tasting party where people might judge you for showing up with two buck Chuck. I’m talking about getting together a few of your favorite people, having them bring their favorite wine, and sharing some laughs. You should also add cheese to your list, because a wine tasting party is the perfect opportunity to indulge in too much cheese.  My lady friend Kristin who is the artist and brain behind Semi Sweet Press has created a printable wine tasting kit that is perfect for your non-stuffy wine tasting party.

The kit includes tasting mats that coach you through how to evaluate the different facets of the wine. My personal favorite is the Finish description: do the flavors linger after you swallow? (that’s what she said) Yummy, lasting flavors usually mean you are drinking some good shit. Remember the part about only inviting your fun friends? Now you see why I said that. It also includes the judgement cards that you fill out foe each wine you taste.

I was writing that my wine tasted like banana cream pie, it wasn’t my favorite.  This kit makes wine tasting fun, and that is all we really want out of a night that involves wine with good friends right? Who would you invite to your wine tasting party? You better say me.

The Semi Sweet Press kit includes tasting mats, score cards, invitations, numbered wine tags, and instructions for use. Find it here. All photos by Madeloni Photography