Hi, I’m Beth Ash, Napa/Sonoma wine enthusiast and founder of For Love of The Vine. I’ve been traveling to California wine country for 15 years. I made my first visit to Napa Valley in September of 1999. I knew nothing about wine, or wine country, and had no idea what to expect (I had no expectations at all, actually). I attended a crush dinner, knowing nothing at all about crush. (Just in case you’re in the same boat, crush is harvest time in wine country – they pick the grapes and begin the wine making process – it’s a time full of hard work and big celebration).
It was an amazing experience, to be sure, and to be honest, it was a little overwhelming. Everyone seemed so sophisticated and knowledgeable… I had no idea what a vertical tasting was or why I’d want to participate in it, why everyone was spitting out their wine or what all these terms like malolactic fermentation, tannins and brix meant! Since then I’ve visited, studied and experienced Napa and Sonoma several times each year. I’ve learned a lot about wine, wine terms, tasting room etiquette and more. Most of all, I’ve learned how to pick out wineries with passion and personality and exclusive tasting experiences.
I’ve curated a list of hidden treasures and I’d love to share them with you (it’s my favorite thing to talk about)!
The trips have become more about a way of life instead of just a quick getaway. Wine country is the place where I feel the most calm and the most excited all at the same time. When I’ve been maxed out, stressed out, stretched too thin and barely hanging on, I can go there and completely unwind. It’s magical for me. I love their way of life, their commitment to sustainability, their passion for living well and living simply. Fresh, organic foods provided in a farm-to-table presentation somehow nourish both my body and my soul. I always feel taken care of by the people, and nourished by the land and the beauty.