Cimarone Winery

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At the tail-end of my 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference experience, I stopped in at Cimarone Winery. I’d heard of them through Twitter, as the winery’s social media (@cimarone) did a great job letting us bloggers know they were in nearby Los Olivos and would be offering a special tasting for us if we ever had the chance to steal away from the conference. I didn’t have much time that last afternoon, having dinner plans in Santa Maria and being due in San Luis Obispo that night, but I fit Cimarone in, and I’m glad I did.

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Nestled in Los Olivos’s adorable few blocks of tasting rooms, restaurants, and shops, Cimarone’s English flag and cottage-style building stands out. Why the Union Jack? While owner Priscilla Higgins has an international background, her husband and co-owner Roger hails from Yorkshire and has obviously retained his British loyalties despite starting a winery in Santa Barbara County in 2001.

The Higgins are pictured in the photo to the left. I know, I know, you can’t see it.

The Higgins are pictured in the photo to the left. I know, I know, you can’t see it.

My guide in the tasting room, Shelley Woods, spoke highly of the Higgins and of winemaker Andrew Murray, who’s done impressive work throughout the Santa Barbara region. What impressed me most about Cimarone’s wines was the nose—they all had amazingly complex and memorable noses.

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WBC14: Bridlewood Estate Excursion

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View from Bridlewood’s mission bells.

As I wrote in my thoughts on the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC14), the overall value of the conference is one of the biggest reasons I’d consider going again in the future. And nothing can illustrate that better than the one additional excursion I attended the afternoon after WBC14 closed: the Bridlewood Estate Excursion.

For about the cost of a burger in most San Francisco eateries ($15), I added on this bonus trip into the Santa Ynez Valley AVA, which I knew included a tour, tasting wines, and a picnic lunch.

The lunch, all bundled up.

The lunch, all bundled up.

I didn’t know it included a panel discussion called “Meet Your Makers”, which would stuff us even more with an amazing array of appetizers prepared by Industrial Eat’s Jeff Olsson, a chef that every blogger who made it away from the hotel for dinner raved about.

Olsson with Valley Piggery’s Jake O’Francis.

Olsson with Valley Piggery’s Jake O’Francis.

More on that later, but even without that bonus session, I would have felt I got my money’s worth from the event. Heck, I probably would have felt it the moment I stepped out of the bus.

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The General Hospital Fan Club Weekend – 2014, Available now!

Another photography credit for me, another chance for the unabashed soap opera lovers among us to pick up a nifty photobook! Once again, Katrina Rasbold, my fearless leader at All My Writers for the last, oh, almost decade, has released a Yearbook of this year’s General Hospital Fan Club Weekend. She writes the reports; I take the photos.

This 180-page book is jam-packed with full-color photos of General Hospital‘s past and present-day stars from 4 days of events. There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes gossip to boot. What’ll you learn about in the Yearbook? As Katrina writes,

New couples, new babies, famous spouses, Hollywood royalty, a bit of a smack-down from Executive Producer, Frank Valentini, a “Blast From the Past” actor with some very unconventional claims and advice to fans, two Rabbis, plenty of selfies, a double-helping of Michael Corinthos, a male heart-throb who broke all of our hearts on screen, a current GH couple who ditched us, graphic novels straight from ComiCon, impossible schedules, careers made and broken, dogs and cats living together… this year had it all! 

Our print copies of last year’s yearbook sold out as soon as the doors to the main cast event opened, so you know these are beautiful keepsakes for the GH fans among us. Both full-color and black and white paperback versions are available from Amazon.

Color:                      Black and White:
         

I couldn’t leave you without sharing my favorite photos from the event, could I? I was so delighted to see Scott Clifton at the Past Cast Event. Him and Michael Sutton appearing made my weekend.

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I hope you enjoy the 2014 Yearbook!

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