Napa Insider

Chasing Grapes

Columnist: Christina Julian
Oct, 2017 Issue

Nine years ago, I moved to the Napa Valley, and left a grueling job in advertising (and Los Angeles gridlock) behind me. Soon after I landed, I met winemaker Kirk Venge at a Cheers St. Helena social, and regaled him with my dreams of becoming a wine writer. He smiled that wide- mouthed grin that only a man of Kirk’s stature and size can conjure, and offered to help. A few days later I was on the trail to “chase grapes” with him. This translated into me running to keep up as we traversed hundreds of vineyards, tasting and testing for levels of ripeness and acidity, so he could determine the precise moment to pick. A couple days would turn into a season as his official grape sampler, where each day would end, hands stained, eyelids sagging, and a body beaten to the core—but ready to rinse and repeat the next day.


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Street Talk

Columnist: Christina Julian
Sep, 2017 Issue

Despite all the money that lingers in these hills, how is it that our sidewalks border on unwalkable and in certain places flat out missing?


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So Long to Summer

Columnist: Christina Julian
Aug, 2017 Issue

No one is more bummed than me that the swinging days of summer are winding down to make way for the harvest grapes to roar, but not before replaying some of my favorite scenes of the season. 


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Happy Trails

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jul, 2017 Issue

A fact that baffles me here in the land of high rollers because despite all the loot that lingers in these hills, our roadways are in a constant state of disrepair. In Calistoga, it looks like an earthquake aftershock zone, with enough potholes, cracked sidewalks and crevasses to swallow up a small toddler or hound. In a land as rich as ours, why is it near impossible to find a smooth roadway?


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Cork This

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jan, 2017 Issue

An informal phone conversation went from cordial to curt when I learn corkage is no longer free and ask the simple question: Why?


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Managing Growth

Columnist: Christina Julian
Dec, 2016 Issue

Despite all the turmoil swirling around the wine industry, our restaurant and hospitality scene soldiered on.


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Road to Nowhere

Columnist: Christina Julian
Nov, 2016 Issue

The only way I can imagine any person or business agreeing to such an overextended project was a failure to read the fine print.


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Dared to Be Different

Author: Christina Julian
Oct, 2016 Issue

I’ve never known wines to have personalities, but then again I hate Pinot Noirs, so what do I know.


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So Long to Summer

Author: Christina Julian
Sep, 2016 Issue

Now a regular at the Barrel Auction, I delight in seeing what changes from one year to the next as well as reveling in those things that never do.


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Fly Wine

Author: Christina Julian
Jul, 2016 Issue

You can only say Im sorry, so many times; an offering of wine says what words cant.


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The Growth Bender

Author: Christina Julian
Jun, 2016 Issue

As is often the case with any addiction, I have to ask myself if this latest binge is really worth it considering the hangover thats sure to follow.


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Wines Are Like Supermodels

Author: Christina Julian
May, 2016 Issue

Jay McInerney enchanted us with his comparison of Chablis to Kate Moss and of Monterey County Chardonnay to Pamela Anderson.


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Do One Thing Well

Author: Christina Julian
Apr, 2016 Issue

What is an upscale sports bar? Im certain theres an oxymoron in there somewhere.


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Winding Up and Down the Valley

Author: Christina Julian
Mar, 2016 Issue

To change or not to change? That’s the question that dominated 2015 conversations.


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Rebirth and Rocky Roads

Author: Christina Julian
Feb, 2016 Issue

In the midst of hot debates over growth and regulation, Napa Valley finds a way to remain authentic.


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Life Lessons

Author: Christina Julian
Jan, 2016 Issue

Christina ponders questions of gender equality and age-related bias in the wine world.


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Divided and United

Author: Christina Julian
Dec, 2015 Issue

Solving our valley’s breed of family squabbles feels about as likely as having a stress-free holiday season.


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Napa Valley Biz: Boom or Bust

Author: Christina Julian
Nov, 2015 Issue

Love us or leave us, Napa Valley biz stays true to its own culture..


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Citizens Uprising

Author: Christina Julian
Oct, 2015 Issue

To me, self-certification feels about as effective as asking a teenager to monitor their own use of screen time.


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The Sucker Punch of Growth

Columnist: Christina Julian
Sep, 2015 Issue

Is the Winery Definition Ordinance working when it comes to growth and restrictions?


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Giving Gone Wild

Columnist: Christina Julian
Aug, 2015 Issue

Auction Napa Valley has another exemplary year.


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Big Sound, Big Biz?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jul, 2015 Issue

Napa’s music scene is heating up slowly but surely.


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Is It Time to Drop the Gauntlet on Development?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jun, 2015 Issue

Christina hopes winery development gets under control sooner than later.


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Glass Class

Columnist: Christina Julian
May, 2015 Issue

Finding the right glass for your wine can make a difference in how it tastes.


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The New Napa Valley: Country or Cosmo?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Apr, 2015 Issue

Christina hopes that as Napa Valley’s population grows, its small town feel will remain solid.


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