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The Mutt of the Wine World

Columnist: Christina Julian
May, 2019 Issue

When it comes to dogs, I’ve always been a mutt lover. Gravitating to those adoring mix-breed hounds with grateful eyes, perfect temperament and always-be-wagging tails. This choice has been an instinctual one, that was less about settling and more about one-of-a-kind originality. Decades of pet ownership later, my stance on blended breeds remains unchanged. As for my wine drinking preferences, the same tendency has not always applied.

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A Time Of Reckoning

Columnist: Christina Julian
Apr, 2019 Issue

It’s four months into the year and I have yet to wax on about women’s issues. For those who have enjoyed the reprieve, you may want to flip the page. For the rest of you, get ready to shake your lucky shamrocks. I’ve sat on my hands long enough and I am ready to roar. While strides have been made over the past few years to push women’s issues and gender equality to the forefront—we aren’t even close to cresting this Kilimanjaro. 

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Alternative Tastes

Columnist: Christina Julian
Mar, 2019 Issue

Only three months into 2019 and the year is off to a banging start an as alternative taste and pot spots emerge. I’ve accepted that survival as a working gal and mom to toddling twins is largely dependent on easy access to nerve-reducing elixirs and stimulants to the nervous system—mainly wine and coffee.

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Girl Power

Columnist: Christina Julian
Sep, 2018 Issue

Lately my mornings play out something like this. Twin tots throw Cheerios like confetti and fly off furniture clad in capes and superhero garb, as they shout: “Girl power rules!” The fact that my son screams more loudly than my daughter is an indicator that times are indeed changing—not only in my home, but up and down the valley, as people do their own chants for equality, including at the Women’s Summit Napa Valley, held at Charles Krug winery in August.

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The Ascent of Dissent

Columnist: Christina Julian
Aug, 2018 Issue

As Andy Warhol once said, “I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.” I shot into this world a city girl, from the outskirts of Washington D.C. As an adult I wanted bigger, better, more, so I graduated to larger cities, Tampa Bay, New York City and Los Angeles, before surprising family and friends when I made Napa Valley my forever home 10 years ago. There are countless differences when it comes to city versus country living, but as unrest around the primary election in June still swings, I’m most interested in what it means to “have a voice” in small-town USA, in contrast to big cities.

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Rosé Roundup

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jul, 2018 Issue

Nothing says summer like concerts in the park, Fourth of July parades, barbeques, and rosé swishing in the glass. As a woman who opts to wear pink on six out of the seven days of the week, rosé could easily be an accessory as much as a picnic accompaniment, but like the gradations of pink in my wardrobe, rosés come in many shades and styles. Just as one might ponder if an outfit is too bright, muted or tasteless, there is much to consider when it comes to picking the perfect rosé for one’s palate and preferences.

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Social Media–Waste of Time or Worth It?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jun, 2018 Issue

Almost immediately upon signing with the publisher who would release my debut novel to the world, one thing was made clear, more like mandated—social media would be used to promote the book. My publisher was willing to invest, but they expected me to do the same—on social media.

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Calamity or Commerce?

Columnist: Christina Julian
May, 2018 Issue

I recently came across James Conaway’s new book, Napa at Last Light: Americas Eden in an Age of Calamity. Calamity is not a word to toss around lightly, especially to someone like me, who has, on more than one occasion, been called a Calamity Jane. Not many could get away with speaking about Napa Valley as an agrarian ideal in one breath and a viticultural Disneyland in the next. In the forward alone, his tale goes from adoration to what feels like a eulogy to the Napa Valley that once was. A time before our humble valley became a mecca of wine, commerce—and if you’re talking to Conaway—a calamity in the making.

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Hear Me Roar!

Columnist: Christina Julian
Apr, 2018 Issue

I was raised in a household that bent to the right, so the idea of seeing women in positions of power on the political front, was unthinkable. Now, as mid-century status beckons, it’s less about what side of the fence I lean on, and more about being open and ready for action.

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Calistogas Drinking Problem

Columnist: Christina Julian
Mar, 2018 Issue

Last year I received multiple notices that read: “Important Information About Your Drinking Water.” These notices detailed all the ways in which Calistoga drinking water is polluted. The data stings, but it’s not news. I’ve known our water stinks, metaphorically and literally, for years. Ever since I was pregnant with the twins, I’ve been unable to stomach the stench of our tap water. On a good day, it smells musty and moldy. On moderate ones, more like swamp water. And on the worst of days (often), poopy diapers.

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Behemoth Begone

Columnist: Christina Julian
Feb, 2018 Issue

Behemoth Begone? 

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Ready to Pour

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jan, 2018 Issue

Communities are resilient. A fact that always amazes me every time hard times hit. It’s not that I’m expecting people not to band together, because that’s what we do. Especially in a tightly knit community like Napa Valley. Signs of thanks to our firefighters and first responders paint our city and town streets more than a month after the wildfires hit. In a valley where the livelihood dives and thrives with the whims of Mother Nature, our people and grapes are built to withstand it all. Like the loyal hounds that chase winery owners through vineyard rows, we lick our wounds, and then get back to business. If you live here, you know this. As for the rest of the world—it’s a message that needs to be spread—Napa Valley is still standing—and ready to pour. 

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Out From Under the Ashes

Columnist: Christina Julian
Dec, 2017 Issue

Today is the first day in a week that I’ve sat down to write on my computer. This says something for someone who is incessantly tied to her devices and has been called a laptop whore on more than one occasion. I started this column a week ago on the heels of my twins’ fourth birthday bash in October that was held at Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga, a fixture of an establishment on Tubbs Lane, which happens to grant locals a 50 percent discount on admission. 

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Speaking Out & Reel Times

Columnist: Christina Julian
Nov, 2017 Issue

 In January 2015, a group of concerned citizens banded together to form the community coalition Napa Vision 2050—to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Napa community. If the standing room only crowd at September’s town hall meeting in St. Helena was an indicator, the group’s momentum is gaining. 

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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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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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Vineyard Vignettes: GlenLyon Vineyards & Winery, Gamble Family Vineyards, Monticello Vineyards, Merr

Author: Sarah Treseler, Christina Julian, William Rohrs
Oct, 2016 Issue

NorthBay biz visits GlenLyon Vineyards & Winery, Gamble Family Vineyards, Monticello Vineyards, Merriam Winery.  

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Trinchero Napa Valley, St. Helena

Author: Christina Julian
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

Trinchero Napa Valley 3070 N. St. Helena Highway St. Helena, 94574 (707) 963-1160 trincheronapavalley.com Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Tasting fees: $30 to $95 Wines offered: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Petite Sirah Reservations: Suggested for VIP experience Picnics: No Pets: No

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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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Catalyst: Marc and Brenda Lhormer

Author: Christina Julian
Aug, 2016 Issue

Bringing communities together and redefining Wine Country tourism.

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Fly Wine

Author: Christina Julian
Jul, 2016 Issue

You can only say “I’m sorry,” so many times; an offering of wine says what words can’t.

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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 that’s 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”? I’m certain there’s 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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Dreams and Ideas

Author: Christina Julian
Mar, 2016 Issue

Katie Hamilton Shaffer is feasting it forward, one glass, fork and fund-raiser at a time.

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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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Personality: Jean-Charles Boisset

Author: Christina Julian
Aug, 2015 Issue

Developing wine tasting experiences for all the senses

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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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The Shot Heard Around the World

Columnist: Christina Julian
Mar, 2015 Issue

A look at the slow evolution of Napa Wine Country

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Commercial Drones: Will They or Won't They?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Feb, 2015 Issue

How drones just might work for the wine industry.

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Recapture That Loving Feeling

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jan, 2015 Issue

Christina seeks out down-to-earth winery experiences in Napa.

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Small Towns, Big Biz

Columnist: Christina Julian
Dec, 2014 Issue

Christina covers some up-valley sights and sounds.

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In the Wake of the Quake

Columnist: Christina Julian
Nov, 2014 Issue

Napa Valley bands together to recover from August’s earthquake.

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Hamel Family Wines

Author: Christina Julian
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2014

Hamel Family Wines 15401 Sonoma Highway Sonoma, CA 95476 (707) 996-5800 hamelfamilywines.com Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last reservation 3 p.m.) Tasting fees:  $40-$100 Wines currently offered: Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, rosé, Isthmus (a Bordeaux-inspired red blend), Cabernet Sauvignon Appointment necessary: Yes Pets: No Picnics: Guests can purchase a prepared picnic at the winery or bring their own food.

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Vineyard Vignettes: Tedeschi Family Winery, Desmond Estate Vineyards, William Cole Vineyards, Frost

Author: Christina Julian, Julie Fadda Powers, Alexandra Ru
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2014

Vineyard Vignettes: Tedeschi Family Winery, Desmond Estate Vineyards, William Cole Vineyards, Frostwatch Vineyard & Winery

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The Business of Birds

Columnist: Christina Julian
Oct, 2014 Issue

Bird watching is gaining popularity—let’s get those birders to Napa Valley.

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Napa's New York Stock Exchange

Columnist: Christina Julian
Sep, 2014 Issue

Auction Napa Valley has the energy of the NYSE—but with nobler roots.

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Is Napa Valley Suffering from ADD?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Aug, 2014 Issue

Rapid change seems like the norm in Napa Valley.

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Stepping Out

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jul, 2014 Issue

Christina takes a trip to Morocco via Solage Calistoga.

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Catch This

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jun, 2014 Issue

What makes a great wine—or region?

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The Fight for the Face of Downtown

Columnist: Christina Julian
May, 2014 Issue

What will the future of Napa Valley look like?

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Water Works

Columnist: Christina Julian
Apr, 2014 Issue

Let’s talk about the weather.

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Time to Get Social

Columnist: Christina Julian
Mar, 2014 Issue

Social media is worth committing to when it comes to wine marketing and sales.

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Will the Opera House Retain Its Grand Ole Status?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Feb, 2014 Issue

City Winery moves into downtown Napa’s opera house.

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The Year in Food: Fueling the Foodie

Columnist: Christina Julian
Dec, 2013 Issue

Your hook-up for Napa Valley’s newest restaurant ventures.

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The Next-Gen View of the Wine World

Columnist: Christina Julian
Nov, 2013 Issue

Christina reports from an interesting recent panel discussion.

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Beyond the Bottle

Author: Christina Julian
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2013

Quality boxed and other alternatively packaged wines are gaining increased acceptance among consumers.

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Napa's Biggest Festivals Falter and Flourish

Columnist: Christina Julian
Oct, 2013 Issue

BottleRock’s woes and NVFF’s boon.

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A Community Unites

Columnist: Christina Julian
Sep, 2013 Issue

The Napa 9/11 Memorial Garden is the place to be this September 11.

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Shop and Pop vs. Vintage Wine

Columnist: Christina Julian
Aug, 2013 Issue

Tastes they are a-changin’.

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Reputation: Napa Valley Vintners

Author: Christina Julian
Jul, 2013 Issue

Putting Napa Valley on the worldwide wine map

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Flaunting our Fruits

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jul, 2013 Issue

What’s brewing in Napa Valley.

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Is the Italian Renaissance Upon Us?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jun, 2013 Issue

Italian varietals in Napa are distinctive to where they’re grown.

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This Is Bottle Rock

Columnist: Christina Julian
May, 2013 Issue

The times they are a changin’.

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The Good, Bad and Ugly of Wine Marketing

Columnist: Christina Julian
Apr, 2013 Issue

Can it be that wine has become nothing more than a glorified marketing vehicle, albeit a tasting one?

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Something New

Author: Christina Julian
Apr, 2013 Issue

Today’s wedding planners keep an eye on trends so couples can celebrate their individuality on their special day.

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Boxed Wine Debunked

Columnist: Christina Julian
Mar, 2013 Issue

Who knew Chablis could be so good?

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Creativity Abounds

Author: Christina Julian
Mar, 2013 Issue

At Charter Oak Winery, the Fanucci family follows multiple muses.

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The Mud King

Author: Christina Julian
Feb, 2013 Issue

Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort offers natural, simple relaxation—just as it has since 1951.

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Let's Get Connected

Columnist: Christina Julian
Feb, 2013 Issue

Christina finds inspiration at TEDx Napa Valley.

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What’s the State of Our State Parks?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jan, 2013 Issue

Is more than a bandage in the works for state parks?

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It’s a Wrap

Columnist: Christina Julian
Dec, 2012 Issue

Development setbacks and Guinness World Records.

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Cool and Unusual

Author: Christina Julian
Dec, 2012 Issue

The Treasure Island Flea Market is unlike any other around.

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Winding Down and Revving Up

Columnist: Christina Julian
Nov, 2012 Issue

Chronicling the ups and downs of business in Napa Valley.

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Taste the Difference

Author: Christina Julian
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2012

Unusual varietals are gaining favor, especially among younger drinkers.

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Vineyard Vignettes: Scribe Winery, Ramazzotti, Amapola Creek, Madonna Estate, Cimarossa

Author: Nancy Sands Johnson, Julie Fadda, Christina Julian
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2012

NorthBay biz visits Scribe Winery, Ramazzotti, Amapola Creek, Madonna Estate and Cimarossa

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Ready to Rant?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Oct, 2012 Issue

Christina's getting a bit miffed, and here's why.

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Rioja or Napa: What’s the Better Way?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Sep, 2012 Issue

An adventure in Spain puts Napa in perspective.

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The Wine Media Circus—Marketing to Millennials

Columnist: Christina Julian
Aug, 2012 Issue

Mutineer magazine’s Wine Marketing Circus taught attendees how to better understand the millennial generation.

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Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ State of the Union

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jul, 2012 Issue

NVG’s spring summit brings positive predictions.

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Pot, Pipe, Biscuits and More

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jun, 2012 Issue

Is the cost of living in Napa Valley too much for the masses?

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The Business of Art

Author: Christina Julian
May, 2012 Issue

Gordon Huether's artistic and entrepreneurial spirits are two sides of the same vision.

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Launching the Underdog and Feeding the Family

Columnist: Christina Julian
May, 2012 Issue

Just in time for summer, Christina Julian discovers the draw of farmers markets.

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Passion Uncorked

Author: Christina Julian
Apr, 2012 Issue

Meet three women who have found success in the wine world and are now looking for their next challenge.

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Wine Scores—For the Snobby or Savvy Consumer?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Apr, 2012 Issue

Different strokes for different folks.

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Napa Valley AVAs—Creating Confusion or Selling More Wine?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Mar, 2012 Issue

Recognition of smaller AVAs is best supported by those who take great pride in their growing and winemaking practices. @font-face { font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

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Retail Tactics Go Beyond the Bottle

Columnist: Christina Julian
Feb, 2012 Issue

Napa Valley wine merchants stay relevant by evolving with the industry.

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Year in Review

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jan, 2012 Issue

Christina Julian reflects on Napa Valley’s milestones in 2011.

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Next-Gen Community Building and a Flash in the Bottle

Columnist: Christina Julian
Dec, 2011 Issue

Businesses are pushing the social media envelope to engage customers.

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It's Always Festival Season

Columnist: Christina Julian
Nov, 2011 Issue

Napa Insider is back! Columnist Christina Julian asks the question: Are festivals making—or breaking—the Wine Country’s back?  

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ZINspiration

Author: Christina Julian
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2011

Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) celebrates 20 years of California’s heritage varietal.

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Vineyard Vignettes: Korbin Kameron Estate & Winery, Gracianna, Ovid Napa Valley, Terra Valentine

Author: Michael Keel and Christina Julian
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2011

NorthBay biz visits Korbin Kameron Estate & Winery, Gracianna, Ovid Napa Valley, Terra Valentine

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Whole Hog

Author: Christina Julian
Jul, 2011 Issue

The snout-to-tail movement is bringing pork consumption to a higher level—in more ways than one.

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Vineyard Vignettes: Passalacqua Vineyards, Ceja Vineyards, Clif Family Winery, Westwood Winery

Author: Christina Julian and Michael Keel
Apr, 2011 Issue

NorthBay biz visits Passalacqua Vineyards, Ceja Vineyards, Clif Family Winery & Farm and Westwood Winery

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It's a Zin

Author: Christina Julian
Feb, 2011 Issue

Founding Napa Zinfandel Trail members share why Zinfandel is the pick of the bunch.

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Mountain Men

Author: Christina Julian
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2010

The brothers of Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery talk candidly about winemaking and the industry as a whole.

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In this Issue

Rebuilding: Sonoma County Housing Sites

Take a spin through Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood and you’ll see what recovery and resiliency look like. Efforts to rebuild thousands of lost homes have ramped up to full speed i...

Fighting Fire With Forethought

As new homes rise in North Bay neighborhoods leveled by fire, it appears life is slowly returning to normal. There is, however, a factor we cannot underestimate: the ever-present risk that comes wit...

Rohnert Park Renaissance

For decades, the city of Rohnert Park has longed for a downtown. Rotary president, Pat Miller remembers moving to Rohnert Park with her boyfriend, now husband, in 1978, and finding disappointment....

See all...