Wine.  My day beginning with it. 

IMG_E1251All its music and visual, character interactions and lovely distractions.  Yesterday, seeing quite a few people and tasting through the wines hearing new voices from each varietal, being taught and shown new facets to my character and intersection with wine’s empiricism.  She wants to educate me but let me educate self.  If there was ever an entity that encourage self-education, it’s wine.  It’s her.  There in the glass, taunting your reactions and responses, not so much wanting your to dumb what you sip down to simplistic “descriptors”, but feel what you feel, hear what you hear and see what you see for yourself and your wined story.

Have to leave the coffee shop in a bit, just under nine minutes, and I already know what I want from wine, from the day, from the intwined rhyme of wine and I… the music we together make… wine is more than poetry or music but an atmospheric expanse about— predicating itself on our senses and the vineyard from where it sauntered to our lives.  One of those mornings where I think about wine, me in the industry, the business of it all but more so out there in the vineyard on one of my walks.


2/9/18 wined —

Back from dinner.  Had a Vermentino, one from France at the recommendation of my friend Ritch, or “Ritchie” as I’ve always had him known, to me.  Then some Nebbiolo at his suggestion, again.  The acid and the fruit pulsed together like some theatre dance, one I couldn’t understand but only know that they went together.  They had a togetherness, like me and the writing act.  So here I sit, on the floor of my home, my mnemonic motions don’t sprawl as they usually do.  Thinking of wine, and what I’m doing in her world, just free writing while sipping, like now, a Friday night which means utterly nothing to a writer like me.  Tomorrow hoping to wake early and run as I did yesterday morning, arriving at the gym before 05:00.  But now, I just type, while sipping.  Wine and me, with this popularity, and fiery chemistry and interconnected concurrency.  Sipping the Pinot I opened before wife and I went to Rosso.  A ’12, Sonoma Coast, not speaking to me much in the beginning sips of this pour but now thoroughly harnessed to me attention and inner musings.

She more and more walks around my attention, encircling it with taunt and encouraging tough.  This bottle has me in the Now, in the moment, educating and enriching in all its powers, making me smitten and the story expands and more me demands.  She’s instrumental, decidedly cognitive in her sentenced saunter and lecture, calculated approach and addle— and I don’t mind being in this spellbind, bound into some coma of sorts, my senses chained, restrained, hardly pained.  She, wine, me, on stage eternally, collaboratively.  She won’t allow distraction in this maddened past when… future is present and presently I’m future-beset.  Not go-let.  So I meditate further and collect.  Look at the glass, and think further into pasts passed.


Morning, early, finishing article, or one of my ‘wild writes’, and now have to dive into grading papers.  The part of teaching I enjoy least, do know.  But I have to do it.  I will, in my won and own way, not some perception of how papers are to be “graded”.  Ugh… and anymore, I hate that.  Grading papers, students being evaluated and told how good or bad, how strong or weak they are.

One minute left for me to be free in this write, in this morning… exercising my rights as a wild writer, or wine and self-education… seeing everything different this morning, and it’s from waking and not just going back to bed.  Can’t thank the universe, the Story, enough for making me awake stay.



Go to war for your SHOP!!!!!!!!  Just wrote in my notepad, now back into an hour for me, to write freely, about business and life and how now is one of those times where I just want my own office.  In the shop, so I don’t have to sit next to two ladies speaking loudly to each other about family drama and all their projects.  Guess I do something somewhat similar on the blogs from time to time, but… yes, here I am and this is what’s taking place.  Overthinking…not doing it today.  My pages continue to get wilder and wilder, and I only see myself in travel, traveling everywhere for and with wine.

Now, another piece about to be finished.  What was it about this morning that made me decide to get up from bed, go turn on the coffee machine and just get to it… me, my brand and company.. the wild wine writer and wild writer in principle practice.  The music in this Starbucks is loud, and annoying me.  Then, a cramp in my right forearm… am I getting carpel?  No.. that’s in the hands, right?  I think of all the injuries sustained on the crush pad by production staff, and out in the vineyard.  I sound like a baby, but I have to deliver to page what’s happening now.

Have to use restroom, not even halfway into my mocha, but don’t want to surrender my spot.  Interrupted by call but I keep writing…. But, no blenching.  No wavering or questioning self, wondering if what I’m doing with my writing, be it about wine or education, is “right”.  The morning just goes further into its count, and I rival its energy and moment as I did right when I woke.  In the shop, I see myself pouring wine for visitors from another country, but even before pouring I explain the intention of the shop, my intentions with wine, briefly, and what I hope they leave with beyond mere bottle purchases.  The shop represents consolidation, positive persistence through life, and work.  Work, not just what you do but who you are.  Not just living in passion and doing your passion for work, but the denotative and connotative immediacy of passion.  Love.  Happiness.

Re. Visiting.

IMG_9971Old shot of a tasting at a spot I used to haunt in Healdsburg, I think.  Imported wines, from several planetary parts.  Reminding me that I need to travel, I need to get on the Road.. put everything on this blog and not think.  One side of me growls, “Well, you need to sell your writing.” And I will.  But now… review what I’ve sipped, what I’ve written and shot.  Using what I already have.  She, wine, wants that.  Wants me to see more of her.

I stare at the colors, the contorted labels… what was I saying in head about the notes of those wines… who was with me?  Who was watching me?  What were the wines thinking when I lifted the glass, was introduced to … what.

Keys, Ballad, Seat

IMG_E0570Travel with a loud orchestra of attention, his projects forward in unusually pronounced and rhetorical, ontological frames.  From the blending trials in his studio, lab, place where my friend of years gathers to see what character is truly the most expressive and punctuated assembly.  After tasting both the ’15 Devil Proof Malbec and the Aperture Right Bank Blend, it’s clear that blending is more than blending in this studio.  It’s conversation… with different lots and personalities, personifications and blocks.  Blending is not blending, but listening, to the orchestra in front of him, then conducting accordingly.  Well, and a synchrony of letting the lots steer him.  This is more than winemaking, or letting “terroir” speak.  It’s an intersection of intention and urgencies.

Like his father Andy with the camera, Jesse delivers images to us, with how the bottled entity goes composed.  Atmosphere and language, in the bottles “on the bench”, as winemakers will say.  But, once more, this is more.  And we taste more in the bottles, not just some colossal Bordeaux-intentioned growl or roar, but something more illustrative and euphonious.  Each note is a paragraph, each sip a standalone recital… all bottles, their own show.  When sipping the blend last night, I thought of the act of blending, selecting lots.  Of course, a writer, I could never know all the intricacies and belaboring specificities of such an act.  I have made a couple wines, and been in a few trials, but nothing that engendered something like my last night glass, or when I enjoyed the Malbec in a hotel room listening to Miles and staring out at the Sonoma County stages, streets.

Blending… putting something together.  Composition, a statement, a thesis, divulging a methodology, and what I taste isn’t just innovation, but defiance, astute alignment with intentions all— Bordeaux, California Cabernet, his oenological way, what consumers want.  He’s blending worlds, desired, time capsules.  Being an English Instructor, or Professor, whatever you want to call me, the instructional qualities of these bottles enrich the sipper and can only be wildly recognized and accepted, teach about wine’s prime aim, the apex of wine’s physiology.  I’m taught to not analyze, certainly don’t overanalyze as so many in wine’s proximity do.  But, enjoy, think, let go, enjoy the passion decided by wine.  I can sense not only elevated interest in Katz’s disseminations, but a need to produce wine the way he does, to translate Bordeaux and Sonoma County as he does.  A wine pursuer won’t find this anywhere else.  Concurrence with the labor, the fanatical keenness that materializes in that studio, in front of the glasses that are to be met, by him and then us.

Before the wine’s poured, I wonder what he’s measuring internally… what blend does he hope will be presented, what does he want to draw?  When with a glass, you stroll in this.  You hear his thoughts… the thoughts and notes of the vineyards from which he sources.  Each bottle on the bench, a section in the symphony.  Something’s to be proclaimed, played, learned from.  You can only welcome the multi-octave’d expedition of all the projects stemming from that table, in that studio, with the preeminent conductor.

***To learn more about the wines of Jesse Katz, visit and  To book a tasting, either post your information below, or call 707-200-7891.

First of year new.

img_0337And my first thought, “So what?” Opened the Merlot I bought from St. Francis the other day, looking at the color and pairing it–if you could call it a “pairing”–with the pulled pork from last night. The year, bold and unapologetic. Wilder than wild… tonight I do intend to have a bit more wine and have it speak to me. She wants me in some new modality. Sitting next to my son’s bed as he somewhat fades into his sleep, but really not. Not sure why he’s so awake… maybe the whole new year tilt, he saying over and over to his mother and I, “Happy New Year.” In the wine shop, always music, of all forms, like my kids with their ever-revolving interests.

Still taste the Merlot, after tasting it ten or so ago-minutes. Quiet in the studio, and I vow to wake at 03:45, demain. Tonight, I’m leaping into my most wild whirl of wine writing.. Thinking of the Lioco Chardonnay I had a few weeks ago at the Inn, the Pinot I had at the restaurant just the other night in Windsor. Wine is everywhere around me. In all the moments that don’t include wine, wine is dominantly present. Reminding me that life is more than short… that I don’t have any more time surpluses. I never did. When young, I was a dope and thought “Oh, I can just do it later…” or something of such sort. No… this year is and itch. One violently scratched.

Think he’s asleep, my little beatnik. Tonight, my enemy of enemy-enemies, is sleep. Why lay down and close eyes when you have so many books to write, so many wine and vineyard photos to skip and skim and sift through… no sleep. Well, okay, maybe a little. But as little as possible. Plausibly I’ve finally changed, this writer… Can only think of the Merlot downstairs, open in the counter. What it must be thinking, what it’s doing, how it’s taste shaped take another shape and tell another sake. Hear some tick-tock here in son’s room. What is that? Is that a clock? Maybe I’m just tired from the day, from talking about wines in the tasting room and selling them, talking about heir characters as I do and getting more into their respective puzzles and intoned enigmas.

Dying to know what the Merlot wants to say to the write… Is she going to keep with this confident octane, this jazzy bravado and loudness, or will there be more a softness, a soft-spoken step to her and how she communicates with me? Who knows… only way for a wine writer to find out is to find out. Wine isn’t a formula, she’s not an equation… she can’t be predicted. I have to leave my son’s room, go downstairs and see what she feels so fire to tell me. And maybe there’s no dire haste in her night’s paragraphs. Maybe she’ll softly sing, jazz in this Coffey Park house that was nearly no more.


Reconnecting with the Merlot downstairs, to the left of the xmas tree, telling self that it’s just a new year, be like the Alchemist narrator, just pushing through my story, finding reason not only in the wine but all the lights around me and the quiet of this downstairs flat.  Hear wife cough… can’t get sick.  This Merlot connection pushes me back in time to when I called Mom from San Ramon, asking her what I should buy for a dinner I was hosting at my San Ramon apartment.  “Blackstone Merlot…” She voted.  I went down the street to the Alberton’s or whatever it was and bought a bottle.  Paired it with a crab or shrimp salad which wasn’t a “pairing” at all now that I tilt my head back and think, but even … that was the beginning.  Of something.  And this Merlot, from St. Francis, the winery that lit this whole new page surge for my family… I can only write.  Only be here in quiet, next to the tree that embodies gifting.  And I’ve been gifted.  By wine.  By St. Francis.  By this county.  My life here in Santa Rosa, living madly writing about wine and I thin tomorrow with my “day off”, which isn’t “off” at all having to grade this last semester’s final submissions and upload final grades.  Will need a tasting somewhere, after that.

She now pronounces and defines tones of lavender smoke and and something reminding me of an incense, or some potpourri of shapes and flavor arrangements.  I’m beyond or maybe behind any interpretive attempts at the moment.  22:13, flirting with the idea of sleep but I hate sleep and all it does to a writer… robbing me of my day.  Just sip the last of this glass and keep writing, I tell myself.  Wine is all about self-notes, self-education and self-selfness.  Not that I’m selfish, I don’t think.. The Merlot says ‘no’.  So I’m composed.  Writing with her notes and sequencing, knowing this new year is a contoured contrast to all that before came.

Last sip—  oscillations of violet and plum, voltage-prone cherry and talkative chocolate, dark.  I need more Merlot in my story.  Merlot is what started all of this, I feel.  Even before St. Francis— Well, that’s not true, as when I called Mom that night from San Ramon she was on-call at SFW.  I’m merely intoning this goes beyond any winery, and even the type of Merlot.  This is wine, ME, here on the floor writing after the turn of year.  Lights on my now-empty glass.  This is my night, in this new year, with the wine thoughts in this wine page, this newly wined wine-me.  All along and in my nerves I’m wined.. criminal and rebellious in my vino musings and jots.  This is when I have ice-cream… but won’t.  A new year, radically resolute.  Me.  On the floor writing, when I was so tempted to just be lazy… no loathing, I’m fearless, hoping soon to be there, in my There, and everywhere.  Not one apology.

vinward jot, 2017

Last day of the year, I’m in a wined mind.  At the wood table with my coffee, knowing just where I am in my wine shop countdown.  Walking the vineyard, I had the thoughts that will get me there.  All was visible right in front of the Cabernet sign.  I need more bolder be, unapologetic as someone recently me insisted.  There will be no abeyance, but constant motion.  Jazz and poetry in everything.  2018 begins today.. and the three wines I’m pushing today will be an enactment of me at my shop.  Have a $20 bill in wallet, I think from a tip either yesterday or day before, from some day… that will be for the shop.  Putting it away when home.

Pushing the Pinot, Cab today mostly.  And to an extent lesser, the Carneros Chardonnay.  I’m in my shop, today here at Roth.  Have to sell $1600.  That should be easy, with Britt and I.  So I start early.  Posting what I can… writing what I can… even writing a different poem for each wine, describe them differently than I have before… The Chard, my Jane Austen.. Victorian and elegant, convincing and luminous.  Pinot, consummate storytelling, conveyor of atmosphere, place and mood, the jazz singer next to you that’s an intersection between a ghostly whisper and a flirtatious hum.  And, mon amour des amours, the ’15 Cabernet.  Gothic, a novel, a cascade of romance and truth.  I write further about each wine knowing I won’t remember much of it but it’s here to blog and I’ll keep my composition echoing in my pages that me follow to the bar when I set out menus, taste through the bottles with Brittany.. my younger and ever-eager and unusually sagacious soeur de vin.

2017 leaves.  Book closed, done, and I’m starting the most layered and rewarding, enriching and educational manuscript of my total narrative so far.  ’18 is the invitation I’ve been waiting for.  From wine, writing, business and teaching, me as a runner, father, thinker… everything.  The year of not just me, but US.  All of us, readers.  We’re here to get what we want, and what we deserve.  I turn the volume up on my jazz.. not sure who’s playing now, but I recite to self— no fruit flies this morning, and I don’t know how I feel about their absence. No time to thank bout them being on-present.  I’m working in and with, for and through, from what I have— a cold tasting room, quiet and empty and filled with jazz at 09:15.  Cell phone charging, coffee getting colder, both are at left, then to left of them and this table is the dark crush pad, or tank room.. one of the production sectors.  None of them here today.  But I’m here, building my own wined story.  And building a wined story is building all the stories— education, teaching, being a daddy, runner… everything.  2018 will see me at Stanford, me running the Big Sur full or half-mara’…. It will see me do everything.  We, are going to do everything, this new year.  Today’s a day of readying… arming Self with ideas and yay-saying talk, thoughts, pulses and poetry.

Wine is everything.  More than just the pour, the spoken word after the one or one-and-a-half-ounce, or two-oz pour.  It’s all our aspirations… our books.  Our words and dialogues.  The stories and characters.  That’s why I’m here.  And that’s what will take me to my shop, and all and any of us to whatever we demand, in ’18.

Here we go….

Et c’est parti….