Tag Archives: Napa Valley Wineries

SommTalks Set to Release One of the First All-Audio Wine Books: Wine Talks


Wine Talks Book Soon to be Released by SommTalks

Tune in here to listen to the audio overview of our soon-to-be-released :

Wine Talks: 23 Conversations to Becoming a Wine Connoisseur

Wine Talks is one of the first all-audio wine books available online.  An extension of the veteran journalist’s popular podcast SommTalks on iTunes, the audio book covers every aspect of wine through conversations with winemakers Blair and Caroline Guthrie of Guthrie Family Wines and Stewart Cellars, along with special expert-guests Redd Restaurant Master Sommelier William Sherer and K. Laz Wine Collections Founder Kerrin Laz. The audio book has 13 conversations that average 35-40 minutes each, along with 10 wine tasting interviews from SommTalks podcast. This ultimate guide to wine can be accessed anywhere and anytime through mobile device earbuds. Click here for an audio overview of Wine Talks.

“We feel the best way to educate consumers on wine today is through live conversations around a table full of wine glasses,” Ms Shatkin says.  “The growth and popularity of podcasts and widespread use of mobile devices motivated us to deliver this engaging wine resource in this audio format,” she adds. Wine Talks makes an ideal companion for a long flight, daily commute or active work out.

“Our  audio book makes you feel like you’re part of the conversation, making it much more approachable and relatable than a written book, just like wine should be,” says contributor and winemaker Blair Guthrie.

The chapters cover issues of great interest for all consumers, including:  

  • How to buy wine you like, in store or online wine clubs;
  • Ways to serve and store wine;
  • Best stemware to use;
  • Handling and storing for aging or just for tomorrow;
  • Debunking wine myths;
  • Styles of wine, distinguished by body and flavor, not just by color white or red
  • Fundamentals of food and wine pairing.

The book is sold at Downpour,  Amazon, Blackstone Library.   It costs approximately $29.95.

About the Authors: Laura Levy Shatkin, a veteran multimedia journalist and host of SommTalks podcast, has spent eighteen years crafting well-researched wine and food content for Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Napa/Sonoma Magazine and on broadcast TV show Taste on NBC5 Chicago. Her never-ending passion for wine and food led her to Blair and Caroline Guthrie, who established their own wine label Guthrie Family Wines in 2013 and also make wine for their family winery Stewart Cellars in Yountville, California. The book was recorded in the Napa Valley, during the monsoon rainstorms in winter of 2017.

And of course, if you’ve missed any past Somm Talks episodes, here are those included in the book :

Wine Talks Audio Book:  SommTalks Wine Tastings with the Pros

Napa Valley Wine Harvest with Opus One Winemaker Michael Silacci


Andrew Algren, Chicago Athletic Association Wine Director

Wines Tasted: Bourgeois-Diaz Brut Trois Cepages

2008 Nervi Gattinara, Piedmont, Italy


Charles Ford, The Bristol & Ambassador to Spain’s Rueda and Ribera Del Duero Spain

Wines Tasted:Rueda Verdejo

2013 Bodegas Naia “Naia” Verdejo

2013 Bodegas Naia “Naiades” Verdejo

Ribera del Duero Reds

2013 Antidoto Soria Ribera Del Duero DO

2010 Vega Sicilia Valbuena, Ribera del Duero


Amy Lutchen, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse Chicago

Wines Taste: 2015 Saint Bris, Sauvignon, Chablis, Burgundy

2012 Van Strasser Cabernet Sauvignon


Hugh Davies, Owner, Schramsberg Vineyards and J. Davies

Wines Tasted: 2007 J Schram Sparkling Wine

2013 Schramsberg Brut Rose Sparkling Wine


Parag Lalit, 16 at Trump Tower Chicago

Wines Tasted: Domaine Roulot, Meursault “Luchets”, Côte de Beaune, France 2008

Domaine Thibault Liger Belair, Chambolle Musigny “Les Gruenchers” 1er Cru, Côte de Nuits, France 2012


Rachel Driver Speckan, City Winery

Wines Tasted: 2011 Big Table Farm Riesling, Willamette Valley, Oregon

2013 Storm Pinot Noir, Hemel-en-Aarde, Southern Cape of South Africa


Three Sticks Winemaker Bob Cabral

Wines Tasted: 2015 Three Sticks Gap’s Crown Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast

2015 PFV Estate Pinot Noir


Tom Hinde Talks Yao Family Wines

Wines Tasted:2015 Yao Family Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Yao Ming Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


Tony Rossi at Enolo Wine Cafe

Wines Tasted:2012 Domaine Koutsoyannopoulos Santorini Assyrtiko, Greece

Blank Bottle Winery   “The Life of a Black Valentine”



Italian Varietals in Napa with Proprietor Frank Altamura at Ciccio


Napa’s Italian Wines at Ciccio

Ciccio, the casual trattoria, is widely regarded as one of the tastiest and approachable (read “affordable”!) eateries in Yountville.  The produce comes right from the Altamura family farm, prepared by Executive Chef Polly Lappetito. It’s a must stop during a wine visit to the Napa Valley.

Did you know that it’s also the only tasting room in town for Altamura Wines? Tune in to hear Frank Altamura, owner of Altamura Vineyards and Winery and Ciccio along with his wife Karen and two kids Frank Jr. and Giancarlo.  Hear him discuss his motivation and passion for growing Negroamaro, Nebiolo and Sangiovese at the ranch up in Wooden Valley. Of course, his Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon shines, as well.  Follow Ciccio updates to stay on top of the ever changing menu, as well. Continue reading

Grieve Family Winery

Grieve Winery Vance Rose Redefines Sauvignon Blanc



Napa Valley’s Lovall Valley Loop Road Home to Grieve Family Winery

Hear about the climate in this tiny bowl, Lovall Valley, where Winemaker Vance Rose grows Sauvignon Blanc for Grieve Winery. Perched on the border of Napa and Sonoma, cool air from Carneros is just a stones throw away yet this tiny micro-climate is even cooler. Rose grows a few clones of Sauvignon Blanc and they have a longer growing season, yielding amazingly complex flavor for this generally simpler grape. Watch a bit more on the area and the winery here. 

Tune in for Past Episodes

Remember to tune in regularly for great interviews with Sommeliers, Winemakers, Wine Directors, Food Artisans and Top Chefs. Also, virtually taste wines with top wine experts then go taste them yourselves. SommTalks is your weekly podcast for the inside scoop on the restaurant and wine scene. Please SUBSCRIBE here, on iTunes , on TuneIn Radio or on Stitcher. Send us your thoughts, ideas, and names of peeps you’d like us to interview.

You can check out the past few episodes but if you SUBSCRIBE , you’ll receive each new episode right to your device, whichever one you listen to your podcasts on.  Share episodes across social media channels, as well, to let others discover our wine conversations. A few of the most recent include:

Zingerman’s Creamery Cheesemonger Paul Bower Talks Cheese Please

Robert Kamen of Kamen Estate Wines in Moon Mountain AVA Sonoma Valley

Enolo Wine Cafe GM and Wine Director Anthony Rossi on His Favs

Bodega Ruca Malen Winemaker Pablo Cuneo of Argentina Comes to Town

Swift & Son’s Sommelier Meredith Rush Shares Her Journey in Wine

Chef Renee Everett Grows Her Own at Belcampo in Punta Gorda Belize

Chef Greg Wade on Publican Quality Breads and Locally Milled Grains

Wine Tasting Series:

SOMMTALKS Wine Tasting Series with Marcello and Meredith of Swift & Sons

SOMMTALKS Wine Tasting Series with Shea Zimmerman, formerly of The Kitchen, now Acanto

SOMMTALKS Wine Tasting Series: Jon McDaniel of Acanto, A Lawless Restaurant 

SOMMTALKSWine Tasting Series: Parag Lalit of Sixteen in Trump Tower Chicago 

SOMMTALKS Wine Tasting Series: Rachel Driver Speckan of City Winery Chicago

SOMMTALKS Wine Tasting Series : Liz Mendez of Purple Pig

Catch you next time!