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A Brief History

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This blog is a new venture on two things I love to do and talk about: wining and dining. My passion for food and wine started when I was a young girl, helping my mother in the kitchen while she prepared one of our nightly family dinners. She has this way of making cooking look effortless and fun, which is a method that I continue to practice in my own kitchen. My father helped facilitate my budding passion for wine when I was a young girl. Sometimes he would let me help with picking out the wine for dinner. He would lay out three bottles, all of which would go well with our meal, and I would usually pick the one with the prettiest label (which is now ironic considering I work here). At the dinner table, he would pour me a wine glass full of water, with a splash of wine. I called it “wine with water” – though it was really more like watered down juice. As I got older, he poured less water and more wine. By the time I was sixteen or seventeen, I was allowed a small glass of wine at dinner with my family. This method not only built my astounding tolerance for alcohol, but it made me appreciate the finer qualities in wine and it piqued my interest in wine and food pairings.

enjoying some wine at Sbicca in Delmar, CA

I’d like to thank my father for building my level of taste by spoiling me with his extraordinary collection of wines that he has been building for the last forty years or so. He has an impressive library from my 1985 birth year; which, fortunately for me, was one of the greatest years of wine production in history. My brother is insistent that ’88 was better, so we often have dueling tastings and last Christmas we battled these two Cheateau Margaux.

My senior year of college I visited my friend in San Francisco and we took a trip to her house in St. Helena. We tasted at Duckhorn, St. Supery, Cakebread, Napa Wine Company and Domaine Chandon. I still remember my first sip of Duckhorn Merlot in their beautiful tasting room overlooking the vines. It remains to be my favorite California wine, and I’m currently aging two bottles in the safety of my dad’s cellar in New York. That day in Napa, I decided that I needed to live in the Bay Area so that I could be close to this mecca of food and wine and to develop a career around it. Fast forward five years; here I am living in San Francisco, a city I lovingly call home, and working at a fun and exciting wine company.

The wines of JAQK Cellars

Fortunately for me, my parents often have opportunities to come out and visit me. This usually presents an opportunity to do some fine dining in San Francisco, and of course make a visit to wine country. In November 2008, my mother visited me for a girls weekend and we spent part of the time in Napa. We decided to put together a six pack collection from various wineries of 2007 Cabernet for my father as a Christmas gift. It was a wonderful and fun experience for my mother and I, but also special because I got to pick out things that I knew my dad would enjoy, based on all that he taught me about Napa Cabernet.

me and mom at Paraduxx Winery in Napa Valley

I’ve since made many trips to Napa, Sonoma, Healdburg, Livermore, and Mendocino on my own and with friends. I look forward to exploring other wine countries, and sharing my experiences with you! In this blog I will also be sharing some of my favorite seasonal recipes, and making suggestions on what types of wine to pair with. Some entries may be short like, “try *this* wine with *this* food!” While others may be a longer story or wine tasting itinerary that I want to share with you. Either way, I hope you enjoy it and feedback is always welcomed and encouraged!


About Kelsey

Kelsey is a food and wine lover residing in Napa, California, where she does marketing for a boutique wine collective. She previously lived in San Francisco for over six years, where her blogging journey began. She loves to cook seasonal meals and experiment with new wine pairings. She has been drinking and learning about wine with her father since she was 14, and cooking in the kitchen with her mother since she was 6. Both of her parents taught her well about seasoning and flavors, and she continues to learn more with every meal that is made.

4 responses »

  1. Hi Kelsey!
    Just a brief comment. As much as I love my California wines and visiting Napa and Sonoma, I would encourage all of you to visit the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Abbie and I had a great visit there last Summer, though you need to be a fan of pinot to make the most of it.

  2. Very nice, Kelsey! I well remember sitting with you in those chairs on the sunny terrace at Paraduxx, tasting wine and some tasty bites of food.
    Any recollection of what we were cooking when you were 6?

    • My most vivid early memory is of making tuna salad, and also the cans of Progresso soup on the stove top. While this isn’t exactly cooking, it taught me about the fundamentals of seasoning! Old Bay with tuna salad, and Italian seasoning and garlic salt with minestrone soup. Also when we would have bagel night and you would broil Jarlsberg on top with red pepper flakes and oregano. It’s amazing what a little bit of seasoning does to such simple foods. Some other things that stand out: croutons, spicy mayonnaise, caprese pasta, omelets (though, that was mostly Dad), green beans, dips… and as I get older, more complicated things!


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