Articles by Laura Ness

About Laura Ness
Laura Ness is an accomplished freelance writer offering travel tips and commentary on the California wine industry.

Local wineries compete at SF Chronicle event

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest in North America, with more than 6,700 entries this year. It’s a herculean effort that takes months to organize and hundreds of volunteers, who get paid in wine, the best currency. The competition was completed on [...]

Bidding 2019 farewell

Sofia Fedotova, co-owner of Lightpost Winery in Morgan Hill, thought it would be great to commemorate their first year with a time capsule. And, of course, a party. “We had a small, wonderful reception with everyone having a great time, sharing stories, nibbling on yummy [...]

Hope from Aver Vineyards

The holidays are a chance to make the world smaller as we open hearts and homes to family and friends and, hopefully, to perfect strangers as well. This Thanksgiving, I met cousins from Germany I didn’t even know I had, and unsurprisingly, we bonded over wine. It’s the [...]

Harvest comes to a close

Harvest 2019 seemed endless to many. At last, it’s finally over. John Aver of Aver Family Vineyards finally brought in cinsault, mourvedre and petite sirah. Of 2019, he said, “I like the quality of the fruit, and acids and sugars seemed very balanced for the most part, but [...]

Varieties galore at Church Creek

When I dropped in at Church Creek Cellars on a warm November Saturday, the parking lot was near full and the place was filled with many happy patrons being served by a welcoming staff. Among them were three gents named Carl, Ray and Rich, who make the wine at Church Creek [...]

Besson vineyards grows label

Sidle up to either side of the bar window at Besson Family’s mini-barn tasting room, and a great view awaits. For those who are inside looking out, the window frames the 20-acre old vine vineyard as it meanders down to Uvas Creek, back-dropped by the dun-colored rolling [...]

Thanksgiving pairings

Santa Clara Valley wineries offer everything you need for your Thanksgiving feast, from sparkling and pinot noir to grenache, sangiovese and beyond. Begin with zingy-fresh 2018 Jason-Stephens “Pixelated” Rosé of Sangiovese and Alara Cellars sparkling, followed by Alara 2017 [...]

Harvest 2019 nearly a wrap

Ask anybody about the 2019 harvest in the Santa Clara Valley and they’ll tell you it’s been late and protracted. Kim Englehart of Lion Ranch shared, “It’s been challenging; every piece of equipment seemed to have an issue at least once.” They are still waiting on [...]

J. Lohr keeps raising the bar

Jerry Lohr recently celebrated 45 years as the head of a 100 percent family-owned wine business that eschews outside investors. His children are all involved, also a rarity. Daughter Cynthia Lohr was just named chief brand officer. Consistency, quality, varietal typicity and [...]

White after Labor Day?

It’s easy to fall in love with the sleek, eye-catching Alara Cellars labels that flaunt high fashion better than most ads in Esquire magazine. Besides which, Janu Goelz’s wines are aromatically refreshing compared to the horrid cologne samples the magazine exudes like the [...]
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