A Practical Guide To Planning Your First Trip to Napa or Sonoma

Welcome to my guide to planning a successful first trip to Napa or Sonoma. The tips within will help you answer the common questions before you travel to wine country. If you prefer to listen, check out the audio version of this article in the podcast player below.

How Can You Support The California Wine Industry

  1. Buy and Drink California Wine from your local wine shops
  2. Donate to causes that support those in need
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The Return of the Amazing Cal Fussman

We’re back. It’s Cal Fussman again with never-heard audio from the original interview. You can listen below and click here for the full transcript.

Show Notes for Cal Fussman’s Interview

Living with the Road to Wine Expert Summit and now podcast is like living with a time capsule.

Or maybe more appropriately a high school yearbook.

Every so often, I can go back to listen to the knowledge my guests shared and see where I was in my journey.

For those new to the podcast, these interviews were originally recorded as part of the Road To Wine Expert Summit: a 10 Day virtual conference with 34 interviews from varying voices in the world of wine and spirits.

The Summit was a hit list of my heroes and influences who I reached out to in order to better understand their wine journey.

There was no one more influential than Cal Fussman.

Cal Fussman is one of my all-time favorite guests of Tim’s podcast. And if you haven’t listened to it already, you can find it on Tim Ferriss’s blog here.

Cal’s interview with Tim pointed me to Cal’s article Cocktails Before the Collapse.

It always gives me the chills and it brings me to tears every time I read it.

It was a piece that inspired me to go on a wine journey. To say, screw it all. And, I actually did.

I quit my job to freelance. Then stumbled into a part-time job in a wine shop. I started taking wine classes, and then I landed on the idea to do a summit.

So this interview is several years old. It was originally recorded on June 7, 2017.

For most of my interviews, I started with the question of “what was the transformative experience that got you into wine?”

But in this interview, Cal jumped right in and answered some of my pre-interview questions.

For those of you who have read the article and listened to the original interview, Cal compares wine with music.

So, I had asked Cal in the pre-interview, “What wine pairs well The Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction and Hanson’s Mmm Bop?”

Cal came out firing with his response.

So, here for the first time, is my interview with Cal Fussman completely unedited.

Connect with Cal Fussman

Cal is the host of an amazing podcast, Big Questions. You can listen to Cal as he uncovers the heart, head, and soul of his guests in thoughtful, deep and entertaining conversations.

My favorite interviews of Cal’s Big Questions are:

Michael Lomonaco, the Executive Chef and Director of Windows on the World when Cal served as sommelier for one night.

Diana Nyad, who swam from Cuba to Key West at the age of 64.

Like Cal’s interview, and want something another RTWE podcast

If you enjoyed Cal’s interview, be sure to check out my interview Bianca Bosker.

Bianca wrote the best-seller Cork Dork in which she documented her wine journey from scrub to sommelier.

What’s your favorite moment from this episode?

Share your highlights from this episode with Cal Fussman below.

Best of The Podcast…So Far

The Road to Wine Expert launched in July of 2019. The interviews from Season 1 were part of a virtual summit I hosted in 2017.

During the summit, I reached out to people who I admired in the wine industry to understand their career paths. I wanted to know how they got their start and understand what steps they took to become an author, writer, podcaster and influencer.

If you’re new to the Road to Wine Expert, here are episodes you should listen to.

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Nikki Huganir and Erica Blumenthal – Yes Way Rosé

Nikki and Erica created Yes Way Rosé, a lifestyle brand that has skyrocketed with success. Looking at their journey in the past two years, that even seems like a bit of an understatement. They now have wine of the same name that can be found virtually everywhere. Nikki and Erica are living proof that “wine experts” come from all walks of life.

One of my favorite parts of their story is that they weren’t looking to create wine, but rather interested in sharing wine and having fun.

Success is a combination of factors including great ideas, luck, timing and execution. For Nikki and Erica, everything came together in the perfect pink-colored storm.

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Road To Wine Expert $1000 Books and Resources Giveaway

Road To Wine Expert $1000 Books and Resources Giveaway

We did it! Thanks to your support we hit 1,000 downloads in Season 1.

As promised, I’m going to deliver. So here goes nothing…

To get you started on your own journey of wine expertise, I’m giving away $1,000 worth of wine books and resources.

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Steve De Long

Steve De Long is a great guide to have by your side in the wine world. After all, it can be scary, overwhelming and complicated place.

If you’re on any journey, it’s important to know where you are going. Better yet, you’ll want to have a map to help you stay the course.

Steve can help you do exactly that. He makes some of the finest wine maps in the industry today.

Funny thing though, I didn’t meet Steve because of his wine maps initially. I met him because of his Wine Tasting Notebook. This was before I learned about the Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine from WSET and Deductive Tasting from the Court of Master Sommeliers. In the early days, I used Steve’s book to track my first tasting notes in the wine world.

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Randy Smith

Randy Smith is better known as The Wine Write across the internet. He focuses his blog on winemaker, wineries and other people based in the Central Coast.

Beyond telling great stories about the wine industry, Randy does something admirable which is niche down into a very specific region. With the wine world being so large, I think many people struggle with where to begin. This is something I talked about with Chappy Cottrell during on our podcast episode.

If you’re like Randy, then choosing a region to discover is going to help you understand wine much better than picking bottles at random. The next time you taste a wine you like, I’d recommend that you ask yourself questions about what you’re drinking.

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George Taber

If you do not know George Taber, he is the author of the Judgement of Paris and is the only reporter to cover the 1976 Paris tasting. In this epic head-to-head battle, Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet went up against White Burgundy and Red Bordeaux.

California came out on top, sending shockwaves throughout the wine world.

I was fortunate enough to sit down with George two years ago on the 41st anniversary of the Paris tasting.

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Richard Hemming

Richard Hemming is a fantastic wine writer. He is also a pretty fantastic wine musician. What is a wine musician? I’m glad you asked.

After going down the Richard Hemming rabbit hole, you’ll find yourself listening to his fabulous Wine Grape Variety Song. He wrote that while studying for his MW, and it clearly paid off.

Richard is now a Master of Wine, he write for Jancis Robinson and has a personal blog that’s worth following if you enjoy his sensibility, charm and humor like I do.

A great person, a great story, a great time. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Richard.

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