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About Us

NorCal Wine is your source for accurate and timely information about the wines and wineries of Northern California.
 
We are serious about California wine, but don’t take ourselves too seriously. We know that wine is really about fun and friendship.
 
The purpose of this site is to inform people about one of the world's greatest wine regions. We are not trying to convince anyone that any particular region, winery or wine is "best." We don't believe in "best." We do believe in "really good" and strive to expose people to wines and experiences which we believe achieve that.
 
We enjoy wines from all over the world and have traveled extensively in wine regions in the U.S. and overseas. We don't think anyone should restrict themselves to wines from just one region or country. Every site needs to have a focus though. This site is focused on Northern California for a variety of reasons:
  • We live in Northern California wine country so we are able to cover it thoroughly and effectively.
  • Northern California has, by far, more wineries than any other region of the United States.
  • That vast majority of U.S. wine exports and domestic consumption come from this area.
  • There are probably more different important wine varietals planted here than in any other area of comparable size.
  • Northern California has a wide range of terroir which produce many different incarnations of wine.
  • We believe that, while the wines sell very well and some particular AVAs, such as Napa Valley, have a lot of prestige, California is still widely underestimated and even misunderstood as a producer of wine.

About Fred Swan
Virtually all of the content at NorCalWine is written by Fred Swan. Fred connects people to the wines and wineries of Northern California. He writes, teaches, leads personalized wine country tours and presents other wine-related experiences such as dinners, tastings and seminars. He is Director of Education for Affairs of the Vine, a premier wine edutainment company, and an instructor for both San Francisco Wine School and Grape Experience. He writes regularly for Snooth.com and the San Francisco Wine School blog.

Fred's accreditations include Certified Sommelier, a Diploma from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), and certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). He graduated from the Napa Valley Vintners' Wine Educator Academy and has studied wine at the Culiniary Institute of America in St. Helena. In 2009, Fred was inducted into the Echansonnerie des Papes, the honorary organization of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine region. He has also been honored with a fellowship by The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers.

NorCal Wine is not affiliated with any winery or wine seller. We write what we think. We do accept submissions from wineries for review. However, we do not require them nor are our opinions in any way based on whether we get the wines for free or purchase them. Receiving a wine guarantees that we will try it, but in no way guarantees that we will like it or write about it. 

NorCal Wine is dedicated to providing quality information, analysis and writing. That means that we, as tasters and journalists, continually seek to improve our skills. We have tasted thousands of wines and continue to taste daily. We have undergone formal training from a variety of sources, including the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, the Culinary Institute of America, and a variety of experts on specific wines and regions. We also attend as many tastings, seminars and conferences as we possibly can. This includes conferences focused on wine writing, such as the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers and the Wine Bloggers Conference.

NorCal Wine is a commercial effort. However, to ensure that our opinions cannot be construed as biased, we do not accept any advertising directly from wineries. (Some wineries may show up in our syndicated advertising, but we have no control over that nor are we likely to even notice.) And, regardless of the commercial aspects, NorCal Wine is primarily a labor of love – a result of our passion for wine. 

We hope that you enjoy the site, find it a valuable source of information and that our passion is not only evident but rubs off on you.

Interpreting our Wine Ratings

 
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