I don’t make resolutions.Champagne Coups 2016

I don’t KEEP resolutions.

I don’t MAKE resolutions I can’t KEEP.

Let’s just run with that last statement.

We’re two weeks into January – rocketing towards this 2016 thing – and I think a little each day about how people receive the gift of a new year.

Most who know me know that my household is one filled with food, wine, cheese, more wine, desserts, dessert wines, and other bacchanalia.  For all of my adult life I have been in a restaurant based job where the objective has been to take food to people to make them happy and satisfied.  And for the most part, the food + wine = happiness equation works out!  Conversations start to flow.  Smiles spread wider.  Songs are sung louder.  Hugs are hugged longer.    I love watching this process and I love even more being a part of it.  It really is the essence of life.  That being said, you can see how dieting is never a resolution for me.


How about more exercise?  While I do admire the committed running habit that my sleek counterpart (sauce) keeps, I allow myself no delusions and fully recognize that my fitness routines are much more sporadic.  If I must be resolved to make an improvement it is usually more inwardly focused than out.  This is something I encourage even the body image resolution makers to include into their routines – and most will see that an examination of their inside is just as challenging as transforming the outside.  There are fewer benchmarks to follow and the goals are not as measurable but when you start to get results you will be glad of that.  While each of us aim to reach a certain number of inches or pounds or minutes and seconds – none of us aims to count the number of laughs or hugs or tears of joy we’ve had as those should all be infinite.

And so for 2016, I’m resolved to:Super Busy

  • be less busy and more productive
  • talk less and say more
  • disconnect to reconnect
  • have a really good laugh
  • be authentic
  • “get it together”

And to start checking off my list, I’m going to go finish up making dining reservations and tasting appointments for the coming weekend in Napa & Sonoma!

Catch up on a few posts from 2016 and Pass the sauce…

Whole Hog: an introduction to tiffandsauce  If you’re confused about who “we” are, read this and you’ll surely be more confused.

Drink Me!  If you failed to do an audit in your cellar back in the Fall of 2015, you can be resolved to do it in the New Year.


Falling Bright Wine Merchants Visit our gallery of Fine Wine Online if you’re resolved to drink better wines in 2016.




I always loved a good parade.  It could be the smallest Hometown, USA version: with high school bands playing, the mayor riding in a convertible furnished by the local Ford dealership, and the town fire department proudly demonstrating the lights and sirens for kids lining the curbs of Main Street.  Or even the big productions of the Rose Parade in Pasadena or Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York – they still capture my fancy and most likely always will.  Parades are patriotism and Americana in top form.

Within this celebration of our towns and communities across the nation it is only appropriate that we take time to include a thanks to our Military Service, so we often see our Veterans honored on parade.  I remember watching columns from the VFW march along in the annual Chief Joseph Days parade of my hometown and as I sat observing in the late July heat my child-minded concept of a Veteran was… all those “old guys” that were in a war a loooong time ago.  In the beautifully ignorant bliss (call it innocence) of childhood, anything that happened before you were born is just not on your radar.  My fourth grade class in elementary school would write letters to the soldiers in the far-off war that we saw glimpses of on the evening news.  Desert Storm.  The full concept of war was only beginning to occur to me and it remained a very distant and disconnected notion.

Considering this disconnect from the reality of world politics and the climate of conflict in the place and time of my in-so-far short lifespan, I can see how it came as a shock to me in my twenties that the Veterans of War were my peers.  And my brothers.

I’m often at a loss for words so I write with a good old fashioned Roget’s Super Thesaurus on my desk (yes, I know there is an internet).  If you have a copy (or the internet), take a moment to look up Veteran.  Here you go – Veteran.  Were you just transported back to my childhood mind – sitting curbside at a parade in the Late July heat?  Now we’re both speechless.

I want to use this moment of speechlessness to quietly say something very loud.  I owe a debt of Gratitude to the men and women of the United States Military Service – Young and Old.  And may I constantly remind myself that these Veterans have made a great sacrifice in relinquishing the innocence of their youth – they are not just “old guys” from a long ago war.  And in the case where they have reached an age of true wisdom and experience – they most likely gained their Veteran status many years prior as a young person in Military Service.  Thank you for committing your youth, your strength, and your life to protecting the freedoms we enjoy in our country.  May God Bless you and may our Nation show you the deep respect and honor you deserve.



Cultivated: Growing Our Gratitude for the Farmer

Kalon at Laguna Beach on the evening of September 28, 2015 - Total Lunar Ecclipse Blood Moon

The Blood Moon rose over Laguna Canyon as we wound our way back towards the city lights after a late September evening on the beach.  It was nearly in total eclipse with a sliver of red peeking out.  The universe gifts us with moments like these.  We take notice and as the moment passes it may fade from the memory until the next time nature jostles our mind a bit.

To be closer to the Earth or closer to the glories of nature is an aspiration for many, myself included.  But reality for most of us is that we dabble here and there in the natural world.  We rake up the leaves.  Refresh the tired herb garden.  Cultivate a small patch of veggies in our backyard gardens.  These small connections with the dirt serve to keep us grounded, both literally and figuratively speaking.  It is my trials and errors at making a better connection with the earth that serve as natures little reminder to me that I should have a greater appreciation for those who achieve this connection on a grander scale – farmers.

Lee Martinelli Sr. Farming Jackass Hill Vineyard

It’s so gratifying that our four children really like being part of a family farming operation and are dedicated to seeing it continue for generations to come.  I am so proud that our family works together in this agricultural business and plays together as a family.  -Lee Martinelli Sr.

There is no better time to celebrate the life and work of those who cultivate the earth than at the close of Harvest.  Most California vineyards are through the pick, Oregon finishing up as well.  For winemakers the fun is well under way.  For the growers, most express a sense of calm or feeling of relief that their fruit is in and the season is drawing to a close.  The calm will be but a small pause before looking forward to the next task, the next chore, and natures constant string of small nudges to jostle the mind.

For those who make their life of the land – the farmers – these nudges are taken in such stride it’s almost as if nature was but a cadence keeping the time.  They can show calm in the face of adversity.  They find peace and tranquility when the task at hand is insurmountable.  Their existence is at the mercy of nature – we all are but some of us refuse to live by that mercy – and they accept this arrangement with humility and grace.

Donnie Schatzberg of Precious Mountain Vineyard

I think what needs to be changed is the sustainability and farming practices have to be more widely accepted.  Humans are not the only creatures on this planet you know, we have to share it.  -Donnie Schatzberg

We’re not waiting until Thanksgiving to be Thankful.  We’re thankful now for the people who still find value and purpose in cultivating the land and we’re Thankful to the God who has made it so.  We will continue our trials and errors in our own gardens as well.  Perhaps these small rituals really can be big victories for the soul if we capture them and transpose them onto other areas that might feel barren.

Related Reads:

The Martinelli Family on the History of Their Land

The Legacy of Jackass Hill – 2015 Wine Spectator Video Contest Winner

Precious Mountain Vineyard

Williams Selyem Video Interview with Donnie Schatzberg

Kalon at Laguna Beach on the evening of September 28, 2015 - Total Lunar Ecclipse Blood Moon