Plan the perfect weekend in Solvang and Santa Barbara.

We started the morning in Hermosa Beach, CA and drove up the coast in a neon orange Jeep Wrangler convertible. We stopped along the way at Blue Bottle Coffee in Venice, CA, made a pit stop at the Santa Monica Pier and stopped for lunch at the cutest Thai spot along the coast in Malibu.

Next we stopped in Malibu at AJA Vineyards. This winery has the most stunning views and delicious coastal Syrah. And even views of The Bachelor Mansion!! Visits are by appointment only, but definitely worth a stop!!

After, we made our way to the cute little town of Solvang!

We stayed at the cutest Airbnb overlooking downtown Solvang! The perfect spot-walkable to all the little shops, restaurants and tasting rooms. Check it out here!

For dinner, we walked to First and Oak , a Michelin plated restaurant with the most delicious prix fixe menu.

The most amazing truffle roasted cauliflower.
The barramundi before they added the caviar cream sauce! Delish!
Finished with bread pudding

The next morning, our driver from @destinationdriverSB (https://destinationdrivers.com/) picked us up at our Airbnb. Im a strong believer in hiring a driver! It guarantees fun and safety! These guys are great because they drive your car for the day! They are also very knowledgeable about the area!

Our first stop was McKinney Family Vineyards. (They are also by appointment only. ) this stop was so educational, I learned about different methods of vine training, cover crops, soil types, and how climate effects the grapes. We even got to feed the adorable goats! But the best part was their wines! Pure expression of terrior and quality! Absolutely stunning wines! Highly recommend a visit here!

Assistant winemaker Justice teaching us about the vines.

After an incredible first stop, we had time to spare so we headed to downtown Los Olivos to visit Dragonette Cellars tasting room. These wines are out of this world! From some of the top vineyard sites in Santa Barbara such as Radian, Rita’s Crown and Fiddlesticks. So fascinating learning about the different soil types including the famous Santa Barbara diatomaceous earth.

Next, we stopped for lunch for delicious sandwiches at Panino down the street.

With full bellies, we made our way to Melville Winery for a private tour and tasting.

(Photo credit to Destination Drivers)

Melville has extraordinary vineyards with special diatomaceous earth soil. It’s feels spongy on your feet!

They took us into the library room where we tried their new traditional method Blanc de Noir and Blanc de Blanc, Syrah and outstanding Pinot Noir. They even “coravinned” (yes that’s a verb now) a 2009 for us! Still tasted bright and youthful! These wines will age! Overall, we had a lovely experience at Melville winery. You can book this exact experience here.

To wrap up the day, we went back to downtown Los Olivos to visit the tasting rooms at Coquelicot and Liquid Farm. Coquelicot (same owner of the restaurant First and Oak) focuses on organic wines. Loved their rosé of Sangiovese!

(Photo credit to Destination Drivers)

And Liquid Farm not only had the most adorable tasting room, their pinots are out of this world!!

Overall, we had the most amazing weekend visiting Malibu Coast, Solvang and Santa Barbara wine country!! There is so much more to see and taste in this area! Comment below on where we should visit next!! Cheers!!

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Michigan Wineries

High quality, delicious wines, great hospitality and stunning views. Where to go when visiting Michigan Wineries.

The highest point in Leelanau Peninsula at Rove Estate

The Regions:

I visited 2/5 of Michigan AVAs (American Viticultural Area): Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula.

Pinot Grigio on the Vine at Rove Estate

The Grapes:

Michigan has shorter growing seasons and big durinal shifts due to the lake effect and many microclimates through the different slopes and elevations. The temperatures can range from below zero to over 100 degrees depending on which of the 4 seasons. Some of the grapes that grow best include: Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio (Gris), Gewürtztraminer, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc.

Tasting at Rove Estate

The Wineries:

Michigan has over 148 wineries! On our most recent trip, our first stop was Rove Estate Vineyard and Winery. McKenzie and Creighton are 5th generation farmers and uprooted some of the cherry trees to plant a vineyard. They focus on minimal intervention and biodynamic farming. Not only do they have stunning views being the highest point in Leelanau Peninsula, but they make incredible wines and offer outstanding hospitality. I highly recommend this winery!

Lineup of dry, off dry and late harvest Rieslings.

Thank you Rove Estate (@roveestate ) for an amazing visit and introduction to quality Michigan wine!

Next up, Mari Vineyards in Old Mission Peninsula, a beautiful property with an Italian flare. All around the building are wood sculptures and art pieces. With something unique and peculiar to look at at every turn.

We were able to tour their in house production facility, bottling line, crush pad and barrel room.

In the center of the barrel room is a skylight looking up to the vineyards and a compass pointing to summer solstice.

Cabernet Franc on the vine at Mari Vineyards

Mari vineyards grow a number of different varieties including the typical Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. They also have heated tents that allow them to grow varietals that shouldn’t grow in Michigan such as Sangiovese and Nebbiolo!

Sparkling wine from Mari Vineyards.

They even make a “Traditional Method-hybrid” wine where the 2nd fermentation is done in the bottle, riddled, and disgorged. However, instead of the traditional dosage, they are topped off with charmat method sparkling wine. Definitely took a bottle of this sparkling home!

Thank you to Mari Vineyards (@marivineyards ) for a fantastic visit!!

We made a pit stop at the very top of the peninsula to visit this cute little lighthouse!

Lastly we stopped at Chateau Chantal (@chateau.chantal ) for a tasting. Absolutely stunning views! A great place to stop and enjoy the views with live music, wine and charcuterie board. They also have a bed and breakfast, so it’s a great place to stay when visiting Michigan wine country.

Overall, I was very impressed with my visit to Michigan Wine Country! They are making some fantastic wines! I’m excited to see what will come in the next 10-20 years! Cheers to Michigan Wine!


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Food and Wine Pairing

Featuring Pegasus Wines

Food and wine pairing is one of my favorite activities. It’s always exciting to see what goes together! The flavor profile of food and wine can change depending on what you pair together! Here’s some pairings that I love and why they work!

Sauvignon Blanc and Alaskan Cod

This Sauvignon Blanc is light, crisp and refreshing. The acidity makes your mouth water and has well balanced citrus notes of lemon, grapefruit, lime and honeysuckle.

Paired with Alaskan Cod and veggies. I cooked the fish with some olive oil, a few minutes on each side in the cast iron skillet.

Why it works: with Sauvignon Blanc being a fairly light wine, you want to pick a dish that won’t over power it and vice versa with the fish. The light fruity flavors compliment the lightness of the cod perfectly!

Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay with Salmon

This stunning Chardonnay with coastal influence and notes of lemon, pear, apple and pineapple. Very well balanced and perfect example of a well made Chardonnay.

Paired harmoniously with Salmon and veggie mash.

Why it works: salmon is meatier fish with some fat and stronger flavor but still on the lighter side as far as food goes. The Chardonnay is fuller bodied with tropical fruit notes, perfect balance with the salmon!

Grenache Rosé and Teriyaki Chicken

This Provence style rosé is light, floral, refreshing and elegant. Beautiful notes of strawberry and white flowers.

Paired with Teriyaki Chicken, sweet potato and broccoli.

Why it works: chicken is still pretty light as far as meats go, so I chose a lighter wine to keep them balanced. The sweet and saltiness of the teriyaki complimented the fruitiness and almost off-dryness of the rosé.

Rosé of Cabernet with Carnitas Tacos

This rosé was super fruity with notes of strawberry rhubarb, white peach, orange, and roses. A very drinkable wine that is fun and delicious!

Paired with carnitas tacos. (Trader Joe’s Carnitas is the bomb!) we added sweet potato, feta cheese and avocado to the tacos.

Why it works: who doesn’t love tacos and rosé!? But because this is a fuller bodied rosé with bigger fruit notes it can stand up to a heavier meat like carnitas!

Beef strip and Bordeaux style Red Blend

The Quadrille is made up of 4 grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Beautiful left bank style Bordeaux. With notes of blackberry, Cassis, chocolate, tobacco. Very well balanced of tannin and acid with a lasting finish.

Paired with beef strips cooked in coconut oil on the cast iron skillet, feta cheese, sweet potato and green beans.

Why it works: the tannin in the wine helps break down the fat in the beef. The full flavor from the feta stood up to wine nicely. And the two complimented each other perfectly.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Ribeye Steak

What an absolutely beautiful Cabernet from Santa Ynez Valley. Perfect balance of fruit and oak. With notes of blackberry, plum, spice and pepper.

I couldn’t write a food and wine pairing blog post without including steak and Cabernet. My all time favorite pairing. I put salt and pepper on the steak and grilled it to medium rare.

Why it works: again the fat and tannin compliment so nicely but also the pepperiness on the wine is a fabulous touch to the steak. The meatiness of the steak goes so well with the richness of the wine.

Thank you again to Pegasus Winery for this fabulous lineup! I highly recommend checking out these Santa Barbara County wines!


Love, Cas

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Hollywood Bowl Tips and Tricks

Everything you must know to visit the Hollywood Bowl like a pro.

Peep the Hollywood sign above the stage!

The Hollywood bowl is one of Los Angeles’ most iconic concert venues. Follow these tips to ensure you have the most perfect experience!

Tip # 1:

Park at a park & ride location. It’s only $7 round trip and you get dropped off right in front without have to worry about parking! And the best part is you can have a glass of wine on the bus!!

Tip #2

Pack a picnic! I’d recommend arriving at least 2 hours before the show to enjoy a picnic! You are allowed to bring anything you want, including: alcohol, glass, food, corkscrew, etc. There are plenty of picnic tables around the amphitheater with turf grass. We brought a blanket and our short table which was a perfect setup with out fighting for a picnic table. We also brought cheeses, meats, and wine! (Shoutout to Curdbox for the perfect spread!) Double check that the show you’re attending allows you to bring alcohol because not all of them do. And be sure to follow the bag guidelines of 15”x 15” x 22”.

Tip #3

Seating: we sat in section N1 so it was the before the top section but still very far back. The sound was perfect! I don’t think there’s a bad seat in the house for sound! However we couldn’t see very well so you need to decide how important it is to you to be able to see the show vs hear the show! At the end of the show everyone exits to right of the stage (facing the stage) so the closer you sit to that side, the faster you will get out at the end.

Tip #4

Seat cushions!! It’s only $1 (cash only) to rent a seat cushion! These came in clutch! And at the end of the show you just leave it on your seat!

Overall, we had the most enjoyable experience and can not wait to go back!!


Love, Cas

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Temecula Wineries

I had the opportunity to attend a Temecula Immersion Press Trip recently. I just have to say WOW! My eyes were totally opened and I left with a whole new impression on this stunning region!! Not only can the wine stand up to the other wine producing areas in California, there are luxurious resorts, fine dining, unbeatable hospitality and a beautiful sense of community. I stayed 2 nights at South Coast Winery Resort and Spa. A dreamy villa with a comfortable bed, cozy fireplace, jetted bathtub and a patio overlooking the vineyard! Nothing like waking up to a cup of coffee in the middle of the vines! 

The Rainbow Gap is the fog that covers the vineyard every morning and leaves a cooling mist on the vines. One of the reasons that so many varietals do so well here in this terroir!

We started the night off at The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars  with an 8 course meal prepared by Chef Daragh Matheson. The food was exceptional and unique! I never would think to combine Wagyu beef with watermelon, but it was heavenly! We ate everything from Caviar with Oysters, to perfectly cooked halibut to duck fat French fries. Each course was perfectly paired with a Leoness Cellars wine, and each more lovely then the next! What an outstanding experience! 

this scallop paired perfectly with the Leoness Cellars White Merlot!

Wagyu beef and watermelon with a lime salt ribbon! Such a unique and delicious combination!

Chef Daragh Matheson with the dessert!

The next morning, after my coffee in the vines, I enjoyed a lovely breakfast at the restaurant at South Coast Winery Resort and Spa. 

Next, we took an adventurous ride up a windy mountain to 2000 ft above sea level to the most stunning view I’ve ever seen! Wild Horse Peak Vineyards are positioned in the perfect growing conditions with sunlight and the ocean breeze. We tasted these exceptional wines on top of the mountain with the temecula legends- the winemakers themselves.

Left to Right: Jim Hart: Winemaker of Hart Winery, Joseph Wiens: Winemaker of Wiens Family Cellars Wines, Greg Pennyroyal: Vineyard Manager for Wilson Creek Winery, and Jon McPherson: Master winemaker of South Coast Winery.
The view at Wild Horse Peak Vineyards

After coming back down the mountain, we headed to Falkner Winery for a lovely tasting and were treated to a multi-course lunch in the barrel room.

Lobster Mac and cheese, tuna crunchy salad, smoked salmon avocado toast, grilled octopus couscous and more!

With very full bellies, we headed to Wiens Family Cellars for a blending class! We got to take a stab at some blind tasting and blend and cork our own bottle of wine!

The day didn’t end there! Next, we headed to Robert Renzoni Vineyards! Here we had a barrel tasting of the Montepulciano, tasted the stunning wines made by the only head female wine maker in the Valley, Olivia Bue, went through the secret passageway and stayed for dinner! For dinner we had the famous Robert Renzoni pizza. A bunch of the other winery owners and winemakers joined and brought their wines to share! To me, this is what makes this valley so beautiful, to see the wineries all come together to support the bigger cause of making Temecula great. Such a beautiful community! 

The next morning we started with a tasting of 10 wines, each presented by the winemaker, owner, or winery representative. Wow! All of these wines were just stunning!! Did you know they are successfully growing over 30 varieties here!? Something for everyone!

1. Carter Estate 2015 Brut (classic method) 2. Masia de la Vinya 2018 Verdelho 3. South Coast Winery 2018 Tempranillo rosé 4. Doffo 2016 Syrah 5. Baily 2015 estate bottles Meritage 6. Wiens Family Cellars 2016 Fourfold 7. Oak Mountain 2015 Pinotage 8. Danza Del Sol 2014 Syrah 9. Leoness Cellars 2016 Eloquent 10. Hart Winery 2017 Old Vine Zin (1882)

At the end of the presentation, Phil Baily, owner of Baily Vineyards, who has been in the valley since 1981, became emotional as he expressed his gratitude and pride for all of the winemakers in the room. What a special moment to witness and proof of how special and tight knit the Temecula Valley wine community is.  

I walked away from this experience with all my expectations blown out of the water! No wonder why Temecula Valley was just rated by Wine Enthusiasts as top 10 wine regions to visit in 2019! I will be back very soon!!  

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HUGE thank you to Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association @temeculawines , Visit Temecula Valley @visittemecula and Devin Parr @thesocalwinegal for this incredible experience!

xoxo- Casleah  

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Armenian Wine

Recently, I had the honor of attending #ginifest an Armenian wine fest! It was a day full of all sorts of wines, beer, brandy and all the baklava you could eat!

I was so intrigued!! Where have I been?? I had no clue Armenia was even making wine!! I discovered new grape varieties and learned so much! I needed to dive deeper into this region!

I interviewed Anush, who is the director of Armenian Wine and Spirits Festival (#ginifest ) , wine maker, consultant, sommelier, wine writer and podcaster (A Toast to Armenia) and all around boss babe to learn more about Armenian Wine!

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the history of wine in Armenia?

A: Armenia has has an ancient history of wine making. A cave with wine making equipment (press, jugs, cups etc) were discovered dating 4000bc in Areni,Vayots Dzor.  In spite of its old history it has been only 6-7 years that Armenian wine has seen quality. This is a result of few Armenians who have become successful outside and  returned to their homeland ready to invest in to the industry because they believed that the terroir is perfect for making amazing wines. They also invited international winemakers to guide and teach the locals how to properly manage vineyard, make wine etc. 

Q: How many different varieties grow there and which ones in your opinion are doing the best?

A: There are about 300 indigenous varieties growing in Armenia out of which about 50 are used in wine making. My favorite varietals  are White: Voskehat. Red: Areni and Sireni 

These varietal are doing extremely well and have very distinct characteristics.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the type of oak they are using? 

A: Most of the wineries use Caucasian oak that grows on territory of Armenia,  Artsakh.

Q: What else would you like us to know about Armenian wines? 

A: Armenian youth is very interested in wine. They love to learn about wine, take classes. This is a very good indicator that the industry will continue to grow and improve. 

If you are in Los Angeles you can find a wide variety of the wines in Glendale- Remedy Liquoror through an online retailer winesofarmenia

Wow! How cool is that?? Huge thank you to the lovely Anush (@anushikjan_armeniangirlsomm) for sharing about Armenian Wines with us!!

Cheers wine lovers!

XOXO Cas 💋

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Beach Essentials

Here’s all my favorite things to bring to the beach!

First and foremost, the WINE! And what better than canned wine on the beach! I’m loving these carefully sourced wines from @egwineco

Next up, the chair! I cannot live without my Tommy Bahama backpack chair! It has a built in cooler to keep your wine chilled and an extra storage pouch. I found mine at Costco.

I love this table from @short_table_ it folds us super easily and is perfect to bring to the beach! I also love this bag from @packitcool to keep the wine chilled.

And I can’t forget my favorite cheeseboard from @homeeuphoria !! The cheese knives store inside the board! Perfect for the beach!

And if you’re not having canned wine, I definitely recommend plastic wine glasses!! Now you’re prepped to have a perfect beach day!! Comment below and let me know what else you like to bring! Cheers!!


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Mexican Wine Country

About 45 minutes outside Ensenada, Mexico lies the  “Ruta Del Vino” the stunning wine country of Valle de Guadeloupe. I went on a 3 day cruise out of Long Beach and of course booked a wine tour as our on shore excursion! The valley is very beautiful to drive through with rolling hills, vines and lots and lots of olive trees. It’s Mediterranean climate so the grapes and the olives do really well here.

Our first stop was called La Casa de Doña Lupe . This cute stop had quite the variety of things to try! From the wines- we enjoyed the Tempranillo, Blanco and the Nebbiolo. They also had hot sauces, olive oils, liqueurs, pizzas, and cream cheeses to try, AND $5 massages for 10 minutes! I was pleasantly surprised to get a massage with my wine tasting! I found the wines to be quite jammy and smooth and not very tannic, which was totally different than I would I expect for some of the varietals, but it actually goes better with the Mexican food, which I appreciated. 

Our next stop was very close by, La Cetto (pronounced “chetto” as the family is Italian!)

La Cetto, is a much larger winery, one of the largest in the valley. We got a little tour of their large facility from their de-stemming machine, to the vines, to the barrel room and the tasting room.  


We got to try 4 of the many wines they produce here. The first was the Blanc de Blanc that was a nice refreshing white wine. Then their reserve Viognier which was a warm climate wine with tropical fruit notes. Third was their Petite Sirah, which in my opinion is a variety that is doing very well here. And lastly, was their Nebbiolo which is also doing well here! The olives were the first olives I’ve ever tasted that I enjoyed!

With the peso to dollar conversion rate, most of these wines ended up being around $6 a bottle which was a fantastic price for these wines. We ended up bringing home a case! Overall, my experience was great! The region was beautiful, the hospitality was amazing and the wines were good! I didn’t have any wines that blew my mind, but there’s 180 wineries here so I have many more to try!! I’m excited to see what comes from Mexico in the coming years!!!

¡Salud! XOXO Cas 

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How I’m prepping for Certified Sommelier-CMS 2

The biggest goal I have set for myself this year is to take and pass Court of Master Sommelier level 2, which will make me an official certified Sommelier! I took CMS level 1 about 1.5 years ago and it was tough but very rewarding! I’ve also taken WSET courses 1 and 2 within the last year. I’m excited to get back into studying! Here’s how I’m prepping!




 -tracing paper to draw maps

-notecards for flash cards- also Vino Cards (available on Amazon


Wine Bible by: Karen MacNeil 

Wine Folly: Madeline Puckette 

Windows on the World Complete Wine Course by: Kevin Zraly  

The World Atlas of Wine by: Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson  

And of course lots and lots of wine! I plan to open every bottle with the proper method and go through the grid with every wine. I plan to practice blind tasting as much as possible!! 

Comment below any other study tips you have!! Cheers!!  

Xoxo Cas

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South African Wine Country, My Guest Post on Coravin

Check out my guest blog post on Corvin’s Blog! I wrote about my experience in South African Wine Country!




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