Today the words “artisan” and “artisanal” are freely applied to a host of goods. They are not to be confused with “artesian,” a word recently seen at a market causing me to wonder if the baked goods offered sprang forth from an aquifer.

As we approach what will likely be the most subdued July 4th celebration in American history, most — if we are wise — will stay at home in our backyards with friends and family cooking traditional pork, steak, burgers and other things grillable, all the while maintaining the requisite social…

This past week, I successfully participated in my first Zoom video conference via computer. Though I along with friends have tried to master this method of communicating, we have largely been unsuccessful.

I have long been puzzled by the preference of our local residents for red wines. Let’s face it; we do not reside in a large sophisticated metropolis where red wine snobs abound, but rather in a quiet hamlet populated with predominantly red wine lovers.

 In this time of pandemic and scarcity, few things remain certain. There are many questions. Where are people storing all that toilet paper? Do stores actually still stock toilet paper? If they do, does the first person in line buy the entire truckload?

Increasingly, the British admonishment to stay calm and carry on is made more difficult as the coronavirus spreads around the globe. Not only is this beastly virus taking a toll on human life, but it is also wreaking havoc on commerce.

 I have often written about Prohibition in this column. Prohibition, aka the Volstead Act or the Eighteenth Amendment, was enacted on Jan. 16, 1920. For 13 ensuing years, the sale, manufacture and transport of all beverages containing alcohol was strictly forbidden, until Prohibition was rep…

Last year, Americans spent an estimated $20.7 billion on Valentine gifts. Statisticians who keep track of such things say 17 percent of these gifts (roughly translating to $9.5 billion) were unwanted. And yet Americans are projected to spend more  this upcoming Valentine’s Day (which is Frid…

Wine Enthusiast magazine recently published its Top 10 most searched wines for 2019, admitting, “There was something a little voyeuristic about analyzing the browsing histories of strangers.”

Every year, Rob McMillan, executive vice president and founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s wine division, publishes the equivalent of the State of  the Union address, called the State of the Wine Industry Report. That the bank should have a wine division is no coincidence.

Happy New Year, gentle readers. Six days less than we usually have between Thanksgiving and Christmas really did make a difference. Now that most of us can catch our breath after the Christmas marathon, it is time to look toward the future and turn our thoughts to prospering and surviving in 2020.

“Quid pro quo” has been on the lips of those in Washington who love posturing in front of media cameras trying to appear more intelligent than the rest of the proletariat, those of us who did not study Latin in school and who actually have to work for a living.

This is the time of year when retailers, publications and websites tout the Top 5 or 500 must-have Christmas items for those we hold near and dear. Attention shoppers, good news here: All items in Neiman Marcus’s Christmas catalog are priced below a million bucks this year.

There are certain experiences that evoke good, bad, transcendent and humorous memories. One of my humorous moments was provided by a Sonoma wine, La Crema, and is a gift that keeps on giving.

Most people likely find statistics boring, with the exception of statisticians and university professors who wax nostalgically about quantitative methods, probability theory, hypothesis testing and variance analysis. I can see eyes glazing over as you read this.

Tomorrow, as we celebrate the signing of our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, many will be raising a glass of wine to toast our country’s birthday. It is interesting to reflect on three wine milestones interwoven with our American history. is an online database that brings together wine aficionados and wine purveyors. I often consult this site for price information on rare or hard-to-find vintages of a particular wine.

Robert Parker has said, “When the history of Napa’s great vineyards is written, the 40-acre Spottswoode grand cru vineyards will be counted among the finest grand vineyards in the region.”

Along with millions of others on April 15, I watched in horror as flames engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral and its gothic spire fell onto the roof, bringing down the enormous wooden beams known as the “Forest,” which had supported this 850-year-old structure.

Pope Francis says, “Water is necessary to live, but wine expresses the abundance of the feast and the joy and celebration."