Celebrate National Cheese Lover's Day

Photos of my recent visit to a small creamery out in Petaluma, California.

Photos of my recent visit to a small creamery out in Petaluma, California.

All foodies sound the alarms, sharpen your knives, and dust off your cutting board, today is National Cheese Lover’s Day and it’ll be a crime not to celebrate! Wine’s perfect marriage is a well-done meat and cheese board, and I have a long resume decorated with cheesy experience, pun intended. To celebrate, I’ve compiled a simple guide to help jump-start your party.


  1. Dare to buy beyond cheddar.

Trust me, I am guilty as charged! Sometimes I am busy and bee line through the grocery store grabbing my go-tos and do not think outside the box. More often than not, I grab a block of white cheddar and call it a day. But, in order to indulge and explore the cheesy flavors of life, we need to buy cheeses other than those in the cheddar category. Most grocery stores have a decent cheese section. If you have absolutely no idea about what to chose, buy with your eyes! What looks good? What names sound appealing? Just go with your gut and buy small samples of each. Most cheese counters have various sizes of the same type of cheese. You can invest in your experience without completely breaking the bank. Artisan cheeses can be pricey, but the way I see it, I like to invest my money in food and experiences. We are what we eat, you know! ;)

Anatomy of a cheese board, photo credit, google (LOL)

Anatomy of a cheese board, photo credit, google (LOL)

2. Not fond of a messy kitchen? Go grab Fondue!

I am a sucker for The Melting Pot. If you’re close to a major city, they usually have a location. They have amazing cheese fondue selections and eating here will make National Cheese Lover’s day a very memorable and delicious experience. I’ve made homemade fondue before (this requires a double boiler and a lot of patience) but, going out to the Melting Pot can help avoid the mess! But, if you’re feeling adventurous, here is an “easy” recipe for house-made fondue.

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3. Don’t have any cheese on hand? Learn how cheese is made, instead!

I absolutely love learning new things. Although it is great to learn while enjoying a snack, you may be snowed in right now (like most of the Northeast) and are most likely unable to grab the cheese this day (and yourself) deserves. (But that’s ok!) you can still celebrate this amazing holiday thanks to technology, but in a different way….Here is a great video on how cheese is made!

Share with me how you are celebrating #NationalCheeseLoversDay by tweeting me at @RedHeadWine

Cheers! - Winemaker, Marisa

My adventure to the West Coast: Day two in Petaluma and Napa

The photos on your dairy products are real….this photo is unedited and of the Achadinha Cheese Company, 750 Chileno Valley Rd, Petaluma, CA 94952

The photos on your dairy products are real….this photo is unedited and of the Achadinha Cheese Company, 750 Chileno Valley Rd, Petaluma, CA 94952

Did you know what California has it’s own cheese trail?! I absolutely did not - but my best friend from college, Kayla, did! Kayla and I both went to Cornell together and studied winemaking there. We planned to meet up during my trip, and our time together is never bland- she suggested that we go on a cheese tasting adventure through the cow covered hills of Petaluma! How could you say no to that?! (unless you are lactose intolerant *insert sad trombone sound.

As someone who creates and sells a product in a store, I am always thinking about marketing. The fact that some dairy products picture having beautiful rolling hills of green with cows happily grazing on their packaging seemed like a scam to me, but the photo you were greeted by in this blog is the real deal!

Part of our tour of the Achadinha Cheese company was going through the farm and learning every single process of making cheese. This included what foods are best to feed cows for a larger or smaller butter fat percentage. For example, many yogurt brands advertise that their cows are grass fed because it leads to a smaller butter fat percentage, which in turn, makes their yogurt less fatty. But, Achadinha Cheese is not afraid of fat (nor am I!) and they feed their cows barley and other healthy non-GMO foods to will create a lot of butter fat. They emphasized that they only feed their cows and goats what is in season to have an optional butter fat percentage. Their cheeses can vary in butter fat due to the season, which is really cool to have learned!

We also saw their cheese caves, pasteurization process, and learned how to properly taste cheese, butter and yogurt!

All smiles in front of the cheese cave!   Forget a shoe closet, give me a closet full of cheese, please!

All smiles in front of the cheese cave! Forget a shoe closet, give me a closet full of cheese, please!


We tasted cheese from mild-to sharp. It is best to taste cheese in this order so the more pungent / textured cheese do not overwhelm your palate too soon.

We tasted cheese from mild-to sharp. It is best to taste cheese in this order so the more pungent / textured cheese do not overwhelm your palate too soon.

We tasted cheeses from what they offered by most mild to strong. This way, we were able to enjoy each product while not overwhelming our taste buds! Just like wine, you should taste from most mild (usually a white) to most tannic (aged reds).

After we had our fill of cheese….and fumes of the dairy farm (they were PUNGENT lol) we were ready to head to Napa to visit Signorello Estate, where one of my friends, Alan G. works for. He called me up to see if I’d like a tour. How could I say no to wine?! But, before I get into that, Kayla, Gino (her boyfriend) my sister and I made a pit stop to good ol’ In n’ Out burger.

I  promise  this food is not all for me! I ordered a protein-style burger with grilled onions with fries that are extra crisp. This was my old go-to order when I used to live in CA.

I promise this food is not all for me! I ordered a protein-style burger with grilled onions with fries that are extra crisp. This was my old go-to order when I used to live in CA.

It’s not a trip to California if you do not stop at In-N-Out burger. They make the best burgers, fries and milkshakes, ever. (simply my opinion!) We only had thirty minutes between our appointments in Petaluma and Napa, so we had to find food, fast, in order to be timely. As you can tell in the photo, I was very happy to be there!

In front of the Signorello sign - the property sits on a beautiful hill in Napa. By the way, if you are interested in visiting this winery, you must call for an appointment.

In front of the Signorello sign - the property sits on a beautiful hill in Napa. By the way, if you are interested in visiting this winery, you must call for an appointment.

Our visit to Signorello was nothing short of magical. The wines were absolutely fantastic, and the property was straight out of a dream. The winery sits on top of a hill in Napa and as you climb the hills of the property, you can see other houses and wineries. It’s a great spot to take a deep breath and take in all of earth’s beauty. A view like you have here… makes you appreciate the little things in life- fresh air, greenery, vines, sun and those around you.

Our hosts drove us around the properly on golf carts and allowed us to roam the vineyards and surrounding areas. Once we were done, they drove us down to the tasting room. Sadly, their original tasting room was destroyed in the Northern CA fires in 2017- although they lost their buildings in the devastation, they did not lose what was most important— the vines.

If the vines were taken by the flames. it would have taken 5-6 years to grow them back. Vines take at least that amount of time to produce a viable crop for winemaking. Luckily, Signorello had insurance so they could quickly rebuild! They are still under construction but are looking forward to changing things up with a build that has a modern look. Take a virtual tour of the property to check things out!

Overall, we had an amazing day in Petaluma and Napa - full of nature’s beauty, cheese, wine…and in-n-out burger. But, most importantly, I was able to spend time with my best friend, Kayla, whom I haven’t seen in 2.5 years!

Kayla and I

Kayla and I

If you have any questions or want to learn more about my second day in California, tweet me at @RedHeadWine

Cheers to you! - Winemaker, Marisa

My adventure to the West Coast: Day one in San Francisco

As a winemaker, I like to venture to the west coast as often as possible. California was once my home: I have missed In n' Out Burger, my freinds and, of course, wine country.

My sister, Michelle, had an interview for residency (post-med school graduation) at Stanford's Children's Hospital, so of course, I volunteered to come with her and visit my favorite spots!

During our first day, I absolutely could NOT wait to have my favorite bubble tea from a place called T4. I have not had my Okinawa Milk Tea 30% Ice and 30% sweetness in over 2.5 years! Once my sister and I picked up our rental car, we went straight there. If you're not familiar with bubble tea, it's pretty much regular tea (can be with milk, etc) with little tapioca pearls at the bottom. It's fun to drink because you get a little piece of chewy candy with every sip. If you haven't had this before, the candies can be shocking- they pop into your mouth very fast! The Okinawa Milk Tea tastes like a light carmel sugar; it's the perfect balance between sweet and refreshing.

T4- Bubble Tea

T4- Bubble Tea

We stayed in Menlo Park, which is about 15 minutes away from Stanford’s campus. We rented a cute AirBnb that had it’s own patio and a yard full of succulent plants. The AirBnb was very close to San Francisco, too! Earlier before my trip to CA, I messaged my friend Krystal whom I met at the Forbes Under 30 Summit last October, to see if she would be around. She is from LA, but was interviewing near SF and suggested that we meet at a local bakery, Tartine.

Tartine is located on a small corner in the busy streets of SF - it’s a local place and you can definitely tell once you walk in. It’s small inside, seating is very limited. I’d say there were only 6 tables total in the whole place! Regardless of space, people kept walking in and the line to order was always long. Everyone in line seemed to be calm and not frustrated with the wait - that means that the food and coffees must be worth waiting for. We ordered a hot chocolate, an open faced Croque monsieur, vegetable frittata AND, of course, a piece of chocolate mousse cake.

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It took a lot of effort to decide to take a photo before having a bite of cake!

It took a lot of effort to decide to take a photo before having a bite of cake!

 

My sister is famous for being the “prepared” one in my family - she always conducts a detective style search of the best restaurants and places to visit when we travel. During our trip to Tartine, she discovered a spot called The Saratoga, that is known for their cocktails. Unfortunately, I was the DD and could not indulge in their pages long cocktail menu, but I was happy to spend time with my sister and Krystal. Instead, I feasted on their seasonal crispy chicken of the woods mushrooms and chicken sliders. I have to say, they were quite excellent! Here are some photos of us at The Saratoga.

My sister, Michelle, and I at The Saratoga, in San Francisco.

My sister, Michelle, and I at The Saratoga, in San Francisco.

Krystal and I at The Saratoga.

Krystal and I at The Saratoga.

We didn’t last too long at The Saratoga - Krystal had to catch her flight back to LA and Michelle and I were ready to head back to the Airbnb. We wanted to rest-up and prepare for a full day in Petaluma and Napa!

If you have any questions about my trip or want more details about the places we visited, feel free to tweet me @RedHeadWine

Cheers! Winemaker, Marisa

RedHead Red Hot Chocolate Recipe

Tis' the season to bake, broil, saute, and or...microwave...everything and anything sweet to get into the Holiday spirit! I don't know about you, but I am feeling extra festive this year - I even bought special holiday kitchen towels - that is when you know you're an adult with spirit, right?!

But, along with my festive baking list, decorations, and attitude, I developed an easy RedHead Red Blend Hot Chocolate recipe that will keep you warm all winter.

I am all about low-maintenance recipes, so I hope you like it:

Ingredients:

  • Whole Milk
  • Godiva Dark Chocolate Cocoa Mix
  • RedHead Red Blend
  • Whipped Cream

Directions: Bring 1 cup of whole milk to a simmer on medium heat in a saucepan. Once the milk is simmering, add 4 tablespoons of Godiva Hot Cocoa mix per 1 cup of Whole Milk. Stir until thoroughly mixed.

Next, add 1 ounce of RedHead Red Blend at room temperature to the mug / glass that you will pour the simmering hot chocolate in. Add 1 cup of the hot chocolate into the mug and stir. Optional add whipped cream on top.

Enjoy!

Head to the @RedHeadWine instagram page to view the step-by-step highlight story and learn how to make RedHead Red Hot Chocolate

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Pumpkin Sweet n' Spice Wine Spritzer

I don't know about you....but... the holidays put me in a very special and festive mood to want to imbibe a little extra. What I mean by extra is making my drinks extra (if you know what I mean hehehe). So, this is my fast and easy Pumpkin Sweet n' Spiced Wine Spritzer that I"ll be drinking the rest of October. It's fun...a little weird..and, of course, involves pumpkin.

If you try it, please post your photos and your thoughts on the recipe with the hashtag #RedHeadPumpkinSpiced

Cheers!

  • Winemaker, Marisa

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. RedHead Rosé
  • 1 oz. pumpkin spice liquor
  • 3 oz. sprite
  • cinnamon stick for garnish

Instructions

  • Add ice to a low ball glass.
  • Pour in the pumpkin spice liquor and the wine.
  • Stir then top off the glass with 3 oz of sprite.
  • Garnish with cinnamon stick (for instagram and fanciness, of course!)

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How to Deal with Internet Trolls

"Posting on social media about my journey building RedHead Wine can mostly look fun and exciting, but I've decided to showcase some of the other sides of running a business. This is me opening up about some of the other moments that are harder to share. I am empowered to have found "a voice" when it comes to dealing with negativity on social media. Feel free to read / share this article - I hope you like it or learn something! This article is just my opinion...so feel free to comment below your thoughts / suggestions! Cheers - Marisa"

Read my thoughts here: https://hermag.co/how-to-deal-trolls/