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Kathleen Hill: State winery of the year – from Placer County?

Oh no! The Golden State Winery of the Year award from the 2015 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition went to a relatively unknown winery from Lincoln, California called Wise Villa Winery.

Where is Wise Villa? In Lincoln, Placer County. To many of us, Lincoln is best known for its Del Webb gated communities. But Wise Villa Winery is a real find there and even includes a wine and food pairing bistro and hosts an “I Love Lucy”-style grape stomp.

Wise Villa’s co-winemaker is Grover Lee, PhD, who beat out 2,800 wines entered by 743 other wineries from throughout the state, including from our major wine regions such as Sonoma and Napa.

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Carniceria tours: Sonomans and out-of-towners seemed to have a blast exploring Sonoma Valley’s carnicerias, or Mexican markets, and left Sonoma Valley loaded with full tummies from lunch at the thriving Rancho Viejo restaurant seemingly squeezed in between McDonald’s and Happy Dog, freshly made ice cream and beverages from Michoacana Natural Ice Cream, just-barbecued chickens from El Brinquito, lots of vegetables and spices from our rich carnicerias in Boyes Hot Springs, and an informative tour of our Flowery School Garden with garden educator Chris Everidge.

We will definitely offer more tours early next year, so email me if you are interested.

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France’s Ecology Minister, Ségolène Royal, who was also President François Hollande’s mistress and mother of their four children, wants everyone to stop buying and eating Nutella, the hugely popular spread mostly made of chocolate and hazelnuts. Royal objects to the palm oil on the basis that palm trees have replaced conventional trees and endanger the environment, according to Agence France-Presse.

Nutella, which is made by an Italian chocolate company called Ferrero-Rocher, which makes hazelnut chocolate candy and gets 80 percent of its palm oil from Malaysia, with the other 20 percent coming from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Brazil.

Apparently the French Senate failed a couple of years ago to pass a 300 percent tax on palm oil on the basis that it was “dangerously fattening” and its cultivation was bad for the environment.

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