I've been drinking Zinfandel for 30 years, but I learn something new every time I talk to Joel Peterson about it. The founder of Ravenswood and patron saint of California Zinfandel is making an ever-so slow transition out of the winery that he founded in 1976.
Sometimes you go to a place for the first time and it doesn't seem new. I felt that way the first time I drove into Sonoma County nearly 30 years ago. There were cows and rolling hills and barns that were just a 2x4-shy of falling down. It wasn't all that different from the Midwest where I grew up.
The feeling was similar as I drove around Walla Walla, Wash., for the first time a few weeks ago. I was there with my colleague Harvey Steiman, who knows eastern Washington better than Google, and has been going to the region for 40 years. Walla Walla, for me, is "Sonoma meets the Midwest." Maybe that's why it feels a bit like home.