VIDEO: DHRUV KHANNA OF KIRIGIN CELLARS, OLDEST WINERY IN SANTA CLARA VALLEY

Meet Dhruv Khannna, a lawyer and owner of Kirigin Cellars, the oldest winery in Santa Clara Valley. 2016 marks the centennial year of  Kirigin Cellars located in the oldest wine growing region in California.

Khanna combines the tech and agriculture strands of Santa Clara Valley, once known as “Valley of Heart’s Delight,” and now known as “Silicon Valley,” and home to some of the best hi-tech companies in the world.

We sat down with Khanna to find out how he went from a lawyer and co-founder of Covad to the owner of Kirigin Cellars. He shares what kinds of grapes they grow at the vineyard and their list of red and white wines. Kirigin is also known for its dessert wine – the coffee and chocolate infused Vino di Mocca, which is a creation of the former owner Mr.Kirigin.

This is perhaps the only winery in the USA that has a cricket field along with a couple of soccer fields. Khanna is passionate about playing cricket.

This interview was aired on TV in the USA.

Kirigin Cellars is open for wine tasting everyday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.

Address: Kirigin Cellars
11550 Watsonville Rd Gilroy, CA 95020

You can subscribe to our podcast and  YouTube channel, where every week we feature new interviews.

 

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VIDEO: GENE GUGLIELMO OF GUGLIELMO WINERY OF SANTA CLARA WINERIES

Meet Gene Guglielmo, a third generation winemaker from Santa Clara county, the oldest wine growing region in California. Guglielmo Winery is the oldest continuously family owned and operated winery in Santa Clara Valley.

We sat down with Guglielmo to find out the history of his family’s winery and taste a couple of Guglielmo wines. Guglielmo shares how his grandfather Emilio Guglielmo came from Piedmont in Italy to the San Francisco Bay area in the early 20th. After working in San Francisco his grandfather bought a vineyard in the Santa Clara Valley. His grandfather started making wine and slowly grew the business. After World War II George Washington Guglielmo (Emilio’s son and Gene’s father)  joined the winery and expanded it by installing new machinery and steel tanks. Today, Guglielmo makes a mix of red and white wines.

This TV interview was aired in the US.

Guglielmo Winery is locaed at 1480 E Main Ave, Morgan Hill, CA 95037. The tasting room is open 10am to 5pm every day and there is a $5 tasting fee.

 

Photos courtesy of Guglielmo Winery

SEPTEMBER IS CALIFORNIA WINE MONTH

Kirigin Cellars

 

We are celebrating California’s wine month with a series of audio, video and blog posts. In the San Francisco Bay area we are surrounded by wineries and vineyards from Sonoma, Napa, Livermore to the wineries of Santa Clara county.

Santa Clara Valley is home to the oldest wine growing region in California. Tucked away in Silicon Valley’s backyard are a cluster of wineries that make a variety of red and white wines. And some like Fortino Winery also make fruit-based wines in addition to red and white wines. Once known as vinegar alley and known for its jug wines, the wineries now produce award-winning wines.

Earlier this week I went on a tour of 3 wineries in Gilroy: Satori Cellars Winery, Kirigin Cellars and Fortino Winery. While I have visited wineries in this region I have never visited any of them during their harvest season. The purpose of this trip was to fulfill my curiosity of what it takes to harvest and make wine. Tha making wine is a lot of hard work is a mild understatement.

September is the busiest month for wineries for this marks the starts of the harvest season. What I discovered is that some wineries were busy picking their grapes and crushing them, while others were getting ready to pick them.

Tom Moller, Satori Cellars, Santa Clara Wineries

 

“When you pick the grapes is a very important decision,” points out Tom Moller of Satori Cellars Winery in Gilroy. Essentially when you pick the grapes determines how your wine will turn out at the end. The sugar level in the grapes will determine when they get picked and crushed.

 

Santa Clara Wineries

 

At Kirigin Cellars I watched as the grapes were dumped into a huge steel crusher to extract the grape juice for making the wine. “They have been picking grapes since 6 am,” points out Dhruv Khanna, owner of Kirigin Cellars that is celebrating its centennial year. They picked about 7 tonnes of grapes in the morning and by 1 pm they had them all crushed says Khanna as we stood by the wine crusher with bees buzzing around us. Surprisingly nobody seemed to pay any attention to the buzzing bees.

 

Fortino Winery

 

Fortinos of Fortino Winery

 

My final destination was Fortino Winery where I met Gino Fortino and his father Ernesto Fortino. The winery was established in 1970 by Fortino senior, who focussed on making wines from varietals. Fortino Winery is one of the few wineries that grows Charbono, a rare Italian varietal. ” We have 3 acres of Carbon out of the 80 acres in California,’ points out Fortino. Besides their estate grown red and white wines Fortino Winery also make a variety of fruit-based wines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Master Sommelier Richard Dean of San Francisco’s Taj Campton Place

Master Sommelier Richard Dean of Taj Campton Place

We sat down to talk with Master Sommelier Richard Dean of San Francisco’s Taj Campton Place. Here is an interesting fact I discovered from him and that is there are less than 240 Master Sommeliers in the world.He was the youngest in the world  and the second American to become a Master Sommelier in the world. Dean became a Master Sommelier about 40 years ago when California was not considered as a wine growing region.

When you meet  Dean he instantly makes you feel at ease. Perhaps that is the reason I felt comfortable enough to ask him really basic questions about wine, what glass to use with what wine, the art of pairing food with wine and his recommendations for visiting the vineyards in the San Francisco Bay area. And, we also wanted to find out if he has a “nose” for wines or did he have to work really hard at his job? Tune in to find out what he has to say.

LISTEN: Master Sommelier Richard Dean of San Francisco’s Taj Campton Place

This interview with Master Sommelier Richard Dean was originally aired on TV in the US.

You can subscribe to our podcast and  YouTube channel, where every week we feature new interviews.

 

 

 

A VISIT TO INTEL MUSEUM IN SILICON VALLEY

Intel The Kamla Show

 

A visit to Intel Museum is Santa Clara was in my bucket list for over a decade. I had driven past Intel so many times, and yet never made the right turn to Intel’s campus and to the Robert Noyce building where the museum is located. I finally did visit the museum and came away learning quite a bit about this iconic company that shaped Silicon Valley’s culture. At a personal level it also shaped the way I used computers and laptops.

Ever wondered what Intel stands for? Here is what it stands for.

Intel The Kamla Show

 

Intel was founded in 1968 in Mountain View by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore of the “Moore’s Law” fame. It went IPO in 1971.

 

Intel in the beginning

Intel-Optimism

Intel-Moore

Intel-Bob-Noyce

 

The museum makes for an interesting visit and you get to see and find out about the basic blocks of building a microprocessor. The basic and most important ingredient is silicon that comes from sand.

 

Intel-Purified Silicon

Intel-Silicon

 

Here are some more images from Intel’s museum about wafer, chips and clean rooms.

A visit to Intel’s museum is free. It is located at Robert N. Noyce Building, 2200 Mission College Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95052. For more information about visiting the museum you can either call  408.765 5050 or email museum@intel.com

Happy 4th – Old Tyme Celebration at Columbia State Park, California

4th of July Parade, Columbia State Park, California

4th of July Parade, Columbia State Park, California

One of the best places to see an old-fashioned or should I say “Old Tyme” 4th of July  Parade in Northern California is the one at Columbia State Park. It is a couple of hours drive as the crow flies east from San Francisco Bay area. Columbia is a Gold Rush town and the parade is infused with elements from mid-19thc. If you are lucky you may even get to see someone who looks astonishingly like Mark Twain. Twain, if you did not know, wrote his first story “The Jumping Frogs of Calaveras,” while he was in this part of the world during the famous Gold Rush period.

Here are some pictures of that old-fashioned 4th of July Parade that is definitely worth seeing. Remember to dress right since it gets pretty warm out there. Take plenty of water and wear a hat. If you get there real early you may want to go to  the local ice-cream parlor and grab a cool treat .  Stay after the parade when they have all sorts of fun thing to do including dancing.

SAN JOSE JAZZ WINTER FEST 2016 FEATURES KADHYA BONET, JOHN SCOFIELD, REGINA CARTER, BRIA SKONBERG, DELFEAYO MARSALIS AND OTHERS

The San Jose Jazz Winter Fest starts on Feb 25th and runs all the way through March 8, 2016. And this  year they have a great line-up of singers, who will perform in downtown San Jose and in Palo Alto.  I think this is the first time  San Jose Jazz  is spreading its wings and reaching to music lovers up north in the Peninsula area. The festival features 25 singers from around the country and the bay area.

John Scofield, Regina Carter, Nicholas Payton Trio, Jackie Ryan, Delfeayo Marsalis Quarter and Bria Skonberg are some of the artists you can catch at this year’s San Jose Jazz Winterfest. The festival opens on Feb 25th with a performance by Kadhja Bonet, who released her album The Visitor last year. NPR Music described Bonet’s music as “cinematic and folky kind of psychedelic soul music impossible to pin down, a style one simply doesn’t hear regularly anymore.”

Jazz guitarist John Scofield is a well-known musician, who has played with Chet Baker, Miles Davis and others. Scofield fell in love with a guitar when he was 11 years old as he shares in this interview. He started off playing blues before migrating to playing jazz. You can catch Scofield and saxophonist Joe Lovano on Feb 27 at 8 pm at JCC Oshman Center in Palo Alto.

Last year I caught the talented trumpeter/vocalist Bria Skonberg at San Joser Jazz Summerfest and thoroughly enjoyed watching her show. Skonberg has a warm and wonderful stage presence. If you missed watching her, here is your chance to catch Skonberg on Sat, Mar 5, 6pm at Cafe Stritch in downtown San Jose.

Jazz violinist Regina Carter is back in the Bay area this year. Last year Carter played at the Stanford Jazz festival, and she is back at the San Jose Winter Fest on Sunday, Feb 28 at Trianon Theatre.

Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis of the famous Marsalis family of New Orleans is also playing at this year’s festival. His brothers are Wynton and Branford Marsalis. You can catch Marsalis  at Cafe Stritch at 7 pm. Marsalis

For information about the show and tickets check out San Jose Jazz website.

A BANGALORE MUST: KARAVALLI IS A WONDERFUL GATEWAY TO EXPLORE THE CUISINE OF KERALA, KARNATAKA & GOA

Karavall, Taj Gateway, Bangalore

Karavall, Taj Gateway, Bangalore

Forget zooming up and down  the coastal towns of Kerala, Karnataka and Goa to explore the various cuisines of this region. Instead head straight to Karavalli at Taj Gateway in Bangalore to explore new and old dishes from these coastal towns that are a patchwork quilt of Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities. There are the Moppalas of Northern Kerala, the Syrian Christians of Southern Kerala, Bunds and Havyaka brahmins from Northern Karnataka,  the Hindu and Christian communities from Goa. Each of these communities have  their own signature dishes using the rich repertoire of spices that this area is famous for right from peppercorns to cardamoms. It was the whiff of spices that brought the Europeans to this part of India a few hundred years ago and among them the Portuguese left a strong stamp on the cuisine of Goa.

Karavalli is located right in the heart of Bangalore on Residency Road. The restaurant has won many awards and made it to variou lists of must-eat places in Bangalore and India. So, is it any wonder then that on my annual visits to Bangalore I make a beeline to this restaurant? I either have a thali or a simple meal of appam and stew and wash it down with a decadent cup of ada pradhaman and filter coffee.

Executive Chef Naren Thimmaiah, Karavalli, Taj Gateway

Executive Chef Naren Thimmaiah,Taj Gateway

This time around I got to meet and talk with Chef Thimmiah, the executive chef of Taj Gateway.

Continue reading

5 BEST VEGETARIAN FOODS TO EAT IN BANGALORE

My 5 best vegetarian foods to eat in Bangalore are: filter coffee, idli, dosa,vada and coconut water.  Technically speaking coffee and coconut water probably qualify as drinks. Now that I have shared the list let me share why they made it to my 5 best vegetarian foods to eat in Bangalore.

Every year on my annual visit to Bangalore the first thing I do is to head straight to Haati Kaapi’s kiosk’s right at the airport.There is nothing like a strong cup of filter coffee made from local coffee beans to get your day started. Filter coffee is different from the way coffee is brewed in the US. Filter coffee is brewed in a slow drip method and the decoction or brew is then mixed with milk along with a liberal dose of sugar. Those first 2 cups of filter coffee from Haati Kaapi are  just the start of my coffee affair in Bangalore. Continue reading

LIVING AN ON-DEMAND LIFE IN BANGALORE WITH FRESHMENU

I was craving for some Mexican food from San Jose’s La Victoria Taqueira in Bangalore after seeing all those Superbowl 50  tweets about salsa and burritos. If only there was a local taqueria from where I could order a veggie burrito and get some nachos with some guac it would be wonderful I thought. While I was dreaming of Mexican food I realized with a rude shock that our trusty on-demand chef Kamakshi did not get our lunch order. Due to a technical glitch she never got the WhatsApp message we sent her the previous day. She was my Plan A for our lunch and I had no Plan B!  “Oh, let us look what FreshMenu has,” my husband suggested. And lo & behold! it seems Freshmenu, a Bangalore-based startup, has somehow read my thoughts. Oh, wait that can’t be I told myself. That is some good old marketing to coincide with all that Superbowl buzz out here in Silicon Valley of India or Bangalore.

FreshMenu had a vegetarian burrito bowl (Rs. 200 or approx $3.50)  with all the works – refried beans, corn, tomatoes and cottage cheese. Wait a minute cottage cheese? Hmm that is an interesting add-on. I also ordered a passion blueberry mousse (Rs. 60 or approx $1). Am not sure what this mousse is made of or how many calories it contains, but am mighty curious to know what it tastes like. We logged in to our FreshMenu account, placed our order and then waited for the food to appear at our doorstep in less than 45 minutes. It took us all of 3 minutes to look up th menu and place our order.

While waiting for my Mexican burrito bowl and the mousse I got thinking about my current trip to Bangalore and living a truly on-demand life. I get my grocery, food and car without much friction from these on-demand companies like BigBasket, FreshMenu and Uber. But then I said to myself “Hang on a minute. In my previous trips to Bangalore I did lead an on-demand life. I got my food from Kamakashi’s kitchen or my mom’s kitchen, my grocery from the local corner or kirana store and our transportation from our local tour and travel company, Ola cab or the good old auto rickshaw.” And then there were times when I’d whip up breakfast and lunch in our kitchen using our Philips induction stove and not the traditional gas stove top. Continue reading