Winemaking, much like romance, is part art and part science. It requires patience, intuitiveness and is not meant for anyone seeking instant gratification.

In winemaking, just as in romance, there are technical realities – some of which you can control and some of which you can’t. The art is in blending the elements together into something new, delicious and memorable.

After 15 vintages in the wine industry, winemaker Kryss Speegle from multiple award-winning vintner Tin Roof Cellars is still inspired by the newness of wine and its ability to always surprise and taste fresh.

We recently spoke with her for tips on how to cultivate a taste for wine and her suggestions for perfect pairings for every special occasion.






“When first starting out, the most important thing is to taste as much, and as widely as possible,” she told us. “Write down the wine you like because people often forget between tastings. Once you decide on the wines you like, go back and taste next vintage to see how consistent your taste is. In time, you’ll develop a vocabulary and terms like ‘cherry, strawberry, toast, or high acid’ will start to make sense to you.”

 “I love our Sauvignon Blanc.  It’s sourced from Lake County on the coast of Napa, and it’s a terrific balance of crisp character with broad stone flavor. Some people are intimidated by how grapefruity it can be, but it pairs with a lot of things well,” Kyrss said. “I also enjoy our Zinfandel – which comes from old vines in Lodi. It has a really ripe fruit and is a good example of our philosophy of ensuring that we don’t over-ope our wines.”

But for those who won’t be able to become wine aficionados in time for their upcoming romantic rendez-vous,  Kryss helped us put together a list of perfect pairings – no matter what you plan to serve!

“Wine pairings with food have a lot to do with flavor, acid and sweetness,” Kryss told us. “Every hostess should always keep a red wine and a white wine on-hand.  Also be sure to have a sweet wine to serve, because sweeter wine is a good option for new wine drinkers.  Our Tin Roof Red Blend is on the sweeter side, and I include it as much as possible when I’m entertaining.”


Here are some more of Kryss’ favorites:

Sauvignon Blanc pairs nicely with any kind of shellfish – especially with poached oysters -because the fruit of the wine pairs well with the briny note of the shellfish.


Chardonnay is a great choice for holidays and festive occasions and is wonderful with a simple salad – particularly with prosciutto and melons. Chardonnay is broad and sweet and a little toasty – which pops wonderfully with the sweet of the melons and the salt of the prosciutto.


 Zinfandel goes well with any type of pasta with a red sauce.  Zinfandel is a fun wine that is sweet with elevated alcohol. People who aren’t big wine drinkers will love Zinfandel.  It also works well with hamburgers topped with Sharp cheddar cheese.


Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are nicely structured wines.  They are full-bodied and they pair well with any kind of red meat like a crusty roast beef or lamb.


And, as Kryss told us, a little bubbly should always be waiting on ice, because…

“You’ll definitely want to have a sparkling wine ready for celebrating any great news!”

For more information and a complete selection of Tin Roof Cellars wines, please visit:

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