James Knight

As well as contributing the wine-of-the-week pick to inside-sonoma, James Knight writes the "Swirl 'n' Spit" column for the North Bay Bohemian, Sonoma, Napa, and Marin County's alternative newsweekly. As well as developing an appreciation for aromatic nuances in the genteel atmosphere of the tasting room, he's dragged hoses and traversed vineyards for wineries in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lodi, and Rheinhessen, Germany.

A 5th generation Sonoma County resident, Mr. Knight grew up among visits to wineries, which he thought would make excellent redoubts in the aftermath of seemingly immanent thermonuclear war. Although he first studied wine-like beverages under the tutelage of Bartles and Jaymes, he did not get serious about wine and spirits until, in Portland, Oregon, a freak flu left him with the temporary inability to enjoy beer. Armed with a dog-eared copy of Idwal Jones' Vines in the Sun, he left the rain-sodden city in a '63 Chevy, determined to get back to the land, and grow... potatoes. Several misadventures later, he started a vineyard, in a contrarian gesture to the customary pattern of professional success followed by an easygoing wine country lifestyle.

Mr. Knight has permanently reserved spaces in his heart - or on his palate - for amazing Zinfandel, good Riesling, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, and persists in believing that Syrah and Grenache and blends thereof may provide some of the more exciting wines of the near future, or the one after that.