Hilarie Larson CSW,FWS

Member Since:
Dec 2013

IFWTWA Emerging Writer Journalism Excellence Award Winner Hilarie’s passion for wine began in the 1970’s while in the European hospitality industry.   In 2003 she began her wine career in earnest in her native British Columbia, Canada, working at several Okanagan Valley wineries where she was able to assist in the vineyard and cellar as well as the tasting rooms. Along the way, she acquired her certificate from the Court of Master Sommelier, worked for an international wine broker and as ‘Resident Sommelier’ for wineries in Washington State and California. Hilarie’s greatest joy is spreading the gospel of wine, food and travel. In addition to her own blogs at Northwinds Wine and The Rosé Rules, she contributes articles to the award-winning website “Wine Folly” as well as Wine Geographic, Big Blend Magazine & Radio, and FWT Magazine for whom she is also the Wine Consultant. She was honored to be awarded the 2013 Emerging Writer Scholarship from IFWTWA - the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association, and now acts as their Administrative Director. • CSW - Certified Specialist of Wine • FWS - French Wine Scholar, Wine Scholar Guild & Wines of France • Certificate from the Court of Master Sommelier • CIVP Certified Provence Instructor • BIVB Ambassador of the Wines of Bourgogne • 2013 Emerging Writer Scholarship Award, IFWTWA • Contributing Writer, Wine Folly.com • Contributing Writer: Wine Geographic// //International Wine Accessories Blog • Wine Editor - FWT Magazine • Administrative Director - IFWTWA.org • Member Society of Wine Educators • Member Guild of Sommelier • Member Wine Scholar Guild • Member International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association 

Published Articles (105)

Wine Council goes wild


Every now and again our Wine Council group goes wild – not dancing on the tables kind of wild, but wine selection wild. Rather than sample wines supplied by wineries […]

Big Blend Radio – Wine Tasting Dos and Don’ts


Hilarie Larson is a wine educator, sommelier, travel and wine writer, and co-owner of Northwinds Wine Consulting in Southern California. Listen to her Big Blend Radio interview where she shares […]

Big Blend Radio – Chateauneuf-du-Pape Wine Region of France


Travel/wine writer Hilarie Larson talks about Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France. It may be one of the most famous wine regions in the world, but nothing can prepare you for the tranquil beauty, […]

Temecula Wine Country -The intriguing history of California wines


Ask ‘Where did wine get its start in California?” and you’ll likely hear, ”Napa” or “Sonoma”. While these famous districts have their share of historical credits, the truth is much […]

Discover the Delights of Deal UK – Big Blend Magazine


Located on the Kentish coast, with the English Channel lapping upon its shingle stone beaches, Deal is a mere 8 miles northeast of the famous and historic port of Dover […]

Rosé is rocking the Languedoc


It’s no great secret that I adore rosé wines in all their many incarnations, so when I was asked if I’d like to participate in this year’s #Languedoc Day by […]

Big Blend Radio – Discover the Delights of Deal UK –


Travel and wine writer Hilarie Larson shares the Delights of Deal, a Classic British Seaside Town that she visited in spring 2017. Located on the Kentish coast, with the English […]

Recognizing Rosé


Whether you call it ‘Rosato,’ ‘Rosewein,’ ‘Rosado’ or even ‘Blush,’ wine drinkers the world over have been enjoying ‘Rosé’ wines in increasingly larger numbers. Pink wine has been with us […]

The Perfect Wine and Spirits Getaway – Puerto Vallarta Insider Travel Guide


Puerto Vallarta is a feast for the eyes, the palate and the soul.

Big Blend Radio: History of Temecula Wine Country in Southern California


Travel and wine writer Hilarie Larson, co-owner of Northwinds Wine Consulting, discusses the history and wine tasting experience of Temecula Valley in Southern California. This Big Blend Radio interview originally […]

Old and New blend seamlessly in Temecula Valley Wine Country


During the early morning hours of April 18th, 2014, a freak propane explosion disturbed the wine country solitude of the Temecula Valley. The kitchens and part of the tasting room […]

Wine and Food: The Great Balancing Act


‘Wine and food pairing’ – that small, four-word phrase has been known to cause palpitations for even the most ardent of wine enthusiasts. Why do we obsess about matching these […]

A Buffet of Bubbles bring Holiday Cheer


If you ask me, Lily Bollinger, doyen of the famed Champagne house, said it best. When she was asked ‘When do you drink champagne?” she replied: “I only drink champagne […]

Tasting California wines with the Temecula Wine Council


The life of a wine writer is often a solitary existence. Contrary to what many may imagine, it’s not all swirling and swilling, but hours of study, research, composition, editing, […]

Savor San Mateo


San Francisco is one of the world’s top destinations and a must-visit city. But if you’ve already heard the ‘clang-clang’ of the cable cars why not put a new spin […]

Catalunya Travel Guide


Everyone adores Barcelona, and why not? It’s brimming with life; a fascinating city that captures your senses. But there’s so much more to this area, especially for travelers who believe […]

Hilarie Larson explores the San Francisco Bay Area – Big Blend Radio


Travel, food and wine writer Hilarie Larson discusses her recent visit to San Mateo County and Silicon Valley in San Francisco’s Bay Area. Hilarie is a Certified Specialist of Wine, […]

What’s so cool about Yuma Arizona?


Tucked into the southwest corner of Arizona, Yuma has often been looked upon as a small, hot, dusty little burg that’s home to an onslaught of ‘snow birds’ each winter. […]

What is an AVA and why should you care?


Wine should not be confusing. Most people just want to enjoy a glass with friends or choose something tasty to compliment their meal, not analyze the bottle as if they […]

What I’m Drinking – Château Saint-Maur


It seems that everywhere you look, whether online or in your local wine shop, Rosé has taken over. And while all that choice may be somewhat confusing there are some […]

Everyday is #ChardonnayDay at Mendocino’s Kimmel Vineyards


Chardonnay is one of those ‘International’ grapes. Like a jet-setter, it travelled from its original homeland of France and settled very nicely into practically every wine growing region of the […]

Five top tips for winery visits


If you’re a wine lover, there’s no greater thrill than visiting your favorite winery. Whether you’re on vacation or just escaping the old routine for an afternoon, here are some […]

Colorful Catalunya


The Spanish region of Catalonia (or Catalunya) is an incredible kaleidoscope of history, geographic beauty and color, all laced together with the ever-present bubbles of its glorious signature wine, Cava.

Exploring Colorful Catalunya – Big Blend Radio


ig Blend Radio interview with travel, food and wine writer Hilarie Larson about her travel and wine tasting adventures in Catalunya, Spain! Hilarie is also a Certified Specialist of Wine; […]

Celebrate Languedoc Day with these top wine picks


The French region of the Languedoc produces amazing wines that are easy on the palate and the pocketbook. Savvy wine drinkers are catching on: sales to the United States are […]

Fascinating facts for #LanguedocDay


The French wine region of the Languedoc is home to an incredibly diverse, and delicious, array of quality wines at accessible prices. To celebrate #LanguedocDay 2016, here are a few […]

Five great reasons to love rosé wines from Provence


It’s official – America has a big, huge, delicious crush on the rosé wines of Provence. According to Nielson polling, approximately half of all the pink wine purchased in the […]

Provence – where rosé found its roots


No other style of wine embodies ‘Springtime’ better than Rosé. And although Rosé is produced in many parts of the wine world, there is one place that stands out: Provence, […]

Jacksonville Oregon – where wine and history meet


The quaint and laid back town of Jacksonville Oregon is a golden nugget of old west history. Found via a a leisurely drive through Southern Oregon’s orchards, vineyards and quiet […]

Fabulous France – Explore, Engage and Enjoy


Paris! Monte Carlo! Nice and St. Tropez! For many who visit France,these are the first destinations that come to mind. The City of Light and the Jet-Set Riviera are all […]

Loire Valley Wine Guide


In this advanced guide we’ll explore the wines of the Loire Valley of France–from Muscadet to Sancerre. Figure out where to look to your next bottle of Loire.

Five terrific reasons to attend the 8th annual Pechanga Wine Festival


The chefs and staff of Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula CA always have a ‘sneak peak’ of the enticing culinary treats they create for the annual Chocolate Decadence and […]

Hilarie Larson – World of Wine with Big Blend Radio


Big Blend Radio interview about the World of Wine with Hilarie Larson, Certified Specialist of Wine; wine industry consultant with her company North Winds Wine Consulting; food, wine and travel […]

Are you going ‘Dry’ this January?


The holiday season is a distant memory and most everyone is plunging into the New Year with fervor. Many a resolution was made and some already broken. Was one of […]

Shop & dine outside the box at the Union Market in Tustin CA


Once upon a time, shopping was fun, meeting friends for cocktails was an event, and dining in a new restaurant, an adventure. The good news is that those times are […]

Travel Oregon’s Rogue Valley


Discover one of the most diverse, beautiful and hospitable wine regions of the Pacific Northwest – Oregon’s Rogue Valley.

Not another Holiday wine pairing story


It’s a sure sign that the Holiday Season is upon us when the ‘What wine to pair with your Holiday Meal’ articles make their annual appearance. This is not that […]

Champagne Travel Guide: Aube


Venture south of Reims and Epernay and the terrain begin to change: chalky soils give way to limestone, hills become higher and vistas more dramatic. The Champagne Region of Aube […]

Champagne Travel Guide


It’s the region on every wine lover’s list – Champagne. Hop on the high-speed train from Paris and within 45 minutes, you’ll find yourself in Reims and the heart of […]

Champagne: Styles, History, Regions


The world’s most famous sparkling wine – the stuff of legend and myth, the beverage of the aristocracy and the ‘upper-crust’ – discovered, so they say, by a winemaking monk. […]

The Wine of Kings and the King of Wines


No other beverage in the world says ‘luxury’ more than champagne!

You deserve a break-in Claremont CA


September – the kids are back in school and life is returning to normal – whatever that is! What a perfect time to plan a quick ‘get-away’! Lucky for us, […]

Wine and dine at the legendary Del Coronado


The landmark Del Coronado Hotel has been welcoming both visitors and San Diego locals for over 120 years. On September 15th, ‘The Del’ invites wine lovers to a fabulous pairing […]

The ‘Sleeper Scarf’ – fashion meets function


What’s your ‘must have’ travel item – the number one thing on your packing list? For me, it is, and always has been, a scarf.

Let your imagination travel at SFO International Airport


Modern airline travel is not exactly the glamorous experience of years past. Many of us find ourselves wandering airport departure lounges, browsing overpriced shops or searching for something relatively nutritious […]

UNESCO makes it official – Champagne & Burgundy are recognized.


After years of waiting, hoping and planning, two of the most iconic wine regions of France were officially recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in early July 2015.

Getaway to Claremont Restaurant Week July 10 – 19


They say “A change is as good as a rest” and if you ‘re seeking a quick getaway filled with wonderful dining choices, relaxing strolls down tree-lined streets and warm […]

Sweet secrets of Melissa’s Produce


Summer just wouldn’t be, well, Summer without juicy, sweet, energizing fresh fruit! Here is Southern California we are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to selection. A bevy of […]

The Champagne Experience – International Wine Tourism Conference 2015


Who could resist an opportunity to speak at a conference in France? And in Champagne? Especially one focused on ‘wine tourism’? Certainly not me! So, this past April,with PowerPoint loaded […]

Sassy Mama’s Mustards: a unique & ‘saucy’ story


Once upon a time, radio host and photographer Kat Ellis, met Shawna Smoot, cheesemonger and successful owner of the Temecula Valley Cheese Company.

Louise Hurren: Shaping the Languedoc from the inside out


Louise Hurren is the mastermind behind the Languedoc Outsiders. Hers is just one of the compelling and wonderful stories that exemplify this “Outsider’ spirit.

English Wine Week set to sparkle


It may come as a bit of a surprise to some, but the English are setting out to conquer the world…of wine! In the past seven years, the acres of […]

Wine Trails of the Languedoc


The Languedoc is a region begging to be explored and what better way to experience everything it has to offer than by creating a route filled with amazing, diverse scenery, […]

E.A.T. and Cultivate Good in Temecula


The philosophies of ‘Farm to Table’ and’ Eat Local’ are really nothing new. For centuries, people grew and produced their own food or purchased from nearby farms, orchards and producers. […]

The Color of Wine


When I write or teach about wine, one of the first things I stress is that the topic should be fun – not snobby – not snooty – but just […]

This Month In My Glass: Hilarie Larson


It may come as a shock to many readers, but just because someone writes about wine for a living, doesn’t mean we wind down every evening with an array of […]

Languedoc Outsiders- Rockin the Wine World


The Languedoc region of France has long been misunderstood. Since the times of the Romans in the 1st century BC wonderful wines have been created from this diverse and beautiful […]

So, you want to work in a Tasting Room…..


As someone who helps wineries recruit and train their teams, I spend many a glamorous hour combing through resumes. If you are looking to secure an interview for a tasting […]

Empower Your New Hires – DTC Wine Workshops


When it comes to the DTC wine business, we all invest copious amounts of time and money to find the perfect software to run our day-to-day business.

The Truth About Sulfites in Wine (Hint: They’re Not That Bad)


Are sulfites in wine really that bad for you? Are they to blame for your headaches? Should you be drinking sulfite-free or low-sulfite wine? You’re not the only one who’s […]

Vaison-Romaine – time travel in the heart of Provence


Not far from the famous French wine growing region of Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the fascinating town of Vaison-Romaine. Here, alongside modern buildings, restaurants and shops, you will find some of the […]

Temecula Valley-Undiscovered AVA


If asked to name a wine region in California, most people would reply “Napa!” “Sonoma!” or perhaps, “Paso Robles”. Before those areas became famous, there was another part of the […]

British bubbly to brighten BAFTA event


It’s officially ‘Awards Season’ in Los Angeles which means there will be plenty of Champagne and Sparkling wines being poured at a myriad of related events. This year’s celebrations will […]

All the world loves their ‘Bubbly’


Germany has their Sekt, Spain their Cava and, of course, France has Champagne, Cremant and Mousseaux. Italy’s Prosseco is now the number one selling sparkling wine in the world but, […]

Catalonia – Tradition Meets Avante Garde


Catalonia is a land of contrasts; mountain foothills and golden beach resorts, tradition and the avant-garde, modern Spain and ancient Occitane Catalan. The same can be said for its wines.

What exactly is “Biodynamic” wine?


‘Biodynamic! Organic! Sustainable! If you drink wine, then you’ve probably noticed these terms cropping up with more and more frequency. “We grow our grapes with Biodynamic principles”. “Our vineyards are […]

‘Tis the season to start planning.


The end of one year and the fresh new beginning of another is often a time of reflection. And it’s no different for your winery Tasting Room. Yes, you’ll no […]

Bijou: a jewel of a French bistro in Southern California


The concept of the Bistro began in France – Paris to be specific. They were local establishments that served simple, quality fare, beer and wine. Today, these comfortable restaurants are […]

Putting the ‘rose’ into Rosé wine


What is the secret of creating a gorgeous, rosy Rosé? First, we need to begin with a short lesson in grape anatomy.

Random Thoughts from the Wine Tourism Conference 2014


At times, writing and teaching about wine can be a solitary experience. That’s why I was happy to engage in some human to human contact at the recent Wine Tourism […]

Six good reasons to enjoy Rosé wines this holiday season


If you think that Rosé wines are only for warmer months, you are sorely mistaken and missing out on one of the wine world’s best kept secrets.

Wine-the gift that keeps on giving


If you’re searching for that perfect bottle of wine to serve with your special holiday meal or a unique gift for the ‘wine enthusiast ‘ on your list, look no […]

Treasure Map: Exotic Wine of Southern France


Wine has been part of daily life in the south of France for a long time –as in over 2000 years. So what, you might ask, could possibly be ‘new’ […]

A Seriously Useful Guide on Biodynamic Wine


What exactly is Biodynamic Wine? This completely organic wine involves controversial practices. Find out about biodynamic wines including how they’re made and how they taste.

Counting calories in your wine glass


Do you know, or indeed care, how many calories are in your glass of wine?

Hosting a Dinner Party: How to Choose and Serve Your Wine


Inviting your friends and business associates into your private inner sanctum to enjoy great wine, food and conversation is one of life’s great pleasures.

John Cleese finds humor in wine


But did you know that Mr. Cleese is also famous for his love of wine?

A ‘Jemm’ of the Northern Rhone Valley


An amazing visit to Domaine Michelas Saint Jemm in Crozes-Hermitage France.

The Rise of Rosé – a mini history


What is it about Provence that gives it the privilege of being known as the homeland of Rosé? Could the fact they’ve been making it for over 2000 years have […]

’Czech it Out! Discovering the wines of the Czech Republic


Explore the wines of the fascinating and historic Czech Republic in my article published on Tripatini.

Wine Tasting in Italy, France and Europe: How to Plan Your Old World Wine Tour


Although wine tourism is becoming more common, you’ll find European vineyards are not as commercialized as their U.S. counterparts.

Provence: The Homeland of Rosé, Part One


Rosé is gaining in popularity by leaps and bounds every year. In the United States, consumption has increased by double digits every year since 2004.

Summertime, and the Sipping is Easy


Many of us are ‘seasonal’ wine drinkers; in other words, we tend to drink cozy reds in the winter and lighter, more refreshing wines in the warmer months.

Revenge of the Reds- Speed Tasting at the WBC -Part 2


Here we go with Round Two of the Wine Bloggers Conference speed sipping, slurping, spitting and blogging extravaganza.

Fifty (Plus!) Shades of Pink – the Many Hues of Rosé Wines


Rosé comes in a wide array of shades. Why is this and does the color of the wine give any indication of its quality?

MadCap ReCap – Speed Tasting at the Wine Bloggers Conference – Part One


How many wines can you taste, describe and put into the social media stratosphere in, say fifty minutes?

Rediscovering the wines of Chalone Vineyards


One of the great perks of being involved with the wine industry, in all its many permutations, is the chance to taste and learn on a continual basis. Most of […]

Your Guide to Provence Wine Region


Provence wine region is located in the South of France close to Marseille and Cannes. Discover the secrets of this underrated wine region famous for rosé. http://winefolly.com/review/provence-wine-region-guide-with-maps/

Rosé Wine Myths: A Wine Not Just for Summer


Of the many styles of wine found on store shelves, one commonly misunderstood varietal is Rosé. Every summer, newspapers, magazines and blog posts tout the arrival of another vintage, but […]

A Slice of “L’Italia” – San Diego Style


The recipe seems simple: take 2 award winning chefs and one acclaimed restaurateur. Blend with high quality sustainable ingredients, sprinkle liberally with lots of creativity and serve with class.

Cooking With Wine


For some people, “cooking with wine” may mean popping a cork, pouring a glass and then pondering what to make for dinner. But adding wine to your recipes can enhance […]

San Diego International Wine Show.


I was invited to attend as both a member of the Press and as a presenter. Not quite sure which role was more fun!

How to Keep Wine Fresh: Tips to Store Open Bottles


It’s a dilemma that strikes every wine lover at some point or another: What do you do with that leftover wine? Perhaps it’s the remnants of last night’s get-together or […]

How to Taste Wine Like a Pro: 5 Simple Tips


Do you feel awkward when everyone around you at a party is expertly swirling their wine? Are you overwhelmed when you visit a winery’s tasting room? You’re not the only […]

The Wines or South West France (maps)


Discover the wines of South West France including Malbec and long-lived Tannat. South West French wines are underrated and delicious… http://winefolly.com/review/wines-of-southwest-france/

Modern Wines/Ancient Culture – Exploring the New Wines of Greece


  The connection between the grapevine and Greece is almost as old as wine itself.  The ancient Greeks spread viticulture throughout the Ancient World and, for them, wine was not […]

The Best Temperatures for Storing and Serving Wine


We’ve all heard the old adage, “Serve white wines chilled and red wines at room temperature.” But do you really know what that means? How cold is chilled and what […]

How to Pour a Perfect Glass of Wine


Have a special bottle saved for a special occasion? Follow these tips for the perfect wine pouring technique, and you’ll enjoy every last drop to the fullest. Even if you […]

Savor Now or Later? Which Wines to Store, and Which to Drink Now


Perhaps you’re looking for a vintage to squirrel away for an anniversary or special event, or a bottle to give to (and impress) the boss, or you simply want to […]

Beaujolais Nouveau: The World’s Fastest Wine


Some say it’s divine and others think Beaujolais Nouveau is a scam. Regardless, Beaujolais Nouveau is the fastest wine to come to market after the year’s harvest… http://winefolly.com/update/beaujolais-nouveau-the-worlds-fastest-wine/

The Secret to Finding Good Beaujolais Wine


Want to know the secret to finding great Beaujolais wine? Learn the region. This handy little wine guide offers tricks to the region renown for its fruity Gamay-based red wines. […]

Don’t Let These 6 Wine Myths Keep You From Enjoying a Glass


Even those who know a lot about wine don’t know everything. Whether you consider yourself an expert or have just started exploring wine, you might learn a thing or two […]

Guide to Côte-du-Rhône Wine


The Cotes du Rhone Wine region is home to some amazing Syrah and Grenache. Find out how to read the Cotes du Rhone Wine Labels and the secrets to this […]

A Simple Guide to Burgundy Wines, with Maps


Want more confidence understanding Burgundy wine? This simplified guide includes maps, infographics and most important facts on the five major sub-regions. http://winefolly.com/review/guide-to-burgundy-wine-with-maps/

Everything Old is “Chic” Again


I came upon an interesting article today “Rosé wine, you’ve come a long way” from the Telegraph of London. Read More   http://www.northwindswineconsulting.com/northwinds-wine-blog/everything-old-is-chic-again