The Inn at Newport Ranch is much more than a place, it’s a revelation.
Ilona Thompson is Editor-in-Chief at PalateXposure, a destination site for oenophiles, gourmands and luxury travelers. She also recently launched #Wine, a site dedicated to wines and spirits reviews, and #Photography, a site devoted to high-quality wine, food, and travel related photography. She is a contributor to Wine Behind the Label book (now in its 10th edition) and has written for 7x7, Artful Living, Drink Me, Glass of Bubbly, Snooth, and several other wine, food and travel publications. Post her successful stints in the fine art and wine business, she pursued her passion for writing. She splits her time between visiting wine regions worldwide, attending trade and consumer tastings, taking professional development courses and judging at wine competitions. She studied at the Culinary Institute of America, (CIA) and holds a California Wine Appellation Specialist certification (CWAS). Her recent international destinations include multiple regions in France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand as well as the Cayman Islands and Tahiti. Stateside, she has spent the last several years extensively covering Napa, Sonoma and Anderson Valley, Central Coast, Paso Robles, Lodi and Livermore wine regions. Ilona is a wine and spirits judge and a speaker. She covered a multitude of notable wine and food consumer events, such as Auction Napa Valley, Aspen Classic, Harvest Summit, Naples Winter Wine Festival, New York City Food & Wine, Pebble Beach Food & Wine, Sonoma Harvest Weekend, Sun Valley Wine Auction and several others. She has interviewed countless celebrity chefs, vintners, winemakers, and several other food and wine influencers. She earned a “Top 100 Most Influential Wine Blogger Award” from Exel Wines, was chosen as a Finalist in both Wine Blogger Awards and in Wine Reporting category by Millesima Wine Writing Awards, is an expert digital communicator and avid photographer. Ilona is ranked in the top 1% of all social media influencers, according to Klear Analytics, and has a score of 948 on Kred.
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Published Articles (67)
The Inn at Newport Ranch is much more than a place, it’s a revelation.
Unlike other beverages, wine has transformative powers. It is chameleonic, often changing the ordinary into an extraordinary.
In this week’s Tuesdays with Tastemakers, Chef Dustin Valette of his namesake restaurant talks about why he became a chef, his family, and more!
When one thinks about the ways émigrés from Russia influenced western culture, wine certainly doesn’t come to mind. Yet one Russian immigrant changed that.
It’s time for wine writers to stop demonizing others, and focus on improving and honing their own skills.
The reality of Sicily is pointed in an entirely different direction. It is one of those places that draws you in for all the unexpected reasons.
Walnut Creek has lately been nudging its way onto the Bay Area culinary map with a host of new restaurants.
An interview with Aaron Pott of his namesake brand, Pott Wines.
Jeff Smith of Hourglass Wines talks about his dreams of being a rock star, Budweiser, using the “F” word, General George Patton and more!
For more than 40 years, Cary Gott has mastered his winemaking skills, producing world class vintages for some of California’s most acclaimed wineries.
Gregarious, with an infinite sense of humor, José is as well-known for his warm, radiant spirit and infectious laughter as for his gastronomic prowess.
Maremma is only a two-hour drive southwest of Florence. Once the land of outlaws, cowboys and sheep farmers, it is now a significant wine producing region.
Lugana DOC, a small region with just over one-hundred producers and around a hectare of vines, was established in 1967.
As with most winemakers, Tina Mitchell’s interest in wine developed early, while she was attending the University of California, Davis, as a premed student.
Occasionally, my wine goblet runneths over. Starting with two Sonoma tasting events, then attending the Sonoma County Barrel Auction—all culminating with a La Paulée dinner, one could not have envisioned […]
Charles Smith is the winemaker and general factotum for Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery.
A few tasting notes on wines hailing from Roussillon, France.
Tom Gamble’s boyhood days often began before sunrise; herding cattle, working irrigation lines and emulating older ranchers and farmers from the back of the pack.
Dario De Conti was raised on his family’s farm in Veneto, Italy, where he funded his winemaking studies by making pizza at the local pizzeria.
If you happen to be in San Francisco’s waterfront district, missing out on the extraordinary La Mar is a culinary sin.
Bardolino is a charming coastal village located on the eastern side of Lake Garda, in the province of Verona.
Lago di Garda is shared by Lombardy and Veneto regions with a tiny bit of Trentino-Alto Adige at its northern tip.
Rob Campbell is a 4th generation San Franciscan. After growing up in San Francisco and nearby Daly City, Rob decided to travel a great distance for college.
Chef Rick Moonen has devoted his career to being the country’s top culinary advocate for sustainable seafood.
S&P Brasserie offers fantastic cocktail concoctions, but falls short of delivering memorable meals.
San Francisco’s Dirty Water offers an outstanding combination of upscale drinks and innovative food.
Roka Akor, located in San Francisco, serves up incredible Japanese contemporary cuisine.
Premiere Napa Valley offers unprecedented opportunities for the trade and media to access and acquire some of the most coveted wines in the oeno-verse.
Brooks Painter has been called “the winemaker’s winemaker” because of his extensive expertise and prominence as a wine industry leader among his peers.
Mark these wine and food events on your calendar right away—you can’t afford to miss them!
An interview with Philippe Melka, proprietor of Melka Wines.
An interview with Tracey Hawkins of Hawk and Horse Vineyards.
Charismatic and unstoppable, Chef Fabio Viviani is everyone’s favorite—he can charm anyone, from a casual foodie to the toughest of Top Chef judges.
The truth is—great wines are made with great technology. Or without.
Though he grew up near one of the most famous wine regions of Australia, it was an afternoon spent tasting wine in California that provided Richie Allen’s “aha” moment…
An interview with Chimney Rock Wines’ Elizabeth Vianna.
Most wine lovers have heard the term “barrel tasting.” Yet, some wonder how does it really work, and what does it represent in the wine evolution process?
Alcohol. A colorless, odorless, tasteless substance that, in the last decade, became the subject of a major controversy in the wine industry.
There is a new generation of winemakers in Napa, and they just might surprise you.
A an insightful, satirical piece, highlighting overused wine terms.
Wine Tasting Tips for any level of involvement in the world of wine.
Recap of my wine judging experience at the third largest wine competition
Beverly Hills has been right under my nose all these years. I never thought that I would have such a fun time there.
An interview with Regina Martinelli of Martinelli Winery.
Lodi, a vast region located in the midst of San Francisco Bay and Sierra Nevada Mountains, is only an hour and a half away from San Francisco.
Howell Mountain Appellation, with its rolling hills, picturesque views and unique setting offers outstanding options to anyone willing to veer slightly off-the-beaten-path.
The Dry Creek Valley (DCV) stretches over sixteen miles of breathtaking vistas. It’s merely two miles wide, yet hosts over 9,000 acres planted to a wide range of grape varietals.
Paso Robles is an easy three hour drive from the San Francisco Bay Area and is a must visit for any wine lover.