Napa Valley

Traveling with Global Entry and TSA Precheck


Even though I am British by birth, I am not found of queues, aka standing in line. So when I heard about Global Entry, the preclearance program that sends you to the front of the U.S. Customs line when you return from abroad, I signed up right away. And now that you can use your…

Euro Shop: Getting your tax rebate with Global Blue

Louis Vuitton flagship on Champs Elysees, aka Heaven. /Photo Michelle Locke

Louis Vuitton flagship on Champs Elysees, aka Heaven. /Photo Michelle Locke

Let’s face it, as fabulous as sightseeing can be, there are times when you want to look at something a little more portable. Leaning Tower of Pisa: great example of distinctive Italian style. Over-the-knee scrunchy Prada leather boots: ditto.

I’m talking a serious Euroshopping spree here.

Luckily for you

Gadget Green Light


My fellow gadgeteers, rejoice. The FAA has announced it’s OK to use your cell phones during all phases of flights. This means you, too, Alec Baldwin. We have all known for a while that the “turn off your cellphones and other electronic devices” routine is a bit weird. I mean, really? You have a multimillion-dollar…

Travel Tips: Phone Phobia


David Pogue of The New York Times has an interesting column about T-Mobile that is a must-read for anyone who wants to use a cellphone abroad. The company is announcing that not only will it not be charging the usual arm+leg for using your phone overseas, they’re not going to charge anything at all unless…

Happy Napa

Am I surprised that Napa, Calif., was judged to be the happiest place in America based on a mathematical analysis of 10 million tweets? No, I am not. Some of my pleasantest hours have been spent in Napa. Am I further surprised that Beaumont, Texas, wound up at the bottom of that list? Not a…

Drink like a pirate

Do you know how hard it is for me not to bust out with a lot of corny seafaring jargon for this story about the new Judd’s Hill winery pirate-themed Internet show? Hard.

But because I am a trained professional I will restrain myself from avasting, shiver-me-timbering, and the like, and inform you calmly and collectedly that

Parisian politesse

One of my favorite lines in the Pixar movie Ratatouille occurs when the young chef and his chic Parisian girlfriend have to leave a roomful of people in a hurry and she announces bluntly, “We hate to be rude … but we’re French!” Who doesn’t chuckle at the thought of those brusque, supercilious Parisians? So I…

Mondavi Mansion Mystery Unmasked

So now we know who the mystery buyers of the Robert Mondavi mansion are _ Jean-Charles Boisset, president of the French company Boisset Family Estates, which owns several California wineries, and his wife, Gina Gallo, granddaughter of California wine pioneer Julio Gallo. Call me sentimental but I like the idea of all that dynastic family…

Robert Mondavi Mansion Sold

Remember that two-bedroom steal I told you about in the Napa Valley? That’s right, the former home of the late wine pioneer Robert Mondavi and his wife, Margrit, that was going for nearly half off? Well, if you had your eye on it, you’re too late, buster. Someone has snapped that puppy up. Unfortunately, the…

For Sale: Mondavi mansion

Psst, looking for a hot deal in Napa real estate? I’ve got a good one for you, half off. OK, the minimum bid is $13.9 million. But, still. The property in question is the mountain top retreat of the late wine pioneer Robert Mondavi and his wife, Margrit. The original asking price was $25 million…