Most kids grow up with a backyard that has a grassy lawn to kick the ball around. Maybe a swing set or pool to play in during the summer. My backyard in my tiny New Jersey hometown was different. It was full of wine vines.

My grandfather on my father's side was an immigrant who had a long, rustic wooden shed that took up an entire end of our yard. It was covered in brilliant green leaves and dark purple Concord grapes that bloomed with sweetness in the fall. I'd pick a handful of the grapes off the vine and eat them one by one when I was a kid. Even now, if I pass a grapevine, the scent reminds me of my grandfather's shed.

My grandfather on my mother's side, also an immigrant, was an expert winemaker. Immigrants back then grew their own grapes and made homemade wine, which they bottled up in big jugs. Bright and fresh like a fruity Pinot Noir or a French Beaujolais. My Mom told me stories of how people took advantage of her Dad by falsely befriending him only so they could drink his excellent homemade wine.

Wine is my heritage. Wine is in my DNA. So I'm starting a wine blog.

I've had a monthly wine segment on KFBK for more than five years and been privileged to get to know many of the fine winemakers and winery owners in our region. I've dined and talked wine with winemaker Josh Bendick of Holly's Hill and Matricia Haigood of Miraflores. I've been given private tours of Boeger Winery by patriarch Greg Boeger and checked out the crush up close at Michael-David with David Phillips. Dozens of wineries from Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Calaveras, Nevada and Yolo counties have come into studio for wine tastings over the years.

I want to share my wine adventures with you. I ran into a well-know wine critic you all know who was so busy violently swirling, tasting and spitting out his wine he took all the fun out of it. I hope instead to share the fun of searching for a great glass of red or white.

-- Want to hear about PR hits and misses? How one winemaker invited KFBK for a private party in the foothills. And the other winery promoter who brought us ten bottles of wine -- all empty.

-- Want to know how California wine sales are doing in Asia? I found out after being plied with whiskey and lured into a smoky, karoake den in southern China while searching for a glass of red.

-- Like champagne and sparklers? I'll tell you about my Prosecco sipping contest during a state dinner in Germany with Angela Merkel. And the time I woke up next to a wine cave in France.

Very soon, I'll be posting my first official wine blog. I think you'll like it. It's called: Drinking With Your Kids.

Looking forward to sharing my wine adventures with you!