The highlight of a recent research trip to the Napa Valley was catching up with one of the hottest female winemakers in California.

Canton native Helen Keplinger graciously hosted me in her new downtown, appointment-only Napa tasting room. It was my first time sampling all of her fabulous wines. These are the small production, mailing-list only selections that consistently wow the wine critics.

If Keplinger had more hours in a day, she could certainly start a new career as an interior designer. The room is decked out with midcentury furnishings she purchased from Main Street Modern in Canton on a recent trip back to the Buckeye State. Only three of the Keplinger wines are available in the area: Keplinger Lithic, Sumo, and Vermillion can be ordered through Traderman Distributors at Regency Wines, Mustard Seed Montrose and 750ml Akron.

— Phil Masturzo