Go Go Camp Mendo

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By Robert Farmer

Those familiar with this space know that I am a fan of "immersion learning." Especially when it comes to wine appreciation, there's no better way to "go deep" into it than to live it for a few solid days. Wine camps are a great way to do it. And increasingly, regions are offering innovative, educational, and above all fun, opportunities to experience wine like you never have.

Mendocino gets into the act with Wine Camp 2008, a three-day, three-night immersion into Northern California wine and all of its various nuances and tendencies. I like this Wine Camp because it takes place in one of California's lesser-known regions and provides "insider info" to the intrepid camp-goer about one of Northern California's under-discovered gems. And, with each camp limited to just eight campers, it promises to be an intimate excursion, with ample opportunity to get one-on-one contact with winemakers and other participants.
The focus of these wine camps is wine and the food produced in the region and the ways to best pair them. Participating wineries include some of Anderson Valley's premiere producers, including Roederer Estate, Navarro, and Handley to name but a few. Wineries will demonstrate the art of blending and barrel aging, and expound on such important topics as weather and topography.

Camp is set up orchard-flanked cottages on Mendocino's Apple Farm, run by the couple who founded Napa's French Laundry, Sally and Don Schmitt. Sally will lead culinary classes for camp participants that of course incorporate pairings of the wines campers will learn so much about. If you plan to be a camper, please consider this your ample notice. Because, the opportunities to do so are limited to only three camps this year: July 17-19, September 25-27, and October 16-18. For details visit www.wine-camp.com

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