July 2008 Archives

client_SilveradoResort.gifNAPA VALLEY, CA -  Napa Valley is a vacation destination with abundant resources - incredible wineries, memorable cuisine, unusual cultural attractions, innovative spas and distinctive resorts. While the Valley has long drawn visitors from around the world, there is a persistent perception that the destination is always expensive. Not so, says the staff at Silverado Resort, an elegant resort that has been accommodating guests since 1968.

Traveling on a Budget? No Problem!

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couple.jpgSummer is almost over?! Yet, there you sit in your cube or office dreaming about a vacation you have yet to take. Understandably, ridiculously high gas prices and a weak economy have probably made you hold your wallet a bit tighter. What's more, dreams won't cost you any money. True, but going insane and becoming the next Office Space Milton with a Swingline stapler is not advisable either!

So get your head out of the clouds, and plan a short weekend getaway at least. Take heart, the hospitality industry is not oblivious to your "on a budget" plight. And what better way to rest and relax then in the beautiful lush surroundings of wine country. To help you out, WineCountry.com regularly posts great deals from Hotels, B&Bs, Wineries, Spas and Attractions that will help you plan an affordable wine country trip to your region of choice.

CLICK HERE for Travel Discounts & Promotions.

Share with us how you save money when you travel to Wine Country...

Pet-Friendly Lodging in Wine Country

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dog2.jpgIf you are dog lover, then you surely know a dog who loves a travel adventure.  Those of us sightseeing with our canine and other friends from the animal kingdom used to do so as second class citizens...not any more!  Today, nearly two-thirds of California accommodations are dog-friendly or pet-friendly, so you and your friend don't have to accept the run of the mill.  Many spectacular accommodations throughout Wine Country are ready to welcome you, often with special services and treats for your four-legged friend.

While there are typically nominal fees for the four extra legs, they are usually comparable to biped rates.  As with humans, these accommodations welcome only "well-behaved" animals, and many require leashes. 

So next time, grab the leash and go!  Here are some suggestions for special places to enjoy wherever you and your pet may wander in California's Wine Country. Please share your pet in wine country story with us. Either post below or send story and pictures to editor@winecountry.com

Ruff Hotels

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anaimal_hotel.jpgDog Daycare + Hotel
For all those that do not have a dog as a pet, you might be wondering what is all the fuss about with these increasingly pampered pooches. Because although every dog owner will probably tell you their dog is oh so cute, we all know the reality -  fair amount of dogs out there just look plain ugly.

Well apparently it's not enough to carry them around and dress them up like dolls, feed them premium grade food, or talk to them in a completely different language. Now they too must have a place to stay when traveling and in wine country no less. No, I'm not referring to lodging places that welcome pets and boast they are "pet friendly or dog friendly".

Recently, Ruff - a dog daycare and hotel opened in Napa. According to their brochure, Ruff is "a boutique hotel catered just for the most important thing in your life - your dog." While they claim to aceept all types of dogs, it clearly says "all dogs require a temperament interview".  So now dogs have interviews. Next they'll be hired for jobs!

Dog Friendly Wineries in Napa Valley

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dog.jpgDon't leave your best pal at home this summer. They want to have fun too! Besides, who can resist that hopeful, then sad look they give you every time you walk out the door...without them. There are a host of wineries in Napa Valley that are more than happy to welcome your dog with open arms.

Napa Vintners provides a list of dog friendly wineries:

Or if you just are dog lover/wine lover, then the following websites may interest you:

Dog Lover Wine Club

Dog Winery Labels

Your Dog Immortalized on a Wine Label!

Dog Gone Wine!

Biodynamic Experience

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auberge_room_dining.jpgBy Robert Farmer
You are no doubt aware that the biodynamic revolution in the wine industry is in full bloom. Evidence of this phenomenon is everywhere you look. It can be experienced as simply as by enjoying the contents of a bottle of biodynamically produced wine, or as elaborately as by spending a weekend at Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley's Rutherford region.

Yes, if you've got three grand burning a whole in your pocket, and your biodynamic curiosity is otherwise insatiable, the beautiful Wine Country resort has a package for you.

Wine Country Itinerary: Mendocino

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By Robert P. Farmer
Of California's many options for wine-touring, few match Mendocino for its bucolic aesthetic and for the drama of its natural beauty. Meandering through the verdant hills, twisting along the highways and byways, visitors are presented with a protracted display of wooded hillsides and expansive grassy, sheep-dotted meadows. And stretching toward the coast, the terrain gets steeper, more mountainous, until finally giving way to the never-ending stretch of blue that is the Pacific Ocean.

Mendocino County is unique among California's wine regions for many reasons, not the least of which is its wines. The climate is rainier in these parts, and the moisture combines with rich volcanic Anderson Valley soil to produce outstanding Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays along side unexpected but equally capable Riesling and Gew├╝rtztraminer. There are several great wineries to be discovered along Hwy. 101 in Mendocino County, and more flanking the state routes that serve as tributaries to the Highway.

Wine Country Itinerary: Geyserville

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By Robert P. Farmer

With the many so-called "destinations" in California's Wine Country, it's easy for visitors to miss the forest for the trees. Traveling from one big-name spot to another, the itinerant wine taster regularly passes blissfully by unearthed gems that could make them richer for the experience.

One such gem is Geyserville, a small, unassumingly quiet town settled on the banks of the Russian River and shoehorned between the Dry Creek and Alexander valleys. That it happens to exist in one of the great American appellations (Alexander Valley) is a bonus not just for the winemakers who populate the area, but also for the wine aficionado who prefers a more relaxed pace with his world-class tasting experience.

Geyserville is still a small town, the kind of place that would make Andy Griffith feel right at home. But it is emerging as well, and with the recent acquisition and transformation of a local winery by Francis Ford Coppola (Rosso & Bianco, and the Francis Coppola Winery, formerly Chateau Souverain), the klieg lights on the town will only brighten. Yet a homespun appeal still prevails. And the wineries that flank Hwy 128 in the heart of the appellation continue to welcome guests with a familiar embrace and a selection of wines that rivals the best from anywhere.

Atrium, at Greenock Creek

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The_Atrium_-_Barossa.jpgBy Robert Farmer

If you happen to find yourself in Southern Australia--which I root for you to do--let me know what you think of the new vineyard residences called Atrium, at Greenock Creek, at the renowned resort and spa, The Louise, in the hot hot wine region of Barossa.  Because everything I've heard about them makes it sound like a place I can't wait to check in to.

The reality of that scenario is probably a few months away, though the timing of that would make it perfectly in sync with summer.

Sensory Circumstance

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lynmar.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Travelers looking to take their tasting experience to altogether greater sensory heights will find just the thing in Lynmar Estate's brand new Estate Tour, debuting just in time for the summer travel season. Offered at the Russian River Valley winery by appointment only Thursdays and Fridays beginning July 8, the Tour guides participants through a two-hour deep dive into the winery's facilities and operations, concluding with a sumptuous food and wine pairing prepared by winery chef Sandra Simile.

Kunde: Wag-Worthy Winery

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sidephoto_susthike.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

For the second time this year, Kunde Estate Winery & Vineyards is going to the dogs. Well, going dog friendly, that is. Following on the heels of Kunde's sold-out canine-themed event in May, the family-run winery will offer a second dog-friendly hike on Saturday, October 18th. The three-mile trek through Kunde's sustainably farmed estate vineyards will cost participants $45 (the fee covers both person and dog) and conclude with wine, a gourmet wine country picnic and water tasting for the pets.