June 2009 Archives

Fourth of July Celebrations Around Wine Country

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Fourth of July is fast approaching. Do you know what your plans are for the three day weekend? If you're staying local and live in California, Oregon, and Virginia, you might want to check out the calender event listings on WineCountry.com. Several towns are hosting parades, firework shows and many wineries will also be open with several celebrations of their own. Read on for some of our suggestions!

Going Both Ways

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How to Hit Up Napa & Sonoma in a Single Trip by Courtney Cochran

Rather like the sexes, Napa and Sonoma sometimes seem worlds apart.  Farmers are from Sonoma, people often say, while the technology barons and other members of the monied set call neighboring Napa home instead. 

In some ways these stereotypes ring true: I'm yet to spot a Ferrari in Sonoma but am rarely in Napa for more than 15 minutes before one or even two of the slick machines whiz by me en route to brunch at Bouchon or gallery hopping in St. Helena.

But disparate Ferrari populations aside, become a little better acquainted with these areas and I think you'll find they've got more in common than first meets the eye.  And, as is the case with men and women, they can even get along alright on the same trip - albeit with a little extra planning and flexibility.  

Wine Country Personality: Mike Kijak

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wcPersonalityUpAwayBallooning.jpg
"I love what I do and to share it with people is a wonderful thing. Not many people get to do that, and to be able to take people for a flight, probably once in the lifetime, is a very special feeling."

In 1987, Mike Kijak was working for Hewlett-Packard in Colorado when suddenly the company decided to move the shop he worked for. Although this news was unexpected, this event proved to be an act of fate. Instead of moving with Hewlett-Packard, Mike wisely took his wife's suggestion to go back to school and at 35 years old, they moved to Fresno where Mike pursued and achieved his B.S. in Recreation and Leisure Studies in 1991. Once graduated, they next needed to find that perfect place to "recreate".  They chose a place where they had friends - Sonoma County  - and "Up and Away Ballooning" was born....well almost!

Father's Day Events in Wine Country

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fathersDay.jpgDad's typically don't get enough credit for all they do. So why not spend some quality time with your Dad in Wine Country that he actually might remember instead of the usual glow in the dark tie or something equally hideous that he will never wear.

There are a slew of events happening around Wine Country with Father's in mind.  Events range from BBQs, golf, wine tasting to auto shows. Check out what's happening near you!

If you're going the gadget route, some cool wine gifts we mentioned around the holidays will still be perfect as a great gift for Father's Day too!

Under the Pugliese Sun

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harbor_trani.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Sure, the New York Times called it "the next new Tuscany" . But I still wasn't convinced that Puglia - the sun-splashed "heel" of Italy's peninsular boot - was a bona fide vacation hot spot until I heard about the celebrities. Reese. Jake. Coppola. And I know this one doesn't pack nearly as much star wattage, but what the heck (she's got an Oscar, after all): Helen Mirren .

They've all been here. And now, for six weeks between mid-May and late June, so am I.
So you're going to the chapel to get married? There are few places in the country you can plan a wedding year-round and the Tri-Valley is one of them.  Whether it is winter, spring, summer or fall you can be sure your special day will be picture perfect.

The Tri-Valley hosts thousands of weddings a year and whether it be in the brightly colored fall, warm summer, colorful spring or crisp winter the Tri-Valley offers event venues, attractions and entertainment for all. Wineries, estates, churches, museums, galleries and golf course are a sampling of the more than 100 event facilities available to couples and their guests.

A Local's Guide to Tri-Valley, California

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niles_railway.jpgWarm spring weather and affordable hotel rates make Tri-Valley, California the perfect getaway.  Armed with these local secrets, visitors are sure to have a fantastic experience.

SEE: Ride the Train to Old Hollywood, Sunol, California
Restored vintage trains make an hour long excursion through fields of poppies, lupine and wild mustard, traveling part of the first transcontinental railroad's route during the spring. The trains operate year long out of Niles Canyon Railway's Sunol Depot. Occasionally afternoon departures include wine tasting with local vintners.
Train run on Sundays only, check the website for schedules.

Insider Tip: Catch the early train in Sunol and ride to Niles. Once you arrive in Niles, jump on the vintage bus to the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum for a peek at the memorabilia from a bygone era in movie history. The museum is an homage to the silent films made in Niles in the early 1900's including Charlie Chaplin's famous film, "The Tramp."

Niles Canyon Railway
6 Kilkare Road, Sunol, CA
(925) 862-9063
www.ncry.org

Niles Essanay Film Musuem
37417 Niles Boulevard, Fremont, CA
(510) 494-1411
www.nilesfilmmuseum.org

Napa Valley Festival Del Sole

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festivalDelSole.jpgPress Release

Napa Valley Festival del Sole, one of the world's most distinctive summer festivals, announces its fourth season in California's beautiful wine country, July 17-25, 2009.
 
With performances every day, music is the centerpiece of a festival hailed by The New York Times as a "feast for the senses," featuring the finest cuisine, wine and hospitality the Napa Valley has to offer. The weeklong schedule includes world-class concerts, exclusive receptions, lunches and dinners, wine tastings, art exhibitions, free community concerts showcasing talented young performers, and more.

Some of the world's most renowned artists travel to Napa Valley each year to perform at Festival del Sole, and to wine, dine and celebrate the "art of life" with Festival guests.

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