February 2010 Archives

Swanky Sleeps: Hotel Healdsburg

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hotelhealdsburgexterior.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

For my money, Healdsburg is the most urbane wine country city in the U.S.  The historic town plaza boasts a slew of upscale boutiques, tasting rooms, markets, and restaurants of the highest caliber, all within comfortable walking range and all eager to fill your days with hedonistic pleasures.  But it's the hotel complex anchoring the western edge of the plaza that boosts the swank factor above rest of the wine capitals.

Ma(i)sonry Adds to Its Art Ensemble

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iwolk.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Michael Polenske, the Bay Area native who brought us "a life aesthetic" with Yountville's gorgeous Ma(i)sonry - which marries limited-production wines with expertly curated art and furnishings in a stylishly restored 1904 stone building - has added to his art ensemble with the purchase of I. Wolk Galleries.  The acquisition brings I. Wolk's three galleries (St. Helena, Auberge du Soleil, Mac Arthur Place) into partnership with Ma(i)sonry, further articulating the multi-faceted aesthetic vision that art and antiques-loving Polenske has pledged to bring to life in Wine Country.

Wine Country Bicycling Tours

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What the Bottle Holder is Really For!

Image by Lance and Erin via Flickr

Forget driving from winery to winery on your next wine tasting trip. What could be more fun then bike riding through wine country. Bike tours are a wonderful way to experience wine country more personally and get exercise at the same time! Put that New Year's Resolution into practice!

See our recommendations for Tour Bike companies in Sonoma & Napa:

Napa Valley & Sonoma Bike Tours
Provides bike rentals to folks staying in Napa or Sonoma areas. They provide several touring options - roll on your own, self guided, guided, or vacation packages. Many do-it-yourself folks like the self guided tours. You can choose how long you want to ride, type of terrain, and number of wineries to visit sans any worries about lunch (it's delivered to you) and any wine you purchase (waiting for you at the end of your trip). Vacation Packages differ in activities, but typically include hotel accommodations . They offer a range of other activities too like mountain dirt biking and kayaking!  Fun for the entire family, group of friends or just a couples getaway.

Wine Country Bike Tours & Rentals
Small shop located in Healdsburg's Historic Riverfront Winery District that offers fleet of road, hybrid and tandem bikes. Perfect for a day of riding in the Dry Creek or Russian River Valleys for casual winery tour or amazing road ride. Several types of tours offered here as well. Past renters have glowing reviews about friendly staff members, quality of bikes, and overall experience.

Not convinced bike tours are the best route for you? Not to fear - WineCountry.com has a host of limo or shuttle tour companies in both Napa Valley and Sonoma to help meet your needs! See listings below.

Napa Valley Tours & Sightseeing Resources
Sonoma Tours & Sightseeing Resources

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Napa Valley Hot Air Balloon Tours

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*last updated May 2014

RECHARGE. . . Take Flight with a Hot Air Balloon Ride!

Meghan Lamb-Napa Valley Aloft-DSC_0356.jpgBALLOON TOURS
Get a bird's eye view of rolling Napa Valley hills and vineyards from inside a hot air balloon. You'll be mesmerized by the breathtaking landscape before you. If you take an early morning flight, you're in for a treat. Watch the morning's fog lift, the sun rise, and the valley open up right before your eyes as your balloon wafts softly through the air.

Hot Air Balloon rides are also very popular for marriage proposals. What could be more romantic than saying "I love you. Will you marry me" several thousand feet up in the air? Several balloon companies offer Champagne Breakfast brunch at the end of your trip.

See our recommendations for Hot Air Balloon companies in Napa Valley.

Save the Date: Suisun Valley Passport Sunday

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suisunPassport.jpgMark your calendars!

The annual Sunday Passport in Suisun Valley is April 18, 2010.
Details about the event are still in the works, but you this food and wine event is surely to be wine country fun at it's best. Wineries throughout the valley will be pairing their wines with cuisines from local restaurants.

Last year, seven wineries participated (Blue Victorian, Ledgewood Creek, Suisun Valley Wine Co-op, Tenbrink Family Winery, Vezer Family Vineyards, Winterhawk Winery , and Wooden Valley Winery).

Tickets to this year's festivities will go on sale in March...

WineCountry.com will keep you posted with additional information when when we receive it!

CLICK HERE for other upcoming wine tasting events:
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The Arts in Suisun Valley / Fairfield

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ART GALLERIES
 
suisunArts.jpgVisit galleries and museums in Fairfield that feature artists from the local community. Spend your Friday evening at the Art Explosion Gallery where they host "Art Jams" every first Friday of the month where you will meet artists, enjoy music, and of course gain an appreciation of art. Each event has a different them and artists and guests are encouraged to come in costume! 

Finally, located in downtown Fairfield is the FCCA Gallery (Fairfield Center For Creative Arts) and they offer ongoing exhibitions free to the public throughout the year. The 47th Annual Juried Art Show is already in full swing and lasts through March 27, 2010. Over 250 pieces of art (various mediums) were entered from artists all over Northern California. A jury of three professionals from the Bay Area and Sacramento arts community selected 122 pieces to showcase. The Gala Reception and Awards night already passed, but there is still plenty of opportunity to view the art!

suisunArts2.jpgArt Explosion Gallery
821 Texas Street
Fairfield, CA
Hours: Wednesday - Sunday; 11am - 5pm

Fairfield Center Gallery
1035 West Texas Street
Fairfield, CA 94534
Hours: Thursday - Saturday; 11am - 4pm


Upcoming Events

Art on the Vine (AOV) - June 5,6, 2010

Always held the first  weekend in June and open to the public, this spring art festival features original visual art and sculpture pieces from local and surrounding Bay Area artists. Spend a sunny day viewing art, nibbling on delicious food, tasting award-winning wine of Wooden Valley Winery, and enjoying live music. Festival is free to the public.

The Vines Romantic - February is Great in Glen Ellen

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By Robert P. Farmer

There really isn't a bad time to visit Wine Country. But as you've probably noticed if you have checked in on this space from time to time, I have my personal favorites times of the year to venture among the vines. Being the hopeless romantic type, one of those times is the late winter, when the air is still chilled to a nice wine-storage-like mid-50 degrees, and the vines are hunkered down in dormancy. The mustard is in bloom, covering the fields and vineyards in a dusty yellow that blends perfectly with the winter white sky.

I Do: Wine Country Wedding Guide: Napa Valley

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nvWeddings.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

A wedding in wine country promises everything you've always wanted: Romantic photo ops among the vines, world-class food and wine, and access to some of the best hospitality perks you'll find anywhere (reception in a wine cave, anyone?). 

But as every time-pressed bride-to-be also knows, sorting through the thousands of potential wine country wedding locations, packages and service providers is a task that's likely to dampen even the most sturdy bridal spirits.

Fortunately, we appealed to one of Northern California's foremost experts on wedding planning, Jan Brenner of Here Comes The Guide to share her insights on some of the best-kept secrets in wine country weddings. So read on for the inside scoop on the topic - because we wouldn't have anything dampen your anticipation of such a singularly special day!

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