August Means Busy In Wine Country

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silveroak.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

August heralds the start of harvest season in wine country, when wineries and restaurants kick into overdrive to welcome visitors with events and activities related to our most important time of year.  Since actual harvesting doesn't typically begin until September (or later!), many wineries plan August parties around their release of red wines, while others pick a crowd-pleasing food or educational topic to theme their event.  Regardless of the official focus, these early harvest events always feature sunshine, fun, tasty edibles, and fantastic local wines.  Here are a few August events with all of those essential factors, as well as particularly cool themes.
silveroak3.jpgSilver Oak Release Day, August 7, 2010, 9:30a.m. to 3:30pm.  Silver Oak's tradition of all-day release parties goes back almost two decades.  This month, the winery celebrates the release of its 2006 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at both the Geyserville and Oakville estates.  Start the day with fresh doughnuts and coffee in Oakville, then chase the cab of the hour with your selection of wood- oven pizzas, fish tacos and pulled pork sandwiches provided by local restaurants ($50 per person).  In Geyserville the day begins with a continental breakfast and coffee, then moves into calzones, paella and BBQ beef flank sandwiches ($30 per person).  At both locations, you will taste the Alexander Valley cabernet being released as well as the Twomey merlot, and have the opportunity to get your picture taken to commemorate the glorious day of debauchery.

musicvyd2.jpgFamily Concert at Meadowood, August 8, 2010, 2:00pm.  The nationally acclaimed chamber music festival Music In The Vineyards spans three weeks of August in the Napa Valley, with concerts hosted by several wineries around the valley.  Meadowood opens its doors to music-loving families on Sunday August 8, for a concert by the Grammy-nominated Enso String Quartet with music ranging from Mozart to Ravel, and Haydn to Danny Elfman (composer for the Simpsons and Batman, among many others).  Cake, games, and fun lessons about melody, harmony and rhythm round out the afternoon.  For more adult-oriented classical music concerts, such as the ones hosted at The Hess Collection Winery, The Harvest Inn, Robert Mondavi, V. Sattui, and Rubicon later in the concert series, check the full schedule of events here.  The festival concludes on August 22 with a final party at Meadowood under the stars with the musicians--a tempting opportunity to book a room, and fully enjoy both the evening and the resort's Harvest Values promotion...

Cakebread Paella Party August 14 and August 21, 2010, 9:30am to 2pm.  As part of Cakebread's delectable cooking class lineup, learn and taste the winery's recipes from chefs Brian Streeter and Thomas Sixsmith.  It's guaranteed to be a party in their pans--giant paella pans, that is.  With open fires, tasty tapas snacks, shady patio feasting, and an array of Cakebread's award-winning wines to bring them all together, this event is not to be missed.  The August 14th date is already wait-list only, but call now to reserve for the 21st.

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