Recently in Activities by Region Category

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Playing in Napa & Sonoma

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Photos by Eric Chazankin

Lucky Penny Productions' Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has been described as stylish, sexy, irreverent, and "Broadway musical comedy heaven." It's based on the Michael Caine-Steve Martin film of the same name from 1988 (based on the 1964 film "Bedtime Story" starring Marlon Brando, David Niven and Shirley Jones.)

Now playing at 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa through April 13th. Buy tickets online or call box office at 707.523.3544 ext 1  for availability.

Starting April 25th- May 4th, catch this highly entertaining affair at the newly renovated Napa Valey Opera House, now City Winery! Buy tickets online or call 707.260.1600;

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Ticket prices range from $25-$35 per show and are showing on the following dates at City Winery:
  • Friday, April 25th - 8pm
  • Saturday, April 26 - 8pm
  • Sunday, April 27th - 2pm
  • Friday, May 2nd - 8pm
  • Saturday, May 3rd - 8pm
  • Sunday, May 4th - 2pm
More About the Show:

Directed by Craig A. Miller
Based on the popular 1988 film, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels centers on two con men living on the French Riviera. Lawrence Jameson (Barry Martin) makes his lavish living by talking rich ladies out of their money. Freddy Benson (Rob Broadhurst) more humbly swindles women by waking their compassion with fabricated stories about his grandmother's failing health. After meeting on a train, they attempt to work together only to find that this small French town isn't big enough for the two of them. They agree on a settlement: the first one to extract $50,000 from a young female target, heiress Christine Colgate (Taylor Bartolucci) wins and the other must leave town. A hilarious battle of cons ensues that will keep audiences laughing, humming, and guessing to the end!


Wine Tasting Itinerary - Sonoma Wine Education

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For most people, a visit to a Sonoma County winery is a unique experience in itself. Not only will you experience the standard wine tasting, you will tour the facilities, get in the vineyard, soak in the views and taste wine right out of a barrel.

Benziger Family Winery
, 1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442, (707) 935-3000
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  • Tasting Fee: $80 Per Couple - Benziger Partners Estate Vineyard Tour & Exclusive Wine Tasting
  • Time: 11:15 AM - Allow 1.5 Hours with tour. Arrive by 11 AM to access tour
  • Experience: Tour is a close-up look at the bio-dynamic and organic practices, as well as the wildlife sanctuary on site. Get in the vineyards and caves! This is a behind-the-scenes tour. Limited to groups of 10.
  • Reservations:  Required for the tour
  • Directions to Next Stop: (Allow 4 minutes for travel)  Drive E (Left) .4 mi. on London Ranch Road, turn L on Arnold for 1.9 miles, L into Glen Ellen Inn & Restaurant

Napa Valley Arts in April - 2014 Event Highlights

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  • April 3, 2014 - Chimney Rock Winery Artist Reception
    Visit the winery on Thursday, April 3 for a special reception from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Meet the artist and enjoy a complimentary wine tasting paired with light appetizers while Clifford creates his next work of art!  Not able to make it to this event? No worries! Visit Chimney Rock any time during the year.
  • April 3, 2014 - Napa Valley Collects Preview Party
  • Napa Valley Collects, honoring the region's private art collectors, is a three-month exhibition presented at the Napa Valley Museum, in partnership with Arts Council Napa Valley and Visit Napa Valley. Please join the collectors at the preview party on Thursday, April 3 from 6-9pm to enjoy live music, fine Napa Valley wines, and hors d'oeuvres by Auberge du Soleil.
  • April 6, 2014 - St. Supery with Artist Suong Yangchareon
  • Join artist, Suong Yangchareon, for artist-led tours of his artwork on display at St. Supéry. Yangchareon is a master of painting the urban landscapes of California with a special focus on the city of L.A. and vanishing movie theaters. Explore his works in intimate group tours followed by small bites and wine with the artist.
  • April 6, 2014 - Napa's Riverfront Chalk Festival
  • Napa's Riverfront Chalk Festival 2014 kicks off Napa's week-long festivities celebrating Arts in April. Bring the children to join in the fun at the Children's Chalk Walk area. Vote for your favorite chalk art and see who wins at the 2:30pm Awards ceremony.
  • April 10, 2014 - Artist Reception at Bardessono
  • In conjunction with Andrea Schwartz Gallery, Bardesssono and Lucy Restaurant and Bar invite you to join our artist reception and meet the local artists who show regularly at the property: John Belingheri, Barbara Kronlins, Tom Bolles, Tim Yankosky, Donald Bradford and John Bonick. Wine tastings will be served by Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, and light fare will be provided by Lucy.
  • April 7-11, 2014 - Robert Mondavi Winery Art Collection Tour
  • guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary tour of the winery's permanent Beniamino Bufano collection once daily at 11:00 am. In addition, the paintings of artists Margrit Mondavi, Thomas Bartlett and Jim Evans will be on display in the winery's Vineyard Room. A wine tasting will be included in the tour.
  • April 12, 2014 - Napa Slow Art Day at Di Rosa Art Preserve
  • Slow Art Day is a worldwide celebration of art that encourages people to look at art slowly -- and thereby experience art in a new way. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own picnic  and enjoy the scenic views from our Olive Grove at di Rosa.
  • April 14-20, 2014 - Peju Province Winery Featuring Christopher Hill Gallery
  • Enjoy our art exhibit Monday, April 14th through the Sunday, April 20th between the hours of 1pm and 4pm daily where we'll be featuring contemporary art from The Christopher Hill Gallery in St. Helena. Enjoy a complimentary wine tasting while you browse our upstairs gallery featuring the artwork of well known artists Mario Garcia Miro, TS Harris, Marsha Taylor and Benjamin Anderson.
  • April 17, 2014 - A New Perspective on Napa Valley
  • Join winery members of the Napa Valley Vintners and art photographer Sam Aslanian for an evening of wine tasting, light bites and a private viewing of some of the art prints from "Perspective Napa Valley." Within the pages of this unique coffee table book are captured scenes of life in Napa Valley in both photographs and chapter essays: from culture, history and civic life to the bucolic towns and vintner community, as well as the geology, climate and geography that make this place so perfect for the growing of fine wine grapes.
  • April 19, 2014 - Beaulieu Vineyards: Art, Wine, Soiree & Silent Auction
  • Join Beaulieu Vineyards for a unique fusion of art and wine! Featuring local artist Penelope Moore, live music and afternoon hor d'oeuvres. Each of Penelope's paintings will be paired with a sinfully selected bottle of BV wine. During the event, guests will have the opportunity to bid on each pairing.
  • April 20, 2014 - Yountville Art, Sip & Stroll
  • This event features Public Art Walk artists Boback Emad, Gordon Huether, Lorenzo Mills and  Clayton Thiel. They will be joined at their sculptures by Yountville Appellation wineries pouring tastes of their wines, paired with a tasty sweet or savory bite from our local restaurants.


Girlfriends Getaway Month in Sonoma Valley

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Round up your gal pals this March for a Sonoma Wine Country Getaway. Relax with glasses of wine at your fingertips, nosh on delicious food, pamper yourself with massage & spa treatments, shop and sight-see, or just enjoy the luxury of your hotel or resort stay. Whatever you and your girlfriends fancy, Sonoma Valley is the perfect place for a girlfriends getaway. So come hike, bike, sip and swirl - just leave the man out of your plan!

Girlfriends_Ledson.jpgWhere to Stay?
Ledson Hotel is located right on the Sonoma Valley Square surrounded by boutique shops, galleries, restaurants, and some of the best restaurants. It's the perfect place to stay and kick-off your girlfriends escape. Starting March 1st - March 15th, they are offering a luxurious package that includes:

  • Special room rates for girls: $335 for a two-night minimum on weekends (regularly $395) and $300 on weekdays (regularly $350) including a complimentary wine country breakfast. Wine club member benefits apply!
  • A private wine tasting at Ledson Winery & Vineyards in Kenwood hosted by a Ledson wine consultant who will be there to guide you through your private tasting and answer your questions about our wines, winery and family history.
  • 15% off the purchase of a case of wine (excluding Reserve wines)
  • The crescendo--a unique picture taken of you and all your girls in our famous winery bathtub adjacent to our private tasting suite, the most striking souvenir you will ever take home.
CLICK HERE to book your room!


Upcoming Sonoma Valley Events:

  • savorSonomaValleyPoster.jpgSavor Sonoma Valley - March 15-16th
  • Join twenty-six wineries throughout Sonoma Valley this March where you can meet winemakers, mingle with wine lovers behind-the-scenes, peruse art from local artists and listen to live music. Sample wines straight from the barrels, taste new releases and taste award-winning wines with culinary creations prepared by local chefs and restaurants.
  • More Details.

  • 80's Pop Up Dance Party at Suite D
  • What better way to celebrate a night out with the girls than a Flashback Friday 80's Dance Party with Uzette from Alice 97.3? Featuring scrumptious complimentary nibbles by the girl & the fig, Crisp Bakeshop selling some of their favorite goodies, Sigh Champagne and Sparkling with a no host Bubble Bar, and with DJ Tanoa spinning those throwback beats, it's sure to be a good time.
  • More Details

  • Trashion Fashion Show - March 22nd
  • See outrageous, beautiful, theatrical and humorous fashions created from recycled materials. This is where art, fashion, and ecology come together and put on a great show! See fashions created out of discarded drinking straws, bottle caps and even bullet casings.
  • More Details

Press Release: City Winery Napa at the Historic Napa Valley Opera House

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Opening Shows & Artist Line Up

City Winery Napa at the Historic Napa Valley Opera House is very proud to announce the much-anticipated artist lineup from the soft launch in April through June 2014.  Over the next few weeks ten new concert dates a week will be released until the complete schedule of approximately twenty shows per month is announced. All shows begin at 8pm unless otherwise noted. Tickets available at citywinery.com.

  • Bruce Cockburn : Thursday, April 10 ($35-45)
  • Jay Farrar of Son Volt: Wednesday, April 16 ($26-30)
  • Paris Combo: Thursday, April 17 ($25-35)
  • Lydia Pense & Cold Blood: Thursday, May 8 ($20-25)
  • Karla Bonoff: Friday, May 9 ($20-30)
  • Allen Toussaint: Friday, May 16 ($25-30)
  • John Mayall: Friday, May 23 ($40-50)
  • Leo Kottke: Saturday, May 24 ($30-40
  • Maria Muldaur: Friday, May 30 ($15-25)
  • Red Molly: Thursday, June 12 ($15-20)
  • Milk Carton Kids: Monday, June 16 ($15-25)
  • 10,000 Maniacs: Saturday, June 21 ($40-50)
  • Lewis Black: July 10, 11, 12 ($55-75)

Ring in the New Year in Napa Valley & Sonoma

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Ring in the New Year with dinners, parties, and other adult and family friendly festivities in Napa Valley and Sonoma this year. See our round up of event highlights and check out our calendar for more events!

Napa Valley New Year's Eve Event Highlights

  • calistogaChamber_NewYearsEve.jpgCelebrate! New Year's Eve Bash in Calistoga
  • Napa Valley is inviting you to enjoy their spectacular New Year's Eve Bash in Calistoga! Kick off the festivities with fine dining at your choice of participating restaurant. After dinner, the party continues at the Fairgrounds Events Center with a premium no-host bar featuring Stella Artois, Charbay cocktails, and Napa Valley wines. Delight in party favors and an over-the-top dessert bar while you dance the night away to classic party tunes performed by Double Funk Crunch. Wrap up the evening with a midnight toast with Schramsberg. So grab your friends and family and join the celebration! CLICK HERE for more details.


  • New Year's Eve Blackjack Ball on Napa Valley Wine Train
  • The annual Blackjack Ball kicks off the New Year in style aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, with sparkling wine, gourmet food and a twilight ride through Napa Valley. Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald and his culinary team shine as they prepare multi-course gourmet meals to order in the kitchen car. CLICK HERE for more details.

  • Enjoy an exquisite five-course tasting menu at étoile Restaurant, delightfully paired with a selection of sparkling and still wines. Then dance the night away to  live music provided by Blue Moon Band in the Tasting Lounge. CLICK HERE for more details








Sonoma County New Year's Eve Event Highlights

  • Alchemy New Year's Eve Party at Spoonbar at H2Hotel
  • an out of this world New Year's Eve party planned at Spoonbar featuring famed San Francisco DJ J Boogie and a special 5 course celebration menu from Chef Louis Maldonado (Bravo's Top Chef Season 11 Contestant) with treats from start to finish. CLICK HERE for more details.
  • Great Bashby Club Midnight
  • Ring in the New Year in Sonoma Wine Country at the The Greaty Bashby which includes a casino, dancing, no host bar, heavy hors d' oeuvres, DJ, silent auction and midnight champagne toast. It's a party you won't want to miss! CLICK HERE for more details

**Visit the Wine Country Event Calendar for a list of all New Year's Eve parties, dinners, festivals, marked on the holiday calendar for December 31st

Celebrate the Holidays in Tri-Valley California

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During the holiday season, the Tri-Valley region takes on a whole new charm that makes it an ideal destination for holiday travel or a weekend wine holiday.

tri-valley-livermore-fall-winter-vineyards-photo.jpgThe Tri-Valley offers all sorts of alluring attractions, including 17 premier golf courses, along with 17 regional, National and State parks and is home to over 50 distinct wineries in Livermore Valley. See article. And, several shops, restaurants, museums, and galleries in surrounding areas; Pleasanton, Dublin, and Danville.

Whether you're looking for entertainment, innovative cuisine, freshly caught seafood or friendly, un-rushed tours through some of the country's finest wineries; you'll find it in California's Tri-Valley. You'll also discover a seasonal flare that permeates the countryside, creating the perfect setting for a holiday getaway unlike any other. Read the full blog . . .

Other articles and resources:
Travel Tips for Stress-Free Holidays
Airport Information & Maps
Plan Your Vacation

Special Guest Appearance! Colin Farrell at Napa Valley Film Festival

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Colin Farrell in attendance at this year's Napa Valley Film Festival?! You heard right!

colin-farrell-image1.jpgCelebrities and Festival Honorees Director John Hancock (Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks), Dianna Agron (Glee, The Family) and Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole) are already scheduled to be part of the festivities at this year's Napa Valley Film Festival as part of the Celebrity Tribute.
However, we just got word that Colin Farrell will also be in attendance as a special guest for the film Saving Mr. Banks.

On Thursday, November 14, the Napa Valley Opera House will host a red carpet screening of Saving Mr. Banks, directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell. Both Mr. Hancock and Mr. Farrell will be in attendance with other special guests.

Following the film, members of the festival's exclusive Patron Circle and Pass Plus holders join filmmakers and sponsors at the biggest party of the week at 500 First Street in Napa for the spectacular Festival Gala from 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. At the Gala, attendees will enjoy live entertainment from half a dozen different acts, and culinary offerings and exclusive wine pairings from more than 25 Napa Valley top chefs and wineries. As the night moves on into the wee hours, the party will debut a VIP lounge on the building's mezzanine level for cocktails, nibbles and late night dancing.



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Other Napa Valley Film Festival Articles:

Any guesses on which film will be the darling of this year's Napa Film Fest? See what we have our eye on. First up is . . .

See films BEFORE they hit the big screen!


Napa Valley Film Festival - Must See Films!

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Last year, at the Napa Valley Film Festival, Somm was the runaway hit that had all attendees abuzz with excitement and rave reviews. Lines were around the corner at every screening and #NVFF even added, last minute, additional times to the schedule to accommodate the huge demand. Any guesses on which film will be the darling of this year's Napa Film Fest? See what we have our eye on. First up is . . .

The Narrative Features Category

THE LITTLE TIN MAN
Looks quirky, fun, and just the right amount of sap to make this of one our favs going in!

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Film Description: The Little Tin Man is the story of a quest for the role of a lifetime: the Tin Man in Martin Scorsese's (fictional) remake of The Wizard of Oz. It's also an intelligent and humorous exploration of a struggling actor's big dreams and staunch refusal to accept the status quo. Tired of accepting typecast roles based on his small size and unfulfilled working in his brother's restaurant, Herman is ready for something different. When he's asked to audition for the Mayor of Munchkinland, he takes the opportunity to aim just a little bit higher. .  .
Showtimes:
  • WED, 13 Nov | 5:30pm | Gliderport | Calistoga
  • FRI, 15 Nov | 1:00pm | Cadillac Theater | Napa 
  • SAT, 16 Nov | 10:00am | Farmstead | St. Helena
  • SUN, 17 Nov | 8:30pm | YCC Theater | Yountville
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nvff-red-obsession-film.jpgRED OBSESSION (79 min)
Obsessed with wine much? Whowouldathunk...

Film Description: For centuries, the French region of Bordeaux has commanded a mythical status inthe world of wine. It stands as a symbol of wealth, power, and influence. However, its prosperity has always been linked to the capricious nature of markets and the shifting fortunes of global economies. China's new super wealthy have pushed prices to stratospheric levels. Despite unprecedented demand for a finite product, Bordeaux's new clients want it all. Will the Chinese market be the bubble that never bursts or the biggest threat yet to Bordeaux's reputation? Beautifully filmed, narrated by Russell Crowe, and featuring numerous luminaries from the wine world, this film by co-directors David Roach and Warwick Ross is a love letter to French wine and those who cannot live without it. 

Showtimes:
  • TUE, 12 Nov | 6:00 pm YCC THEATER | Yountville 
  • THUR, 14 Nov | 8:30 pm GLIDERPORT | Calistoga 
  • SAT, 16 Nov | 5:30 pm OPERA HOUSE | Napa 

New to Napa Valley Film Fest - Lifestyle Pavilion

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In it's third year, the Napa Valley Film Festival (November 13-17, 2013) is upping the ante of hip and sophistication with the addition of the swank Lifestyle Pavilion.

nvff-lifestyle-pavilion.jpgThe Pavilion will be centrally located in downtown Napa's Oxbow Market and open to passholders and the public Friday, November 15th - Sunday, November 17th, 10am - 6pm. Experience the latest innovation in cars, technology, and culinary trends; attend film industry panels and cooking demonstrations; and enjoy premier wines at the Wine Pavilion and a chalice or two of Stella Artois. See all the hip details below and if you haven't gotten passes yet, what are you waiting for?! Click Here to buy festival passes now.

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LOUNGES:

CADILLAC LUXURY LOUNGE
See Cadillac's hottest vehicles at the Cadillac Luxury Lounge featuring their all-new 2014 CTS sedan, the centerpiece of the Cadillac line up, that ascends into the heart of the midsize luxury market with expanded performance, elevated luxury, and sophisticated technology.

SONY DIGITAL LOUNGE AND STAGE
Just like Dorothy landing in OZ, your world will burst into a kaleidoscope of vivid colors in the Sony Digital Lounge. Experience the clarity, beauty, and the rich colors of film on a Sony 4K TV. Red, aqua blues, and emerald greens burst from the 4K displays in sharp, realistic fashion.

STELLA ARTOIS
Since 1366, crafting the rich flavor of Stella Artois has been a serious pursuit of excellence. Served in the specially designed Chalice, where every sip is perfection. Thanks to its love affair with the silver screen, Stella Artois supports the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival...and now, the Napa Valley Film Festival.

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE STYLE LOUNGE
Come experience the magic of Hollywood through the latest styles and fashions. The beauty of nature juxtaposed with beautiful women...as seen in San Francisco Chronicle's annual wedding issue where such stunning photos serve as a perfect backdrop to Roche Bobois' celebration of exquisite interior design.

Napa Valley Film Festival (Nov 13-17, 2013)

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Star-Studded Films Headlining This Year's Festival Lineup!

The Napa Valley Film Festival (November 13-17, 2013) is one of the hottest passes to purchase this fall in Napa Valley. Between star-studded films, celebrities (Dianna Agron of Glee and also rumored to be in attendance is Forest Whitaker!), parties, galas, delicious food and, of course, amazing Napa Valley wines, you won't want to miss out on this premiere Napa event!

Film festivities begin on Opening Night, Wednesday, November 13, when the Napa Valley Film Festival will present August: Osage County starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, as part of a dysfunctional family returning to their home in Oklahoma. The film is based on the award-winning play, and directed by John Wells, one of the most prolific writers, directors and producers for television, film and stage. See it before it hits theaters on Christmas!



Next up is two-time Academy Award®-winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks with a Gala Presentation, on Thursday, November 14, of Saving Mr. Banks, directed by John Lee Hancock and inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of the long road Disney's classic Mary Poppins took to make it to the big screen. Supporting cast includes Colin Farrel, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffith, Kathy Baker and Paul Giamatti. Watch the Trailer

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Napa Valley Festival del Sole

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July 12 - 21, 2013

The much anticipated Napa Valley Festival del Sole named by the Wall Street Journal as one of "12 must-experience summer festivals" is only a couple of days away. This annual Napa Valley festival celebrates the diversity of the arts - over 60 world-class music, dance, and theater performances - set against the beauty of the Napa Valley wine region that boasts incomparable wines and the finest of cuisine.


 Have you purchased your festival pass or tickets yet? Several events have already sold out. Some of the performance and events still available - see below:

Friday, July 13
Jean-Yves Thibaudet with the Russian National Orchestra
The mighty Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Montanaro, returns to Festival del Sole, launching the season's multifaceted Rachmaninoff anniversary celebrations with the celebrated Second Symphony. Festival favorite Jean-Yves Thibaudet presents Saint-Saëns' "Egyptian" Piano Concerto No. 5.
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Tuesday, July 16
Sarah Chang and Jean-Yves Thibaudet with the Russian National Orchestra
Festival del Sole partners with the new Weill Hall at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center for a program featuring the Russian National Orchestra, with Sarah Chang performing Samuel Barber's popular Violin Concerto, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Saint-Saëns' "Egyptian" Piano Concerto No. 5, a rarely-performed gem. Carlo Montanaro conducts. (Concert is at Weill Hall at Green Center, Sonoma)

Dive Bar - Bardessono Hotel's Poolside Cocktail Soiree

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Come enjoy a summer's eve at Dive Bar, Bardessono Hotel & Spa's poolside cocktail soiree held the last Thursday of the month from June to August.

bardessonoRooftopPool.jpgBardessono Hotel is located in the heart of Napa Valley in the town of Yountville and has an amazing rooftop pool that is open from 6pm to 8pm for great Happy Hour drink specials and complimentary nibbles from Lucy Restaurant & Bar. Take in the stunning mountain and vineyard views and enjoy a dip and a drink while DJ's spin tunes near the bar.

This year Dive Bar includes a fashion component -  preview the latest summer fashions from top Bay Area boutiques. Come dressed to impress and mingle with Napa Valley locals and top vintners. Our boutique partners will have models showing off some great designs:

  • June 27 - Sisters Boutique/Yountville
  • July 25 - CakePlate / Napa
  • August 29 - Rand + Statler/ San Francisco
Dive Bar is open to the public with free admission and free valet parking. 

Summer Events in Wine Country

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MAY

Funny Girl at the Napa Valley Opera House (May 10-19, 2013)
"Funny Girl" - featuring great songs like "People," I'm the Greatest Star," and "Don't Rain on My Parade," tells the story of legendary singer and comedienne Fanny Brice and her stormy relationship with gambler Nicky Arnstein. Lucky Penny Productions' Taylor Bartolucci stars at the Napa Valley Opera House, backed by a 12-piece orchestra. It's the theatrical event of the year! Click Here for more details.

nvoh_FunnyGirl.jpgEchelon Gran Fondo Series (May 18, 2013)
Be apart of the the Italian cycling phenomenon . . .the Gran Fondo! The Gran Fondo is thousands of your closest friends roaming the beautiful wine country on wheels. There are several bike ride course levels but all riders finish in celebration of epicurean delights from local chefs, wine and beer tasting, live music from local bands, and much more. Enter the race or buy a friends and family ticket to take part in the festivities after the race!
Click Here for more details.

granFondoSeries.jpgAmgen Tour of California in Livermore (May 18, 2013)
Livermore is excited to be the host city on day 7 of the cycling race "Amgen Tour of California" featuring elite professional teams and athletes from around the world.  See road cycling at its best, while enjoying the Livermore healthy-lifestyle festival, incredible downtown boutique and luxury outlet shopping, and dining in the award-winning downtown cafes and restaurants. Click Here for more details.

Auction Napa Valley (E-Auction) (May 26 - June 2, 2013)
Wine lovers around the world, from novice to enthusiast, can still get in on the action of this year's sold-out Auction Napa Valley by bidding on the event's global E-Auction. View more than 170 uniquely exciting lots such as unparalleled access to collectable verticals of wine; hand-etched, large-format bottles never to be seen again; hidden cellars; tucked-away winery guest houses; and meals made just for two--or for 30 of one's closest friends.
Click Here for more details.

Guide to Mother's Day in Wine Country

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There are a host of activities to make Mother's Day a special occasion in Wine Country this year. Treat her to brunch, take her wine tasting, or go to a show!

Travel Tip: If you are planning to spend Mother's Day in Napa Valley, be aware that the town of Napa is host of the Bottle Rock Napa Valley Music Festival (May 9-12th) and is expecting close to 40,000 attendees! Plan on lots of traffic and expect delays. To see street closures, download the WineCountry.com mobile app.


MomDaughter.jpgTake Your Mother to Brunch!

  • etoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon (Yountville, Napa Valley)
  • Enjoy a splendid five-course menu expertly paired with Chandon sparkling and still wines this Mother's Day. Menu selections include liberty farms duck confit, pan roasted spring lamb loin, roasted beef tenderloin, spiced valrhona chocolate pot de crème, and meyer lemon vacherin. Children's options also available. Reservations Strongly Recommended. (888) 242.6366

  • Lucy's Restaurant at Bardessono (Yountville, Napa Valley)
  • Bring your mom to Lucy's Restaurant & Bar at Bardessono to enjoy a wonderful Mother's Day brunch. The menu will feature delicious dishes, such as Executive Chef Victor Scargle's Duck Confit Hash, brioche french toast, and refreshing cocktails such as the Yountville Spritz. Reservations Recommended. (707) 204.6030

  • Flamingo Resort (Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA)
  • Enjoy a Mother's Day Champagne brunch buffet at the Flamingo Resort. This event will feature unlimited complimentary Champagne and mimosas; a feast that includes items like, orange spiced french toast, traditional eggs benedict, buttermilk chicken breast, slow roasted turkey, and much more! Plus, there will be a full dessert table with assorted fruit tarts and mini pastries. Click Here to view full menu. Reservations Recommended. (707) 532.4745
  • Santa Ynez Valley Marriott (Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, CA)
    Treat your mom to the extravagance she deserves with Santa Ynez Valley Marriott's Mother's Day Buffet featuring a grand selection of dishes at both chilled and hot stations and a decadent dessert bar (Cherries Jubille & Bannanas Foster, Chocolate covered strawberries, assortment of cakes, pies, and petit fours, Champagne, and more!) Reservations recommended. (805.688.100). Click Here to see other memorable ways to celebrate Mother's Day in Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country.
  • Depot Hotel Restaurant (Sonoma, Sonoma County, CA)
  • Join Chefs Antonio and Michael Ghilarducci for Mother's Day Brunch! Enjoy a lavish feast complete with Champagne or mimosas upon arrival and bask in the sun on the patio or in the garden room. Menu will include items such as: grilled prime sirloin steak, poached pacific salmon, porchetta, housemade limoncello cake, and bittersweet chocolate decadence.Reservations Required. (707) 938.2980

  • Nectar Restaurant at Hilton Hotel (Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA)
  • Nectar Restaurant, located at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country Hotel, will offer a Champagne brunch and family portrait with special gifts for all moms and moms-to-be. Reservations Recommended. (707) 569.5525

>> Visit our events calendar to see more Napa Valley and Sonoma restaurants that will be open this Mother's Day. Click date (May 12th), desired region and filter "holiday".

Robert Mondavi Summer Concert Series

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Business Wire

44th Annual Summer Concert Series Begins June 29th and
Honors 100th birthday of Robert Mondavi


robertMondaviHeader_MondaviWebsite.jpgThis June, Robert Mondavi Winery kicks off its 44th annual Summer Concert Series with a festival featuring five top musical acts. With June 18 marking what would have been the 100th birthday of Robert Mondavi, country singer and songwriter Martina McBride will begin the series with a performance that celebrates Robert Mondavi's contributions to the wine industry throughout the Napa Valley and beyond. Now a much-anticipated wine country tradition, the annual concert series began in 1969 by Margrit Mondavi.

"Given Bob's love of uniting friends and family over a celebration of food, wine and the arts, I couldn't think of a better way to honor his 100th birthday than by continuing the Summer Concert Series here in the winery's backyard," said Margrit Mondavi, vice president of cultural affairs at Robert Mondavi Winery. "The combination of diverse musical styles, world-class wine and the backdrop of the beautiful To Kalon Vineyard is a truly unique tradition that I know I'm not alone in looking forward to celebrating."

Tri-Valley: Golf Destination for All Skill Levels!

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triValley_golfMontage.jpgTri-Valley/Livermore Wine Country is a great wine and golf destination for many visitors and is also surprisingly affordable with a wide array of golf course selections to meet every skills level. The Tri-Valley golf scene offers 13 courses, many of which wind through vineyards and rolling hills. Golf-minded visitors have plenty of options.

The Bridges is a stunning golf club that hosts a large destination restaurant and accompanying new wine bar. The newest addition, Callippe Preserve, earned the "Most Worth The Green Fee" award for all of Northern California in 2010 by Greenskeeper.org. In sync with tightening budgets, but scenic and beautiful, this challenging course provides a restaurant with views over the Tri-Valley and of Mt. Diablo.

Corporate visitors may opt to play at the Greg Norman-designed Course at Wente Vineyards, which was designated as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary" by the Audobon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses in 2010 for maintaining a high degree of environmental quality. Or watch the sun set over rolling hills at Poppy Ridge Golf Course. 

Sonoma International Film Festival: Sneak Peek at Films!

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Don't miss one of the hottest film festivals in Wine Country. The Sonoma International Film Festival (April 10-14, 2013) is presenting over 100 films, including 7 Premiere films, shown at 8 venues, all within walking distance of Sonoma's historic plaza. Add to this cinematic splash, world-class cuisine from local artisans and exceptional wine from Sonoma vintners, all making the Sonoma Film Fest a top-notch epicurean experience few film festivals in the world can match.

Time is running out! Click Here to buy your Film Passes.

See a sneak peek at some of the films being shown this year!

ICEMAN - Opening Night Film at Sebastiani Theater on April 10th. Film stars Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, Chris Evans and James Franco and follows notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski from his early days in the mob until his arrest for the murder of more than 100 men. Director Ariel Vromen and Ray Liotta will be in attendance.

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FLIMMER (aka Flicker) - Something strange is going on in the small town of Backberga. The town's former pride, the telecommunications company, is now on the brink of ruin. Its put-upon employees are about to make one last attempt to modernize the firm when they discover that something is lurking on the outskirts of town. A power failure sets off a chain of events that will change everything for the town's residents. Two screenings, 4/11 at 9:15pm in the Vintage House and 4/13 at 4:45pm in the Vintage House.

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A YEAR IN BURGUNDY - This film is an exquisitely beautiful documentary that takes you through the course of a full wine-making year, from the first bud on the vine to the final pressing, barrel-aging and bottling in the Burgundy region of France. Director David Kennard and film subject Martine Saunier will be in attendance. One screening only, 4/11 at 6pm in the Sebastiani Theatre.


5 Ways to Uncork Fun in Napa Valley

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Wine tasting, incredible food and breathtaking scenery . . . what more can you ask for when you head to Napa Valley? From girlfriend getaways and guy-only vacays to weekend escapes and family retreats, Napa has something for everyone. Read five ways to live it up and enjoy Napa Valley: 

Meghan-Lamb-Napa-Valley-Oakville-DSC_0044.jpgPhotographer Credit: Meghan Lamb
(1) Walk this Way
Whether Napa is a weekend excursion or a vacation you planned six months ago, wine tasting is at the top of everyone's list. To avoid needing a "DD" or renting a party bus for the day, grab a $25 Taste Napa Downtown card to explore 12 different tasting rooms and wine bars within walking distance of each other. Park your car, take your time, and enjoy the vino without worrying about the next stop on your tour.

ladies_iStock_000004513478XSmall.jpg(2) Ladies Night! (and Daytime too)
Napa Valley is one destination that beckons girlfriends who love to gather, celebrate their sisterhood and sample the grape without the shame and guilt of a Vegas girls getaway. By day, indulge in a soothing spa treatment at many of the spas and wellness centers nearby. Spa Terra located at the Meritage Resort is a perfect choice with their 22,000 square foot Estate Cave spa sanctuary. By night, head to Bistro Sabor for Salsa Saturdays co-hosted by Ceja Vineyards where you can shake what your mama gave you--no cover charge and no partner needed. Just show up!

(3) Just for the Bro's
Trust us, it's not always about MMA Fighting or Nascar when the fellas get together for a guys-only vacay. With more men channeling their inner Anthony Bourdain, food has become the focus for "man-scapes" near and far. Napa Valley is home to more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere in the world and the culinary talents of superstars such as Thomas Keller (French Laundry ring a bell, anyone?). To work off the decadent meals and wine-induced calories, head to Napa Golf Course at Kennedy Park for a few rounds of golf. Or paddle your way through the valley by kayaking on the Napa River.

Calistoga - Mustard, Mud, and Music Festival

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Rock out to your old favorite tunes, enjoy the outdoors, and taste delicious food & wine in Downtown Calistoga, March 9, 2013.

calistogaChamber_mustardMudMusicFestival_mustardFields.jpgPhoto Courtesy of Calistoga Visitors Bureau; Photographer Ivan Miller

The annual Mustard, Mud, and Music Festival is returning to Calistoga. Take in the beautiful views of the mustard decorating the city and enjoy 13 bands, 25 wineries, three art galleries, a wellness center and a variety of restaurants with mustard themed food. This fun event happens Saturday, March 9, 2013, from 12 - 5 p.m. along Lincoln Avenue in downtown Calistoga. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets in advance

Participating wineries include Alienor Wines, Bennett Lane Winery, Canard Vineyard, Chateau Montelena, Castello di Amorosa, Envy Wines, Frank Family Vineyards, Joseph Cellars, Tedeschi Family Winery, Twomey Cellars, Vermeil Wines/OnThEdge, Von Strasser Winery, Zahtila Vineyards/Laura Michael Wines, Ziata Wines and more. 

Wine Tasting Itinerary: Healdsburg Stars

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Tasting Fee Budget for the Day: $15 Per Couple. 
To keep these kinds of offers, buy a couple of bottles that you enjoy! (*Please let the staff know that you were referred by WineCountry.com)

On your way to Healdsburg, stop off at:

Korbel Champagne Cellars
, 13250 River Rd, Guerneville, CA 95446, (707) 824.7000
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  • Complimentary tastings - 20% off wine purchases!
  • 10AM- Allow One Hour or relax a while longer
  • No Reservation Required
  • Directions to Next Stop: SE on River Rd for 2.3 mi., L on Westside and stay on Westside (R at Fork) for 12.2 mi., R on Kinley Dr, 1st R on Magnolia

Hop Kiln Winery, 6050 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433.6491
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  • $14 Per Couple - HKG Collection
  • 12 PM - Allow One Hour
  • Purchase wine and cheese in the tasting room and enjoy a picnic on the front lawn by the pond with wines by the glass or bottle
  • No Reservation Required

Spring Cycling with Velo Vino

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Enjoy the fresh spring air, blue skies, and breathtaking vineyard views when you cycle through Napa Valley by bike! Clif Family Wines not only offers some killer Zins (we recommend buying a case of the '09 Gary's Improv), but also unique cycling packages and weekend group rides from their tasting room in St. Helena at Velo Vino.

Read a snippet of their most recent blog post on "Spring Cycling in the Napa Valley"

Even though we are still waking up to morning frost in the Napa Valley, spring is really just around the corner. It will soon be time to dust off your bike, tune it up and head for the hills. Nothing gets us more excited at Velo Vino than spring time in the Napa Valley. Not only do we get to release some great new vintages of our Clif Family Wines, but we also get to see our cyclist friends pop in for a visit.

This spring we will once again be coordinating weekend group rides twice monthly from Velo Vino. The rides always begin and end at Velo Vino and typically range from about 30-40 miles. The rides start on Saturdays in late April/early May depending on weather. More information will be posted on our web site soon.

If you are visiting from out of the area and want to enjoy Napa Valley by bike, consider one of our bike rental packages
. . . READ MORE.

Check out more photos on their Pinterest Page!


Flyway Festival & Discovery Days in American Canyon Wetlands

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AmCam_FlyawayFestival.jpgTake the whole family and enjoy a weekend of bird watching and nature hikes in the American Canyon Wetlands.

The American Canyon Wetlands is a 465 acre site located adjacent to over 10,000 acres of restored wetlands managed by the State Department of Fish & Wildlife.  It is home to such endangered species as the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse and the Snowy Plover.  Almost 100 different species of birds have been observed in the area.  This is truly a wonderful outdoor experience for families as well as serious birders.  Discover the secret of the American Canyon Wetlands.

AmCam_FlywayFestival2.jpgDiscovery Days is part of the 17th Annual San Francisco Flyway Festival, and co-sponsored by the Napa Solano Audubon Society.  The event is free and open to the public.There will be guided tours on Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; and on Sunday at 1 p.m.  Self-guided tours on trails include viewing stations and expert birders on hand to answer questions.

Information stations with volunteers will be available at these two locations on Saturday (9am-4pm) and Sunday (9am-3pm):

  • Location 1: American Canyon Wetlands (Eucalyptus Drive & Wetlands Edge Rd.)
  • Location 2: The main Flyway Festival building Bldg.#223, 500 Connolly St. on Mare Island (along with all the other groups participating in the festival) 

CLICK HERE to see full schedule of events planned.

Celebrate Romance & Valentine's Day

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livermorePromotion.jpgRomance doesn't have to be celebrated just one day. With Valentine's Day falling on a Friday this year, it's the perfect excuse to plan an extended romantic weekend with the one you love. Let us help you plan! Call 707.260.0721 for our Guest Services to recommend the perfect plan for where to go wine tasting, where to stay, play and eat.

There's a dizzying amount of specials and activities around In Napa Valley and Sonoma this year to celebrate the season of love! Click below:

>> Napa Valley, CA
>> Sonoma County, CA

Romantic Retreat to Sonoma Wine Country

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Special Events & Things To Do During Valentine's Day
*Updated for 2014!

Celebrate romance and love this Valentine's Day in Sonoma Wine Country with special dinner reservations at Sonoma restaurants & winemaker dinners at Sonoma wineries. In addition, enjoy wine tasting experiences (chocolate and wine pairings), cooking class with your sweetheart, or dance the night away in the arms of the one you love at Rodney Strong Vineyards.

VALENTINE'S DAY DINNER RECOMMENDATIONS

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  • Applewood Inn 
  • Have a lovely dinner with your sweetheart in a rustic and romantic setting that balances warmth and elegance at Applewood Inn. Michelin Starred Chefs Shelly Cerneant and Tyja Taube are preparing a special menu that includes entrees like confit pork belly, oven roasted halibut, grilled fillet of beef tenderloin and much more!
  • Dry Creek Kitchen
  • Experience a romantic evening with your loved one at Dry-Creek Kitchen this Valentine's Day. Executive Chef Dustin has created an exquisite tasting menu using a variety of fresh and local ingredients. Courses include Wild Salmon Tartare with Avocado Mousseline, Preserved Lemon and Lavash Hearts and Nori Roasted Maine Lobster with Ponzu Butter, Yuzu Powder and Jade Rice.
  • Partake K-J
  • Indulge your senses with a special Prix Fixe Menu! Explore a wide range of wine flights to satisfy your curiosity and thirst. Dive into a selection of seasonal bites driven by our gardens and Sonoma County's culinary artisans.
  • St. Francis Winery
  • Celebrate with great wine and food at St. Francis Winery as Executive Chef David Bush creates an exquisite menu for you and your special someone. Share an intimate candlelit experience, with each tantalizing course expertly paired with our premium Artisan Series wines. There's no place quite as romantic as the rolling vineyard-covered hillsides of Sonoma Valley!
Click here more dinner recommendations.

Napa Valley - Plan a Romantic Escape

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Napa Valley oozes with romance no matter what time of year! But during the season of love, aka "Valentine's Day", the iconic wine region pulls out all the stops to make your romantic escape one to remember years to come.

Stop dreaming about a romantic Napa escape and start planning! Luxurious and plush stays at four star Napa Valley hotels and resorts, indulgent spa treatments, to die for gourmet cuisine, and  wine tasting experiences are just a phone call away. Call our Guest Services (707. 260.0721) to help you set the stage and deliver an incredible Valentine's Day, romantic weekend, or week-long affair this coming February. (Shhh...we promise not to tell anyone that you had help!)

Want to plan your own Napa Valley romance-filled day?
Check out Napa Valley lodging and spa special package offers and our suggested list of Napa Valley events to attend below!

Olive Season in Sonoma Wine Country!

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The grapes are harvested, crushed, and sitting pretty in barrels and tanks. In the meantime, Sonoma Wine Country has turned it's attention to "Olive Season"! 2012 was a great year for grapes and olives alike. Watch Chris Benziger (of Benziger Family Wines) talk about the abundant olive harvest they had this past year.




Celebrate the Season of the Olive (January/February)
Only 45 minutes north of San Francisco, Sonoma is the most-down-to-earth slice of heaven around, its lush farmlands, rolling vineyards and historic towns lost in a time all their own.
The vibrant heart of Sonoma Valley provides a central backdrop for key Olive Season events.

Event Highlights:

Watch Video


Wine Tasting Itinerary: Pinot Day in Russian River

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Tasting Fee Budget for the Day: $69 Per Couple. To keep these kinds of offers, buy a bottle or three! (*Please let the staff know that you were referred by WineCountry.com.)

Inman Family Wines
, 3900 Piner Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, (707) 293-9576
Inman_Wines_main.jpg
  • $10.00 - Waived with purchase
  • 10:00 AM - Allow One Hour
  • No Reservation Required Thursday - Monday
  • Directions to Next Stop: R on Olivet for 1 mi., R on Guernerville Rd for 2.8 mi., R on Hwy 116W for 3 mi., R on Martinelli Rd

Wineries Open for Thanksgiving in Napa Valley & Sonoma

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Wineries & Tasting Rooms Open on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2013 in Napa Valley, CA

  • Castello di Amorosa - Open 9:30 - 4pm,  (707) 967.6272
  • Cosentino - Open 10am - 3:00pm, (707) 921.2809 ext 2
  • Del Dotto - St. Helena Location ONLY - Open 11am - 4pm (707) 963.2134
  • Elizabeth Spencer - Open 10am - 4pm, (707) 963.4768
  • Girard Winery - Open 11am - 3pm, (707) 968.9297
  • Hagafen Cellars - Open 11am - 4pm, (888) 424.2336
  • V Wine Cellars - Open 10am - 3pm, (707) 531.7053
  • Van der Heyden Vineyards - Open 10am-3pm, (707) 257.0130
  • V.Sattui Winery - Open 9am - 3:00 pm, (707) 963.7774

Wineries & Tasting Rooms Open on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2013 in Sonoma County, CA

  • Carneros Brewing Company - Open 10am - 5:30pm, (707) 938.1800
  • Cline Cellars - Open 11am - 3pm, (707) 940.4061
  • Jacuzzi Cellars - Open 11am-3pm, (707) 931.7575
  • Porter Creek Vineyards - 10:30am-2pm, (707) 433.6321
  • Roche Winery - 11am - 2pm, (707) 935.7115

Sonoma Holiday Events Guide 2012

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holidayInCarneros.jpgNOVEMBER

Nov. 17,18, 2012 - Holiday in Carneros
Sample wines, meet winemakers, listen to music, pair wines with food, and view arts and crafts all at the same time. With nearly 20 wineries participating in this annual event, Holiday in Carneros in Sonoma should be on your to do list.This unique event involves both Sonoma and Napa wineries that are located in the Los Carneros Appellation.
CLICK HERE for more details.

Nov. 23, 2012

  • Heart of Sonoma Valley Open House - Toast the Holiday Season in the Wine Country with our 29th Annual Holiday Open House! Join twenty wineries for this annual celebration and enjoy wine tastings, meet winemakers, mingle in our caves & cellars, stock up on your favorite wines for the holidays, pick up holiday gifts for your friends & family and relish in wine country holiday cheer! CLICK HERE for more details.
  • Ledson Winery Holiday Open House - Join Heart of Sonoma Valley Wineries for our 29th Annual Holiday Open House. The Castle will be decked with holiday twinkle and plenty of cheer. Warm up by one of our fireplaces while you enjoy a variety of gourmet treats paired with our award-winning wines. Begin your holiday shopping in our Gourmet Marketplace; sample original selections of sauces and olive oils.CLICK HERE for more details.
  • Kenwood Vineyards Holiday Extravaganza - Black Friday never looked so good! Come Celebrate the holidays with some bubbly and delicious wines at Kenwood Vineyards' Open House. Start your holiday shopping while being serenaded by carols, sipping on superb wines, and tasting scrumptious treats created by our chef Robin Lehnhoff.  Amazing prices abound for the wine connoisseur in your life.CLICK HERE for more details.

Nov. 25th - Dec 30, 2012 - Sonoma Valley Holiday Wine Trolley
The Holiday Wine Trolley is fully decorated and brimming with garlands, lights, and classic holiday music! Travel through Sonoma's Wine Country viewing historic landmarks from the late 1800′s through the 1930s. The Holiday Wine Trolley Tour visits four premium wineries, where you will taste Sonoma's wonderful wines and take care of your holiday shopping at the same time! The Sonoma Valley Holiday Wine Trolley will run daily, decorated in holiday spirit, playing holiday music and serving hot cocoa. CLICK HERE for more details.

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Celebrities at the Napa Valley Film Festival!

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The stars are coming out for this year's Napa Valley Film Festival, Nov. 7-11, and being celebrated in some amazing new films. The Celebrity Tribute is hosted by Access Hollywood's Billy Bush on November 9th and will honor stars Alan Cummings, James Marsden, Imogen Poots and Adam Driver. CLICK HERE for all access film passes and events.


nvff_alanCumming.jpgSPOTLIGHT
Leading actor Alan Cumming (The Anniversary Party, CBS smash TV hit The Good Wife) will be honored at the Celebrity Tribute program Fri. Nov. 9th and will also appear in person with his film Any Day Now on Nov. 10 in Calistoga and a Q&A Session after the film.

Alan Cumming is chameleon-like in both his choice of roles and his ability to inhabit them convincingly. One of the hardest working actors of our time, the Scotland-born Cumming has enjoyed a successful career in film, theater, and on television.


nvff_jamesMardsen.jpgTRAILBLAZER
Actor James Marsden (Enchanted, Robot & Frank, X-Men Trilogy) will also be on hand at his year's film festival. He has appeared in a wide range of films over the course of his still early career and continues to carve out a distinctive place for himself in Hollywood. James recently wrapped production on Universal's Two Guns opposite Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington. He also completed production on Lee Daniel's film The Butler where he takes on the role of John F. Kennedy.

Spooktacular Fun in Wine Country

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See a small sampling of events happening in Napa Valley, Sonoma and Livermore in celebration of Halloween. Visit WineCountry.com's full event calendar HERE.


castelloDiAmorosa_paganBall2.jpgNAPA VALLEY EVENTS

October 27th - The Pagan ball at Castello di Amorosa
Kick off your Halloween weekend at the biggest and best party in the Napa Valley -- our 5th annual Pagan Ball; a traditional Halloween costume party with lots of tricks and treats! Activities will include:RIP Reception(tickets purchased seperately), 'Haunted Chamber' Tours, Video DJ & dancing in the Great Hall, To Die For food & wine stations in the Courtyard, Fortune Tellers in the Chapel, Haunted Haybale Lounge on the Terrace, and Professional Photo Ops! CLICK HERE for more info.

October 27th - Halloween Extravaganza at Napa Fairgrounds

What has become a Napa tradition, this year will be our 37th Annual Extravaganza. This blow-out costume party is held at the Napa fairgrounds.  Held the Saturday before Halloween, this is the largest party of its kind in Napa County and serves as one of our fundraisers. Guests are entertained with live music, enjoy access to an open bar and a casino hall.
CLICK HERE for more info.


SONOMA EVENTS

October 27th - Zombie Party!
Put on your best costume and join Chateau Diana Winery for a Zombie Party.  Watch as the undead take over our Tasting Room.  We will be having ghoulish food, music, and door prizes paired with our blood red Zombie Zin.  Zombie Costume contest with awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.  Will it be a Trick or a Treat?  You decide!
CLICK HERE for more info.

October 28th - Halloween at Kenwood Vineyards
Come be a part of the 2nd Annual Pumpkin Judging Contest at Kenwood Vineyards. By doing so, you will receive a pass into the 'Temple of Oak' to taste the new release of the 2008 Artist Series Cabernet. A Tasty Halloween treat awaits your arrival!.
CLICK HERE for more info.



LIVERMORE EVENTS

October 27th - Downtown Livermore Halloween Carnival
Activities for families with children in the 5th grade and younger! Kids will enjoy the Costume and Scream Contest, Carnival Games, Activities and some Surprise Entertainment. Livermore Valley Plaza. CLICK HERE for more info.


October 27-28 - Halloween Candy & Wine Pairing at Cedar Mountain Winery
Come in, if you dare, to try something new! Cedar Mountain is pairing Traditional Halloween Candy with their wines in the Tasting Room this Halloween Weekend. Does it sound kind of spooky? We think you will be delighted with our BOOtiful pairings! Tasting Fees apply. CLICK HERE for more info.




Eat, Drink and Be Scary! at Ghost Winery Flora Springs

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Join Flora Springs Winery for two very special events:

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2011 Ghost Winery Release Party
~ Saturday, October 27th, 10am-4pm
Each year, Flora Springs creates a limited edition varietal to honor their historic "ghost winery." The haunting aromatics and luscious dark fruit flavors of this year's 2011 Ghost Winery Syrah are sure to send a thrill down your spine! Be the first to enjoy the spooktacular taste of the 2011 Ghost Winery Syrah paired with charcuterie and cheese. Costumes encouraged and prizes will be awarded. No extra charge for this event! (No reservation necessary for groups under six. Call The Room at (866) 967.8032 for groups of six or more.

The Ghost Winery Creature Feature Bast

~ Saturday, October 27th; Reception: 5:3pm, Movie: 8:00pm
It's the finale event for the Dinner & Movie Night Series at Flora Spring Winery and it's an evening to DIE for!

Step onto the Hollywood-style red carpet reception with a keepsake photo opportunity. Then experience a memorable tasting of the 2011 Ghost Winery Syrah as you are transported onto the set of the legendary American horror film Sleepy Hollow. Sit down to a hauntingly delicious lobster feed by celebrated Chef John Sorenson before a screening of Sleepy Hollow, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci. Enjoy Halloween candy, popcorn, and a wine bar during the movie. Be sure to come dressed for the occasion as we will be giving out prizes for our favorite costumes.

Tickets are selling out fast for this event! Only $99 per person or $72.20 per person if you are a wine club member. Reservations required. Call The Room at (866) 967.8032 for reservations.


Sonoma: Upcoming Crush and Harvest Events

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sonomaWCWeekend_2012.jpgSEPTEMBER

September 1 -- Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch

Kate MacMurray invites you to enjoy an afternoon of informative and entertaining wine seminars, lively cooking demonstrations and so much more make for an enchanting afternoon enjoying the best of Sonoma County living.
Location: 9015 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448; Fee: $195 Grand Reserve/ $150 General Admission; Time: 11am-4pm;
Phone: 888-668-7729

September 2 -- Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction
It's a fantastic feast for the senses filled with world-class wines, culinary marvels and show stopping spectacles - a wondrous combination of Wine Country elegance and South Asian decadence that promises to be an unforgettable experience.
Location: Chateau St. Jean, 8555 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood CA 95452
Fee: $500; Time: 1pm-7pm; Phone: 707-833-4134

September 15 -- Flavors of Fall at Korbel
Celebration: Join us for "Flavors of Fall" at Korbel Champagne Cellars. Champagne, wine and food Pairings. Special tram tours of the vineyards and crushing facilities. Special discounts offered throughout the Wine Shop. Admission includes a logo glass.
Location: 13250 River Road, Guerneville CA
Fee: $15/$10 Club Members; Time: 11am-3:30pm; Phone: 707-824-7216

Napa Valley: Upcoming Crush & Harvest Events

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peju_GrapeStomp.jpg*AUGUST

August 25 -- Roll Out The Barrels
Annual Grape Stomp

Enjoy a European breakfast before heading into our barrel room cellar to taste a special selection of Peju wines. Then head out to the vineyard for our Annual Grape Stomp Competition. Then enjoy Chef Emily's grilled chicken and ribs before the Crowning of the Stomp King or Queen.
Location: Peju Province Winery, 8466 St. Helena Hwy., Rutherford, CA
Fee: $75 General/$65 Wine Club Member; Time: 10:30am - 1:30pm; Phone: 707.963.3600

CLICK HERE for more August Harvest Events.


*SEPTEMBER

September 15 -- Clif Family Annual Harvest Party
Join Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford for an afternoon of local food, wine, music and art. Wine Tastings, Farm Tours, Food & Wine Pairings, Live Music, Grape Stomping and Local Artisans. Call for more information and to purchase tickets. Tickets are $15 for youth ages 11-20.
Location: 15 Angwin Plaza, Napa, CA; Fee: $50 General/ $25 wine club & CSA members; Time: 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm; Phone: 707-968-0625

September 15 -- Harvest Ball at V. Sattui
Come help us celebrate the Harvest and revisit the culture and cuisine of Italy's best-known region with an authentic and traditional Tuscan banquet combined with Napa Valley hospitality and the finest V. Sattui wines for an evening you will long remember! Chef Osvaldo Baroncelli of Prato Italy along with Napa Valley Chef Shannon Kelly. Make your reservations early!
Location:1111 White Lane, St. Helena CA; Fee: $200 Members / $225 Non-members;
Time: 6 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Phone: (707) 963.7774

Livermore: Annual Harvest Wine Celebration

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livermoreWineHarvestFest_2012.jpgThe 2012 Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration marks the 31st year that people have gathered over Labor Day Weekend to enjoy the fruit of the vines in one of California's oldest wine regions.

Local wineries will offer Livermore Valley's best wine, food, art and music Sunday, September 2 and Monday, September 3 between noon and 5 p.m. Join the fun and festivities and don't forget to purchase tickets early ($55 in advance for 2 day celebration or $65 at the event.

Make it a vacation this Labor Day Weekend in Livermore Wine Country! On top of wine tasting at the festival in Livermore, the Tri-Valley area offers several places to stay and restaurants to dine.. While the ladies do a little shopping or indulge with a spa treatment as the fellas take advantage of the golf scene with courses at Wente Vineyard, Poppy Ridge Golf Course or Callippe Preserve.


Livemore/Tri-Valley: Summer Events Spotlight

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livermoreWineArtStroll.jpgAugust 12. 2012 -- Summer Wine Festival
Saint Mary's College and the Alumni Association invite you to campus for an afternoon of wine tasting, delicious appetizers and fun at the Soda Center. Proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction support student scholarships at Saint Mary's.
Location: Saint Mary's College of California, 1928 Saint Mary's Road, Moraga CA
Fee: Fee varies, call for more information; Time: 2-5p.m.; Phone: 925.631.8744

August 18 -- Country Band and BBQ

Country music by "Cowboy Bill" and a "BYOM" (Bring Your Own Meal) BBQ! We supply the grill with hot coals! Bring your grilling food and side dishes, plates, and utensils. Wine and beverages will be available for purchase. Call for more information at (925) 373-6636. Fee is $5 p/person. No outside alcohol permitted.
Location: Cedar Mountain Winery, 7000 Tesla Rd., Livermore
Fee: $5 per person; Time: 6-9 pm; Phone: 925-373-6636

August 23, 2012 -- Art & Wine Festival

Enjoy a fun-filled evening of local art, wine tasting, small bites from Danville restaurants, the latest offerings from our shops, live music, a commemorative wine glass and trolley rides during the 9th Annual Art and Wine Stroll in Danville. Select businesses will stay open late to host some of our area's finest wines as you stroll throughout downtown Danville, Danville Livery and Rose Garden Shops, enjoy live music and beautiful forms of art throughout the evening. Artists from the Danville Alamo Artists Society will be on hand to discuss their works as well as those in the Blackhawk Gallery.
Location: Downtown Danville, Danville Livery, Rose Garden Sh, Danville, CA 94526
Fee: $25; Time: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.; Phone: 925.339.8330

Napa Valley: Summer Events Spotlight

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*AUGUST

nashvilleInNapa2012.jpgAugust 11 -- Nashville In Napa
Support music education in our local schools and join some of the finest songwriters from Nashville, top winemakers from Napa Valley, and a local Farm-to-Table chef to enjoy music, wine and food. This "one-of-a-kind" evening includes appetizers and sit-down, family style dinner paired with white and red wines poured by the Winemakers themselves! Entertainment takes place inside Baldacci's wine caves and features 7 songwriters performing two 1 hour sets. Location: 6236 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 6236 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA
Fee: $175; Time: 4:30 p.m.; Phone: 707.944.9261

August 11 -- Hands Across The Valley
Join us for the Annual Hands Across The Valley event. Food and Wine Tasting Reception presented by Napa Valley premier restaurants and wineries. A Silent and Live Auction including cult wine lots, private dinners with celebrity chefs and exciting overnight packages. Hot, Hot, Hot Caribbean Theme! Buffet dinner prepared by Culinary Institute Chefs.
Location: The Culinary Institute of America, 2555 Main Street, Napa, CA
Fee: $100; Time: 6 p.m.-11 p.m.; Phone: 707-226-6136

August 17 -- Back Room Blow Out XLVIII
Back Room Wines hosts its 48th "Back Room Blow Out," a walk-around wine tasting, on this Friday evening. Visit and taste with 4 local vintners. Enjoy their wines & hear their stories. Taste wines from Green & Red, Miss Olivia Brion, Phoenix Ranch and Neiman Cellars. Come enjoy this one-of-a-kind event. Wines poured on sale for 10% off tonight only. Location: 1000 Main Street Shop 120, Napa
Fee: $10/credit back with purchase; Time: 5 - 8 P.M.; Phone: (707) 226-1378

Sonoma: Summer Events Spotlight

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AUGUST

alJarreau_RodneyStrongSummerConcertSeries.jpgAugust 11 -- Al Jarreau with The George Duke Trio @ Rodney Strong Vineyards
Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series returns with another season of fine food, wine and incredible music. The summer celebration continues with intimate performances by world-class musicians in a stunning vineyard setting. The Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series continues with performances by Al Jarreau & The George Duke Trio. Doors open at 4pm. Location: 11455 Old Redwood Hwy, Healdsburg, CA
Fee: VIP $80 / GA $50; Time: 5:00 pm; Phone: 707-869-1595 ext. 4

projectZinPic.jpgAugust 17 -- Project Zin @ Hotel Healdsburg
This preeminent wine event will gather some of the most sought after Zinfandels paired with the food of Chef Palmer and other local Sonoma County chefs. All proceeds will benefit the Down Syndrome Association, North Bay.
Location: 25 Matheson Street, Healdsburg CA 95448
Fee: $200; Time: 6:30pm-9:30pm; Phone: 707-431-2800

August 23 -- Ledson Winery - Exclusive Tasting & Winemaker Dinner
Winemaker Dinner: We'll begin the evening with a private tasting. This is a unique opportunity to enjoy some of my most sought-after wines and outstanding futures from both Zina Hyde and Ledson Winery. After the tasting, we'll revel in a magnificent Five-Course Dinner prepared by Executive Chef Anthony Schumaker.
Location: 480 1st St. E., Sonoma, CA
Fee: $125 general/$100 club members; Time: 5:00pm - 9:00pm; Phone: (707) 996-9779


"SOMM" World Premiere at Napa Valley Film Festival!

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Hotly Anticipated Wine Documentary "SOMM" will World Premiere at
Napa Valley Film Festival, November 7-11, 2012

SOMM Documentary premiere teaser trailer, opening documentary at the 2012 Napa Valley Film Festival from Forgotten Man Films on Vimeo.


The Napa Valley Film Festival will kick off with the world premiere of the documentary feature film SOMM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012. SOMM (slang for "sommelier") follows four talented young sommeliers as they cram for the grueling, notoriously difficult Master Sommelier exam.  The exam - a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world - covers everything to do with the pairing of wine and food on a global level.

 "We are honored to host the world premiere of SOMM," said Marc Lhormer, Executive & Artistic Director of the Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF).  "Not only is the content a perfect fit for the food and wine-obsessed culture of Napa Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, but the film itself is a tremendously well-executed, hilarious and compelling thrill ride of a documentary that will appeal to a broad movie-going audience.

In addition to its four engaging subjects, SOMM also includes appearances and enlightening commentary from a who's who of top food and wine personalities, including sommelier Rajat Parr, chef Michael Mina, winemaker Bo Barrett, wine legend Fred Dame, and many others.

Celebrating July 4th in Sonoma

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fireworks2.jpg*Updated for 2013!

4th of July Celebrations and Parades Around Sonoma County

4th of July Parade and Fireworks on Sonoma Plaza
Sonoma's Fourth of July on the Plaza and fireworks display is a small town festival that makes you feel proud to be an American. Kick off the day with a parade featuring marching bands at 10am and then enjoy  live music, games, and a chance to hang out in Sonoma's historic plaza before the big fireworks show at dusk. Don't forget to try a hot dog or some apple pie. CLICK HERE for more details.

4th Of July Kids Parade in Healdsburg Plaza

Back by popular demand is the Kids' Parade held on the 4th of July. This year's event will be held in Healdsburg Plaza! Highlights, beside the actual parade and prizes, will be pie eating contests, duck decorating, face painting and live music provided by The Russian River Ramblers. CLICK HERE for more details.

Independence Day: Red, White, & Boom

Join Sonoma County Fairgrounds for an afternoon and evening of food, live music, kid's activities, and fun for the whole family! Checkout their fantastic lineup of local bands and enjoy great food from the many local vendors who will serve up specialties.  For the kids, there will a watermelon eating contest, jumpy houses, face painters, clowns and more. CLICK HERE for more details.

4th of July Buffet at Depot Hotel
This year Depot Hotel is your one stop 4th of July party where you can eat delicious food, drink until your heart's content and enjoy a beautiful display of fireworks. The Chef and staff celebrate America's Birthday by putting on a lavish Fourth of July buffet dinner. Best of all, you don't have to leave the restaurant in order to watch fireworks. Depot Hotel is one of the few restaurants in town lucky enough to have the fireworks go off in the air right above the Garden. CLICK HERE for more details.

Celebrating July 4th in Napa Valley

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fireworks.jpg*Updated for 2013!

There are several events featuring wine & food, live music, and of course, fireworks in Napa Valley leading up to July 4th which is during the middle of the week this year. Check out the events happening before, on Independence Day, and the weekend after too!

July 3rd - 7th -- Napa County Fair & Fireworks Show
Pack up the family and spend five days of summer sizzle celebrating Independence Day with live music, chef demos, wine pavilion, olive oil tastings, art exhibits and much more! Plus enjoy a Fourth of July Parade and a spectacular fireworks show. Come be rewarded with the unique experience of celebrating America's birthday in a rural setting that offers up loads of small-town "Americana" charm. Click Here for more details.

Napa Valley -  City Wide 4th of July Celebrations and Parades
 
  • American Canyon - 4th of July Celebration
  • Join American Canyon for a spectacular July 4th celebration. The all-day event will include the morning parade, afternoon picnic - which will include fun and free activities, contests and relays for the whole family, food and entertainment, and end with evening fireworks. Click Here for more details.
  • Napa - 4th of July Parade and Festival in Downtown Napa
  • Enjoy the colorful sights and sounds of the Pepperettes, Napa fire trucks, classic cars, and so much more at this year's parade and 4th of July celebration. This year's theme is "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Also, Grand Marshall Margrit Mondavi and Chair Doris Gentry will be present. After the parade there will be a festival downtown with beer, wine, food as well as candy and jump houses for the kids and then a fabulous fireworks show. Click Here for more details.
  • Calistoga - 4th of July Parade in Downtown Calistoga
  • Join downtown Calistoga for their all-American celebration, starting with the 79th running of the 4th of July Parade. Thousands of smiling faces line the streets as friends and families share in this patriotic, community tradition. See floats, decorated cars, live bands, and more! Click Here for more details.  

July 4 -- Louis M. Martini Winery Fireworks Spectacular
Spend this 4th of July with the Martini family, as they celebrate 18 years of historic fireworks in St. Helena. Spend time with Mike Martini, third-generation winemaker, and enjoy a Napa-style feast, delectable wine and food pairings, live entertainment and family activities - all culminating in a world-class fireworks display, set against the stunning backdrop of the Napa Valley. Reserve tickets in advance. Click Here for more details.

Dinner & Movie Night Series

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What better way to spend a summer night then at the movies!  Flora Springs Winery is hosting "Dinner & Movie Night Series" June - October and it's perfect for date night!

floraSpringsWinery_MovieNightSeries.jpg

Share a delicious Lobster Feed dinner paired with Flora Springs wines in their Vineyard Courtyard. Follow it up sitting fireside, sipping wine and watching a movie on the Rooftop Lounge, overlooking the vineyards and the mountains. Of course, there will also be all your favorite traditional snacks to enjoy during the movie.

Movie nights are open to the public but there is limited availability and and advanced reservations are required. Fees: $99 per person; Wine Club Members, $79.20 per person. See list of films below:

June 30th - A Good Year
(view trailer)
Wine and dinner starts at 6:30pm, movie starts at 8:30 pm.

July 28th - The Ways of Wine
(view trailer)
Wine and dinner starts at 5:50 pm, movie starts at 7:50 pm.

Give the Gift of Golf!

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Show Dad you appreciate him with the gift of GOLF!

SilveradoResortGolf.jpg
*Dudes' or Dads' Retreat at Silverado Resort and Spa!
This Ultimate Gentleman's Getaway package offers unlimited* golf for groups of two or four, with accommodations in a deluxe one- or two-bedroom fireplace suite. (Available June 1 - Nov. 17, 2012). Package also includes:

  • Callaway Razr X Rentals
  • 6 Callaway golf balls
  •  Silverado golf hat and shirt
  • $100 spa credit per person for any 50-minute men's treatment (Go Golf Facial, Golfers Massage, or Golfers Reflexology)
  • 100 credit per person for resort dining
CLICK HERE for more details.

Jazzy Summer Nights at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards

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sonomaCutrer_jazzSeries1.jpgSonoma-Cutrer Vineyards will be hosting a new jazz series called "Jazzy Summer Nights" featuring three fantastic Jazz concerts:

Saturday June 23rd The Andrew Speight Quintet
Renowned Australian Alto Saxophonist with his band
"Andrew Speight will carry the music's torch into the next millennium." Wynton Marsalis

Saturday July 21st The Al Molina Latin Jazz Sextet
Legendary Bay Area Latin jazz icon featuring Percussionist Louie Romero

Saturday August 18th Deborah Winters
With Peter Welker's All Star 10 piece band

sonomaCutrer_JazzSeries.jpgMateo Granados will be offering his delicious Yucatan Cuisine from his legendary food truck.
These will be intimate gatherings with limited seating; concerts are 6-8pm. Purchase your tickets now for a fabulous summer of jazz and fine wine before they sell out! Tickets are $35 for each concert and available at www.sonomacutrer.com or by calling 707-237-3489.

Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards is located on 400 picturesque acres in the heart of the Russian River Valley and is host to the annual North American Croquet Championships held on world class croquet courts. Sonoma-Cutrer may be the best outdoor venue in Sonoma County to enjoy great music, wine and friends. Do not miss this rare opportunity to hear live music at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards!

Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards
4401 Slusser Road, Windsor, CA 95492
(707) 237.3489
Special Tasting Offer


Annual Summer Concerts in Wine Country

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Wine Country is host to several annual musical festivals and summer concerts boasting some of the most popular acts around the country. See this year's line-up, mark your calendars and get tickets before they sell out!



*June 29, 2013 - July 20, 2013
Robert Mondavi Summer Music Festival
The Robert Mondavi Summer Music Festival Now is a highlight of the summer season in Napa Valley featuring top musical acts. This year includes Martina McBride, Lifehouse, Huey Lewis & the News, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, and ZZ Ward and Delta Rae.
Click Here to see full concert details.


*July 10th - Sept. 12th, 2013
Wente Vineyards Summer Concert Series
Wente Vineyards Concert Series is back for it's 27th season with eight stellar performances by top name headliners all set against the stunning backdrop of Wente Vineyrads stunning vineyards. This year's lineup includes "Martina McBride, Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Huey Lewis & the News, Counting Crows, Styx, Chicago, Chris Botti, and Reo Speedwagon. More Concert Details.

*July 12-21, 2013
Festival del Sole
Napa Valley Festival del Sole is an annual celebration of the arts featuring world-class music, dance, theater, and of course, incomparable wines and delectable food. Highlights include performances by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Sarah Chang, Russian National Orchestra, and also a series of vintner luncheons, galas, dinners, and much more! More details

*August 3rd - Sept 1st, 2013
Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series
An incredible season of fine food, wine and, of course, music is back this summer at Rodney Strong Vineyards featuring intimate performances by world-class musicians in a stunning vineyard setting. Check out the Video!

For more concerts happening this summer, see the regional events calendars.
 Napa Valley Events Calendar , Sonoma County Events Calendar, Livermore Events Calendar

Rodney Strong Vineyards - Summer Concert Series

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Al Green and Huey Lewis & The News to Headline

The 22nd annual Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series returns with another season of fine food, wine and incredible music. The summer celebration runs from June through September with intimate performances by world-class musicians in a stunning vineyard setting.  See the video and complete 2012 lineup below!



Saturday, June 16, 2012
Tower of Power; Craig Chaquico
For over 40 years, Tower of Power has been creating their own kind of urban soul music, led by their tight rhythm section, a horn-driven sound and funky vocals. Over the years, members of TOP have recorded with hundreds of artists such as Aerosmith, Elton John, and Santana. Also performing will be Craig Chaquico, a founding member and lead guitarist for multi-platinum bands Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Starship.
Doors: 4 p.m./Show: 5 p.m. | Tickets:  VIP $80 / GA $50

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Al Green
11-time Grammy Award-Winner, Al Green, is one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music, selling more than 20 million records over his 40-year career. Recognized as one of the top male singers in the world, Green rose to prominence in the Seventies with hits such as "Let's Stay Together", "Love and Happiness", "I'm Still in Love With You", and "Tired Of Being Alone". 
Doors: 4 p.m./Show: 5 p.m. | Tickets:  VIP $115 / GA $75

Saturday, July 28, 2012
Dave Koz; Bebe Winans
Saxophonist Dave Koz has established himself as one of the most prominent figures in contemporary music. Koz's 2012 album, Hello Tomorrow, debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard's and iTunes' Contemporary Jazz charts, and Dave currently hosts the worldwide-syndicated Dave Koz Radio Show. Opening for Koz is groundbreaking R&B/Gospel vocalist Bebe Winans. Alongside his sister, the duo of BeBe & CeCe Winans have received numerous accolades, including four Grammy Awards, ten Dove Awards, two NAACP Awards and a Soul Train Award. Doors: 4 p.m./Show: 5 p.m. | Tickets:  VIP $90 / GA $60

Memorial Day Weekend Activities in Napa Valley

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EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

iStock_oyster.jpgMay 26 -- Spring Oyster Bar & Barbeque @ Sequoia Grove
 Enjoy Hog Island Oyster Company oysters (raw or barbequed), Boudin Bakery soup in San Francisco Sourdough breadbowls and the inaugural release of our new summertime sipper, Rebellious White. Soak in the sunshine as you dine in our newly landscaped courtyard beside our mighty Sequoias and gorgeous flower gardens. RSVP required.
Location: Sequoia Grove Winery, 8338 St. Helena Hwy, Napa CA 94558
Fee: $55/$45 Wine Club Members; Time: 12pm-4pm; Phone: 707-944-2945 x111

May 26 -- Renegade a Tribute to Styx @ Silo's

Renegade returns to Silo's with new music, the best line-up ever, and a new show. Renegade will perform your favorite Rock Classics, including the hits of Styx along with covers from Journey, Kansas, Edgar Winter, REO Speedwagon, Boston, Night Ranger, Doobie Brothers, The Beatles, and much more.
Location: Silo's, 530 Main Street, Napa CA 94559
Fee: $20 Advance/$25 At the Door/$14 Members; Time: 8pm-11pm;  Phone: 707-251-5833

May 26 - 27 -- Wine Country Passport Weekend 2012
Enjoy a boutique collection of four unique tasting experiences this Memorial Day Weekend. At each winery guests will enjoy a private event hosted just for passport holders celebrating "the first sips of summer". Featured wineries include Beringer Vineyards, Chateau St. Jean, Etude, St. Clement Vineyards.
Fee: $50 Advance/$60 Day of Event; Time: 11am-4pm; Phone: 877-847-0058

sterlingVineyards_GreekFestival.jpgMay 27 -- Sterling Vineyards Greek Festival
Not everybody can take a summer vacation to Greece...so Sterling Vineyards is bringing Greece to you with our Inaugural Greek Festival!

Join us for this can't miss event celebrating all things Greek: the wine, the food, the music, the culture, the lifestyle. Event price includes food and wine at the Greek Festival, plus aerial tram, self-guided tour, complimentary tasting of five wines and a souvenir wine glass. Call to RSVP.
Location: Sterling Vineyards, 1111 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga CA 94515
Fee: $85/$75 Wine Club Members; Time: 11:30am-2:30pm; Phone: 800-726-6136 x1

Memorial Day Weekend Events in Sonoma County

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EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

chateauStJean_patio.jpgMay 26 - 27 -- Chateau St. Jean's Memorial Day Passport Weekend
Memorial Day brings one of our favorite Open House events of the year. Along with many exciting new wine releases, we are offering a relaxed feel in a sumptuous decor.

You'll agree with us when we say: "A visit to St. Jean is like a restorative stay in the French countryside." Come experience the good life!

Location: Chateau St. Jean, 8555 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood
Fee: Free entry, $15/person, $25/Reserve Wine; Time: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.;
Phone: 707-833-4134

May 26 - 28 -- Tea & Memories in the Rose Garden
Sip organic tea and add a personal message to our Memorial Wishing Tree. Honor a living loved one, or offer a message in memory or even share a positive thought with the world. The tree will fill with these lovely fluttering messages. Last year's inaugural event was a tremendous hit. Enjoy tranquility in the gardens.
Location: Russian River Rose Company, 1685 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg
Fee: $2 donation appreciated; Time: 10:00 a,m. - 5:00 p.m.; Phone: 707-433-7455

May 27 -- Oysterpalooza! @ Valley Ford Hotel
Food & Wine Festival: Spend your Memorial Day weekend on the Sonoma Coast and come see a one of a kind music and food festival. Seven amazing bands on two stages, BBQ oysters, Fried Oyster Po Boys, Red Beans \& Rice, Spicy Crayfish, BBQ Brisket, Local Wines and much more!
Location: 14415 Coast Highway 1, Valley Ford, CA
Fee: $15; Time: 12 p.m.; Phone: 707.876.1983

May 27 -- The Whole Hog @ Tara Firma Farms

Celebration: Shane Valentine is back to launch our inaugural Memorial Day Pig Roast- Puerto Rican style! The whole day will be a celebration with live music. We supply the succulent pig main course, and you bring your favorite side dish to share that serves 6-8, your own plates and flatware for a zero-waste event.
Location: 3796 I Street, Petaluma, CA
Fee: $25/kids under 12 free; Time: 3am-9pm; reservations encouraged;
Phone: 707.765.1202

Robert Mondavi Summer Concert Series

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robertMondavi_concertImages.jpgNow in its 43rd year, the Robert Mondavi Winery Summer Concert Series is a highlight of the summer season in the Napa Valley, bringing together wine, food, music and the arts for beautiful evenings in the vineyards. Buy tickets to some of the hot acts coming to the Valley this year!

June 30: O.A.R.'s "Celebrating Fume Blanc: An American Classic" performance and a firework show. A portion of each ticket sold for this concert will benefit The Heard the World Fund. The organization helps support youth, education and sustainable programs internationally.

July 6: The Plain White T's headline the "Celebrating the Bounty of Napa and Local Sustainability" concert. This two-time Grammy-nominated band, known for their hit "Hey There, Delilah," brings their heartfelt lyrics and sweet melodies.

July 7: The "Spotlight on Oakville" concert features Natasha Bedingfield. Another Grammy-nominated artist in this summer's concert lineup, Bedingfield brings a soulful voice and an upbeat European flair to the stage.

July 14
: Perhaps best known for their hit "Superman," Five for Fighting brings their smooth vocals to the winery on July 14 for the "Hope in the Vineyard" concert. City of Hope is a national cancer research and treatment center, providing patients with specialized care.

July 21: The summer concert series concludes with the "Spotlight on To Kalon" performance. The artist for this concert will be released later this spring.

For more information and to purchase tickets, CLICK HERE!

Hiking in the Vineyards of Sonoma Valley, "Inn to Inn"

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wineCountryTrekking_Logo.jpgWalking, wine and food - what better way to experience the outdoors and the beauty and bounty of the Sonoma Valley?  Based on a centuries old travel tradition in Europe; Wine Country Trekking provides "inn to inn" self-guided hiking experiences in Sonoma and surrounding areas.  Unlike the mountain huts on some inn to inn hikes, Wine Country Trekking treks end each day at a boutique luxury inn.

During the day trekkers either hike through beautiful state parks or meander along country lanes and through vineyards stopping for personalized wine appointments. These appointments include unique experiences, such as visits with winemakers, and cave and mountaintop tours, all while sipping delicious Sonoma wines. Each night there are excellent restaurant choices available within walking distance.  

The best part about a Wine Country Trek is that it is all-inclusive (with the exception of dinners) so just call or click and the perfect active vacation in the Sonoma wine country becomes reality. The next best part Wine Country Treks is that you are with your own group - no strangers and no cars, tour guides, vans or buses!  Their unique system of inn-to inn hiking starts with the Planning Guide, delivered via email and snail mail upon booking with your complete itinerary, including restaurant reviews and a packing list.  After review all you have to do is let them know your restaurant preferences and if you'd like any spa treatments.  Shortly before the Trek their custom Trail Guide is mailed to you with each day perfectly outlined including step by step Trail Notes and waterproof maps.  

Wine Country Insider: Art Walking Tours

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by Courtney Cochran

When it comes to inspiration, wine country is about as alluring as it gets.  And so it is that wine country art - especially the kind you can meander amongst, on walking tours - takes on especially vivid expression. Whether it's made or just displayed in this lovely setting, it's more than worth a gander. Please allow us to steer you towards some rewarding walks.  

Napa: West End
Encompassing an approximately 6-block area in this once sleepy wine country seat, Napa's West End is a neighborhood offering arts of various intriguing sorts. From traditional art galleries - First Street's Quent Cordair comes to mind with its substantial collection of romantic realistic works - to tasting room installations to a fully restored, circa-1937 Art Deco theater, the Uptown, Napa's West End offers much to see on a stroll. Chris Isaak and Rusted Root are among the top-notch performances that can be seen at the Uptown, along with its colorful (original!) neon marquee. Or, come Saturday night, stop into Ceja Vineyards' tasting room for a rotating selection of artworks in addition to pours, then dance the night away via the spot's free salsa lessons.  

Need some mementos? Pick these up at the West End Napa gift store inside the contemporary Avia Hotel building. It's also where the neighborhood "living room" can be found, natch. The area is couched in the western portion of downtown Napa, approximately from School to Randolph streets and from First to Third streets.

napaArtWalk.jpgNapa ARTwalk Momentum: Art that Moves (Us)
Arts Council Napa Valley (ACNV) and the Napa Community Redevelopment Agency have announced the return of the Napa ARTwalk interactive public sculpture exhibition and tour in downtown Napa. The second ARTwalk, titled "Momentum: Art that Moves (Us)," launched on October 19th 2011 and will be on exhibition through April, 2013 in downtown Napa. 

Art works - which hew to a new theme each exhibition - are selected with the help of CaFE (callforentry.org) and a panel of local art administrators, artists, and city officials.  The cost is free, and exhibits can be accessed throughout the day, 365 days a year, at visitors' leisure.  Download a map here, and for more information, call 707-257-2117.

Mother's Day Events in Sonoma

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floriaFerrerBrutBottle.jpgMay 13 - Mom's & Music & Bubbles @ Gloria Ferrer
Treat your Mom to a Sparkling Celebration on Mother's Day. Join us at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards for a casual, relaxed afternoon with live music, sparkling wine with cheeses, spreads and desserts to complement your bubbly. Feel free to bring the whole family! Live music by North Bay Singer/Songwriter Dustin Saylor.
Fee: $35.00 general, $29.75 club member; Time: 2:00pm-4:00pm; Phone: 707-933-1931

May 13 -- Mother's Day Tasting @ Valley of the Moon Winery

Moms, stop by Valley of the Moon Winery for complimentary wine tasting and fabulous discounts on gifts and wine purchases. Valley of the Moon Winery delivers a unique flavor of California. They produce ultra-premium Sonoma wines that embrace both time honored wine-making tradition and state-of-the-art production.
Location: Valley of the Moon Winery, 777 Madrone Rd, Glen Ellen
Fee: Free; Time: 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Phone: 707-939-4510

May 13 -- Mother's Day Safari at Safari West
Run like a Cheetah to Brunch on the Sonoma Serengeti. Enjoy a special Mothers Day tour aboard The African Queen along with some other surprises! What could be more extraordinary than spending Mother's Day amongst some of the word's most elegant creatures? Our chef is preparing a glorious champagne brunch featuring delectable selections especially for you.
Location: Safari West, 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa
Fee: $68 for adults; $35 for children (ages 4-12); Time: Morning & Afternoon packages available; Phone: (707) 579.2551 or 800.616.2695

MothersDay.jpgMay 13 -- Mother's Day Plant Sale & Free Corsages
Bring Mom to Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, one the most beautiful places in Sonoma County. Buy her a living gift, take a docent-led tour of the historic Burbank home, and browse in the Carriage House Museum & Gift Shop. Ladies will receive a fresh flower corsage; come early while the supply lasts.
Location: Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, 204 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa CA
Fee: Free Admission/ Historic Home Tour $7; Time: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Phone: 707-524-5445

Festival del Sole 2012

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NAPA VALLEY, CA - Festival del Sole in partnership with IMG Artists returns for another spectacular season, July 13-22, 2012, in California's beautiful Napa Valley.

CatellodiAmorosa_FestivalDelSole.jpgPhoto credit: Vi Bottaro

Set among lush, rolling foothills and breathtaking vineyard landscapes, Napa Valley Festival del Sole blends world-class artistry, gourmet cuisine, fine wines and lifestyle programs in a unique celebration of the art of life, all during a ten-day experience the New York Times calls a "feast for the senses."

Among the artists appearing this season are violinist Joshua Bell, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, sopranos Danielle de Niese and Lisa Delan, baritone Nathan Gunn, cellist Nina Kotova, guitarist Angel Romero, pianist Hélène Grimaud, the Russian National Orchestra, and members of the Bolshoi Ballet.

Other highlights include the Napa premiere of 24 Hour Plays, an exciting feat of extreme theater, which involves writing, rehearsing and performing a series of plays in just 24 hours - in this case 4 plays with musical interludes from Vivaldi's Four Seasons.


Sonoma Spotlight: Dry Creek Valley

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by Courtney Cochran

DryCreekValley_VineyardinSonomaCounty.jpgOrganic farms and Rhône varieties and lots of cycling, oh my! Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley - encompassing 16 miles north-south in Sonoma's bucolic northwestern corner - is a quieter part of the county that beckons with gracious vineyards, welcoming wineries and a rustic agrarian atmosphere that's downright soothing.  Come along as we take a closer look.

Getting There
Dry Creek is easily reached from adjacent Healdsburg and also makes a reasonable day trip from other parts of the county.  Coming from the south, exit 101 at Dry Creek Road and head northwest. Coming from Mendocino and the north, exit 101 at Dutcher Creek Road to tackle the valley from the northern end, heading south. From Healdsburg, access the valley via Dry Creek Road or start at the far southern end of the valley - via Westside Road - if you have time for a longer drive.    

Weather, What to Expect
Dry Creek Valley is one of Sonoma's numerous excellent wine-producing valleys.  Though it is one of those more closely situated to the ocean (it's just about 20 miles inland from the Pacific), Dry Creek experiences significantly warm temperatures during summer months.  During this time, heat necessitates smart warm weather preparation such as taking plenty of water with you, stopping to rest if pursuing cycling or other physically activities, and avoiding excessive sun exposure during peak sunshine periods. Evening temperatures are cool year-round, and winter is cool and wet during the rainy season. Spring and fall offer the mellowest conditions for traveling, and fog can be found in the morning year-round.  

Napa Valley Opera House - Upcoming Shows! Discount Tickets!

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The arts are flourishing in Napa Valley. The Napa Valley Opera House just hosted the trumpeter Chris Botti and it was a sold out crowd! Don't wait till the last minute on upcoming performances scheduled for April!

sierraMaestra.jpgSierra Maestra - April 1, 2012
One of the original, pioneering Cuban bands; Tickets are $30/$35
Stars of Cuban music ever since they formed in the late 1970s, five of the original nine members remain in the band. Sierra Maestra was the first, and remains the best, of the modern-era groups to play in the old-style son line-up: tres, guitar, one trumpet, bongo, güiro and vocals -- as during the style's golden age of the 1920s and '30s. They have been the pioneers in reviving this style for new generations and reintroducing it into the Cuban mainstream. They named themselves after the mountain range in the eastern part of Cuba as a tribute to the birthplace of son.

**Use special promo code <1030> at check out to receive a buy-one, get-one-free ticket discount.

hermetoPascoal.jpgHermeto Pascoal - April 6, 2012
Innovative Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist, Tickets are $30/$35
Pascoal is a greatly beloved musical figure in the history of Brazilian music, known for his abilities at orchestration and improvisation, as well as being a record producer and contributor to many other Brazilian and international albums. His career began in 1964 with appearances on several Brazilian recordings alongside relatively unknown groups. These now-classic albums and the musicians involved (Edu Lobo, Elis Regina, Cesar Camargo Mariano) established widely influential new directions in post-bossa Brazilian jazz. Known as o Bruxo (the Sorcerer), Hermeto often makes music with unconventional objects such as teapots, children's toys, and animals, as well as keyboards, button accordion, melodica, saxophone, guitar, flute, voice, various brass and folkloric instruments.

**Use special promo code <1030> at check out to receive a buy-one, get-one-free ticket discount.

Napa Valley Events: April Highlights

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There are some fabulous events happening in Napa Valley during the month of April. Check your calendar and mark the ones you'll definitely want to attend!

NAPA VALLEY EVENTS

April 7 -- Reach for the Stars Fashion Show

This annual luncheon event features a fashion show dedicated to all those who have ever been touched by cancer. The lunch is followed by the fashion show with models that are cancer survivors and are "Reaching for the Stars." Proceeds from the event will go to the Queen's Cancer Wellness Program.
Location: Silverado Resort & Spa, 1600 Atlas Peak Road, Napa CA
Fee: Call for information & tickets; Time: Call for information; Phone: 707-257-4044

easter_ChocolateBunny.jpgApril 8 -- Hunt for the Hare Easter Celebration at Safari West
Looking for hare-raising adventure this Easter? Join the animals of Safari West (and their human companions) for our annual "Hunt for the Hare", an egg-straordinary Easter celebration and brunch.
Location: 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa
Fee: $68 Adults/$35 Children (Ages 4-12); Time: Morning & Afternoon packages available Phone: 707-579-2551

April 14 -- CSPF's Earth Day Restoration & Cleanup

 Volunteers are needed at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park for the 15th Annual California State Parks Foundation's Earth Day Restoration & Cleanup presented by PG&E. The water wheel will be restored. To volunteer on Earth Day please call or register online.
Location: Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park, 3369 St. Helena Hwy North, St. Helena CA
Fee: Free; Time: 8:30am-4pm; Phone: 888-98-PARKS


Relax with a Cold Brew . . .

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calistogaInn&Brewery.jpgWhat better way to relax from a day of wine tasting or a day of work than with a cold brew, great food, and live music?! Swing by Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery to hang out with the locals and have a good time.

This coming weekend they celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a traditional Irish Dinner including Corned Beef Brisket, Mashed potatoes & Steamed Cabbage, Chocolate Paddy Cake and much more all while listening to the sounds of Greenhouse who will be playing Irish music. If you can't make it this Saturday, be sure to check out Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery throughout the year for weekly live music sessions and of course, beer tastings.

THE BREWERY

In 1987, the Calistoga Inn gave birth to Calistoga beer and the Napa Valley Brewing Company. The Inn was the first establishment to brew beer commercially in Napa County since the days of prohibition. It brews four principle beers: Calistoga Wheat Ale, Pilsner, Red Ale & Porter. In addition, other seasonal beers are brewed throughout the year, such as the German Kölsch, Blitzen I.P.A., Belgian Pale Ale & Dugan Oatmeal Stout. They have won numerous awards for their beer, including both bronze and gold finishes at the Great American Beer Fest in Denver, Colorado, and blue ribbons at the California State Fair.

Brewery tours are available Monday - Friday with our Brewmaster, Brad Smisloff.
Call in advance for an appointment: 707-942-4101

Click Here to check out the Brewer's Blog!

St. Patrick's Day Events in Napa Valley

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stPatricksDay.jpgMarch 17  - Cosmos Percussion Orchestra @ Silo's
Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day with "Cosmos Percussion Orchestra". Dance to the original seductive driving rhythms and percussion music from the range of world beat cultures, traditional and fusion, created by the group. All tickets include free shaker to join in.

Location: Silo's Jazz Club, 530 Main Street, Napa
Fee: $20 Advance/$25 At the Door/$14 Club; Time: 8pm; Phone: 707-251-5833

March 17 - The Shamrock Shin Dig at Embassy Suites Hotel

Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day at "The Shamrock Shin Dig!" A crazy-fun event with great food from local chefs, dinner, dancing, libations and unique silent auction lots. Benefiting Alta Heights Magnet School. Must be 21 or over.
Location: Embassy Suites Hotel, 1075 California Blvd, Napa; Fee: $45 in Advance; Time: 6pm; Phone: 707-224-2679


Recharge and Take a Hike!

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napaLandTrust_websiteImage1.jpgDiscover the beauty of Napa Valley up close and personal when you hike through a variety of nature's corridors through field trips sponsored by the The Land Trust of Napa County. Enjoy a hike, educational walk or even a kayaking experience. But space is limited, so check the calendar and sign up early!

MARCH HIGHLIGHTS - UPCOMING FIELD TRIPS

Saturday, March 10th at 9am - Foote Botanical Preserve Workday
Get together with other volunteers on Mount George for half a day having fun trimming the hiking trails, viewing wildflowers and taking pictures. Bring work gloves, small hand saws and loppers if you have them.

Sunday, March 18th at 9am - Audubon-Cheyney Adventure
Don't be fooled - this hike is not for the faint at heart! The first part of this hike has rough fire roads, a narrow trail and a stream crossing, but we'll see amazing views of northern Napa Valley and the Bell Canyon Reservoir. Bring your hearty lunch as we stop and explore the 20th century homestead near Bell Creek. The adventure begins after lunch as we begin hiking up the creek - be prepared for rock-hopping, boulder-scrambling, debris-crossing, and vegetation-brushing paths en route to the magnificent Devil's Punchbowl, a unique waterfall and grotto in Napa County.

Park the Car - Go on a Bike Ride!

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Despite popular belief, you don't always need a car to go wine tasting in Napa Valley. In fact, we encourage you to park your car and leisurely take a bike ride tour. Check out some of the Napa Valley Bike Tour Companies offering several different types of cycling tours and a Best of the Web Special Offer Guarantee!

bikeRide_Picnic.jpg*Getaway Adventures
Getaway Adventures offers tours in both Napa Valley and Sonoma. One of their most popular biking day tours is the Calistoga Sip N' Cycle that takes you through the quiet and scenic northern Napa Valley vineyards and includes stops at wineries for tasting and a delicious wine country picnic lunch.

Currently, they are offering a BEST OF THE WEB SPECIAL OFFER GUARANTEE on their Sip N' Cycle tours in Calistoga in Napa Valley, the Carneros District or in Healdsburg (Sonoma County). It's a steal of a deal, where you only pay $98 per person (normally $149pp). You won't see this offer anywhere else on the web. CLICK HERE to see offer details.

Recharge . . . Your Senses, Body, and Mind

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MARCH INTO NAPA VALLEY..

RECHARGE . . . your mind & body with scores of activities that will revive the senses in Wine Country. Whether it's the exhilarating rush of the wind in your face as you bike ride through the vineyards, the majestic views of Napa Valley as you soar above the clouds on a balloon ride, the blooming spring wild mustard fields and budding vines on a hike, or even a kayak adventure - we are sure you'll find something to happily distract yourself for a couple of hours as you rediscover and unleash your inner child!

calistogaBalloons.jpgRecharge Your Senses and Take Flight
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. READ MORE . . .


bikeRide_Picnic.jpgPark the Car - Go on A Bike Ride!
Despite popular belief, you don't always need a car to go wine tasting in Napa Valley. In fact, we encourage you to park your car and leisurely take a bike ride tour. Check out some of the Napa Valley Bike Tour Companies offering several different types of cycling tours and a Best of the Web Special Offer Guarantee! READ MORE . . .



golfIstock.jpgGet into the "Swing" of Things
Whether you're after the country club afternoon, the relaxation of a resort, or the challenge of one of the toughest public course in the region, Napa Valley offers a golf experience to suit all tastes - and skill levels for that matter. READ MORE . . .


Rejuvenate . . . at the Spa!

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What better way to rejuvenate and restore that youthful vigor and appearance than with a relaxing spa treatment. Whether a cleansing European facial, deep tissue massage to work out all the kinks, or a mani/pedi escape - Napa Valley is full of choices to suit your fancy! Check out some of the specials running right now . . .

*The Spa at Silverado Resort & Spa
Inspired by the serene sophistication of a classic Roman spa, The Spa at Silverado offers fitness, spa and salon services surrounded by tranquil garden courtyards and breathtaking scenic views. Book the Spa Getaway Package featuring overnight accommodations, 50-minute spa treatment, complimentary wine tasting passes, and much more!
CLICK HERE for more details.


HEALDSBURG, Calif. -- Healdsburg's "Epicurean Winter" heads into its third and final month with events dedicated entirely to pork and pinot noir, consecutive barrel tasting weekends and even a chance to dine, drink and donate to benefit the region's renowned Healdsburg Jazz Festival. The affordable, off-season lodging packages, regional dinner specials and wine pairings that have been a part of "Epicurean Winter" from its January 1 launch continue through March 31 as Healdsburg showcases its culinary bounty.

wineRoad_WineGlassLogo.jpgMarch Highlights:

EVENTS

March 2-4 and March 9-11: Barrel Tasting Weekends
Healdsburg lies in at the intersection of three celebrated appellations - Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, and the Russian River Valley - making it the ideal location for wine lovers to sample some of the best wine in the state. Now in its 34th year, this event gives ticket holders the chance to experience private winery tours, taste new wines from the barrel, and sample tasting-room-only and limited production wines. Special offers available at many participation wineries; some tastings by appointment only. Tickets start at $25; visit www.wineroad.com/events or call 888-251-0560 for details.

March 23-24: Pigs & Pinot 2012 - All tickets to this annual event are already sold out!

Now - March 31: Sonoma Neighbor Menu & Live Jazz
Diners will enjoy live jazz accompanying their three-course tasting menu on Mondays and Tuesdays at Hotel Healdsburg's Dry Creek Kitchen.  $36 per guest, $51 with paired wines; $2 from each menu will be donated to the Healdsburg Education Foundation.  For details, visit us online or call 707-431-1500.

Now - March 31: A Taste of Pigs & Pinot
Dry Creek Kitchen will be featuring a special pork and pinot noir pairings all month; starting March 24, diners will have a chance to order an actual dish from the popular Pigs & Pinot Gala Dinner paired with the official Pinot Cup winner. For details, visit online or call 707-433-1500.

Now - March 31: Epicurean Winter Wine Tour
Healdsburg Area Winery Tours specializes in private wine tasting tours customized to guests' personal wine preferences and destination interests. Mention "Epicurean Winter" when making reservations and receive a 10% discount on certain tours. For details, visit www.healdsburgareawinerytours.com or call 707-433-6090.

Tri-Valley Events: February 15, 2012 - February 22, 2012

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Mark Your Calendars

Dublin St. Patrick's Day Celebration

March 17, 2012 - March 18, 2012 - Civic Plaza
  • Festival Friday & Saturday, March 17 & 18 10:00am - 5:00pm.
  • Green & White Gala: Friday, March 16, 7:00pm - Dublin Senior Center.
  • Parade: Saturday, March 17, 9:30am - Dublin Blvd.
  • Pancake Breakfast: Saturday, Macrh 17, 7:00 - 10:00am - Fire Station #16.
  • Shamrock 5K Fun Run & Walk: Sunday, March 18, 8:30am - Civic Plaza.

Goodguys 30th All American Get-Together
March 24 - March 25, 2012 - Alameda County Fairgrounds
4501 Pleasanton Avenue, Pleasanton, CA 94566-7001

Features: Over 3,000 All American or American Powered Rods, Customs, Classics, Muscle Cars, Street Machines & Trucks • Vendors & Exhibitors • Indoor & Outdoor Car Show • Huge Swap Meet & Cars 4 Sale Corral • Model & Pedal Car Show • Arts & Crafts Show • Kids Play Area • Pinstripers Brush Bash & Auction. For more information visit www.allamericangettogether.com


Barrel Tasting Weekend
March 31, 2012 - April 1, 2012 -- March 31-April 1, 2012 (12-4:30pm)

Sample wines right out of the barrel from over 35 wineries during Livermore Valley's 4th Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend. This is your chance to taste wines before they have been bottled, getting a behind the scenes look into the wine-making process. Meet winemakers, bottle your own wines, enjoy food pairings, and other activities that vary by winery. Tickets
are $30 advance ($35 event day) and include: 2 days of barrel tasting, exclusive discounts, keepsake glass, and special activities at each winery. For a list of activities, participating wineries, and to purchase tickets, visit www.LVwine.org.

CLICK HERE for all events over the next 7 days.

Epicurean Winter in Healdsburg: On a Budget?

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healdsburgChamber_sidewalkShopping.jpgThis winter is the perfect time to familiarize yourself with Healdsburg, a charming, picturesque town in Sonoma County which boasts some of California's best wineries and restaurants all ensconced in lush, rolling hills and surrounded by spectacular vineyard views.

Now through the end of March, Healdsburg is celebrating their culinary bounty with the three-month-long "Epicurean Winter," a collection of food, wine, family-friendly and outdoor events designed to highlight the most delicious aspects of this oasis, located just 70 miles north of San Francisco.

What travelers may not realize is how many wallet-friendly options Healdsburg's "Epicurean Winter" has to offer. Even those watching their budget can enjoy the world-class food, wine and entertainment without breaking the bank. Here are some exciting ways that even the frugal visitor can experience the best of this culinary mecca.

Tri-Valley Events: January 25 - February 1, 2012

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FEATURED EVENTS

Taste of Tri-Valley Restaurant Week
January 21, 2012 - January 29, 2012
Participating Restaurants Throughout The Tri-Valley
Taste of Tri-Valley will give local, regional and national food lovers the opportunity to enjoy a prix-fixe meal at a number of participating Tri-Valley restaurants. Some of the finest, most renowned chefs and restaurants in the Tri-Valley will showcase their culinary styles for diners. The event will feature an array of well-known restaurants, casual dining establishments and local purveyors that will provide one of a kind dining experiences offered during this week only.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Barrel Tasting Weekend
Livermore Valley ~ March 31-April 1, 2012  ~ 12-4:30 pm

Sample wines right out of the barrel from over 35 wineries during Livermore Valley's 4th Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend. This is your chance to taste wines before they have been bottled, getting a behind the scenes look into the wine-making process. Meet winemakers, bottle your own wines, enjoy food pairings, and other activities that vary by winery. Tickets
are $30 advance ($35 event day) and include: 2 days of barrel tasting, exclusive discounts, keepsake glass, and special activities at each winery. For a list of activities, participating wineries, and to purchase tickets, visit www.LVwine.org.

CLICK HERE for all events over the next 7 days.

Healdsburg Epicurean Winter 2012

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Healdsburg's 1st Annual "Epicurean Winter" Features 100+ Events

Sonoma County's gourmand mecca offers epicurean travelers great off-season rates
and can't-miss events, experiences, and eats

healdsburgWinterEpicurean2012.jpgHEALDSBURG - Sonoma, Calif. -- For the first time ever, the charming town of Healdsburg has united its celebrated restaurants, renowned Sonoma County wineries, and illustrious hotels and lodging partners for "Epicurean Winter," a new seasonal program offering unique culinary events and special lodging packages to attract visitors during the mild winter months.

"Winter is a great time to visit," says Mo McElroy, CEO of the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. "Healdsburg is warm, cozy and delicious - the trifecta of fun during winter months. The Epicurean Winter program gives us a easy way to entice people to experience what sets Healdsburg apart - it's a fantastic culinary mecca that remains true to its agricultural roots."

Epicurean Winter runs now through March 31, and includes gourmet events, family activities, budget-friendly options, outdoor recreation, and romantic escapes for Valentine's celebrations.

Crab & Wine Festival in Mendocino

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2012 Crab & Wine Festival Toasts Northern California's
Local Bounty of Land and Sea

Mendocino County Serves Up Delicious Fare at Internationally Recognized Annual Event, January 20-29

mendocino_CrabWineDays.jpgMENDOCINO COUNTY, CA -- Every January for the past thirteen years, Northern California's Mendocino County has been celebrating locally harvested Dungeness crab and award-winning wines from "America's Greenest Wine Region" with a festival that satiates the taste buds of foodies and oenophiles alike.

From gourmet, crab-themed dinners in four-star restaurants, to family-style cioppino feeds, to the ever popular Crab Cake Cook-off featuring local Mendocino chefs, this festival has something for everyone! And to wash down the abundance of crab, local winemakers will be pouring at winemaker dinners throughout the county and also at the official Wine Tasting Competition, held in conjunction with the Crab Cake Cook-off. Visitors will enjoy a multitude of dinners, tastings, demonstrations, excursions, events and lodging specials over the course of the ten days -- hosted by Visit Mendocino County, the Mendocino Coast Clinics, innkeepers, restaurants, wineries and more.

The 2012 festival takes place from Friday, January 20th - Sunday, January 29th. Some special highlights not to be missed include:

Ring in the New Year!

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champagneBottles.jpgBring 2011 to an end with a good ol' fashioned wine country BANG! Napa Valley and Sonoma are hosting several New Year's Eve parties to ring in the new year. Check out the list of places to dine, drink and dance into 2012!

New Year's Festivities in Napa Valley
CLICK HERE



New Year's Parties & Dinners in Sonoma County
CLICK HERE



Don't Miss the 2nd Annual Napa Truffle Festival

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EVENT UPDATE!


Please CLICK HERE to see details for 2014 Napa Truffle Festival!


Past Event Details
World class cuisine meets cutting edge truffle science January 13-16, 2012! Featuring everything truffles--culinary, tastings, science, cultivation and more.

Truffles! Not the chocolate kind, black Périgord truffles - aka "black diamonds." These rare and delectable fungi will be the center of attention at the second annual Napa Truffle Festival, January 13-16, at the Westin Verasa Napa where they will be discussed, examined, probed, prepared, demonstrated and finally, paired with wines and feasted upon for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Festival begins with a Friday night reception where you and fellow truffle-lovers will hobnob with your hosts Chef Frank Toque of La Toque, and Robert Chang and Dr. Paul Thomas of the American Truffle Company. You'll also have a chance to meet the Michelin Star Chefs - sans toques - who have come from as far as Chicago and Italy to cook and demonstrate for you throughout the weekend. The next morning, you'll attend a breakfast with keynote address by distinguished food and travel writer, and former editor of Bon Appétit, Barbara Fairchild. Saturday and Sunday feature culinary and scientific programs - cooking demos, truffle orchard tours, and winery lunches, tours and tastings. Truffle dogs will also be on hand to sniff things out with dog training demos (petting allowed)!

nvTruffleFest2011_Pic2.jpgThe highlight of the Festival will be the Saturday night Truffles & Wine dinner at La Toque featuring a multi-course truffle menu and wine pairing (see last year's menu.  Each course will be prepared by a Michelin Star chef, including Michael Cimarusti of Providence in Los Angeles; Suzette Gresham-Tognetti of Acquerello in San Francisco; Marco Gubbiotti  of La Bastiglia in Spello, Italy; and Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia in Chicago.

The Festival concludes on Monday with a scrumptious Truffle Brunch at Westin's Bank Café, followed by a lively Napa Truffle Festival Marketplace at Oxbow Public Market  showcasing local wines and artisanal vendors with their specialty food products.

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Incoming: Napa Valley Film Festival + Flavor! Napa Valley

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msWordClipArt_MovieRoll.jpgby Courtney Cochran

Temperatures may be cooling in the Napa Valley come November, but two dynamic events could make your visit the hottest in memory.  Both in their debut year, the Napa Valley Film Festival (Nov. 9-13) and Flavor! Napa Valley (Nov. 16-22) bring with them a host of diverting events that are rewriting the month's reputation - from a sleepier time to one that's buzzing with eclectic food-and-wine-fueled attractions.

Napa Valley Film Festival ~ 11/9- 11/13

Flavor! Napa Valley ~ 11/16-11/22

Flavor! Napa Valley 2011

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by Courtney Cochran

Silverado Resort & Culinary Institute of America at Greystone

flavorLogo.jpgA four-day gustatory tour de force highlighting farm-to-table cuisine, Flavor! Napa Valley brings together some of the valley's most accomplished food and wine personalities for a powerhouse lineup of events November 16-22nd. 

The highlight of the weekend should be The Appellation Trail: Tasting Napa Valley, a mega tasting of more than 120 wineries' best pours and 30 restaurants' best bites in a festive walk-around format at the Culinary Institute on Friday night. With more big-name purveyors on hand than you'll find in any other place - think Silver Oak Cellars, Robert Mondavi Winery, Stags' Leap Winery, Staglin Family Vineyard and Morimoto Napa, Ad Hoc, La Toque and The Restaurant at Meadowood to name just a few - plus live demos by the likes of chef Tyler Florence, the Appellation Trail should be a phenomenal way to experience the best of the valley in just one night.

Come daytime, attending an intimate workshop with one of the valley's foremost culinary players affords rare insights into the philosophies and methods of these larger-than-life luminaries. Oenobuffs and new wine fans alike should enjoy "The Noblest of Grapes: A Celebration of Cabernet Sauvignon," a seminar hosted by the inimitable Karen MacNeil (authoress of The Wine Bible) and Fred Dame, a charismatic Master Sommelier and one of the nation's foremost wine educators. Sushi fans won't want to miss Iron Chef America star Masaharu Morimoto's "Sushi & Sashimi 101" demonstration, where the reliably entertaining maestro will guide guests through the nuances of this Japanese delicacy. 

For more on the weekend's full lineup, lodging packages and ticketing info, visit FlavorNapaValley.com.

Napa Valley Film Festival 2011

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by Courtney Cochran

nvFilmFestival.jpgSelect venues throughout the Napa Valley

Founded by Bay Area locals and Bottle Shock producers Brenda and Marc Lohrmer, the first-ever Napa Valley Film Festival promises a chockablock schedule of feature, documentary and short film screenings, sneak previews, gala events, and conversations with film industry insiders over five days. 

Highly anticipated festivities will take place in venues from Carneros to Calistoga, with a gala kick-off reception going down at Robert Mondavi Winery on Thursday, November 10.  Thirsty film-goers will be able to sample pours from a diverse lineup of local vintners at wine pavilions, pre-screening pourings and winery open houses throughout the valley as well as at "Festival Front Porches," unique venues offering check-in rewards, live music and social media interactivity. Access Hollywood fans, take note: host Billy Bush will emcee the festival's Tribute Night program on Saturday in Yountville. 

Napa Valley Marathon

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KAISER PERMANENTE NAPA VALLEY MARATHON WELCOMES THE INN AT SOUTHBRIDGE

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Napa, CA - The Inn at Southbridge in St. Helena has announced a runners' package for marathoners for the 34th Annual running of the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon on March on March 4, 2012. Race Director Rich Benyo commented: "We're delighted to welcome the Inn at Southbridge to the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon. Runners stay throughout the Valley and we are happy to have St. Helena, and specifically The Inn at Southbridge as part of 34th Annual race." Details will be available on the Marathon website's Getaway Weekend tab.

innAtSouthbridge_guestroom.jpg"The Inn at Southbridge is delighted to be a part of the annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon. We trust that this will be another memorable marathon for all participants.  With a  great night's rest, nutritious breakfast and seamless transportation to and from the event - we look forward having our guests achieve new PB's this March!"
 - Marcelle Adderley, Hotel Manager

The Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon is a certified qualifier for the Boston Marathon; has served as the national marathon championships of the Road Runners Club of America from 1998 to 2009; for the last two years has been the Western Regional Championship for RRCA and will be so again in 2012.

On Sunday, March 4, celebrating the 34th Annual Running of the Napa Valley Marathon, along beautiful Silverado Trail, from Calistoga, south to the finish line at Vintage High School in Napa, the Napa Valley Marathon is known as the "biggest little marathon in the West." The Napa Valley Marathon has also earned a reputation for outstanding runner support, attention to detail, and a beautiful course. Runners, 60% of whom are from Northern California, are treated to panoramic views of the valley, flowering fruit trees, and dormant vineyards carpeted with golden mustard flowers. The Expo on Saturday March 3 is free and open to the public the day before the marathon.

Please see the website www.napavalleymarathon.org for more information or to read about the special speakers.Registration is now OPEN!

ARTwalk launches 2nd Exhibition in Downtown Napa

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FishOnByTerrenceMartin.jpgNAPA, Calif.-- Arts Council Napa Valley (ACNV) and the Napa Community Redevelopment Agency have announced the return of the Napa ARTwalk public sculpture tour. The 2nd ARTwalk, titled "Momentum: Art that Moves (Us)", will launch on October 19th 2011 and will be on exhibition through April, 2013.

Downtown Napa's first-ever interactive public art exhibition and tour first launched in July 2010, and received an unprecedented amount of local support and media attention. Due to the success of the inaugural exhibition, the 2nd Napa ARTwalk will feature 13 new sculptures (an increase from 10 in 2010), as well as last year's People's Choice winning sculpture, "Fish On", by artist Terrence Martin (pictured to the right). One of the most familiar pieces in the 2010 exhibition, "Fish On" is a metal sculpture of a largemouth bass; it will also remain on view until 2013 . Napa ARTwalk's 2011-13 new artists include: Marissa Carlisle, Andrew Ferrales, Eric Furman, Matt Gil, James Haire, Loren Madsen, Ulises Meza, Robin Murez, C.J. Rench, Patricia Vader and Jeff Zischke.

The Napa ARTwalk will give the public an opportunity to vote on favorite sculptures online at www.napaartwalk.org throughout the 18-month exhibition period. Tour brochures, featuring a sculpture map, will be available year round in several downtown locations, including: Napa City Hall, The Goodman Library, Napa Valley Welcome Center, Artists of the Valley Gallery, and the Napa City-County Library. 

More News from This Year's Crush Season

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grapes.jpgVIDEOS

EVENTS
Crushing in Napa Valley

October 15 -- Havrest Party at Bourassa Vineyards
Celebration: Come and join us for another Grape Stomping Harvest Party at Bourassa Vineyards! Live Music Bourassa Vineyards Wines Napa Smith Beer Roast Pig On site Wood Fire Pizza Kitchen Cigars and Port!
Fee: $75, $40 for wine club members Time: 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Phone Number: 707-254-4922


Sonoma Valley Harvest Season

October 22 -- Harvest Moon Lamb Dinner at Gloria Ferrer
Celebration: Celebrate the crush at Gloria Ferrer with a dinner featuring Sonoma County's finest lamb and Pinot Noir. The evening will commence with a full harvest moon rising over Carneros, while our guests sip bubbly from our unparalleled Vista Terrace. Reserve your tickets soon, as space is extremely limited. 23555 Carneros Highway (121), Sonoma
Fee: $95 Time: 6:30 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 933.1999

Around Wine Country
October 22 - 23 -- Hopland Passport Weekend
Wine Education: This year's theme is "Aged to Perfection". With seventeen participating wineries pouring their best wines, incredible food pairings at each stop, and opportunities to experience tours, art installations, and live music, Hopland is the place to be for wine lovers!
Fee: $45/$55 During the Event; Time: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Phone Number: 800-564-2582

Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival

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NorthLakeTahoe.jpgLake Tahoe is not just for skiing during the winter months! On September 9-11th, the Village at Northstar is hosting the 26th Annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival that features fine wine, fabulous food, and a host activities including music, art, seminars, cooking demonstrations, tastings, and even a grape stomp. Top off this fun filled weekend on Sunday with the Culinary Competition and Grand Tasting.

Whether you are looking for a getaway with someone special, girlfriends, guy friends, or even the family (there are lots of family and kid themed activities!) - Lake Tahoe is the place to be September 9-11th.

CLICK HERE for details on this Three Day Extravaganza! or BUY TICKETS!!

Late Summer Festival Highlights

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Summer days are flying by fast. In a blink of an eye, autumn leaves will color wine country vineyards yellow, red, and orange. Not ready to say goodbye just yet? Neither are we! See some of the late summer festivals coming up this last weekend in August and the month of September.

sonomaCountyPic1.jpgSEPTEMBER HIGHLIGHTS ~ BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
September 2-4, 2011 - Sonoma County

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is an Annual Labor Day Weekend Event that celebrates the best of Sonoma wine, food, and lifestyle. "We have created a premium, three-day destination event that celebrates the vineyards, wines, cuisine, culture, and characters that make Sonoma County the ultimate wine country destination," says Executive Director Maureen Cottingham.

Tickets range from $85 to $500 per person and include signature events "Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch, the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction" and a host of intimate and exclusive winery lunch and dinner parties at multiple locations throughout Sonoma County.

All proceeds benefit and support Sonoma Coutny non-profit organizations. To date, more than $10 million has been donated directly to Sonoma non-profits by the local wine community.

>> Buy Tickets
>> See the schedule of events

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Upcoming Festivals in Napa Valley

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AUGUST
August 3 - 21 -- Music in the Vineyards
Live Music: Music in the Vineyards is a nationally-acclaimed chamber music festival held each August in the Napa Valley. The three-week festival showcases world-class artists-in-residence performing new and classic chamber music repertoire in stunning winery settings.
Fee: Varies Time: Varies Phone Number: (707) 258.5559

August 20 -- Napa Valley Art Festival
Exhibition, Benefit: The Napa Valley Art Festival is a juried exhibit and sale of over 300 original paintings by 30 of the West's premier representational artists. 6516 Washington St., Yountville, CA
Fee: Free Time: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Phone Number: 707-256-3828

Upcoming Festivals in Sonoma County

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AUGUST
August 27 - 28 -- Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival
Festival: Come to the most joyful, unique celebration of food, wine, beer, art and entertainment in the wine country! Juried fine art and craft marketplace, over a dozen restaurants and catering companies serving a variety of food, with an emphasis on seafood, live music, kids entertainment, wine and microbrewed beer tasting and more. The scenic location on Watts Ranch, 16855 Bodega Hwy, Bodega CA
Fee: $12 Advance/$15 At the Gate/Under 12 Free Time: Sat 10am-6pm/Sun 10am-5pm
Phone Number: 707-824-8717

SEPTEMBER
September 2 - 4 -- Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Auction, Benefit: The annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Weekend, combining the best of the Sonoma County Showcase of Wine and Food and the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction, features more than 200 wineries and chefs over three days of fabulous winemaker lunches and dinners, winery BBQs, grand tasting, and the most fun you'll ever have at a wine auction.
Fee: Varies Time: Varies Phone Number: 800-939-7666

September 10 -- Sebastopol Cajun-Zydeco Festival
Festival: Authentic Cajun food, legendary Zydeco music and dancing under the redwoods! The Zydeco Flames, Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, Sheryl Cormier with Ed Poullard, Freeze Guillroy & the Bon Temps Zydeco Band Live Crawfish, Gator Sausage, Gumbo, Crawfish Etouffee, BBQ chicken & Oysters, Hurricanes, Margaritas, Oyster Shooters, wine and beer. Ives Park, 7400 Willow Street, Sebastopol CA
Fee: $17 Advance/$20 At the Door/Under 12 Free Time: 11:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Phone Number: 707-823-3971

Wine Country Personality: Bret LeRolland

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The Wine Carriage - Wine Tasting via Horse & Carriage with Gourmet Lunch
Healdsburg, CA


wcPersonality_WineCarriage_Bret.jpgBret LeRolland is no ordinary tour operator. He's a different kind of guy with a different kind of business. The Wine Carriage is the quintessential off-the-beaten-track winery and tasting tour -- from the conveyance itself, a shade-top carriage drawn by two giant draft horses, to the personalized service, local knowledge and preferred treatment that a tour with Bret guarantees.

Riding with Bret and his matched Percherons, Duke and Pepper, is not only a thrill, it's a real backstage look into the world of California wine. He knows the history of the region and its characters, the lifecycle of the vines, climate, geology, and wine. In addition to a certificate in Biological Horticulture from UC Santa Cruz, Bret has experience in farming and logging salvaged redwoods with draft horses, as well as crossing several states on horseback.  As he puts it, "I always knew I wanted to work with horses".  But he had to go pretty far out of his way to do it.

The son of a New York City cop, Bret grew up in the Big Apple, often visiting his grandmother in Harlem.  Growing up with such an urban bias, he decided to try something different.  Relocating to the left coast, Bret worked on ships in Alaska before moving to California to study at UCSC, and later attended the California School of Circus Arts to learn Chinese acrobatics and fire spinning.

Napa Valley Festival del Sole 2011

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It's been dubbed a "feast for the senses" by the New York Times and we couldn't agree more!

The 6th annual Napa Valley Festival del Sole is July 15-24th featuring internationally renowned soloists, orchestras and ensembles that delight audiences over a 10-day period among the lush rolling vineyards of the legendary Napa Valley wine region. Add five-star cuisine, art exhibits, and wines from Napa Valley's top vintners and you'll definitely want to attend this "star-studded extravaganza that in just three years has become one of the hottest tickets on the global classical music circuit" according to Diablo Magazine.

Are you planning on being in attendance? There's only a few more days and our inside sources say tickets and VIP Packages are SELLING OUT FAST!

>> Overview of Concerts
>> Overview of Food & Wine Events
>> Overview of Wellness Events
>> Download Festival Schedule

Festival Del Sole Video

Robert Mondavi Summer Music Festival 2011

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mondaviSummerConcert.jpgNobody kicks off July 4th weekend better than Robert Mondavi Winery, one of Napa Valley's legendary wineries, with the start of their annual summer music concert series in the month of July. "This year's lineup presents artists that are excellent musicians in their genre," noted Margrit Mondavi(late wife of Robert Mondavi), who founded the concert series in 1969. "Robert's belief that we could make wines that stand in the company of the world's finest, leads us to select artists who stand in the company of the world's greatest. We are so excited to start with Gavin this year." 

To heat things up first will be Gavin DeGraw on July 2nd as he celebrates the American Dream with heartfelt lyrics and soulful, blues-tinged vocals. In the weeks to follow:

July 9th - Fume Blanc Concert with Colbie Caillat
Colbie is a Grammy nominated rising star armed with dusky vocals and a acoustic guitar

July 16th - Festival del Sole Presents David Foster and Friends
Foster is a noted singer, songwriter, and composer from Canada, and his friends include the Canadian Tenors, Charice, Babyface and Ruben Studdard.

July 23rd - Chris Issak
Since his debut in 1985, Chris Isaak has been captivating audiences with his signature rock 'n' roll music.

July 30th - Winemaker of the Year Concert k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang

A four-time Grammy Award winner, k.d. lang will enchant you with her touching and engaging songs.

Need more of a reason to attend one of the hottest summer concerts in Napa Valley? In the 42 years since the Summer Music Festival's inception, Robert Mondavi Winery has donated more than $2 million from the proceeds to support the Napa Valley Symphony, the Napa Valley Unified School District and the Napa Valley Opera House.

Start planning your trip to Wine Country and get a jump on buying tickets in advance. All performances begin at 7:00 p.m. and are held at the Robert Mondavi Winery on Highway 29 in Oakville, Napa Valley. Ticket prices vary by performance. For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit www.robertmondaviwinery.com or call 1-888-766-6328.


Dive into fun at Bardsessono Hotel

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BardessonoHotelDiveBar.jpgCalifornia might be rain-soaked at the moment, but the forecast is sun, sun, SUN! And just in time too. Bardessono Hotel, one of Napa Valley's swankiest hotels,  is kicking off the summer months with their popular, weekly Dive Bar at the hotel's rooftop pool again. It starts June 15th and ends October 19th and held each Wednesday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

The Dive Bar will be open to guests and non-guests and feature two $9 speciality drinks available at the pool in addition to the full bar located off the restaurant. Complimentary valet parking will also be included for all attendees. So, grab your bathing suit and towels and head off to happy hour, dancing and mingling with new friends!

bardessonoHotel.jpgAbout Bardessono:
The Bardessono opened in February 2009 with 62 guest rooms, restaurant and spa in Yountville, California, the heart of the Napa Valley. We pledge to care for an uncommon set of priorities: for the environment, for each other, for our guests, for the property and for the community nearby. Together, these priorities represent a vision for unprecedented and attentive service. http://www.bardessono.com



See other articles about Bardessono:
The New Mecca for Wine Country Luxury
Summer Lunching in Yountville

Up and Away Ballooning - First to Offer Wheelchair Access!

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upAwayBallooning_wheelchair1.jpgWindsor, California - In Spring 2011, Up & Away Ballooning becomes the first hot air balloon operator in the United States to offer wheelchair-confined adventurers the opportunity to soar above the magnificent hills and vineyards of Northern California's Sonoma County. The Pegasus Project's specially-designed and crafted passenger basket, shipped directly from England, will make it possible for those persons who are dependent upon wheelchairs for mobility to literally float above the Wine Country.

Up & Away Ballooning ordered the specially-designed basket from London. The easy access Lindstrand  basket measures approximately 4 feet by 7 feet and can carry a wheelchair rider and up to three others. Without wheelchair, it can accommodate six people. Modeled originally after Lindstrand's 'Glass' bottom basket system, its lowered rail makes it possible for the seated passenger to enjoy more than180-degree visibility.

Mike and Patti Kijak, owners of Up & Away Ballooning made the decision to purchase the wheelchair-accessible basket in response to numerous inquiries from private individuals and travel agents with clients seeking to experience Northern California's picturesque Wine Country from this breathtaking vantage point. 

What Should a Newbie Do in Sonoma?

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redwine.jpgDo you consider yourself a "newbie" when it comes to wine and it's your first visit to Sonoma Wine Country? Then you're reading the right article! WineCountry.com has several resources that will help you start planning your visit:


Speaking of our message boards, see what some of our most knowledgeable members recently said when asked the following about where to go for wine tasting in Sonoma County:

QUESTION
"I am planning a surprise 40th birthday trip for my husband in September. I am staying in Healdsburg. We will be there for 4 days and are not well versed in wines. Can someone suggest some ""must" experiences for us to do. What would be the best wineries for people like us?" - Wascallywabbit (3/24/11)

ANSWERS
"You don't need to be 'well versed' in wines to enjoy wine country, that is the first thing you need to know. Everyone has to start somewhere and lucky for you the folks in Sonoma County are really good at respecting the beginner...at least that has been our experience. . . As far as wineries to visit, my first inclination is to say to take the tour at Korbel. First, it "goes" with such a monumental birthday event ( sparkling wines), and what I have seen about the tour and the facility leads me to think that it would be a great introduction for you."

Partial Snippet from yesilovewine (3/24/11)

Sonoma Jazz +

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sonomaJazz_SherylCrow.jpgWe know where you should be this weekend! Grooving to the smooth jazz sounds of John Fogerty, Sheryl Crow, Gipsy Kings and many more in downtown Sonoma at the Sonoma Jazz+ Festival. This three-day (May 20-22, 2011) annual celebration of music, food and wine promises to be one of the best Sonoma Jazz festivals yet!

General admission tickets are only $60 per person, but why not take advantage of the Patron VIP Passes (3-day or single day)  which include premium reserved seats, exclusive access to the Festival Patron tent with open bars, gourmet catered hors d'oeuvres, dinner & dessert, and an on-site parking pass.

Popular musical artist Sheryl Crow will be performing songs from her 7th album titled "100 Miles from Memphis". The album evokes a time when soul and passion filled the radio waves, when the sweat and joy of a recording session could be captured forever on wax.  It also marks a long-awaited return by the nine-time Grammy winner to the sounds that first drew her to making music. CLICK HERE for a sample off her album to whet your appetite in preparation for the live performance this weekend!

Not only will you have a fabulous time in Sonoma Wine Country, but you'll be helping and raising money for a wonderful cause. Sonoma Jazz + is a non profit organization whose mission is to present and preserve jazz, american and popular music through world-class festivals, performances and education programs. They have developed a partnership with Sonoma Valley Unified School District to specifically to support and enhance local music education in their K-12 public schools. Over $450,000 has been donated since 2005!

Also happening in tandem with Sonoma Jazz + are the Wine and Song events - Wine and Song Around the Plaza Festival held Saturday, May 21st, 1:30pm - 5pm. and Wine & Song New Orleans Brunch, May 22nd, 11:30-3pm. Tickets are $65 per day or $100 for a two-day pass. Both days include a souvenir wine glass & tote, live music performance, 12 wine/champagne/beer tastings and food tastings! See list of participating wineries and line up of musical performances HERE!

So many great choices, but not very much time left. Make definite plans now and buy your tickets online.




Spring Festivities . . .

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wine.jpgWhy drive all over wine country when you can attend one of several wine tasting events in Sonoma and Napa Valley to taste many wines all at once. Add food pairings, live music, and perhaps dancing (some even encourage!)and now things are really swingin'. Save the date or make your reservation now as many Spring and Summer events sell out quickly!

SONOMA

Sonoma Valley Reserve - May 14th and 15th

Bodega Bay Film Festival - May 28th and 29th

Sonoma Jazz+ - May 20-22nd

Single Vineyard Night - June 4th

More Sonoma Events

NAPA VALLEY

Auction Napa Valley - The American Wine Classic - June 2nd - 5th

Upcoming Events in St. Helena

More Napa Valley Events

Hopland Passport Weekend

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hoplandPassport.jpgHop on over to Mendocino for a wine tasting extravaganza at this year's Hopland Passport Weekend being held April 30 and May 1st where you will sample the area's sustainable, organic and estate-produced wines paired with local food products. Meet the winemakers and vintners and explore the history and culture of this beautiful wine destination.

Several new wineries have been added to the tasting line up for the first time. Expect to taste award-winning wines from Parducci Wine Cellars dubbed by Forbes Magazine as "America's Greenest Winery," and is the nation's first carbon-neutral winery.

Also new to Hopland Passport this year is Cesar Toxqui Cellars, who recently opened a tasting room in downtown Hopland. Cesar and his family invite participants to stop by and taste his hand-crafted, small-batch artisan Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Heirloom wines, all of which are produced using sustainable, traditional methods.

New Year's Festivities in Sonoma

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champagneBottles.jpgDon't spend another New Year's Eve at home. Sonoma Wine Country offers a host of places to ring in the new year in style! Check a few of the places we've spotted that are sure to host a great New Year's celebration. Join the fun! CLICK HERE for more party hot spots.

Romp with the Beasts @ Safari West
Go wild this New Year's and Romp with the Beasts at Safari West. Brent Farris of KZST will be providing music all night long. Enjoy great food, music and dancing. Want to enjoy Safari West past midnight? Make sure to book overnight accommodations in their luxury safari tents and enjoy breakfast with mimosas on New Years Day. This ferociously fun event is always a sell-out, so purchase your ticket today!
CLICK HERE for more details!


New Year's Eve Countdown Ball at Doubletree Hotel

This year the entire hotel will be dedicated to making your New Year's Eve one for the record books! Antix Events is ramping up the plans for their annual Countdown Ball. With over 22,000 square feet of event space, 4 areas of music, 10 DJ's, and 245 rooms this is one party you won't want to miss. Dressy attire is a must and dress code will be strictly enforced. CLICK HERE for more details.


New Year's Eve Flamingo Lounge Party

Join us in the retro-modern Flamingo Lounge this New Year's Eve! There will be New Year's Eve decorations, a balloon drop, party favors & noise makers, champagne toast, live music and dancing. Please note, this is a 21 and older event.
CLICK HERE for more details.


New Year's Eve Dinner and Dancing @ the Inn at the Tides

Celebrate the beginning of 2013 with a fun and festive New Year's Eve party with a delicious 5-course menu including wine, dancing, party favors, midnight toast and balloon drop.  This very popular event sells out each year so make your reservations early. CLICK HERE for more details!

New Years Eve Celebration @ Hilton Sonoma Wine Country
Join the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country for their Annual New Years Eve Celebration. Fee includes a 1 night stay for two in a standard room with chocolate amenity upon arrival. A five course dinner for two in Nectar Restaurant and entry to the Dance Party in the Sonoma Ballroom. Please note, the event takes place all day and the dance party starts at 8pm. CLICK HERE for more details.
 

>> See Sonoma Events Calendar for more New Year's Eve festivities.

New Year's Eve Parties in Napa Valley!

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Rock the night away and into the New Year!  Parties are happening all around Napa Valley. Grab some friends and join the festivities. Below are just a few of the parties that caught our eye, but check out the full events calendar HERE!

winetrain_Champagne.jpgNew Years Crystal Ball @ Napa Valley Wine Train
The Crystal Ball will begin with an hors d'oeuvre reception in the station. Guests will board the Train and relax with a New Year's Eve themed beverage and a fresh, multiple course gourmet meal. Upon returning to Napa the party will be transported back into the station, where guests can socialize, and dance away the rest of 2012.

If you already have dinner plans, but don't want to miss the celebration, join the After Party. Dancing and entertainment will start in the station at 10pm. At midnight, toast to 2013 with a glass of sparkling wine. Then finish your evening with music and dancing until 1am.

CLICK HERE for more details

Prohibition Style Speakeasy New Year's Bash!

Enjoy a glorious Prohibition Era flashback celebration to ring in 2013! Harvest Inn (located in St. Helena) has a magical two night package that includes a New Year's Bash at restaurant Goose & Gander. The party is a glamorous evening of dining, libations, live jazz and fun, flapper-style surprises.
CLICK HERE for more details!


New Year's Eve Dinner at Siena Restaurant & Ballroom
Kick off 2013 with a wonderful prix fix five-course dinner at Siena Restaurant in Napa Valley. Savor a special menu prepared by Executive Chef Mike before dancing the night away! Already have dinner plans on New Year's Eve? Keep the celebration going at The Meritage Resort with our "Napa Style" New Year's Eve Celebration. Located in our brand new Carneros Ballroom, enjoy dancing, dessert, party favors, and good times as you welcome 2013.
CLICK HERE for more details!

New Years Eve @ Silo's w/ Briefcase Full of Blues

Silo's invites you to see Briefcase Full of Blues Band live! There will be two shows this evening. The early show includes Glass of Mumm Champagne with Chocolates upon arrival, & Party Favors. The late show includes Glass of Mumm Champagne with Chocolates upon arrival, Party Favors, Midnight Countdown with Champagne Toast.
CLICK HERE for more details!


>> SEE MORE New Year's Eve events in the Napa Valley Calendar.


The Mushrooms of Mendocino

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paulKozal_mushroom.jpgMendocino, CA has a flourishing arts community with several galleries and art studios showcasing beautiful work. No exception is Boletus Edulis, a special photography exhibition by Paul Kozal, featuring images of California King Boletus mushrooms. It started out as a temporary photography exhibition just for the Mendocino County Wine and Mushroom Festival held earlier this year, but will now remain on view at Studio 391 through December.

The California King Bolete (boletus edulis) is commonly known as penny bun, porcini or cep. It is highly prized as an ingredient in various recipes and is considered one of the safest wild mushrooms to pick for the table, as there are no poisonous species that closely resemble it. Images were created using a flatbed scanner as camera. and then infused onto a sheer aluminum surface allowing the image to take on an almost magical luminescence.

About the Gallery:
Studio 391 is a fine art gallery specializing in photography, paintings, sculpture, glass, ceramics and mixed media by local, regional and nationally established artists. The gallery is located on Mendocino County's South Coast in Gualala's Cypress Village Gallery District. Gallery hours are Friday through Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit Mendocino Wine Country for suggestions on where to stay, dine, and taste wine! Or be adventurous and Go Mushroom Hunting!

WinterScape Celebration in Yountville

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holidayStar.jpgThe town of Yountville is full of holiday surprises. This year the town launches their first month-long winter wonderland featuring a host of activities, attractions, and special hotel deals. Bring the whole family, make a romantic couple's escape, or just getaway with friends. See what's on the town's Holiday Hot List this winter season:

Vintage Winter Pavilion - Spin into the season skating under the stars in a clear-top tent infused with holiday music, festive trees and elaborate décor at V Marketplace.   This new attraction is certain to spark holiday cheer with a lively sidekick of food and drink venues.  After 6 p.m., the Hot Toddy & Holiday Cocktail menu debuts. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily, December 11 - January 2nd.  $12/adults; $8/children 8 & under. Yountville Chamber/707.944.8008.
 
Carriage Rides - Saddle up this season with a team of stout Percheron and Shire horses leading a holiday-decorated carriage through Yountville's main artery - Washington Street - on weekends throughout December.  (Nov. 27; Dec 4, 11, 18, 31). Complimentary.
 
North Pole "Drink & Clink" - Weekends around the rink will include select Yountville AVA wine tasting (Fri./Sat.) showcasing the area's top producers and a Santa sommelier to keep the cheer flowing.  A seasonal grazing menu will showcase heady roasted chestnuts, dim sum and pulled pork sliders - a perfect complement to the region's cabernets.

Where to Watch the World Series

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By Deirdre Bourdet

giantsBaseball.jpgNAPA VALLEY, CA - The Giants are in the World Series! Join fellow fan-atics at these wine country spots to cheer on San Francisco's own orange and black.


Calistoga Inn & Brewery. Beer and baseball are a classic pairing, and this downtown Calistoga bar/restaurant/inn also boasts an award-winning microbrewery, which sells 100% of its beers on the premises. Crispy calamari and buffalo wings rub shoulders with steamed mussels, oysters, shrimp cocktail and Dungeness crab cakes on the appetizer menu, and bring a taste of the bay to northern Napa Valley.

With a pint of local brew and bowl full of seafood, you will be more than set for game time. 1250 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga.

Take a Gourmet Retreat

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casaLanaGourmetRetreats.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - What better way to experience the essence of wine country cuisine than with a gourmet retreat? If you are an avid home cook or food enthusiast, then take your cooking to the next level with a culinary vacation in Napa Valley.

At Gourmet Retreats, located in Calistoga, CA at CasaLana B&B, sign up for hands-on cooking classes taught in a professionally equipped kitchen. To ensure personalized attention and one-on-one attention, classes are limited to only 9 participants. They include printed recipe handouts and a generous sampling or meal of the food prepared served with wine/beverage. All kitchen equipment is, of course, provided as well.

Gourmet Retreats offers Culinary Vacations, Boot Camp, One-Day Wine Country Classes, and Gourmet Weekend Retreats as well. Choose from a variety of class lengths ranging from as little as 5 hours to 5 days.

View sample Itineraries for a Culinary Vacation



Napa Valley Film Festival Launching at Last

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By Deirdre Bourdet

nvFilmFestival.jpgThis November heralds the launch of a new signature event for Napa Valley: The Napa Valley Film Festival.  After more than five years of dreaming, festival co-chairs Brenda and Marc Lhormer announced that the Napa Valley Film Festival will debut in November 2011 with a five-day, four town extended weekend of cinematic celebration.  But since 2011 is still a long way off, a three-day Launch Celebration this November gives attendees a taste of the great things in store.

Co-directors Marc and Brenda Lhormer are no strangers to the film industry, or the grueling work of planning film festivals. The couple produced and distributed the 2008 movie Bottle Shock, inspired by the 1976 Paris Tasting, and ran the Sonoma Valley Film Festival for seven years.  Marc Lhormer was kind enough to chat with me about the couple's latest venture and the imminent launch party, which he refers to as the "amuse-bouche" for the main event next year.

The Napa Valley Film Festival has three core principles: (1) celebrating the human-scale of human existence by presenting relatable real people with real issues, and the hope that inspires us; (2) exploring multicultural differences of perspective, as well as the commonalities across cultural divides both within the U.S. and internationally; and (3) bringing the artists and the audience together for conversations about the films.  Every film being screened will be represented by the directors, the cast, or both, and Q&A sessions will be the norm, not the exception. Local food and wine will feature prominently in the parties surrounding the films, of course, but this is by no means a festival of food and wine-themed movies.  

There's More To Do Than Just Drink

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calistogaBalloons.jpgAlcohol-Free Activities In Calistoga
by Deirdre Bourdet

Whether you're a tippler, a toddler, or a teetotaler, everyone needs to do things other than drink wine on a trip to wine country.  These non-alcoholic activities are also some of the most enjoyable ways to spend your time in the Calistoga area.

Take to the Air
What better way to experience the beauty and distinctive landmarks of the northern Napa Valley than to fly above them? Whether you fantasize about lazy balloon rides through early morning air, or World War II-era biplane missions, or swift and exciting modern glider plane trips, Calistoga has got you covered.  Calistoga Balloons offers one of the Napa Valley's best hot-air balloon experiences, thanks to the incomparable scenery of the northern valley.  You will cruise over Castello di Amorosa, the Palisade Cliffs, Mt. St. Helena, Château Montelena, Old Faithful Geyser, and the Petrified Forest, and then enjoy a complimentary champagne brunch at Hydro Grill.  Balloon rides are $225 per person, all inclusive, but only $199 if booked online. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance. 

crazyCreekGliders.jpgIf floating at the speed of the wind isn't fast enough for you, head slightly out of town to Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Middletown, which offers scenic trips in sleek gliders and restored historic bi-planes, as well as flying lessons to those who yearn to rule the skies. Book your flight directly online where rates range from $149 to $330 for the ultimate glider ride!


Oregon: Applegate Valley's "Eye Openingly Good" Wines

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applegatevalley.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

I was utterly charmed by Rhône-inspired pours from southern Oregon's new Cowhorn Wine at a Biodynamic® tasting in San Francisco earlier this year.  I reviewed all of my favs from the event here for Wine Country, though I must say that Cowhorn stuck out for its gorgeous packaging and branding (checking out the website is a must!) that - along with the winery's excellent pours - set the spot apart as one positioned to put not only über green wines but also the Applegate region itself on the vinous map.

Great Pumpkin Sightings in Fairfield

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Article and Photography by Barbara L. Steinberg

Erickson-Ranch-Great-Pumpkins-Credit-Barbara-L-Steinberg-2010---4.jpgIt's September. Labor Day has passed, along with the last "unofficial" day of summer and the long, warm days are waning. The nights are lightly chilled and the mornings are damp. The change is definitely upon us and the smell of autumn is in the air. In a land where sunshine and blue skies reign most of the year, autumn is one of California's most dramatic and colorful seasons.  Not just the landscape, but the wide array of fall crops make this a most special time to visit Fairfield's Suisun Valley.

Suisun Valley has a wonderful autumn season, coupled with all the fun and frolic of local pumpkin patches and Halloween merriment. For most visitors, October probably marks the start of the fall season.  And by October 1, Suisun Valley's season of harvest is in full swing. U-pick pumpkin patches, Indian corn, colorful fall gourds, crisp apples, and Fun Family Farm Days - harvest time is on sensory overload, visually and aromatically!

Aerial Spectacular: Napa Valley Ballooning

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Imagine this: You and your special someone are floating 2,000 feet above mist-shrouded vineyards bathed in early morning light, with no sound to accompany your reverie except the soft whistling of the wind itself.  As you turn to your companion to remark on the unmatched beauty of the spectacle below, you realize that you've never been suspended so high in the air with just a simple wicker basket for support - and also that you've never felt so blissfully removed from the frenetic pace of your life.  

Upcoming Events in Napa, CA

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Sometimes planning a trip around an event is the best thing to do! If you're wondering what's going on in the town of Napa for the Fall and Winter months, see the events below!

SEPTEMBER
September 17  -- Oktoberfest at JV Wine & Spirits
Wine Education: Come join in the Friday night Winemaker Tastings for lively conversation, good fun, and a taste of some of the best wines in the world. This Friday we celebrate Oktoberfest! Must be 21 years of age to enter JV's tasting room. JV Wine, 301 First Street, Napa, CA
Fee: $5.00 tasting fee per personTime: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 253.2624

September 24  -- Live at Silo's - The Kevin Russell Band
Live Music: Blues: The biography of Kevin Russell "a true guitar man." Motor-City-born and raised, Kevin Russell has mastered a unique blend of rock, blues and soul -Kevin says; "you see, it's a Motor City thing!". Silo's at the Napa River Inn 530 Main Street Napa, CA 94559
Fee: $20 Advance $25 at Door (Club Members $14)Time: 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 251.5833

September 26  -- Margaret Cho at Uptown Theatre
Performing Arts: "Mature Content". Margaret started performing stand-up at age 16. Soon after, she won a comedy contest where first prize was opening for Jerry Seinfeld. Margaret' new tour, Cho Dependent, will feature new stand-up and a few live performances of songs. 1350 Third Street, Napa, CA
Fee: $50/60Time: Doors: 6:30 p.m. / Show: 8 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 259.0123

Napa's New Lease On Nightlife

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By Deirdre Bourdet

nightlife.jpgWhen I moved to Napa from San Francisco a few years ago, everyone warned me I was entering a nightlife dead zone. Everything shuts down at 9:00pm.  While that may have been true in the past, a slew of newcomers and new ventures by long-time residents has kicked things up a notch around here.

After nearly a decade of tortuously slow renovation, the Uptown Theatre re-opened its doors this May to reveal its newly restored deco-fabulous style. Fresh faced and fully equipped with all the modern amenities, the Uptown offers an unbeatable combination of historical charm and contemporary sophistication. 

The restored original ceiling murals and light fixtures custom built to replicate the originals radiate classic 1930s style, but the sound system and the seats are 100% modern--21-23 inches wide, as compared to the original theatre's 16-17 inch seats, and staggered to ensure there's not a bad seat in the house.  Even the nosebleed seats have perfect unobstructed views of the stage and perfect acoustics. A full bar offers patrons their choice of libations, including local wines and bubbly by the glass. 

Labor Day Sun, Fun & Savings in Tri-Valley, CA

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livemoreGenericPhoto.jpgTri-Valley, CA - Do you know what you're doing this coming Labor Day Weekend? Why not make a last minute getaway to Tri-Valley. Several hotels, restaurants, wineries and shops are offering discounts and specials. In addition, There are three great events and festivals happening the same holiday weekend. See below:

29th Annual Wine Harvest Celebration
The wineries of Livermore Wine Country have opened their doors Sunday, Sept. 5th and Monday, Sept 6th to celebrate the harvest. Come join the fun and enjoy music, food, arts & crafts and of course wine throughout wineries in Livermore Valley and at Robertson Park. Some wineries will even be offering complimentary vineyard tours and winemaking seminars. Tickets range in price from $10-$65 and can be purchased online.


Celebrate Labor Day Weekend Sonoma Style!

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sonomalogo.jpgThere's no perfect way to celebrate Labor Day Weekend then with a wine food extravaganza in Sonoma Wine Country. The fun starts on September 3rd with a lineup of great winemaker lunches and dinners held at wineries throughout Sonoma County. Then gear up for the signature Taste of Sonoma event on Saturday, September 4th at MacMurray Ranch. It's a wine lover's and foodies paradise like no other.

Finally, top off your weekend with the annual Sonoma Valley Wine Harvest Wine Auction. If you're in the know, you've already gotten your tickets because some have already begun to sell out! If you're looking for an unforgettable weekend, then CLICK HERE to buy tickets.

More details about the weekend, when you read more.

Celebrate Harvest in Solano County

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tomatofest.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Looking to celebrate harvest 2010 with rural scenery, friendly people, and hand-crafted food and wines?  Of course you are.  Curious about wines grown in appellations right next door to Napa Valley, which top out at around $35 per bottle?  If you're not, you should be.  Harvest season is the ideal time to find out what's going on in Suisun Valley and Green Valley, which lie immediately to the east of Napa and just off Highway 80.

If you could pick just one weekend, go August 14-15, 2010, when a slew of free or nearly free harvest-themed events compete for your entertainment.  The award-winning Fairfield Tomato Festival begins at 10am on Saturday for two days of tomatoey delights.  Sample gourmet tomato products, ogle and taste more than 50 heirloom tomato varieties, shop for locally grown produce, and compete for cash prizes in the tomato eating contest.  Tons of free rides and activities are also on hand to occupy kids less enthralled by the tomato gluttony.  Admission is free to all.

Win the VIP Treatment in Washington Wine Country

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yakimaValleyGetaway-billboard-(2).jpgRead everything you want to know about the Yakima Valley! Wine Tasting, Outdoor Adventures and Farmers markets are only a few reasons you should travel to Washington wine country.  Click below, read all about this wine region and get your traveling shoes ready!


Ready to go now? Enter to win a getaway to Yakima Valley. Here's your chance to enjoy the region in a truly unique way-by exploring the vineyards with a winemaker, wine tasting via horseback and by dining alfresco at a winemaker's dinner!

The lucky recipient will be awarded with:

  •  4 nights stay at Hilton Garden Inn*
  • Gift certificates to Ummelina Yakima Valley Spa Retreat ($500 value)
  • Gift certificates to Gasperetti's Restaurant, Tony's Steakhouse, Santiago's Gourmet Mexican Restaurant & Hilton Garden inn restaurant ($100 value)
  • $450 gas card
  • $450 Visa card

To enter to win this package you must reside 100 or more miles away from Yakima, WA (zip code 98901). One entry allowed per day. Must be 21 or older to enter. July's Wine Country Getaway is sponsored by Madden Media and the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau and will be awarded on August 15th.

Yountville Pairings: Art & Wine

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Ma(i)sonry(2).jpgIf you are looking for a unique wine tasting experience, then make sure your next visit to Napa Valley Wine Country in the town of Yountville includes Ma(i)sonry. They pair "artisan wines with exquisite art and furnishings in a historic setting".

The building itself dates back to 1904, one of three stone buildings in Yountville and one of only tow listed on the Nation Register of Historic Places. But this is no museum! Reminiscent of a home or private club, leisurely view furnishings ranging from the 16th century to the mid-twentieth century as well as contemporary collections of art on display from well known and respected artists.

Additionally, not only can you peruse the design and art collections at Ma(i)sonry, you are also welcome to do the same at their other three gallery locations: I.Wolk Gallery in St. Helena, Sculpture gardens at Auberge de Soleil in Rutherford, CA and/or the sculpture gardens at MacArthur Place in Sonoma, CA.

Visiting Yountville, CA

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YOUNTVILLE, CA - Luxurious accommodations at four star resorts and hotels, Michelin star rated restaurants, boutique style shopping, art galleries, activities ranging from hot air balloon rides to zip lining, and wineries of every variety and style - welcome to Yountville. Experience why this town is considered the must-stop wine destination in Napa Valley.


Travel, Taste, and Things To Do
Hotel Luca: A Tuscan Getaway
Vintage Inn: A Slice of Provence
Yountville Tasting Itinerary
Taste in Town
Bell Wine Cellars Wins!
Summer Lunching in Yountville
Secret Gardens of The French Laundry & Bardessono
Tomatoville Touches Down
Summer Events

Ready to Plan Your Trip?
Find a place to stay at several resorts, hotels, and bed & breakfasts.
Make reservations in advance at some of the best restaurants.
Print out tasting offers from several wineries on your itinerary.
See the vineyards from a hot air balloon ride, or by bike!

Yountville, CA: Tomatoville Touches Down

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by Courtney Cochran

With a nod to Jimmy Buffet's catchy vaca anthem, Margaritaville, Yountville's Bardessono and Hill Family Estate will bring Wine Country visitors the three-day Tomatoville celebration September 10, 11 and 12.  Billing the tomato "Mother Nature's finest fruit (since the grape)," the event's sponsors promise a juicy lineup of activities; highlights include:

Activities In St. Helena

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A 1337 shop in St. Helena

Image by ohkaterina via Flickr

There's More To Do Than Just Drink

By Deirdre Bourdet

ST. HELENA, CA - Whether you're a tippler, a toddler, or a teetotaler, everyone needs to do things other than drink wine on a trip to wine country. Fortunately, there are plenty of non-alcoholic activities to entertain you in just about every sub-region of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. This series of articles will point you to some of the less obvious ways to have fun in the land of wine.
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July 4th Weekend Events in Wine Country

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Fireworks at the celebration of the United Sta...

Image via Wikipedia

Fourth of July is less than a month away so now's the time to start planning your festivities! We suggest, instead of the same 'ol backyard bbq, why not venture out and experience some of the fabulously patriotic events going on in your wine country backyard? More than likely, you'll find BBQ, wine tasting and of course fireworks too! Click here for Red, White and Blue events near you!

LIVERMORE/TRI-VALLEY,CA
July 4  -- Winestock Alive! Free Independence Day Concert

Live Music: Chouinard Winery's 'Music in the Vineyards' series includes live cajun, swing, reggae, jazz, blues, & sugar beat. All in our beautiful woodland vineyard. Reservations are necessary. Bring your own gourmet picnic. 33853 Palomares Road, Castro Valley.
Fee: $40; Time: 12pm - 5pm.; Phone: (510) 582.9900


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Romance is in the Air in Tri-Valley

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Romantic Restaurants

Tri-Valley's most romantic restaurants offer romantic atmosphere,  delicious food and wine for your engagement.  Be sure to call ahead to make arrangements for your proposal.  These restaurants can offer a special menu or dessert and the best seat in the house and make sure to your proposal is perfect.

The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards: This place is just special.  The award winning restaurant features American dishes, influenced by Italian, French and California cuisine paired with Wente Vineyards wine.  The dining rooms are warm and inviting and the location amongst Livermore Valley Wine Country can't be beat.

Summer Sun in Tri-Valley

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wenteconcert.jpgThere is something for everyone this summer in Tri-Valley, California.  The hot summer nights are filled with activities cool enough for all.  A complete list of community activities and dates can be found on the Tri-Valley, California Convention & Visitors Bureau website .  Here are just a few of the highlights.

MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT:  The Concerts at Wente Vineyards (June 17 - September 21) offers a unique entertainment experience, by combining stellar performances by top-name headliners with the stunning ambiance of a spectacular vineyard setting.  Visitors and residents also enjoy Concerts in the Park, happening each month throughout Tri-Valley's five-city region.  Families and friends meet at local parks around the valley with their blankets and picnics, ready to enjoy the musical stylings of Bay Area artists.  Tri-Valley is also home to Livermore Valley Shakespeare Festival (July 8 - August 7),  a celebration of living literature performed among the vineyards at Concannon Vineyards.

Golf in Napa and Sonoma

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(4/365) :: Golf Thursdays

Image by chispita_666 via Flickr

By Robert P. Farmer

Spring has sprung and the grass is green and getting greener. Time to hit the greens--and fairways, and the 19th holes. This is one of my favorite times of year. When days stretch longer and temperatures reach higher. Plenty of time and favorable weather to grind out a few holes of golf from among your daily grind. Napa and Sonoma valleys, while known for their obvious Viticultural attributes, are perhaps lesser appreciated for their golf courses. But the valleys are excellent places to pursue your golf passion. And there's always time to enjoy the world class wines as you count up your score.

Napa Golf Guide
Sonoma Golf Guide
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Napa Golf Guide

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*updated March 2012

by Robert P. Farmer

golfIstock.jpgNAPA, CA - Whether you're after the country club afternoon, the relaxation of a resort, or the challenge of one of the toughest public course in the region, Napa Valley offers a golf experience to suit all tastes - and skill levels for that matter. The valley known for its vineyards is also home to an assortment of golf courses on par with its assortment of wines. Public, private, and semi-private, all the courses take advantage of their eye-catching natural surroundings - rolling oak-studded hillsides, lakes and creeks, mountain views and valley vistas. Napa golf has it all. If they could put it in a bottle, they would.

Sonoma Golf Guide

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by Robert P. Farmer

golfBagIstock1.jpgSONOMA COUNTY, CA - Sonoma County offers a wide-ranging mix of golf courses, both public and private. The moderate climate and proximity to the California coastline means conditions are near-ideal from Spring to Fall. Course types vary throughout the length of the valley, from windswept links-style tracks to hilly, verdant testers. Whatever your preference, the most difficult part of the round may be trying to select a course. Here are some Sonoma favorites.

The Arts in Yakima Valley, WA

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yakimaValleyArts3.jpgYakima Valley, WA - The season of music, dance and theatre is the longest season of all.

In the Yakima Valley of Central Washington there is a season for everything. Asparagus is harvested in spring, tomatoes in summer, and grapes in fall.

But fortunately for visitors, the Valley's robust arts season flavors the region all year long, with dance performances, Broadway musicals, concerts, symphonies, theater productions and visual arts exhibits.

The Capitol Theatre in downtown Yakima is a lovingly restored, 1,500-seat Vaudeville theatre that beautifully illustrates the community's commitment to its past and the future of the arts. Its stage hosts numerous performances and organizations, including the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, the Town Hall Series, community concerts and spectacular Broadway productions.

Santa Barbara: Mini Guide to Santa Ynez

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Lincourt Winery - Santa Ynez Valley, CA

Image by dcshoesboy via Flickr

by Robert P. Farmer

Not too long ago, Santa Barbara County was home to a handful of Hollywood celebrities trying to exist outside the limelight, and to a handful of winemakers trying to make their way outside the glare of Napa-Sonoma.The region was also for a time home to a scattering of upstart wineries who each developed their own niche and subsequent cult following.Today, that cult following has developed into full-fledged fame.

Contemporary Santa Barbara County is home to more than 21,000 vineyard-planted acres, grown and tended by dozens of wineries. But happily, the majority of these wineries remain small in stature--family owned-and-operated concerns with small-batch production and a handcrafted aesthetic. The wineries are primarily situated in the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria valleys, about 35 miles north of Santa Barbara. Rich with history and shot-through with breathtaking coastal scenery, the area's AVAs produce remarkable Pinot Noirs (as fans of the movie Sideways will no doubt recall). However the region is also responsible for several excellent Chardonnays and Cabernets. There are more varietals on offer from Santa Barbara in smaller quantities, including Merlots and select Malbecs and Viogniers.

Santa Barbara's Wine Country gained notoriety some years back with the release of the movie Sideways, and the region indeed capitalized on the fame. Thankfully, Santa Barbara has managed to retain its mellow, unpretentious appeal. The relaxed pace and easy-going charm actually translated well on screen, and visitors can easily take advantage of it with a well-planned weekend. The region's four main towns-- Solvang, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Ballard -- each have a distinct character. Also worthy of attention is the town of Buellton to the north. Whether exploring the quaint Danish-transplant town of Solvang or discovering one of the many great restaurants in the valley towns, the intrepid traveler will find Santa Barbara County every bit as appealing as California's more famous wine country to the north.

Here are my recommendations for the town of Santa Ynez:

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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 March 2012

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.

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.

Affordable Wine Country Isn't a Myth

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livermorePromotion.jpgThere's more to love than meets the eye, as a trip to Livermore and the Tri-Valley will quickly reveal. Locals adore the area for its authentic, charming and unspoiled terrain and ambiance.

Amidst the rolling hills is a golfer and wine lovers paradise and indulgent spa escapes. This not-to-be- missed region also boasts some of the best hotels and resorts, shopping, and fine and affordable dining available. Thinking of a place to get married? Gorgeous vineyard backdrops and venues to make for a memorable wedding all can be found in Tri-Valley. And of course, a host of activities for guests.

In essence, it's the perfect getaway spot for anyone and everyone. So whether you're seeking a romantic, family, girls getaway or man-cation destination, day or night, look no further than the Tri-Valley. 

And just in case you need one more  reason to visit, the Tri-Valley locals are offering a chance to enter their "Win a Spring Break Getaway to Wine Country" giveaway. Winners will receive a 2 night stay at a local hotel, a $100 gas card, two tickets to Livermore Valley Wine Country's Barrel Tasting Weekend, March 20-21, and a welcome bottle of wine. CLICK HERE for more details and to enter.

 

Napa Valley Mustard Festival 2010

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mustardFest2010.jpgThe Napa Valley vineyards landscape is slowly turning a different color - mustard yellow. That can only mean one thing for locals and visitors in the know . . . The Napa Valley Mustard Festival will be in full bloom in only a couple more weeks! This year's festivities take place January 30th - March 27th and will once again offer visitors a "sensational season of food, wine, and art events".

To kick off the Napa Valley Mustard Festival season is the "Mustard Magic" event on Saturday, January 30th at 7pm hosted at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena. Stroll through art-filled, candelit spaces featuring tastes of food and wine sure to entice at every turn, a gourmet buffet on the 3rd floor, live auction featuring luxurious trips, art, and wine, and of course dancing into the night! Tickets range from $125 to $175. More Details

Things just get better and better from here... see the list of other events below:

Pigs & Pinot 2010

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pigsPinot2009.jpg
photo credit: Charles Gesell

It's hog heaven again in Healdsburg for another year on March 19, 20, 2010 with the annual Charlie Palmer's Pigs & Pinot weekend. Held at award-winning Hotel Healdsburg, this event  "brings together the country's most prolific pork and wine professionals, including four Master Sommeliers, toasting and tasting their way to determine the winner of the coveted Pinot Cup"

It's so popular that the weekend lodging packages sold out in a mere few hours!  The next opportunity to buy a la carte event tickets is January 21st at 12 noon (PST). Mark your calendars, set your phone alarms and alerts if you want a ticket to one of the hottest events in Sonoma Wine Country.

Read on for a peak at the events lined up for this year:

Romantic Events in Wine Country

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Spice up your life and plan a romantic getaway to Wine Country. Wine regions across California, Virginia, and Oregon offer a variety of wine tasting activities that are both romantic and fun.

Below are just a few of the events many wineries are hosting this year for Valentine's Day Weekend. Please go to our Events Calendar for other ideas! Happy romance making....

GOLD COUNTRY
February 13 -- Valentine Dinner & Dance at Ironstone Vineyards
Celebration: Enjoy a romantic dinner at Ironstone Vineyards Tasting Room. The three-course meal includes a split bottle of wine per couple and romantic dessert. No host cash bar available to purchase your favorite Ironstone Wines. Enjoy the great sounds of Speakeazy Jazz Orchestra and dance the night away. Call for reservations. Ironstone Vineyards, 1894 Six Mile Road, Murphys
Fee: $65 per person; Time: Dinner seating starts at 7 p.m.; Phone: (209) 728.1251 x11


CLICK HERE for full Gold Country Events Calendar
 

2009 Napa Valley Holiday Openings

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Napa Valley will still be bustling with activity through the holidays. Several restaurants and a few wineries will be open Christmas Eve.  Only a handful will be open on Christmas Day, so plan accordingly. Celebrate New Year's Eve wine country style - gourmet dinners, wine tasting, and dancing to ring in the new year.

Find out what's happening on the Napa Valley Events Calendar.

Off The Beaten Track in Glen Ellen

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chocolateshop.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Glen Ellen is just far enough off the main highway to ensure that its visitors and residents really want to be there. Although only a twenty minute drive from downtown Sonoma, it feels like another world entirely, with rustic country lanes, minimal development, and fantastic owner-operated businesses making the most of the area's appeal. Here are just a few suggestions for things to do (besides visit wineries, of course!) that hit on three of Glen Ellen's main draws:

Top 3 Holiday Things to Do

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Napa Valley & Sonoma County

by Robert Farmer

1. Yountville Festival of Lights

The week of Thanksgiving is always a good time to find yourself in Yountville. And not simply because you could turn your family's Thanksgiving dinner into a three-star affair (the town is rightly proud of its unprecedented six Michelin stars). Rather, the week Thanksgiving is the traditional kickoff of Yountville's annual Festival of Lights. Now in its 21st year, the Festival of Lights is one of the most popular wintertime attractions in the Napa Valley. The tiny town comes to light with thousands of twinkling bulbs artfully tracing the buildings and foliage. The decorations are the backdrop for the cast of strolling carolers, elves, and townsfolk, transforming Yountville into a sort of wonderland--great for families ad couples in love (or hoping to get there). To complete the picture, hop aboard a horse-drawn carriage (weekends only) and soak up the seasonal atmosphere. Meanwhile, shops stay open later and the world-renowned restaurants amp up their own version of holiday cheer. The dozens of area wineries also participate, offering special pourings and pairings. Check out www.napavalley.com for  tips on where to stay.

2. Rutherford Passport Weekend

Winter months call for big reds and when it comes to big red wines it is tough to beat Rutherford, in Napa Valley. The Rutherford Passport Weekend, December 5-6, is an ideal opportunity to explore and enjoy the Rutherford Appellation, home to such biggies as Peju, Provenance, Rubicon, and Round Pond. The Passport Weekend event allows visitors to experience the participating wineries in an insider-y way, with special barrel and tank tastings, food pairings, and one-on-ones with winemakers. This is a festive weekend designed to inform as well as entertain, and there's no better time during the year to get to know Rutherford.
More information: www.rutherford-appellation-wineries.com/

reindeer.jpg3. Healdsburg Wine Country Christmas Party
The town of Healdsburg may be one of the most idyllic wine country locales year-round. But at the holidays it takes on an otherworldly charm. The Healdsburg Wine Country Christmas event - actually a series of events, is held ongoing through the month of December. The chic and charming small town - imminently walkable - is aglow with holiday cheer throughout the month, with sidewalks and shops adorned with lights and decorations. And during the month, most restaurants and shops get into the action with special sales and programs. Among the highlights of the Christmas Party are the Strolling Dine Around, a four-course progressive dinner and tour featuring Healdsburg's celebrated eateries, on the weekends of December 9-10 and 16-17. Other events include a Family Santa Party on December 12, and a Victorian Inns Holiday Tour on December 13. Things conclude on January 2 with the annual Fruitcake Toss. Events range in price from no-charge to $85.
Date: Saturday December 13th; Time: 2:00pm - 6:00pm; Phone: (707) 433-6935

Top 3 Holiday Places to Eat

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Napa Valley & Sonoma County

by Robert Farmer


FARM.jpg1. Farm at the Carneros Inn
During winter months the grounds of the Carneros Inn resort, situated at the southern end of the Napa Valley, is slower paced, more sparsely populated, and graciously beautiful. It's the kind of place where the family can decamp for a few days and retreat from the hustle and bustle of citified holiday madness. The property's signature restaurant, Farm, is the ideal spot for a festive holiday repast. The expansive dining room and adjacent large covered patio centered by a huge fire pit, are the sort of environments that seem to invite spirited social gathering. The mood is casual, unfussy, but nevertheless very chic. And it doesn't hurt that there are simply no misses on the seasonal farm-driven menu of American Wine Country dishes. Throw in a wine list that solidly reminds one of the location, and the makings of a great winter evening are all in place.

*Open for dinner 5:30-10pm Wed-Sun

FARM at Carneros Inn
4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa
(707) 299.4880
www.thecarnerosinn.com

2. Dry Creek Kitchen at the Hotel Healdsburg
Just because it seems like everybody knows each other at this always-jammed, always buzzing Wine Country outpost from chef Charlie Palmer, doesn't necessarily mean they do. But the neighborhood feel and congeniality of the staff have a tendency to make every guest feel like a regular. My guess is that one visit won't be enough for you anyway. Because this is the place to be in Healdsburg, and its gravitational pull only increases during the holidays. Whether you visit during one of the planned special Winter Winemaker Dinner series in December, or you make your stop a special event of your own, it's hard to beat Palmer's inventiveness and eagerness to please. The dining room offers many large-group options as well as intimate tables for two--all with views to the open kitchen and action at the bar up front. Tables outside are available, too, and the winter chill can be easily offset with the right vintage.

*Open for lunch
Fri-Sun noon-2:30pm;

Dinner
Sun-Thurs 5:30-9:30pm,
Fri-Sat 5:30- 10pm

Hotel Healdsburg

317 Healdsburg Ave., 
Healdsburg
707-431-0330
www.hotelhealdsburg.com

3. EDK at the El Dorado Hotel
Anchoring one corner of Sonoma Plaza, this lively, friendly Sonoma spot quickly became one of my Wine Country favorites after its opening a few years ago. The large sophisticated-looking room is typically buzzing with visitors and locals alike, who stream in for executive chef Justin Everett's "farm driven" menu. My wife and I, however, returned again and again simply for the amazing black truffle-dusted French fries.  There are of course several other tempting treats on the seasonally changing menu. But the food is just part of the story. The dining room--in terms of both location and atmosphere--is the perfect spot for a festive holiday celebration. With indoor and outdoor seating options and an exhibition kitchen, it's the sort of place where there always seems to be some kind of party taking place, no matter the season. And if you and 20 of your best friends can secure the 21-foot-long wood table in the center of the room, yours will no doubt soon be the party everyone wants to join.


EDK at the El Dorado Hotel
405 First Street West, Sonoma
707-996-3030
www.eldoradosonoma.com

Carmel Valley: Great Food, Wine & Relaxation

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Bernadus.jpgThe ultimate three day weekend in Carmel Valley (Monterey Wine Country) is at your fingertips. The Monterey County CVB offers a detailed itinerary for wine and food lovers alike. Recommendations for lodging, where to dine for some of the best, fresh foods, and of course wine tasting.

Below are is just snapshot of Friday -

1PM - Arrive early and pick from a myriad of inns, hotels or lodges for your first night's stay (Country Garden Inns is located within walking distance of Carmel Valley Village and known for their tasty breakfast buffet. They also are running a Wine Escape special - room rates are only $165 per person and your stay includes dinner and wine tasting tickets. Click here to view special ).

2 PM - Once your settled with accommodations, go on a horseback ride at Holman Ranch.

6PM -  End the night with dinner reservations at the "Dining Room" which features French cuisine with a California twist that highlights locally grown ingredients, and is the perfect spot for a memorable dinner.

Click here for the full three day itinerary.

Halloween & Fall Events in Wine Country

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girl2.jpgWhat's your Halloween tradition? Looking for things that go bump in the night, getting lost in a maze of maize, or celebrating the night in scary style? It's the season of fun and whether you're looking for kid friendly or grown up approved, we can certainly point you in the right direction for events near you!

Oregon Odyssey: To Do List - Portland & Willamette

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lux4.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Visitors to Oregon will note right away that things are done differently here. Shop clerks linger and chat while packaging up your goods, traffic moves more slowly and the pace of life seems firmly dialed to the "enjoy the journey" station. This enticingly mellow pace of life, coupled with Oregon's outstanding natural beauty and prolific food and wine culture, make it an ideal destination for foodies, outdoor adventurers and anyone looking to take things down a few notches. Read on for some of our top picks for activities to indulge in chez Portland and beyond, in the storied haunts of the Willamette.

Oregon Itinerary: Willamette North Valley

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pinotbarrels.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Stop 1: Adelsheim Vineyard

A Willamette tour wouldn't be complete without a visit to well-known Adelsheim Vineyard, which boasts stellar views of the Chehalem Mountains from its newly refurbished tasting room just outside Newberg. Founded in 1971, the winery is run by the affable David Adelsheim, a Willamette wine pioneer whose passion for the area and its world-class Pinots runs deep. It's worth going just to taste the winery's nuanced single-vineyard Pinots - the Ribbon Springs Vineyard ($68) is a standout - though Adelsheim's Willamette Valley-classified bottling ($32) is easier on the wallet and does a better job capturing the full scope of the region's signature aromas, flavors and silky texture.

Tasting Room: 16800 NE Calkins Lane, Newberg, OR 97132. Open daily 11am-4pm (tel) (503) 538-3652
Tasting Fee: $15 for 6 wines
Watch My Video of David Adelsheim at the winery

Tip: Take a picnic lunch and enjoy it on Adelsheim's spacious outdoor patio (bottle purchase will be appreciated as a courtesy for using the space). There are no other lunch options in the immediate area, and you'll want to make sure to refuel in the midst of a full day of tasting.

Wine Country Itinerary: Willamette South Valley

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ribbonRidge.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Visitors to Oregon's wonderfully Pinot-centric Willamette Valley will do well to split their tasting excursion into at least two days, as the area's wide open spaces create not only lovely panoramic views but also drives of some distance between wineries. Thus, this itinerary starts in the centrally situated Dundee Hills and meanders from there to the nearby towns of Carlton and McMinnville. Along the way, you'll visit one of the region's best-known (not to mention physically striking) wineries in Domaine Drouhin Oregon, a start-up venture in Scott Paul Wines and the birthplace of Willamette wine in The Eyrie Vineyards. In all, it's a fabulously diverse lineup where Oregon winemaking is concerned - and one just waiting for you to savor.

For more on wineries further north, check out our North Valley itinerary.

Oregon Odyssey

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oregon_wine_country.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Oregon's famed Willamette Valley - a wonderfully bucolic spot an hour's easy drive from Portland - may just be the anti-Napa Valley. You won't find any medieval castles or Persian Palaces here, though you WILL find no shortage of ridiculously good wine, an incredibly warm people and a far slower pace of life than that in bustling California. So slow down (literally, the police ticket a lot around these parts), take your time and prepare to be awed by the natural beauty of your surroundings, the superb quality of the wines and the kindness of the people serving them. It's not exactly wine country in slow motion, but it's not far off.

And given the hectic pace of our lives these days, this can be a very good thing.

See, Taste, Eat and Sleep!
Portland & Willamette Valley To Do List

Wine Tasting & Itineraries
Top 10 Willamette Wines
Willamette Itinerary: North Valley
Willamette Itinerary: South Valley




Wine Country Personality: Lisa Neisingh of Firefly Lodge

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lisa_fireflylodge.jpgLisa Neisingh of Firefly Lodge

Six years ago, inspired by the kaleidoscope of natural beauty (mountain peaks, redwood forests and fertile river valleys) of the region, local Sonoma County resident, Lisa Neisingh, bought a riverfront cabin. Located where Russian River and three renown grape growing microclimates (the Alexander, the Dry Creek, and the Russian River Valleys) converge,... just outside Healdsburg, a place known for its world class style and small town charm,... near historic Camp Rose (where Lisa's great-grandmother, Estelle, was the cook in the 1930's),...in the heart of northern Sonoma Wine Country,...there, on the riverbank, you will find Firefly Lodge.

28th Annual Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration

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livermoreBarrellEvent.jpgExperience the Harvest in Livermore Valley Wine Country. Over 40 wineries' wines and their unique personalities during the peak of Harvest Season! 

New for 2009 is the Harvest Village at Robertson Park in Livermore, where 21 wineries will be pouring their wines and guests will enjoy live music on two stages, arts and crafts and food vendors. Another 19 wineries will be pouring at their wineries across Livermore Valley, each offering a unique experience.

On Sunday, festival guests can board a complimentary shuttle buses at Harvest Village that will transport them between wineries. Attendees will be the first wine festival guests ever to vote for their favorite winery experiences via text message.

Two-day tickets are $50 in advance and $75 at the event. Sunday-only tickets are $45 and Monday-only tickets are $40.  Non-drinking tickets (required for children over 12) are $10 and are  valid for both days. Tickets are available online at www.LVwine.org

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

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sonomalogo[1].jpgWhere Wine, Food and Friends Meet

3 days.200 wineries and chefs. One unforgettable Sonoma experience.

This Labor Day Weekend, we invite you to an epicurean event like no other - Sonoma Wine Country Weekend.

Join us for three unforgettable days of our region's finest wine and food, including exclusive Winemaker Lunches and Dinners, the 30th Annual Showcase: Taste of Sonoma and the 17th Annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction presented by Trilogy Glass & Packaging. Come to one event, or make a long weekend out of it. The choice is yours!

Napa Valley's Open Studios

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A Free, Self Guided Fine Art Discovery Tour

nvOpenStudiosSarahB.jpg
Every fall, when trucks bearing tons of grapes appear on the roads of Napa Valley, the sun-drenched trees begin to show their fall colors, and the hottest days of the year roll through the gorgeous valley, it's the season for artists to throw open their studio doors and welcome friends, neighbors, and visitors into their creative workspaces for the annual Open Studios tour. 

Arts Council Napa Valley's Open Studios is a free, self-guided fine art discovery tour that runs during the last two weekends of September.  The 2009 Open Studios Honorary Co-Chairs, Eleanor Coppola and Kathryn Hall, invite patrons to experience this year's tour, featuring 88 of the finest artists and craftspeople in the Napa Valley. 

Whether you are an avid collector or just curious about art, Open Studios is an incredible opportunity to peer into the creative spaces of Napa Valley painters, metal and stone sculptors, mosaicists, photographers, ceramists, printmakers, fiber artists, jewelry makers, glass artists and other fine craftspeople, and to buy local art right from the source.

Itinearary: Golf Swingin' in Monterey

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montereyGolf.jpgIt doesn't take a rocket scientist to know why Monterey ranks as one of the top golf destinations in the world. It's home to Pebble Beach and is a favorite for the U.S. Open Championship. In fact, it will be hosting the championship a fifth time in a row in 2010.

But with so many golf courses to choose from, let alone figuring out lodging and dining if you are planning a weekend getaway, where does one begin?

No worries. Monterey County CVB has it all worked out for you with a golf weekend itinerary. Each day by hour is completely detailed out for you. For full itinerary, CLICK HERE.

Monterey.Winecountry.com is your resource for more lodging and dining choices. And of course if you are traveling with the Mrs. or family in tow, be sure to check out other activities for them to do while you are golfing!


A Tri-Valley, California Man-cation

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men_golf.jpegIt is possible to getaway with the guys for a few days this summer without dropping thousands of dollars in Vegas. For a more economical, and certainly tamer trip, try the Tri-Valley.  The perfect weekend plan for the boys of summer includes golf, wine tasting, vintage cars, custom motorcycles and more.

PLAY: Hit the links at one of the 11 Public Golf Courses in Tri-Valley, California. Affordable green fees, challenging course and spectacular views are the hallmarks of Tri-Valley golf. Start by playing Callippe Preserve Golf Course . Situated on the picturesque Pleasanton Ridge, the course offers 18 holes of small ridge terrain and bountiful amounts of wildlife habitat areas. Want to play among the vineyards? Then make a tee time at Poppy Ridge Golf Course. This 27-hole Scottish Heathland course boasts 3 nines and a full service golf shop.

A Family Vacation Spot For Less

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Grab the kids, gas up the car and head to Tri-Valley, California for an affordable and family-friendly vacation. Tri-Valley, California, is rich in family-friendly attractions and is an affordable, charming and unspoiled destination where families are welcomed to experience the beauties and highlights of the San Francisco Bay Area. While many visitors make Tri-Valley their "home base" while exploring the more touristy San Francisco spots, there is actually quite a bit to see right here in the Tri-Valley.

LEARN: Day One, 8 a.m. - Lasers!
Start the day with a visit to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Discovery Center which provides visitors with a window into its state-of-the-art research programs, computational capabilities, and experimental tools. Here kids can experience a broad-based display of science and technology, as well as highlights of the Laboratory's history. After learning about the science, take the kids to play a round of laser tag at Boomers.

Music in the Vineyards Begins

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Chamber Music Festival Offers Concerts in Intimate Winery Venues

nvArts_MusicVineyards1.jpgBy Natasha Biasell

This August, 33 renowned musicians from around the world will travel to the Napa Valley to perform in Music in the Vineyards' 15th annual chamber music festival. The three-week festival showcases artists-in-residence performing in intimate winery settings with complimentary wine tastings at intermission.

The festival kicks off on Wednesday, August 5th in the Hudson House of the beautiful Beringer Vineyards where The Blue Baroque Band, an ensemble of recorder, violin, oboe, bassoon and harpsichord, will play seven classical works from the great musical centers of the 18th Century. The new festival venue this year is Cakebread Cellars, hosting a concert featuring a Dvorak Quintet for two violins, viola, cello and double bass on Saturday, August 8th.

Pure Mendo, Pure Fun

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Watermelon-Salad.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Oenophiles looking for an excuse to experience the bounty Mendocino has to offer need wait no longer. The weekend of August 29 and 30, 2009 will see luminaries from the spot known as the greenest wine region in the country open their doors and uncork outstanding wines in support of Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County.  The event is called Pure Mendocino, and it's shaping up to be purely fantastic.
taste_nation2.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

This August 17, Napa's A-list in the culinary and vinous worlds (think celebrity chefs! vintners!) will gather to support Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation, a golf and gustatory-themed benefit being billed as the nation's premier culinary event. Festivities at the day-long event - which will take place that the tony Silverado Resort - kick off with a golf tourney and lunch and continue into the evening at the luxe grand tasting and live and silent auctions, which begin at 5pm.

Soothe Your Cares Away: Hot Water Spots

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calistogaHotSprings.jpgIt's 90 to 100 degrees outside and one of the best ways to relax is in a pool, tub, or creek of hot water? I guess if you're inside with air-conditioning or doing a night-time soak when the air has cooled, then by all means INDULGE.

San Francisco Chronicle recently named 5 California places to attain such nirvana.


  1. Calistoga Spa Hot Springs - Calistoga
  2. Esalen Institute - Big Sur
  3. Vichy Springs - Ukiah
  4. Watercourse Way - Palo Alto
  5. Hot Creek - Eastern Sierra
Read the entire article here

Or start planning your trip at WineCountry.com that has a list of spas in wine regions across California. Napa Valley, in particular the town of Calistoga, is known for their hot mineral waters! 

Of Swings and Steaks

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Golf Getaways for Guys
by Robert P. Farmer


You'll get little argument that California's Wine Country is one of the most romantic spots you're likely to find in the US. The mere mention of a Wine Country Weekend conjures images of a handholding, shop-strolling, cracker-and-cheese nibbling, bubbly-sipping extravaganza. It's a Couple's Paradise.

But what about a foursome? Not talking here about double dating; talking instead about four guys looking for fun in Wine Country -- namely, the kind of fun that can only be found on 18 holes. In addition to the couple's thing and the girl's spa weekend, Wine Country is a great destination for a guy's getaway. In today's world of the metrosexual, the pampered guy is not unusual in these parts. There are dozens of places in the region where men can find their bliss, whether in the mud, the steam, or on the massage table.

Lincoln Theater Napa Valley: Presents Eclectic, Upbeat Arts for All

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lincolnTheater_Vereen.jpgBy Lisa Adams Walter

Good times and laughter are set to fill Lincoln Theater Napa Valley in Yountville when the Summer / Fall 2009 Season kicks off on Saturday, August 22 with an exclusive Northern California appearance by Tony Award-winning Broadway star Ben Vereen. An eclectic and upbeat slate of performances that will lift spirits follows with acts that range from the Glenn Miller Orchestra, to kid-friendly shows, to jazz with The Brubeck Brothers, to the iconic John Cleese. Tickets, which range from extreme values at $10 to the highest priced tickets at just $69 per seat, are on sale now.

"At Lincoln Theater Napa Valley, we have tried to concentrate on shows that are lighthearted and entertaining and that we can bring to the local community as well as wine country visitors at reasonable prices," said Richard Aldag, Lincoln Theater Napa Valley Executive Director. "We have emphasized comedy, upbeat music, family shows and nostalgia."

The Summer / Fall 2009 Season opens with an Intimate Evening of Broadway with the Tony Award-winning Ben Vereen, Saturday, August 22 at 8 p.m. Few entertainers are as accomplished and versatile as this incomparable Broadway and screen star, singer, dancer and actor.

An African Safari in Sonoma Wine Country?

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Always dreamed of going on an African Safari, but funds dictate otherwise? Don't fret; at Safari West in Sonoma Wine Country you can experience the wonder of exotic creatures like giraffes, gazellas, zebras and many other animals at a fraction of the cost. As their tagline appropriately says "the spirit of Africa in the heart of the Wine Country".

Your safari escape includes a three hour drive by jeep throughout the preserve and then a trek around the inner grounds. You can also spend the night in a Safari Tent (built on high wooden platforms with spacious decks) or in one of their two bedroom cottages.

Recently featured on ABC7 News as one of the most popular destinations in Northern California:



Safari West is also a great place to take the family and kids too.
CLICK HERE to read "The Kid Stays in the Picture"


Safari West
3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa
(707) 579-2551
www.safariwest.com

Conde Nast Traveler: Top Spas for 2009

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kenwoodSpaCopyright.jpg
Kenwood Inn and Spa - Top 3 Resort Spa in the United States
Conde Nast Traveler 2009 Readers' Poll

If you're planning a trip to wine country, one of the best ways to unwind and relax is with a spa treatment. Conde Nast Traveler released the poll results of readers' top picks for spas across the U.S. and even areas internationally. It's no surprise that many of the spas in Hawaii and California were heavily preferred by consumers.

Kenwood Inn and Spa in Sonoma, CA was one of the top 3 resort spas in the U.S. and received perfect scores of 100 for treatments, staff, service and design. Book a stay with them as they also boast lush surroundings, soothing pools, and elegant accommodations in a Tuscan setting.  Reserve online.

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!

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!

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.

The Kid Stays in the Picture

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safari_west.jpgPlenty of Options in Wine Country When Traveling Without Children is Not an Option
By Robert P. Farmer

By now you've heard me go on about life changing drastically for my wife and me. This of course can be pinned squarely on a single pair of tiny shoulders. Since our daughter was born in late 2007, our lifestyle of "Wine Country whenever we want to" has morphed in to a lifestyle of "remember when we used to go to Wine Country."

But now that our little one is reaching a stage when she's decidedly more mobile, the result is a family that has become more mobile as well. In fact we have been to Wine Country on a couple occasions in the months between her birthday and now. Those trips, however, were more anxiety ridden than relaxing - is she going to be comfortable in the portable crib? Will she suddenly erupt if we bring her to dinner? We traveled in Defense Condition Red.

Napa City Staycation

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By Courtney Cochran

With the economy bumping along as uncertainly as the box office receipts for latter-day Lindsay Lohan pics, it's no surprise Americans are embracing staycations in record numbers. An amusing portmanteau of the words "stay" (as in stay-at-home, or near home) and "vacation," the staycation offers Wine Country travelers an escape that's long on pleasure but short on planning and out-of-pocket expenses. And with its convenient location just 50 minutes north of San Francisco, the city of Napa makes an ideal destination for Bay Area staycationers of all stripes.

Read on for the low down on top spots for sipping inside the Napa City limits, and click here for more on the dos and don'ts of staycations - including tips on how to make yours a smashing success.
By Courtney Cochran

There's nothing like an escape to wine country to reinvigorate friendships and make lasting memories with the gal pals most important to you.  From wine blending lessons to sustainability treks and salsa lessons (not to mention divine food and wine), there's no shortage of delightful diversions to keep you and your gang occupied. 

Wine Country Personalities: Penny & Doug McKesson

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dougMckessonPersonality.jpgMoving from Southern California to Sonoma in the mid 70's, Penny & Doug McKesson never looked back.  Switching gears from running restaurants to owning a small town bike shop, Penny & Doug went to work immediately becoming an integral part of the community.  This culminated in Doug winning a seat on the Sonoma City Council in 2002 and becoming Mayor in 2006.  Over the past 34 years they have developed close friends and relationships which give them access to places in Sonoma that many locals are not even aware of.

Where to Save, Where to Splurge In Wine Country

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By Courtney Cochran

I can recall, with embarrassing clarity, buying Chuck Shaw by the caseload in the drearily cash-strapped era that followed my graduation from college.  And though I quickly "graduated" beyond the realm of such inexpensive sippers around the time of my first raise, today's tough economic times have many of us - yours truly included - contemplating a reunion with bargain sips like Mr. Shaw's and others of his ilk.

To be sure, the crisis thinking fueling these considerations isn't limited to wine consumption alone.  Wine country visitors, as well, are wondering where they can cut corners on visits in order to spend less while still enjoying their fair share of the pleasures wine country has to offer.  They're looking for easy, smart ways to extend their spending power at a time when all of us are getting by on less.   

And so, in a valiant effort to keep the good times - and the good drink - flowing, we're here to help you do just that.  Read on for our top suggestions on where to save and - as important - where to splurge in wine country this season.    Because if one thing is a constant no matter the economic clime, it's that we can all use a little affordable luxury every now and then to keep our spirits afloat.
By Christopher Nevin Johnston

filmfestBruce.jpgLooking for a good reason to hit the road and relax for a few days?  Well, look no more.  Every spring the Sonoma International Film Festival draws more than 17,000 visitors to the historic Sonoma City Plaza--located roughly 45 miles northeast of San Francisco--for an extended weekend of laid-back film, food, wine, art and music.

Akin to the more scenic film festival locations like Park City or Santa Barbara, Sonoma has all of the natural beauty of its sister fests but--and here's the kicker--is actually an affordable pleasure experience that won't leave you with a bad case of spender's remorse.  From now until February 28th all passes are on sale for 20% off the regular price.  So, if you purchased a basic Festival Pass (valued at $225) you could attend all the regular screenings and panels for only $180!  Let's see the Sundance Kid offer you a better deal....And if your pockets run a little deeper and you would like a more tailored festival experience, Platinum and Premiere Passes will ensure a hobnobbing good time without a bail-out from the Feds.

Spend Valentine's Day in Monterey

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montereyCoast.jpgValentine's Day is around the corner. What do you have planned for your special someone? Monterey Wine Country has several Valentine's Day events perfect for setting the mood and inspiring romance. And this year, Valentine's Day falls on Saturday, so put those pennies together and make it a weekend trip!

Read on for a few of the events Monterey County Convention & Visitor's Bureau recommends as Top Valentine's Day Events in Monterey.

Celebrate the Season of the Olive in Sonoma at MacArthur Place

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macarthur.jpgSonoma is known for its wines, but it celebrates another major harvest every year during the annual Sonoma Valley Olive Festival which runs through mid-February. A complete list of events can be found at www.olivefestival.com.
 
MacArthur Place, a luxurious 64-room country inn and spa set on an 18th century estate a few blocks from Sonoma's historic Plaza, is offering a special Olive Festival Package to help partake in the festivities.

Through February 12, reserve an Olive Festival Package at MacArthur Place with rates beginning at $199 per night midweek or $249 per night on weekends. It includes welcome Olive Festival martinis and $25 off a Sonoma Olive Oil Body Polish or any spa treatment at the Garden Spa. For reservations call MacArthur Place toll-free at (800) 722-1866. For more information about MacArthur Place, visit their website at www.macarthurplace.com

Romancing the Stone

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maisonry.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Ma(i)sonry, Yountville's new antique-boutique-meets-collective-tasting-room, has all the makings of a hit wine country destination: historic building, stylishly edited surroundings, and world class wine. The newest project from financial exec-cum wine entrepreneur Michael Polenske, Ma(i)sonry artfully marries several of its founder's chief passions - art, home furnishings and wine - in a manner altogether a cut above that of most wine country destinations.

Press Release: Go See the Spooky Side of Calaveras!

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Events abound for the young and young at heart this Halloween season! Don a costume and join the fun with family and/or friends. Scary movies, haunted house tours, Trick or Treat Street, and even a masquerade ball or just some of the ghoulish activities in Calveras Wine Country late October through November. Check out the list of activities provided by the Calveras Visitors Bureau). For other wine country activities, CLICK HERE to visit the WineCountry.com Calendar of Events.

Livermore: More to Love

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RollingGrapeVines.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

To many drivers traversing the gusty Altamont Pass east of San Francisco Bay, Livermore Valley is little more than the vast open space they drive though before reaching the sea of windmills atop Altamont, one of the world's most important - and hard to miss - wind energy generation sites.

But folks familiar with California wine lore know that Livermore's undulating grasslands harbor not only some of the state's oldest documented grape vines but also a vibrant vinous past that dates to the mid Eighteenth Century. Savvy wine tourists also know that the valley affords a low-key alternative to the state's more popular wine regions, a place where limousines are scarce, but increasingly good wine and hospitality are anything but.

An Arts Experience in Livermore

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Aquila2_150x150.jpgBy Jessica Beck

Livermore is encompassed by some of the richest cultural arts in the area. The true blend of art and culture is seen through the area's finest performing arts organizations and an enriched way of life through cultural and educational organizations. The city is home to an opera, symphony orchestra, chamber music series, chorus, Ballet Company, Shakespeare Festival, Community Theater and a host of visual artists. Livermore truly thrives on the arts and experiences that come with it.

Tee Time in Livermore/Tri-Valley Wine Country

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livermore_Golf_Wente.jpgSubmitted by Tri-Valley CVB

Less than an hour's drive from San Francisco, set amidst picturesque rolling hills, the championship courses of Tri-Valley offer players a memorable location for a golf holiday. Whether you are a beginner, a student of golf, or just looking to improve your game, Tri-Valley's ten public courses offer spectacular views, challenging terrain and unfailing hospitality.

Get Thee to Sonoma This Weekend!

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tasteofsonoma.pngBy Courtney Cochran

Hamlet - the Danish prince at the center of the eponymous Shakespearean tragedy - had some fairly significant problems on the brain when he coined the now-famous phrase, "get thee to a nunnery" in a particularly dramatic scene in the acclaimed play.  Happily, those considering heading to Sonoma this Labor Day weekend have much less troublesome reasons to get themselves thither - three food- and wine-filled days' worth of reasons, to be specific.

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.

Beer Steps Aside for Colorado Wine

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boulderfwfest.jpgBy Robert Farmer

Boulder, Colorado: If you're like me, the beverage you equate most with the Rockies is beer - one particular type of beer, more likely. For as long as anyone can remember, the taste of the Rocky Mountains was a hops-and-barley taste. Beer in Colorado is king. That is, until now.


Like each of its 49 neighbor states, Colorado, too, has an emerging wine industry. And now that industry is starting to inch into the territory of its dominant sister beverage. While it will certainly be some time before beer is replaced on the throne, wine in Colorado is proving to be a worthy prince.

Go Go Bordeaux

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vins.jpgBy Robert Farmer

I have to admit I don't often have travel envy. I've been fortunate in and mostly satisfied with my life's travel experiences. And when I hear of the experiences of others, I rarely find myself in an "I'm jealous of that" situation. But if I had an "I'd rather be..." bumper sticker on my car right now it would be completed with the phrase "...At the Bordeaux Fete Le Vin, 2008."

I can't imagine a more perfect place to spend the early days of summer -- admitting, of course, that I'd have to be willing to battle the throng of some 350,000 people expected to spill into France's most famous wine regions from the 26th to the 29th of June.

Things are Afoot in Yountville

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villagio.jpgBy Robert Farmer

One of the best things about Yountville - the little berg that could in the heart of California Wine Country - is that is wonderfully self-contained. One might argue that the best thing about it is that it is home to French Laundry, the vaunted and impossible-to-get-into restaurant helmed by Thomas Keller. While that's certainly a big draw, the truly beautiful thing about Yountville, all two miles wide of it, is that indeed it is so compact that it is one of the few destinations of its caliber that can be easily accessed entirely by foot.

Wente Looking Great for 125

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By Robert Farmerwente.jpg

Especially in America, even twenty-five years is a good stretch for a winery. So special congratulations are definitely in order to Wente Vineyards as it celebrates more than a hundred years longer than that. The 125th anniversary celebration is taking place throughout 2008, but in May things really heat up. Numerous events are slated to commemorate Wente's status as the country's oldest continuously operated family-owned winery.

Diary of A Sonoma Film Fest Junkie

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danakim1.jpgI pity the fool who missed the fabulous Sonoma Film Festival Gala celebration last night at Jacuzzi Winery. First things first - Jacuzzi Winery is an absolutely gorgeous venue, replete with a center courtyard that gives way to views of the vineyards and barrel chaix. My friends and I imagined grand weddings for ourselves (once we get that elusive proposal) in such lavish settings sans the gravel parking lot. Note to self: bring an extra pair of walking shoes so as to not break neck in 3 inch heels!

It's Movie Night!

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filmFestKids.jpg

Sonoma Film Festival makes it Easy to Go to The Movies (even for parents!)
By Robert P. Farmer

Once upon a time I went to the movies four times a week. Now, I never go. No exaggeration - four times a week. And seriously - never. These days, if it doesn't come to my house via a little red envelope in my mail, I don't see it. I still see all the good ones, but it's never at the movie theater. It wasn't always like that. I used to be at the theater more days than I wasn't.



Once Upon a Film Festival

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An Epicurean Itinerary
By Courtney Cochran


08film_ElvisAndAnabelleStill.jpgWe're so sure you'll love Elvis & Anabelle - a delightful new flick screening April 13th at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival sponsored by WineCountry.com- that we've designed a custom itinerary around the film to help you take your viewing experience to altogether more hedonistic heights.

Cinematic Highs In Sonoma

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filmfest.jpgThe eleventh annual Sonoma Valley Film Festival (sonomafilmfest.org) kicks off April 9th on the plaza in downtown award - and thousands of festival attendees will gather to eat, drink and take in a full roster of independent and mainstream films against the backdrop of wine country.

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