Recently in Types of Activities 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!


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.


Wine Tasting Itinerary: Northern Trail through Sonoma County

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Be ready for this adventure headed north through Sonoma County. It's a fast paced day to seek out the wonderful flavors of Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and much more!  You can see the winemaking equipment at Arrowood when you drive up to the house. Drink in the artwork at Imagery, as well as their wine. The drive north to Sonoma-Cutrer and Hartford Family Winery is as beautiful as the view from their porches.

Arrowood Vineyard & Winery, 14347 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen, CA 95442, (707) 935-2600
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  • Tasting Fee: $30 Per Couple - Reserve Tasting
  • Time: 10 AM - Allow One Hour
  • Reservations: Not Required
  • Experience: Incredible view from the wrap-around porch of the winery.  This is one of the few tasting rooms where you can buy wines by the glass and relax on the porch. Ask about tasting their small-production Malbec. It is very hard to find.
  • Directions to Next Stop: .2 miles west on Babb Lane toward CA 12. Imagery Estate Winery is at the base of the driveway to Arrowood Winery

Imagery Estate Winery
, 14335 Highway 12, Glen Ellen, CA 95442, (7807) 935-4515
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  • Tasting Fee: $20 Per Couple - Taste 5 of their many wines
  • Time: 11 AM - Allow One Hour
  • Experience: Imagery has a true artist feel to it. Each wine label is different and dons a piece of artwork from different artists. The wines are bodies of art as well. Imagery produces lesser known, but fabulous, varietals. Have you ever had a Cinsault or Barbera? You will! There always seems to be a lot of energy in the tasting room. If you have time, play a game of bocce on the gorgeous lawn.
  • Reservations: Not Required
  • Directions to Next Stop: (Allow 6 minutes for travel) R on CA 12 for 5.1 miles, Café Citti on your L

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)

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)

Gordon Huether Gallery Presents the Art of Grace Slick

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gordonHuetherGallery.jpgSubmitted by Gordon Huether Gallery

Gordon Huether has been given the rare opportunity to share the stage with artists who are not only known for the fine art they create but also for being world famous musicians. Huether, who has an unprecedented interest in presenting a refreshing variety of artwork to the community, has opened his gallery to introduce the fine art work of some of these celebrities.

In an attempt to mesh the arts, wine and music, Gordon Huether Gallery is kicking off the season in the Napa Valley with a series of exciting and eclectic pop-up exhibitions. The gallery currently has work by world-renowned musician, the legendary Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane on display.


Join the Gordon Huether Gallery on Friday, May 17th 2013 from 6 - 8PM
 for a reception with a special appearance by Grace Slick. The artist will sign any art purchased at the event and a photo opportunity will be available.

We are honored to have the opportunity to share her work with you:
Gordon Huether Gallery, located at 1465 First Street in Napa, California.

To RSVP please send us an email to mail@gordonhuether.com

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.

Arts in April: The Art of Relaxation at the Meritage Resort and Spa

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Napa Resort Celebrates Napa Valley's Arts in April with
"Meritage Masterpiece"


artsInApril2013_MeritageResort_PhotoByRexGilbert.jpgPhoto Credit: Rex Gilbert

The Meritage Resort and Spa is embracing all that the Napa Valley has to offer and celebrating the arts by creating a true "Meritage Masterpiece" with The Art of Relaxation Package.

This one-of-a-kind package allows guests to dream big and paint their own masterpiece. Easels, canvas, paints and brushes, for two, will be provided at check-in along with overnight hotel accommodations in a superior guest room or suite and multiple spa treatments.

artsInApril2013_MeritageResort_Painter.jpgWhile the new Art of Relaxation Package is available year-round, Meritage Resort is excited to extend to guests an opportunity to take a three-hour watercolor class with local artist Jessel Miller during the month of April! This class will be offered each Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and is only $30 (standard price is $45). Additional information about the class can be obtained by calling Jessel Gallery at 707.257.2350.

"Painting and creating art allows the painter to fully relax and embrace the moment," said Jessel Miller, artist, Napa resident and owner of Jessel Gallery. "Soaking in all that Napa has to offer, while appreciating its beauty, is truly freeing. I hope that Arts in April and this package encourage more Napa Valley visitors to relax for a moment and appreciate the true beauty that is only found in Napa."

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
KorbelHeader.jpg
  • 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
HopKiln_header.jpg
  • $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

Plan Your Wedding in Napa Valley

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By: Harvest Inn in St. Helena, CA
Photo Credit: Patricia Mark Photography


Wedding-kiss-in-vineyards----credit-Patricia-Mark-Photography-(2).jpgNow is the time to turn a dream of a romantic, al fresco wedding deep in Napa Valley's wine country  into a reality - before the summer is booked up.  Most couples think of having a wedding ceremony at a winery; unfortunately, many Napa Valley wineries are not permitted to serve as a wedding venue. However, don't despair brides, you can still have your fairy tale wine country wedding with beautiful views of the vineyards as the setting.

Harvest Inn, located in the charming town of St. Helena, hosts dozens of weddings annually. Named one of the 'Most romantic date destinations in America' by Redbook magazine, Harvest Inn's eight acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and vineyards offer a setting unmatched anywhere else in Napa Valley. This gorgeous setting is just steps away from where the happy couple exchanges "I do's".

The perfect place to turn that first date into a lasting commitment is the Vineyard Terrace - a favorite for ceremonies - that creates a stunning setting overlooking the Leonardini Vineyards with views of the Mayacamas Mountains beyond. Afterward, guests can sip cocktails and play croquet and badminton on the Manor House Lawn, while the same Vineyard Terrace is transformed for an elegant dinner. The morning following the big day, newlyweds can wake up to a complimentary wine country breakfast and unwind with spa treatments in a private cabana by the vineyards. Surrounded by redwoods and grape vines, the Inn has a secluded feel, yet guests can still walk to St. Helena's  pleasant Main Street, home to several fine dining restaurants and boutiques.

HarvestInn_Weddings_Tables-set-up-vineyard-view-(2).jpg


Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater RE-OPENS

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"This theater is a jewel of the whole Napa Valley and we are committed to doing whatever we can to ensure its vibrant and sustainable future."
~ Yountville Mayor John Dunbar


lincolnTheater.jpgThe Lincoln Theater located in the heart of Napa Valley is re-opening and just announced its Grand Opening Celebration (March 23,2013) and first production "Footloose" (March 1-6, 2013). Maestro Ming Luke has been named as the Music & Education Director who will drive the formation of a scalable professional symphonic orchestra and create a comprehensive music education program.

More Event Details and Upcoming Highlights of the Season:

  • Grand Opening Celebration - Tickets Now on Sale!
  • Indulge the senses as the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater's marks its first inaugural fundraising event by celebrating the Lincoln Theater's past, present and future and its transformation from an auditorium built in 1957 to a state-of-the art venue in 2005 to the March 23rd launch as a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary performing arts center.

  • lincolnTheater_footloose.jpgFootloose - Tickets Now on Sale!
  • Justin-Siena Theatre presents one of the most explosive movie musicals that bursts onto the live stage with exhilarating results. To the rockin' rhythm of its Oscar and Tony-nominated top 40 score and augmented with dynamic new songs for the stage musical, Footloose celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people, guiding them with a warm heart and an open mind.

  • Orchestra Performances - Schedule To Be Announced Soon
  • The debut of the symphonic orchestra will be announced shortly; The Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater's education program will start with a summer workshop in June, and the first Napa Valley Performing Arts Center-presented performances begin in May.

Visit www.lincolntheater.org for more performance details and media press releases.

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


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

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.

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.


Full Flavors of Sonoma County at Taste of Sonoma Event

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macMurrayRanch_TasteOfSonoma.jpgThe full flavors of Sonoma County will be in the spotlight at the 33rd annual Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch in Healdsburg, California on Saturday, September 1, 2012 as part of the 5th annual Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, presented by Visa Signature®. Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch is a day-long event that features more than 170 wineries and 60 of Sonoma County's top chefs and food purveyors as well as a multitude of educational and entertaining events staged at a quintessential, "only in Sonoma" setting.

Kate MacMurray is the honorary host of Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch which takes place on the historic property and vineyard site that her father, the late actor Fred MacMurray, purchased decades ago. Guests are invited to sip and savor while soaking up the experience of the intimate site. MacMurray Ranch is rarely open to the public and tickets should be purchased early as this event has grown in popularity and is anticipated to again sell out.

"In addition to wine and food, guests at Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch can participate in seminars, take a personalized tour of the event with a Sommelier Star, watch the ever-popular Sonoma Steel Chef Competition, luxuriate at the Gloria Ferrer Bubble Lounge, learn from a pro at the live Cooking Light Grill or elevate the entire experience by going to the newly-expanded Club Reserve for exclusive wine tasting," Maureen Cottingham, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Co- Director.

"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.

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.

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

Bridal Bliss at Millken Creek Inn & Spa

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Last Minute Elopements and Intimate Events -
 It's Not Too Late for a Dream Wedding in Napa Valley Wine Country

nvWeddings.jpgBridal bliss does not have to take months of planning and stressful arrangements. Sometimes, the best decisions are made in the blink of an eye. For those dreaming of a Napa Valley wine country wedding but think they've missed the boat for 2012, think again. Easy arrangements for intimate weddings are within reach at Milliken Creek Inn & Spa - an exclusive and authentic boutique luxury hotel and spa nestled on the banks of the Napa River.

Small weddings are a big trend. To many, the appeal of a complete retreat from day-to-day cares takes the shape of an elopement - the ultimate in intimate weddings. For others, small groups of close friends or family are cause for celebration. Either way, an added benefit of the small wedding in Napa is that Napa is also the perfect choice for a honeymoon! Why not combine both and enjoy an extended escape.

To satisfy an ever-growing demand, Milliken Creek Inn & Spa has introduced a series of nuptial packages for the newly engaged who seek the utmost in intimate wedding experiences: Elopement, Intimate Wedding, and The Takeover. Each package offers a picture-perfect idyllic garden-setting backdrop. An on-site guest services team is available to ensure newlyweds can relax and enjoy all that Napa has to offer. For those seeking a more customized approach to wedding planning, Milliken's wedding coordinator can create any number of package variations.

See detailed package information below and call 800.822.8418 to speak to a Milliken wedding specialist visit www.MillikenCreekInn.com.

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!

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.

Westin Verasa Napa - Art Display for April

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For the entire month of April, Westin Verasa Napa (hotel located in downtown Napa) revolving art's gallery will display works of art from the Westin's very own employees. What fun! See what inspires their Sommelier, Toni Johnson or Guest Services Agent, Jessica Jones.

Why not plan a short escape, stay at the hotel for some rest and relaxation and peruse the artwork firsthand! There are several specials and packages available. CLICK HERE.

FEATURED ARTWORK

Toni Johnson ~ Sommelier at La Toque
"I loved the simplicity of the candles when I was in the cathedral. The juxtaposition from the commercialized image on the actual candle and the beauty of the image struck me. There is also serenity in the image that is exactly how it feels to be in Notre Dame."

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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 International Film Festival, April 11-15

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SIFF_2012_logo.jpgby Courtney Cochran

In its impressive 15th iteration, the Sonoma International Film Festival (né Sonoma Valley Film Festival) brings some 120 independent films to wine country, plus a diverting mix of pre- and après-film activities.  Here's the scoop:

Film Highlights

This year, a diverse lineup of films allows for exploration of topics as varied as romance, politics, pop culture, the environment and sci-fi.  Some of this festival's anticipated films:

In the romance category and featuring actor Jackson Rathbone of Twilight fame, feature-length Girlfriend explores a romance between a boy with Down's Syndrome and a small-town single mom (Shannon Woodward). 

SIFF_2012_hamburger.jpgTeenagers push the envelope of blind tasting by attacking the topic of burgers -- and teenage obsessions like video games, natch - in the short film The Great Hamburg Challenge (just 12 minutes). 

On the more serious side of things, director Luc Besson tells the story of celebrated leader Aung San Suu Kyi as she becomes the core of Burma's democracy movement in the feature film The Lady, while the documentary Nothing Like Chocolate explores an American entrepreneur's efforts to build a sustainable chocolate operation in Grenada. 

!WAR - Women Art Revolution Film Debuts At The Hess Collection

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Artist Lynn Hershman Leeson Brings !WAR To Napa Valley

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Throughout the month of April, Napa Valley is celebrating the arts. Join Hess Collection Winery for a special event and presentation of the award-winning film !WAR featuring a rousing score by Carrie Brownstein. The film will debut in the West Galley of the Hess Art Collection at The Hess Collection Winery on Saturday, April 28, 2012 and benefits the Arts Council of Napa Valley.

The film is a moving collection of interviews with female artists recorded over four decades by artist Lynn Hershman Leeson captures the history of women in contemporary art, in their own, often contentious retelling of the impact of the feminist art movement that dates to the beginning of the women's liberation and civil rights movements of the 1960's. !WAR was selected as one of the three best documentaries of 2011 by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and is an official selection of the Sundance, Berlin, San Francisco, Toronto and Human Rights Watch Film Festivals.

This not-to-be-missed event begins with a garden wine reception at The Hess Collection at 3 p.m., followed by a conversation with artist Leeson in the West Gallery of the Hess Art Collection led by popular KQED Forum host Michael Krasny. The 83-minute film follows.  Later, an exclusive dinner with limited seating with artist Leeson and Michael Krasny which will further benefit the Arts Council. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets online which include the reception, artist talk, and film screening all for only $100. For information about the exclusive dinner, which is a separate event and ticket, please contact Ashley Cox at acox@hesscollection.com or [707] 255-1144 x-226.

Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley Celebrates Life's Aesthetics

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With every collection created by the hand of an artist, artisan, or designer, Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley celebrates life's aesthetics.

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Ma(i)sonry features collections of art and sculptures on display which rotate seasonally with exhibits from Napa Valley favorites, the best in the Bay Area, as well as some of the most respected names worldwide; all of which are available for viewing and purchase. 

We invite you to join Ma(i)sonry in celebrating Arts in April on April 28-29th for our "MenMade" exhibition and artist receptions featuring sculptors Archie Held and James Lloyd and painters Adam Shaw and Robert Percy. This celebration of art will also include wine pairings by Rivera Vineyards. "MenMade" provides a toast to the visual connection between mankind and its origins in nature. The exhibit will be on display from April 28th - May 17th. For more information regarding the opening receptions, venues, and time - please visit us online.

To RSVP to the Opening Reception at I.Wolk Gallery, CLICK HERE.
To RSVP to the Sunday Salon at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, CLICK HERE.


Ma(i)sonry-Glowing-(2).jpgAbout Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley
As an art, design and wine gallery set amidst a contemporary, landscaped sculpture garden, Ma(i)sonry offers guests a respite and a retreat in Yountville. While its past may not appear to play a prominent role in its new incarnations, the history of the former Charles Rovegno House still permeates the walls and rooms of this elegant stone structure.

The History
Originally built for Charles Rovegno in 1904 as his private residence, the building is one of only a few listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Napa County Historic Resources Inventory. The building was designed and built by an Italian mason using stone quarried from the eastern hills of Napa Valley, representing a noteworthy period of design from 1874 to 1912. Almost 20 years after Rovegno passed away, the property was converted to a boutique, seven-room inn known as Burgundy House Inn, which remained in operation until 2007.  Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley opened in October, 2008 and serves as an oasis for sculpture, art, design, and wine.

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


Help Support a Great Cause - Pawsport Napa Valley!

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napaHumane_PawsportNV.jpgHead to Napa Valley March 23rd-26th for a fun-filled four days of exclusive wine tastings, events, and special offerings. Whether you're a pet owner, animal lover, or just love to support great causes - Pawsport Napa Valley is the event for you!

Your Pawsport ($75 per person) includes access to over a dozen wineries for complimentary tastings along with a variety of special retail offers, library tastings, food and wine pairings and other activities and events only available to Pawsport Napa Valley pass holders.

Proceeds from the event will support Napa Humane and its programs and services to fulfill their ongoing mission to promote the welfare of companion animals through protection, advocacy, education, and by example.

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets online or call 707-255-8118 x205.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Save the Date! - Passport to Dry Creek Valley

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Tickets on Sale Starting February 1st!
Wine lovers encourage to act fast to nab tickets to Sonoma County's premier passport event.

  • 23rd Annual Passport to Dry Creek Valley - A Modern Tradition with Century-Old Roots
  •  Saturday & Sunday, April 28-29 from 11am - 4:30pm
  • Friday evening Healdsburg Gallery ArtWalk & Wine Tasting, April 27
  • 50 participating wineries throughout Dry Creek Valley
  • Festivities include: exquisite wine tasting, gourmet food, fun motifs, and live music
  • Fly Alaska Airlines into Sonoma County Airport & fly a case of wine home for free

HEALDSBURG, Calif. -- One of California's first and longest-running regional wine events, Passport to Dry Creek Valley is an exceptional wine-tasting experience, blending epicurean thrills with fun, festive décor, and live entertainment. The fun starts the Friday night of Passport Weekend with a Healdsburg Gallery ArtWalk & Wine Tasting, co-sponsored by the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley® and Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau.

With more galleries than any one city north of the Golden Gate Bridge - and just minutes from Dry Creek Valley - the charming town of Healdsburg offers sophisticated lodging, restaurants, and 22 art galleries all within walking distance. On April 27, the galleries extend their hours to welcome Passport guests to explore and meet local artists, while sipping Dry Creek Valley wines.

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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TruffleFest-logo-fn.png
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. 

Sweet Whites: A Napa Valley Itinerary

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girlsDrinkingWhiteWineOutside.jpgby Courtney Cochran

If you enjoy a crisp, off dry Muscat (aka "sweet wines") on a warm afternoon or kicking back with girlfriends, this itinerary's for you. Come along as we visit three Napa Valley wineries offering pours of sweeter whites, and learn about shopping excursions and nightlife options, too. Here's to enjoying a sweet day in wine country!

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

Harvest Events Around Wine Country

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calverasGrapeStomp.jpgGOLD COUNTRY
October 1 -- Calaveras Grape Stomp
Celebration, Wine Education: 25 lbs of freshly picked wine grapes, a half wine barrel with a spout, a partner and you. It's Calaveras Grape Stomp time, bringing thousands of spirited stompers and gawkers to enjoy a full day of frivolity. In conjunction with Murphys Gold Rush Street Faire, Main Street, Murphys CA
Fee: Free; Time: 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Phone Number: 209-754-0127

LIVERMORE
September 16-18 -- Harvest Festival
Festival: Hundreds of booths featuring handmade art, photography, ceramics, blown glass, toys, jewelry, food and more. All day stage and strolling entertainment.
Location: Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Avenue, Pleasanton CA
Fee: $9 Adults/$7 Seniors/$4 Youth; Time: Fri & Sat 10a.m.-6p.m/Sun 10a.m.-5p.m.
Phone Number: 415-447-3205

October 1 -- Harvest Tour & Tasting at Wente Vineyards
Wine Education: Wente Vineyards invites you to experience the winery as never before with this rare behind the scenes tour and tasting during the upcoming 2011 harvest. Learn how Wente Vineyards produces world class wines. See the processing first hand and sample some current vintages from our small lot winery as well as wines aged to perfection from our library. Reservations required.
Location: 5565 Tesla Road, Livermore CA
Fee: $20/$15 Wine Club Members; Time: 10am, 12pm, 2pm & 4pm
Phone Number: 924-456-2305

MENDOCINO
October 8 -- Breggo Winemaker Harvest Luncheon & Tour
Celebration: Join us as we host an intimate "Ripe for the Picking" Harvest Luncheon with Winemaker Ryan Hodgins. Twenty ticketed guests will join us in the cellar to experience a chef-prepared luncheon inspired by our fall releases.
Location: 11001 Highway 128, Boonville CA
Fee: $35/$25 Club Members; Time: 1pm - 4 pm; Phone Number: 707-895-9589

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

Celebrate Harvest in Sonoma County

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events_SonomaValleyCrush2.jpgSEPTEMBER

September 14 - 18 -- Sonoma Valley Crush Weekend
Celebration, Wine Education: Have you ever romanticized about getting involved in a wine harvest & crush? Find out what it's like September 14 - 18 in the Heart of Sonoma Valley. Join 21 wineries for the 2011 Sonoma Valley CRUSH and experience harvest, hands-on. Tickets are only $35 per person.
Fee: $35; Time: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Phone Number: 866-794-9463

September 16 -- Harvest Winemaker Dinner at The Castle
Food & Wine Education: Join us for an elegant winemaker dinner at the beautiful Ledson Castle. Winemaker Steve Ledson will share his secrets of how he pushes the soil and the vine to bring you the world renowned wines Ledson is known for.
Location: 7335 Sonoma Hwy (Hwy 12), Kenwood, CA 95409
Fee: $100; Time: 6 p.m. - 10 p.m;. Phone Number: 707-537-3823

September 17 -- Flavors of Fall at Korbel
Celebration: Taste the Flavors of Fall at Korbel Champagne Cellars! We will be offering champagne, wine and food pairings, special tram tours of the vineyards and crushing facilities, Winery and Garden tours throughout the day, special discounts throughout the Wine Shop and a Korbel logo glass to keep!
Location: 13250 River Road, Guerneville CA
Fee: $15/$10 Champagne Club Members; Time: 11am-3:30pm;
Phone Number: 707-824-7000

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

sonomaCountyAuction_Pic2.jpg

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.


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.

Grand Opening Nears For Hotel Yountville & Hopper Creek Kitchen

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Photo courtesy of Hotel Yountville
By Deirdre Bourdet

The Altamura family has invested some serious time and energy in coaxing the contemporary Hotel Yountville out of the 50-room, country-chic Yountville Inn.  The construction of several new buildings, conference center, restaurant, spa, swimming pool, and outdoor lounging areas is almost complete, though, and the place has shaped up rather spectacularly into one of Yountville's sexiest resorts.

Designed by the same team that transformed Milliken Creek Inn, the remodeled Hotel Yountville blends sleek modern design with luxurious comfort. Subtle details and rich textures create an inviting environment full of plush seating and contemporary comforts.  When I was invited to tour the property in early February, it was all I could do not to sink into every seat we passed. Fortunately, I had been invited to sit down for breakfast at the guests-only Hopper Creek Kitchen, which has been making waves since the soft opening in December 2010.

Valentine's Day in Wine Country

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rosePetals.jpgWhat are you doing for Valentine's Day or that entire weekend? Below is a list of romance inspired events around Wine Country if you're still wondering what the perfect plan is!

NAPAVALLEY
February 12 -- Love Fest 2011 at Merryvale
Celebration: Join us on for LOVE FEST '11 in Merryvale's historic Cask Room! Events Manager Kelly Craig has teamed up with Meadowood Napa Valley, for a four-course Valentine's Day Dinner not to be missed. Dinner will feature wines selected from the Library and served in 3-Liter bottles. 1000 Main St., St. Helena, CA
Fee: $150; Time: 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Phone Number: (707) 968.3429

**More Events HERE

SONOMA
February 12 -- Valentine's Day Concert at Gloria Ferrer
Celebration, Live Music: Please join us in a special Valentine's Day performance by Flamenco guitarist Eric Symons and special guest Patrick Imbimbo, who is an international recording artist and performer specializing in flamenco and Spanish classical music. Event includes Dessert Buffet plus 2 glasses of award-winning sparkling wine. Please call for reservations. 23555 Carneros Hwy 121, Sonoma CA
Fee: $35/$29.75 Wine Club Members; Time: 7:30 p.m.; Phone Number: (707) 933.1999

**More Events HERE


LIVERMORE
February 13 -- Romance on the Rails!
Celebration: Join us for Valentine's Day Wine-Tasting Train on the Niles Canyon Railway. Enjoy fabulous fine wines and hors d'oeuvres aboard a luxurious Art Deco Lounge Car. 1940's attire admired, but not required. Limited seating. Departs Sunol Depot at 2 p.m. & 5 p.m, sharp! Niles Canyon Railway, 6 Kilkare Road, Sunol CA
Fee: $75; Time: 2 p.m. & 5 p.m.; Phone Number: (510) 910.7024

**More Events HERE


FAIRFIELD/SUISUN VALLEY
February 11 -- Wine and Food "A Love Story"
Celebration, Food & Wine Education: Bring your Valentine to a wonderful taste of Suisun Valley wines, exploring the flavors of the region along with Solano foods prepared by local restaurants. Art and photo displays combined with performing arts will make it all delicious. Fairfield Center for Creative Arts, 1031 W. Texas St., Fairfield
Fee: $35Time: 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 425.4625

**More Events HERE

To see events from other wine regions,
CLICK HERE

Restaurant Month in California

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All around California, restaurants are celebrating the month of January with fabulous dining specials and savings for lunch and/or dinner. Splurge, savor, and save is the name of the game. See if your favorite restaurant or one you always wanted to try is on the list in the regions below.

Gold Country. You may not find gold, but with savings on food like these, you might as well have! Restaurant Week in Gold Country is January 32-30 with a grand finale on January 30th where the area's finest chefs will offer a unique opportunity to be an El Dorado Epicurean in a countywide progressive dinner. More Details

Monterey County. Catch some fresh seafood in Monterey during Restaurant Month. Participating restaurants are offering prix fixe dinner menus for $20.11 all month long. More Details.

Napa Valley - see our Food Writer's top restaurant picks for deals and steals. Or see the full list of Napa Valley restaurants and their specials here.

Santa Barbara Wine Country
  • Santa Barbara -Dubbed "Film Feast", the prix fixe restaurant program coincides with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival all happening January 27-Feb 6, 2011. Film goers and foodies are invited to choose from "Short" (two-course), "Feature" (three-course) and "Epic" (four-course) length seasonal menus at participating restaurants. MORE DETAILS.
  • Santa Ynez Valley - The foodie fun begins January 23rd and ends January 29th. It's this region's first time participating in Restaurant Month and they will be featuring special 3-course tasting menus for $20.11. A list of participating restaurants is listed, but you will need to contact restaurants directly for specific days, dining hours and to make reservations. MORE DETAILS.

Restaurant Week in Tri-Valley/Livermore

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2011RestaurantWeek.jpgEnjoy a true culinary extravaganza-Taste of Tri-Valley Restaurant Week between January 23rd - January 30th!  During this fabulous event ,  food lovers will have the opportunity to enjoy a prix fixe meal, specialty dish or special offer at 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.  

Participating Restaurants include Terra Mia, The Peasant and the Pear, The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, The Farmer Restaurant at the Pleasanton Hotel, Blue Agave Grill, Eddie Papa's American Hangout, Campo Di Bocce, Swirl on the Square, Porters Restaurant at Poppy Ridge.

No tickets or passes are required for Taste of Tri-Valley Restaurant Week. Diners simply dine out at as many participating restaurants as they like all week.

Visit www.trivalleycvb.com/tasteoftrivalley to download and print restaurant coupons for Tri-Valley Restaurant Week!

Where to Eat Breakfast in Napa & Sonoma

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Where to enjoy the best breakfasts in Wine Country.

by Jill Silverman Hough

There's nothing like waking up in Wine Country, with the promise of a perfect day ahead. So, why not indulge in an amazing breakfast? Whether you like to ease into the day with coffee and a fresh-baked scone, or you're up for a three-course brunch, here are the spots to start your day off right.

Cantinetta Piero
The venue: A hotel restaurant, but the hotel feels like a bit of Tuscany.
The food: The two-course prix fixe breakfast starts with fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee, a small pastry, and yogurt with fruit and house-made granola. Then, it moves to your choice of three egg dishes. Go for the side of artisan-smoked bacon, and linger over every bite.
The prices: $18 (30 percent off for locals).
The details: Breakfast Mon.-Sun. 7:30-10 a.m. 6774 Washington St., Yountville, (707) 299-5015, cantinettapiero.com.

Solbar
The venue: Michelin star-rated hotel restaurant, with a hip yet casual vibe.
The food: The on-premise garden influences the menu, and everything is expertly prepared. Lemon ricotta pancakes are crisp around the edges but light inside, thanks to whipped egg whites. Beef for the hash is house corned. Juices aren't just fresh squeezed, they're squeezed to order. And coffee comes in a personal French press.
The prices (entrées): $11-$17.
The details: Breakfast Mon.-Sun. 7-11 a.m., brunch Sun. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. 755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, (707) 226-0800, solbarnv.com.

Read More

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!

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



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.

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.

Pet Friendly Places in Mendocino

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harryPutter.jpgDon't leave your beloved dog at home while you vacation. Take them along with you this time. More and more places are becoming dog and pet friendly. According to canine reporter Harry Putter there a lot of lodging places and attractions throughout Mendocino County for you and your dog to enjoy.

Several bed and breakfasts, hotels and vacation rentals are more than willing to accommodate your dog and provide special supplies to help you care for them during your stay as well. And what would a trip to Mendocino be without wine tasting. Many wineries have wine dogs of their own and will welcome yours with open arms. Goldeneye Winery, Navarro Vineyard and Yorkville Cellars are just a few that would be happy to host you and your pet.

Harry reviews wineries, restaurants, and other attractions making sure to note things that would be of interest to your dog and of course to you as the owner. Recently, he visited the property St. Orres and the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Check out his reviews and more at Harry Putter's Blog.

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.

Special Offers for Your Yountville Getaway

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YOUNTVILLE, CA - A vacation, weekend retreat,  or day excursion in Yountville is by itself a treat, but to sweeten your escape, why not take advantage of the promotions and offers that many Yountville lodging, winery and spa retreats are offering? Planning a "Suite Romantic Getaway", a "De-Stressing" time out, or off-the-beaten path wine tasting couldn't get any easier. And after all, the more you save, the more you can truly experience Yountville! Some of these offers expire at the end of July*!

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:

Visiting Sonoma Valley, CA

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SONOMA VALLEY, CA - Visiting Sonoma Valley wine country has a calming aura in the air that speaks to the senses. The rolling hills, picturesque vineyards, and charming towns invite you to linger and take a casual stroll down the street, dine at a host of eateries including bakeries and cheese shops, wine taste at several wineries or wine bars, or window shop at an array of funky boutiques. These are just a few of the treasures that lie ahead. See what WineCountry.com has unearthed for you and start planning your Sonoma Valley trip now!

Travel, Taste, and Things To Do
The Unexpected on Sonoma Square
Wine Tasting in Kenwood
Romance in Glen Ellen - Where to Stay
Off the Beaten Track in Glen Ellen
Sonoma Valley Summer Events
Best Spots To Eat!
Insider Tip on Where to Golf

Getting Married?

Sonoma Wine Country Wedding Guide
Request Wedding Info



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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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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Ma(i)sonry Adds to Its Art Ensemble

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iwolk.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

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

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.

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
 

Winter Wonderland

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Top Reasons to Make Wine Country Your Holiday Getaway
By Robert P. Farmer

FestivalofLights.jpgNAPA VALLEY & SONOMA COUNTY - You can tell by the sheer amount of cars on the road - and the difficulty that you'll no doubt encounter when trying to book a room - that summer is the most popular of seasons in Wine Country. It has the reputation for good reason. But for my money, the holiday season is the best time to visit.

Yes it's colder and yes it can often be rainy and windy. But mostly the weather is abundantly cooperative - a brisk chill in the air, and days bracketed by morning fog and wildly colorful sunsets. The vines are asleep for the winter, having offered up the fruit of their summerlong labor. And while the landscape is less lush and green than during summer time, it has its own unique beauty, one characterized by tangled leafless branches set against a white midday sky.

Barren bucolic beauty aside, the best thing about Wine Country during the winter holiday season is that the place is just so darned festive. Few things are likely to get you more into the spirit than a winery bedecked with twinkling lights and offering Yuletide-themed pairing of their wines. Or, if that's not sufficient, there are entire towns that get into the act with festivals and events infused with enough good cheer to thaw even the most Grinch-y of winter traveler. Rooms are in greater supply, restaurants easier to get into, and crowds are pleasingly thinner and, dare I say, in better spirits. Sure, summer's great, but Wine Country from beneath a coat and warm hat is my idea of a holiday.

Here are few highlights worth exploring this season.

Top 3 Holiday Things To Do
Top 3 Holiday Places to Eat


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

The Art of Downtown in Napa

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napaArt.jpgNapa has a rich history of supporting the arts and now from the Opera House to the Hess Collection, from public art installations to downtown gallery owners, Napa is fast becoming an art lover's destination. The many active studio artists in Napa are adding to the mix with their annual Open Studios self-guided tour organized by Arts Council Napa Valley.

Linda Cordair of Quent Cordair Gallery on First Street has been very happy with her move to Napa. Quent Cordair Gallery opened on July 4, 2008 after 13 years in Burlingame. The gallery specializes in "Romantic Realism" and has a very strong web presence. Ms. Cordair has found that moving to Napa has given her clientele a great excuse to travel here for their art-buying, particularly as Cordair has conveniently partnered with local hotels. "This is a world class destination more exciting for our clients to visit. They travel from as far away as Switzerland, New Zealand and China for our collections and with the completion of the River Front project we can really see a positive direction for downtown Napa. We want to do all we can to help fill the empty storefronts and bring more galleries here."

Long time public art champion, Harry Price, managing partner of CDI, developer of the Napa River Inn project and Napa Square on First Street, has this to say about the role of art in the community, "Art is an integral component of civilizations; we look back to them and look at what type of art they created. It is a measure of civilization and culture, so we honor our own culture by the art we leave behind."

READ MORE

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.

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




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

Napa Valley Arts Week: August 26 - Sept. 1, 2009

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By Louisa Hufstader

Party time! Artists gather for Open Studios preview at Mumm

It's a big week for the visual arts in Napa: Aug. 28 marks the kickoff of the annual Open Studios event sponsored by Arts Council Napa Valley, which hosts a preview reception and benefit that evening at Mumm Napa Valley.

napariver.jpgBut first: The historic Napa Mill continues its Wednesday series "Locals Night at the Mill," with live music, wine tasting, $5 appetizers at the Napa General Store and specials from Vintage Sweet Shoppe, Amelia's Gifts, Angele and Sweetie Pies, along with a Riverwalk display of local fine artists who have been juried into the Open Studios tour. Napa River Inn Plaza, 500 Main Street, Napa, 5 to 9 p.m.; www.napariverinn.com.

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!

Group Wine Tasting in Virginia Wine Country

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What better way to go wine tasting then with a group of friends! Most wineries are no stranger to large groups as many have partnered with various touring companies that accommodate as many as 50 folks in a group at a time. Of course you can also plan your own trip with just a group of friends and family. Arcady Vineyard who offers wine tasting tours in Virginia Wine Country gives folks inside tips for how to do group tasting.

Some of the tips include:
(1) Map out exactly where you are going (each winery stop) to avoid wasting time. You want to spend your time enjoying the wineries, not sitting in a  car or bus.

(2) After you have selected the wineries you want to visit, call ahead of time and give them notice. They might be able to set up the tasting for your group in an exclusive area of the winery.

CLICK HERE to read the full article online!

Napa Valley's Open Studios

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A Free, Self Guided Fine Art Discovery Tour

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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!


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.

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