WineCountry Staff: August 2010 Archives

Hugging the Coast, Sonoma Style

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By Robert P. Farmer

No matter which wine country you're referring to, describing it as 'beautiful' is usually accurate. But in California, there is a region that has an edge on all others. The Sonoma Coast, hugging the left side of the continent, has features that no other wine region in the world can duplicate. With rugged beauty and bucolic charm, rolling hills and sweeping water vistas, the Sonoma Coast is unique and impossibly gorgeous. It's a special part of the world. The fact that world-class wines are also produced here gives it an almost unfair advantage. Quaint small towns, tucked-away state parks, and excellent spots to find good wine and great food characterize the Sonoma coast. From Bodega Bay to Mendocino, Jenner to Fort Bragg, there is no shortage of postcard-perfect spots to stop and settle in for a while. With abundant recreational opportunities, historic points of interest and of course world-class wineries, the Sonoma coast surely beckons you to live life on the edge.

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.


Fairfield's Suisun Valley is Fall Fabulous

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Fairfield Suisun Valley Blue Victorian Fall Foliage Credit Barbara Steinberg 2009 2.jpgArticle & Photography by Barbara Steinberg

The splendor of autumn makes it an especially ideal time of year to travel in Fairfield, California's Suisun Valley; one of California's oldest standing viticulture and agricultural areas. A best kept secret of California, a foliage trip to Suisun Valley is one that's best suited to travelers who long to be away from the crowds.

Wine Country Personality - Gayle Oberti Jenkins

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DSC_0357.jpgTo begin with, I'd like to introduce myself as a proud resident and entrepreneur in Sonoma. I am passionate about the beauty of the area, the kindness of the people, and the exquisite elements produced in Sonoma that make the quality of life here so wonderful. I bring that passion into the businesses I have created: Les Petites Maisons, and the adjoining store, Sonoma's Best. Both of these ventures have been labors of love, and I emphasize both of those words!

When my husband and I purchased the properties, they were in a serious state of disrepair, but we saw huge potential. The store was a time-worn building built in 1913 that had operated for decades as the Von Sydow Deli. Both the store and the 4 cottages required extensive work, and we spent four years restoring them and creating a place of beauty, tranquility, and taste. 

Wine Country Parties: What's Hot, Where to Go

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By Courtney Cochran

Wine Country invariably inspires thoughts of relaxation, but it can just as easily stoke the party urge within us - provided we know where to exercise that urge, and when.  Read on for tips on your best bets for tracking down parties in Wine Country; because we wouldn't have you miss out on a good time in the most beautiful place on earth, just because you don't know where to find it.

Follow the Green Trail of Dry Creek Valley

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h2hbikes.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

In partnership with Healdsburg's newest eco-chic lodging destination, h2hotel, the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley are tempting green-minded visitors to Wine Country with a special "Green Trail" destination package.  Available beginning in September, the package puts Dry Creek's sustainable, organic and biodynamic vintners (think Michel-Schlumberger, Preston of Dry Creek, Quivira and Truett Hurst) in the spotlight with inclusive tastes, tours and "lively discussions" about green wine practices at featured properties.
biking_DCV.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

This much we know to be true: You love wine and know it goes down best in a beautiful setting.  Still, pairing both (read: vino and stellar Wine Country backdrop) with a charitable cause - not to mention a little healthy exercise -makes your vinous experience that much sweeter.  It seems that Russian River Valley winegrowers are onto your sentiments, since they're offering two wine-themed bike tours August 21 to benefit Bicycles for Humanity.  Led by renowned local vintners and chefs, the scenic rides are part of the weekend's Grape to Glass festival, which aims to showcase the gastro-artistic assets of this dynamic Sonoma region.

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.

Napa's Ultimate Scavenger Hunt - August 14

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Onward-Avatar.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Where: di Rosa Preserve - 5200 Sonoma Hwy, Napa
When: Sat, Aug. 14 2010
Why: supporting the arts in Wine Country is cool
$$: $55/$35 di Rosa members

Onward!, Di Rosa Preserve's Young Collector's Group, will host "Scavenge di Rosa" this Saturday, August 14 from 6-9pm in Napa.  Word is this will be quite the cool culinary-gastro-art affair, with appearances promised from numerous street food vendors, live music and - of course - plenty of liquid libations.  And with a premise turning on a real scavenger hunt through the spot's galleries, it looks to be quite the socializer-cum-art-viewing extravaganza.   

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.

Celebrate Harvest in Solano County

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tomatofest.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

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

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

Reasons To Visit Fairfield This Summer

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vezerconcert.jpgActivities and Events to Satisfy Every Taste

Looking for a mini-vacation close to home this summer.?  Well, look no further then Good Natured Fairfield.  Conveniently located along Interstate 80 between San Francisco and Sacramento, Fairfield is the ideal destination to enjoy a summer escape.  Visitors can expect an array of lodging choices and packages, wineries to discover, delicious dining options, unique attractions, and plenty of special events and activities to satisfy any taste. So, take a break from your daily routine and check out this list of popular things to do and see this summer in and around Fairfield.

Win the VIP Treatment in Washington Wine Country

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


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

The lucky recipient will be awarded with:

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

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

Harvest Happenings 2010

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By Courtney Cochran

Those of us who pop a cork on occasion know these vinous spoils don't arrive from the vineyard ready to drink: There's real work that goes into coaxing wine from vine to bottle.  And each year, come harvest time, proof of this precious labor can be seen throughout Wine Country, as vintners and their trusted teams race against time and mother nature to deliver ripened fruit to the winery - where crush begins and ends within just a few frenetic weeks.  

We'd like to raise a glass to these teams, whose standout efforts allow us to enjoy each vintage's best at a more leisurely pace (cheers to that).  For word on where to go in Wine Country for the best 2010 harvest happenings, read on.

August Means Busy In Wine Country

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silveroak.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

August heralds the start of harvest season in wine country, when wineries and restaurants kick into overdrive to welcome visitors with events and activities related to our most important time of year.  Since actual harvesting doesn't typically begin until September (or later!), many wineries plan August parties around their release of red wines, while others pick a crowd-pleasing food or educational topic to theme their event.  Regardless of the official focus, these early harvest events always feature sunshine, fun, tasty edibles, and fantastic local wines.  Here are a few August events with all of those essential factors, as well as particularly cool themes.

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