WineCountry Staff: September 2010 Archives

Napa Sonoma Wine and Food Festival

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festival.jpgTwo Meccas Unite

The Napa Sonoma Wine and Food Festival celebrates its inaugural event of wine, food, and fashion. The event brings together world-renowned winemakers, celebrated chefs and industry insiders for a medley of signature events designed to entertain, educate and inspire! October 16th, 2010. See below for more information or CLICK HERE


El Pueblo Inn

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elpuebloPostcard.jpgIn 1957, when Ray O. Bradbury settled in Sonoma, the town was a predominantly rural area and visitors were served by one historic hotel on the plaza. Ray, whose background included cattle ranching and owning hotels, set about to change that. In 1959 he opened the El Pueblo Inn, an early California ranch-style hotel, built using authentic adobe construction.

Ray personally went to the inn every morning to start the large coffee pot and set out the doughnuts on an outside counter--the El Pueblo's first complimentary breakfast. It was a point of pride that he served fresh-brewed, quality coffee to his guests at a time when this was cutting-edge service for the traveler. His exuberant personality and genuine nature helped build the reputation of the hotel as the "friendliest place in town." He loved to sing and was always ready to serenade whoever was around whether he knew them or not.

What's Happening in Oregon?

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grapestomp.jpgIs the year almost over and you are still wondering where would be a place for a great getaway. Look no further than the state of Oregon - perfect for a wine country escape. Discover the wineries of Southern Oregon or ...

 

 OCTOBER

October 2-3 -- North Coast Seafood Festival
Festival: Music and dance from around the world, International Food Court featuring seafood, Oregon wineries and microbreweries, marketplace of select Oregon Coast artists. Free parking. Smoke free. Handicap accessible. Proceeds fund Grade School Art Literacy Programs. Indoors at Tillamook Fairgrounds, 4603 3rd Street, Tillamook, OR
Fee: $8 Adults/$5 Seniors & Kids 6-12Time: Sat 11a.m.-8p.m./Sun 12p.m.-5p.m. Phone Number: (503) 398.5223

Great Pumpkin Sightings in Fairfield

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Article and Photography by Barbara L. Steinberg

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

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

The Personalities of Napa, CA

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napaPersonality_Mike.jpgMike Smith - Cottages of Napa Valley
My first job was building boats in Santa Cruz. Then, between construction jobs, I built sets for the Mountain Theatre on Mt. Tam. I loved being able to make large fantastic worlds quickly, and then tear them down even faster. I came to Napa Valley during my teenage years and . . .READ MORE




napaPersonality_Ralf.jpgRalf Holdenried - William Hill Estate
When winemaker Ralf Holdenried was invited to craft William Hill Estate's wines in the summer 2007, it was an offer he couldn't refuse. Ralf says, "The William Hill Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon are classically styled Napa Valley wines."
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napaPersonality_Hennessey.pg.jpgKevin and Lorri Walsh - Hennessey House Bed & Breakfast
Kevin and Lorri Walsh were living high powered (and high stress) lives in Silicon Valley.   As an executive for a high tech company, Kevin was responsible for strategic planning for one of his companies' divisions and traveled constantly.  Lorri was racking up the miles as a . . .
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The Napan Renaissance

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GH Gallery.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Five years ago, no one would have come to the city of Napa for its fine arts.  2010 marks the dawn of a new era for Napa's art scene, with no fewer than three downtown Napa galleries open to the public, a new month-long celebration of the arts this fall, and--for the first time in its 23-year history--an Open Studios event organized and planned by the artists themselves.  This autumn is the ideal time to visit Napa Valley and experience the artistic renaissance that is beginning to take shape.

Aerial Spectacular: Napa Valley Ballooning

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

Spa Deals in Napa, CA

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massage3.jpgPampering is in order. And these spas in the town of Napa are ready to deliver an hour or more of relaxation and soothe away all the cares of the day. Check out these special spa offers, many of them being offered through the end of the year!

Greenhaus European Day Spa - The Essence of Wine Therapy, 90 min. $165

Inspired by the serenity of the Napa Valley, this moisturizing treatment incorporates the finest anti-aging ingredients of vinotherapy chosen for their ability to hear and protect the body, mind and senses. Start your journey with a Sugar Body Exfoliation followed by a Chardonnay Butter Wrap and your Wine Country Wellness with a hydrating Grape Seed Oil Massage.

Upcoming Events in Napa, CA

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

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

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

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

Lodging Specials in Napa, CA

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It's decided. Your next trip is to Napa Valley. In fact, you are going to stay in the town of Napa, because it's a great home base for all of your spa appointments, wine tasting, shopping, and nightlife needs. And of course, easy access to the rest of the Valley. Great! Now where are you going to stay?  Check out the latest batch of specials and package offers from hotels, resorts, and bed & breakfasts in Napa.

Bed & Breakfast/Inns

1801 First
Mid Week Special - Stay Sunday - Thursday in a cottage for only $795. Your stay includes a gourmet breakfast as well as complimentary evening wine and cheese. MORE DETAILS

Arbor Guest House
2010 Harvest Retreat - 2 nights in a luxurious room, 3-course gourmet breakfast each morning, signature couples spa treatment, wine reception each each evening and complimentary concierge service. Expires 10/31/10. MORE DETAILS

Bel Abri - Boutique Resorts
Last Minute VIP Special - 2 Night package. Make reservations five or fewer days prior to arrival and receive $50 off first night.  MORE DETAILS


AVIA Napa: The Sexiest Sleep in Town

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AVIAexterior.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

The AVIA Hotel opened its swanky wrought iron doors last summer at the western frontier of Napa's downtown.  Since that time, the hotel has become a touchstone for the energy and excitement transforming the neighborhood.  It's the place I recommend every fun-loving visitor stay in Napa, whether that visitor is my seventy-something mom or my thirty-something best friend and her boyfriend.  Everyone who stays there loves it.

The hotel's location on First Street at Franklin puts it right in the thick of Napa's West End, the fast-growing community of hip art galleries, restaurants, retail, and tasting rooms. The bigger-than-life main doorway looks out at Oenotri and the Gordon Huether Gallery immediately across First Street, and all of downtown Napa's best restaurants and tasting rooms are within easy walking distance.

September Saturdays in the Valley

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chefotooletomates.jpg By Deirdre Bourdet

Napa Valley is known throughout the world for its stunning wines, gorgeous countryside, and world-class cuisine.  Late summer is the perfect time to visit this corner of foodie paradise and taste the good life, and conveniently, tons of September events give visitors and locals the opportunity to experience all three of Napa's greatest attractions in the same sitting.  Here are my top weekend picks for a good time this month
Photo by Ashley Teplin

Build Your Own BLT day at Bardessono Resort. Next Saturday, September 11, from 2pm to 5pm, I will be following my dreams to an embarrassment of deliciousness, courtesy of Bardessono and Hill Family Estates.  On this momentous day, Chef Sean O'Toole will give guests free rein to assemble the greatest BLTs imaginable using the resort's own organically farmed heirloom tomatoes and lettuces, a panoply of housemade aiolis, local breads, and of course a full selection of artisanal bacons.  Will you choose Bardessono's own apple-smoked bacon, with Cajun aioli on slices of rich brioche?  Or will you go with Fatted Calf from Napa, slathered with bacon-sherry aioli on tender pain de mie?  As you ponder these important questions, sip on a selection of lovely Hill Family Estate wines, and nosh on passed hors d'oeuvres like Andalucian gazpacho, sweet tomato cream puffs, or La Quercia prosciutto with crushed tomato crostini.  Round out the tomato-bacon feast with sides like fennel salad with taggiasca olive, preserved lemon, and Regina extra virgin olive oil, or a visit to the decadent burrata bar with its selection of specialty salts.  Cardiologists will be standing by... or so I hope.  For tickets call Bardessono at 707-204-6030.


Napa's New Lease On Nightlife

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By Deirdre Bourdet

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

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

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

Napa, CA - Where to Stay, Eat & Play!

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girlWineGlass.jpgNAPA, CA - Why Napa? Because there's never a shortage of things to do! Visitors and locals can easily find the best spots to eat, to go wine tasting, and to enjoy the best in club or theater music and entertainment around. Finding a great place to stay is never a challenge either-even one so close to the action! Get your Fall and Winter plans in full swing...it's only a click away!

Where to Stay
AVIA Napa: The Sexiest Sleep in Town
Meritage: Spa Terra Transports
Lodging Specials

Where to Taste
Wine Tasting Itinerary: Silverado Trail South
Wine Tasting Itinerary: Napa Adjacent



Meritage: Spa Terra Transports

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Meritage-front.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

From Top Chef to Top Form

When Top Chef contestants descended on Napa's Meritage Resort earlier this year to film the Season 6 finale of the popular Bravo show, they made use of many of the Tuscan-style property's amenities, though there is one we feel they could have well stood to make more use of:  the spot's award-winning spa. After all, these harried chef-testants withstood grueling challenges for weeks before arriving at the southern Napa property (to battle to the end, no less), and we're sure they could have all benefited from some quality R&R to take the edge off.

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