WineCountry Staff: November 2010 Archives

Mushroom Hunting in Mendocino

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Mushroom - Edible Boletus.JPGBy Deirdre Bourdet

If, like me, you missed this year's Wine and Mushroom Festival in Mendocino (November 5-14th) don't delay your shroom-hunting expedition until next November.  Many other opportunities to stalk the wild mushroom await you in the coming months! 

The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg maintain an unbelievable variety of flora on their grounds.  In addition to the meticulous formal gardens, dense pine forest, fern-covered canyons, camellias, magnolias, heathers, and flowered coastal bluffs on the Pacific Ocean, there are wild mushrooms galore.  Every wintry Monday afternoon through January 31, 2011, the Gardens' staff mycologists lead off-trail Mushroom Walks through the funghi's favorite growing areas, and instruct participants about mushroom myths, biology, and identification.  Tours run every Monday from 1:30pm to 3pm through January 31, 2011, and are free with admission to the gardens ($10 per adult, discounted rates available for seniors, Mendocino County residents, and kids). Come prepared for wet weather and messy tromping through the wilds.  18220 North Highway One, Fort Bragg, 707.964.4352x16.

Crab & Wine Days Ahead In Mendocino

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By Deirdre Bourdet

I'd choose crab and wine over roses and song pretty much any day of the week.  Unfortunately, the highly acclaimed "Crab & Wine Days" festival in Mendocino County only happens once a year--at the cold, wintry peak of local Dungeness crab season.  But what better excuse do you need for a winter getaway than the promise of days and days of crustacean revelry and local wines, hosted by California's greenest wine country region?

Those heady Crab & Wine Days will take place January 21st through 30th, 2011, at a variety of locations around Mendocino County.  Events range from classic crab feed fundraisers for local community groups to crab-themed cooking demonstrations, wine dinners, and open house winery tastings celebrating wines that pair with the crabby festival hero.  And because this is Mendocino, everything comes at a very affordable price.

The Beautiful Region of Valencia

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destinationValencia2.jpgAmerican wine connoisseurs are just now discovering what their European counterparts have known for a long time. That the region of Valencia,produces wines comparable to any other wine region in Spain. When you can sample great wines in the picturesque Spanish Riviera, it makes the experience doubly pleasurable.

The famous wine regions of Valencia (Utiel-Requena, Alicante, Beniarrés and Sant Mateu) actually produce more grape varieties than any other region in Spain. This is true thanks to its unique climate. The result for winemakers: A greater variety of quality grapes to play with. And for wine aficionados: more great new wines to taste, from dry, crisp
whites to fragrant fruity reds.

CLICK HERE to read full article and more details about the destination Valencia!

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Serenity Special

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massage.jpgBe Naughty - It Will Make You Nicer

Does it feel just a tad naughty to treat yourself during the holiday season? Well, consider it therapeutic or medicinal or merely sanity-saving, but this year, Milliken Creek Inn & Spa's prescription for surviving holiday madness is the promise of a brief, serenity-inducing escape.  As its "spoonful of sugar," Milliken Creek Inn & Spa is offering quite the incentive: with every reservation booked on Black Friday, November 26, or Cyber Monday, November 29, the Inn is including a complimentary 75-minute Aromatherapy Massage, a $160 value.  Whether enjoyed as a quick rejuvenating escape between Thanksgiving and New Year's or reserved as something to look forward to, the Serenity Special at Milliken Creek Inn & Spa is surely the nicest thing you can do for yourself this Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  So, go ahead and be naughty, you've earned it by being such good boys and girls all year.

Wineries Open Thanksgiving Weekend

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by Sipping Savant

Have the Thanksgiving and three days off ... visit Wine Country.  So far everyone is looking forward to welcoming visitors Friday, Saturday and Sunday with their normal hours and reservation requirements.

Thanksgiving Day - in between eating, resting, exercising and grid-iron games see below for some wineries that are open ... if you don't see your favorite Wine Country region on this list it is because there are no wineries open and not because we left them out or they did not reply to our inquiry in time for publication:

Upcoming Holiday Events in Sonoma Valley

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holidayStar.jpgNovember 25 -- Thanksgiving Dinner at the Lodge at Sonoma
Holiday, Dining: Kick off the holiday season with Thanksgiving Dinner at the Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar located at The Lodge at Sonoma. Rising star chef Janine Falvo often harvests from the restaurant's own year-round garden and other ingredients are sourced from the very best Sonoma farms, ranches and dairies. You're sure to enjoy a delicious meal with family this Thanksgiving.  Reservations required. , 1325 Broadway, Sonoma
Fee: Call for information & reservations Time: Call for information and reservations Phone Number: (707) 931.2042

November 26 - 27 -- Annual Holiday Heart of Sonoma Valley Open House
Celebration: Join over Twenty wineries throughout the Heart of Sonoma Valley for this annual celebration and enjoy wine tastings, meet winemakers, mingle in our caves & cellars, stock up on your favorite wines for the holidays, pick up holiday gifts for your friends & family and relish in wine country holiday cheer! This event takes place at each winery, and as you travel from winery to winery you will enjoy award-winning wines, fresh baked nibbles, savory treats, caroling, holiday cheer and much more.
Fee: $40/person for both days in advance ($50 at the door) Time: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Phone Number: (866) 794.9463

Celebrate the Giants' World Series Pennant

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riverTerraceInn.jpgNAPA, CA - The Bay Area has spent the past few weeks following the Giants on their post-season run and River Terrace Inn in downtown Napa is now providing three great ways to celebrate the Giants winning the world series.

First Base - "Uuu-Mazing" Giants Napa Getaway Rate
It's a great time to plan a "Uuu-Mazing Giants" Napa getaway since the "torture" is finally over.  River Terrace Inn is offering a special celebratory rate for stays from now through November 23.  Score an extra homer when you wear your Giants gear and receive a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine so you can toast a truly great season!

  • $159 for Sundays through Thursdays
  • $189 for Fridays and Saturdays
As special partners of the River Terrace Inn, Chardonnay Golf Club, Napa Valley Wine Train and Beau Wine Tours are offering the following Victory Packages as well.


Healdsburg Shopping Hit List

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winetasting.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Healdsburg is the shopping capital of California wine country.  An astonishing number of sophisticated and worldly shops call tiny Healdsburg home, selling all manner of home goods, accessories, clothing, furniture, paper goods, jewelry, and action figures, in addition to the food and wine products one might expect.  Thanks to some excellent city planning, visitors can experience some of Healdsburg's best shopping simply by strolling the main square and surrounding blocks.  Here are some of my favorite places to peruse the wares:

The Grape Leaf Inn: Not Your Grandmother's B&B

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By Deirdre Bourdet

grapeLeafInn.jpgI am not a B&B person. Victorian frills, lacey linens, antique bathtubs, old-fashioned plumbing and electrical systems, and sterile grandmotherly ambiance do not feature prominently in my ideal vision for romantic or restorative weekends.  And yet, B&Bs across America seem cast in that same Victorian mold, irrespective of price or location. When I accepted an invitation from Richard and Kae Rosenberg to stay the night in their Healdsburg bed and breakfast, I thought I had a pretty clear idea of what was in store.  Being proven dead wrong has never felt so good.

Richard and Kae acquired the Inn in late 1998, when they "retired" to Healdsburg after successful careers in LA and Colorado.  Not ones to kick back and relax during retirement, they completely overhauled and redecorated the three dormer Queen Anne structure, and added five new bedrooms, a dining room, state of the art kitchen, lobby area, and a "secret" underground wine cellar concealed behind a bookcase in the dining room. Richard's grandfather ran a real speakeasy during Prohibition, and evidently the apple didn't fall far from the tree.  

Healdsburg: Fall & Winter Events

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gazeboholidays.jpgNOVEMBER

November 6 -- Sonoma County Wine Pioneer Series at Dry Creek Kitchen
Wine Education: Each segment in the Series consists of an interactive seminar and wine tasting where you will taste & listen to winemakers speak. Preston Vineyards - Matt Norelli, Seghesio Family Vineyards - Ted Seghesio, Unti Winery - Mick Unti. Held at the Dry Creek Kitchen, 317 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, CA
Fee: $65 Time: Call for information and reservations Phone Number: (707) 431.0330

November 6 - 7 -- A Wine & Food Affair
Wine & Food Education: A Wine & Food Affair is the premier event for Wine Road! Join us for a weekend of wine and food pairing in the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys, Northern Sonoma County. You will receive our new Tasting Along the Wine Road Cookbook Volume 11 as part of your limited time, advance online purchase ticket price. All of the wineries participating will have a favorite winery recipe in the cookbook, which they will prepare both days for you to sample, along with the perfect wine.
Fee: $60 Weekend/$40 Sunday only/$20 Designated Driver Time: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Phone Number: (800) 723.6336

November 7 -- Hand Fan Museum Grand Opening at h2hotel
Celebration: Hand Fan Museum Grand Opening, in their new location at h2hotel, 219 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg (right next to the Chamber/Visitors Center). Join the Grand Opening of the Hand Fan Museum in their new space from 5 - 7 pm.
Fee: FreeTime: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 431.2202

November 13 -- Holiday Craft Faire at Rodney Strong Vineyards
Celebration, Benefit: Join us for this festive kickoff to holiday shopping featuring the handmade goods of local crafters and artists and help out the local Redwood Empire Food Bank! Bring in a food or cash donation (per person) for the benefit of the Redwood Empire Food Bank, we will treat you to a taste of our newly released Malbec. 11455 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, CA
Fee: Free with food donation for REFB Time: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 431.1533

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