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Spring Freeing

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By Deirdre Bourdet

Spring is in the air... and so is romance.  Now that Valentine's Day is over and done with (to everyone's great relief), we can all turn to romantic pursuits with a lot less pressure and a whole lot more enthusiasm.  A weekend escape to the natural beauty of wine country offers fresh air, fresh perspective, and perhaps a fresh start.  And despite what you may have heard, it doesn't cost a fortune to enjoy the area's greatest assets.  Some of the most staggeringly gorgeous experiences are 100% free to those willing to take them.  Here are some of the more visually stimulating activities to enjoy.
green_practices.jpgNapa/Sonoma, CA - August 26, 2009  Northern California's largest transportation company, California Wine Tours is now a Bay Area Green Business. Joining the ranks of other leaders in sustainability, California Wine Tours becomes the first transportation company in the Bay Area to reach the requirements for businesses which moves from a traditional business model to a model of sustainability

Through their many business entities, California Wine Tours moves over 460,000 passengers each year throughout the Bay Area which equates to taking thousands of individual cars off the road. These passengers include wine tours in Napa and Sonoma, corporate guests attending company meetings, children attending school field trips, people going to/from the area's airports or guests attending a sporting event, concert or wedding. With this much operation around the Bay Area it was important to California Wine Tours owner, Mike Marino that his company was looking at its carbon footprint and creating programs to reduce its impact. "The goal of our company is to fill the transportation needs of our guests and community as green as possible," comments Marino. "We plan on meeting this goal through a constant track of improvements to find alternative fuel sources, reduce pollution and make our business dedicated to sustainability," states Marino.

Napa Valley Festival Del Sole

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festivalDelSole.jpgPress Release

Napa Valley Festival del Sole, one of the world's most distinctive summer festivals, announces its fourth season in California's beautiful wine country, July 17-25, 2009.
 
With performances every day, music is the centerpiece of a festival hailed by The New York Times as a "feast for the senses," featuring the finest cuisine, wine and hospitality the Napa Valley has to offer. The weeklong schedule includes world-class concerts, exclusive receptions, lunches and dinners, wine tastings, art exhibitions, free community concerts showcasing talented young performers, and more.

Some of the world's most renowned artists travel to Napa Valley each year to perform at Festival del Sole, and to wine, dine and celebrate the "art of life" with Festival guests.

The Bocce Boom

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bocce ball.jpg

Toss 'em forward while you toss it back

By Bonnie Wach

As seen in Napa Sonoma Magazine

The game of darts has Guinness, horse racing has bourbon, and here in Northern California, white wine accompanies everything from croquet to baseball. But ask any Wine Country sports fan what goes best with red, and you're likely to get a quick, certain answer: bocce.

In Napa and Sonoma these days, it's hard to hoist a glass of Zinfandel without hitting a pallino (the small target ball in bocce). The two counties boast more than two dozen courts, many nestled next to wine-tasting rooms and on the grounds of upscale inns and resorts.

To Read More, Click Here.
mammothdining.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Attention, outdoors-loving oenophiles:  Gone are the days of scarfing sub-par sandwiches and downing cheap brews between downhill ski runs. Well, at least for those of us lucky enough to hit the slopes in Southern California, that is.  There, ├╝ber chef Joachim Splichal of LA's venerable Patina Restaurant Group (think Patina, Pinot Bistro, and Vegas's popular Pinot Brasserie) was recently appointed to oversee all food-service operations on Southern California's Mammoth Mountain, which means that visitors to the state's most popular year-round resort can now enjoy the fruits of the group's signature French-Cal cuisine between runs.
The readers of Conde Nast Traveler have named the Kenwood Inn and Spa (www.kenwoodinn.com) the Top Resort in Mainland USA in the magazine's 21st Annual Readers' Choice Awards. The awards are derived from the Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Survey, the largest independent poll of consumers' preferences. Over 32,000 readers voted this year.

Wine Country Itinerary: Geyserville

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By Robert P. Farmer

With the many so-called "destinations" in California's Wine Country, it's easy for visitors to miss the forest for the trees. Traveling from one big-name spot to another, the itinerant wine taster regularly passes blissfully by unearthed gems that could make them richer for the experience.

One such gem is Geyserville, a small, unassumingly quiet town settled on the banks of the Russian River and shoehorned between the Dry Creek and Alexander valleys. That it happens to exist in one of the great American appellations (Alexander Valley) is a bonus not just for the winemakers who populate the area, but also for the wine aficionado who prefers a more relaxed pace with his world-class tasting experience.

Geyserville is still a small town, the kind of place that would make Andy Griffith feel right at home. But it is emerging as well, and with the recent acquisition and transformation of a local winery by Francis Ford Coppola (Rosso & Bianco, and the Francis Coppola Winery, formerly Chateau Souverain), the klieg lights on the town will only brighten. Yet a homespun appeal still prevails. And the wineries that flank Hwy 128 in the heart of the appellation continue to welcome guests with a familiar embrace and a selection of wines that rivals the best from anywhere.

By Robert Farmer

calwinemap.jpg

In case, like my friend who for the last two decades was lost on a remote desert island somewhere in the South Pacific, you didn't already know that California is the Land of Wine and Food, our beloved governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger was recently trotted out as part of a new campaign to tell you so. In spite of my possibly undetected sarcasm here, I actually think this is a good idea on behalf of the California Travel and Tourism Commission. The Commission has brought out some - if not outright famous - at least recognizable names to promote their new portal for visitors to California in search of the wine and food experience.

Although all the information and then some can be found on the site you're currently reading, I still commend the Commission for recognizing that food and wine are perhaps the Golden State's most attractive reasons for visiting. In addition to "The Governator", the campaign features such personalities as Thomas Keller, famed chef of French Laundry, and Andrew Firestone, the fortunate son of Santa Barbara's Firestone Vineyards, who also blogs for the site. The Commission will market the site via TV spots featuring Schwarzenegger and his wife in major markets beginning this month. In the meantime it can be found here: www.landofwineandfood.com

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