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Easter Events in Wine Country

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LIVERMORE

April 19th - Spring Eggstravaganza at Emerald Glen Park
Features a "freestyle" egg hunt, carnival games, petting zoo, arts 'n crafts, interactive parent games, jumpers and more.

  • campArroyo_EasterEggHunt.jpgApril 19th - Easter Egg Hunt and Pancake Breakfast
  • You are invited to the third annual Egg Hunt and Pancake Breakfast brought to you by the YMCA at Camp Arroyo. Egg Hunts will be held every 30 minutes starting at 9:00, the last egg hunt will be at 11:00. Egg hunts are open to children 11 and under. Breakfast will be served from 8:30-11:15.


  • April 20th - Easter Brunch at the Wente Restaurant
  • Enjoy a delicious three course prix fixe menu prepared by Chef Matt Greco paired with our fresh Spring drinks. Menu items to include items like lamb pastrami with pickled onions, eggs Benedict, crispy estate beef brisket, mocha stout cheesecake, and more.

NAPA VALLEY

  • April 20th - Hunt for the Hare at Safari West
  • A fun-filled adventure that will have everyone (adults and kids alike) trying to find Mr. Hare, who has disappeared from Safari West's Savannah Café. Includes an Easter brunch, egg hunt and kids or those young at heart can get their face painted.

  • April 20th - Easter Egg Hunt at Meadowood Napa Valley
  • The Egg Hunt will begin at 10:00 am on the fairways. Families may also enjoy music, a petting zoo and a visit from the Easter Bunny. A photographer will be available for family pictures during the Egg Hunt. Sunday-best attire is encouraged!

  • April 20th - Easter Aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train
  • Spend this Easter collecting memories instead of Easter Eggs. The Train itself holds a special magic for children, and the luxurious environment, decadent cuisine and enchanting scenery makes it easy for adults to unwind and focus on the quality of the moment.

Ramekins_EasterBrunch.jpgSONOMA COUNTY


  • April 20th - Easter Brunch at Ramekins
  • Enjoy a delectable spread on Easter Sunday. With a selection of freshly prepared delights, you will want to take your time hopping from one savory station to the next! Easter crafts and cookie decorating for the little one, a truly family friendly event.

  • April 20th - Easter Dining & Egg Hunt at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn
  • On Easter Sunday, between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, the resort's Michelin Star rated signature dining room, Santé will be serving an extravagant Easter Sunday Buffet complemented by live entertainment. Back by popular demand.... Monsieur Easter Bunny will host a traditional children's Easter Egg Hunt at noon in addition to other family-friendly activities.

  • April 20th - Easter Egg Hunt at Sea Ranch Lodge
  • Kids can collect Easter Eggs and hunt for 2 special  Golden Easter Eggs in each section for a special gift from the Easter Bunny.  Other festivities include: Sea Ranch Sheep and Sea Ranch Wool Works in the barn, Sea Ranch Fire Truck, azzo Marco Gelato Cart, Flowers from Garden by the Sea, and Easter Bunny Photos and much more!

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)

Ring in the New Year in Napa Valley & Sonoma

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Ring in the New Year with dinners, parties, and other adult and family friendly festivities in Napa Valley and Sonoma this year. See our round up of event highlights and check out our calendar for more events!

Napa Valley New Year's Eve Event Highlights

  • calistogaChamber_NewYearsEve.jpgCelebrate! New Year's Eve Bash in Calistoga
  • Napa Valley is inviting you to enjoy their spectacular New Year's Eve Bash in Calistoga! Kick off the festivities with fine dining at your choice of participating restaurant. After dinner, the party continues at the Fairgrounds Events Center with a premium no-host bar featuring Stella Artois, Charbay cocktails, and Napa Valley wines. Delight in party favors and an over-the-top dessert bar while you dance the night away to classic party tunes performed by Double Funk Crunch. Wrap up the evening with a midnight toast with Schramsberg. So grab your friends and family and join the celebration! CLICK HERE for more details.


  • New Year's Eve Blackjack Ball on Napa Valley Wine Train
  • The annual Blackjack Ball kicks off the New Year in style aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, with sparkling wine, gourmet food and a twilight ride through Napa Valley. Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald and his culinary team shine as they prepare multi-course gourmet meals to order in the kitchen car. CLICK HERE for more details.

  • Enjoy an exquisite five-course tasting menu at étoile Restaurant, delightfully paired with a selection of sparkling and still wines. Then dance the night away to  live music provided by Blue Moon Band in the Tasting Lounge. CLICK HERE for more details








Sonoma County New Year's Eve Event Highlights

  • Alchemy New Year's Eve Party at Spoonbar at H2Hotel
  • an out of this world New Year's Eve party planned at Spoonbar featuring famed San Francisco DJ J Boogie and a special 5 course celebration menu from Chef Louis Maldonado (Bravo's Top Chef Season 11 Contestant) with treats from start to finish. CLICK HERE for more details.
  • Great Bashby Club Midnight
  • Ring in the New Year in Sonoma Wine Country at the The Greaty Bashby which includes a casino, dancing, no host bar, heavy hors d' oeuvres, DJ, silent auction and midnight champagne toast. It's a party you won't want to miss! CLICK HERE for more details

**Visit the Wine Country Event Calendar for a list of all New Year's Eve parties, dinners, festivals, marked on the holiday calendar for December 31st

Celebrate the Holidays in Tri-Valley California

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During the holiday season, the Tri-Valley region takes on a whole new charm that makes it an ideal destination for holiday travel or a weekend wine holiday.

tri-valley-livermore-fall-winter-vineyards-photo.jpgThe Tri-Valley offers all sorts of alluring attractions, including 17 premier golf courses, along with 17 regional, National and State parks and is home to over 50 distinct wineries in Livermore Valley. See article. And, several shops, restaurants, museums, and galleries in surrounding areas; Pleasanton, Dublin, and Danville.

Whether you're looking for entertainment, innovative cuisine, freshly caught seafood or friendly, un-rushed tours through some of the country's finest wineries; you'll find it in California's Tri-Valley. You'll also discover a seasonal flare that permeates the countryside, creating the perfect setting for a holiday getaway unlike any other. Read the full blog . . .

Other articles and resources:
Travel Tips for Stress-Free Holidays
Airport Information & Maps
Plan Your Vacation

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!

nvff-little-tin-man.jpg
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 

Enjoy the Whimsical Crush Season in Calistoga

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The California harvest season is a whimsical experience when staying in Calistoga. Known for its hot springs and world-class wine, this northern Napa Valley town adds another dimension to the wine country.

calistoga-chamber-calistoga-crush-season.jpgThe natural beauty of this perfectly preserved town, named a "Distinctive Destination" by the Trust for Historic Preservation, maintains the intimate nature of yesteryear. During the harvest, from mid-August to October, the vineyards of Calistoga transform from a luscious landscape to a buzzing dance filled with the vivacious movement of the ripened grapes. The ambiance is breathtaking as the season's colors come to life with vibrant hues of tangerine and copper, and the sweet scents of the soft fruity notes from harvest's crush fill the air.

With an all-embracing personality, this spirited community offers a one-of -a- kind experience.  Many local Calistoga wineries host special events featuring the finest of the season's harvest.  Tasting rooms offer opportunities to sample the freshly picked grapes as they make their way to be transformed into the red and white elixir of the appellation. Production tours during the harvest offer a sneak peek into the winemaker's world as they feature the season's crush - the ultimate time to experience the most exciting process of crafting fine collections of decadent wines in Napa Valley.

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

nvff-saving-mr-banks.jpg

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend - Auction Sneak Peeks!

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Sonoma Samba at Chateau St. Jean Winery, Kenwood
Sunday, September 1, 2013


sonoma-wine-country-weekend-auction-sonoma-samba-art.jpgRaise a glass (and a paddle) with Sonoma County's wine and food superstars as you bid on world-class wines and experiences at the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction. This year's theme is "Sonoma Samba"! This Sonoma auction is the flagship event of the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend and is Sonoma County's largest and most fun fundraising event. Mingle with some of Sonoma's finest winemakers - there will be a local winemaker or grower presiding over each table on hand to share their wines, and great stories too!

The grand lawn of Chateau St. Jean will be transformed into a Pan-Latin Celebration you don't want to miss. Only a few days left to buy tickets! Buy tickets directly online!

For those already attending, CLICK HERE to take a sneak peek at some of this year's wine auction lots featuring a one-of-a-kind all inclusive experience "Fly Away to Cirque du Soleil with Visa Signature", "Barn Dance and Barbecue with the Gallo Family and MacMurray Ranch, All-Access Pass to Awesome Austin with Siduri's Adam Lee, and much more!

Bid Online!
Even if you can't make this year's event, you still have an opportunity to snag some prized bottles from Sonoma winemakers cellars, one-of-a-kind etched bottles, and exclusive Sonoma trips and packages. View lots online now.

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)

Dive Bar - Bardessono Hotel's Poolside Cocktail Soiree

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Come enjoy a summer's eve at Dive Bar, Bardessono Hotel & Spa's poolside cocktail soiree held the last Thursday of the month from June to August.

bardessonoRooftopPool.jpgBardessono Hotel is located in the heart of Napa Valley in the town of Yountville and has an amazing rooftop pool that is open from 6pm to 8pm for great Happy Hour drink specials and complimentary nibbles from Lucy Restaurant & Bar. Take in the stunning mountain and vineyard views and enjoy a dip and a drink while DJ's spin tunes near the bar.

This year Dive Bar includes a fashion component -  preview the latest summer fashions from top Bay Area boutiques. Come dressed to impress and mingle with Napa Valley locals and top vintners. Our boutique partners will have models showing off some great designs:

  • June 27 - Sisters Boutique/Yountville
  • July 25 - CakePlate / Napa
  • August 29 - Rand + Statler/ San Francisco
Dive Bar is open to the public with free admission and free valet parking. 

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

Santa Ynez Valley's Mother's Day Toast

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santaYnezMarriott_MothersDayBottleFlower.jpgLooking for a memorable way to celebrate Mother's Day? How about a relaxing getaway nestled in the enchanting, rolling hills of Santa Ynez Valley's wine country.

It's the stuff mothers' dreams are made of...luxurious accommodations, Solvang's Danish bakeries with made-from-scratch pastries, gourmet restaurants featuring fresh local ingredients and inspired cuisine, unique shopping and art galleries...all paired with world-class yet unpretentious wine tasting.

A seamless blend of sophisticated style and unhurried, small town charm is the ideal escape for the mother in your life this May.

Check out a host of Santa Ynez Valley Mother's Day ideas sure to make it a special occasion:

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. 

Milliken Creen Inn & Spa Celebrates Napa's Arts in April

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April ushers in a month of arts and special events in the Napa Valley. Blending wine and art throughout the area, the month-long festivities beckon culture-cravers from around the world. In honor of this once-annual event, Milliken Creek Inn & Spa, a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Napa, has curated a package sure to satisfy wine and art lovers alike.

millikenCreekInn_balcony.jpgThe "Arts in April" package includes:

  • One night's accommodations in a Milliken Creek Inn & Spa Room
  • Bottle of O'Brien Estate Seduction upon arrival
  • Wine tasting for two at the O'Brien Estate Winery 
  • Renowned artist,Tim Howe's work is on display and for purchase at both Milliken Creek Inn & O'Brien Estate
  • Daily gourmet breakfast for two served in-room or anywhere on property
  • Concierge assistance in planning Napa Valley outings including winery visits and dinners
  • Two guest passes to Synergy Wellness and Fitness Center
  • Daily sunset Magic Hour wine and cheese reception
  • Late-night cordial bar

To book this special package, use booking code "ARTS"  online or call 800.822.8418 and mention the package. The "Arts in April" package starts at $320 (plus tax) per one night stay. Offer valid on stays April 1-31, 2013. Package is subject to availability and change. Higher rates may apply on weekends and during holidays. Tax and service charge are not included and upgraded accommodations are available at an additional cost.

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."

Napa Valley: Dog Friendly Hotels & Lodging

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Sometimes, visiting Napa Valley without your dog is just not an option. Perhaps you couldn't find a dog-sitter, or didn't want to pay for a doggie hotel, or maybe you just want your best bud to be with you! Whatever the reason, there are plenty of Napa Valley hotels that offer dog friendly accommodations.

harvestInn_petFriendly_Dog.jpgHarvest Inn
Harvest Inn is just one of the many Napa Valley hotels that are dog friendly and ready to pamper you and your dog. Relax in luxury and comfort in your spacious guestroom where your dog will receive a luxurious bed of their own, custom pet bowls, doggy bags and delicious (so Fido has told us) treats to make your pet's vacation a happy memory.

Offered year-round is their "Love Me, Love My Dog Package":
Bask in the beauty of the Napa Valley and bring your four-legged best friend with an offer that includes a host of creature comforts for your pet. This year, Peanut teamed up with his neighbors at dog friendly V. Sattui Winery to add a $50 certificate to the package, perfect for a premium wine tasting for two and picnic lunch on their beautiful grounds. Special Offer Details (scroll to bottom of the page) Even better, $10 from each package benefits Napa Humane  - see information about their annual March event - Pawsport Napa Valley.

Westin Verasa Napa Valley
Westin Verasa Napa Valley happily welcomes both you and your K9 travelers. They pamper pooches with amenities such as custom-designed luxurious dog beds with miniature Heavenly Bed duvets by Eloise Pet Accessories, plus other touches that will have pets feeling as welcome as their owners. They even have an onsite concierge that will help you with reccomendations for local walking & sitting services, list of pet-grooming services with same day service, locations of pet stores, contact information for 24-hour veterinarians, and locations of nearby runs and parks. See their pet policy and book any one of their special Napa lodging packages!

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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
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  • 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
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  • $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

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.

Wine Tasting Itinerary: Napa Valley Floor

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Tasting Fee Budget for the Day: $156 per Couple
To keep these kind of offers, buy a bottle or three! (*Please let wine tasting staff know that you were referred by WineCountry.com)

Black Stallion Winery, 4089 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558 , (707) 227.3250
  • $30 Per Couple - Mixed Tasting
  • 10AM - Allow 45 minutes
  • No Reservations Required
  • Directions to Next Stop: Turn L on Silverado Trail and drive 2.4 mi. to Chimney Rock on your R

Chimney Rock Winery, 5350 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 257.2641
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  • $40 Per Couple, Terlato Family Vineyards Owner's Selection Tasting
  • 11:15AM  - Allow One Hour
  • No Reservation Required
  • Directions to Next Stop: R on Silverado Trail for 3.1 mi., turn L on Yountville Crossing Rd for 1.9 mi., L on Yount St, R on Humboldt St and L on Washington St, Bakery on your L

Celebrate Romance & Valentine's Day

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livermorePromotion.jpgRomance doesn't have to be celebrated just one day. With Valentine's Day falling on a Friday this year, it's the perfect excuse to plan an extended romantic weekend with the one you love. Let us help you plan! Call 707.260.0721 for our Guest Services to recommend the perfect plan for where to go wine tasting, where to stay, play and eat.

There's a dizzying amount of specials and activities around In Napa Valley and Sonoma this year to celebrate the season of love! Click below:

>> Napa Valley, CA
>> Sonoma County, CA

Romantic Retreat to Sonoma Wine Country

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Special Events & Things To Do During Valentine's Day
*Updated for 2014!

Celebrate romance and love this Valentine's Day in Sonoma Wine Country with special dinner reservations at Sonoma restaurants & winemaker dinners at Sonoma wineries. In addition, enjoy wine tasting experiences (chocolate and wine pairings), cooking class with your sweetheart, or dance the night away in the arms of the one you love at Rodney Strong Vineyards.

VALENTINE'S DAY DINNER RECOMMENDATIONS

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  • Applewood Inn 
  • Have a lovely dinner with your sweetheart in a rustic and romantic setting that balances warmth and elegance at Applewood Inn. Michelin Starred Chefs Shelly Cerneant and Tyja Taube are preparing a special menu that includes entrees like confit pork belly, oven roasted halibut, grilled fillet of beef tenderloin and much more!
  • Dry Creek Kitchen
  • Experience a romantic evening with your loved one at Dry-Creek Kitchen this Valentine's Day. Executive Chef Dustin has created an exquisite tasting menu using a variety of fresh and local ingredients. Courses include Wild Salmon Tartare with Avocado Mousseline, Preserved Lemon and Lavash Hearts and Nori Roasted Maine Lobster with Ponzu Butter, Yuzu Powder and Jade Rice.
  • Partake K-J
  • Indulge your senses with a special Prix Fixe Menu! Explore a wide range of wine flights to satisfy your curiosity and thirst. Dive into a selection of seasonal bites driven by our gardens and Sonoma County's culinary artisans.
  • St. Francis Winery
  • Celebrate with great wine and food at St. Francis Winery as Executive Chef David Bush creates an exquisite menu for you and your special someone. Share an intimate candlelit experience, with each tantalizing course expertly paired with our premium Artisan Series wines. There's no place quite as romantic as the rolling vineyard-covered hillsides of Sonoma Valley!
Click here more dinner recommendations.

Napa Valley - Plan a Romantic Escape

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Napa Valley oozes with romance no matter what time of year! But during the season of love, aka "Valentine's Day", the iconic wine region pulls out all the stops to make your romantic escape one to remember years to come.

Stop dreaming about a romantic Napa escape and start planning! Luxurious and plush stays at four star Napa Valley hotels and resorts, indulgent spa treatments, to die for gourmet cuisine, and  wine tasting experiences are just a phone call away. Call our Guest Services (707. 260.0721) to help you set the stage and deliver an incredible Valentine's Day, romantic weekend, or week-long affair this coming February. (Shhh...we promise not to tell anyone that you had help!)

Want to plan your own Napa Valley romance-filled day?
Check out Napa Valley lodging and spa special package offers and our suggested list of Napa Valley events to attend below!

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


Wine Tasting Itinerary: Pinot Day in Russian River

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Tasting Fee Budget for the Day: $69 Per Couple. To keep these kinds of offers, buy a bottle or three! (*Please let the staff know that you were referred by WineCountry.com.)

Inman Family Wines
, 3900 Piner Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, (707) 293-9576
Inman_Wines_main.jpg
  • $10.00 - Waived with purchase
  • 10:00 AM - Allow One Hour
  • No Reservation Required Thursday - Monday
  • Directions to Next Stop: R on Olivet for 1 mi., R on Guernerville Rd for 2.8 mi., R on Hwy 116W for 3 mi., R on Martinelli Rd

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

Livermore/Tri-Valley: Holiday Events Guide 2012

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wenteVineyardsWines.jpgNOVEMBER

Nov. 23-26, 2012 - Wente Vineyards Holiday Preview
Start your holiday festivities off right and get a jump on your holiday shopping and entertaining ideas! Enjoy a fun and relaxing weekend, browse new holiday merchandise, stock up on holiday favorites, and pick up gifts for friends and family, all while you sample your favorite Wente Vineyards wines. CLICK HERE for more details.

Nov 23-25, 2012 - Wild Turkey Walk at Chouinard Vineyards
Collect all your turkey-stuffed relatives and couch potato friends, pack up some turkey sandwiches and come for a picnic and walk. Your reward for all that effort--a fine wine tasting of whites and reds, and a little dessert wine and port tossed in for good measure.
CLICK HERE for more details.

Nov. 25, 2012 - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Holiday Party
Back by popular demand Big Band Voodoo Daddy is returning with their wild and swingin' holiday party show! You'll want to be there as these lovable hipsters turn yuletide classics like "Blue Christmas," "Jingle Bells" and "We Three Kings" into a rollicking big band extravaganza! Throw in a few new songs of their own, like "Zat You Santa Claus" and "Rock-A-Billy Christmas," and you've got a show cool enough to keep a snowman from melting!
CLICK HERE for more details.

Sonoma Holiday Events Guide 2012

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holidayInCarneros.jpgNOVEMBER

Nov. 17,18, 2012 - Holiday in Carneros
Sample wines, meet winemakers, listen to music, pair wines with food, and view arts and crafts all at the same time. With nearly 20 wineries participating in this annual event, Holiday in Carneros in Sonoma should be on your to do list.This unique event involves both Sonoma and Napa wineries that are located in the Los Carneros Appellation.
CLICK HERE for more details.

Nov. 23, 2012

  • Heart of Sonoma Valley Open House - Toast the Holiday Season in the Wine Country with our 29th Annual Holiday Open House! Join twenty wineries 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! CLICK HERE for more details.
  • Ledson Winery Holiday Open House - Join Heart of Sonoma Valley Wineries for our 29th Annual Holiday Open House. The Castle will be decked with holiday twinkle and plenty of cheer. Warm up by one of our fireplaces while you enjoy a variety of gourmet treats paired with our award-winning wines. Begin your holiday shopping in our Gourmet Marketplace; sample original selections of sauces and olive oils.CLICK HERE for more details.
  • Kenwood Vineyards Holiday Extravaganza - Black Friday never looked so good! Come Celebrate the holidays with some bubbly and delicious wines at Kenwood Vineyards' Open House. Start your holiday shopping while being serenaded by carols, sipping on superb wines, and tasting scrumptious treats created by our chef Robin Lehnhoff.  Amazing prices abound for the wine connoisseur in your life.CLICK HERE for more details.

Nov. 25th - Dec 30, 2012 - Sonoma Valley Holiday Wine Trolley
The Holiday Wine Trolley is fully decorated and brimming with garlands, lights, and classic holiday music! Travel through Sonoma's Wine Country viewing historic landmarks from the late 1800′s through the 1930s. The Holiday Wine Trolley Tour visits four premium wineries, where you will taste Sonoma's wonderful wines and take care of your holiday shopping at the same time! The Sonoma Valley Holiday Wine Trolley will run daily, decorated in holiday spirit, playing holiday music and serving hot cocoa. CLICK HERE for more details.

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Napa Valley: Holiday Events Guide 2012

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yountvilleFestivalOfLights.jpgNOVEMBER

Nov. 23, 2012 - Yountville's Annual Festival of Lights
Take the entire family out for one of Napa Valley's most cherished holiday events the day after Thanksgiving - Yountville's Festival of Lights. 

This annual Napa Valley holiday faire features food, wine and entertainment town-wide. Enjoy visits with Santa Claus, carolers and horse-drawn carriage rides. In the evening, Yountville is set aglow with thousands of twinkling lights adorning trees and shops along Washington Street. CLICK HERE for more details.

Nov 26 - Dec 20, 2012 - Santa Trains: Napa Valley Wine Train
The Santa Express Train is a magical experience for the young and the young at heart. Ride the express train with special guest, Santa! Ole' Saint Nick is going to bring some friends and carolers on board. This is a fabulous holiday experience for the whole family.These are NOT the regular three-hour lunch and dinner trains. This train runs only for an hour and a half from the City of Napa to the Town of Yountville and back, and is filled or overflowing with happy children waiting to see Santa and his friends. **Note: Does not run every single day. CLICK HERE to see specific dates available!

Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, 2012 - Calistoga Holiday Village
While visiting Napa Valley, visit the town of Calistoga which will be aglow with the holiday spirit. Enjoy Hot chocolate, cider, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and carolers who will sing holiday songs from around the world, and of course. Saturday night will be our 17th Annual Lighted Tractor Parade. The ultimate small-town quirky Christmas experience. After all that excitement have a bite then retreat to your cozy inn where elves await you for holiday story time. This is Calistoga tradition not to be missed. CLICK HERE for more details!


>> See More Napa Valley Events


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.

Spooktacular Fun in Wine Country

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See a small sampling of events happening in Napa Valley, Sonoma and Livermore in celebration of Halloween. Visit WineCountry.com's full event calendar HERE.


castelloDiAmorosa_paganBall2.jpgNAPA VALLEY EVENTS

October 27th - The Pagan ball at Castello di Amorosa
Kick off your Halloween weekend at the biggest and best party in the Napa Valley -- our 5th annual Pagan Ball; a traditional Halloween costume party with lots of tricks and treats! Activities will include:RIP Reception(tickets purchased seperately), 'Haunted Chamber' Tours, Video DJ & dancing in the Great Hall, To Die For food & wine stations in the Courtyard, Fortune Tellers in the Chapel, Haunted Haybale Lounge on the Terrace, and Professional Photo Ops! CLICK HERE for more info.

October 27th - Halloween Extravaganza at Napa Fairgrounds

What has become a Napa tradition, this year will be our 37th Annual Extravaganza. This blow-out costume party is held at the Napa fairgrounds.  Held the Saturday before Halloween, this is the largest party of its kind in Napa County and serves as one of our fundraisers. Guests are entertained with live music, enjoy access to an open bar and a casino hall.
CLICK HERE for more info.


SONOMA EVENTS

October 27th - Zombie Party!
Put on your best costume and join Chateau Diana Winery for a Zombie Party.  Watch as the undead take over our Tasting Room.  We will be having ghoulish food, music, and door prizes paired with our blood red Zombie Zin.  Zombie Costume contest with awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.  Will it be a Trick or a Treat?  You decide!
CLICK HERE for more info.

October 28th - Halloween at Kenwood Vineyards
Come be a part of the 2nd Annual Pumpkin Judging Contest at Kenwood Vineyards. By doing so, you will receive a pass into the 'Temple of Oak' to taste the new release of the 2008 Artist Series Cabernet. A Tasty Halloween treat awaits your arrival!.
CLICK HERE for more info.



LIVERMORE EVENTS

October 27th - Downtown Livermore Halloween Carnival
Activities for families with children in the 5th grade and younger! Kids will enjoy the Costume and Scream Contest, Carnival Games, Activities and some Surprise Entertainment. Livermore Valley Plaza. CLICK HERE for more info.


October 27-28 - Halloween Candy & Wine Pairing at Cedar Mountain Winery
Come in, if you dare, to try something new! Cedar Mountain is pairing Traditional Halloween Candy with their wines in the Tasting Room this Halloween Weekend. Does it sound kind of spooky? We think you will be delighted with our BOOtiful pairings! Tasting Fees apply. CLICK HERE for more info.




Eat, Drink and Be Scary! at Ghost Winery Flora Springs

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Join Flora Springs Winery for two very special events:

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2011 Ghost Winery Release Party
~ Saturday, October 27th, 10am-4pm
Each year, Flora Springs creates a limited edition varietal to honor their historic "ghost winery." The haunting aromatics and luscious dark fruit flavors of this year's 2011 Ghost Winery Syrah are sure to send a thrill down your spine! Be the first to enjoy the spooktacular taste of the 2011 Ghost Winery Syrah paired with charcuterie and cheese. Costumes encouraged and prizes will be awarded. No extra charge for this event! (No reservation necessary for groups under six. Call The Room at (866) 967.8032 for groups of six or more.

The Ghost Winery Creature Feature Bast

~ Saturday, October 27th; Reception: 5:3pm, Movie: 8:00pm
It's the finale event for the Dinner & Movie Night Series at Flora Spring Winery and it's an evening to DIE for!

Step onto the Hollywood-style red carpet reception with a keepsake photo opportunity. Then experience a memorable tasting of the 2011 Ghost Winery Syrah as you are transported onto the set of the legendary American horror film Sleepy Hollow. Sit down to a hauntingly delicious lobster feed by celebrated Chef John Sorenson before a screening of Sleepy Hollow, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci. Enjoy Halloween candy, popcorn, and a wine bar during the movie. Be sure to come dressed for the occasion as we will be giving out prizes for our favorite costumes.

Tickets are selling out fast for this event! Only $99 per person or $72.20 per person if you are a wine club member. Reservations required. Call The Room at (866) 967.8032 for reservations.


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.

Sonoma: Summer Events Spotlight

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AUGUST

alJarreau_RodneyStrongSummerConcertSeries.jpgAugust 11 -- Al Jarreau with The George Duke Trio @ Rodney Strong Vineyards
Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series returns with another season of fine food, wine and incredible music. The summer celebration continues with intimate performances by world-class musicians in a stunning vineyard setting. The Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series continues with performances by Al Jarreau & The George Duke Trio. Doors open at 4pm. Location: 11455 Old Redwood Hwy, Healdsburg, CA
Fee: VIP $80 / GA $50; Time: 5:00 pm; Phone: 707-869-1595 ext. 4

projectZinPic.jpgAugust 17 -- Project Zin @ Hotel Healdsburg
This preeminent wine event will gather some of the most sought after Zinfandels paired with the food of Chef Palmer and other local Sonoma County chefs. All proceeds will benefit the Down Syndrome Association, North Bay.
Location: 25 Matheson Street, Healdsburg CA 95448
Fee: $200; Time: 6:30pm-9:30pm; Phone: 707-431-2800

August 23 -- Ledson Winery - Exclusive Tasting & Winemaker Dinner
Winemaker Dinner: We'll begin the evening with a private tasting. This is a unique opportunity to enjoy some of my most sought-after wines and outstanding futures from both Zina Hyde and Ledson Winery. After the tasting, we'll revel in a magnificent Five-Course Dinner prepared by Executive Chef Anthony Schumaker.
Location: 480 1st St. E., Sonoma, CA
Fee: $125 general/$100 club members; Time: 5:00pm - 9:00pm; Phone: (707) 996-9779


"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.

VIDEO: Cottage Grove Inn - Luxury Cottage Spotlight

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Cottage Grove Inn - A Luxury private Napa Valley Cottage in Calistoga, CA



Luxury private Napa Valley Cottages. Explore the Napa Valley wine country or enjoy a day of spa treatments, then come home to your own private luxury cottage. Slide into your 2-person deep Jacuzzi soaking tub. Listen to your favorite music or snuggle in front of the wood-burning fireplace. It is a short walk to Calistoga's famous restaurants and to the celebrated hot mineral water spas of Calistoga. Let Cottage Grove Inn be your getaway to simple luxury and privacy in the Napa Valley.

Celebrating July 4th in Napa Valley

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fireworks.jpg*Updated for 2013!

There are several events featuring wine & food, live music, and of course, fireworks in Napa Valley leading up to July 4th which is during the middle of the week this year. Check out the events happening before, on Independence Day, and the weekend after too!

July 3rd - 7th -- Napa County Fair & Fireworks Show
Pack up the family and spend five days of summer sizzle celebrating Independence Day with live music, chef demos, wine pavilion, olive oil tastings, art exhibits and much more! Plus enjoy a Fourth of July Parade and a spectacular fireworks show. Come be rewarded with the unique experience of celebrating America's birthday in a rural setting that offers up loads of small-town "Americana" charm. Click Here for more details.

Napa Valley -  City Wide 4th of July Celebrations and Parades
 
  • American Canyon - 4th of July Celebration
  • Join American Canyon for a spectacular July 4th celebration. The all-day event will include the morning parade, afternoon picnic - which will include fun and free activities, contests and relays for the whole family, food and entertainment, and end with evening fireworks. Click Here for more details.
  • Napa - 4th of July Parade and Festival in Downtown Napa
  • Enjoy the colorful sights and sounds of the Pepperettes, Napa fire trucks, classic cars, and so much more at this year's parade and 4th of July celebration. This year's theme is "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Also, Grand Marshall Margrit Mondavi and Chair Doris Gentry will be present. After the parade there will be a festival downtown with beer, wine, food as well as candy and jump houses for the kids and then a fabulous fireworks show. Click Here for more details.
  • Calistoga - 4th of July Parade in Downtown Calistoga
  • Join downtown Calistoga for their all-American celebration, starting with the 79th running of the 4th of July Parade. Thousands of smiling faces line the streets as friends and families share in this patriotic, community tradition. See floats, decorated cars, live bands, and more! Click Here for more details.  

July 4 -- Louis M. Martini Winery Fireworks Spectacular
Spend this 4th of July with the Martini family, as they celebrate 18 years of historic fireworks in St. Helena. Spend time with Mike Martini, third-generation winemaker, and enjoy a Napa-style feast, delectable wine and food pairings, live entertainment and family activities - all culminating in a world-class fireworks display, set against the stunning backdrop of the Napa Valley. Reserve tickets in advance. Click Here for more details.

Wine Tasting in Paso Robles - New Trip Planner

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PASO ROBLES WINE COUNTRY LAUNCHES NEW ONLINE TRIP PLANNER

pasoRoblesItineraryImage.jpgPress Release - The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance announces the launch of their new Trip Planner on pasowine.com which gives the wine enthusiast power to create customized itineraries that highlight the region's distinct offerings using web based technology. The Trip Planner makes it easy to search over 160 Wine Alliance member wineries and map out a wine tasting experience based on amenities, varietal, and the region's award-winning wineries.  The tool also incorporates the area's hospitality assets including restaurants, accommodations, and tour companies; making it a complete visitor resource when planning a trip to Paso Robles Wine Country.

"This Trip Planner addresses consumer needs for full service planning based on current technologies," said Jennifer Porter, Executive Director, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.  "There is no other wine region or entity that provides such a complete planning tool with the same customization and sharing capabilities that the Paso Robles Trip Planner offers."

Amenities such as certifiable sustainable, tours, pet friendliness, picnic areas and other accommodations are offered as search options along with cross reference capabilities so the user can refine their search according to the type of wine they enjoy.  Adding locations to an itinerary can be done from any page on pasowine.com that lists wineries or hospitality businesses, with a single click of the mouse.  Once an itinerary is built, the user can fine-tune by click-n-drag as well as add specific addresses for begin and end points.  Once the itinerary is complete, it can be shared via social media, printed, emailed and bookmarked.

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.

Farmhouse Inn Celebrates the Barn's Birthday

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"You Choose Your Prize" SWEEPSTAKES

At Farmhouse, the beloved Barn is turning three! This calls for a celebration, and what better way to celebrate than with gifts! The sweepstakes is simple. Just share the Farmhouse Love with  friends, coworkers, whomever, and every time one of them "likes" Farmhouse Inn on Facebook, you are entered to win . . .again, again, and again.

farmhouseInn.jpg

THE PRIZES

1. Visit Farmhouse for the ultimate Wine Country Getaway*. Two nights in a Luxury Barn Room, a four-course dinner and wine pairings for two in our Michelin starred restaurant, and a private tour and lunch at one of our exclusive winery partners. (Value approx. $2500) *does not include airfare or travel cost.

or

2. Sip Farmhouse-style at home. You and Farmhouse's Wine Director, Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth, will collaborate to create your dream wine cellar*.  We ship you the cellar - we loan you Geoff and his expertise to help you choose, and procure, your dream collection.   *Does not include the wine itself. We promise up to 6 hours of Geoff's time. (Value approx. $2000)

or

3. Sleep like you've never slept before
- at least not since you left Farmhouse. The famous and much sought after Farmhouse Bed*- the mattress and our luxury layers of feather bedding and pillows delivered to your door. You choose the size. What's a perfect nights' sleep worth anyway? (Value approx. $2000) *does not include your bed frame or linens.

or

4.  Farm for yourself.  Dine on those farm-fresh eggs that are such a part of a Farmhouse stay, every day, at home!  We'll send you a custom built chicken coop, six heritage breed chicks, and a sack of organic chick feed to get you started. Six fresh eggs a day...imagine the possibilities. Includes a selection of Farmhouse breakfast recipes. (Approx. value $1800)

Winner will be announced by email and on Farmhouse Facebook page August 1, 2012.

ENTER NOW!


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.

Father's Day in Wine Country

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wenteVineyardsWines.jpgLIVERMORE, CA
June 17 -- Wines, Beats, and Mobile Eats
Celebration: Treat Dad to an array of food choices from our favorite food trucks, Southern Sandwich Co., Rice Rockit, le truc and Kara's Cupcakes, while sampling wines from Wente Vineyards, Murrieta's Well, and Double Decker.
Location: Wente Vineyards Estate Winery, 5565 Tesla Rd., Livermore, CA
Fee: $15 general/$10 club members; Time: 12-4pm; Phone: 925.456.2305

June 17, 2012 -- Father's Day BBQ at Elliston Vineyards
Celebration: Make Father's Day extra special this year at Elliston Vineyards. Join us for an afternoon of delicious BBQ, fun and sun, family and friends, and of course beer and wine. Cost is inclusive of food, non-alcoholic drinks, tax and gratuity. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. Large group reservations available. Advanced booking is required.
Location: Elliston Vineyards, 463 Kilkare Rd., Sunol, CA
Fee: $35 Adults/$12 Children; Time: 12pm - 3pm; Phone: 925.862.2377

MENDOCINO, CA
June 15 - 17 -- A Taste of Redwood Valley
Wine Festival: Join eight wineries and a brandy distiller that offer the "Focus on Experience" winemaker dinner. Experience a herb walk, make homemade bread,feast at a farm to table dinner, and enjoy dessert all served with fine wines while listening to live music. On Sat and Sun all will be open for tastings w/food,music, and farmer's market stands.
Fee: Dinner: $55;  Dinner & Tasting:$80; Tasting:$30;
Time: Dinner: 6pm; Sat/Sun Tasting: 11-5; Phone: 707-485-0322


VMarketplaceCarShow.jpgNAPA VALLEY, CA
June 17 -- V Marketplace Father's Day Invitational Auto Show
Celebration, Exhibition: V Marketplace celebrates the "art of the driving machine," from the national champions to the local favorites, to the one-of-a-kind collector curiosities. Packard, Pierce Arrow, Ford, Ferrari, M.G., Mercedes Benz and more, top a list of more than 100 early and late model autos spanning some 90 years of production!
Location: 6525 Washington Street, Yountville CA
Fee: Free; Time: 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.; Phone: 707-944-2451

June 17 -- Conn Creek's Father's Day Throwdown
Celebration: Wine, Barbeque and hot competition - what more could Dad ask for? 2 amazing Napa valley chefs will be barbecuing up ribs! You vote to determine who wins the throw-down. Challenge our winemaker, Mike McGrath to a wine blending throw-down.
Location: 8711 Silverado Trail, St. Helena, CA
Fee: $50/$40 club members; Time: 2pm-6pm; Phone: 800.793.7960 ext. 210

Napa Valley's Historic Oakville Grocery Reopens!

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RISING STAR CHEF JASON ROSE LAUNCHES NEW MENU AND GOURMET PRODUCTS

oakvilleGrocerySign.jpgAfter undergoing a complete renovation, Napa Valley's historic and beloved Oakville Grocery has reopened its doors. Guests will experience a fresher, brighter and timeless design that mirrors the original, yet offers a complete redesign of the menu, a highly curated selection of the best locally sourced gourmet products, and a new line of Oakville Grocery private label foods (launching this fall). Everything will be sourced from California farmers, artisans, and purveyors, with a focus on Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

Leading the kitchen and overseeing the market's revamped culinary program is rising star Chef Jason Rose, formerly of Ram's Gate Winery in Sonoma, as well as the Delfina Group and other renowned restaurants in the Bay Area and Wine Country. With the renovation, the 130-year-old Oakville Grocery is set to once again become the area's premier gou rmet market for locals and visitors alike.

"As anyone who lives in or loves Napa Valley knows, Oakville Grocery is a pioneer and a treasure," said owner Leslie Rudd. "We are incredibly excited to preserve and relaunch this beloved spot as a real local food destination, a place where people come to gather and shop throughout the day. We want Oakville Grocery to be a center of the community, one that creates memories for anyone who visits here."
 
The 130-year old Oakville Grocery is located in the heart of Napa Valley at the corner of Oakville Crossroad and Highway 29. Originally opened in 1881, Oakville Grocery began as a farmers' store. It is the oldest continually operating grocery store in California and one of Napa Valley's must-stop destinations for food on-the-go, picnics and gifts.

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 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

Mother's Day Events in Sonoma

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floriaFerrerBrutBottle.jpgMay 13 - Mom's & Music & Bubbles @ Gloria Ferrer
Treat your Mom to a Sparkling Celebration on Mother's Day. Join us at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards for a casual, relaxed afternoon with live music, sparkling wine with cheeses, spreads and desserts to complement your bubbly. Feel free to bring the whole family! Live music by North Bay Singer/Songwriter Dustin Saylor.
Fee: $35.00 general, $29.75 club member; Time: 2:00pm-4:00pm; Phone: 707-933-1931

May 13 -- Mother's Day Tasting @ Valley of the Moon Winery

Moms, stop by Valley of the Moon Winery for complimentary wine tasting and fabulous discounts on gifts and wine purchases. Valley of the Moon Winery delivers a unique flavor of California. They produce ultra-premium Sonoma wines that embrace both time honored wine-making tradition and state-of-the-art production.
Location: Valley of the Moon Winery, 777 Madrone Rd, Glen Ellen
Fee: Free; Time: 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Phone: 707-939-4510

May 13 -- Mother's Day Safari at Safari West
Run like a Cheetah to Brunch on the Sonoma Serengeti. Enjoy a special Mothers Day tour aboard The African Queen along with some other surprises! What could be more extraordinary than spending Mother's Day amongst some of the word's most elegant creatures? Our chef is preparing a glorious champagne brunch featuring delectable selections especially for you.
Location: Safari West, 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa
Fee: $68 for adults; $35 for children (ages 4-12); Time: Morning & Afternoon packages available; Phone: (707) 579.2551 or 800.616.2695

MothersDay.jpgMay 13 -- Mother's Day Plant Sale & Free Corsages
Bring Mom to Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, one the most beautiful places in Sonoma County. Buy her a living gift, take a docent-led tour of the historic Burbank home, and browse in the Carriage House Museum & Gift Shop. Ladies will receive a fresh flower corsage; come early while the supply lasts.
Location: Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, 204 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa CA
Fee: Free Admission/ Historic Home Tour $7; Time: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Phone: 707-524-5445

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."

westinVerasaNapa_ToniJohnson.jpg

Sonoma Spotlight: Dry Creek Valley

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by Courtney Cochran

DryCreekValley_VineyardinSonomaCounty.jpgOrganic farms and Rhône varieties and lots of cycling, oh my! Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley - encompassing 16 miles north-south in Sonoma's bucolic northwestern corner - is a quieter part of the county that beckons with gracious vineyards, welcoming wineries and a rustic agrarian atmosphere that's downright soothing.  Come along as we take a closer look.

Getting There
Dry Creek is easily reached from adjacent Healdsburg and also makes a reasonable day trip from other parts of the county.  Coming from the south, exit 101 at Dry Creek Road and head northwest. Coming from Mendocino and the north, exit 101 at Dutcher Creek Road to tackle the valley from the northern end, heading south. From Healdsburg, access the valley via Dry Creek Road or start at the far southern end of the valley - via Westside Road - if you have time for a longer drive.    

Weather, What to Expect
Dry Creek Valley is one of Sonoma's numerous excellent wine-producing valleys.  Though it is one of those more closely situated to the ocean (it's just about 20 miles inland from the Pacific), Dry Creek experiences significantly warm temperatures during summer months.  During this time, heat necessitates smart warm weather preparation such as taking plenty of water with you, stopping to rest if pursuing cycling or other physically activities, and avoiding excessive sun exposure during peak sunshine periods. Evening temperatures are cool year-round, and winter is cool and wet during the rainy season. Spring and fall offer the mellowest conditions for traveling, and fog can be found in the morning year-round.  

Arts in April - Reserve Your Seat at the Theater

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uptownTheaterAtNight.jpg*Uptown Theater
1350 Third Street Napa, California 94559
Phone: 707.259.0123 ~ Box Office Hours: Mon.- Sat.: 12pm-4pm; Sundays: Closed

Jimmy Cliff
April 15, 2012 - 8pm - $45-$55
With a legacy stretching back nearly 50 years, the Honourable Jimmy Cliff is still standing as one of the prime movers and continuing shapers of modern music. More Details.

UptownTheater_CraigFerguson.jpgCraig Ferguson
April 25, 2012 - 8pm - $50-$65
Comedian & host of The Late Late Show on CBS. Craig Ferguson entered the world of late night comedy following a diverse and eclectic career that encompasses film, television and the stage. Since taking the helm of Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on January 3, 2005, the show has set all-time viewer records and achieved the highest ratings since the shows inception in 1995. More Details.

CLICK HERE for the full performance line-up for April.

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

artsInApril_HessCollection_!WAR.jpg

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.

Celebrate Earth Day!

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earthDayImage_SolarLivingInstituteHopland.jpg*MENDOCINO

Where the Earth is First Festival
April 14 - April 22, 2012

Celebrate Earth Day, Mendocino County-style at our first annual Earth Day Festival. Starting on Saturday, April 14 through Sunday, April 22, you can see and experience how Mendocino County lives. From full-day festivals to dog hikes, wine tastings to lodging specials, from the coast to the redwoods, you'll have the opportunity to understand what makes this county such a special place to live and visit.
CLICK HERE for more information.


*NAPA VALLEY, CA

Earth Day River Cleanup
April 21, 2012 ~ 9am-11am ~ Free
Come celebrate Earth Day with the Napa RCD, Napa Spring Clean and Kayak Napa Valley by beautifying downtown Napa! We need dedicated volunteers to help clean up 5 sites along our creeks, the Napa River, and our downtown streets. Come have a great time doing something good for the Earth! In downtown Napa at various locations. CLICK HERE for more information.

Earth Day Napa
April 21, 2012 ~ 11am-5pm ~ Free
Earth Day Napa, Building Awareness & Inspiring Change. Free games for all ages will be conducted throughout the day. Enjoy live entertainment for the whole family. Lunch, snacks, beer and wine will be sold by local providers. Veterans Memorial Park, Downtown Napa.
CLICK HERE for more information.

Earth Night at Oxbox Market
April 21, 2012 ~ 5pm-8pm ~ Free
Earth Night at Oxbow will feature merchant specials, a special elementary school student art show titled "In Season", composting and recycling education, and music by Johnny Smith. Earth Night at Oxbow follows the Earth Day Celebration in Veterans Park in downtown Napa. Oxbow Market, 610 First Street, Napa. CLICK HERE for more information.

pasoRobles_EarthDayFoodWineFestPoster.jpg*CENTRAL COAST

Earth Day Food & Wine Festival Weekend
April 20-21, 2012 at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery

A weekend celebration of all that's best here on the Central Coast. The main event is Saturday's Earth Day Food & Wine Tasting at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery. Over 200 purveyors of sustainably produced foods and wine will be on hand for a truly unique event: growers, vintners, and chefs coming together to serve out-of-this-world pairings of award-winning wines with one-of-a-kind dishes made with locally-sourced fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, olive oils, chocolates, and more. Also featuring live music, dancing and more! CLICK HERE for more information.

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.

maisonryArtGalleryWineCollective.jpg

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.

Sonoma County Events - April Highlights

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mushroom.jpgMarch 30 - April 1 -- Chateau St Jean Pinot & Mushroom Weekend
Join local chefs, artists, foraging experts, authors and the Chateau St Jean team for a weekend celebrating Pinot & Mushrooms at the winery. Enjoy tasting flights, a mushroom marketplace, free workshops, discussions and art installations!
Location: Chateau St. Jean Winery, 8555 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood
Fee: free workshops, tasting fees apply; Time: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; Phone: 877-478-5326

April 7 -- Wild Mushroom Foray and Demo Lunch @ Relish

Join us for a tromp through the woods as we search for edible wild mushrooms with chef Elissa Rubin-Mahon. After our foray we will caravan back to the Relish Culinary Center where a four-course wild mushroom lunch awaits our arrival. We'll cook up any edibles we find as chef Elissa demonstrates key elements of the lunch. Location: Relish, 14 Matheson St., Healdsburg
Fee: $98; Time: 9:00am - 2:00pm; Phone: (707)431-9999

April 9 -- Clash of the Sommeliers @ Farmhouse Inn

Farmhouse Wine Director Geoff Kruth has announced an exciting new format for the 2012 Farmhouse Wine Dinner Series: Clash of the Sommeliers. Top Sommeliers from all over the Bay Area will compete in pairing wines with four course menus featuring unique seasonal ingredients, with guests voting during each of four evenings.
Location: Farmhouse Inn, 7871 River Rd., Forestville
Fee: $165; Time: 5:30pm; Phone: 707-887-3300

April 11 - 15 -- Sonoma International Film Festival

The annual Sonoma International Film Festival promises to include new independent films from around the world. Film presentations at a variety of venues including the Historic Sebastiani Theatre on the Sonoma Town Plaza will include feature length narratives, documentaries, shorts and a student film program.
Location: Venue varies depending on film, please check online for more information.
Fee: Varies; Time: Varies; Phone: 707-933-2600

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.

Playing Hooky: It's Not Just for Kids

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Escape Winter Work and Worries for a Wine Country Escape
at Milliken Creek Inn & Spa


It's the time of year that often seems the longest. With no official long holiday weekends until the end of May and summer nowhere near, the days drag. So why not sneak away mid-week and be your own boss for a few days?

Milliken Creek Inn & Spa, a12-room luxury boutique hotel and spa in the very heart of Napa, invites you to "play hooky" and escape to a place where the "daily grind" includes sleeping in a plush luxurious bed, sipping wine by the fireplace and getting massaged by an expertly trained professional. Playing Hooky is not just for kids - just as a power nap helps the brain focus for the rest of the day, Milliken Creek Inn & Spa proposes that a quick and strategic break from the work routine helps refresh the mind and renew the body!

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With Milliken Creek Inn and Spa's "Playing Hooky" package, guests experience:
  • One night accommodations in a Milliken Room with King Bed                                     (Sunday through Thursday only)
  • One 60-minute aromatherapy massage
  • Breakfast for two each morning served in your room or anywhere on property
  • Concierge assistance in planning and visiting the most acclaimed wineries and restaurants in Napa Valley
  • Daily sunset Magic Hour wine and cheese reception


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!

St. Patrick's Day Events in Sonoma

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shamrock.jpgMarch 17 - Bear Republic Brewmaster Dinner @ Tides Wharf
Join us on St. Patrick's Day as we welcome Proprietor/Brewmaster Ricardo Norgrove,Bear Republic Brewery of Healdsburg for a beer and food pairing dinner. Price includes appetizer and beer reception and four-course dinner and beer paring.
Location: Inn at the Tides, 835 Hwy One, Bodega Bay
Fee: $69 plus tax & gratuity; Time: 6:30 pm Phone: 707-875-3652

March 17 - St. Patrick's Day Feast at Ramekins
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Style while learning traditional Irish recipes, techniques and ingredients with the always entertaining Chef Dermot Whelan.
Location: 450 West Spain Street, Sonoma
Fee: $95; Time: 3pm-6pm; Phone: 707-933-0450




March 17 -- First Annual St. Patrick's Day Run/Walk
Wear your green and walk with us! All finishers will receive a commemorative glass mug! After the run/walk, join us for a traditional Irish dinner (Irish corned beef and cabbage) and festive live music. Sponsored by Fleet Feet Sports and Brooks, all proceeds benefit Recreation and Parks programs and facilities.
Location: Julliard Park, 227 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa
Fee: Adults $25, Under 18 $15; Time: Race starts at 3:00 pm; Phone: 707-543-3737

St. Patrick's Day Events in Napa Valley

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stPatricksDay.jpgMarch 17  - Cosmos Percussion Orchestra @ Silo's
Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day with "Cosmos Percussion Orchestra". Dance to the original seductive driving rhythms and percussion music from the range of world beat cultures, traditional and fusion, created by the group. All tickets include free shaker to join in.

Location: Silo's Jazz Club, 530 Main Street, Napa
Fee: $20 Advance/$25 At the Door/$14 Club; Time: 8pm; Phone: 707-251-5833

March 17 - The Shamrock Shin Dig at Embassy Suites Hotel

Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day at "The Shamrock Shin Dig!" A crazy-fun event with great food from local chefs, dinner, dancing, libations and unique silent auction lots. Benefiting Alta Heights Magnet School. Must be 21 or over.
Location: Embassy Suites Hotel, 1075 California Blvd, Napa; Fee: $45 in Advance; Time: 6pm; Phone: 707-224-2679


Recharge and Take a Hike!

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napaLandTrust_websiteImage1.jpgDiscover the beauty of Napa Valley up close and personal when you hike through a variety of nature's corridors through field trips sponsored by the The Land Trust of Napa County. Enjoy a hike, educational walk or even a kayaking experience. But space is limited, so check the calendar and sign up early!

MARCH HIGHLIGHTS - UPCOMING FIELD TRIPS

Saturday, March 10th at 9am - Foote Botanical Preserve Workday
Get together with other volunteers on Mount George for half a day having fun trimming the hiking trails, viewing wildflowers and taking pictures. Bring work gloves, small hand saws and loppers if you have them.

Sunday, March 18th at 9am - Audubon-Cheyney Adventure
Don't be fooled - this hike is not for the faint at heart! The first part of this hike has rough fire roads, a narrow trail and a stream crossing, but we'll see amazing views of northern Napa Valley and the Bell Canyon Reservoir. Bring your hearty lunch as we stop and explore the 20th century homestead near Bell Creek. The adventure begins after lunch as we begin hiking up the creek - be prepared for rock-hopping, boulder-scrambling, debris-crossing, and vegetation-brushing paths en route to the magnificent Devil's Punchbowl, a unique waterfall and grotto in Napa County.

Park the Car - Go on a Bike Ride!

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Despite popular belief, you don't always need a car to go wine tasting in Napa Valley. In fact, we encourage you to park your car and leisurely take a bike ride tour. Check out some of the Napa Valley Bike Tour Companies offering several different types of cycling tours and a Best of the Web Special Offer Guarantee!

bikeRide_Picnic.jpg*Getaway Adventures
Getaway Adventures offers tours in both Napa Valley and Sonoma. One of their most popular biking day tours is the Calistoga Sip N' Cycle that takes you through the quiet and scenic northern Napa Valley vineyards and includes stops at wineries for tasting and a delicious wine country picnic lunch.

Currently, they are offering a BEST OF THE WEB SPECIAL OFFER GUARANTEE on their Sip N' Cycle tours in Calistoga in Napa Valley, the Carneros District or in Healdsburg (Sonoma County). It's a steal of a deal, where you only pay $98 per person (normally $149pp). You won't see this offer anywhere else on the web. CLICK HERE to see offer details.

Recharge . . . Your Senses, Body, and Mind

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MARCH INTO NAPA VALLEY..

RECHARGE . . . your mind & body with scores of activities that will revive the senses in Wine Country. Whether it's the exhilarating rush of the wind in your face as you bike ride through the vineyards, the majestic views of Napa Valley as you soar above the clouds on a balloon ride, the blooming spring wild mustard fields and budding vines on a hike, or even a kayak adventure - we are sure you'll find something to happily distract yourself for a couple of hours as you rediscover and unleash your inner child!

calistogaBalloons.jpgRecharge Your Senses and Take Flight
Get a bird's eye view of rolling Napa Valley hills and vineyards from inside a hot air balloon. You'll be mesmerized by the breathtaking landscape before you. If you take an early morning flight, you're in for a treat. Watch the morning's fog lift, the sun rise, and the valley open up right before your eyes as your balloon wafts softly through the air. READ MORE . . .


bikeRide_Picnic.jpgPark the Car - Go on A Bike Ride!
Despite popular belief, you don't always need a car to go wine tasting in Napa Valley. In fact, we encourage you to park your car and leisurely take a bike ride tour. Check out some of the Napa Valley Bike Tour Companies offering several different types of cycling tours and a Best of the Web Special Offer Guarantee! READ MORE . . .



golfIstock.jpgGet into the "Swing" of Things
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. READ MORE . . .


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.

Tri-Valley Events: February 15, 2012 - February 22, 2012

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Mark Your Calendars

Dublin St. Patrick's Day Celebration

March 17, 2012 - March 18, 2012 - Civic Plaza
  • Festival Friday & Saturday, March 17 & 18 10:00am - 5:00pm.
  • Green & White Gala: Friday, March 16, 7:00pm - Dublin Senior Center.
  • Parade: Saturday, March 17, 9:30am - Dublin Blvd.
  • Pancake Breakfast: Saturday, Macrh 17, 7:00 - 10:00am - Fire Station #16.
  • Shamrock 5K Fun Run & Walk: Sunday, March 18, 8:30am - Civic Plaza.

Goodguys 30th All American Get-Together
March 24 - March 25, 2012 - Alameda County Fairgrounds
4501 Pleasanton Avenue, Pleasanton, CA 94566-7001

Features: Over 3,000 All American or American Powered Rods, Customs, Classics, Muscle Cars, Street Machines & Trucks • Vendors & Exhibitors • Indoor & Outdoor Car Show • Huge Swap Meet & Cars 4 Sale Corral • Model & Pedal Car Show • Arts & Crafts Show • Kids Play Area • Pinstripers Brush Bash & Auction. For more information visit www.allamericangettogether.com


Barrel Tasting Weekend
March 31, 2012 - April 1, 2012 -- March 31-April 1, 2012 (12-4:30pm)

Sample wines right out of the barrel from over 35 wineries during Livermore Valley's 4th Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend. This is your chance to taste wines before they have been bottled, getting a behind the scenes look into the wine-making process. Meet winemakers, bottle your own wines, enjoy food pairings, and other activities that vary by winery. Tickets
are $30 advance ($35 event day) and include: 2 days of barrel tasting, exclusive discounts, keepsake glass, and special activities at each winery. For a list of activities, participating wineries, and to purchase tickets, visit www.LVwine.org.

CLICK HERE for all events over the next 7 days.

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.

Sonoma County - Special Events for Valentine's

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arrowood_redWineBottle.jpgFebruary 11 -- Arrowood Cabernet Amore
At Arrowood Cabernet Amore we're pairing our 03, 05 & 07 vintages of Monte Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon with libido-revving small bites that will tantalize your tastebuds. Your ears will be tickled with the romance-inspiring sound of Mark Abdilla's guitar. Arrowood Cabernet Amore will set the mood for an unforgettable 2012 Valentine's Day.
Location: 14347 Sonoma Hwy, Glen Ellen
Fee: $20 per person: Cabernet Amore Flight; Time: 11:00am-3:00pm;
Phone Number: 707-935-2639

February 11 -- Anova ACE of Hearts Red & Pink Ball
Celebration: The ACE of Hearts Ball will be held at the Friedman Events Center in Santa Rosa. The evening will feature a silent and live auction, dinner and dancing. Evening benefits the Anova Center for Education (ACE) Visual and Performing Arts Fund Honorary Chair, The Honorable Willie L. Brown Jr. Former Mayor of San Francisco and Speaker of the California Assembly Event Chair, Mr. David Hodges of Hodges Insurance, Auctioneer, Mr. Jordan Kivelstadt of Silver Tap Wines.
Location: 4676 Mayette Avenue, Santa Rosa CA
Fee: $60/$110 per couple; Time: Korbel VIP Champagne Reception 5:15pm, Doors Open 5:30pm; Phone Number: 707-527-7032

February 14 -- Valentine Winery Dinner at St. Francis Winery
Make Valentines Day memorable with a very special dinner at St. Francis. Celebrate with great wine and food as Executive Chef David Bush creates an exquisite menu for you and your special someone. Share an intimate candle lit experience, with each tantilizing course expertly paired with our premium Artisan Series wines. View menu online!
Location: 100 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa
Fee: $125.00 Public, $99.00 Wine Club;  Time: 6:30 p.m.;
Phone Number: (888) 675.WINE x 255

relishCulinary_Profiteroles.jpgFebruary 14 -- Valentine's Day Supper w/ Relish Culinary Adventures
Food Education, Dining: Looking for a playful and delicious way to spend Valentine's Day? Chefs Christopher Greenwald and Ciara Meaney are putting together a delicious and romantic menu that you can cook together. At the end of the evening, we'll light candles and then sit, relax and savor the meal.
Location: 14 Matheson Street, Healdsburg CA
Fee: $96; Time: 6pm; Phone Number: 707-431-9999

Napa Valley - Special Events for Valentine's Day Weekend!

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iStock_oyster.jpgFebruary 11 -- Valentine's Oyster and Wine Pairing @ Black Stallion Winery
Black Stallion Estate Winery invites you to join us for a Valentine's oyster & wine pairing Price: 2 Oysters & glass of wine $15; 6 oysters & glass of wine $25; 12 oysters & glass of wine $35 Wine Club Price: 2 oysters & glass of wine $5; 6 oysters & glass of wine $15; 12 oysters & glass of wine $30.


Location: 4089 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA; Fee: 2-12 Oysters & a glass of wine $15-$35 Time: 12:00 - 4:00pm or until oysters run out; Phone Number: 707-227-3255

February 11 -- Goosecross Cellars Valentine's Day Party
Mark your calendars and plan a trip to Napa! Enjoy an afternoon of wine, chocolate and romance. Wine Club Members can also pick-up their wines and enjoy a pairing from their winter club allocation with a variety of cheeses and light appetizers.
Location: 1285 Napa Town Center, Napa
Fee: $20; Time: 2:00p.m. - 6:00p.m.; Phone Number: 707-253-9450

lovefest_Merryvale.jpgFebruary 11 -- Love Fest at Merryvale
Join us on for LOVE FEST '12, our annual Valentine's Dinner in Merryvale's historic Cask Room! Dinner will feature wines selected from the Library.
Location: 1000 Main Street, St. Helena CA; Fee: $150 Time: 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.;
Phone Number: 707-968-3429

February 11 --
Wild Jungle Love at Safari West
This hot ticket begins with a wine and chocolate reception followed by a safari in an open-air vehicle among some of the world's most exotic creatures. Then, it's time to kick up your hooves (or paws) and dance into the night with our very own wild DJ. Can a holiday get any more wildly romantic? Reservations required, no tickets at the door.
Location: 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, CA; Fee: $90 per person (all inclusive), adults only; Time: 2 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Phone Number: (707) 579.2551

February 11 -- Wine & Chocolate @ Silverado Vineyards
Food & Wine Education: Join us for a sit down special pairing of Annette's Truffles and Silverado Vineyards wines. We will talk about the flavors and aromas from your pairings as you sample each one, and the result...well, you'll have to taste for yourself! Space is limited. 6121 Silverado Trail, Napa
Fee: $30 per person Time: 1:00 - 3:00 PM Phone Number: (707) 259-6617

CLICK HERE to see more Napa Valley events happening in February!

Epicurean Winter in Healdsburg: Valentine's Week!

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This February, "Epicurean Winter" is enticing food and wine-lovers to head to Healdsburg, Sonoma for a romantic and effortless escape to wine country. Widely considered a culinary mecca situated in the scenic Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys, Healdsburg has put together an amazing new winter program with 100+ food & wine events - perfect for a fanciful Valentine's celebration. 

Culinary couples can choose from hundreds of world-class wineries to visit, dine on upscale Sonoma cuisine, and take in the luxurious blend of arts and culture, boutique shopping, and charming hotels that this idyllic yet sophisticated town has to offer. Take advantage of Valentine's Week events and lodging specials:

rodneyStrong_ChocFantasy.jpgEpicurean event highlights include:

  • 23rd Annual Wine & Chocolate Fantasy at Rodney Strong - Feb 4th - The barrel room is transformed to showcase chocolate, wine, live music and savory appetizers; $65/person, includes souvenir glass.
  • Friday Night Guest Sommelier at Dry Creek Kitchen -  Feb 10th - Acclaimed Sonoma County winemakers offer diners complimentary tastes of their wine and tips on pairing it with dinner at Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen.
  • Winter Farm to Table Dinner and Wine Class at Quivira Vineyard & Winery, Feb 11 from 4pm-8pm - Upscale seasonal farm to table dinner with local chef; exclusive wine-blending session with highly-respected winemaker Hugh Chappelle; $125 per person

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:

Top 25 Relaxation & Spa Hotels

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bardessonoHotel.jpgBased on the reviews of millions of Trip Advisor travelers, the 2012 Traveler's Choice results for Best Hotels are officially in. Hotels in both Napa Valley and Sonoma County ranked in the top 25 for Relaxation & Spa Hotels. See below:

10. Bardessono - Yountville, CA
Most recent review from a couple in Texas said "My wife and I came here for a three night getaway. The hotel and staff were first class. We had incredible massages and the staff there was the friendliest I have seen. They had just finished renovating the restaurant. The concierge helped plan every meal and winery. I highly recommend the hotel and town. It is central to everything." - January 12, 2012.  See more reviews.


15. Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort - Calistoga, CA


kenwoodSpa_pic1.jpg22. Kenwood Inn & Spa - Kenwood, CA
A couple from Hawaii recently reviewed and said, "The Kenwood Inn and Spa is so very nice! It was like walking into a small Tuscan village - so romantic and quiet and relaxing! ... Our spa day was awesome! My husband and I both had the best facials and massages we've ever had - even better than the ones we would get from the spas in Germany. The Kenwood Inn and Spa is centrally located to some amazing wineries and we enjoyed one day with a personal driver and the picnic lunch that the Inn and Spa prepared for us during our wine tasting day. " - December 31, 2011. See more reviews.


23. Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort - Calistoga, CA






Need more lodging recommendations? Check out our Message Boards!

Napa Valley Message Boards - Lodging
Sonoma Country Message Boards - Lodging

Create Your Own Romance at Silverado Resort & Spa

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Silverado Resort & Spa will help you create that perfect romantic wine country getaway you've always wanted.

couple_kissing.jpgAvailable through the entire month of February, book the "Create Your Own Romance" package that includes a one-bedroom fireplace suite, a bottle of Napa Valley Sparkling wine, and breakfast for two in the Silverado Grill. In addition, add one of the following to complete your package:

Dine & Relax
Enjoy a three-course dinner for two to include a bottle of white or red wine (house selected), two 50-minute massages, one 50-minute couples massage or a couples massage lesson to learn the fine art of massage with a romance blend of oil to take-away, all at the Spa at Silverado

Take a Wine Tour
Enjoy a four-hour private limousine tour of wine country. You select the wineries or we'll do it for you. Your tour begins with a private tasting and tour at the William Hill Winery.

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.

nvTruffleFest2011_Pic1.jpg



Thanksgiving in Sonoma County

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turkeyDinner5.jpgApplewood Inn
Applewood Inn offers world-class fine dining in their delightfully upscale restaurant.This Michelin Star Sonoma / Russian River Restaurant is highly regarded for its exquisite cuisine, soothing atmosphere, polished guest services, and its mellow earthy ambiance.
See Special Thanksgiving Menu

Bay View Restaurant & Lounge
This elegant dinner restaurant is a perfect spot to relax and watch the sun set on Bodega Bay. The Chef creates wonderful dishes made from the finest and freshest of Sonoma Wine Country products.
Seatings on November 24th: 1:00 - 8:00pm
See Special Thanksgiving Menu

Depot Hotel
Toward the end of November we look forward to celebrating THANKSGIVING DINNER with all of you. Over the years, this has become a family tradition for many of our guests. As each familiar face comes into the front door they know they can look forward to a Thanksgiving dinner to remember with family and friends . . . Join us! Reservations strong recommended. Call (707) 938-2980 or online.
Seatings on November 24th: 12:00pm-7:00pm
See Special Thanksgiving Menu

Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen

If this country has a culinary cradle, it's in Northern Sonoma, where the fruits of local labor--from outstanding produce to handcrafted cheese--have never been on a plane. Drawing upon regional ingredients is a superior way to eat and one can taste the freshness in Chef de Cuisine Dustin Valette's Dry Creek Kitchen specialties.
Seatings November 24th: 2:00pm to 7:00pm
Thanksgiving Menu

Saddles Steakhouse at MacArthur Place
Experience exceptional dining at Saddles Steakhouse, named "Best Beef Restaurant in California" this year by the California Beef Council. Saddles specializes in steaks, chops and fresh seafood and Saddles' wine list offers an outstanding selection of Sonoma and Napa wines earning The Wine Spectator's "Best of Award of Excellence".
Thanksgiving Menu

Sante Restaurant at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission & Spa
An elegant grand buffet will be offered from Santé, awarded with the prestigious Michelin Star and AAA Four Diamond Award. Call (707) 939-2415 for reservations.
Seatings on November 24th: 12:00-8:00pm (includes Live entertainment by Guitarist Isaac Carter). 
See Special Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving in Napa Valley

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2011 Update - Where to go for Dinner!

turkeyNsides.jpgétoile Restaurantat Domaine Chandon
Join us for one of the most remarkable meals you'll have in wine country - or anywhere. At étoile, inventive cuisine paired with award-winning wines and sophisticated surroundings set the stage for the ultimate wine and food experience.
See Special Thanksgiving Menu

FARM at the Carneros Inn
Celebrate Thanksgiving with a family style menu that includes all the "fixins". This warm and comforting menu is a great way to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude to loved ones. Priced at $69 per person, and $35 for children ages 4-12 (children under 4 eat for free). 
Seatings offered from 1pm to 8pm on November 24th. Call 707-299-4880 to make reservations!
See Special Holiday Menu

Napa Valley Wine Train
Travel back to a time when Grandma did all the cooking and everything was made just the way you liked it. Thanksgiving on the Napa Valley Wine Train is a traditional Thanksgiving feast in a non-traditional (yet extremely memorable) atmosphere. We'll have all of the customary Thanksgiving fixings, and of course, a perfectly cooked turkey prepared by world-class Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald on Thursday, November 24, 2011.
More Details ~ See Special Thanksgiving Menu

The Restaurant at Meadowood
Enjoy a seven-course menu tasting menu, inspired by Thanksgiving flavors prepared by Chef Christopher Kostow. The Restaurant at Meadowood is one of two Napa Valley restaurants to receive the prestigious three stars in the Michelin Guide to San Francisco, Bay Area & Wine Country 2011. Call (707) 957-1200 ext. 801 or 813 to make a reservation.
Seatings: 1:00 - 2:30pm and 5:00 - 6:30pm; $225 per person, wine pairings $205 per person.

Silverado Resort and Spa
The Silverado Resort and Spa is pleased to present a festive Thanksgiving feast on Thursday, November 24. Join us in the Ballroom and enjoy elegant buffets decked with all the trimmings.  Call 707.257.5431 to make reservations.
See Special Thanksgiving Menu

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!

What Are Your Halloween Plans?

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NAPA VALLEY, CA

wineTrainHaunted.jpgOctober 28 -- Napa Valley Wine Train Trick or Train
Celebration, Holiday: For Halloween, step back in time. Ride in the same train cars that our ancestors rode in -- some of whom are not amongst the living. A dinner on our antique train is the perfect way to celebrate this mystical holiday. After dinner, join us in the station for a ghoulish costume party and dancing with prizes for the best costume.

Location: 1275 McKinstry Street, Napa CA;
Fee: $155 Gourmet Express/$185 Vista Dome/$30 After Party Only;
Time: 5:30pm - 1am; Phone Number: 800-427-4124

October 28 -- Haunted Opera House Masquerade Party
Celebration, Benefit: Kick off your Halloween Weekend at the Napa Valley Opera House for a masquerade evening filled with great wine, nibbles and music. There will be a few tricks, but mostly treats at this benefit evening for the NVOH and Arts Council Napa Valley.
Location: 1030 Main St., Napa
Fee: $25 Time: 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. Phone Number: 707-226-7372

October 29 -- The Pagan Ball at Castello di Amorosa
Celebration: Castello di Amorosa, Dario Sattui's authentically styled, 13th century Tuscan castle and winery celebrates Halloween with The Pagan Ball. Haunted underground chamber tours, sinfully decadent food and wine, fortune telling in the Chapel, Haybale Hell Smoking Lounge & Bar, Bone Shaking music and dancing with VJ Kidd Karter. Reservations required. Location: 4045 North St. Helena Hwy, Calistoga CA
Fee: $95 Member/$115 Guests/$110 VIP/$130 Member Guest; Time: 8pm-Midnight;
Phone Number: 707-967-6274

October 29 -- Downtown Halloween Family Day
Family Fun: Visit downtown Napa and any merchants displaying black and orange balloons, as they invite all ghosts and goblins to come in for treats. Lots of photo opportunities as the characters from the Flintstones, Wizard of Oz and more are all dressed up and a part of amazing backdrops for photos with the whole family.
Location: Downtown Napa CA
Fee: Free; Time: 12pm-3pm; Phone Number: 707-257-0322

CLICK HERE for more Halloween Events in Napa Valley!

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. 

Crush Season in Napa Valley

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vSattuiCrushParty.jpgOCTOBER

October 8 -- Crush Party at V. Sattui Winery
Celebration: Make your reservations today! V. Sattui Winery Production-Fermentation Floor, Crush Pad, Underground Cellars & Caves, Vittorio's Vineyard, Vittorio Room & Tasting Room.
Location: 1111 White Lane, St. Helena CA
Fee: $89/$79 Club Members, plus tax Time: 6:15 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.; Phone Number: 707-963-7774

October 8 -- Peju Club Crush: An Outdoor Lounge Experience
Celebration, Wine Education: Club Crush offers guests an unconventional peek into the harvest experience with an outdoor chill lounge, views of the vineyard, music to move your mood and exquisite small bites to pair with our wines. Taste actual fruit from this year's Harvest Say Flavor!
Fee: $65 plus tax; $55 + tax for club members Time: 5pm - 8pm Phone Number: 800-446-7358

October 8 -- Sequoia Grove Harvest Party & Lobster Feed
Celebration: Join us for our annual Harvest Party. We will be celebrating the bounty of Napa Valley with the bounty of the sea with our Lobster Feed! Come enjoy a rare harvest evening filled with succulent lobster, special pourings from our library and great games. Location: 8338 St. Helena Highway, Napa, CA 94558
Fee: $100, $85 wine club Time: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Phone Number: 707-944-2945 ext. 111

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

Every Saturday, October - November 5, 2011 - Harvest Experience at St. Supery
Wine Education: Be part of a small group of guests that experience Napa Valley harvest. Each tour includes wine tasting in the cellar from tank or barrel and a guided tasting of finished wines in one of St. Supery's private tasting rooms. Please call to reserve a tour.
Location: 8440 St. Helena Hwy, Rutherford CA
Fee: $50 Time: 11am-12:30pm Phone Number: 800-231-9116

CLICK HERE for more Crush and Harvest Season events in October!

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.

Cambria Pines Lodge - A Place to Dream

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cambriaPinesLodge_pic1.jpgIn a sleepy little town you'll find a getaway- a getaway that invites the weary and overworked and those yearning for a sense of peace and restoration of the mind, body, and spirit.  Envision sleeping late, lazily strolling through woods and beaches and meandering through calming landscapes. This place is Cambria Pines Lodge.

Located in the charming town of Cambria, the lodge itself sits half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles along the well known scenic route-Highway One. Nestled on 25 wooded acres, in addition to the awe-inspiring forest, Cambria Pines Lodge features world-class gardens, excellent dining and accommodations and of course, a day spa (therapeutic massage anyone?).  

cambriaPinesLodge_pic2.jpgUpon arrival, you may never want to leave. There's something for everyone. From rustic cabins to hotel-style rooms and luxurious large suites that feature not just one but two fireplaces, each guest room includes such a vast array of amenities it seems as though nothing is overlooked.  Even Fido and Whiskers are welcome as rooms and dining provisions perfectly suited for your pet are available as well. 


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

Red, White, & Bubbles at AVIA Napa

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Join Chef Aken for his Tasty and Popular Second Sunday Supper Club Plus Small Plates of Soft Shell Crab, Champagne Sparklers
and Live Music on the Terrace


terrace.lounging.jpgAVIA Napa, a AAA Four Diamond hideaway in the heart of Downtown Napa, salutes the month of July with the flavors of summer. Chef Chris Aken, who will be available to chat every Thursday at the Napa Downtown Chefs' Market from 5-9pm, gets things cooking at his popular Second Sunday Supper Club on July 10 from 5:30-7:30pm featuring a four-course dinner of Americana Cowboy Cuisine paired with wines by Bounty Hunter Rare Wine + Provisions. The cost is $75 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, and features an evening of cooking demonstrations and communal grazing.   

Foodies can also stop in anytime in July to enjoy Chef Aken's small plates of seasonal Soft Shell Crab served with corn, roasted tomatoes and citrus beurre blanc paired with a Champagne Sparkler. AVIA A-Listers, an elite group who receive exclusive perks and discounts, can enjoy a complimentary Champagne Sparkler during July when they order the Soft Shell Crab.  To become an AVIA A-Lister, visit www.aviahotels.com.  

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.


Indulge at Kenwood Inn & Spa

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kenwoodSpa_pic1.jpgNeatly tucked away in Sonoma's Valley of the Moon, the Kenwood Inn and Spa is an intimate retreat hailed by wine country aficionados as the ultimate getaway.

Kenwood is a must-visit destination for local, regional and worldwide visitors, who are unvaryingly impressed by the Kenwood Inn's attentive, yet relaxed, friendly service, top-notch culinary offerings, perceptive wine list highlighting the region's best boutique wineries and winemakers.

Lavishly appointed rooms, lush, verdant grounds and a destination-worthy Spa await guests, who easily settle into Kenwood's peaceful, serene and romantic ambiance.

The Spa at Kenwood is a perennial favorite for day and touring spa-goers who desire indulgence and relaxation. Offering one of the most comprehensive collections of proprietary body treatments representing the soul of wine country, The Spa at Kenwood offers a unique collection of vinotherapeutic treatments utilizing the exceptional rejuvenating and protective powers of the grape.

Dive into fun at Bardsessono Hotel

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BardessonoHotelDiveBar.jpgCalifornia might be rain-soaked at the moment, but the forecast is sun, sun, SUN! And just in time too. Bardessono Hotel, one of Napa Valley's swankiest hotels,  is kicking off the summer months with their popular, weekly Dive Bar at the hotel's rooftop pool again. It starts June 15th and ends October 19th and held each Wednesday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

The Dive Bar will be open to guests and non-guests and feature two $9 speciality drinks available at the pool in addition to the full bar located off the restaurant. Complimentary valet parking will also be included for all attendees. So, grab your bathing suit and towels and head off to happy hour, dancing and mingling with new friends!

bardessonoHotel.jpgAbout Bardessono:
The Bardessono opened in February 2009 with 62 guest rooms, restaurant and spa in Yountville, California, the heart of the Napa Valley. We pledge to care for an uncommon set of priorities: for the environment, for each other, for our guests, for the property and for the community nearby. Together, these priorities represent a vision for unprecedented and attentive service. http://www.bardessono.com



See other articles about Bardessono:
The New Mecca for Wine Country Luxury
Summer Lunching in Yountville

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.




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.

Book Your Perfect Monterey Getaway....

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Overlooking Lake El Estero,Montereybaylodge_bay_.jpg the beautifully appointed Monterey Bay Lodge hotel, located in the heart of California's Monterey Peninsula, is just 150 steps from Monterey State Beach. Consistently rated in the top five of Monterey Bay hotels, Monterey Bay Lodge offers comfortable accommodations for leisure and business travelers.

Featuring 45 guest rooms and two family suites, there's something for everyone!

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

Message Boards: Wine Tasting Without a Car?

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platypusToursShuttle.jpgRecent question in the Napa Valley message boards:
Hi!! My husband and I are planning a much needed vacation from the east coast. I know nothing about Napa...are there places to stay where you will not need your car? Planning on REALLY and safely enjoying the vineyards! Thanks!!

Answers from one of our members:

yesilovewine:
Several options are available to you- book a tour with one of the reputable companies such as Platypus ( there are many out there, they just came to mind first) and plan to spend this time on a bus filled with a variety of folks who may or may not share your wine preferences. My experience is that the wineries to be visited are determined by a collective decision ( read: "majority rules").

You can hire a private driver/limo service to take you around and either leave it to them or share in the decision-making of where to visit, you can use a service called Napa Bee Driven and they will drive you in your vehicle to wherever you choose to visit.

In downtown Napa, there is a burgeoning collection of tasting rooms that would be within walking distance to several hotels and B&B's so you could taste there.


CLICK HERE to read the other responses!

See other tours & sightseeing transportation companies in Napa Valley.


Maximize Your Vacation Dollars in Virginia

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Hillsborough_View2.jpgNo need to break the bank when planning a trip to Virginia Wine Country. We found a recent article from "Virginia is for Lovers" that schools visitors on how to stretch your dollar as far as possible when you vacation in the area. Many of these travel tips can be applied to any Wine Country region you planning to visit!

1.Shop Smart. Check out the latest discounts and promotions.

2.Plan Ahead. Advance bookings yield huge savings.

3.Stay longer. Extend your stay and many accommodations will offer you a cheaper nightly rate. One B&B is offering 33% off a second night when you book online and 66% on your third night.

4.Think outside your accommodation. Save money on things to do and find ticket and dining savings in addition to your room night(s).

5.Consider your fuel costs. Many accommodations are still using gas cards to attract visitors. Be sure to inquire and look for these savings specifically.

6.Leverage your status. Are you a senior citizen? Did you serve or are you actively serving in the military? What memberships do you hold? All of these should be considered when making travel arrangements.

7.Travel mid-week. If you're looking for a good deal at a B&B or cabin, try booking your visit in the middle of the week. Not only do your odds of availability skyrocket, but the rates plummet.

Read the full post HERE.

Ready to travel? See special deals and packages on hotel stays in Virginia!

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!

Hotel 2.0

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h2hotel.jpgThis summer, the owners of the upscale Hotel Healdsburg unveiled the h2hotel--where eco-chic meets user-friendly.

by Ethan Fletcher

Designed by renowned San Francisco architect David Baker and packed with contemporary art, the hotel feels urban, hip, modern, and, most of all, open. On the ground floor, the hotel's excellent restaurant, Spoonbar, expands onto the sidewalk, creating a fun intermingling between people indoors and out. Inside, the hotel's "recepto bar" serves Flying Goat espresso on one side while guests check in on the other.

Read More

Read About Spoonbar Restaurant

Read More about h2hotel

Trail Blazer

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biketrail.jpgChuck McMinn's latest endeavor is building a bike path from Vallejo to Calistoga.

by LeeAnne Jones

For more than 30 years, Chuck McMinn created and financed start-up high-tech companies, and in 2000, he and his wife, Anne, purchased Vineyard 29, a winery just north of St. Helena that produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Franc. All well and good, and even delicious, but McMinn, who is a confessed "start-up junkie," couldn't sit still for long. His latest endeavor is spearheading a massive Wine Country trail project.

"What we're doing here is a start-up," McMinn says of the 44-mile multiuse trail that will run from Vallejo to Calistoga. "You start with a blank sheet of paper, and the end result is constructing and operating a trail system."

Read More

New Year's Festivities in Sonoma

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champagneBottles.jpgDon't spend another New Year's Eve at home. Sonoma Wine Country offers a host of places to ring in the new year in style! Check a few of the places we've spotted that are sure to host a great New Year's celebration. Join the fun! CLICK HERE for more party hot spots.

Romp with the Beasts @ Safari West
Go wild this New Year's and Romp with the Beasts at Safari West. Brent Farris of KZST will be providing music all night long. Enjoy great food, music and dancing. Want to enjoy Safari West past midnight? Make sure to book overnight accommodations in their luxury safari tents and enjoy breakfast with mimosas on New Years Day. This ferociously fun event is always a sell-out, so purchase your ticket today!
CLICK HERE for more details!


New Year's Eve Countdown Ball at Doubletree Hotel

This year the entire hotel will be dedicated to making your New Year's Eve one for the record books! Antix Events is ramping up the plans for their annual Countdown Ball. With over 22,000 square feet of event space, 4 areas of music, 10 DJ's, and 245 rooms this is one party you won't want to miss. Dressy attire is a must and dress code will be strictly enforced. CLICK HERE for more details.


New Year's Eve Flamingo Lounge Party

Join us in the retro-modern Flamingo Lounge this New Year's Eve! There will be New Year's Eve decorations, a balloon drop, party favors & noise makers, champagne toast, live music and dancing. Please note, this is a 21 and older event.
CLICK HERE for more details.


New Year's Eve Dinner and Dancing @ the Inn at the Tides

Celebrate the beginning of 2013 with a fun and festive New Year's Eve party with a delicious 5-course menu including wine, dancing, party favors, midnight toast and balloon drop.  This very popular event sells out each year so make your reservations early. CLICK HERE for more details!

New Years Eve Celebration @ Hilton Sonoma Wine Country
Join the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country for their Annual New Years Eve Celebration. Fee includes a 1 night stay for two in a standard room with chocolate amenity upon arrival. A five course dinner for two in Nectar Restaurant and entry to the Dance Party in the Sonoma Ballroom. Please note, the event takes place all day and the dance party starts at 8pm. CLICK HERE for more details.
 

>> See Sonoma Events Calendar for more New Year's Eve festivities.

New Year's Eve Parties in Napa Valley!

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Rock the night away and into the New Year!  Parties are happening all around Napa Valley. Grab some friends and join the festivities. Below are just a few of the parties that caught our eye, but check out the full events calendar HERE!

winetrain_Champagne.jpgNew Years Crystal Ball @ Napa Valley Wine Train
The Crystal Ball will begin with an hors d'oeuvre reception in the station. Guests will board the Train and relax with a New Year's Eve themed beverage and a fresh, multiple course gourmet meal. Upon returning to Napa the party will be transported back into the station, where guests can socialize, and dance away the rest of 2012.

If you already have dinner plans, but don't want to miss the celebration, join the After Party. Dancing and entertainment will start in the station at 10pm. At midnight, toast to 2013 with a glass of sparkling wine. Then finish your evening with music and dancing until 1am.

CLICK HERE for more details

Prohibition Style Speakeasy New Year's Bash!

Enjoy a glorious Prohibition Era flashback celebration to ring in 2013! Harvest Inn (located in St. Helena) has a magical two night package that includes a New Year's Bash at restaurant Goose & Gander. The party is a glamorous evening of dining, libations, live jazz and fun, flapper-style surprises.
CLICK HERE for more details!


New Year's Eve Dinner at Siena Restaurant & Ballroom
Kick off 2013 with a wonderful prix fix five-course dinner at Siena Restaurant in Napa Valley. Savor a special menu prepared by Executive Chef Mike before dancing the night away! Already have dinner plans on New Year's Eve? Keep the celebration going at The Meritage Resort with our "Napa Style" New Year's Eve Celebration. Located in our brand new Carneros Ballroom, enjoy dancing, dessert, party favors, and good times as you welcome 2013.
CLICK HERE for more details!

New Years Eve @ Silo's w/ Briefcase Full of Blues

Silo's invites you to see Briefcase Full of Blues Band live! There will be two shows this evening. The early show includes Glass of Mumm Champagne with Chocolates upon arrival, & Party Favors. The late show includes Glass of Mumm Champagne with Chocolates upon arrival, Party Favors, Midnight Countdown with Champagne Toast.
CLICK HERE for more details!


>> SEE MORE New Year's Eve events in the Napa Valley Calendar.


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

Dinner Is On Us!

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napaRiverInn3.jpgActually, dinner is on Napa River Inn. They are offering a pretty sweet deal now through March 31st of next year. Every night of your stay booked with this Napa hotel results in a $100 dining credit to some of the newest and hottest restaurants in downtown Napa right now including:

  • Food Network celeb Chef Tyler Florence restaurant, Rotisserie and Wine
  • Iron Chef America Masaharu Morimoto of Morimoto Napa (see review)
  • Fish Story offering sustainable fish and newest venture of Lark Creek Restaurant Group (see review)
  • Not new, but still good - Angele serving French-country cuisine
If the dining credit is not enough, your stay with Napa River Inn also includes complimentary breakfast-in-bed from Sweetie Pie's Bakery. Wondering about what the rest of your stay will be like? See more details about Napa River Inn and the special offer HERE

Our suggestion - book four nights and try out all four restaurants! Be sure to post your dining experience back here on our Food Blog.

WinterScape Celebration in Yountville

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holidayStar.jpgThe town of Yountville is full of holiday surprises. This year the town launches their first month-long winter wonderland featuring a host of activities, attractions, and special hotel deals. Bring the whole family, make a romantic couple's escape, or just getaway with friends. See what's on the town's Holiday Hot List this winter season:

Vintage Winter Pavilion - Spin into the season skating under the stars in a clear-top tent infused with holiday music, festive trees and elaborate décor at V Marketplace.   This new attraction is certain to spark holiday cheer with a lively sidekick of food and drink venues.  After 6 p.m., the Hot Toddy & Holiday Cocktail menu debuts. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily, December 11 - January 2nd.  $12/adults; $8/children 8 & under. Yountville Chamber/707.944.8008.
 
Carriage Rides - Saddle up this season with a team of stout Percheron and Shire horses leading a holiday-decorated carriage through Yountville's main artery - Washington Street - on weekends throughout December.  (Nov. 27; Dec 4, 11, 18, 31). Complimentary.
 
North Pole "Drink & Clink" - Weekends around the rink will include select Yountville AVA wine tasting (Fri./Sat.) showcasing the area's top producers and a Santa sommelier to keep the cheer flowing.  A seasonal grazing menu will showcase heady roasted chestnuts, dim sum and pulled pork sliders - a perfect complement to the region's cabernets.

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!

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.


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.  

What Makes Healdsburg So Special?

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healdsburg.jpgWell, part of this town's charm is the distinctive lodging properties. Whether a delightful bed & breakfast where you're served a gourmet breakfast or the modern, stylish amenities of the hotels & resorts, you're sure to fall in love with this Sonoma Wine Country place.

Dry Creek Inn  - Tuscan Introductory Deal

Stay in the newly built Tuscan accommodations any Sunday thru Thursday in 2010 and get 50% off the second night! Any additional nights Sunday thru Thursday are 50% off too! Your guest room features a dreamy king bed, gas fireplace, jetted tub, and balcony or patio.
RESERVE NOW

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



Winter in the Wineries

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wineriesInWinterCalistoga.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - The town's tagline is "Hot Springs, Cool Wines, and Warm Welcome". Warm welcome is exactly what Calistoga is doing this winter when it invites travelers now through Febuary 6, 2011 to enjoy wine tasting, tours, and even the opportunity to meet a winemaker when you visit with your passport!

Passports are only $50 and offer an extreme value to anyone visiting Napa Valley. You can use the passport as many times as you would like throughout the passport season and in addition to wine tasting, it includes discounts at several Calistoga's restaurants, hotels, and B&Bs. Restaurants are waiving all corkage fees and lodging partners are offering special room rates for all passport holders.

Napa Valley Film Festival Launching at Last

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By Deirdre Bourdet

nvFilmFestival.jpgThis November heralds the launch of a new signature event for Napa Valley: The Napa Valley Film Festival.  After more than five years of dreaming, festival co-chairs Brenda and Marc Lhormer announced that the Napa Valley Film Festival will debut in November 2011 with a five-day, four town extended weekend of cinematic celebration.  But since 2011 is still a long way off, a three-day Launch Celebration this November gives attendees a taste of the great things in store.

Co-directors Marc and Brenda Lhormer are no strangers to the film industry, or the grueling work of planning film festivals. The couple produced and distributed the 2008 movie Bottle Shock, inspired by the 1976 Paris Tasting, and ran the Sonoma Valley Film Festival for seven years.  Marc Lhormer was kind enough to chat with me about the couple's latest venture and the imminent launch party, which he refers to as the "amuse-bouche" for the main event next year.

The Napa Valley Film Festival has three core principles: (1) celebrating the human-scale of human existence by presenting relatable real people with real issues, and the hope that inspires us; (2) exploring multicultural differences of perspective, as well as the commonalities across cultural divides both within the U.S. and internationally; and (3) bringing the artists and the audience together for conversations about the films.  Every film being screened will be represented by the directors, the cast, or both, and Q&A sessions will be the norm, not the exception. Local food and wine will feature prominently in the parties surrounding the films, of course, but this is by no means a festival of food and wine-themed movies.  

Calistoga Hotel & Resort Specials

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euroSpa.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - There are so many choices of places to stay in Calistoga. Between the charming bed & breakfasts and distinct inns that make for cozy, almost like home accommodations, you might overlook the resorts or wine country style hotels. But with the promise of peaceful tranquility and private accommodations that many of them offer and a host of amenities, we urge you to reconsider. As added encouragement, see the list of specials currently available.

Euro Spa & Inn - Economic Relief Package
Offering a unique mixture of old-fashioned Northern California hospitality, deluxe accommodations, and healthy spa services to provide a memorable wine country getaway experience. This package includes Queen bed accommodations, 1 hour signature massages for two, deluxe continental breakfast, 3-course dinner at local restaurant and wine tastings at any two local wineries.
RESERVE NOW

Mini Travel Guide: Calistoga

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By Robert P. Farmer

fallVineyard.jpgThe story goes that Calistoga got its name when Sam Brannan, who first ventured to these parts lured by the healing waters that were rumored to rival Saratoga Springs in New York, arrived and dubbed it the "Calistoga of Sarifornia," obviously intending to say "Saratoga of California." The name stuck, and so too has Brannan's imprimatur. The pioneering spirit of the Old West is still evident in the charming small town at the northern end of Napa Valley. But Wine Country has grown up around it, and the "healing waters" still exist and continue to be part of the lure.

Calistoga is part geological wonder, part destination to for the good life, and still one of the most popular regions of California's Wine Country--just as it was when it first became a destination in the 1880s, when travelers made their way here to soak in the warm, sulfuric waters of the many area hot springs. In its later life, visitors grew fonder of the excellent cabernets and chardonnays being produced in the region. Modern-day Calistoga combines the best of all worlds, and throws in for good measure a great collection of historic attractions, excellent resorts and tempting restaurants. 

Lavender Hill Spa - Harvest Treatment Collection

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saltglow.jpgWith Fall comes harvest and "the crush." Grapes are harvested and crushed as the first step in the wine-making process. Celebrate this most beautiful of seasons in the wine country with Lavender Hill Spa's unique wine and grape inspired spa treatment collection. Book now as these special treatments are only available through the rest of October!

Grape Escape
Lavender Cabernet Bath Treatment with One hour Lavender Cabernet  Massage.(2hrs) - 
 $165 per person 

The Comforts of Home

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stevensonManor.jpgIt's easy to see why wine country travelers make Stevenson Manor Inn their place to stay in Calistoga (Napa Valley). It has all the comforts of home with a few extras!  They boast 34 boutique-style rooms designed with hotel flair featuring high-speed wireless Internet,  wet bar, refrigerator and much more. Available in-room upgrades include a balcony, fireplace, whirlpool jetted bathtub.

It may be getting a little chilly, but Stevenson Manor Inn also has a year-round heated pool, hot tub, dry sauna, and steam room. And don't miss out on the deluxe continental breakfast. One Yelper recently said "Continental breakfast is very good - the dining area is a bit too small. Waffle aromatherapy is nice :) For you protein-freaks, they always have fresh, boiled eggs which I love that they provide."

Halloween Activities in Oregon

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Looking for a good fright this Halloween? In Oregon, they don't have to "create a haunted house or makeshift phantom spirit". They've got the real thing with 13 documented ghost towns to explore and lighthouses that hold dark and stormy tales. The Travel Oregon Blog has all the scary details!

Haunted Oregon by Mikhael Romain
It's October and jack-o-lanterns, cackling witches and white-sheet ghosts are peeping up everywhere (not to mention the candy corn). But in Oregon we don't need to create a haunted house or makeshift phantom spirit--we've got the real thing. With abandoned desert towns, haunted historic hotels, unsettled spirits and mysterious and unexplainable incidents, this state is teeming with the paranormal! (Cue deep-throated screech here).

Eastern Oregon's spattering of retired gold mining settlements makes it ripe for ghost towns, where deserted saloons and bordered buildings are all that's left of these once thriving towns. There are 13 documented ghost towns in this area to explore. Check out Granite, where the once-booming town had a population of 5000 and today only a dozen or so residents call it home. While you're in Eastern Oregon, check out the historic Union Hotel, which is rumored to be haunted.

READ MORE . . .


Sweet Lodging Deals in Calistoga

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cottagegrove.jpgBed & Breakfasts and Inns

One of the hallmarks of visiting Napa Valley, outside of the over 400 wineries, are the charming, distinctive bed and breakfasts nestled among the vines of wine country. Offering a place away from home with gourmet breakfasts served each morning, it's no wonder that many choose to stay at a Napa Valley Inn or Napa Valley bed & breakfast during their wine country vacation.  Fall and Winter are wonderful times to visit and the town of Calistoga is no exception. See the specials being offered right now - some are only available through November!

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.

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.

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.


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. 

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.

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.

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.

Yountville: Stay In Style

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By Courtney Cochran

Call Yountville what you like - gourmet mecca, Wine Country paradise, vinous nirvana - just don't miss a stay in this bucolic hamlet superbly situated in the heart of Napa Valley. Herein, tips on where to rest your head when you touch down in this oenological utopia.

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*!

Vintage Inn: A Slice of Provence

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vintageInn1.jpgYOUNTVILLE, CA - Set amid the vibrant and lively town of Yountville is Vintage Inn. Romance and relaxation radiate through the wonderful water walkways with lavender swaying slightly from the soft breeze. It's a slice of Provence tucked away and set off from the hurried pace of Washington Street's southern end.

Luxurious accommodations await your arrival with modern amenities and a complimentary bottle of wine. Guests love the oversize sunken whirlpool bathtub. Set up some candles and you've just created a romantic respite in the space of your room. Reserve a balcony room, sit outside and enjoy views of Domaine Chandon's vineyards. 

Hotel Luca: A Tuscan Getaway

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hotelLuca.jpgYOUNTVILLE, CA - There's no need to travel to Italy, when you have a Tuscan getaway right here in Napa Valley! Discover the newest hotel in Yountville, Hotel Luca and what makes it a great location for your next luxury hotel stay.

Made in Italia by by Sarah Sung
When it comes to visiting Wine Country, there's so much more to it than wine tasting and vineyard visits. Add bountiful food, elegant scenery, and luxurious spa treatments, for example. And Hotel Luca, the newly opened boutique resort just steps from the French Laundry and across from local dive Pancha's, on the north end of Yountville, successfully incorporates it all with its well-appointed 20-room accommodations.

Visiting Yountville, CA

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YOUNTVILLE, CA - Luxurious accommodations at four star resorts and hotels, Michelin star rated restaurants, boutique style shopping, art galleries, activities ranging from hot air balloon rides to zip lining, and wineries of every variety and style - welcome to Yountville. Experience why this town is considered the must-stop wine destination in Napa Valley.


Travel, Taste, and Things To Do
Hotel Luca: A Tuscan Getaway
Vintage Inn: A Slice of Provence
Yountville Tasting Itinerary
Taste in Town
Bell Wine Cellars Wins!
Summer Lunching in Yountville
Secret Gardens of The French Laundry & Bardessono
Tomatoville Touches Down
Summer Events

Ready to Plan Your Trip?
Find a place to stay at several resorts, hotels, and bed & breakfasts.
Make reservations in advance at some of the best restaurants.
Print out tasting offers from several wineries on your itinerary.
See the vineyards from a hot air balloon ride, or by bike!

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:

Yountville, CA: Summer Events

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banner-section-the-winery-2.jpgJULY

July 29 -- Brix Unpaved
Celebration, Food Education: Brix Restaurant brings global flavors to the Napa Valley with "Brix Unpaved", a series of events celebrating the best in international "street food". Please join us for our food and drink celebrations set along our garden pathway and vineyard. Tonight's theme: French Flair. 7377 ST Helena Hwy Yountville CA

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



Discover Wine Country in Fairfield, California

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by Barbara L. Steinberg

Fairfield-Suisun-Valley-Blue-Victorian-Fall-Foliage-Credit-Barbara-Steinberg-2009-2.jpgFAIRFIELD/SUISUN VALLEY, CA - A short distance from California's world-famous wine regions - Napa and Sonoma - you'll discover a bucolic wine country in Suisun Valley and Green Valley. An idyllic destination, the Suisun (pronounced sue-soon) and Green valleys are conveniently located less than 50 miles from Sacramento or San Francisco, off Interstate 80 near Fairfield. Driving past the suburban and urban elements of the city and, suddenly, spread-out before you is rural California...beautiful valleys bounded by two coastal ranges. The valleys have roots dating back to the 1800s and represent more than a century of continuous wine grape growing activity.   

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


CLICK HERE for full Livermore, CA Events CalendarReblog this post [with Zemanta]

Romance is in the Air in Tri-Valley

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Romantic Restaurants

Tri-Valley's most romantic restaurants offer romantic atmosphere,  delicious food and wine for your engagement.  Be sure to call ahead to make arrangements for your proposal.  These restaurants can offer a special menu or dessert and the best seat in the house and make sure to your proposal is perfect.

The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards: This place is just special.  The award winning restaurant features American dishes, influenced by Italian, French and California cuisine paired with Wente Vineyards wine.  The dining rooms are warm and inviting and the location amongst Livermore Valley Wine Country can't be beat.

Summer Sun in Tri-Valley

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wenteconcert.jpgThere is something for everyone this summer in Tri-Valley, California.  The hot summer nights are filled with activities cool enough for all.  A complete list of community activities and dates can be found on the Tri-Valley, California Convention & Visitors Bureau website .  Here are just a few of the highlights.

MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT:  The Concerts at Wente Vineyards (June 17 - September 21) offers a unique entertainment experience, by combining stellar performances by top-name headliners with the stunning ambiance of a spectacular vineyard setting.  Visitors and residents also enjoy Concerts in the Park, happening each month throughout Tri-Valley's five-city region.  Families and friends meet at local parks around the valley with their blankets and picnics, ready to enjoy the musical stylings of Bay Area artists.  Tri-Valley is also home to Livermore Valley Shakespeare Festival (July 8 - August 7),  a celebration of living literature performed among the vineyards at Concannon Vineyards.

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.

Adagio Inn - An Enchanting Napa Valley B&B

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adagioFeatureWCIStockpic1.jpgWith breathtaking views of vineyards around every bend and curve of the road, it's no surprise so many people plan vacations to Napa Valley year-round. Of course, choosing a place to stay is no easy to task. There are a host of bed and breakfasts, inns, and hotels to choose from all beckoning you with promises of a heavenly stay at their property complete with creature comforts.

Perhaps we can help narrow your choices . . .

Adagio Inn Bed and Breakfast is situated in the historic downtown St. Helena, California, in a quiet neighborhood of the Napa Valley. It is just a two-block walk to world-class restaurants and shops. And the over 400 Napa Valley wineries you passed on your way to Adagio Inn are all, of course, awaiting your arrival as well.

adagioFeatureRoompic.jpgThe Inn features three luxurious guestrooms all designed with your utmost comfort in mind.  As innkeeper/owner Polly Keegan says "People seem to love it ... especially the comfortable king beds, fine linens and expansive, elegant surroundings". Aveda amenities are in the bathrooms, sterling silver and Italian dinnerware in the breakfast room, and comfy rockers on the porch, looking down upon a really lovely garden.

Upcoming Events for Mother's Day in Napa Valley

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Have something special planned for your Mother on the big day? Try something new this year and instead of a family get together at the house or just brunch at a restaurant, really go out and show your Mother how much you appreciate her - WINE COUNTRY STYLE!

See below for some of the events happening around Napa Valley to help you make this a memorable Mother's Day.

May 9  -- Mother's Day Open House at Viader
Celebration: Please join us on Mother's Day & Wine Club Pick Up for a Sunday Open House at VIADER Winery. Taste our newest releases including our DARE by Viader Rose, paired with some delicious homemade chocolate truffles prepared by our winery chef Mariela Viader.
Location: 1120 Deer Park Rd., Deer Park, CA
Fee: $35 (Ladies & Wine Club members Free); Time: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Phone Number: (707) 963.3816 RSVP


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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.

Easter Sunday Openings in The Napa Valley

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Each holiday season The Council produces a list of "Businesses Open" ... and this Easter is no exception.
 
Click Here for this helpful summary of Easter Sunday openings for wineries, restaurants, and spas.
 
Happy Holidays from
The Napa Valley Destination Council!

Soon, Suisun

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suisun1.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Few people in the Bay Area (including me) know that there is a third wine country region budding in the North Bay, one that still has the open, unpretentious friendliness of a predominantly agricultural area.  Visiting Fairfield/Suisun Valley and Green Valley in Solano County is like--I'm told--visiting Napa and Sonoma thirty or forty years ago.  You find earnest, honest people eager to introduce visitors to their region's beauty and strengths, with a contagious enthusiasm and humility of pricing.  Most wineries do not charge a tasting fee at all, and those that do refund it with the purchase of a bottle... none of which seem to cost more than $30.

Attn Pinotphiles: La Paulée If You Please! (I Do)

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lepaulee3.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

For Pinot fans who aren't sufficiently "off" the variety as a result of the slew of recent "Pinotgate" allegations, there is an upcoming tasting in the Bay Area sure to satisfy your every Pinot fantasy.  Enter La Paulée de San Francisco, a now-annual wine and food bacchanal inspired by the namesake grand feast held each year in Burgundy at the conclusion of the harvest.  With a bevy of the best names in French Pinot and Chardonnay - not to mention a stellar lineup of star chefs and sommeliers - on the docket, this year's event looks to be something you won't want to miss.

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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Where To Stay in Santa Ynez

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by Robert P. Farmer

santaYnezInn.jpgSanta Ynez Inn
With a comfortable mix of Victorian charm and modern amenities, this intimate 20-room inn is a four-diamond rated place to escape in the Santa Ynez Valley. Rooms feature hand-selected antiques that are offset by such conveniences as flat-screen televisions, steam showers, and high-speed wireless Internet. Bedding is plush and luxurious, and in-room fireplaces complete the scene. Amenities include spa service, on-premises dining, fitness studio, and an outdoor heated whirlpool.
Room rates $225-$275
3627 Sagunto Street, Santa Ynez
(805) 688-5588
Special Lodging Offer


Swanky Sleeps: Hotel Healdsburg

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hotelhealdsburgexterior.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

For my money, Healdsburg is the most urbane wine country city in the U.S.  The historic town plaza boasts a slew of upscale boutiques, tasting rooms, markets, and restaurants of the highest caliber, all within comfortable walking range and all eager to fill your days with hedonistic pleasures.  But it's the hotel complex anchoring the western edge of the plaza that boosts the swank factor above rest of the wine capitals.

Napa Valley Hot Air Balloon Tours

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*last updated March 2012

RECHARGE. . . Take Flight with a Hot Air Balloon Ride!

Meghan Lamb-Napa Valley Aloft-DSC_0356.jpgBALLOON TOURS
Get a bird's eye view of rolling Napa Valley hills and vineyards from inside a hot air balloon. You'll be mesmerized by the breathtaking landscape before you. If you take an early morning flight, you're in for a treat. Watch the morning's fog lift, the sun rise, and the valley open up right before your eyes as your balloon wafts softly through the air.

Hot Air Balloon rides are also very popular for marriage proposals. What could be more romantic than saying "I love you. Will you marry me" several thousand feet up in the air? Several balloon companies offer Champagne Breakfast brunch at the end of your trip.

See our recommendations for Hot Air Balloon companies in Napa Valley.

Save the Date: Suisun Valley Passport Sunday

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suisunPassport.jpgMark your calendars!

The annual Sunday Passport in Suisun Valley is April 18, 2010.
Details about the event are still in the works, but you this food and wine event is surely to be wine country fun at it's best. Wineries throughout the valley will be pairing their wines with cuisines from local restaurants.

Last year, seven wineries participated (Blue Victorian, Ledgewood Creek, Suisun Valley Wine Co-op, Tenbrink Family Winery, Vezer Family Vineyards, Winterhawk Winery , and Wooden Valley Winery).

Tickets to this year's festivities will go on sale in March...

WineCountry.com will keep you posted with additional information when when we receive it!

CLICK HERE for other upcoming wine tasting events:
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The Vines Romantic - February is Great in Glen Ellen

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By Robert P. Farmer

There really isn't a bad time to visit Wine Country. But as you've probably noticed if you have checked in on this space from time to time, I have my personal favorites times of the year to venture among the vines. Being the hopeless romantic type, one of those times is the late winter, when the air is still chilled to a nice wine-storage-like mid-50 degrees, and the vines are hunkered down in dormancy. The mustard is in bloom, covering the fields and vineyards in a dusty yellow that blends perfectly with the winter white sky.

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
 

Driving Range - Three Wine Country Road Trips

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By Sarah Sung

The slightly more adventurous first cousin to the staycation, the road trip lets you unwind while enjoying the best of travel: exploring unknown territory. What better destination than Wine Country, where you can go from wineries to restaurants to hotels--with the freedom to pull off for a hike, bike ride, picnic, or to sit still and simply take in the scenery?

Drive One: Napa
Taking the high road through Napa.

Just an hour from San Francisco is the di Rosa, where art and nature come together. Make a reservation to tour the collection. It consists of 2,000 works of art--showcasing about half that number at any given moment--and is among the largest collections of Bay Area artists in the world. The first hint that you're coming up on the 217-acre preserve will be the sheep metal sculptures on the hillside. Once a private residence, this preserve is now a nonprofit public trust, with a collection so prominent that you'll see pieces from it at the Whitney and Getty museums.
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2009 Napa Valley Holiday Openings

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Napa Valley will still be bustling with activity through the holidays. Several restaurants and a few wineries will be open Christmas Eve.  Only a handful will be open on Christmas Day, so plan accordingly. Celebrate New Year's Eve wine country style - gourmet dinners, wine tasting, and dancing to ring in the new year.

Find out what's happening on the Napa Valley Events Calendar.

Farm-Fresh Elegance

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barn.jpgThe Russian River Valley's rustic Farmhouse Inn has become a destination that will make you want to stay.


By Martha Ross

The artfully prepared dinners at the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant have always been reason enough to visit. But, these days, you might want to book a room for the night. The inn, nestled amid redwoods in the Russian River Valley, has added eight rustically elegant, light-filled rooms and suites in its new "Barn." The new rooms feature private decks, fireplaces, and luxurious baths.

The Barn follows in the tradition of the inn by paying tribute to the property's agricultural past. The main house, a yellow 1873 structure, was originally home to a family that worked the land. The inn's current owners, brother and sister Joe and Catherine Bartolomei, descend from another Russian River family that raised cattle, fruit trees, and wine grapes.

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Head Outdoors this Fall and Winter

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hikes_3.jpgExperience the beauty of Napa on group hikes organized by the Land Trust of Napa County.

Visit some of the most beautiful places in Napa with the folks who work to preserve it: the Land Trust of Napa County. A Land Trust volunteer leads each hike, which is guaranteed to be a trek worth taking.

January 3: Hike Calistoga's Triple Crown
Conquer the historic Oat Hill Mine Road and the Palisades and Table Rock trails on this super-challenging 11-mile hike.

February 6: Mount George Waterfall Hike
For wildflower lovers and those not afraid of a steep five-mile climb.

February 20: First Falls at Archer Taylor Preserve
A photographer's paradise. Take a moderate two-mile walk along Redwood Creek, and enjoy lunch in a grove of towering redwoods.

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"Christmas Tree Wine Trail" In the Santa Cruz Mountains

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xmastreewinetrail.jpegYour local Santa Cruz Mountains tree farms and wineries want to make it easier for you to do your holiday shopping without the crowds and parking hassles of those germ factories better known as Malls! Do your shopping in the great outdoors, filled with scenery and greenery, and great local wine. Come cut a Christmas tree, buy some wine, and enjoy lunch with a view.

Just minutes from downtown Los Gatos off highway 17, the Summit Road tree farms and wineries have created a "Christmas tree wine trail" for your holiday shopping pleasure. Select a holiday tree (or wreath) at one of the local tree farms, including Radonich Ranch, Frosty's Tree Farm and Patchen Christmas Tree Farm (two locations: on Old Summit Road & Melody Lane and on Old Santa Cruz Highway). Then, head to the participating wineries: Burrell School Vineyards. Generosa, Hunter Hill, Loma Prieta, Poetic Cellars, Regale and Vine Hill, for great local wine and unique gift ideas. Receive one free ornament per winery with a purchase of wine. Collect them all for a very festive tree, and purchase extra ornaments as stocking stuffers to accompany your very thoughtful gifts of wine. Don't forget those hostess gifts. What is better than a bottle of local wine that you personally hand-selected? Each winery has custom gift tags to make gift-giving simple and special.

Off The Beaten Track in Glen Ellen

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chocolateshop.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Glen Ellen is just far enough off the main highway to ensure that its visitors and residents really want to be there. Although only a twenty minute drive from downtown Sonoma, it feels like another world entirely, with rustic country lanes, minimal development, and fantastic owner-operated businesses making the most of the area's appeal. Here are just a few suggestions for things to do (besides visit wineries, of course!) that hit on three of Glen Ellen's main draws:

What's Open on Thanksgiving in The Napa Valley

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Listing Courtesy of The Napa Valley Destination Council - 1310 Napa Town Center, Napa. 

PLEASE NOTE: The Visitor Information Center will be closed on Thanksgiving Day in observance of the Holiday.

We wish you and yours a Happy Holiday.


RESTAURANTS OPEN
Alexis Baking Company   (707) 258-1827
Auberge du Soleil    (707) 963-1211
Avia Hotel Restaurant   (866) 644-2842
Bank at Westin Verasa   (707) 257-5151
Bardessono Hotel Restaurant   (707) 204-6030
Bayleaf   (707) 257-9720
Boon Fly Café at Carneros Inn  (707) 299-4870
Bistro Jeanty   (707) 944-0103

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 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

Sonoma Holiday Specials

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vMarketplace1.jpgTraveling to Sonoma Wine Country for the holidays? Or have folks coming to visit and they need a place to stay, play, and eat before the big Thanksgiving Dinner at your house? No worries. Several hotels, b&bs, and wineries are offering fabulous holiday offers to help you out!  See below:

WINE TASTING

B.R. Cohn Winery
Sip, Savor & Shop Thanksgiving Weekend - Visit the winery for holiday shopping, light hors'deourves, and there is a free drawing every hour to win something special! (Nov 27 -29th)

Toys for Tots Toy Drive - Receive a complimentary tasting when you bring in a new toy for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots. Also do some holiday shopping at the onsite store for the full line of B.R. Cohn olive oils, specialty vinegars, other gourmet products, wine, gadgets and much more! (Dec 1st - 6th)

Anaba Wines
Pie Sampling Saturdays - Sample a different holiday pie with our 2008 Late Harvest Viognier every Saturday in November so you can find the perfect pairing for your Thanksgiving feast! Receive 15% off this wine when you purchase 4+ bottles. www.anabawines.com

Mayo Family Winery - Reserve Room

Harvest 2009 wine and food pairing menu features delectable items like:
"Butter paochaed Loch Duart Salmon w/ Yuzu Zest ~ 2007 Chardonnay"
"Cherry Almond Empenada w/ Seared Chanterelle ~ 2006 Pinot Noir"
"Pumpkin Souffle w/ Macadamia Nute & Spiced Whipped Cream ~ 2008 Gewurtztraminer

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."

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PRESS RELEASE: Silverado Resort Holiday Packages

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silveradoResort2.jpgNAPA, Calif., - The Silverado Resort inNapa Valley is offering three-night Holiday Celebration packages for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays highlighted by dinners prepared by the resort's renowned executive chef.
 
The packages feature acaccommodations for up to four people in a two-bedroom fireplace suite, the holiday buffet on either Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day and a 20 percent discount on golf at the resort's courses and select services at the Spa at Silverado.
 
The rate is $299 per suite per night and is based on at least a three-night consecutive stay during the periods of November 24-29, 2009 or December 23 - 28, 2009. The package does not include taxes, service charges or resort fee of $20 per night. Additional nights are available at a 25 percent discount off published rates.
 
The Holiday package can be booked by calling (1) 800-532-0500. Some other restrictions may apply.

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.

Napa: Fall Foilage Special at River Terrace Inn

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riverTerraceRoom.jpgRiver Terrace Inn was recently voted as 2009's Best Napa Hotel by the Bay List (SF Gate, The San Francisco Chronicle's website).

Popular among locals, the Bay List says "Discover an exclusive sanctuary nestled among lush, rolling hills, an ocean of vivid wildflowers and radiant vineyards. Set in the heart of California wine country, the River Terrace Inn features luxurious accommodations, personalized services, and a richly indulgent spa".

See for yourself what makes this hotel so special. Right now, River Terrace Inn is offering a Fall Foilage Package this November with room rates just starting at $129 available Sunday - Thursday. Your stay includes a complimentary glass of Napa Valley wine on their outdoor terrace overlooking the Nap River and eucalyptus grove.

River Terrace Inn
1600 Soscol Avenue
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 320.9000
(866) 627.2386
 

Halloween & Fall Events in Wine Country

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girl2.jpgWhat's your Halloween tradition? Looking for things that go bump in the night, getting lost in a maze of maize, or celebrating the night in scary style? It's the season of fun and whether you're looking for kid friendly or grown up approved, we can certainly point you in the right direction for events near you!

PRESS RELEASE: Yountville "Moveable Feast" Value Program

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Yountville Chefs & Hotels Team Up with a Variety of Special Menus, Hotel Packages and Culinary Adventures

YOUNTVILLE, NAPA VALLEY, CA. -- 2009 - Sporting six Michelin stars and a chef line-up worthy of a world tour, Yountville turns up the heat this winter with a town-wide "Moveable Feast" program. From value-season hotel/dining packages to a roux of prix-fixe meals rolling off the lines, foodies on a fast track now have another reason to visit this town boasting more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere on the planet!

Available December 1, 2009 - February 28, 2010*, the "Moveable Feast" program and free passport can be downloaded via www.yountville.com or obtained at Yountville Chamber of Commerce. From the new Bardessono inn to a bevy of Thomas Keller restaurants, the passport links visitors to 11 food/wine hotel packages and 12 restaurant deals from three-course prix fixe dinners for $70/couple to $1 oyster specials, 50% off VIP winetasting and up to 25% off hotel/dining packages, starting at $165/double.

CLICK HERE for full press release and additional details.

Other articles on the town of Yountville:


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




Wine Country Personality: Lisa Neisingh of Firefly Lodge

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lisa_fireflylodge.jpgLisa Neisingh of Firefly Lodge

Six years ago, inspired by the kaleidoscope of natural beauty (mountain peaks, redwood forests and fertile river valleys) of the region, local Sonoma County resident, Lisa Neisingh, bought a riverfront cabin. Located where Russian River and three renown grape growing microclimates (the Alexander, the Dry Creek, and the Russian River Valleys) converge,... just outside Healdsburg, a place known for its world class style and small town charm,... near historic Camp Rose (where Lisa's great-grandmother, Estelle, was the cook in the 1930's),...in the heart of northern Sonoma Wine Country,...there, on the riverbank, you will find Firefly Lodge.

Labor Day Weekend Alert!

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BayBridgePSA_largebox_082809.jpgIf you are visiting Wine Country for Labor Day Weekend and flying into the San Francisco Airport, please be aware that one of the major bridges (Bay Bridge) will be closed.

The Bay Bridge will close Thursday, September 3rd at 8:00pm and will not reopen until 5:00 am on Tuesday, September 8th.

There are still several ways to get where you're going. If you are planning a day in the city as part of your wine country trip, take public transportation like BART or ferry.  If absolutely necessary to drive by car, there are several detour routes available as well.

CLICK HERE for more information and trip planning resources.

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

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!

New In Napa: August 09

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EstateCave1_LargeWeb.JPGBy Courtney Cochran

Home to some 300 wineries, Napa Valley is the engine that drives California's booming wine industry. It's also a place where history, art, hospitality and a search for perfection collide to produce some of the most compelling products and experiences Wine Country has to offer. Read on for new developments in this "land of plenty" in our own backyard.

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.

A Tri-Valley, California Man-cation

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men_golf.jpegIt is possible to getaway with the guys for a few days this summer without dropping thousands of dollars in Vegas. For a more economical, and certainly tamer trip, try the Tri-Valley.  The perfect weekend plan for the boys of summer includes golf, wine tasting, vintage cars, custom motorcycles and more.

PLAY: Hit the links at one of the 11 Public Golf Courses in Tri-Valley, California. Affordable green fees, challenging course and spectacular views are the hallmarks of Tri-Valley golf. Start by playing Callippe Preserve Golf Course . Situated on the picturesque Pleasanton Ridge, the course offers 18 holes of small ridge terrain and bountiful amounts of wildlife habitat areas. Want to play among the vineyards? Then make a tee time at Poppy Ridge Golf Course. This 27-hole Scottish Heathland course boasts 3 nines and a full service golf shop.

A Family Vacation Spot For Less

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Grab the kids, gas up the car and head to Tri-Valley, California for an affordable and family-friendly vacation. Tri-Valley, California, is rich in family-friendly attractions and is an affordable, charming and unspoiled destination where families are welcomed to experience the beauties and highlights of the San Francisco Bay Area. While many visitors make Tri-Valley their "home base" while exploring the more touristy San Francisco spots, there is actually quite a bit to see right here in the Tri-Valley.

LEARN: Day One, 8 a.m. - Lasers!
Start the day with a visit to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Discovery Center which provides visitors with a window into its state-of-the-art research programs, computational capabilities, and experimental tools. Here kids can experience a broad-based display of science and technology, as well as highlights of the Laboratory's history. After learning about the science, take the kids to play a round of laser tag at Boomers.

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.

Pure Mendo, Pure Fun

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Watermelon-Salad.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Oenophiles looking for an excuse to experience the bounty Mendocino has to offer need wait no longer. The weekend of August 29 and 30, 2009 will see luminaries from the spot known as the greenest wine region in the country open their doors and uncork outstanding wines in support of Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County.  The event is called Pure Mendocino, and it's shaping up to be purely fantastic.

Pet Friendly Places in Mendocino

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hairyPutter.jpgJust about everyone has a blog nowadays - folks regaling us with tales of the seemingly mundane to corporate folks trying to mask boastful claims of their oh so great products. Today, I came across a blog written by Hairy Putter.  Who's that you might ask?

Oh, just a roving canine reporter in Mendocino. He has been tasked with giving "first paw accounts of his experiences during visits to various establishments or locations that have advertised themselves as being 'Pet Friendly' " in the local area. 

With an adorable mug shot and detailed reviews, perhaps more of his buddies will join the reporter blog ranks and tell us pet friendly places in other wine areas!

Lincoln Theater Napa Valley: Presents Eclectic, Upbeat Arts for All

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lincolnTheater_Vereen.jpgBy Lisa Adams Walter

Good times and laughter are set to fill Lincoln Theater Napa Valley in Yountville when the Summer / Fall 2009 Season kicks off on Saturday, August 22 with an exclusive Northern California appearance by Tony Award-winning Broadway star Ben Vereen. An eclectic and upbeat slate of performances that will lift spirits follows with acts that range from the Glenn Miller Orchestra, to kid-friendly shows, to jazz with The Brubeck Brothers, to the iconic John Cleese. Tickets, which range from extreme values at $10 to the highest priced tickets at just $69 per seat, are on sale now.

"At Lincoln Theater Napa Valley, we have tried to concentrate on shows that are lighthearted and entertaining and that we can bring to the local community as well as wine country visitors at reasonable prices," said Richard Aldag, Lincoln Theater Napa Valley Executive Director. "We have emphasized comedy, upbeat music, family shows and nostalgia."

The Summer / Fall 2009 Season opens with an Intimate Evening of Broadway with the Tony Award-winning Ben Vereen, Saturday, August 22 at 8 p.m. Few entertainers are as accomplished and versatile as this incomparable Broadway and screen star, singer, dancer and actor.

An African Safari in Sonoma Wine Country?

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Always dreamed of going on an African Safari, but funds dictate otherwise? Don't fret; at Safari West in Sonoma Wine Country you can experience the wonder of exotic creatures like giraffes, gazellas, zebras and many other animals at a fraction of the cost. As their tagline appropriately says "the spirit of Africa in the heart of the Wine Country".

Your safari escape includes a three hour drive by jeep throughout the preserve and then a trek around the inner grounds. You can also spend the night in a Safari Tent (built on high wooden platforms with spacious decks) or in one of their two bedroom cottages.

Recently featured on ABC7 News as one of the most popular destinations in Northern California:



Safari West is also a great place to take the family and kids too.
CLICK HERE to read "The Kid Stays in the Picture"


Safari West
3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa
(707) 579-2551
www.safariwest.com

Conde Nast Traveler: Top Spas for 2009

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Kenwood Inn and Spa - Top 3 Resort Spa in the United States
Conde Nast Traveler 2009 Readers' Poll

If you're planning a trip to wine country, one of the best ways to unwind and relax is with a spa treatment. Conde Nast Traveler released the poll results of readers' top picks for spas across the U.S. and even areas internationally. It's no surprise that many of the spas in Hawaii and California were heavily preferred by consumers.

Kenwood Inn and Spa in Sonoma, CA was one of the top 3 resort spas in the U.S. and received perfect scores of 100 for treatments, staff, service and design. Book a stay with them as they also boast lush surroundings, soothing pools, and elegant accommodations in a Tuscan setting.  Reserve online.

Fourth of July Celebrations Around Wine Country

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Fourth of July is fast approaching. Do you know what your plans are for the three day weekend? If you're staying local and live in California, Oregon, and Virginia, you might want to check out the calender event listings on WineCountry.com. Several towns are hosting parades, firework shows and many wineries will also be open with several celebrations of their own. Read on for some of our suggestions!

Going Both Ways

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How to Hit Up Napa & Sonoma in a Single Trip by Courtney Cochran

Rather like the sexes, Napa and Sonoma sometimes seem worlds apart.  Farmers are from Sonoma, people often say, while the technology barons and other members of the monied set call neighboring Napa home instead. 

In some ways these stereotypes ring true: I'm yet to spot a Ferrari in Sonoma but am rarely in Napa for more than 15 minutes before one or even two of the slick machines whiz by me en route to brunch at Bouchon or gallery hopping in St. Helena.

But disparate Ferrari populations aside, become a little better acquainted with these areas and I think you'll find they've got more in common than first meets the eye.  And, as is the case with men and women, they can even get along alright on the same trip - albeit with a little extra planning and flexibility.  

Father's Day Events in Wine Country

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fathersDay.jpgDad's typically don't get enough credit for all they do. So why not spend some quality time with your Dad in Wine Country that he actually might remember instead of the usual glow in the dark tie or something equally hideous that he will never wear.

There are a slew of events happening around Wine Country with Father's in mind.  Events range from BBQs, golf, wine tasting to auto shows. Check out what's happening near you!

If you're going the gadget route, some cool wine gifts we mentioned around the holidays will still be perfect as a great gift for Father's Day too!

Under the Pugliese Sun

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harbor_trani.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Sure, the New York Times called it "the next new Tuscany" . But I still wasn't convinced that Puglia - the sun-splashed "heel" of Italy's peninsular boot - was a bona fide vacation hot spot until I heard about the celebrities. Reese. Jake. Coppola. And I know this one doesn't pack nearly as much star wattage, but what the heck (she's got an Oscar, after all): Helen Mirren .

They've all been here. And now, for six weeks between mid-May and late June, so am I.

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.

Yountville

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The little town that's big on talent and taste

By Michaela Jarvis

As Seen in Napa Sonoma Magazine

Yountville has often been compared to a European village because of its charm and because everything in town is within walking distance. That may be an apt description, yet, in how many European villages will you find yourself within a short stroll of half a dozen of the best restaurants in the country?

Heck, this is no European village. This is Disneyland, with a favorite attraction for everyone-whether that's a wild ride through Thomas Keller's culinary imagination at The French Laundry, a chance to shake hands with Food Network star Michael Chiarello at his new Bottega restaurant, or an experience of the magical hot stone massage at Villagio's 13,000-square-foot spa.

To Read More, Click Here.

Read other articles on the town of Yountville:

Wine Country Itinerary: Yountville

Things Are Afoot in Yountville

Bardessono: The New Mecca for Wine Country Luxury

Romancing the Stone

The Kid Stays in the Picture

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safari_west.jpgPlenty of Options in Wine Country When Traveling Without Children is Not an Option
By Robert P. Farmer

By now you've heard me go on about life changing drastically for my wife and me. This of course can be pinned squarely on a single pair of tiny shoulders. Since our daughter was born in late 2007, our lifestyle of "Wine Country whenever we want to" has morphed in to a lifestyle of "remember when we used to go to Wine Country."

But now that our little one is reaching a stage when she's decidedly more mobile, the result is a family that has become more mobile as well. In fact we have been to Wine Country on a couple occasions in the months between her birthday and now. Those trips, however, were more anxiety ridden than relaxing - is she going to be comfortable in the portable crib? Will she suddenly erupt if we bring her to dinner? We traveled in Defense Condition Red.

The Bocce Boom

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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.

Napa City Staycation

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By Courtney Cochran

With the economy bumping along as uncertainly as the box office receipts for latter-day Lindsay Lohan pics, it's no surprise Americans are embracing staycations in record numbers. An amusing portmanteau of the words "stay" (as in stay-at-home, or near home) and "vacation," the staycation offers Wine Country travelers an escape that's long on pleasure but short on planning and out-of-pocket expenses. And with its convenient location just 50 minutes north of San Francisco, the city of Napa makes an ideal destination for Bay Area staycationers of all stripes.

Read on for the low down on top spots for sipping inside the Napa City limits, and click here for more on the dos and don'ts of staycations - including tips on how to make yours a smashing success.

Summer in Santa Barbara

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It's hard not to want to pack up and move to a place that has some 300-plus days of sun each year--and not blistering hot sun, but typically 70-75 degree weather throughout the spring, summer and fall. Ah, Santa Barbara. No wonder the freeways can get so packed.

Located just up the road from its nearest big city, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is an ocean-side nirvana, where days rarely heat up past "comfortable in shirtsleeves" or cool down past "grab a jacket, just in case." And though there can be a few anomalous days--especially the quirky weather in June, when foggy mornings linger a bit--weather is mostly well, perfect.

When Wine Is Complimentary to Traveling

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By Robert P. Farmer

Those of you who have traveled enough, and even those of you whose adventures take them away from home only occasionally, can attest that the little things a hotel does for its guest can go a long, long way. In today's world of travel incentives--ranging from free night's stays to tickets to the hottest shows, few such lures have the cachet or the staying power as the Complimentary Wine Reception.

This trend--in which a hotel pours wine for its guests each evening in the lobby or other common space, along with, typically, some sort of light fare--is actually something that has been around much longer than most of today's market-responsive hotel incentives. In fact, long before the economic maelstrom prompted hotel GMs to start giving away everything but the bed sheets, the wine reception was a popular means for acknowledging guest loyalty and for helping to make a hotel stay memorable. Now, however, the phenomenon is truly taking off.

Mendocino: Recipe for Romance

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By Courtney Cochran

Having just returned from a long weekend in Mendocino, I can reliably report the following: Mendocino is cold, Mendocino is windy and Mendocino is wet (did I mention it's cold?). So why do I like it so much?, I can recall thinking to myself as my boyfriend and I meandered under threatening clouds along the jagged cliffs that overlook the region's spectacular coastline.  And that's when I saw it:  a sign situated in front of a wind-swept cottage that read, "Weathering Heights."  

Of course, I thought. Mendocino is practically overflowing with romance, in a very Heathcliff and Catherine sort of way. It's got all the makings of a perfect intimate weekend, after all: scores of achingly cute bed and breakfasts, world-class food and wine, breathtaking coastline and, yes, inclement weather. Personally, I can't think of a better excuse (or setting, for that matter) for hunkering down with someone special near a crackling fire, knowing that venturing out will only bring a new kind of thrill - the possibility of getting to know the wines of a region on the brink of becoming the next big thing in American wine.

(Just be sure to take your umbrella when you go.)

Green Gets Gold

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One Napa Hotel Walks the Environmental Walk

by Robert P. Farmer

The sustainability conversation has long been on the table in Wine Country. Wineries and restaurants have led the earth-friendly charge here, with the results easily seen (and tasted) in bottles and on tables throughout the region. But the subtext here has always been the greater need to live sustainably not just in vineyards and at the Farmer's market, but everywhere and at all time.

South African Star

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OOCT exterior.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

We've known for years that the region surrounding the South African capital is home to many riches: spectacular geography, world-class wines and diamonds are just a few of the area's most coveted resources. And now, the South African capital itself can boast a jewel in its very own crown: the brand new One&Only Cape Town , a six-star super-luxury resort on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront boasting - among other fabulously first-class amenities - the world's largest collection of South African wines under one roof.

The Go-Ahead-and-Ask Economy, Continued

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By Robert Farmer

I was speaking to a Bay Area hotelier recently who was decrying his abundance of inventory. That is to say, he's got a bunch of empty rooms that, when they sit empty, cost him money--sometimes lots of money. What, I asked, is he doing about it? More to the point, what can he do about it? You'd think the obvious answer would be to reduce the room rates into an "offer you can't refuse" category. But, for several reasons that we won't get into here, that's not the obvious answer. So the question became, What is he willing to concede in exchange for putting people in his rooms.

Bardessono: The New Mecca for Wine Country Luxury

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bardessono.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Every once in a while, a destination comes on line that not only exceeds the current standard, but redefines it as well. Such is the case for Bardessono, a Napa Valley resort that combines cutting edge design with the highest standards in hospitality and unparalleled sustainability.

Aesthetic Achiever, Sustainable Star
Open since February 2009, the 62-room hotel, spa and restaurant ascribes to the most rigorous guidelines for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) construction, deftly integrating energy-conserving solutions such as solar panels and on-site geothermal wells for heating and cooling with a flawless contemporary aesthetic that at once complements and enhances its surroundings.

Surroundings, I might add, which are nothing short of spectacular themselves.

Traveling While Drinking

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Can the Wine Tourism Trend Save Travel?
By Robert P. Farmer

While it's no new concept in the valleys of Napa or Sonoma, the idea of wine tourism is starting to take root across the globe. From France to Germany and Australia to Chile, people are increasingly booking passage based less on the destination itself than on the wine produced in that destination.

Wine lovers everywhere are discovering that it's more fun to drink their way through vacation than to sit idle on, say, a beach reading the latest trashy best-seller. Wine Tourism is providing a renewed sense of purpose for leisure time and it is not limited to wine aficionados. Thanks in part to concerted efforts by wine-producing regions to espouse their industry and leverage it for fun and profit, the wine tourism trend appears to be something travelers can savor.

Wine Country Personalities: Penny & Doug McKesson

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dougMckessonPersonality.jpgMoving from Southern California to Sonoma in the mid 70's, Penny & Doug McKesson never looked back.  Switching gears from running restaurants to owning a small town bike shop, Penny & Doug went to work immediately becoming an integral part of the community.  This culminated in Doug winning a seat on the Sonoma City Council in 2002 and becoming Mayor in 2006.  Over the past 34 years they have developed close friends and relationships which give them access to places in Sonoma that many locals are not even aware of.

The Go-Ahead-and-Ask Economy

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By Robert Farmer

I know I know. It's all bad news all the time when it comes to the economy. And if you're like me at all, which I think you probably are, the wall-to-wall doom-and-gloom in the press and everywhere else makes you want to head for the hills--or, at least to the rolling hills of California's Wine Country. That in and of itself is a good thing, but it also happens to harbor some even better news for those intrepid travelers who are fortunate enough to get away.

Meadowood Makes Wine Country Weekends Supreme

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By Courtney Cochran

What recession? At Meadowood - the Napa Valley resort known for its luxe accommodations and tucked-away ambiance - weekends just got a lot more interesting. Indeed, in honor of its 45th anniversary, the resort is putting variety - and unapologetic luxury - back into wine country travel with an impressive lineup of wine- and wine country-themed events known as its Wine-Inspired Weekend Series.

Where to Save, Where to Splurge In Wine Country

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By Courtney Cochran

I can recall, with embarrassing clarity, buying Chuck Shaw by the caseload in the drearily cash-strapped era that followed my graduation from college.  And though I quickly "graduated" beyond the realm of such inexpensive sippers around the time of my first raise, today's tough economic times have many of us - yours truly included - contemplating a reunion with bargain sips like Mr. Shaw's and others of his ilk.

To be sure, the crisis thinking fueling these considerations isn't limited to wine consumption alone.  Wine country visitors, as well, are wondering where they can cut corners on visits in order to spend less while still enjoying their fair share of the pleasures wine country has to offer.  They're looking for easy, smart ways to extend their spending power at a time when all of us are getting by on less.   

And so, in a valiant effort to keep the good times - and the good drink - flowing, we're here to help you do just that.  Read on for our top suggestions on where to save and - as important - where to splurge in wine country this season.    Because if one thing is a constant no matter the economic clime, it's that we can all use a little affordable luxury every now and then to keep our spirits afloat.
corkscrewed.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

When American journalist Robert Camuto moved to the south of France with his family several years ago (I know, I know, cue the Peter Mayle comparisons), it was in search of adventure unlike any the seasoned writer had experienced thus far. Indeed, it wasn't long before the New York native found himself squarely in the land of the vine, where - surprise! - the erstwhile political reporter began an adventure decidedly different from anything he'd known before.
By Christopher Nevin Johnston

filmfestBruce.jpgLooking for a good reason to hit the road and relax for a few days?  Well, look no more.  Every spring the Sonoma International Film Festival draws more than 17,000 visitors to the historic Sonoma City Plaza--located roughly 45 miles northeast of San Francisco--for an extended weekend of laid-back film, food, wine, art and music.

Akin to the more scenic film festival locations like Park City or Santa Barbara, Sonoma has all of the natural beauty of its sister fests but--and here's the kicker--is actually an affordable pleasure experience that won't leave you with a bad case of spender's remorse.  From now until February 28th all passes are on sale for 20% off the regular price.  So, if you purchased a basic Festival Pass (valued at $225) you could attend all the regular screenings and panels for only $180!  Let's see the Sundance Kid offer you a better deal....And if your pockets run a little deeper and you would like a more tailored festival experience, Platinum and Premiere Passes will ensure a hobnobbing good time without a bail-out from the Feds.

Family Fun in the Wine Country

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By Robert Farmer

fatherBaby.jpgThe trip from San Francisco to California's Wine Country is a quick one. But for several months in my life it might as well have been half way around the globe. The addition to our family of a baby--our beautiful daughter--had countless positive effects. However, there was one drawback. It turned the Golden Gate Bridge, over which we previously had skipped so effortlessly into Wine Country into a Bridge Too Far.

For several months on end, not only did we not make one of our favorite day trips or easy weekend getaways, we scarcely even let the prospect enter our minds.  So recently when we had occasion to try it again--owing mostly to being forced out of our house to make way for some minor construction--we weren't quite sure what to expect.

February to May in Mendocino

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As winter's squalls turn to gentle raindrops, the Mendocino coast begins to come alive with wildflowers and native grasses. Perhaps one of the most beautiful times to visit, springtime is a fickle season that transforms from grey mornings as fog rolls in, to brilliantly sunny afternoons perfect for coaxing out tiny buds.

Inland areas tend to be similarly rainy, though a bit warmer. Even so, this time of year throughout the county tends to be a slow season, with most travelers waiting to escape to the cool coast when things get stifling elsewhere (June to October). You'll find fewer crowds right now (though February and March are whale season, and attract wildlife enthusiasts). Some tasting rooms and restaurants close up altogether or have limited hours until the crowds start returning in May, so check ahead. The good news is that you may be able to get an easy reservation at your favorite inn or hard-to-book restaurant during this slow season.

Travel Deal Alert - Napa Valley Wine Taster's Dream Package

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silverado.jpgNAPA VALLEY, CA - We know a good deal when we see it!  Silverado Resort recognizes times are rough and is responding with the "dream package" making your next Napa Valley trip extremely affordable. 

See details below:

The package includes:
  • A picnic lunch for two at V. Sattui Winery 
  • Wine tastings at four other area wineries (Black Stallion, Mumm, Artesa, and Conn Creek)
  • Resort guestroom Accommodations (King Beds, 340 thread count Egyptian cotton linen, Wireless Internet, and many more amenities)
All of this....drumroll please...is only $139/night for stays through March 15th (including weekends)! The promo code is WINE3 and you can book directly online or call them directly to make reservations at 800.532.0500.

Visit online for more details, terms & conditions and information on upgrading to one of their suites (still quite reasonable).

It's not often you see a deal like this, especially in Napa Valley.  Don't let it pass you by....

 

rtszttamasvineyard_1280x1024.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Wilson Daniels Ltd. - a Napa-based sales and marketing organization with a bevy of big-name, international wine clients - has released a series of professional-caliber videos featuring the people and terroir behind its labels.  Filmed on location at the likes of Royal Tokaji in Hungary, Domaine Leflaive in Burgundy and Champagne Salon in, you guessed it, Champagne, the videos encompass such lush vineyard and winery shots as to tempt even the most travel-weary among us to book a flight and go check these famed spots out in person, stat.

Spend Valentine's Day in Monterey

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montereyCoast.jpgValentine's Day is around the corner. What do you have planned for your special someone? Monterey Wine Country has several Valentine's Day events perfect for setting the mood and inspiring romance. And this year, Valentine's Day falls on Saturday, so put those pennies together and make it a weekend trip!

Read on for a few of the events Monterey County Convention & Visitor's Bureau recommends as Top Valentine's Day Events in Monterey.

Napa Valley Mustard Festival

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mustardFestival08_1.jpg***CLICK HERE for 2010 Napa Valley Mustard Festival Info!***


It's that time of year again. Mustard flowers dot the vineyard landscape resulting in picturesque views along Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley Wine Country.  The Napa Valley Mustard Festival "celebrates the food, wine, art and rich, unique agricultural bounty of the Napa Valley".

Don't miss out on the events that go hand in hand with the "Mustard Season" from January 31st - March 28, 2009.

Celebrate the Season of the Olive in Sonoma at MacArthur Place

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macarthur.jpgSonoma is known for its wines, but it celebrates another major harvest every year during the annual Sonoma Valley Olive Festival which runs through mid-February. A complete list of events can be found at www.olivefestival.com.
 
MacArthur Place, a luxurious 64-room country inn and spa set on an 18th century estate a few blocks from Sonoma's historic Plaza, is offering a special Olive Festival Package to help partake in the festivities.

Through February 12, reserve an Olive Festival Package at MacArthur Place with rates beginning at $199 per night midweek or $249 per night on weekends. It includes welcome Olive Festival martinis and $25 off a Sonoma Olive Oil Body Polish or any spa treatment at the Garden Spa. For reservations call MacArthur Place toll-free at (800) 722-1866. For more information about MacArthur Place, visit their website at www.macarthurplace.com

Itinerary: Midweek Monterey Getaway

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montereyMidweekItinerary.jpgSometimes you only have enough energy to buy the tickets (if you're not local), book the hotel and maybe read about all the things you want to do on your wine country trip. By the time the official day arrives for vacation, you've run out of planning time and isn't vacation about relaxing anyways! Maybe you didn't want to spend hours upon hours figuring out all the activities. Monterey CVB alleviates the planning stress and gives visitors a hour-by-hour itinerary. Even better, they suggest you play hooky and take a break during the week.

Three Day Itinerary
Monterey Multimedia Gallery

How Green Was My Homestead

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Bardessono.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Come February, Napa may be the proud owner of America's greenest luxury hotel. Management for the Bardessono - a 62-room hotel featuring state-of-the-art eco-friendly amenities, spa and 92-seat restaurant and bar - is currently seeking Platinum LEED certification for the facility, reports the PR machine behind the project. This is a welcome development in the ongoing greening of wine country, not to mention another ace in the hole for Yountville, fast becoming Napa's most popular destination thanks to attractions like Thomas Keller's enormously popular eateries Bouchon bistro and The French Laundry.

Rural and Slow Paced: Mendocino

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Mendocino is a county of rural communities, miles of scenic coastline, and intense natural beauty. When you visit Mendocino it is unusual to do so in a hurry. The winding highways, whether wrapping along the coast or between redwood forests and vineyards, are certain to slow you down. But the attitude of the historic little towns and even the larger community centers is one that is measured more by the pace of the earth and less by the watch on the wrist.

Making Your Way to Fort Bragg

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Fort Bragg, CA is a Great Last Minute Getaway Town

Getting to Fort Bragg is part of the pleasure. There are several routes that will take you through dense redwood forests, world-class wine growing regions, or spectacular ocean-side routes. Coming and going to Fort Bragg, either way gives you opportunities to reflect on the majesty of the environment, as well as spend some serious car time with friends and family.

If you are heading north from San Francisco, there are a couple of routes that you may want to consider. While you can travel Highway 1 completely up the coast, depending upon your time frame and your brakes you may want to wait until hitting Santa Rosa on Highway 101 before heading westward.

Chillin' on the Coast

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There's nothing like a last minute getaway. It's a snap decision - you look around, grab your overnight bag, and hit the road.

High tourist season and holiday weekends aside, finding last minute accommodations on the road can either be surprisingly easy, or an opportunity to accidentally end up camping in your car. There's a couple of wine country communities that you can almost always bet will provide you quick and easy lodging - anything from the basic room and board to lovely bed and breakfast's that just happen to have an opening waiting for you.

Napa Valley - What's Open on Christmas Day & New Year's?

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champagne.jpgGrocery stores aren't the only businesses open this holiday season! See the attached list of wineries that will be open Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.  Also included are restaurants that will be open, and a sampling of places hosting New Year's Eve parties. 

CLICK HERE for a complete calendar list of events.

Holiday_Open_Close_Schedule_2008 (2).pdf

Italy Wine Country - Rome: Bringing It All Back Together Again

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courtney_015.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Having spent time in Rome, Puglia and Milan during my ten-day Italian sojourn, I still hadn't made up my mind as to which was my favorite destination by the next-to-last day of my trip.  Rome - the first spot I'd visited - had been fantastic, but also crowded, loud and at times more than a little overwhelming.  Puglia - in the sunny heel of the boot - was a wonderfully welcoming region boasting charming small towns, incredibly fresh seafood and the best olive oil I'd ever tasted.  And Milan had been glamorous, sophisticated, worldly and chic - qualities I'd been certain pushed it to the fore of my preferences among the places I'd visited.

But, as my boyfriend and I headed from Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport back into the city for one final night before flying home, I felt an unexpected sense of familiarity come over me.  The undulating Roman countryside, with its hills topped with graceful pine trees and centuries-old mansions, at once struck me as soothing and like something I had seen countless times before.  And the brisk traffic whipping by on both sides of the taxi seemed more charming than frightening on the second visit, and before I knew it I caught myself musing fondly, "those crazy Roman drivers!"

Italy Wine Country - Milanese Moment

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dagiacomo.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Occasionally you find yourself dining in an establishment you can just tell is rather famous. Such was the case at da Giacomo in Milan, where we had dinner our final night in the northern Italian city. With its cozy-elegant décor, bevy of stylish patrons (which included an exotic-looking model at the next table), and delicious fare focused on seafood, the spot oozed the kind of atmosphere you seek out in big city dining, but don't always find.

Italy Wine Country - An Ideal Lunch

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atgallo.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Though hard-core travelers may protest, I simply cannot hide this truth:  my favorite thing to do while traveling is to partake in unapologetically long lunches.  And so when in sunny Puglia in Italy's south, rather than spending our days zipping between typical tourist haunts such as churches, ancient villages and other points of interest, my boyfriend and I spent more hours than I care to recount lingering over exceedingly long lunches. 

Italy Wine Country - The Art of Aperitivo

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aperitivopeeps.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Italians have a habit I sorely wish we Americans would adopt.  It's called Aperitivo, and it absolutely rocks.  Here's how it works:  every evening, bars in Italian cities - especially the big cities, such as Rome and Milan - put out an array of snacks that patrons can tuck into for free so long as they purchase a drink.  The drink is called aperitivo (literally, pre-dinner drink), but the word is often applied to the whole experience of drinking, eating and socializing.  Which is why when an Italian says to you "Facciamoci un aperitivo" ("Let's have an aperitivo"), what he really means is, "let's go get our drink/eat/chat on, presto!"

Travel Deal of the Week - Casa Munras Hotel

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casaMunras.jpgParty to the wee hours of the morning! Casa Munras in Monterey Wine Country has just the package and party to get ring in the new year!

Includes:
Even better - package starts at $199. What are you waiting for?! Book the New Year's Eve Package now!

Casa Munras Hotel
700 Munras Avenue
Monterey, CA 93940

Italy Wine Country: From Puglia with Olive Oil

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By Courtney Cochran

My boyfriend - who is from Puglia, in the heel of Italy's boot - signed one of his first emails to me "from Puglia with olive oil" (a bit of a comedian, this one). Until then, I'd only known vaguely of Puglia as a place of hearty red wines and wholesome country manners in Italy's sunny south.

But it turns out that - as hinted in Antonio's email - Puglia is also home to some 60 million olive trees that together produce a significant portion of Italy's annual olive oil output. As a result, olive oil is drizzled over just about everything that crosses the table in Puglia, including the hearty pastas that have already - before arriving at table - been prepared in oil. And while this might sound like overkill to those unaccustomed to such intensive intake of the stuff, I can assure you that it's quite delicious, and never seems like a bad idea when you're faced with yet another plate of fabulously fresh local fare.

Pictured here, Anto mid-drizzle.
courtney_oliveoil.jpg


Italy Wine Country: Of Orecchiette and Octopus

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courtney_octopus.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

In Barbara Kingsolver's delightful "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" the author criticizes Americans' penchant for eating things trucked over thousands of miles in lieu of goods produced locally. The reason for our bad habits, which negatively impact our environment and send food dollars away from local communities? Kingsolver claims it's due to our lack of something she calls a "food culture" - a set of beliefs and customs unique to a country that compel its constituents to prefer foods that originate nearby. Italy, she asserts, is an excellent example of a country with a model food culture.

In Italy's sunny Puglia region - literally, the heel of the boot - seafood caught in the nearby Adriatic, pizza and rustic pasta dishes reign supreme.

Italy Wine Country: Good Eats & Singing In the Rain

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By Courtney Cochran


courtney2 005.jpg
It's been raining A LOT here, but the food is amazing!


courtneyrain.jpg

Italy Wine Country: Of Antiquity and Champagne Cocktails

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courtney2 006.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

When pressed for time in Rome, it helps to have an Italian guide. Thanks to my travel companion's city smarts, we were able to see a lot on our last day - emphasis on lot.

For starters, we took in the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, followed by a viewing of the Campidoglio (Roman capitol) and lunch in the Jewish Ghetto, a fascinating part of the city in which modern apartments have literally been built on top of ancient ruins (talk about juxtaposition!).

courtney2 007.jpgAfter lunch we took in Largo di Torre Argentina, a fascinating excavation site of several Republican temples that doubles as a sanctuary for homeless cats (always a sucker for felines, this one), the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna and the adjacent Spanish Steps. (Phew!) It was a whirlwind, but a fascinating whirlwind - to say the least - and fittingly capped by a rooftop Champagne cocktail at the International Academy of Wine at the Spanish Steps.

Travel Deal of the Week - Adelaide Inn

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AdelaideInn.jpgVenture to Central Coast California for a San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles Wine Country escape. Adelaide Inn offers affordable vacation packages for couples and families. To celebrate the wineries of Paso Robles, each month the Inn partners with a local winery. Cozy guestrooms, fabulous wine tasting, all ranging from $112/couple to $132/couple.

Featured Wineries:
Winery package includes:
  • Executive King Room
  • Complimentary Bottle of Wine
  • Wine Tasting tickets for 2 or Discounts on Wine Purchases

CLICK HERE for more details and to book online.

Adelaide Inn
1215 Ysabel Avenue
Paso Robles, CA 93446

Italy Wine Country: Behind the Velvet Rope - The Sistine Chapel

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courtney2 003.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Apparently, getting a private tour of Vatican Palace is about as difficult as getting into a very, very, very exclusive nightclub. So when - thanks to a highly fortunate personal connection - we were granted one, we knew we were in for a treat. Upon entering ultra exclusive Vatican City, a private city state with its own post office, radio station and publishing house, we were ushered through the Vatican's private gardens and Papal Palace by a bishop himself. And while walking unheeded through the sacred halls where the Pope conducts business, eats, sleeps and entertains, I had the singular feeling that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Highlights included standing on the balcony overlooking Piazza San Pietro from which the Pope addresses crowds of thousands, visiting a curious private room designed as an enclave for birds - with walls frescoed by Raphael in delicate flora and fauna, and touring the great halls where the Pope receives foreign dignitaries and other important people (there is actually a throne in the largest!).

Italy Wine Country: The best little bar in Rome

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courtney 014.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

While wandering through the twisting, cobbled streets of Rome's historic center one evening, we stumbled upon a tiny wine bar called Baronato Quattro Bellezze. With its dim lighting and barely-discernible sign out front, we could have easily passed right by without noticing it. But, being on vacation, we were in the habit of noticing things, and decided to head inside. There, four tables fit snugly inside the bar's main room, which is presided over by a fantastical 18th-Century carousel horse. Thick velvet drapes frame the horse on either side, and lend a decidedly theatrical vibe to the spot (something we discovered was no coincidence, since they sometimes stage small performances right there on the bar - one of which we had the pleasure of attending the next night!). Cozily tucked into a corner table, we sipped wildly popular spritz cocktails (wine, Aperol bitters and soda water) to a soundtrack of Frank Sinatra and other nostalgic tunes.

Italy Wine Country: Transmitting from Trastevere

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rome2.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Arrived at the outset of an incredible rainstorm, so took advantage of the weather to take a long nap. Jetlag assuaged, we set out to explore Rome by twilight, walking from the Colonnato del Bernini in front of the Vatican, past Castel Sant'Angelo, across the Tiber to Campo de Fiori and on to Piazza Navona, the great Baroque courtyard surrounded by tourist-filled restaurants and bars.

Naturally, we had several apperitvo along the way, something I'm getting quite accustomed to.

More soon on the best little bar in Rome, and a private tour of the Vatican.

As they say in Rome, "se vedemo!"

Italy Wine Country: Roman Holiday

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rome.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Like most Americans, I've often used the phrase, "when in Rome, do as the Romans," with that all-knowing half-smile that implies that yes, I do in fact know what Romans do! Romans and me, we go waaay back.

Except, I've never been to Rome. Have never, in fact, spent more than 72 hours altogether in Italy, and couldn't tell you what life is like in Rome any more than I could tell you what life is like on the moon. Romans and me, it turns out, don't even go back even so far as a nanosecond.

Travel Deal of the Week - Hadsten House

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SOLVANG, CA - Hadsten House Inn & Spa is a luxury, boutique lodging destination in Santa Barbara Wine Country featuring uniquely appointed guest rooms with classic French furnishings, decorativhadstenHouse.jpge fireplaces, and lavish amenities.  Take relaxation to the next level and stay in one of their special spa suites or take a dip in the heated indoor pool and be pampered in the day spa.

Travelers rave about Hadsten House and the food! Book their One Night Dinner Package and experience what all the fuss is about.

ONE NIGHT DINNER PACKAGE
Enjoy a one night getaway in a Deluxe room, continental breakfast for two, complimentary glass of wine with cheese & fruit, and three course dinner for tow in the Hadsten House Dining Room. ($178/couple)

Hadsten House Inn & Spa
1450 Mission Drive
Solvang, CA 93463

Travel Deal of the Week!

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doubleTreeSpecial.jpgDoubletree Hotel Sonoma - Wine Tasting Package

It's not every day you'll find an all inclusive lodging package that takes care of all your wine tasting needs at the same time!  Doubletree Hotel Sonoma Wine Country does just that with their Wine Tasting Package which believe it or not is a mere $165/night. We had to rub our eyes to make sure we saw the price right too!

Doubletree Hotel caters to both the leisure and business traveler and boasts so many amenities, that there are too many to name! You'll just have to book a package and discover for yourself!

Wine Tasting Package
In addition to accommodations, you'll receive 5 tasting passes at a variety of local wineries, breakfast each morning in Bacchus Restaurant, and a box lunch to take on your wine tasting adventure. Did we mention it's only $165/night?!

CLICK HERE to book package.

Doubletree Hotel Sonoma Wine Country
One Doubletree Drive
Ronhert  Park, CA 94928
707.584.5466




Luna Takes Tasting to the Next Level

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luna_vineyards.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Napa Valley's Luna Vineyards is over the t-shirt and ball cap concept. Rather than the routine merchandise for sale at so many wine country destinations, the Silverado Trail winery's recently revamped tasting room features high-end wine accessories available for purchase (think pewter wine funnels and bespoke cheese knives) inside elegantly lit, "Tiffany-like" display cases. Luna's fancy new merch is a far cry from the generic goods for sale elsewhere on the tasting trail, and - if you ask me - evidence of a welcome new direction for winery wares.

Livermore: More to Love

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RollingGrapeVines.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

To many drivers traversing the gusty Altamont Pass east of San Francisco Bay, Livermore Valley is little more than the vast open space they drive though before reaching the sea of windmills atop Altamont, one of the world's most important - and hard to miss - wind energy generation sites.

But folks familiar with California wine lore know that Livermore's undulating grasslands harbor not only some of the state's oldest documented grape vines but also a vibrant vinous past that dates to the mid Eighteenth Century. Savvy wine tourists also know that the valley affords a low-key alternative to the state's more popular wine regions, a place where limousines are scarce, but increasingly good wine and hospitality are anything but.

TGI Charbay

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CharbayVodkaFamily.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Ah, Napa. If you look hard enough, you can find just about everything you want in this serene stretch of Northern California countryside. Including spirits.

That's right - in the heart of Napa Valley you'll find Charbay distillery and its associate stable of spirits, liqueurs and wines - a novel fact given that more than 300 wineries dot the landscape around Napa, yet Charbay is the only distillery to call the valley home.

Wine & Food Festivals

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winecheese.gifConserve gas. Taste hundreds of wines paired with an array of foods all in one spot!

We are all in the same boat. Gas prices around the country have reached an all time with most people paying at least $4.00/gallon. Trips to the grocery store are now debated with "Do we really need milk? Can we wait until we run out of a few other items before we make a trip? Is there a list because we can't make multiple trips...". As a result, some think traveling to Wine Country is out of the question. Can you imagine driving from winery to winery while your precious gas is siphoned off by roads  Out of the question you reply.

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