Top 5 Unforgettable Events Coming to Sonoma this Crush

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By Noah Bradon

Join the millions of wine enthusiasts as they rush to the Bay Area, eager to smell, taste and
participate in harvest season, fondly referred to as "Crush." See Sonoma Valley in the height of
her harvest. Indulge in a heavenly arrangement of delicious food, elegant parties, opportunities
to participate in the harvesting process--and, of course, an abundance of world-class wine and
life-long memories.


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1. "Crush" Wine Tours Aboard The Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley
Experience a unique twist to the wine tasting tour, riding on the Sonoma Wine Trolley as
it winds throughout the Valley. Alive with the Crush, Sonoma simultaneously dazzles and
instructs. Taste the produce from four different wineries and a complementary, catered lunch
from The Girl & the Fig Restaurant. Held daily from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., add this intriguing
event to your Crush calendar for just $99.

Top 5 "Crush" Events You Don't Want to Miss in Napa Valley

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WCLS_header_nvGrapeCrusher.jpgBy Noah Bradon

Despite being affected by an earthquake recently, Napa Valley has recovered quickly and is poised to produce another harvest of the highest caliber. Showing the world their remarkable resilience, the Napa community is proving it takes more than an earthquake to rattle the premier wine-growing region in the United States: a region that stands toe-to-toe with the best in the world. Come out, drink deeply and relish another unforgettable Crush.





1. Robert Mondavi's Exclusive "Crush" Cellar Tasting
Starting in September--in the heart of harvest season--Robert Mondavi Winery's fans have the unique opportunity to gain an understanding of one of the most recognizable and reputable cellars in the industry. Held in an intimate atmosphere, the event centers around a seated tasting of four reserve wines and an assortment of cheese and charcuterie. Snag an exclusive peek into the inner workings of a vineyard during harvest, via a guided tour. To preserve the exclusivity of the experience, each tasting is limited to 10 guests; advance reservations can be made for $55 per person.
Premier Pinot AVA Entices Wine Aficionados with Exclusive Tastings, Winemaker Dinner and More

2014 Pinot Classic email header image (2).jpgFor those who just can't swing a trip to France this May, the Russian River Valley is an obvious choice for some of the very best Pinot Noirs. Over Memorial Day Weekend (May 23-25), this premier destination for wine and magical hospitality will host its annual celebration - the Pinot Classic. Comprising three separate events and opportunities to enjoy the abundance found in the Russian River Valley, the Pinot Classic truly does offer something for every style of wine drinker, from the scientifically minded, to the elegant connoisseur, to the weekend warrior who simply enjoys great wine and spectacular scenery. 

Five of the most compelling reasons to attend this year's festivities are detailed below:

1. You're a seasoned wine lover with a sophisticated palate.  Overall, more than 40 wineries will participate in the 2014 Pinot Classic, allowing guests to differentiate their tasting experiences with access to yet-to-be-released wines and exclusive barrel tastings. The elegant Paulée Dinner also presents a rare opportunity to enjoy favored wines shared from vintners' personal cellars.

2. You're NOT a seasoned wine lover with a sophisticated palate.  With more than 40 diverse wineries welcoming guests for unlimited tastings throughout the Valley, the Passport to Pinot (May 24 & 25) is the ideal time to sample, compare and expand your appreciation for good wine with insights from resident experts and proprietors.

3. You love wine, but you also really love food.
  Between vertical tastings comparing various vintages throughout the years, you'll also enjoy perfectly paired bites of some of the Russian River Valley's finest local foods.  Once you've visited the experts on their turf, proceed to DeLoach Vineyards for the Paulée feast, artfully prepared by Chef Michou Cornu of Boisset Family Estates. Think such delicacies as Omble Chevalier with grilled white asparagus and organic petit lapin with fallot mustard sauce and roasted shallot potatoes...

4. You geek out when it comes to viticulture.  The Russian River Valley AVA is a veritable smorgasbord of rich soils, varying micro-climates and distinctly nuanced wine-making techniques.  The Neighborhoods Seminar on May 24 at 10 a.m. features an expert-led panel discussing the distinguishing characteristics of three of the region's separate neighborhoods; how these are expressed in the wines produced in each. 

5. You're out to impress with a magical location to uncover.  Bring a date, your parents, your high school friends who voted you "most likely to... nothing," and splurge on the Pinot Classic experience. Buy a ticket to all of the weekend's festivities and you'll create some amazing Russian River Valley memories. 

Besides, the French don't even observe Memorial Day, so it's still just a two-day weekend there.

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Gloria Ferrer Catalan Festival

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A Spanish Heritage of Wine, Music and Food



Transport yourself to the beauty and culture of Spain without the expense! Visit Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards this summer, July 19-20, 2014, for their annual Catalan Festival. This two day celebration was established by the Ferrer family of Spain to honor the opening of Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards in 1986, the first Catalan-owned winery in California.

Each day of the lively festival, guests will stroll Las Ramblas, replicating Barcelona's popular main street filled with the colors, smells and sounds of Spain.  Along the way they will sample savory tapas, enjoy paella and cooking demonstrations, and participate in educational seminars, cocktail demonstrations, food & wine pairings and a festive grape stomp.  Acclaimed Gloria Ferrer Carneros sparkling and estate varietal wines, as well as select wines from the Ferrer family's Spanish wineries, will be available for sipping. 

Those captivated by the mood may also learn to dance the traditional Sardana or learn about Havaneras. This year, music and entertainment will be provided by Makru Music and Sol Flamenco.  Finally, each year the handmade artistic replica of the Gegants de Mataró made specifically for Gloria Ferrer is presented during the festival. These 15-foot-tall paper mâché figures represent the Catalan Medieval King & Queen and are traditional to every Catalan town festival.

Tickets range from $60-90 per person and are on sale now at www.gloriaferrer.com or call the winery directly at (707)933-1917. The winery is located at 23555 Carneros Highway in Sonoma Wine Country. This is a popular event, so buy your tickets early!

Vintage Napa Valley 2012 TV Series

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What are you watching on television lately? The Olympics, the ongoing drama at Downton Abbey or waiting for new episodes of Scandal? What about VINTAGE: Napa Valley 2012?

Step outside the box and watch a new 6-part series that highlights the winemaking process and the glorious 2012 harvest season at three different Napa Valley wineries - Markham Vineyards, Chimney Rock Winery, and Rutherford Hill.

vintageNapaValley2012_TvSeries.jpgIn 2012, Mother Nature produced the "perfect" growing season in California's Napa Valley -- yielding a rare combination of quality fruit and an abundant crop load. Growers and winemakers across the Valley expressed high expectations for a classic year that would surely produce epic wines.  This outstanding vintage sets the backdrop for the new six-part public television series VINTAGE: NAPA VALLEY 2012.  Each half-hour episode takes viewers into three renowned Napa Valley wineries and the lives of the people who make the wine. Watch video trailer

"VINTAGE is a unique and engaging concept, and I am very pleased APT has agreed to distribute the program," said Daniel Soles, chief content officer for WTTW. "I believe the viewers will be invested in stories of the harvest," he added.

"Harvest is the most action-packed part of the winemaker's year, when some of the most important, and nail biting, decisions need to be made," says Peter Backeberg, the show's creator and producer. "We were granted fantastic access to follow the winemakers and their teams and I'm sure the viewers will enjoy the ride," he added.

The series started in early January in some areas like Chicago, but you can still catch the last few episodes. Be sure to check your local listings. Visit www.vintageseries.com for more information, details, and videos.

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