By Robert Farmer
February is a great time to be on the Monterey Peninsula. Okay, so pretty much any time is great to find yourself on this part of the California Coast, with its rugged natural beauty and refined city life that attracts all walks of life - from romance-minded tourists to nature lovers to golf nuts and, of course, wine lovers. Golf lovers, Yours Truly among them, head toward the Peninsula in February to mingle among the celebs and the pros during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, held this year February 4-10. I'll be there to take part in the fun and to try and get pointers from the pros on golf, and from the celebs on how not to work for a living.
But the bigger attraction in February may be the Monterey Wine Auction & Gala, hosted in February at the newly reopened Carmel Valley Ranch by the Monterey Vintners & Growers Foundation. The Monterey wine scene continues to gain national - indeed global - prominence and this wine auction supports that claim. The event features more than 15 winemakers, each hosting offering their wines along with their take on the ideal food pairing. Attendees meanwhile can bid on an array of excellent auction items, including a New York City shopping spree and a trip to Australia and New Zealand. Proceeds benefit college scholarships for the children of local agricultural employees, the American Vineyard Foundation, viticulture research through the University of California's Monterey outreach office, and the non-profit work of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Foundation. It's indeed great to be in Monterey in February. For tickets, contact MCVGA (831-375-9400; www.montereywines.org).