Top 10 Gourmet Winery Experiences

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gourmet.jpgSpringtime weather is sublime, grape buds breaking, gentle breezes blowing and the mild sun shining.  It's time to get outdoors to enjoy this natural setting and an afternoon of gourmet goodies on the grounds of a beautiful winery. Whether for a full picnic or a little cheese and wine, recommends spending an afternoon at these wineries.  

1. Chalk Hill Winery, Alexander Valley: At Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma County's Alexander Valley, spend the day with the winemaker for fundamentals of wine tasting, a wine blending seminar and barrel tasting as well as lunch prepared by Chalk Hill Executive Chef Didier Ageorges. Each course paired with a different wine and served in the Estate's Pavilion featuring panoramic views of Chalk Hill Valley.  This excursion is included for you in's Exclusive Experience.
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2. V. Sattui Winery, St. Helena: Thousands of wine travel enthusiasts stop each month to relax on the tree shaded winery grounds, bring their dogs, taste wine and shop at the deli. This winery boasts a large gourmet deli & cheese board, gift shop, barrel aging cellars, museum & beautiful outdoor picnic area. 
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3. Artesa Winery, Carneros: Guests reach Artesa Winery by sweeping up a staircase bordered by cascading waterfalls. The stairs ascend past beautiful fountains, reflecting pools and sculpture. At the top, be struck by the panoramic vistas of Napa Valley, Carneros and the San Francisco Bay.   A catered champagne tasting and hors'deurves with the winery's infamous artist Gordon Huether awaits you in the Exclusive Experience.
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4. Franciscan Winery, Oakville: Look for the flowing fountain stands in front of Franciscan's winery property in Oakville, Napa Valley.  Sip wine in the sun-lit tasting room, or step outside and relax in the shade on the patio. We recommend to grab a gourmet sandwich with brie or goat cheese at the infamous nearby Oakville Grocery.
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5. Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves: Take in the awe-inspiring views as you enjoy a glass of wine on our Vista Terrace. Regardless of the season you'll find the ambiance is welcoming, gracious and unhurried. Cheese goodies are sold inside the tasting room to pair with your bubbly.
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6. Ledson Winery, Sonoma Valley: Ledson Winery invites guests to taste at one of six beautifully appointed tasting bars, stock up on local artisan foods at the gourmet marketplace and enjoy the vineyard and mountain views while picnicking in the shade of the century-old, heritage oak trees.  The Marketplace offers an extensive selection of locally produced gourmet items including condiments, oils, jams, tapanades and artisan cheeses. One whiff and you'll be hooked on the fresh baked breads and desserts.
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7. EOS Estate Winery, San Luis Obispo: The EOS Estate Winery in San Luis Obispo features a beautiful 6,000 square foot Mediterranean Marketplace.Stroll through the rose garden or enjoy a glass of fine wine in the spacious picnic area set among classical Italian architecture. The winery and Mediterranean Marketplace are open daily between 10am and 5pm.
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8. J Vineyards, Sonoma: The J Vineyards Bubble Room offers a sampling of J's older vintages and small production wines paired with culinary delights.  The Exclusive Experience with Hotel Healdsburg offers you this VIP sparkling treatment.
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9. Domaine Chandon, Yountville: Domain Chandon's chic Tasting Salon presents sparkling wine-friendly appetizers like smoked salmon, artisan cheeses, duck pâté, or marinated olives. Inside view stunning artwork while tasting the sparkling varieties or step outside to the sun-drenched deck to enjoy your gourmet treats with a glass or two.
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10. Goosecross Cellars, Napa Valley: Spend an unforgettable afternoon with Sherry Page, of Culinary Getaways, and Napa Valley's family winery Goosecross Cellars. Savor a delectable multi-course meal paired with the distinctive wines of Goosecross Cellars. Plus tour the beautiful grounds and vineyards of Goosecross following the luncheon events in this Exclusive Experience on
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I want to plan a trip for my wife and I to Paso Robles and Santa Barbara in Dec. My wife and i are from San Jose and we've visited Lodi, Santa Cruz, San jose, Levermore, etc wineries, but have heard from many that Paso Robles is the place to be. We are joining the J,Loir winery, and have had a taste of Paso Robles wines, but want to travel there ourselves.

I've only been to SLO once, and don't no anything about the area. Is it possible to give me some ideas of wineries to check out that are quality, but won't break the bank, Dinner spots, and scheduled events during this time? Also for Santa Barbara would be great as well.

I would like to stay in Paso Robles on a Friday, wine taste all day Sat, have dinner stay the night, and drive to Santa Barbara Sunday, wine taste, stay the night, leave Monday.

I know you aren't a travel Agent, but any first-hand help you could give would be greatly appreciated

Thanks Much

Temmet, don't miss the wines from L'Aventure or Tablas Creek down there. J. Lohr is an excellent winery as well, with a full range of price points. If you can find somene cooking it in December, try Santa Maria barbecue--the local specialty.

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