Posts Tagged ‘Santa Rosa’

Win Tickets to Next Weekend: "Eat, Sip, & Be Merry" On The Santa Rosa Wine Trail

The Members of The Santa Rosa Wine Trail  are hosting a special holiday tasting weekend on Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9 from 11 am to 4 pm each day. The wine trail is a collecti

on of urban wineries and tasting rooms, restaurants, and a hotel, all located within a a close radius, and a few minutes of downtown Santa Rosa.

Guests will enjoy food trucks, live music, and exclusive tours and buy cialis online activities at ten wineries. Each guest will receive a special “passport” for the weekend. Passports with stamps from each location will be entered for a drawing to win prizes including a case of wine for only one cent!

Tickets Are Only $25 buy soft viagra AND Include $10 Wine Purchase Credit

The ticket price of $25.00 presale or $35.00 at the door includes tastings at ten wineries and tasting rooms, a commemorative wine glass, and $10.00 in “wine bucks” which may be used towards the purchase of wine at any of the participating wineries.

For designated drivers, a $5.00 ticket includes special activities and non-alcoholic beverages.

Tickets are available at, at participating wineries, and at the door at any of the participating wineries during the event.Eat Sip & be Merry

Participating wineries are: Carol Shelton, D’Argenzio, Inspiration, Krutz Family Cellars, Old World, Paradise Ridge, Sheldon, Siduri/Novy*, Two Shepherds, and the collective at Vinoteca.

The Fountaingrove Inn is offering a limited number of Deluxe King Rooms for just $89/night to Eat, Sip and Be Merry visitors who would like stay in town Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday nights.  A link to the special purchase rate is available at Other lodging options may be found at

Enter to Win A Pair of buy generic cialis online Tickets

To win is simple, simply tell us in comments below:

If you were to receive wine as a Christmas gift from one of the wineries pouring – which would be your favorite pick?

A winner will be drawn at Random next Wed evening Dec 5th.  Enter now!


About the Santa Rosa Wine Trail

The Santa Rosa Wine Trail is a collection of eleven wineries, three restaurants, and one hotel in northern Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, California. The Santa Rosa Wine Trail card (print yours here or pick one up at one of our member wineries) is your passport to great days and nights of some of the best wine and food Sonoma County has to offer, all in close proximity.

Members: Carol Shelton Wines, D’Argenzio Winery, Inspiration Vineyards, Krutz Family Cellars, Old World Winery, Paradise Ridge, Robert Rue Vineyard, Sheldon Wines, Siduri/Novy, Two Shepherds, Vinoteca, John Ash, Stark’s Steak & Seafood, Willi’s Wine Bar and Vintners Inn.The offica map of the Santa Rosa Wine Trail

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Events for This Weekend and Two Routes for the Wine Road Barrel Tasting

Guest Post by Fred Swan

This weekend’s events look a little sparse on the surface. But one little line item portends barrels of adventure. Hundreds of barrels. Full of wine. canadian viagra

tle=”The 34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting in Northern Sonoma” href=”″ target=”_blank”>The 34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting in Northern Sonoma.

There have already been excellent articles on this site about the barrel tasting. I don’t want to repeat what has been said. But, the list of more than 120+ wineries makes it hard to know where to start. So, I’ll offer a couple of itineraries for you to consider:

(Editorial note by William, for those of you who listened to me on KRSO tonight and are looking for the Tips & Ticket Contest, see Monday’s Post Here: Wine Road Barrel Tasting – The Premier Wine Buying Event of The Season. Learn, Share and Win Tickets! (4 winners!) )

Route 1: Get it While You Can — Wineries Open This Weekend Only

Saturday, focus on wineries west of Hwy 101. I might start at Moshin. Their Sauvignon Blanc will ease you into tasting. Follow it up with vineyard-designate Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

Next, head up Westside Road to De La Montanya. They have five different wines for you to sample, starting with Pinot Noir and closing with a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc. The dessert wine will lead nicely into lunch. You did pack a lunch, right?

Head north on Westside Drive as it turns into West Dry Creek. Pull in at Quivira. Eat your lunch near their biodynamic gardens. Then enjoy their Mourvedre and Petite Sirah.

From Quivra continue on to A. Rafanelli Winery which will be pouring 2010 Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their wines are always very good. And they age well.

On the second day do an eastern route. Rodney Strong will have a tasty assortment. Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Dry Creek Zinfandel.

From there, go to Stryker Sonoma. See how the Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate differs from the Dry Creek wines you tried on Saturday. The’ll also pour Merlot.

Stay on the Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon path by going to Trentadue. They’ll let you try their reserve, the La Storia Cabernet Sauvignon. The La Storia Zinfandel and La Storia Cuvee 32 blend will also be available.

For a taste of a completely different Cabernet Sauvignon AVA, head back across Hwy 101 to Ridge Vineyards. They’ve got a barrel of 2011 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Cruz Mountains. (Ridge is open the 2nd weekend too, but why wait?)


Route 2: Que Syrah — There’s more to Sonoma than Chard, Zin, Pinot and Cab

Formulate an itinerary from among these excellent Syrah producers:

Joseph Swan (Forestville) will be pouring not one but three vineyard-designate Syrah. Give them a try and see how the terroir of the different vineyards shows through in the wines. The winery will also have Zin, Tannat and more.

Vintoteca in Santa Rosa will be featuring six different wineries. Among the wines will be Olson Ogden’s Dry Creek Syrah. Before you dive into that though, try the Pinot Noirs from Bjornstadt and Baker Lane.

Krutz Family Cellars (Santa Rosa) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stagecoach Vineyards of Napa Valley was one of Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines for 2011. They’re opening a barrel of Syrah from that same vineyard, which excels with that variety.

Lauterbach Cellars (Windsor) has acclaimed Syrah fruit, but makes wine in tiny quantities. This is your chance to try some. They’ll have the 2009 Syrah, but will start you off with Pinot Noir and their Syrah Rosé.

Red Car (Sebastopol) is un-bunging their Estate Syrah. But first, enjoy Heaven & Earth and their estate Pinot Noir.

Dutton Estate Winery will be pouring My Father’s Syrah. …I didn’t even know my dad had Syrah! I’m sure it will be good though. They’ve also got Pinot and Chardonnay on tap wine thief.



Lake County

Six Sigma Ranch Pro & Amateur Pruning Competition —Lower Lake: March 3, 10:00am – noon
Learn pruning from the pros and try your hand at it, too!


Napa Valley

Cab Release Weekend at Velo Vino — St. Helena: March 3 – 4, 11:00am – 6:00pm
A special Vertical tasting of our 2006, 2007 and 2008 kit’s killer cab.

Charles Krug Winery Celebrates Charles Krug’s 187th Birthday — St. Helena: March 3, 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Imagine the light the birthday candles will put out! There’ll be appetizers and three-course wine dinner.


Sonoma County

34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting – Northern Sonoma: March 2 – 4, 11:00am – 4:00pm
144 wineries open their doors this weekend, many will be offering futures. Advance ticket sales are over, but you can buy tickets at the door.

Inspiration Vineyards Winemaker Dinner — Santa Rosa: March 2, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
There are still a few seats available for this dinner and the menu looks great!

Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: March 2, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Unwind after work, or barrel tasting, to rock and reggae played by Oscar Caleron.

Hanzell Vineyards Winemaker Dinner at Santé — Sonoma: March 8, 6:30pm
Join Hanzell winemaker Michael McNeill for a delicious four-course dinner paired with past and current vintages of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.


A Quick Plug:

The Wine Advocate will soon be releasing Antonio Galloni’s report on Sonoma County Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. You can learn levitra viagra online more about him and what he looks for wines by reading my in-depth interview with him. It’s being published in daily doses this week at

Enjoy your weekend!


Upcoming Wine Events in the North Coast, February 4 – 12

William has invited me to keep you apprised of upcoming wine events for the North Coast with weekly posts here at Simple Hedonisms. Each article will cover roughly 2 weeks of events taking place in Lake, Mari

n, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties. Every now and then, there’ll be a sneak preview of something farther out in time or distance.

All events listed below are in chronological order by region. Some events require advance reservations or ticketing, so it’s best to click through for any event you’d like to attend. The headline links for each event will take you to the calendar at where you’ll find further details on that event. And event organizers sometimes change details at the last minute, so it’s always a good idea to contact the host prior to showing up at their doorstep.

One-time, up-front disclaimer (in future articles, this will appear at the end): The events I’ll call attention to here are those that I’ve become aware of and which offer something beyond the standard winery tasting room experience. Neither I nor William are compensated by any of the event organizers in any way. The listings are for the benefit of the community. Enjoy!

Event organizers and publicists wishing to maximize the likelihood of their events being published here should post their events in the calendar at Posting events there requires a one-time registration (easy, peasy), but is totally free of charge. And it only takes a couple of minutes. I’ll soon post a guide at with tips on how to make event posts as effective as possible.

Now that that’s out of the way… Wow! What a busy couple of weekends we’ve got coming up. If it weren’t for the Super Bowl this Sunday — an event against which few wineries are daring to compete — I’d still be clacking away, adding festivities. Valentine’s Day has inspired a huge bouquet of events pairing wine and chocolate, wine and oysters, wine and flowers, wine and romance. I’ll take any of those over a Hallmark card. (Gentlemen, this is not a suggestion that you forgo a card this year. Bad idea!)

Have a great weekend and I hope to see you tomorrow afternoon at the Micro-Winery Collective Open House at the Inspiration Vineyards tasting room in Santa Rosa.

Lake County

Saturday, February 11

Wine & Chocolate . . . and More! at Mt. Konocti Winery — Lakeport: 12:00 – 4:00
There will be more than 30 wineries pouring premium Lake County wines paired with gourmet chocolates and savories by Master Sommelier Candidate and Masters of Wine Candidate Sommelier Stephanie Green.

Marin County

Tuesday, February 7

Happy Hour with Tudal Family Winery at Bacchus Venus — Sausalito: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Taste through a flight of Tudal Wine’s for $10.

Mendocino County

Sunday, February 11

McFadden’s Second Saturday — Hopland: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Enjoy McFadden’s wines made from 100% organically-grown grapes and paired with a delicious food treat.

Wine & Chocolate Extravaganza at RWV Wineries — Redwood Valley: 11:00am – 5:00pm
One ticket gets you a glass for Wine Tasting and Chocolates at all 9 locations.

Cupid in the Caves at Saracina Vineyards, Hopland: 12:30pm – 4:00pm
Stop by the Saracina Tasting Bar for the romance-inducing foods of the gods: wine, oysters and chocolate!

Crab Feast in the Barrel Room at Jaxon Keys Winery — Hopland: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
A Valentines Weekend Crab Feast in the Jaxon Keys Barrel Room. They’ll start things off with Oysters three ways: Rockefeller, Florentine, and raw and then it’s all about the crab!

Napa Valley

Friday, February 3

Annual Open House at Charles Krug Winery — St. Helena: 10:30am – 4:30pm
The Peter Mondavi family welcomes you to their annual open house. Meet the family, taste new releases and enjoy live music.

Saturday, February 4

Annual Open House at Charles Krug Winery — St. Helena: 10:30am – 4:30pm
The Peter Mondavi family welcomes you to their annual open house. Meet the family, taste new releases and enjoy live music.

Winter Release Day at Silver Oak — Oakville: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Release celebration for the 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and kicks off of festivities for Silver Oak’s 40th Anniversary.

Cabernet Release Event at Bennett Lane Winery — Calistoga: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Visit Bennett Lane Winery for the pre release of their 2009 Cabernet and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winter Tag-a-Long at Saddleback Cellars — Oakville: 11:00am – 5:00pm
It’s a great day to taste at Oakville wineries since most in the area celebrate the release of the 2007 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon! At Saddleback, they’ll have an enhanced tasting day with food from Rebel-Dog and live music by the Wasted Rangers.

Cabernet Pre-Release Day at Cosentino Winery — Yountville: 12:00pm – 04:00pm
Get a sneak peak at the Cosentino Winery Reserve Cabernet and its library varietal, paired with chocolate.

Cabernet Pre-Release Day at Girard Winery — Yountville: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
A sneak peak at the inaugural release of the Girard Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

Friday, February 10

Cupid’s Kitchen at Girard Winery — Yountville: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Bubbles, the Oyster Girls from Tomales Bay, a sensuous chocolate fountain and exquisite cheeses.

Saturday, February 11

Valentine’s Oyster and Wine Pairing at Black Stallion Winery — Napa: 12:00pm – 4:00pm or until the oysters run out
Oysters by the pair, six-pack or dozen. And wine!

Goosecross Valentine’s Day Party at TopFlight — Napa: 2:00pm – 6:00pm
Enjoy an afternoon of wine, chocolate and romance.

San Valentino Dinner at Andretti Winery — Napa: 6:00pm – 10:30pm
Put on your best Upscale Wine Country attire and come celebrate amore and Valentine’s Day with Andretti Winery.

Sonoma County

Saturday, February 4

Crab Feed at Sbragia Family Vineyards — Geyserville: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
The Sbragia family invites you to join them for an evening of cracked crab and fabulous wine!

Winter Release Day at Silver Oak — Geyserville: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Release celebration for the 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and kicks off of festivities for Silver Oak’s 40th Anniversary.

Syrah Saturday at Amista Vineyards – Healdsburg: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Enjoy Amista’s signature estate wines with gourmet food pairings from 11:00-4:30 on Saturday, February 4th.

Wine & Chocolate Fantasy at Rodney Strong Vineyards — Healdsburg: 10:00am – 5:00pm
The Rodney Strong barrel room is transformed into a beautiful series of halls and rooms, featuring wine and chocolate and chocolate and wine!

Micro-Winery Collective Open House at Inspiration — Santa Rosa: 11:00am – 5:00pm
These wineries don’t have public tasting rooms. This is a special opportunity for you to try and buy wines from seven uniquely different wineries, each

with their own winemaker present to tell you their stories and introduce you to their wines.

Fundrasier for the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue at Marimar Estate — Sebastopol: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Tapas, wine, and an education booth run by Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue

Tuesday, February 7

Tasting Tuesdays at Willi’s Wine Bar — Santa Rosa: 4:00pm – 05:30pm
This week’s guest is Jesse Inman of August Briggs Wines.

Friday, February 10

Roche Winemaker Dinner at Sheraton Sonoma County — Petaluma: 6:30pm – 09:00pm
This “Pre-Spring Fling” Winemaker Dinner is open to the public, however, advanced reservations and RSVP are required.

Saturday, February 11

Reds & Romance Weekend at Dutton Goldfield — Sebastopol: 10:00am – 04:30pm
Featuring Dutton Goldfield Winery‘s luscious red wines, including single-vineyard Pinots from the amazing 2009 vintage. A special sweet treat awaits you as well.

Bring Your Sweetheart! at Deerfield Ranch Winery — Kenwood: 10:30am – 4:30pm
Deerfield Ranch Wines paired with Robert’s handcrafted chocolate truffles.

Culinary Romance: Valentine’s Weekend at Bella Vineyards — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Bring your special valentine and bask in the elegant ambiance of our wine cave as you explore the culinary side of romance.

Sweet 116 at the Wineries of 116 — Sebastopol: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Enjoy decadent treats and delicious wines at six wineries along Highway 116 near Sebastopol.

Valentine Library Wine Flight at Skewis Wines — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:00pm
We have a special tasting planned for Valentine’s weekend; a single vineyard, vertical tasting from our private wine library.

Miette Pastries at J Vineyards — Healdsburg: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Head over to J Vineyards and Winery and enjoy tasty treats prepared by Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell from the Miette, San Francisco’s most charming pastry shop.

Tasting Room Grand Opening at Karah Estate/Windy Hill — Cotati: 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Come to the grand opening of the new Karah Estate tasting room and enjoy a free tasting, plus its panoramic view of the Petaluma Gap!

A Zin Affair to Remember at DeLoach Vineyards — Santa Rosa: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Vertical Zinfandel tastings, gourmet chocolate, local artisan cheeses, live music and more!

Sunday, February 12

Reds & Romance Weekend at Dutton Goldfield — Sebastopol: 10:00am – 04:30pm
Featuring Dutton Goldfield Winery‘s luscious red wines, including single-vineyard Pinots from the amazing 2009 vintage. A special sweet treat awaits you as well.

Bring Your Sweetheart! at Deerfield Ranch Winery — Kenwood: 10:30am – 4:30pm
Deerfield Ranch Wines paired with Robert’s handcrafted chocolate truffles.

Culinary Romance: Valentine’s Weekend at Bella Vineyards — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Bring your special valentine and bask in the elegant ambiance of our wine cave as you explore the culinary side of romance.

Valentine Library Wine Flight at Skewis Wines — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:00pm
We have a special tasting planned for Valentine’s weekend; a single vineyard, vertical tasting from our private wine library.

Love and Meritage Blending Party at Topel Tasting Room — Healdsburg: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Topel winemaker Marcus Topel will pair up with KRSH Radio’s Ziggy Eschliman, best known as Ziggy – The Wine Gal, to guide friends (with or without benefits) and lovers through the wine blending process.

Wine Lover’s Event at Mounts Family Winery — Healdsburg: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Indulge yourself with a wine, cheese & chocolate Pairing and try pre-release Petite Sirah, Malbec viagra best buy and Zinfandel. RSVP required.

Looking Forward

Don’t forget the 7th Annual Int’l Alsace Festival coming up on February 18 in Boonville. There will be an Int’l Alsace Varietals Festival Technical Conference a Grand Tasting and a Winemakers Dinner. I’ve attended this event before and really enjoyed it.


This article is by Fred Swan for Simple Hedonisms. Photograph ©Igor Prole, used under license. All rights reserved.

Saturday Nov 19th is Artisano – One of My Favorite Small Producer Food & Wine Events.

I was hooked on Artisano when I attended the first event 2 years ago and look forward cheap viagra from canada to the third. This year the event moves from Geyserville Inn (which I really liked) to the Vintners Inn, in Santa Rosa. (Which I can't

complain about, since its very close by!)

This events features small wine producers, whom at time of selection do not have a public tasting room, so this is a chance to taste wines you can't just walk into anywhere. I have discovered great vintners like Skewis, Skipstone, and Duxoup in previous years. Faves like Cartograph and Stark are to be found this year.


Acorn, Capture, Cartograph, PreVail, De Novo, Skipstone, Stark, Reynoso and Pech Merle.


Affronti, Dry Creek Kitchen, Diavola, Estate, Jackson’s, John Ash, Mugnaini Wood Fired Pizza, Petite Syrah, Spoonbar and Girl & The Fig.

PLUS: Achadinha Goat Cheese, Bellwether Farms, Bleating Heart Chesese, Dry Creek Peach and Produce, Delice de la Vallee, Jim town Store, Laura Chenel, Marin French Cheese, Redwood Hill, Salt Side Down Chocolates, Skipstone Ranch, Sonoma Chocolatiers and Terra Sonoma. Oh and Bear Republic offers up beer.

In addition to wine and food tastings, the Grand Tasting includes chef demonstrations by John

Toulze of The Girl & the Fig, Brian Anderson from Bistro 29 and Shelly Kaldunski, author ofCupcakes, The Art of the Cookie; as well as a silent auction, raffle, several of the region's premier artists, and live music courtesy of The Susan Comstock Swingtet. 

Tickets and Info

Artisano's full weekend of activities includes a WINEMAKER DINNER on Friday evening at John Ash & Co. Restaurant (tickets no longer available), and a HARVEST DINNER on Saturday evening at John Ash & Co.

Tickets are available online for $65 in advance or $75 at the door, if they don't sell out prior.

Tickets and information are available here:

Simple Hedonisms will be there, hope to see you too!

The event is a benefit for Slow Food Sonoma County, with a portion of the revenue going to help School Garden Projects in Cloverdale, Geyserville, Healdsburg, Windsor and Santa Rosa.

Related Articles

Artisano – Slow Food meets Wine Country


October Meetup Double Feature: Wine Meetup/Industry Open House, and Wine Club Pickup Party at Sheldon & Krutz Wineries 2-6 pm. Food Truck Dinner Party after!

Sheldon WinesKrutz Family Cellars, and Simple Hedonisms invites you to join us Sunday October 9 from 2-6 pm for an afternoon of Harvest fun & celebration. This busy time of year comes only once a year, and we’d like to thank

our patron and fellow wine-o’s for your support.

 New Day, Slight Format Twist

This month’s meetup is a slighly different format – we are putting side by side a Krutz/Sheldon wine club & futures pick up as well as our monthly meetup. Its also a first to do a Sunday.

The Wine club event is scheduled for *loosely* 2-4 and the Meetup 4-6 pm but we encourage club members, patrons, winery staff and everyone to visit any time between 2-6 that works for you. The more the merrier.

You may RSVP here:

No charge for Sheldon or Krutz Wine Club Members and Futures pickups, or  wine industry (proof may be asked for at check in.) The general public is only $10 ($9 in advance) and includes all tastings from both wineries, some nibbles, and door prizes.

Jump on the Santa Rosa Wine Trail

Attendees will also receive a Santa Rosa Wine Trail card with two stamps. (If you came to our meetup at Inspiration you will now have 3!) Fill it up and enter for a case of wine for $1. You also get complimentary tasting at all members, and free corkage if you buy/bring a member winery bottle to Willi’s Wine Bar.

Door prizes (new change)

Because of the altered format this month, door prizes will be drawn at the end of then event, and persons notified, you need not be present to win.


STAY AFTER; Food Truck Party!

The event ends at 6, but the party continues. Buy wines by the glass starting at only $5 and food truck vendor Ultra Crepes will be selling food. They were

a big hit at my recent Grenache Day tasting, selling 70 plates, both savory and sweet. They will be onsite from 330 pm until 7.

If you think you might stay, answer the question during registration so we can plan on tables & chairs.

See you Sunday – Cheers!

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Thanksgiving Weekend Wine Country Events

Happy Black Friday from Wine Country

Apologies for not publishing this last night as planned, I was wore out after a great day of food and wine, and practicing what I preach: Simple Hedonisms. I also have had my Twitter account hacked 2x the last two days, wasting a lot of time trying to individually apologize. I will NEVER send out SPAM.

In addition to this weekly Post (targeted for Thursdays) the Calendar page of this blog, and my events Tab on FaceBook are resources as well. (Best to check both, as some items exist only on one.)

There is a plethora of events this weekend, with many wineries hosting open houses, special events. It will take to long to highlight them all here, some (by no means all) are listed on my calendar.

Other good resources for events: The Juice, and usually add items from these (and other sources) for my calendar, but with too many open houses for me to list, I’d scan these too. And of course just call your fave wineries and see what they are offering.

Buy Wine – Black Friday is Red (or White) Friday!

Wineries are offering incredible deals right now, this is a great chance to stock up, as well as support your local wineries. I have picked up 6 cases this last week of great wines at prices that just couldn’t be ignored. For Holiday gifts, take advantage of wineries offering free/inexpensive shipping – thats as much as $50 right there. I overflowed my two wine cellars (120 and 40 bottle) and further stimulated the economy with a new Vinotemp 160, which I am waiting for delivery as we speak. Scouring the Net, I found this on sale, with free shipping ($300+), this is a killer deal for a quality cellar, and gives me some much needed expansion space!

Heart of Sonoma Valley – 26th Annual Holiday Open Housesonoma holiday

Today and tomorrow,  November 27 & 28.  Join over twenty wineries throughout the heart of Sonoma Valley for this annual celebration and enjoy wine tastings, meet winemakers, mingle in the 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!

I am excited about this event, as I wrote last week, I don’t get down to the ‘Valley’ that much. This passport event is a steal, only $30 for two days.

Participating Wineries: Adler Fels Winery, Audelssa Estate Winery, Benziger Family Winery, Chateau St. Jean, Deerfield Ranch Winery, Enkidu Wines, Eric Ross Winery, Family Wineries, Imagery Estate Winery, Kaz Vineyard & Winery, Kenwood Vineyards, Kunde Family Estate, Landmark Vineyards, Ledson Winery & Vineyards, Little Vineyards, Loxton Cellars, Mayo Family Winery, Muscardini Cellars/Ty Caton Vineyards, Paradise Ridge Winery, St. Francis Winery, VJB Vineyards & Cellars, Valley of the Moon Winery and Wellington Vineyards.

As I have encouraged, spend a few minutes on the website, map out a plan based on interest in varietals, producers, before you head out. And consider carrying around a spitcup, to maximize your tasting experience. (Unless a day of partying is more of what you are after, just bring your DD along!))

Other Interesting Events:

Downtown Healdsburg Holiday Party: Today, 5-9 p.m.

CarolersThe Christmas season in Healdsburg is a wonderful way to experience the joys of the holidays in a small town. Even though Healdsburg has become a chic visitor destination, there is still a small town charm here that always shows itself off best at this time of year.

There are so many ways to experience the Christmas season in Healdsburg and enjoy our hospitality. There are winery open houses, the Victorian Inns tour and four days of the Strolling Dine Around. The holiday events start on November 27 with Healdsburg’s Annual Downtown Holiday Party! This shopping celebration shows off an eclectic mix of shops with refreshments, holiday cheer, music and horse-drawn carriage rides.

For the children there is Santa Saturday, which starts with a ‘Toys for Tots’ drive (please bring unwrapped gifts) and continues with Santa visits, games and family fun.

The restaurants will show off their best holiday dishes,  and the wineries and shops sparkle with holiday lights. Full details, and a map and timetable are here.

Santa Rosa Railroad Square:


Friday November 27th – Check out both the Courthouse Square Merchant Open House from 12-5 pm today and the  Santa Rosa Downtown Tree Lighting from 5-730. Lots of great local shop specials, and fun for the whole family. Click on the links for full details.

Wine Sale and Holiday Open House at Acorn Winery – Saturday Nov 28th, 11-4GrapeGreenLeaf

Join  Betsy & Bill Nachbaur of Acorn Winery, for a special open house. This is a special treat, Acorn is a small family producer, with less than 3,000 cases a year, normally open by appointment. Great people, wine, hospitality. If that’s not enticement enough Zin Restaurant  is catering, and offering: Autumn Vegtable Hash Cake with Zin Sausage & Eastside Farm Pepper Jelly, AND Holiday Biscotti with Chocolate and Dried Cranberries. Also, Acorn will be pouring (and selling) some delicious 2001 Acorn wines.

Holiday Open House at Kendall Jackson:

Ring in the Holidays at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center with a Reception, Wine Tasting & Hors d’oeuvres. Details. 11-4 pm, Friday

Also note at the K-J Wine Center: Art Show & Sale: November 28th – 30th, 10 am – 5 pm

  • Taste limited release wines while shopping for holiday gifts, and view artwork by local artists
  • Details

Not wine country related – but next week for your Portland Dwellers, don’t miss the very fun Holiday Ale Festival, in Pioneer Square. This is a great event, that runs next Wednesday through Saturday, that I unfortunately have to miss it this year as I head out Tuesday for business in N.C.

With that, I am off to re-organize my collection, and head out to some open houses!

Artisano – Slow Food meets Wine Country

On Saturday, September 14th, I attended a new event in North Sonoma – the first Annual Artisano.  The event was hosted by Slow artisanoFood Sonoma County, North;   a chapter of Slow Food International.  Slow Food Sonoma County engages the local community in supporting and promoting local, sustainable food and food traditions and advocating for good, clean, and fair food for all people.

Sonoma County and Slow Food fit hand in glove – we embrace food, and appreciate it as an embedded part our culture. I knew little about this event going into it, but after a very long week on the road, I was looking forward to what I hoped would be a relaxed day of food and wine, Sonoma style.

The event organizers came through, and Mother Nature assisted by providing us with a gorgeous, mid 70s sunny day. IMG_0252The event was hosted at Geyserville Inn. I was expecting it to be inside (and perhaps that was the plan in the event of inclement weather…?) but was pleased to find everything spread out across the well manicured lawn and garden areas. The layout was well done, and leisurely paced, as befits ‘Slow’ Food.

I have raved about the Signature Visa Annual Taste of Sonoma as one of the best events that I have attended. I would put Artisano right next to it, on a micro scale. In some ways I enjoyed it more – while it 1/20 of the scale of food and wine offerings, the more casual pace, smaller crowd, and very high quality food and wine providers, was exceptional. The event was a bit pricey at $75 in advance, $90 at the door. (Ten minutes after I bought mine online, I found an email with a promo code that would have saved me $20/each – the online agency was unable to help me after the fact though.) This may have contributed to keeping the event numbers lower – however, had many more attended I think the event wouldn’t have been as enjoyable.

The event  organizers did a great job seeking out wine producers who rarely show, and/or were new. The majority of the wines being poured I had never seen before, or knew little about.

The intimate size and moderate crowd made it possible to linger at many stations and talk with the wine makers, and owners. After a long sleep deprived week, I was less in ‘investigative mode’ and more in ‘enjoy’ mode, but I did take the time to chat in depth with a few.

IMG_0253Skipstone: I spent a fair amount of time with Brook Drummond, head of Marketing and P.R. as well as Andrew Levi, the wine maker. Both were very friendly, and enthusiastic about their product. Skipstone only bottles two wines: a Viognier ($40), and Oliver’s Blend, a Bordeaux style blend. They offered an amazing food pairing with each, prepared by their own chef, the only station that had both wine and food in one spot. The Viognier was great expression of the varietal, that let the fruit come through, and not over manipulated, as seems to be the trend now with California Viognier’s. Oliver’s Blend was my favorite red of the day – a testament to the quality, as I have generally become burned out on Bordeaux blends. Turns out it’s a highly allocated, $100 wine – but I picked it as my favorite before I knew the price. I was also impressed by their marketing and PR material – this is a winery that ‘gets it’, and fortunately has the back to invest in itself – which only pays dividends later.

Duxoup I had never heard of Duxoup, and was amazed to learn they have been making wine in Healdsburg for over 25 years. Owner Andrew Cutter admitted he almost never attended these events, so it was a treat. Duxoup bottles varietals you don’t find commonly – charbono, gamay noir, dolcetto, and sangiovese. These are made old world style, moderate alcohol levels, and moderately priced. Their wines have a great following and procuring some requires some live interaction with them – there is no storefront, online or brick and mortar. I am in contact to procure a mixed case, should hear back shortly. I’ll be buying most blind – but willing to take a leap of faith after meeting Andrew, and sampling the dolcetto.IMG_0251

Forth Vineyards Its hard not to like Jann Forth with her bubbly, energetic, outlook. They have a cute quote on their literature (not on their website) that starts….” 2 crazy people, 5 baby-doll sheep, 3 dogs, 4 cats, 16 free range hens…” that continues and then ends “1 huge love,, enough to share.” The Forth’s love of the area, and what they do shines through in Jann. Their website and marketing is simple, their wines are well made, and embody the spirit of Sonoma family wine making.

Kelley and Young Newer entrants to the business, I enjoyed chatting with the very hospitable co-owner, Kathleen Kelley Young. They make a great Sauvignon Blanc. Kathleen was a joy to talk to,and I hope to be able to attend the fundraiser they are hosting in their home December 13th.

Since this was a Slow Food event, I guess I should also mention some of the amazing food offerings. There was an amazing variety of creative, delectable food offerings from wonderful venues like Zazu, Zin, Rosso, Dry Creek Kitchen, Bovolo and more. As well as great breads, cheeses, and chocolate morsels from Costeaux French Bakery, Cowgirl Creamery, Delice de la Vallee, Sonoma Chocolatiers and more.

It was hard to pick a favorite out of so many. Jeff and Susan of Zin never disappoint, and I’d like to have grazed on their lamb offering a few more times. Zazu had an especially yummy bite as well. Across the board, every thing offered was well prepared, creative, and delicious. My apologies that I didn’t take more detailed notes and pictures, as I admitted above, I was enjoying simply being a consumer, and rejuvenating myself with great food, wine, and people – what I love about Sonoma so much.

IMG_0254Throughout the day there was live music and chef demonstrations. Everything was very well laid out, planned, and spread out. I slowly drifted around the grounds a few times, and was amazed that my allotted three hours had flown by! Apparently time flies, when you enjoy Slow Food…..but that’s what its all about isn’t it….taking the time from our ridiculously busy lives to enjoy the bountiful gifts that surround us – we are truly blessed as Sonoma County residents.

Hats off to the event co-ordinators – I’ll be buying tickets next year the day they go on sale.


Don’t Miss! The Wine Road’s 11th Annual Wine & Food Affair. (tips inside)

Northern California Wine Country has many events, and its been a passion and pleasure of mine to attend many. While there are many good ones, there are a few that are GREAT. One of my favorites is this weekend’s Wine Road’s Wine & Food Affair. I feel some events are becoming a bit pricey for what they deliver; the Wine and Food Affair is one of the best values, and experiences Sonoma that Wine Country has to offer.


This special “Tasting Along the Wine Road” is November 7 & 8,  Saturday & Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm.  A Wine & Food Affair is the “premier event for the Wine Road, featuring a weekend of wine and food pairing in the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys.”

So what is this about? 80 wineries along the Wine Road (aptly named ‘Heaven Condensed’ ) offer food pairings to go along with their wines being poured. This is a ‘passport’ event – meaning you pay one fee, and can visit as many participating wineries as you wish. At just $60 for the entire weekend,or $40 for Sunday, this is an amazing value. People who pre-registered also get a great cookbook of the recipes.

So 5 hours a day for 2 days, and 80 wineries. How do you pick?  I have a (longish) list of Wine Road favorites, but rather than rattle those off here (email me), I am going to try and stay neutral, and offer other suggestions to enjoy this event. And this is about food pairings, not just wine.

planThe Golden Rule:  PLAN! Plan, plan, plan, plan. Did I say plan? Do you close your eyes at Safeway and throw random articles into your cart? No. So, don’t just drive down Dry Creek, or Westside Road and stop anywhere. There are great resources on the Wine Road website I am going to suggest – follow and use them.

So where do you start?

First are you going for one day or both? If only one, then its really important to map out a hit list, and start early.

1. What varietals (wine types) do you prefer?

You can partially match areas to this. Of course some wineries produce from all over, but generally if you prefer say, Pinot Noir map-homeand Chardonnay, you should spend time in the area around Forestville – Sebastopol and visit places like Lynmar, Moshin, Balleto etc. These geographic lines do get a bit blurry though, as great Pinot houses like C. Donatiello, Thomas George, etc. are further North. Dry Creek Valley is known as Zin country, but many wineries produce a host of other varietals, especially Syrah, and sometimes Cab, Petite Syrah, and others, as does Alexander Valley. You may want to consider focusing on lighter varietals, like Pinot, in the morning, and then try more full-bodied wines in the afternoon.

(2) Use The Wine Road web site to assist you.

It has many great maps and sorting tools. My favorite page allows you to click and sort by varietals (wine types), region, and amenities. This latter one is very useful for identifying wineries that are open ‘By Appointment’ only. There are a number of wineries participating such as Acorn, John Tyler, Windsor Oaks, etc that normally are open to the public only by appointment, so this event is a great way to just pop in and experience those wineries without having to plan ahead a make an appointment.

You can also use the amenities sort feature to identify the wineries with picnic facilities,  If you are really organized in planning your route, you can land at a good picnic spot right around lunch time.

(3) Consult the Participating Winery List.

Eighty wineries are participating – but the Wine Road has over 150 wineries, so don’t assume, double check. Especially for the wineries that are open by appointment only -some of these aren’t participating. It also doesn’t hurt to check with your favorite wineries if they don’t show up as participating. Mounts Family Winery in Dry Creek for example, isn’t on the official list, but will have free tastings for ticket holders, and is offering a food pairing.

(4) Bring a Spit Cup. redcup

If you are serious about tasting wine, and hitting as many wineries as you can, I strongly urge you to bring your own spit cup. Spitting into a dump bucket in a crowded tasting room isn’t something I recommend, and many people find it unpleasant which is one reason why more people don’t. That’s why at industry events and wine classes, red plastic spit cups are usually available. They’re easier to use, unobtrusive, and allow for discreet spitting for those who are shy about spitting in public. I can’t underscore this enough – if you taste 4-5 wines at each location, you may not realize that you are easily consuming 1-2 glasses of wine per locale. However, as little as 5-6 ounces of wine is a enough to start to impact your palette and judgment. Yes the food will help a bit, but not enough, if you are making many stops. At a bare minimum, dump varietals you don’t care for. But that is only going to help a bit. Give spitting a try — for the morning at least.  You will be glad you did!

(5) Bring a cooler. And your wallet.

If you like a winery, or they treat you extra special, buy something (or a few somethings!). They are artisans, but this isn’t charity. Weathermen are calling for mild weather this weekend according to the current forecast. It is supposed to be cloudy and 69 on Saturday, and 70 and sunny on Sunday. But these forecasters are the same guys that predicted that the harvest rain would only last one day.  Heat is the enemy of wine…even a few hours of heat and sun will negatively impact a bottle. Bring a cooler just in case, and you can stock it with water, red bulls, and nibbles.

6. Start Early, hit off the path wineries later.

The well-known wineries, closer in, can get quite mobbed, especially by mid afternoon. Try and be there when the bell dings, and get an early start. When you map out your route, perhaps do the less familiar wineries, or those off the beaten path, later in the day.

7. In the event you DON’T Pre-Plan (tsk tsk) at LEAST print out the event page which lists the food pairing, and the participating wineries, AND the modified Wine Road map that shows ONLY the participating Wineries.

8. Be Courteous,  Pleasematt at dutton

Some wineries are going to get busy. Try and be respectful of sharing the tasting space (do not stand 4 together at the bar, talking about your shoe purchase). Bond with your significant other and share the space one behind the other, thus doubling the space. Wearing perfume, talking at 120 decibels on your cell, chewing gum, trying to steal wine (true story), or being inebriated and harassing a tired pourer are all faux pax.

(Note to Winery owners and staff – I know it’s a trying,  long weekend; but I have witnessed some appalling treatment at ‘bracelet  events. In a down economy, and a push to sell Direct to Consumer (DTC), a little pre-event pep talk to your team may be in order. In years past, events like this were where I discovered some of my favorite wineries and – as a result of positive experiences –joined the wine club. )

Let’s all have fun – we are blessed to be surrounded by good people, good food, good wine; and this weekend is a culmination, and celebration of all three.


Wine Country Weekend Highlights: Oct 30-Nov 1

Greetings Wine Country lovers, from my new part time digs in Portland. Those on Facebook that have been following me (amidst Facebook’s breakdown) know that my Wine Country Sabbatical ended abruptly this week, as I plunged back into the Tech Sector more rapidly than planned. After 5 weeks of interviews, 10 hours of final interviews last Thursday, Monday morning I received an offer from the CEO, wanting me to start yesterday. I am with a software start-up,  VP of Sales and Marketing, managing a team and helping them to launch. Its 8 days before our most important trade event of the season, and springboard for 2010, so its busy. More on this phenomenon later, this blog is about wine and fun, not my life!

I really didn’t want this article back to back with last weeks event synopsis, but I am still editing two articles from last weekend including Pinot on The River, but they aren’t complete yet. Get use to a few typos and grammar errors , as you may find some these busy next few months. :)

Post-Harvest, its still a busy weekend:

Charles Schwab Cup Championship–Food and Wine Festival (Fri-Sun)

Featuring the top-30 money leaders of the season, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship is the culminating event in the Champions Tours Road to the Charles Schwab Cup.’Wine Festival Golf Ball

The Clubhouse Wine & Food Festival Ticket – $55.00 Advance Purchase/ $60.00 Gate Purchase – The Wine & Food Festival ticket allows access to the Clubhouse, Wine and Food Festival and acts as a tournament grounds pass. The Wine and Food Festival is located on the back lawn of the Sonoma Golf Club. Wine Festival access includes admission to the Wine Festival, a complimentary wine glass and wine tasting and food pairings from local Sonoma County restaurants.

Entrances to the Wine & Food Pairing festival are on the back patio of the clubhouse (find the big white pairings sign) OR inside the hallway towards the clubhouse entrance.The festival itself will be inside Vintage Room C.

2009 Participating Wineries: Black Coyote Chateau, BR Cohn Winery, Buoncristiani, Charles Creek Vineyard, Cline Cellars, Deerfield Ranch Winery, Don Sebastiani & Sons, Frank Family Vineyards, Greg Norman Estates, Gundlach Bundschu, J. Moss Wines, Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, Landmark Vineyards, Ledson Winery & Vineyards, Nicholson Ranch, Paradise Ridge, Robledo Family Winery, Roessler Cellars, Schug Carneros Estate, Sharp Cellars, Sojourn Cellars, Tin Barn Vineyards, Valley of the Moon, VJB Vineyards & Cellars,

2009 Participating Restaurants: Carneros Bistro, Chardonnay GC, Costeaux French Bakery, Della Santina’s Trattoria, El Dorado Kitchen, John Ash & Co., Mia’s Kitchen, Mondo Press, Restaurant Cuvee, Ristorante Allegria, Saffron, Sante-Fairmont, Sonoma Sausage, Stark’s Steakhouse, The Red Grape, Tra Vigne, ZaZu Restaurant. Tickets


Kendall Jackson 2006 Highland Estates Pre-Release Party 11-4 pm

Join KJ as they taste 6 of  Parker 90+ rated 2006 vintage Highland Estates wines. These wines won’t be available for sale for several kendall-jacksonmonths, but this is your opportunity to try them and purchase them before they are released. KJ will be selling these wines the day of the event only – after that you’ll have to wait! We’ll have seminars, a special place for Wine Club members and, of course, bites from our culinary team. Call 1.800.769.3649 for reservations or more information.

2006 Napa Mountain Merlot – 91 Points

2006 Taylor Peak Merlot – 90 Points

2006 Trace Ridge Cabernet – 91 Points

2006 Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet – 92 Points

2006 Napa Mountain Cabernet – 93 Points

2006 Trace Ridge Red Wine – 93 Points

Wine Club members – complimentary. General public – $10 per person if reserved prior to 10/26/09. $15 per person at the door

Facebook Wine Meetup! Dogtoberfest Fundraiser at Topel Winery

Hosted by yours truly, in conjuction with Topel’s own annual event.flashtopel

Haven’t you said before you wish you’d meet, or see more often, your FB Wine Friends? I’d like to host the first of regular ‘Facebook Wine Meetups’. (Hey, Twitter has Tweetups.)

Every year Topel Winery, (a dog friendly winery) publishes a Dog ‘Wine Tails’ calendar, as a fundraiser for the Healdsburg Animal Shelter. I am pleased to share Flash is featured in September (my birth month.)

( For those of you that have met Flash, you know he is a special soul. And also a testament to Rescue Programs, I got him after two traumatic events, yet with some love his spirit and majestic nature stayed in tact.)

To Celebrate (and donate) I have purchased 15 calendars ($20 each) to give to the first people who show up for this Meetup.

Topel is also offering complimentary tastings, food treats for humans and doggie biscuits for canine friends, as well as a portrait artist on hand to drawn caricatures of you (and your pet!) for a small fee.

The event runs 12-5. I will be hosting my Meetup from 130-330. (hopefully that time works ok.)

So come meet up with your FB fellow wine-o’s, and help raise money for Man/Women’s Best Friend!

TWine or TWeets @ Cellars of Sonoma 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Halloween Tweets @ Cellars of Sonoma! Wines paired with everyone’s favorite halloween candy. Social networking introducing POKEN, an amazing new technology POKEN available for purchase. Twitter Lounge, big screen tv’s and live video broadcasting. $10.00 in costume  or  $15.00 no costume. RSVP @707-578-1826


Murphy Goode – Meet and Greet Top Chef Las Vegas Contestants!

top chefKevin and Eli are in town!  Come hang at Murphy-Goode with Top Chef contestants Kevin Gillespie, Eli Kirshstein, winemaker Dave Ready, Jr., and Hardy Wallace. Grab some tastes, snacks, and play some Liar’s Dice while we welcome Kevin and Eli to Murphy-Goode and Healdsburg. Please RSVP. 330 – 5 pm.

Hope to see some of you this weekend!

A Visit to Siduri Winery in Santa Rosa

Siduri – A great Pinot house of a slightly different sort, and a second label that makes everything else.


After a busy few weeks playing “Garagista” (aka Home wine maker,) and volunteer assisting a few of wineries with Harvest, I decided to go back to being a consumer and go tasting. After all, this is a work sabbatical.

I first discovered Siduri Wines at the Wine Road Winter Wineland event (which I highly recommend). Siduri is normally open by appointment only, so this is a great winery to hit at special events, since you won’t need an appointment , and  because of the ridiculous number of high quality wines poured. However, you had better learn to spit or dump, or Siduri could end up being your only stop for the day. Tip:  Hit it first thing at the opening before the crowds get too loco.

That said, don’t let the “appointment only’ disclaimer throw you. Siduri is not a foo-foo winery,  and they regularly do tastings in small groups, every hour. Just call, even if it’s on short notice, and you may get in.  There is also no tasting fee, a rare event these days.

The winery is housed in an industrial facility, something I used to shun. But, I have learned to be more open to it, in order not to miss out on great experiences like Siduri.  This type siduri warehouseof winery has become more common, and even cluster in regions (like the wineries of Old Roma Station on Front Street in Healdsburg.) Siduri was an early trailblazer in this facility type, and only desires an even bigger, better warehouse. You should also not be dissuaded by the fact that Siduri owns no vineyards. Partial or total sourcing of fruit is more common than many realize.  Siduri takes this to a new level.

Siduri is owned and run by a passionate husband-wife team, Adam and Dianna Lee. They started out exclusively making single-vineyard Pinot Noir wines, in 1994.  Five years later, with some family capital, they added a second label –the Novy brand – which makes a number of other varietals. Syrah is the mainstay, but current releases include Zinfandel, Grenache, Nebbiolo. Chardonnay, and a Viognier.  I think it’s near Pinot madness (in a good way) the sheer number of Pinots (27 two years ago, 18 last year) Siduri makes, always in small production.

All fruit (aka wine grapes) is sourced from an array of premium growers from the Central Coast all the way up to Oregon, with whom the owners maintain personal relationships.  This is the only Russian River Valley (RRV) Pinot house I am aware of that sources fruit from the Willamette Valley of Oregon, its no small feat to bring wine grapes that far, especially given the sometimes frenetic harvest cycles there, due to weather.

The pourer was very knowledgeable in Siduri lore and history, as well as the area, being a native. This gets points, as I am becoming increasingly irritated visiting wineries, Siduri tasting room - Courtesy of Vintwinedespecially smaller higher end ones, where the pouring staff have very little knowledge save what they have been reciting by rote. It can ruin the entire experience, and often results in less/no purchases when I visit. In today’s market, with an ever increasing focus on sales Direct to Consumer (DTC), I’d encourage winemakers and owners to pay closer attention, and an active role here.

The tasting offerings of the day are printed professionally each day, as well as all wine offers on the back. Only one chardonnay (from the Novy label) was poured (surprising for a Pinot house.)  4 pinots ranging from $29-45 were poured, including one with Willamette fruit. What I really admired about the pinots, was the uniqueness, and expression of the individual vineyard source.  Siduri doesn’t bring fruit in from Oregon and then try and make it taste like a Sonoma coast Pinot, it’s true to Oregon style.  All were very well made, and varied greatly in style. My fave for price/quality equity was the $33 Santa Lucia,  smooth as velvet, rated 92 points by the Pinot Report, and only 1700 cases made. I thoroughly enjoyed all four.

Next we tasted through 3 Novy Syrahs, ranging from $20 (Napa) to $29. All were excellent quality, the 06 Christensen Family has a very notable, white pepper characteristic, all the way through the finish.Siduri releases

I bought a variety of 6 wines to take home, including a number in the $25 range that I hadn’t tried, as I continue to scour the county for pleasing wines that don’t break the budget (as I try and nudge my palette to adjust to the economy). I find many good wines in this range, but am always seeking great. Just because Food and Wine names a bottle as top in the $20 range, doesn’t make me like it any more, sorry. Incidentally, recently Food and Wine Magazine named the 2007 Siduri Sonoma County Pinot, as top Pinot in the Under $20 category. (Unfortunately it’s sold at at the winery, and my normal sources.)

All in all, a very pleasant visit and experience. And as a bonus, Bottle Barn is nearby by and worth a stop as well for wines of all price points and quality (including Siduri’s). If you are a Pinot-phile, I highly recommend a visit here .

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