Posts Tagged ‘Taste of Alexander Valley’

Tips & Suggestions for June 5&6 Taste Alexander Valley

We are just a few days away from the Taste of Alexander Valley, a fun filled weekend, I am very much looking forward. Thirty-five Wineries, many without tasting rooms, or open to public are pairing their wines, with gourmet food, and in many cases entertainment. Reviewing the list last night, planning my route, was making my mouth water – the wineries have really outdone themselves.

Planning Your Stops

If you have read my articles before on events, you will recall a consistent theme of making a plan. Taste Alexander Valley has a little more leisurely pace than some of the Sonoma events where you have to choose from 100+ wineries in a few days, but I have always found the event more enjoyable if I take a few minutes with a map, the list of offers by winery and make an ‘A’ list of those I don’t want to miss. You have unique opportunities, such as “Outlaw 7” seven very small wineries,  you may not come across otherwise.

I find it fun to also have a bit of a theme for the weekend; is my main focus this time exploring wineries I have never been too? Maybe its on a hunt for a certain type of varietal (wine type). Maybe mostly visit favorites. Maybe the music and/or food offers are the theme. I often do one theme one day, and one the other.

My two personal quests for this event: (1) visit as many new wineries as I can, as I have tended to focus on my faves like Stryker Sonoma, Trione and a few others repeatedly, more from habit and friendship.  (2) My love affair with Rhone wines (22 wonderful varietals from the Rhone region of France) after attending Hospice du Rhone remains at an all time high, so I will be seeking these out. I have already marked producers of Syrah, Grenache, Viognier; I am hoping to find some other Rhone varietals and blends. (Petite Sirah doesn’t count sorry.) Shout out to me if you have one, or know of one!

Print out the two page overview, look at the map make some notes, give it some thought, I promise you’ll find the investment worthwhile instead of randomly driving and stopping.

The Alexander Valley website also has a great sorting tool where you can search by wines produced, amenities and more.

What to bring

As a near professional eventer, I have a standard list of things I load up to have on hand:

  • Clothing: Yes, wear clothes. Plan on layers, the day starts cool and warms as it goes. Most events seem focused on outside, but if you spend anytime in a barrel room or cellar, the temperature will be 58 degrees, you’ll want a layer to put on. Weather info here.
  • Credit Card: This is a great time to buy wine; some of these wineries don’t have tasting rooms, or limited distribution. If you find something you like, buy a bottle or 3. Many wineries will be offering sales on releases and cases, which I will feature in a article tomorrow.  Many of these wineries are (very) small business and family owned, and they aren’t non profits, they stay in business via wine sales. These events don’t generate profit, they actually cost the winery money unless sales are good. Please support small local business and artisans.
  • Cooler. I actually bring two. One small one with soft drinks, water, caffeine sources, fruit, and a second larger one for wine. There is no better way to ruin wine then to leave it in a 75+ degree car for the afternoon.
  • Spit Cup: Most consumers are not going to do this, but I am relentless on sharing how this changed my tasting experience. If you become a hard core wine taster, you eventually have no choice to learn this; taste 50+ wines in an hour and you learn why the big red plastic cups are prevalent at industry events. It takes as little as 6-8 oz of wine to impact your sensory analysis and judgement, and move from wine tasting, to drinking.  Nothing wrong with the latter, if being responsible, but it depends on your goal. Tasting room staff should generally recognize a more serious wine taster and buyer, and you usually also get more interesting pours. At a minimum, especially in the first few hours as you warm up, make use of the dump bucket – its not an insult to take a taste, and dump out the rest.
  • Sunny Disposition: You are in gorgeous wine country, having fun. Smile, relax, breathe the great air and be one with the vineyard. If it gets busy, go easy on that staff (often volunteers) helping out. Saturday afternoon is generally the busiest time, so I plan accordingly and seek out the less beaten paths.

For participating wineries, the article I wrote a few months ago  may be of interest:

Still haven’t bought a ticket yet? Don’t wait, the Friday night opening Gala has already sold out. You can save $20 buy buying online in advance, AND use promo code FBOOK.

I hope that is helpful, don’t hesitate to post questions, suggestions, or comments – I want to hear from you!

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow (or sign up for email updates) for a special article on Sales Promotions by participating wineries.

Cheers, and hope to see you there! You can also follow my adventures, tasting notes, and pics on Twitter (hash tag #TAV10) and Facebook.

Alexander Valley Trivia Contest – win tickets to June 5&6 Taste of Alexander Valley

In my last post about the upcoming Taste of Alexander Valley, I mentioned there will be several ways to win tickets. We gave away tickets last Friday night at the Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup. Today Simple Hedonisms and Alexander Valley Winegrowers kick off the Alexander Valley Trivia Contest. Below are 4 Trivia questions, that come right from the Alexander Valley Winegrowers website. (please note, contest is now closed)

To Enter The Contest:

  • Make a comment on the blog with your answers to the questions. I will see these, but they will not be published until the contest has ended so people don’t copy answers.
  • The person with the most answers correct wins. If there is a tie, a drawing will be made.

All questions come from information on their website, and is considered the source for correct answers:

  1. What Winery produces a Grenache?
  2. What year did Alexander Valley received federal recognition as an AVA?
  3. Which Winery is the Farthest North (by map)?
  4. Which 3 Wineries are listed as available for Weddings and Events?

Contest Winners will be announced Friday  at noon.

!Make sure you leave contact info! (and check email/blog/FaceBook for winner announcement)

One additional  chance to win:

One final winner will be drawn from email subscribers of Simple Hedonisms. To win you must have a validated (accepted) registration for blog email updates. (You get a simple two2 sentence summary of new blog posts via email.) These email updates are brief, secure, and never distributed.

The contest begins NOW – Good luck!

(and don’t forget to use Promo Code: ‘FBOOK” – when ordering tickets for a special discount!

Simple Hedonisms Previews the “Taste of Alexander Valley” June 5&6, Details and Promotions

Summer is here in Wine Country, and the plethora of amazing food and wine experiences is getting ready to ramp up, right through fall Harvest.

One of the highlights of the start of summer, is the Taste of Alexander Valley, an incredible event featuring food and wine pairings, and entertainment from 35 wineries in gorgeous Alexander Valley. I have yet to visit a fair number of these, and I bet many gems await your discovery as well.

Two Days of Casual Elegance, World Class Food and Wines

The event is June 5 & 6th, from 11-4 pm. Only two days, so many great places, so little time – will need a plan! Luckily the Alexander Valley website is very well done with great interactive tools and maps, the ability to sort by many different ways including varietal (3 wineries make Tempranillo – who knew?!), even sort by dog friendly! As the event gets closer, I will write an article to assist with planning your days, but all the tools are here.

For only $65, a weekend ticket provides you the chance to experience 35 wineries hosting their own special parties offering wine and food pairings, live entertainment and special weekend wine discounts. For a list of Participating Wineries and a Description of their featured pairings, click HERE.

*Special Offer* Enter Promo Code: FBOOK when you purchase online, and get $10 off – thats the entire weekend of premium food, wine, and entertainment in gorgeous Alexander Valley, for $55. To purchase tickets online CLICK HERE.

There are new wineries, as well as wineries not normally open to the public or without tasting rooms participating – have to admit a few I never heard of. (Check out the ‘The Outlaw 7’ pouring at the  Geyserville Inn: Icaria Winery, Joseph Family Vineyards, Kelley & Young, Pendleton Estate, Quaking Hills Winery, and Wilson Fleming Estate Winery.)

Friday Night Opening Gala

For those Hedonists looking for even more culinary and wine delights, there is a special event Friday night to kick it off,  The Opening Gala. Friday June 4 from 5:00–8:30 PM at Rodney Strong’s renowned Alexander’s Crown Vineyard estate. The Gala will feature reserve wines from throughout Alexander Valley and a variety of exquisite small plates prepared by Peloton Catering. There will also be live swing music by Stompy Jones, a well known San Francisco bases sextet. Mingle with Alexander Valley’s winemakers, winery principals, and vineyard owners at “The Crown”, amidst stunning Alexander Valley views. Tickets are  $90 with limited availability, and nearly sold out.

Win Free Tickets

Taste of Alexander Valley has been generous enough to donate tickets for promotional giveway. Two winners will be selected this Friday, May 21st, at the Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup, in downtown Healdsburg, at the new Roadhouse Winery. Early next week, we will announce a contest for drawing for an additional winners, so stay tuned. And in yet one more chance to win, there will be a drawing for tickets to email subscribers of Simple Hedonisms. (top right.) Come back for details, as well as Tips on planning your event, as well as a special article on Winery inventory promotions.

See you in Alexander Valley – Cheers!

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