Posts Tagged ‘Winter Wineland’
Part 3 of the "12 Days of Wine Christmas" THE Instant, Perfect, Holiday Gift: Wine Road Winter Wineland Tickets
As my children have become adults, I have more-or-less stopped being the traditional Ms. Santa Claus, and even this morning, the eve of Christmas Eve, am still pondering just those perfect gifts for the special friends and loved ones in my life. Amazon warned me two days back that it was pretty much ix-nay on timing for Christmas delivery unless I hurried it up.
So, Holiday Procrastinators, appear to be thoughtful Plan-A- Headers by purchasing the perfect, instant gift, one that you can give and share with enthusiasm: tickets to our 20th Anniversary Winter Wineland. Easy to purchase, instant in delivery, and you can go along, too. The proverbial “Gift that Keeps on Giving the Whole Year”- and no, I do not mean the Delicious Recipe Collections – New Cookbooks 2012
c-gift-that-keeps-on-giving” target=”_blank”>Jelly of the Month Club, Randy Quaid.
A trip up to Wine Road for Winter Wineland continues Christmas and the Holidays right into January 2012!
Wrap it up, Wine Road!
Here's looking at you, kids.
It’s almost D-Day – The Wine Road’s 19th Annual Winter Wineland is here! Wine tasting, with a focus at each winery on Art or Education to boot. Earlier this week Simple Hedonisms featured some of the interesting selections.
This is not an exclusive list; many wineries will be offering sales incentives; take advantage of this weekend to stock up on great wines at great prices.
- 2007 Wood Road Reserve Zinfandel, only: Regularly $32/btl; Buy 6 – 11 bottles and receive a 25% discount ($24/btl), Buy 12 or more bottles and receive a 40% discount ($19.20/btl)
- For Club Members: Buy 6 – 11 bottles and receive a 30% discount ($22.40/btl), Buy 12 or more bottles and receive a 50% discount ($16/btl)
- Instead of Boston Tea Party its a Wine Party; no sales tax on purchases during Winter Wineland. Plus new wine club members get additional bonus discounts.
- Friday and Monday: 20% off 2009 Bianco and 2008 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley
Saturday and Sunday: 20% off, customer choice, mixed case of 2009 Bianco, 2008 Zinfandel, Dry Creek and/or 2008 Barbera.
Old World Winery:
- Buy one bottle of their Library 2002 Loughlin Zin and get a second for $1. (Don’t forget to taste their current release Zin which just won a Double Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition.) ALSO, every 5th person to come in get’s a free Tshirt, while supplies last.
Inman Family Winery:
- Will be offering special pricing of 10% off six to 11 bottles and 15% of 12 or more2008 Thorn Ridge Ranch or 2008 OGV Estate Pinot Noirs (mix and match), BOTH online and at the winery, so mark your calendars and use promo code WW2011!!
- $10% off any 1-5 bottle purchase
- 20% off any 6-12 bottle purchase
- $199.00 for any full or mixed case purchase of the 2007 Private Reserve Zinfandel or 2005 Sogno della Famiglia.
- Winter Wineland participants who visit Hop Kiln Winery will have the opportunity, to purchase the Hop Kiln Grenache 2008 for $120 a case.
Michael Bernard Family of Wines (779 Westside Rd, Healdsburg)
- 2007 Mantra Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon $20 regularly $25
- 2005 Orsi Papale Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $20 regularly$40
- 2005 Orsi Papale Russian River Pinot Noir $17.50 regularly $35
- 2007 Mantra Old Vines Zinfandel Reserve $24 regularly$30
Is pleased to offer the following four wines at a 50% discount for full cases.
- 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley, Retail $264/case, 50% off at $132/case
- 2008 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley Reserve, Retail $348/case, 50% off at $174/case
- 2005 Merlot, Dry Creek Valley Retail $336/case, 50% off at $168/case
- 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley, Retail $348/case, 50% off at $174/case
Battaglini Estate Winery
- 2009 Chardonnay ( no oak ) Regular price $18.00 sale price $13.00/bottle
- 2001 Zinfandel Regular price $27.00 sale price $13.00/bottle
- 2002 Zinfandel Buy 1 case at regular price of $324.00 get a second case for $1.00
- 2009 Chardonnay Reserve at $22.00/bottle
- 2008 Zinfandel Proprietor Reserve at $35.00/bottle
- Offering 10% discount on 6-11 bottles, 15 % on mixed cases. (25% for wine club!) They will also be pouring a few library wines.
Everett Ridge Winery will be offering the following specials. Both Esterlina and Everett Ridge wines at Everett Ridge.
Per bottle price is based on case sale.
- Esterlina 2009 Riesling $162.00 a case ($13.50 a bottle)
- Everett Ridge 2009 Diablita Blanca (white wine blend) $132.00 a case ($11.00 a bottle)
- Everett Ridge 2007 Estate Syrah $264.00 a case ($22.00 a bottle )
- Everett Ridge 2005 Diablita Red (red wine blend) $96.00 a case ($8.00 a bottle )
- Everett Ridge 2007 Estate Zinfandel $198.00 a case ($16.50 a bottle )
- Esterlina 2005 Alexander Valley Cabernet $222.00 a case ($18.50 a bottle )
- Esterlina 2008 Anderson Valley Pinot $360.00 a case ($30.00 a bottle)
Mounts Family Winery:
- Offering 10% on a 6 bottles and 20% on 12 or more bottles.
- Club Members will receive 20% on 6 bottles and 30% on 12 or more bottles.
- Also, new club sign-ups have a chance to win a drawing for 2 free two-day Passport to Dry Creek Tickets!
Pech Merle (pouring at J Rickards
- 10% Case Discounts.
- 10% for our “Double Your Pleasure” Package (2 whites or 2 reds)
- 15% for our “Wanna Flirt?” Package (4 bottles, their choice of varietals!)
Harts Desire Wines Old Roma Station
- 2006 Claret Sonoma County. Normally $28, $19 a bottle.
- 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Rockin H Ranch Double gold winner at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair normally $35, $25 a bottle.
Enjoy your weekend. Don’t forget, if you are on Twitter or Foursquare to use hashtag #wineland when Tweeting or checking in!
planning your route? don’t miss:
This weekend in Northern Sonoma is the 19th annual Winter Wineland on the Wine Road, Northern Sonoma County. As I wrote last month, this event has an extra special place in my heart, as it was the final trigger to convert me from monthly visitor to avid resident of Sonoma County.
140 Wineries in the 30 miles radius of Russian River, Dry Creek, Alexander Valley, and Healdsburg will participate. Advance ticket sales ended yesterday, but at $55 for two days, its one of the best values in entertainment around. (There is also a Sunday only option for $45. DD are $5.)
Wine ~ Art ~ Education
Never content with status quo, the Wine Road crew has expanded the focus of the event; each winery will have a unique focus on something related to Art or Education as well, enhancing your weekend experience.
Tips to Maximize Your Weekend
Last year I wrote an in depth article on advice for getting the most out of your weekend. The premise remains; with SO much to do, take a few moments to make a plan.
You can download this years detailed program here. Take a few minutes, pick out things of interest, and combine them with wines you enjoy; pick a few of your favorites wineries as well as venture out new.
I got together with an industry friend to see what stood out in the guide. I will confess in advance the Wine Geek in me, dominates over the Art side. Some wineries will have more specifics of what they are offering, than maybe in the guide, but we had to base it on what information was provided.
Benovia Winery 3339 Hartman Road Santa Rosa – Learn all about barrels, how they are made from Sequin Moreau of France.
Camellia Cellars 57 Front Street Healdsburg – Featuring folk art by Kathy Joseph and Chris Lewand. Recycled broken china and pottery, called “Pique Assiette”, are made into both useful and whimsical items, many with a wine theme. the artists will be present, working & available to answer questions on technique.
Clos du Bois Wines 19410 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville – Live Music, plus offering a video education demonstration on Barrel Production,Winemaking and Wine Cave excavation!!
David Coffaro Vineyard & Winery 7485 Dry Creek Rd, Geyserville - Art Exhibit with Andrea Cleall. Andrea is known for her use of vibrant color and will show her lush Sonoma County landscapes. Also a Tasting Seminar with Matt Wilson. Can you taste the difference? Showcasing the 2009 Petite Sirah in two formats. Taste the version that was bottled in August of 2010 and then compare it to the same wine that remains in French oak barrels for additional aging.
Dutton-Goldfield Winery 3100 Gravenstein Hwy. N Sebastopol - Local artist, Bonnie Soule Karlsen, will be showcasing her representational and abstract artwork inspired by Sonoma County. We offer a designated sensory area where wine tasters can broaden their scope of understanding aromatics, soils, and different aspects of grape growing and winemaking.
Frick Winery 23072 Walling Road, Geyserville – The warm campfire will be roasting hot dogs and smores. Inside the small tasting cottage view walls covered with art by Judith Gannon. Winter is Syrah time with six vintages of Frick Estate Syrah being featured 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008. Three new releases of Syrah. Learn about THE winter vineyard job of pruning with demonstrations of head pruning techniques.
Hauck Cellars 223 Center Street, Healdsburg – Sensory Experience: each aromatic component of their wines (cherry,chocolate, etc) will be isolated in a separate glass. After testing the aromas in isolation, you’ll be better able to identify the bouquet of each wine.
Inspiration Vineyards and Winery 3360 Coffey Lane, Suite E, Santa Rosa – Hosting long time glass artist Diana Jameson whose love for color and the Sonoma County landscape are the Inspiration for her fused glass creations; many of which are functional pieces. Also be offering an exercise in training your nose to some common wine components.
Inman Family Wines 3900 Piner Road, Santa Rosa – For Winter Wineland the Inmans will unveil a new display highlighting the history of the Olivet Grange Vineyard and the families who have farmed and made wine at the property.
Kendall-Jackson – Healdsburg 337 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg – Develop your wine vocabulary and ability to identify aromas in wine. Visit and learn more about the “aroma wheel” while discovering the subtle differences in wine aromas & bouquets. It’s an opportunity to smell wines to determine the primary characteristics found in a particular wine.
Kendall-Jackson Wine Center 5007 Fulton Road, Fulton – Visit the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center and meet their Wine Educators, learn the difference between wine aged in new oak barrels and wine aged in neutral oak barrels.
Kokomo Winery 4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg – Turn your attention to Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. Join them for a unique tasting and cheese pairing highlighting just how different clones of Pinot Noir can be! Featuring two Pinot Noirs from the same vintage, vineyard and winemaker but from two unique clones – isolating the variable to the clone. The tasting starts with the lighter, more delicate 2A clone that shows the elegant Burgundian side of the varietal, then moves to the Pommard clone which is more intense in flavor and highlights the richer side. Both wines are from Peters Vineyard in southwest Sebastopol and are grown by Kokomo partner Randy Peters. This eye opening experience will show you just how different clones of the same varietal can be!
Merriam Vineyards 11650 Los Amigos Road Healdsburg – The Wonderful World of Water! The clear choice: Learn about the importance of their environmentally sustainable water reclamation program, one of the few constructed wetlands in Sonoma County. Become mesmerized by a kinetic water sculpture, created by world famous Sonoma County artist Ned Kahn. Water scenes photographed by local artist Lance Keuhne will be on display and offered for sale. To warm you, a cassoulet with duck confit will be paired with award winning Bordeaux varietals…
Mill Creek Vineyards & Winery 1401 Westside Road, Healdsburg – Can you REALLY read a wine label? Come learn the “code” and discover all the secrets a wine label holds.
Mounts Family Winery 3901 Wine Creek Road, Healdsburg - Live Music, and Snuggle up to a warm fire. Winemaker David Mounts will be pouring award-winning Petite Sirah, Zinfandel & Grenache to name a few! Learn about the unique & complex soils we have throughout our ranch from Richard Mounts, vineyard owner and 63 year old resistant of Dry Creek Valley.
Old World Winery 850 River Road, Fulton – New Wine Road member will be pouring all of their current releases along with a couple of library selections of perfectly aged Zinfandel. They will be giving tours of the facility and discussing how wine was made 100 years ago,which is how they strive to make it today. See actual working demonstrations of a bottle corker that is ~100 years old!
Silver Oak Cellars 24625 Chianti Road, Geyserville – Meet Brad Petersen, our Alexander Valley Vineyard Manager to discuss the evolution of our farming practices since 1972, grapes sustainably grown for generations to come.
Thumbprint Cellars 102 Matheson Street, Healdsburg; – Ready, Set, Mac Off! Join Thumbprint for their Second Annual Mac Off on Saturday. Enjoy local chef creations of extreme Mac-N-Cheese and wine.
Vintage Wine Estates 308 B Center Street, Healdsburg – Pairing local artisan cheeses with our Sparkling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel wines. Learn tips for creating great wine and cheese pairings on your own.
Free Ticket Contest!
Simple Hedonisms will be giving away 3 pairs of Tickets to this weekend’s event: The first two will be from (verified) email subscribers (secure, confidential) top right, and the 3rd pair for a trivia contest I will announce tomorrow.
Come Back Thursday for Part 2 – Featured Winery Sales Incentives
While visiting your favorite wineries, and visiting new, remember these small artisans sell wine for a living, remember your visit with a bottle or 12 to enjoy later. This Thursday, Simple Hedonisms will publish some of the special sales some of the Winter Wineland participants are offering, but look around for specials and stock up on memories – wine is as much an experience as a beverage!
Seasons Greetings to the fine readers of Simple Hedonisms! This article is the first of twelve (I hope!) on the ’12 Days of Wine Christmas.’
We will be exploring an array of Wine and Wine Country related gifts each article, ranging from a few events, gadgets and books, and more, as well as the occasional philanthropic touch, which the Wine Country is renowned for, especially this time of year.
Winter Wineland is a special event for me; I can remember it, 2 years ago as the event that made me decide it was time to stop driving up here every month, and move here, and by July, voila I had. (Even when my relationship partner at that time got cold feet at the very last minute. ) My life has changed 100x for the better, and my only regret was I didn’t commit and move back in 1999 when I was first working/commuting to Petaluma.
What is Winter Wineland?
This is the 19th year of the event, organized by the Wine Road - the amazing organization that does events and marketing for Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, Sonoma Coast AVAs.
This year 125 wineries (wow!) are participating, Jan. 15th and 16th. Each winery will have something special and unique; food pairings, art, library wine pourings, tours, and more. The complete program is here. (Note this is still being updated, final completion is Jan. 7th.) Last year I wrote a series of 4 articles for the event, feel free to peruse.
Tickets are $45 for both days, or $35 for Sunday. That’s a great entertainment value, and gift for the wine lover in your circle of loved ones.
Beef Up Your Gift with a Raffle Ticket for a $2600 Prize, And Help fight Hunger!
For only $10, you can purchase a raffle ticket to win one of three amazing packages, each worth $2600. The packages are here, I will tease you with the first one:
• 2 nights Farmhouse Inn – the new “barn” suites ($1400 value) exp. 5/11/2011
• 2 nights Fountaingrove Inn – includes breakfast for 2 people ($400 value) exp. 10/11/2011
• Dinner for two – at Farmhouse Inn ($200 value) exp. 5/11/2011
• West Sonoma Inn – spa treatment ($100 value) exp. 8/20/2011
• Arista Winery – Hummer vineyard tour and tasting for two ($100 value) exp. 11/01/2011
• Rustic at Francis Ford Coppola Winery – lunch or dinner ($100 value) exp. 11/01/2011
• Healdsburg Bar & Grill – lunch or dinner ($40 value)
• 2 tickets – Wine & Food Affair, Winter Wineland & Barrel Tasting ($260 value)
You can purchase tickets here. A single ticket is $10, three are $25, and ten are only $50 ($5 each!)
Add it to your Winter Wineland ticket gift, or buy this is a standalone. Or just donate and do some good for fighting Hunger in Sonoma County. Think we don’t have hunger here amidst our bounty? Take a second to read the 2010, detailed report. (I teared up reading this and bought a $50 ticket.) Help the Redwood Food Bank help those in need.
Hunger In Sonoma County Study Facts
- up to 35% were forced to choose between paying for food and paying for other basic necessities
- 33.3% had to choose between payingfor food or gas for their car
- 35.2% had to choose between paying for food or paying for utilities
- 32.5% had to choose between paying for food or medicine and medical care
- 32.4% had to choose between paying for food or their rent/mortgage
- 30% do not have access to a working car limiting their ability to seek food, services and employment
- 21.1% have a hard time paying their rent and were late paying it in the previous month thus jeopardizing theirliving situation
- 16.9% said their children were hungry the previous year.
- 9.9% have no place to live
None of the people interviewed in this Hunger Study ever imagined they would be seeking food assistance.
Each person had a story to tell which included fortune and misfortune, as well as decisions made and circumstances beyond their control.
Raffle Ticket Sales end Dec 15th!!
More to Come
Come back each day for another suggestion. (Or sign up for email updates.) Feel free to email or post, comments, suggestions, questions, I love to hear from readers.
A very warm, cheers!
I moved to Healdsburg, in beautiful Sonoma County, CA, about a year ago. Since my arrival, I had been longing to get my feet wet in the wine industry. This past weekend I finally got my chance.
Of course, I was hoping to start out slow. You know what I’m talking about — one of those quiet, sleepy winter weekends, when there wouldn’t be too much traffic? That would have been ideal. But, no. My “debut”, as it were, occurred during the wonderful occasion of The Wine Road’s Winter Wineland event. In case you missed the last 4 Simple Hedonisms articles on Winter Wineland, it is a fabulous 2-day event in Northern Sonoma County where about 150 participating wineries (in the Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valleys), offer tastings, entertainment and food. So, instead of dipping a toe in the water, I got thrown into the deep-end, head first!
It all started with an innocuous Facebook chat message from a friend at Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate who needed a favor. He was looking for someone to “pour” during Winter Wineland, and inquired if I was interested in helping out at the winery. I said “sure, why not.” Little did I know what I was getting myself into.
Soon after volunteering, I learned that Michel-Schlumberger was adopting a Winter Olympic them for the weekend, and that I would have to come in character. Oh, brother. Before long, it was determined that I would be a figure skater. [I wanted to be Katerina Witt, but somehow ended up as Nancy Kerrigan.] The ice-skating theme carried over to my pouring partner, Tracey, and in no time flat, we became known as “Babes of Glory” (apologies to Blades of Glory, Will Ferrell and John Heder).
On Sunday, January 16 I arrived at the winery at 10:00 am and got my marching orders: I was to pour in the “cellar” (as opposed to the posh tasting salon), for the massive “Cellar Stash Sale.” Our mission was to sell various wines — by the case – for the unbelievable price of $5 dollars per bottle. There were initially 8 wines on offer, under 3 different labels, including: a 1992 (!) Merlot, a 2005 Merlot, a 2006 Cabernet, a 2007 Syrah, a 2002 Pinot Noir (as far as I can tell, Michel-Schlumberger is the only producer of a Dry Creek Valley Pinot Noir), a Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a white blend of Chard, Semillon and Viognier. We had just enough time to get down the basics on each wine — and give them a taste — when the bell rang (literally: the winery is housed in a beautiful Mission-style building, complete with a bell tower) and the crowds flooded in!
There was a steady stream of visitors throughout the 5-hour event, and I would say a couple of hundred people stopped by the cellar to sample the wines on sale. We sold out of the popular Pinot in minutes, and during the remainder of the day managed to sell out of every one of the cases of red wine on offer. That felt worthy of a Gold medal!
The guests were an interesting mix of locals, Californians from further afield, and visitors from places like Washingon State, Nevada, and even Philadelphia, PA. Many were already familiar with the winery, but it was particularly interesting to introduce new folks to some of the things that are special about Michel-Schlumberger. People were most impressed to learn that the Estate is organic, and that it uses many biodynamic farming practices. I got a few questions I couldn’t answer (like how long a particular wine was “on oak”), but the most common question I got all day, was “which is your favorite wine?” (I’d have to say that of the selections we were pouring on Sunday, the Syrah was my fave, although the Cab was a close 2d, and the Nez D’Or white table blend was a real contender). Everyone was incredibly polite – and extremely patient with the occasional pile-ups at the tasting tables. And, most importantly, they all seemed to be having a great time.
As for me, well, I managed not to spill any wine, or break any glasses, and actually had a terrific time. In addition to talking about the wines, I chatted with folks about where they were from, and how they were enjoying the event. There was such a great energy in the cellar with everyone sharing their thoughts on favorite Sonoma County wines, wineries, and restaurants, and the regular Michel-Schlumberger guys in the cellar with us were a blast to hang out (er, work) with.
Because I love living here so much, I was delighted to be able to share it so enthusiastically with so many others. To be honest, I was TOTALLY tickled to be asked for my opinion as if I were a real live local. Come to think of it, working this event actually made me feel like a local for the very first time. And it feels good.
As a woman “On the Loose (or at least at loose ends) in Wine Country,” you can follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/WhatDebPours, or contact me via email at WhatDebPours@gmail.com.
It’s almost here! You can feel the excitement in the Social Networking circles of Facebook and Twitter, amongst the wine people. Tickets have been flying off the shelf, Beth Costa, Executive Director of the Wine Road reports.
In case you just emerged from a Rip Van Winkle like sleep, we are talking about this weekend’s wrist-banded tasting event, the Winter Wineland. Over 120 wineries, some only open for events and appointments, are offering special wine and food pairings, and a variety of entertainment, and wine specials. Online ticket sales are now closed, but you can purchase them at the door of any winery: At the door prices will be $50 Weekend, $40 Sunday Only, $10 for Designated Drivers.
Ok, 120+ wineries, 5 hours each day. HOW does one pick where to go? Some turn this into a marathon event to see how many they can fit in one day; others like to visit their favorites, and others like to try all new places. My personal preference is to fit 5-7 in a full day, with a mix of old and new. (Article 4 will be my iten.)
The Wine Road web site has some GREAT tools and tips to help you. Stop looking at Twitter and read carefully:
1. The full list of wineries and their offers.
NOT all wineries participate. In yesterday’s recommended stops, why didn’t I recommend say Iron Horse, or A. Rafanelli? Both great Wine Road wineries, but not participating in this particular event. Click HERE to open the 11 page PDF of the participating wineries and their offers. Read through these and look for things new, or interesting. The Wine Road has some new members as written in my first article, so check some of those out perhaps.
2. Use the Wine Road’s great Sorting guide.
The Wine Road web site has one of the best navigation tools for its members I have seen. If you click HERE you can use the drop down menus at the top to search by Wine Type, Region, or Amenities. One of my favorite things to do is to search for wineries, under amenities, that are open by appointment only and fit in a few of those. (Acorn, Siduri, Windsor would be good examples.) Make sure you reference the list you printed out in step one to see if they are participating! On a hunt for a new Pinot or Cab? Sort by varietal.
3. Plot them on the Wine Road’s great Maps
Ok, so you have marked off a bunch of stuff. Lets start to plot them on a map. If you are one of those marathon tasters, you don’t want stop one to be deep in Forestville, and stop two to be at the top of Geyserville. You can start first HERE at the main map page. This is an interactive map for each of the regions, and a special section for Healdsburg. Click on one of these and you enter into a detailed map for that appellation. This map is great because all of the member wineries are on it, and you can click on a winery, to launch to their own website.
During this stage of final planning, this is one of those times I actually (rare) prefer paper. If you don’t have one of their maps (get the new one, lots of new members!) you can look HERE online at the large overview map and save it as a PDF, which is what I’d recommend.
4. Support Members Old and New
There is often a buzz to try all the new wineries and members. I’d like to also recognize, and ask you support member wineries who have been supporting Wineland for over 18 years. Their ongoing support has been the backbone that helps everyone, and consumers and new wineries benefit from their foundation.
- Geyser Peak
- Field Stone
- Alexander Valley Vineyards
Other Tips in General
I have a number of suggestions from the Wine and Food Affair event article. All of these are still relevant – rather than repeat them all, take a quick read. The Wine Road Wine 101 section has lots of great educational reading, including a section on Wine tasting, all relevant, helpful info.
One of the common complaints of people who avoid multi-winery events, is wineries become too packed and you can’t experience it fully.
Its true, you likely aren’t going to get to engage the winemaker in a 30 minute passionate discussion of toasting techniques for barrels, this isn’t the time to wine geek if its busy. But generally the first hour or so is slow, then picks up, so start promptly at 11 at one that most interests you. Visit some off the beaten path. If you don’t like crowds, don’t hit the denser concentrations of wineries, like Healdsburg, at the Peak of the day.
Learning to use a spit cup that I carry around was one of the biggest improvements in my wine tasting experience. If you are serious about wine tasting and education, learn it. (I just don’t personally care for spitting into a bucket, especially at a busy event.) Its also ok, and recommended, to dump your taste if you don’t want to finish it. After the equivalant of less than 2 glasses of wine, 4-8 tastes, your palette and sensory evaluation abilities are diminished, at this point you are drinking, not tasting. And thats ok if thats what you want, and you have a driver. Just be cognizant. wrist banded events are meant to be fun, but not wild parties.
Space at the tasting bar, isn’t your personal manifest destiny. Share the space. Stand in columns, hug your loved one, maximize space so all can get their pour. Groups sprawled all over the bar like they own it are a big pet peeve.
This is a great chance to stock up on wines not sold retail, as well as take advantage of special offers many will have. If you really like something, buy it! Wineries aren’t charities, and these events cost them. Its also a great way to re-live the experience later when you open the bottle.
Hope you found these tips useful – cheers!
I hope everyone’s new decade is off to a good start, and less frenzied than mine!
This week’s question of the week is:
If you were steering a visitor during the Winter Wineland coming up in a few weeks, what wineries would you urge them to visit?
This is a great question, one that I will answer in a few different posts. But first, for the uninitiated, what is the Winter Wineland?
This is an annual event, hosted by the Wine Road, Northern Sonoma County. I have long sung the praises of this marketing organization, which represents 150+ wineries, in the appellations (wine regions) of Russian River, Alexander Valley, Green Valley, and Dry Creek Valley. I will write a follow-on article with tips to maximize enjoyment of this event, for now I refer to my posting on the last event, Wine And Food Affair, which still apply.
With over 120 wineries participating, there are any number of ways to decide where to go; by geography, by wine type, by food offerings, by wineries not open to public normal, by your normal favorites.Are you going for 1 day, or both? Generally, 4-5 in a day is about what you can expect to experience and enjoy, unless you are jamming through, spitting, and hitting denser clusters of wineries. Wine and wine country is to be enjoyed, and leisurely, go for quality of experience, not quantity.
As a rule of thumb, the first day of an event is ‘usually’ the busiest, and the mid afternoon on times are the craziest. Plan your stops accordingly, and make popular places your first, and lesser known ones perhaps later. Some wineries and their experience will resonate with you and make you sing like a bird, others may not make you all warm and fuzzy. I think it’s a good idea to save a winery you know will be a good experience to finish on, to end your day on a high note.
I highly recommend you print out and read the detailed (11 page) list of participating Wineries, and what they are offering. Live music, food pairings, library wines: each winery has unique offers.
This years Winter Wineland has a record number of participants (kudos to the wineries for solidarity.) I think it always good to visit some of the new participants to encourage them, especially if they are new to you. But don’t forget your favorites and the steadfast regular attendees.
I certainly have my own favorites wineries: for this posting I am going to highlight some of the new member wineries, many I have not yet explored. In a subsequent post, I will write about some of my favorites, and my planned itinerary. (Day 2 is mapped out, Day 1 still in progress.)
- D’Argenzio – this new member winery, is in Santa Rosa, and is an Italian family offer Italian varietals not commonly produced in this area, including Sangiovese, Muscato Canelli and Rossat, being tasted at a special event this Saturday. They also source and crush traditional Sonoma varietla like Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, etc.
- Robert Rue – new member winery, in Fulton. A family of Growers now also turned small wine producer - Currently offering a 2005 and 2006 Russian River Zin. < 800 cases, old Vine Zins. Be among the first to visit Bob and Carlene Rue’s “just opened” Tasting Room. Taste award-winning Zinfandels paired with Mushroom Soup prepared by winery chef Kathy Bradley, and hand-made truffles by Gandolf’s Fine Chocolates.
- Souverain – new member winery. Their gorgeous Cloverdale property is offering historic Asti Tours at 11:30 am,
1:00 pm and 2:30 pm
- New Members Hart’s Desire, J. Keverson, and the Hudson Street Wineries, visit 8+ wineries all side by side, right off downtown Healdsburg. Hart’s is offering a Mediterranean Lamb Stew that will pair wonderfully with their Red wine selections. (good Pinot!) (Make sure you go around and see Holdredge too. ) J. Keverson is offering a Chipotle-Squash Soup with Fresh
Rosemary and Toasted Pumpkin 2006 Hales Zinfandel.
- Freestone Vineyards – a little off the beaten track, this new member and newer winery has a comfortable home like tasting room, and makes great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Lounge around the fire, and enjoy!
Haven’t bought your tickets yet! $40 for two days of wine tasting and food pairings! Advance ticket sales end Jan 11th, and prices go up to $50 for the weekend, so get them soon.
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