Archive for the ‘Winery Visits’ Category

I experienced some major lifestyle envy yesterday after reading an article about a Marin County couple—Béa and Scott Johnson of Mill Valley—and the extremely minimalist way of life they’ve recently adopted.

I’m a wannabe minimalist, and I was intrigued by many of the practices the Johnsons have established. There were the obvious things, like keeping firm limits on the volume of clothing, toys, cooking equipment, and memorabilia in the household (never mind paper products and books, which are absent altogether), but also some less obvious ones like using compostable toothbrushes and sourcing wine locally from wineries that offer refillable bottles.

This last item caught my eye in particular because of the winery mentioned: Guglielmo. The Guglielmo brothers have a long family history in the Santa Clara Valley—a region near and dear to the winemaker in this household—and I’ve written in the past about the winery’s new-ish line of value wines, Tré Cellars.  The brothers have a reputation for being good to their neighbors, and with their reusable bottle promotions they’re also good to the environment.

For Guglielmo’s next “Bottle Your Own” event, February 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., customers are encouraged to bring their own clean bottles (or buy them at the winery for a dollar) and then fill them with a Guglielmo red for $5 —all while Italian delicacies beckon from a “chef’s table” and accordion music fills the air.

Know another local winery that offers to fill used wine bottles? Let us know here…

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With Memorial Day’s late arrival next week, summer is finally upon us, and the month of June is book-ended by wine events offering the chance for celebration. The first, on Saturday June 5, comes courtesy of the Russian River Valley Winegrowers’ Millennial Council, and it’s been cleverly branded Single Night. This tasting of Russian River Valley single-vineyard wines (big names like Merry Edwards and Williams Selyem are among the participating producers) and single bites of local culinary specialties will also feature a DJ and dancing and an auction of Russian River Valley “group adventures.” Single Night takes place from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. at C. Donatiello Winery in Healdsburg, with the option of luxury bus service from (and back to) San Francisco. Tickets are $45 in advance and online only at www.rrvw.org.

It’s entirely possible that you’ll need two weekends to recover from your Single Night hangover… but by Saturday, June 26, you should be ready for a slightly more sedate but no less enticing day of eating and drinking at Matanzas Creek Winery in Santa Rosa. Matanzas Creek’s Days of Wine and Lavender festival features a lavender-laced menu created by the winery’s estate chef, a bocce ball contest, vineyard tours, wine education seminars, and live music. The winery’s 1-acre lavender garden should be reaching full bloom just in time for the party, which takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $95 per person; visit www.matanzascreek.com for more information.

Russian River wines...

... and Santa Rosa lavender

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It’s been gone for a couple of years now, but every Sunday I still mourn the loss of Bob Morris’ Age of Dissonance column in the New York Times. To me, Morris managed to strike a perfect pose somewhere between etiquette watchdog and snarky culture critic, and I waited all week to see what he’d serve up next. One of my favorite of Morris’ columns was a rant about the inanity of elaborate birthday and anniversary celebrations honoring every age and milestone imaginable. Like overused antibiotics, Morris wrote, these numbers begin to lose their potency after a while.

This observation made me smile, in part because in the wine industry, it truly seems like there’s an anniversary being celebrated every few minutes. In fact, soon after I read that column of Morris’, I had occasion to write my own about a certain local winery’s 125th anniversary celebration (pretty legit)—which, said winery eagerly noted, happen to coincide with the 10th anniversary of its golf course (slightly less legit) and the 30th anniversary of the band Foreigner (seriously pushing it).

Indeed, Morris noted that low-number anniversaries for businesses should only be celebrated by the “very powerful and very desperate,” so I don’t imagine he’d object to Schug Carneros Estate Winery marking it’s 30th anniversary this year with the release of its first-ever estate grown Pinot Noir. After all, proprietor Walter Schug is a well-respected “old-timer” in California’s wine industry, having served as winemaker at Napa’s famed Joseph Phelps Vineyards from 1973 to 1983.

And while the new Schug Pinot won’t come out till later in the year, you can still celebrate at the winery next Saturday, April 17th, during “April in Carneros,” a winery open house event featuring more than 20 Carneros-area wineries. The event takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; for tickets and more information visit www.carneroswineries.org.

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