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A Napa Valley Tradition
The 2002 Mustard Festival is a non-profit annual tradition celebrated throughout the Napa Valley promoting the area and all its beauty during non-peak tourism months. The festival is packed with events throughout the months of January, February and March, and recently members of the WineCountry.com staff participated in "The Marketplace," the Mustard Festival signature event.
The Marketplace was held at the Napa Valley Exposition in Napa, CA and showcased mustard, mustard and more mustard, as well as an array of gourmet products. Also featured was the incredible wine country cuisine of Napa Valley chefs alongside world famous wine and specialty craft brews. The Mustard Festival Marketplace provides the perfect opportunity to explore the best of Napa Valley "during the most beautiful time of year in the wine country, when the brilliant gold of mustard in bloom carpets hillsides, valleys, and vineyards."
The Marketplace is a great place to relax with friends, enjoy fabulous artwork and music, and sample some of the best Napa Valley restaurants have to offer. Many wine country inspired accessories for your home or gifts are available for purchase, making the experience something to remember long after the tents are down.
While planning your next late winter/early spring getaway, mark the Mustard Festival Marketplace as a must see. Visit the Mustard Festival online at: www.mustardfestival.org
Featuring the Fabulous Wine of Silver Mountain Vineyards
Winemaker Wednesday is a special event sponsored by the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association and Shadowbrook restaurant located in Capitola, CA. Each Wednesday, the Shadowbrook Restaurant will spotlight a different Santa Cruz Mountains appellation winery, and showcase its exceptional wine throughout the week.
Each Winemaker Wednesday the featured winemaker is available to guests as well as flights of wines in the bar with complimentary hors d'oeuvres. On a recent Wednesday a member of the WineCountry.com staff had the absolute pleasure of attending a Winemaker Wednesday at Shadowbrook, which featured Winemaker Jerold O' Brien of Silver Mountain Vineyards.
Learning about Silver Mountain Vineyards and of Mr. O'Brien's passion for exceptional winemaking, was an absolute highlight of the evening. Silver Mountain Vineyards is one of a very select few to commit to 100 percent organic viticulture. Silver Mountain Vineyards "only employs organically approved and naturally occurring substances in all vineyard applications, which means that no chemical herbicides, insecticides, fungicides or synthetic fertilizers are used in our vineyard," according to O'Brien. This approach has aided them in creating world class wines that not only rate high alone, but also serve as the perfect compliment to nearly any meal.
The Shadowbrook Restaurant is an ideal location for highlighting fabulous wines such as Silver Mountain Vineyards. With gorgeous surroundings and a cozy interior, the restaurant exudes character and charm.
The Santa Cruz wine-producing region often doesn't receive the praises it deserves. The region is beautiful, lush and ideal for Bordeaux style wine production. The wine produced in Santa Cruz is true to the heart of traditional winemaking. With wineries such as Silver Mountain Vineyards, the region is certainly one never to be missed.
Visit Shadowbrook restaurant at:
Visit Silver Mountain Vineyards at: www.silvermountainvineyards.com
Crab Meat Spread
A Great Party Treat
Combine ingredients; let stand for 2-3 hours so flavors blend. Serve on crackers or on your favorite bread rounds.
Miró of Santa Barbara
A WineCountry.com staff member had the delightful and pleasant experience recently dining at Miró of Santa Barbara, CA. Dining at Miró was overall a fantastic experience, and served as a prime opportunity to try the local Santa Barbara spiny lobster, which was beautifully prepared with roasted seasonal vegetables and a "civet" sauce.
The striking Miró restaurant is "perched on the high bluffs with a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean. Inspired California French cuisine is superbly executed with an accent on impeccable and further complemented by a vast selection of California and the world's finest wines." Miró's sophisticated Sommelier, Gillian Ballance, made the dining experience exceptional due to her knowledge and refined wine skills. Ballance is currently formulating plans for a series of Bacara winemaker dinners that will take place in the Miró cellar.
The menu selections of Miró not only compliment the extensive wine list but are also enhanced by the wide selection of fresh vegetables that are organically grown at the Ranch at Bacara. Each characteristic of the restaurant beautifully streams together with the next. The abstract expressionist artist, Joan Miró, which also provides the namesake, inspired the interior of Miró. The vibrant and lush colors of the restaurant also showcase several of Miró's original sculptures.
The dining experience at Miró is second to none, and should be a must see stop during your next trip to the Santa Barbara area.
Visit Miró at: www.bacararesort.com
Tasting Room Recommendation
Sullivan Vineyards a Napa Valley Treat
Sullivan Vineyards of Rutherford, CA is April's tasting room recommendation. Sullivan Vineyards receives WineCountry.com praises for several reasons - first, the vineyard location is ideal, and with a getaway feel only minutes from Hwy 29. Secondly, the winery atmosphere is incredibly welcoming and relaxed, and third, Sullivan Vineyards welcomes visitors with open arms and a desire to please.
The family owned and run estate is the perfect venue for an afternoon visit with a picnic basket in hand. The property has a beautiful sitting area overlooking the vines that provides just the right amount of shade for a spring afternoon. During our visit to Sullivan Vineyards we had the opportunity to stroll about the property, sip on a variety of tasting room features, and watch the ducks and geese dodge the play of two Golden Retrievers.
In the tasting room, visitors will find the exquisite artwork of Kelly Sullivan, ranging from prints to oils, some of which are an unofficial wine country trademark. Kelly Sullivan's artwork is absolutely captivating. The same moment you taste the fine 1998 Couer de Vigne red table wine, you look to the walls and become enthralled by the talents of Kelly Sullivan, leaving you wondering how so much talent came from the same family.
From the tasting room, to the sitting area overlooking the vines, to the pond scattered with ducks and geese, along with the personable and charming staff, the beautiful surroundings only enhance the fine wines produced at Sullivan Vineyards.
An ideal way to bring Sullivan Vineyards home to you would be to join their wine club by visiting www.sullivanwine.com
Bacara: Santa Barbara's Best Kept Secret
Bacara is a luxury resort that is best enjoyed quietly and serenely. The surrounding beauty encourages tranquility, while the luxuriously appointed spa and myriad of recreational possibilities promote good health - the combination of the two is enticing. Every possible care is taken to make each guest's stay one not soon to be forgotten.
The service is unobtrusive, yet always available, making the impression that the word "no" doesn't exist. The superbly appointed rooms are more than alluring, with certain rooms featuring a private balcony and a gorgeous unobstructed view of the ocean. Every detail seems to be considered with Kiehl's products in the bathroom and Frette linens and towels. After a wonderful massage followed by a delicious dinner, the guest room is ideal for curling up in bed with the balcony doors open wide allowing a deep restful sleep to set in, all with the crash of waves on the beach below.
Bacara is absolutely remote, quiet and incredibly exclusive. The mood promotes good health with beautiful hikes, walks and outdoor experiences just steps away. Located only a short 13 miles north of the city of Santa Barbara, Bacara captivates and seduces you, completely dispelling any urge to return to the hustle and bustle of the city.
Visit Bacara at: www.bacararesort.com
Events for April
April 11 -- Cheryl Wheeler at the Little River Inn
April 26 - 27 -- Spring Wildflower Weekend Show
April 21 -- Wine & Art Festival at Chateau Julien Wine Estate
Ongoing Wednesdays -- Focus on local Monterey County Wines
April 6 - 7 -- Hakusan Gardens Cherry Blossom Festival
April 13 -- The Mad Hatter's Chair-A-Tea Art Party
April 19 -- Winemaker Dinner at Fess Parker Winery
Each Sunday -- Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show
SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
April 20 -- Santa Cruz Mountains Passport Day
Ongoing Weekly -- Winemaker Wednesdays at Shadowbrook Restaurant
April 13 - 14 -- Welcome Spring at Valley of the Moon Winery
April 22 - 24 -- An Evening with Ellen Degeneres
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Photography © courtesy of Nicholas Elias