OnLine Newsletter
People in Wine Country
Patrick Campbell — Intercontinental Wine Maverick
Healdsburg Travel Itinerary
A Countryside Wine Tasting and Dining Dream Tour
Wine Country Recipe
Spicy Black-Eyed Peas
Wine Country Featured Event
April in Carneros 2005 Drawing
Newsletter Trivia Contest—Enter and Win!*
Simi Winery Tasting Room~Before and After

At the northern end of Healdsburg lies Simi Winery, which claims the distinction of having opened the first wine tasting room in Sonoma County.  After Prohibition ended in 1933, Isabelle Simi Haigh tried many ways to re-engage the town with the enjoyment of wine.  Legend has it that she sent her husband into town with a large barrel of wine, ordering him to stop traffic to gain attention, and sell it bottle by bottle.

She also opened the Simi Tasting Room, in a giant 25,000-gallon Champagne tank. Supplanted in 1990 by a new facility, the current facility just reopened to celebrate another makeover, as it continues to offer outstanding Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines in a rich, 129-year history of excellence.

Inman Family Winery

Use Header Text Here!Sonoma County's Russian River Valley has long been renowned for its exquisite Pinot Noir. Now, a small family winery is putting the region on the map for a close relation: Pinot Gris.

Pinot Gris produces complex, richly flavored white wines in the Alsace region of France, Oregon, and California. The Inman family, who came to the Russian River Valley from England in 1998 and planted a 10-acre vineyard to Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, makes one of the best. Described in Wine Enthusiast magazine as "a higher class of Pinot Gris," previous vintages have sold out quickly and won numerous accolades, including a 93 score in the authoritative Pinot Report. Released this month, Inman's 2004 Pinot Gris is crisp and refreshing, boasting fragrant floral, citrus and pear aromas, with pear, white stone fruit and spice flavors and a long mineral finish.

Kathleen Inman made only 339 cases of this handmade Pinot Gris, which is sold exclusively through their mailing list, website, and, along with the Pinot Noir, is featured on the wine lists of some of California’s finest restaurants. To purchase telephone (707) 395 0689 or visit

El Prado Inn
"Perfect Downtown Location"

Use Header Text Here!Located in the heart of Santa Barbara and just a short walk to shopping, theatre, and fine dining, El Prado Inn is your perfect starting point for historic and scenic excursions. You are only moments away from seeing internationally renowned exhibits at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Broadway-caliber stage productions at the historic Granada, Arlington and Lobero Theatres, and enjoying the many fine dining establishments that Santa Barbara is known for.

Our recently updated guest accommodations are spacious and inviting, and many feature views of the lush pool area or majestic mountain background. You'll feel at home at the El Prado Inn, because we know what it takes to make you and your family comfortable during your stay with us. Come and relax in our lobby and indulge in a cup of hot tea or coffee while reading the daily paper. Enjoy a warm, quiet afternoon lounging at the poolside.

Visit our website to make online reservations or call us at 1.800.669.8979.

Napa Valley Symphony
"Allegro con Brio"

Napa Valley SymphonyLegendary pianist André Watts performs with the Napa Valley Symphony at the final concerts of the subscription season on Sunday at May 22, 2005 at 3:00PM and Tuesday May 24, 2005 at 8:00PM. From 1:00PM to 3:00PM on Sunday, May 22, The Napa Valley Symphony is pleased to offer a sampling of the Napa Valley's finest wine and food at "Allegro con Brio" - the season ending celebration of the Symphony's return home to the newly refurbished Lincoln Theater in Yountville, Napa Valley. This special event is complimentary for all ticket holders of the May 22 André Watts concert.

The Napa Valley Symphony's first Pops Concert Series ends with a bang with a performance by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, on Saturday, June 25, 2005 at 8:00PM at the Robert Mondavi Winery. Ask anyone who's heard Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and they'll tell you: THEY ROCK! Join us in the beautiful setting of Robert Mondavi Winery for the Napa Valley's largest picnic under the stars.

For tickets and more information, please contact the Symphony at 707-226-8742 or log onto


Patrick Campbell —
Intercontinental Wine Maverick

Patrick Campbell is probably the most culturally versatile and self-actualized winemaker and grower one could meet.  During three years living in a Zen Buddhist community on Sonoma Mountain above Glen Ellen, Patrick tuned himself to the rhythms of growing wine grapes at a neighboring vineyard.  In the end, he purchased this three-acre Laurel Glen Vineyard in 1977, restoring the vines to their full vigor.  Soon the renowned Laurel Glen Winery was born, where Patrick developed his thoughtful, meticulous winemaking style. 

So it began for Patrick on this remarkable ridge at the northern end of Sonoma Mountain.  Commanding a glorious view of Mt. St. Helena over the Mayacamas range, it is home to the Laurel Glen Estate.  Viticulturally, the hillside is distinguished by its exposure to sun.  It receives both morning and evening sun in contrast to many vineyards that receive predominantly one or the other.  As a result, the grapes carry fully developed flavors as well as provide excellent acidity and solid texture.  Patrick has since expanded this vineyard to 35 contiguous acres as his remarkable wines have garnered acclaim.

Patrick and his harvest team work meticulously.  As many as 15 passes are made through the mountain property, so that each cluster of grapes is harvested at the perfect moment.  Each lot is then barrel fermented separately, and the team sorts the barrels of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon into three levels—most ageworthy (Laurel Glen), the early-drinking lots (Counterpoint), and those not to the level of quality for use at Laurel Glen.  The individual lots are sampled and sorted for up to six months or as Patrick says, “until we get to know each barrel like a good friend”.

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Westside Road & Healdsburg Square Itinerary
A Low-Mileage Countryside, Wine Tasting and Dining Dream Tour

The historic Sonoma County hamlet of Healdsburg is today the focus of the area’s vibrant Wine Country lifestyle. The success of its evolutionary revitalization has resulted in a pleasing transformation.  Healdsburg’s classic California Plaza area proudly offers a marvelous array of shopping, culture, culinary treats and diverse wine tasting opportunities.  Just down Westside road, a plethora of tiny, exquisite artisan wineries beckons.

This two-day itinerary guides you first along Westside Road, leisurely exploring the grand beauty of this quiet area and the superlative wines it has to offer.  On the second day, we will explore some of the more unique, new, and under-exposed gems that have come into the Healdsburg Plaza area during this golden age for the Healdsburg downtown.  Local winegrowing emphasizes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, but you will also have the opportunity to taste a wide range of other interesting varietal wines.

The Itinerary emphasizes low drive time and high enjoyment.  Most, or even all of it, could be enjoyed on a rental bicycle, easily obtained.  For those of you who follow it this season, e-mail us at and briefly describe your best experiences.  One lucky winner will receive a fun, useful wine carrier after a random drawing of all responses received before October 1, 2005.

Day One—Countryside on Westside Road
Day Two—Healdsburg Plaza


Hop Kiln Valdiguié

Estate grown, this uncommon red Rhone varietal is much more flavorful than many of its peers.  Appealing aromas lure you towards the creamy, rich texture of the wine as its substantial but soft tannins draw diverse flavors across your palate.  White pepper, anise, strawberry and pomegranate lead the way to a pleasing finish with a distinct, balanced taste of coconut.  It is a lovely match to spicy food.  The wine is available through the Hop Kiln website, and be sure to try it with our recipe Favorite Spicy Black-Eyed Peas.


Spicy Black-Eyed Peas
This zesty side dish matches the diverse flavors of the Hop Kiln Valdiguié handsomely.  Serve with pork roast, chops or ribs from the grill.  Your favorite cooked greens also match as an excellent second side dish.

You will need about 2 cups of black-eyed peas.  Fresh peas are easier to find than they used to be and have better texture, but frozen or dried are fine too.

Go to recipe


April in Carneros 2005
April 16th & 17th, 2005 – Don’t miss… April in Carneros 2005. Plan a day of extraordinary wine tasting as nearly 20 Carneros Wineries (many rarely open to the public) invite you for a weekend of celebration – April in Carneros 2005.   Taste new releases, learn more about unique and exciting wines and enjoy the breathtaking landscapes, all while helping a good cause, F.I.S.H (Friends in Sonoma Helping) a local social services agency.

Kick-off your day by purchasing a logo glass at any participating Carneros winery (download a map) and experience what makes this region and its wines, world-renowned.

Fee: $25/glass, good for tasting both days (no advance purchase necessary or available), Date: Saturday, April 16th and Sunday, April 17th, Time: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Phone: 800-909-HDLC (4652), Website:


Newsletter Trivia Contest—Enter and Win!*
Reading the Lifestyle and Visitation Newsletter is always rewarding!  After enjoying our Healdsburg Itinerary article, perhaps you are ready to plan your trip to this magnificent Sonoma wine country.  Let us help you with some of the details. 

Enter to win a gift certificate* (over $200 value) good at the luxurious, swank Hotel Healdsburg, located on the historic Plaza.  This certificate can be applied towards lodging, spa treatments, or fine dining at the Dry Creek Kitchen.  With all the wine tasting you are sure to do, as an added bonus, you will also receive 2 Reserve Wine Tasting passes to Kendall Jackson as well.

You can enter to win by answering the following question from this Newsletter:What is the name of the region where Patrick Campbell works with Malbec, the national treasure of Argentina?

Click here to enter this drawing!**  The Winner of this Drawing will be announced on The Winner's Page after April 30, 2005.

So what are you waiting for…Sonoma wine country awaits your arrival!

*some restrictions apply
** No purchase necessary. Must be at least 21 years old to enter. Only one entry per person permitted. Winner will be selected April 30, 2005 by random drawing from the correct entries. Winner will be notified by email.  Employees of Freerun Technologies are ineligible. Void where prohibited by law.


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WineCountry Online Newsletter Editor: Carolyn Lewis

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