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Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction
Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers will again let the good times roll at the eleventh annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction on Labor Day weekend, August 28 through September 1, 2003. Sponsored by the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance, the five-day event includes a celebrity golf tournament at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa’s Sonoma Golf Club, a day in the vineyard at Sangiacomo Vineyards, a sit-down wine tasting focused upon Merlot, a festive vintner & grower picnic at Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery, sixteen winery dinners at winery estates and private homes, the Main Event Live Auction on Sunday, August 31, 2003 at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa’s Sonoma Golf Club and a lavish chef-studded Labor Day vineyard brunch finale at St. Francis Winery on Monday, September 1.
With a Mardi Gras! theme the 2003 auction weekend will feature beads, doubloons, Mardi Gras masks and a bit of New Orleans flair. This year the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction was again lauded by Wine Spectator magazine as one of the top 10 charity wine auctions in the United States. More than 40 Sonoma Valley wineries will participate and many vintners and winemakers will get into a Fat Tuesday mood by dressing the part on stage in costumes such as court jesters, Bacchus and traditional Mardi Gras parade attire. More than 100 lots of wine, travel packages and creative dining experiences will be sold over the charity auction event weekend. To date, the SVHWA has raised $2.7 million for Sonoma Valley charities.
Join the five-day party to enjoy the region, to
sip the wines, to indulge, to relax, to kick up your heels and
dance, and to simply enjoy the best of Sonoma Valley in outrageous
Mardi Gras-style. Event tickets, which sell out early, range
in price from $60 to $250. To purchase tickets visit www.sonomavalleywine.com
or call 707.935.0803.
Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction
World-Class Racing in the Wine Country!
Since its inception, Infineon Raceway has become one of the premier racetracks in the country. It now hosts numerous nationally-televised racing events, including the NASCAR Winston Cup, National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drag racing, the American Le Mans Series, and the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Superbike tour. Infineon is also home to the grassroots SCCA road races, and has played host to many of racing’s greatest moments.
Infineon Raceway has undergone a two-year, $50 million Modernization Plan, touching nearly every area of the property. Now one of the busiest racing facilities in the U.S., Infineon Raceways is active about 340 days a year with professional and amateur racing, including community events. As well as providing for the racing community, Infineon Raceways works hard to support the local community and charities. Infineon Raceway has raised almost $200,000 through vintage car festivals, drag races, and other festivities to support the Speedway Children’s Charities, an organization which raises funds donated to qualified children’s causes.
Other events, such as Infineon’s Wednesday
Night Drag Racing, bring together the local community for safe
racing fun! Wednesday nights always draws crowds of locals to
race their own vehicles in a family-friendly environment. The
Top the Cops event, another local favorite, offers the opportunity
for high school students to race against local law enforcement
officers, who drive their squad cars. Top the Cops provides
a much-needed opportunity for local youth to take racing off
the streets and into a safe and legal environment.
Coming in July, exotic sports cars of the American Le Mans Series return for the Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma, twisting action on the 12-turn circuit! August will feature the popular NHRA FRAM Autolite Nationals, promising high speed thrills and excitement. Later this summer, in September, the NHRA Summit Sport Compact Drag Races will zoom into Sonoma County with pumped-up street rods rocketing down the strip at over 150 mph!
When planning your trip to Sonoma County, be sure to check out the newly renovated track and all the excitement! Visit www.infineonraceway.com and make your plans to catch the action at Infineon Raceway!
Winemaking came to the Sierra Foothills region with the Gold Rush, as the miners, predominantly European, planted grapevines upon their arrival. Once the gold began to dwindle, many turned to grape-growing. A far more prominent wine region than Napa and Sonoma at the time, the Sierra Foothills, by the 1870s, boasted over 100 wineries. Regrettably, Prohibition extinguished this frontier wine community, which did not revive until the 1970s, when a new generation of vintners flocked to the foothills.
The heart of the Sierra Foothills Gold Country wine growing region is comprised of four counties. From north to south, they are Nevada, El Dorado, Amador, and Calaveras. Together, they are home to over 50 wineries.
Amador, with its volcanic soils, warm climate, and old vines, is famous for its spicy, hearty, fruity red Zinfandels. By comparison, El Dorado boasts higher elevations and a cooler climate, supporting a wider array of varieties. The smaller appellations of Calaveras and Nevada County also produce high-quality wines.
A perfect visit might begin with a night's stay in one of the enchanting bed & breakfast inns that can be found in Amador City, Sutter Creek, and Jackson. High on the list of things to do is antique shopping, golfing, visits to museums and gold mines, outdoor sports, live theater, music festivals, hiking and skiing. Local eateries offer hearty food that beautifully complements Zinfandel, Amador's foremost wine.
To find Gold Country wineries, lodging, events
and more, please visit our newest WineCountry.com region, goldcountry.winecountry.com.
English Garden in Richmond, Virginia
The sun was setting as we pulled up to The English Garden for our Friday evening dining venture. The rain that had beset Richmond for the entire spring was holding off and six of us were led out to the garden and seated. The garden was lush, the weather warm and pleasant, the company easy and familiar; a perfect Virginia spring evening.
About that time our host, Jeff, introduced himself, and explained that we would be trying four wines, each paired with a California-inspired dinner course. We began with chilled cucumber-avocado soup. "Yummy," describes both the rich and creamy soup with the accompanying wine, a Ventana Sauvignon Blanc from Monterey. The wine was crisp and light with a slight herbal quality that well-suited the soup.
The second course, however, was the winner—baked goat cheese served with spring greens and a red vinaigrette. The accompanying wine was our group’s favorite, a Sebastopol Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir. The wine really took center stage during this course with the food providing just the right backdrop. We were happy to see Jeff circling around to refill our glasses.
After the Pinot Noir, a totally different red was paired with a chicken, asparagus and mushroom penne pasta entrée: a jammy, spicy Norman Vineyards Zinfandel Classic. This wine suffered from following the Pinot Noir. Alone it would have had more personality.
The final course, California strawberry shortcake, was paired with a Greenwood Ridge Riesling from the Mendocino Ridge. By this time we had scurried to the cottage due to sudden rain. Inside was intimate and warm and the move did not spoil our evening one bit. In fact, we’re thinking about next Friday’s dinner, a sampling from France….
The English Garden, located at 12506 River Road, Richmond, VA, hosts a spring series of Friday evening wine dinners. The authors were pleased to attend one of these dinners, which featured wines from California, where they previously had visited several vineyards.
Article submitted by Liz and Robert Acosta-Lewis, long time residents of Richmond Virginia.
Wine Tasting Recommendation
If you are planning a visit to the Sonoma valley wine country, a must see is the Valley of the Moon Winery. Located in the heart of the Sonoma valley at Highway 12 and Madrone Road, here is a winery that has enjoyed a long and illustrious past. Today the winery is well-known for bringing together its rich history and state of the art wine production facility. Its scenic location allows a less crowed experience in a picturesque setting. This winery actually dates as far back as 1860.
The staff at Valley of the Moon Winery welcomes your visit. You will enjoy the beautiful gardens, a fabulous tasting room that is newly structured with Tuscan red overtones, hand-troweled plaster and stone features, including an outstanding 60 foot long sculptural concrete and metal tasting bar. The tasting room is full of great wine, of course, and many exceptional gift ideas. Enjoy no-charge tastings with the friendly, knowledgeable tasting room staff as they take you through their many award winning wines, the history of the winery and the fascinating stories of Jack London. The focus is on wines that are some of the less common varietals, such as their exceptional Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Zinfandel and Syrah, along with their award winning Chardonnay and Cabernet. Tours of the winery are available daily at 10:30AM and 2:00PM at no charge. Picnic tables are available for your use outside in a grove of trees for a relaxing afternoon.
The winery is just four miles from the Jack London
Square in Glen Ellen and just North of the quaint town of Sonoma
where you’ll find great shops, restaurants and interestingly
rich history. The Valley of the Moon Winery is truly a great
place to visit to experience their fabulous wines and enjoy
the total wine country experience.
Wine Country Lodging Recommendation
Garnett Creek Inn in the Napa Valley
The Garnett Creek Inn is conveniently located on Calistoga’s historic main street at the top of the beautiful Napa Valley. This lovely Bed and Breakfast Inn is a large Victorian home originally built in the 1800's. Recently this home was completely remodeled into one of Calistoga’s newest and finest inns.
Recently a WineCountry.com representative visited the Garnett Creek Inn and stayed in the stunning Lucinda Suite. The décor is quite lovely with soft welcoming colors of yellows, greens and soft pastels, so indicative of the Napa Valley. The spacious suite is sophisticatedly decorated with attractive furnishings and beautiful linens, and is equipped with many modern conveniences, including a large bath with a deep soaking tub and a double shower. Warm comfy robes are provided for your use along with many other amenities. The suite includes an exquisite and inviting bed with beautiful fluffy bedding, a very enjoyable sitting area that is complete with a bay window and a gorgeous fireplace—all overlooking a lovely patio area and floral gardens.
Once you get to Garnett Creek Inn you probably won’t want to leave, but if you must, this convenient location is perfect for taking a quick walk to world-class spas, fine restaurants and unique shops. For more information check out their website at www.garnettcreekinn.com
Wine Country Featured Events
Things to Do in the Wine Country:
25, 26 & 27, 2003—The
18th Annual Sonoma Salute to the Arts, Sonoma, California
Sonoma's eighteenth annual Salute to the Arts is scheduled for July 25, 26 & 27. The Salute Celebration will launch this Northern California ultra premium masterpiece at Buena Vista Winery on Friday evening, July 25 at 7 p.m. Sonoma Salute to the Arts, the festival's showcase of the culinary, winemaking, visual, performing, and literary arts will take place in historic Sonoma Plaza on Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and July 27, with food and wine tasting from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and music and art from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The fifth annual Salute to the Arts Live Auction & Dinner will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday evening, July 26, at Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood.
Insider's Day with Beau Limousine!
Win an exclusive VIP Napa Valley wine tour for up to 6 people and get an inside look at some of the hottest producers in the wine industry today! Your 6 hour tour begins around 9:30AM (at any Napa Valley location you choose) as you board your own private, customized Stretch Limousine. Your knowledgeable tour guide will greet you and your friends with complimentary sparkling wine and begin escorting you through the valley.
Your first winery stop takes you 2000 feet up to the top of the Mayacamas mountain range in one of Napa's most celebrated appellations. On your morning tour of the winery you will walk you through lush vineyards, experience cool-climate wine caves, and taste some very limited production wines. Afterwards you will be treated to a catered gourmet lunch overlooking the most scenic vistas in wine country!
Your next stop will be a tour and tasting in the famed Oakville District (home of big Cabernets) at a private winery just off the Silverado Trail. This elegant property has been built adjacent to a "ghost winery" (closed and abandoned after prohibition). Tastings will include highly rated Chardonnays, very rich Merlots, and delicious Cabernets.
Finally, you will be taken on an extensive barrel tasting tour through the caves of one of Napa's hottest new producers. Get ready for sensory overload as you sample several different barrel types that are aging the same Cabernet! This is a true wine connoisseur's experience, but it doesn't end there. A final tasting of the finished product (current releases) takes place in the "back room" along with a variety of aged cheese.
Tour includes: All tasting and tour fees, lunch, limousine, and 15% gratuity (valued at $846)
Restrictions: Subject to availability.
***No purchase necessary.
To participate you must be 21 years of age or older. Only one
entry per person permitted. Prize is same as cash, FreeRun Technologies,
Inc/WineCountry.com is not responsible if lost or stolen. Winner
will be selected by random drawing and will be contacted via
email. Winner must claim prize within 10 days of email notification.
Winner name and state of residence will be announced in a future
issue of WineCountry.com Lifestyle Online newsletter. Employees
of FreeRun Technologies are ineligible. Void where prohibited.
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