|take our survey • site index • event calendar • do business with us|
WineCountry.com Redesign & Publication
Time to celebrate! WineCountry.com, the premiere web portal for regional wine country destination and lifestyle information, has a newly designed website AND has launched an exciting new print publication. You’re invited to be one of the first to take a look with this offer of a complimentary first issue! Click here and you are on your way.
The WineCountry.com publication is the new voice on what’s new and what's hot in the wine country. Whether you are looking for insider tips on the top restaurants, places to stay, or events to attend while in the area, we give you all the juicy details, as well as ideas and tips on how to take a piece of what we enjoy about living in wine country home with you. Stunning images leap off every page as we showcase the splendor of the various wine regions like no other. We hope this will entice you to come back again and again either personally or virtually.
Both the website and the publication are designed to be explored interactively, with online content adding extra depth and up-to-the-minute information about what is going on in the many wine country regions of America.WineCountry.com, Linking you to our Lifestyle. Cheers and Enjoy.
Cliff Lede Vineyards
Spectacular New Tasting Room Opens!
Cliff Lede Vineyards was established in 2002, when Canadian businessman Cliff Lede purchased S. Anderson Vineyard, a family-owned producer of still and sparkling wines established in 1971. Cliff Lede Vineyard's history is a testament to the owner's dedication to Bordeaux style wines and to the Napa Valley. In his late 20s Cliff Lede began hanging around at a local wine store and talking with its knowledgeable owner, who gave Cliff his first taste of good Bordeaux, a Ducru Beaucaillou. “I remember thinking, This is pretty good wine,” he says in typically understated fashion.
Many years later, Cliff still likes Bordeaux…OK, he’s crazy about it. He collects it (and has since the 1982 vintage). He reads everything about it. He buys futures of it. He looks for deals on it. If a restaurant wine list has a bottle of Mouton he’s missing from his vertical collection, he’ll try to strike a deal with the owner to obtain it. “Collecting became a passion,” he says. On one trip to the Bordeaux region, he remembers thinking, “Boy, wouldn’t it be great to have a little bit of this for my own?”
That bit of his own – once only a twinkle in his eye – is now Cliff Lede Vineyards. Set at the northern end of the Stags Leap District, the winery has 55 acres of estate vineyards planted with red Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdot. In addition, a 15-acre estate vineyard on Mt. Veeder yields Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay.
In an exciting development for the winery, its newly-renovated tasting room opened over the Fourth of July weekend. “We have created a state-of-the-art tasting room that will showcase our wines in an intimate, casual and fun environment making a complete sensory experience for our guests,” says General Manager Michael Updegraff. The new building is true to the original 1913 design,and boast a spacious new tasting room with high-beamed ceilings and floors crafted from refurbished oak. Cliff Lede Vineyards Tasting room will be open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with public tours at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The tours offer a walk through the vines to the stunning candelit caves, where soaring cathedral ceilings and natural stonewalls surround stacks of French-oak barrels filled with aging wine.
Cliff Lede Vineyards is located at 1473 Yountville Cross Road, in Yountville.
Open daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Editors Pick — Noteworthy Wine
Great Mourvèdre isn't easy to find. This wine is made of exceptional fruit from Knight's Valley California, just to the west of Alexander Valley on the way to Calistoga. Here the fruit receives two to three weeks longer hang time on the vines than is typical, developing richer flavors thanks to this unique microclimate. This phenomenal, award-winning wine is exceptionally balanced and smooth, in part thanks to its perfect age in the bottle. Starting with its delectable nose, across the palate its leathery, tobacco flavors match beautifully with warm-weather eating...for snacking, try it with your stronger English or French cheeses. The Crane Canyon 2000 Mourvèdre is a wonderful example that lovers of this varietal, as well as newcomers, will love. To try or buy this wine, visit www.tastelocalwines.com or cranecanyon.com
Passport to Peterson 2005
Peterson Winery in Healdsburg
Passport to Dry Creek is a unique and legendary event in Sonoma County wine culture. Granddaddy of the Russian River Wine Road, its focus is on the unique artisan wines and wineries of the Dry Creek Valley appellation. During an entire weekend, member wineries in this small, idyllic area open to offer awesome food, drink and fun. Great Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons and other varietals flow along with the diverse stylistic array of Zinfandels that carry on the grand Italian winemaking tradition of this area, more popular today than ever before.
Held the last weekend in April, if you want the hard-to-get, single-price ticket, you will have to make a little effort now, but it is worth it! Your Passport, stamped as you visit each winery, allows you to tour for two days enjoying food, wine and the spirit of the people who make this valley unique. Directions on how to obtain your Passports are at the end of this story.
Peterson Winery offers the epitome of Dry Creek every day, but especially at this event. Winemaker Fred Peterson is friendly, casual, real, and a volunteer fireman in nearby Geyserville; he is the kind of guy who defines what the Dry Creek area is really about. Grower and winemaker, he maintains control of all the elements from start to finish as he creates wonderful wines and great values as well. His winemaking philosophy is Zero Manipulation, meaning he uses less manipulative winemaking techniques, allowing the unique flavors from each vintage to shine, rather than pushing a wine into a repetitious flavor profile.
As Fred often says, “I make too many different wines”, reflecting his true passion for the wines he makes. While he is best known for Zinfandel (he makes four—the pinotesqueBernier, the old-vine field blend Tradizionale, his blended Dry Creek and the rich Bradford Mountain), his winemaking also reflects the diversity of the Dry Creek with two Sangioveses, a Petite Sirah blend, Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot. He also sources fruit from other properties, making Anderson Valley Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and the Zero Manipulation Carignane red table wine and dry Rosé.
Each year at Passport, those in the know flock to Peterson Winery for the legendary carnitas, delicious array of salsas and my favorite, the two styles of pork rinds (fresh from the same pig as the carnitas, prepared earlier in the week over an open fire). The rinds, or chicarrones, are especially good as you have your choice between regular and the more unusual ones with bits of meat attached. I said I would eat only one of the latter, and I was sorry in the end that I only had three!
A great expression of the Dry Creek spirit, this will be the last opportunity to enjoy Passport at the Peterson Big Red Barn…the winery will be moving shortly after the 2005 event. And of course, the other Dry Creek wineries, many open only for this event, pull out all the stops with theme parties, food and wine everywhere. The ticket price at $90 is a bargain…this is a weekend to focus on daytime eating and drinking, you won’t want big, expensive meals in the evening.
So here is how to try to get a ticket…the valley is so small, they have to limit congestion, so the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley hold a drawing. E-mail them at email@example.com or call (707) 433-3031 to let them know you want to attend. In January, you will be contacted for your request for Passports, and shortly thereafter, you will be informed of the results of the random drawing. If you belong to a Wine Club of a winery member, they may be able to offer you tickets. Finally, if you don’t get tickets, and assuming you can make last minute plans, here’s something most people don’t know—there are quite a few tickets that become available at the last minute, as people return tickets when they can’t attend. Let them know if you can do this, it usually works!
Here’s another special ticket, to Peterson Winery…the Annual Summer Open House and Party. This event is coming up Saturday July 24. Peterson wines are offered six days a week at Locals Tasting Room in nearby Geyserville, but the winery itself is open just six times a year for special events. The winery is open to the public, no charge, from 11-4 as it celebrates the release of the 2002 Zero Manipulation Carignane Red Table Wine, a great match for the Central American food offered, and your barbeque and casual food occasions any day!
The celebrated evening party is from 5 PM to Dark. Enjoy a warm evening in the Dry Creek with fun live entertainment, food and Peterson wines of course. Fajitas and Salvadorean delicacies will be matched by an incredible array of handmade salsas (the same recipes that match carnitas during Passport). Dessert will be the awesome handmade ice creams from Healdsburg’s amazing Downtown Bakery. The value at $35 per person can’t be beat. The party can sell out, and the deadline for tickets is July 14 (though you can again call for last minute tickets), so email firstname.lastname@example.org now, or call (707) 431-7568 if you want to enjoy this unique event of Dry Creek culture.
For general information on the Dry Creek area, the website at www.wdcv.com is very interesting. Whichever, whenever, summer or spring, Peterson and Passport, the easy-going people of the Dry Creek and their amazing wines await you!
Article contributed by Taylor Poff
Editors Pick — Most Knowledgeable Concierge
Most Knowledgeable Healdsburg Concierge —
Wine Country Featured Destination
Aurora Park Cottages in Calistoga
If you are looking for a quiet retreat with a bed and breakfast feeling, look no further! Joe Hensley and Celeste Ford at Aurora Park Cottages understand the need for privacy while simultaneously providing the attention and amenities of the finest lodging establishments in the Napa Valley.
Located in Calistoga, the charming spa capital of the Napa wine country, Aurora Park is conveniently located within walking distance of the town and is easy to find. A perfect choice as world-class restaurants, award winning wineries and first rate spas are within minutes of Aurora Park Cottages. Joe and Celeste will happily customize a tour based on your requests – just ask! From touring caves to experiencing a mud bath to an adventurous hot air balloon ride, Calistoga has it all.
Upon arrival we were warmly greeted and given a key to our cottage with an invitation to spend some time with Joe and Celeste prior to our evening out. With six cottages to choose from – one with handicapped access and fully equipped bathroom – they are painted a soft, inviting yellow with sweet landscaping lining the illuminated pathways. Each cottage is separate and has a cozy, private deck with a stylish table and chairs beckoning us to relax and enjoy the view of the Palisades Mountains. We opened the door to find a split of fabulous sparkling wine, a vase full of beautiful fresh flowers and a personal “Happy Birthday” message for my guest! The inside of our cottage was elegantly decorated with warm tones, natural wood and plenty of space for two. Right away it was obvious Aurora Park was certainly not your typical “cottage” where often times one feels cramped for space. Intelligently designed for ultimate comfort, we could have easily stayed a week! Amenities include luxurious down-filled beds, mini-fridge with complimentary water and juice, cable tv, a breakfast nook, a separate sitting area with oversized chairs perfect for cuddling up with a good book, coffee for the morning, huge shower, and the bed was...well...like sleeping on a cloud of feathers.
Once settled, we ventured down to Joe and Celeste’s house to enjoy a glass of wine with our gracious hosts. We learned they bought the property in 2001 and gave it a complete, fabulous make-over. With the goal in mind to provide elegantly comfortable, private accommodations combined with a bed and breakfast feel, we would agree they accomplished just that. Natural hospitality exudes from Joe and Celeste, who gave us the impression they cared about each and every one of their guests’ experience. Be sure to check out their special packages and leave the planning to the experts. After a fabulous night out in friendly Calistoga, we found our way back to the cottages and felt like we had arrived at home as we sunk into our plush, down-filled beds.
The next day, it was a brisk, sunny morning so we decided to go for a jog and enjoyed the charming Victorian neighborhood as the sun came up. As promised, a fragrant breakfast basket was delivered in the morning containing a warm croissant and cinnamon roll, a bowl of bright mangoes, blueberries and strawberries adorned with a sprig of mint, and fresh squeezed orange juice. With a steaming hot cup of coffee and a delicious meal, this was the perfect way to start the day.
All too often one visits a website and is impressed with the photos and promises of a peaceful stay only to be disappointed with their experiences at the property. Joe and Celeste deliver everything they advertise...and much more! I can’t wait to go back.
Aurora Park Cottages 1807 Foothill Blvd, Calistoga Ca. 94515
email email@example.com phone 877-942-7700 or 707-942-6733
Wine Country Recipe
House Sweet Dreams
New WINECOUNTRY.com Publication • Cliff Lede • Peterson Winery • Wine Country Featured DestinationWine Country Featured Event
Wine Country Recipe • Wine Country Events • WineCountry.com Drawing • Top of page
Now in its 19th year, Sonoma’s Salute to the Arts continues to knock the socks off its guests with a sumptuous spread of events. This year’s festival kicks off with the Salute to the Arts Visual Art Competition, featuring the best work of local artists. The festivities continue with a weekend-long showcase of culinary, winemaking, visual, performing, and literary arts in the historic Sonoma Plaza; wine and food tastings are also available, and live music will keep the mood lighthearted. The fifth annual Salute to the Arts Live Auction & Dinner, the icing on the cake, and will take place Saturday evening at the lovely Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. A perfect opportunity to experience the full spread of Sonoma’s bounty, the festival continues to be Sonoma’s premier summer event for locals and visitors alike.A good time for a great cause, the Salute to the Arts donates the net of its proceeds to numerous non-profit arts, cultural, and educational organizations. Through the Salute to the Arts the Sonoma Valley Arts Alliance also funds scholarships for high school seniors interesting in pursuing careers in the arts, enology and viticulture. The ideal way to support a deserving cause, all while getting a taste of Sonoma wine country. When the fun is over, commemorate the fun with a gorgeous locally-designed poster - these posters have become cult collectors’ items over the years - the perfect way to remember what promises to be a magical weekend! Sonoma Salute to the Arts – the coolest place to be in July!
Experience the essence of relaxation to the infinite degree with a Mud or Mineral Bath with one hour Massage at Calistoga Oasis Spa for one person. This spa specializes in giving quality spa treatments in a soothing and intimate atmosphere. They focus on exceptional massage therapists and simple relaxation. www.oasisspa.com
If that is not enough, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) will certainly delight as you take a tour of the premises and watch two different live cooking demonstrations that will include the recipe and tasting of the dish demonstrated. Then, sit down for a scrumptious gourmet meal at the Greystone Restaurant*located within the CIA.
(*some restrictions apply)
***No purchase necessary. Must be at least 21 years old to enter. Excludes alcohol & gratuity – not redeemable for cash . Calistoga Oasis Spa certificate expires 11/19/04. Only one entry per person permitted. Winner will be selected July 19, 2004 by random drawing. Winner will be notified by email. Employees of Freerun Technologies are ineligible. Void where prohibited by law.
Click here to enter this drawing! (Please note: If you are already subscribed to the newsletter, you are automatically entered in this drawing.)
The Winner of this Drawing will be announced on The Winner's Page after July 19.