OnLine Newsletter
January 2006
Exploring Central Sonoma, CA
Matanza Creek Winery
Destinations – Santa Rosa, CA
Renaissance in Railroad Square
Wine Country Recipe
California Almond Cake 
Wine Country Featured Event
Monterey Passport Weekend Drawing
Newsletter Contest—Enter and Win!*
4th Annual Passport Weekend and Monterey Wine Auction & Gala

Mark your calendars for the 4th Annual Passport Weekend and Monterey Wine Auction & Gala on February 17–19, 2006. Passport Weekend features tasting room events throughout Monterey Wine Country and an array of festivities such as music, gourmet food, completion prizes and much more! Winemakers will host tables for the evening and pour their best in an intimate setting at the Monterey Wine Auction & Gala.

Some of the participating wineries include Baywood Cellars, Chateau Julien Wine Estate, Hahn Estates, Joullian Vineyards, Paraiso Vineyards, Scheid Vineyards, Ventana Vineyards/Meador Estate and many more. Go online for a complete list of wineries. Order tickets online or by calling (831) 375.9400.

Grand Opening Special – Save 30% At Hyatt Grand Aspen in Aspen, CO

Grand Opening Special — Save 30% At Hyatt Grand Aspen in Aspen, CO

Aspen's newest resort celebrates the Rocky Mountain experience in exclusive style. Now through Sept. 30, 2006, take advantage of savings up to 30% on regular rates. It's an ideal opportunity to enjoy Aspen's world–class skiing, hiking and year–round outdoor fun, plus shopping, dining and exciting events such as Aspen's food & wine and music festivals.

Every aspect of Hyatt's studio, one–, two– and three–bedroom accommodations has been designed with lavish attention to detail. Enjoy finely crafted interiors incorporating stone, polished woods, granite and marble with multiple fireplaces, private balconies, grand kitchens, spa tubs and steam showers. And it's all just steps from Aspen's world-famous boutiques, galleries, restaurants and nightlife.

For reservations or information, visit, or call (800) 926.4447 (Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–5p.m. ET) or (800) 233.1234 (anytime). No special offer code required when booking online. Please mention Wine Country when booking by phone.

Miramont Estate Vineyards – Wine & Chocolate Event

Miramont Estate Vineyards – Wine & Chocolate Event in FebruaryTaste Miramont Estate Vineyard's award– winning wines at the Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend February 11–12, 2006 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will be offering an array of decadent chocolate food, barrel tastings and all visitors will receive logo glasses. Make plans to attend this fun event with that special someone or with a group of friends!

Miramont Estate Vineyards recently received 3 medals for their wines from the American Wine Society Commercial Wine Competition in Las Vegas last November. The 2002 Celestial Cabernet Sauvignon won a Silver, and the 2001Celestial Cabernet Sauvignon and 2002 Reserve Celestial Cabernet Sauvignon both won bronzes.This Spring Miramont will be releasing their Chardonnay and are inviting all of their wine club members to help them select the label for the Chardonnay.

Go online for Tasting Room location of Miramont Estate Vineyards. For more information about Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend, contact the Lodi Visitor Center at or call (209) 365.0621.


Wineries — Matanzas Creek

Matanzas Creek Winery - Winter's Purple Passion

Winter's Purple Passion

By Heather Irwin

January may seem an odd time to go looking for lavender. But in Northern California, just after December's unyielding rains, the countryside is knitted together in patches of bright green. After months and months of nothing but crisp, dry brown, the days just after Christmas bring a sneak preview of spring to Sonoma County, teasing not a few brave buds.

Like its hearty herb brethren rosemary and thyme, lavender persists through the winter — though with a bit more reserve than its lush summer persona. And one of the best places to find it, whether winter or summer is at Matanzas Creek Winery in Santa Rosa, California. Home to hundreds of carefully cultivated lavender plants, Matanzas Creek winery is a sort of Provence–in–Sonoma with fields of grey and purple shrubs throwing off a delicate, vegetative perfume regardless of the season. Sniff deeply, and their aroma will stay with you through the day, calm and meditative.

Take a virtual walk with us through the grounds of Matanzas Creek. Even in the cool winter months, there's plenty to admire at this Santa Rosa winery.



Gordon's Cafe
De Schmire Restaurant

Highly recommended De Schmire Restaurant gets my pic this month. Not because I have yet been there, but because I have heard SO much about it. And not from your regular food snobbies, but from a number of not–so–super–tasters, but super enjoyers.

Described as continental cuisine, and California fare with strong French leanings, the restaurant has been around for about 30 years. Local art is featured in the two dining rooms and the open kitchen provides visual entertainment, as well as gustatory.

It takes a bit of bling, so it maybe your next special occasion out. I will probably take my 17–year–old daughter. It is always a special occasion when we can enjoy a civil meal.

De Schmire Restaurant
304 Bodega Ave, Petaluma, CA
Tel: (707) 762.1901


Pajaro Dunes Ocean View Vacation Rentals
Pajaro Dunes Ocean View Vacation Rentals

Pajaro Dunes Company offers luxurious, fully furnished ocean view vacation rentals, townhouses, and condominiums. Take advantage of their "3 Nights for the Price of 2" Special Lodging Promotion. Make lodging reservations now through April 30, 2006 and if you book two nights, you will get the third night free! Offer valid for new reservations only, based on availability and excludes major holidays.

Destinations — Santa Rosa, CA

Trattoria Restaurant in Santa Rosa, CA

Renaissance in Railroad Square

By Heather Irwin

Santa Rosa makes no apologies for being a practical sort of town. One of the largest metropolitan areas north of San Francisco, it has always been the work–a–day Wine Country suburb where visitors might find convenient parking, strip malls, churches, schools and tract homes — but not necessarily the tourist-friendly bars, restaurants and shops that out–of–towners and visitors practically stumble over to the north and south.

Instead, Santa Rosa is the place where many Sonoma residents actually live and raise their families. And though there have always been a few notable Santa Rosa tourist destinations, like the influential John Ash, or the ground-breaking Willi's Wine Bar, Santa Rosa has for a long time lacked a central hub where folks could walk around, shop and eat — like the central plazas of Healdsburg or the town of Sonoma.

But recently that's been changing. Slowly at first, but with increasing speed Railroad Square, just west of downtown, is becoming Santa Rosa's own Wine Country destination spot.



California Almond Cake

California Almond Cake with Balsamic Strawberries and Orange Mascarpone

Create a dessert masterpiece with this recipe from John Ash & Co at Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa, CA. The California Almond Cake with Balsamic Strawberries and Orange Mascarpone is rich in taste and the perfect ending to any meal.

Or escape to Central Sonoma Wine Country and stay at Vintner's Inn. Steps away from your luxurious private room is John Ash & Co. Restaurant. Experience a feast for the senses. With their picturesque vineyard as a backdrop, Chef Jeffrey Madura utilizes the freshest of locally grown products to create inspired wine country cuisine for your pleasure.



Enter and Win!*

Sonoma Getaway Package

Start the New Year with a trip to Sonoma Wine Country that boasts luxurious lodging accommodations, wine tasting, dining, and an array of activities. We'll even help get you started.

Enter to win the Sonoma Getaway Package that includes two spa gift certificates to Osmosis, two Reserve Wine Tasting certificates for Kendall Jackson, and two dining certificates at Healdsburg Charcuterie. Package Value is $220!

You can enter to win by answering the following question from this Newsletter: "What place soothes the soul, no matter what time of year you go?

Click here to enter this drawing!**  The Winner of this Drawing will be announced on The Winner's Page after February 28, 2006.

*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 February 28, 2006 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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