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by Erika Lenkert



Mother's Day in Wine Country


This is the second year that I officially qualify as a Mother's Day honoree, so unlike years prior to parenthood I speak with authority when I say that it may be impossible to truly grasp the depth and extent of a mom's efforts unless you are a mother yourself.

However, all children old enough to hold a crayon and husbands married to mommies are charged with the responsibility of celebrating mom in some form or fashion, be it with a handmade card with colorful scribbles, spa gift certificate, or breakfast in bed. And from where I stand, right on to that. I don't care if the holiday is commercialized and shrouded in marketing campaigns pushing candy and flowers. We mommies deserve a big pat on the back and should take it wherever and whenever we can get it.

If you have a mommy in your life and want to celebrate her with something a little sexier than a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates, don't put off finding something special for her until the last moment. Instead consider following Wine Country items, which top my Mother's Day wish list—and feel free to forward this link to my husband if you happen to know him.

Oh! And don't forget: Mother's Day is Sunday, May13.

A Bottle of Great Chardonnay
I call myself a wine monogamist because I get into one varietal and drink it solely for a year or more before moving onto my next favorite. My current crush, so to speak, is chardonnay. If you've pooh-poohed California's offerings in the past because they were too oaky or overpowering, it's time to revisit the very versatile and sexy grape. There's some great juice coming out of these parts. Try chardonnays from Shafer Vineyards, Newton, Talbot, Chateau St. Jean, Rochioli, or Rudd or even more affordable brands like Meridian. And gussy it up with a couple of nice wine glasses, hall pass to take the afternoon off, or heartfelt card.

A Gift Certificate to Vanderbilt & Company
My mom started taking me to this spectacular Napa Valley cookware and tabletop shop when I was a girl. Today I am still as captivated by the profusion of pretty and colorful imported and domestic ceramics and table linens. Alas, they don't have an online shop, but perhaps that's a good reason to make a special trip to Wine Country. (1429 Main Street, Saint Helena, 707-963-1010, www.vanderbiltandcompany.com)

Riedel Wine Glasses
I don't know about the mom in your life, but I love great wine glasses and never seem to have enough, so if I received a six-pack of stemware from this Austrian crystal company—known as the crème de la crème of wineglass companies—I wouldn't be disappointed. A quick online search will show you various options on where to buy them, including excellent inexpensive glass versions available at Target.

Brunch at Redd
Napa's sexy fine-dining spot is booked for the big day, but any Sunday will suffice so long as it includes chef Richard Reddington's homemade donut holes or poached eggs with chicken hash and bacon. A bonus for busy gift-givers: You can order restaurant gift certificates via telephone or fax. Visit the website for more details. (6480 Washington St., Yountville, 707-944-2222, www.reddnapavalley.com)

A Box of Bonbons & Alexis red wine (or better yet, caviar!) from Swanson Vineyards
I know I mention this winery with some regularity, but the fact is they really know how to do gifts that get girls giddy. Check out their signature chocolate and wine combo to see what I mean—and order online for easy mommy-pleasing pleasure. (1271 Manly Avenue, Rutherford, 707-967-3500, www.swansonvineyards.com)

A Spa Day at Sonoma Mission Inn
My idea of heaven is a day spent roaming this luxury resort's enormous spa in a thick white robe where the biggest decision of the day becomes whether to catch a few rays on one of the outdoor pool's lounge chairs, dip in the stunning indoor natural springs area, work out at the gym, or get a massage. Give mom the day off and a generous gift certificate and she can do them all. (100 Boyes Boulevard, Sonoma, 707-938-9000, www.fairmont.com)

Dinner at Terra
What makes me crave a meal within this historic fieldstone dining room is not just that proprietors Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani are two of my favorite people on earth. It's more that Hiro makes crazy good food that showcases his mastery of Italian, French, and Japanese cuisine and wife Lissa brings it home with to-die-for desserts. I like going in the beginning of the week when they're in the house; the second have of the week they manage their San Francisco restaurant Ame. (1345 Railroad Avenue, St. Helena, 707-963-8931, www.terrarestaurant.com)

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