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Experience Wine Country

Updated: 2018-04-22T07:45:23Z


8 Temecula Hotels That Are Sure to Impress


From stunning views and spacious rooms to luxurious amenities, these Temecula hotels offer a slice of the good life in Wine Country.Napa and Sonoma are certainly two of the most recognized wine regions in California, known for their destination-worthy hotels almost as much as for the wine, but when you’re in the mood for something a little more off the beaten path, don’t discount the beauty and charm of Southern California’s Temecula Valley. This up-and-coming wine region, located just an hour’s drive from San Diego, is home to welcoming tasting rooms, over 50 different varieties of wine, and plenty of beautiful places to rest your head. While Temecula offers a wide variety of places to stay, from budget-friendly to high-end, these Temecula Wine Country hotels are sure to impress. The Inn at Europa Village Courtesy of The Inn at Europa Village Located on a vineyard knoll overlooking Europa Village, this bed and breakfast offers romance and tranquility in Wine Country. The 10 rooms, named after different wine varietals, come complete with tasteful décor and private balconies – some with in-room jetted tubs and fireplaces, too. Enjoy the panoramic views of the mountains and valley after savoring your gourmet breakfast, prepared using locally grown ingredients by Chef and Innkeeper, Dean Thomas. In the evening, plan to relax by the large fire pit (six feet, to be exact) or unwind in the eight-person Jacuzzi after a day of wine tasting. 33350 La Serena Way, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 676-7047 Wilson Creek Manor Courtesy of Wilson Creek Manor Wilson Creek Winery is a family-owned winery in the heart of Temecula Wine Country, offering a tasting room, picnic area, restaurant, Tuscan-themed event venue, and their exclusive retreat accommodations, Wilson Creek Manor. Their motto is, “May all guests who enter leave as friends,” so whether your visit is for work or for a family reunion, you can expect warm hospitality and welcoming details, like sparkling wine at check-in and a cheese and wine reception in the evening. 35250 Loma Ventoso, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 699-9463 Pechanga Resort & Casino Courtesy of Facebook: Penchanga Resort & Casino The Pechanga Resort & Casino is home to the largest casino floor in California, featuring over 4,000 slot machines, 154 table games, and a 700-seat bingo facility. Needless to say, the casino offers non-stop action. If you’d rather say “bingo!” to luxurious amenities, then you’ll appreciate the pillow top mattresses, plush Egyption cotton bath towels, and 24-hour room service. Along with a whopping 13 restaurants, the resort also has a 25,000-square foot spa, complimentary fitness classes, and a par-72 golf course. 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula, CA 92592, (888) 732-4264 Ponte Vineyard Inn Courtesy of Ponte Vineyard Inn Comfort and quality are in at Ponte Vineyard Inn, a 90-room boutique hotel offering elegance and relaxation in Temecula Wine Country. When not basking in the stunning views of the Ponte Family Estate vineyards, gardens, and surrounding mountains, you’ll love relaxing by the semi-Olympic sized pool, sipping a cocktail at the poolside bar, and dining in one of their four onsite restaurants. The Cellar Lounge, which happens to be Temecula Wine Country’s only full cocktail bar, also offers live music four nights a week. 35001 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 587-6688 Carter Estate Winery & Resort Courtesy of Facebook: Carter Estate Winery and Resort Charming and luxurious, Carter Estate Winery & Resort is an upscale resort in Temecula Wine Country owned by vintner Jim Carter and family. The resort is home to 42 Mediterranean-inspired Bungalow Suites surrounded by vineyards, making for a picturesque place to stay in Wine Country. Enjoy a pool with private cabanas, poolside spa services, and plenty of excuses to indulge in a little R�[...]

What is a Sommelier?


What is a sommelier? We're breaking it all down, explaining the ins and outs of this ever-growing profession and providing tips for how you can make the most of your somm.It’s nearly impossible to talk about wine these days without the word ‘sommelier’ being brought up in conversation. As more people become interested in wine, the concept of a sommelier isn’t so foreign anymore, and documentaries like Somm and the TV series Uncorked have really catapulted this profession into the spotlight. While the role of the ‘somm’ comes with a bit of a celebrity status these days, there are many people out there still confused about what the job actually entails. Yes, a sommelier is the person serving wine at a restaurant, but there’s much more to it, so we’re uncorking the mystique behind this popular job. The more you know about the role of the somm, the better you’ll be able to take full advantage of their knowledge and expertise the next time you’re perusing that wine list. The Definition A sommelier (pronounced suh-mel-yay) is a wine steward, also known as a knowledgeable wine professional who typically works in a fine dining establishment. A sommelier should have formal training to be able to specialize in all aspects of wine service, wine and food pairings, and wine storage. The Modern Somm That being said, the modern version of a sommelier may not be limited to the floor of a restaurant interacting with guests and making runs to the cellar. Depending on the restaurant, they’ll likely take on a broader role, which could include developing wine lists for multiple restaurants, managing staff trainings, and working alongside chefs to develop new dishes that complement the wine or vice versa. What’s most vital, first and foremost, is that a sommelier has a deep knowledge of wine – sometimes also beer and spirits – and how each beverage works in harmony with food. How to Become A Sommelier While anyone who works directly with wine in a restaurant setting can label themselves a sommelier, a certified sommelier requires some level of formal education, training, and experience. It may go without saying, but if you want to follow the path to becoming a sommelier, you’ll need to have a deep appreciation and passion for wine… but you’ll also need a lot of drive. There’s really no way to sugar coat it: becoming a certified sommelier takes a lot of work, including rigorous study and lots of practice to develop a palate. Depending on the person’s level of knowledge to start, it can take months of studying to become a certified sommelier and even years to reach a more advanced level. Education and Certification The most talked about certification organization in the United States is definitely the Court of Master Sommeliers, which is heavily focused on the service aspect of wine. There are four levels of the Court, the top being the Master Sommelier level – an esteemed title only earned by the best of the best. In fact, there are only 236 individuals worldwide who hold the title of Master Sommelier, 149 of whom are in the U.S. So it probably comes as no surprise that this is one of the hardest exams to pass… ever. While the Court of Master Sommeliers is a top choice for those who plan to work in a restaurant, there are other avenues for advancing in wine whether you’re a professional or budding enthusiast. One of the most recognized organizations is the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, or WSET, which is an academic program out of the United Kingdom respected for its comprehensive curriculum. For self-study, books like Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible, Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Wine Course, and The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson are all great options. But don’t discount the internet for educational tools, like the Guild Somm website or Wine Folly, the latter of which takes a[...]

Valette’s Peppercorn Crusted New York Steak


For our first ever video recipe, we tapped into one of Healdsburg’s newest kids on the block: Valette Restaurant, opened in 2015. For our first ever video recipe, we tapped into one of Healdsburg’s newest kids on the block: Valette Restaurant, opened in 2015. Chef Dustin Valette, alum of Michelin-starred Aqua in San Francisco and Napa Valley’s Bouchon, gave us a killer recipe which truly represents fall in Sonoma Wine Country. We were extra excited when we tried it. Not only does it look and taste incredible, it’s totally doable for even the most remedial cook. That’s right, no special cooking skills needed, and you’ll come out looking like a rock star. We pared down the recipe to make it perfect for two. Because this is one to turn to when you want to wow your S.O., your best friend, or heck, maybe even your mom. If you aren’t roaming an organic farm in Sonoma on a daily basis, all the ingredients are available in San Francisco. We found everything we needed at the Ferry Building: wild mushrooms, aged NY steak, Padrón peppers, even bone marrow (which you are free to leave out if you aren’t feeling that hip). One other tip – we highly recommend a cast iron pan for searing your steak and looking extra swank while you cook. We bought a Lodge 10 ¼” skillet for $16 bucks on Amazon, and it’s been a love fest. You also need the handle holder so you don’t burn those beautiful hands. Oh, and a word of warning if you’re new to Padrón peppers. Most are mild, but every now and then you might get one which is super spicy. Enjoy the surprise. SUBSCRIBE TO VIDEOS width="500" height="281" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen> — More WineCountry Recipes — Peppercorn Crusted New York Steak with wild mushroom fondue, roasted bone marrow, and Padrón peppers I suggest pairing with an Aperture Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. The tannins match the caramelization of the steak and the richness of the bone marrow perfectly. ~ Dustin INGREDIENTS 2 each 12 ounce Prime New York steak (dry aged Wagu is the best) 1 pound wild mushrooms or King Trumpets if wild are out of season 3 ounces Cabernet Sauvignon 2x 8” long bone barrow, ask your butcher to cut length wise 1/4 pound marble potatoes, dry farmed 1/4 pound Padrón peppers 1/2 cup baby wild arugula (optional) unsalted butter kosher salt fresh black pepper, crushed PREPARATION Prepping the Steak Start with the highest quality steak you can find. I use a Prime, 21 day dry aged Wagu beef, though trust your butcher and ask for the best. Season the steak with kosher salt and crushed black pepper. Allow to rest at room temperature. Mushroom Fondue Clean all dirt from mushrooms with a brush. Lightly rinse in warm water. Cut mushrooms into medium size chunks, discarding the gills. In a large pan, sear the mushrooms until golden brown, add 1 oz of butter and red wine then cook until creamy. Readjust the seasoning and keep warm until plated. Potatoes, Bone Marrow and Padrón Peppers Cut the potatoes in half. Toss the Padróns with olive oil and sea salt. Place on a pan and roast together in an oven at 400 degrees until the potatoes are half cooked, about 6 minutes. While the potatoes and peppers roast, season the bone marrow with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then add the marrow to the pan and put back in the oven to finish roasting. The marrow is finished when it’s golden brown and hot throughout. Cooking the Steak In a large cast iron or thick bottom pan, sear the steak over high heat. Leave in the pan long enough for the steak to take on a dark color and thick crust, add 1 1/2 ounces of butter and cook to the desired temperature. Cook both sides. Remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Plating Place the wild mushroom fond[...]

Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Company Retreat to California’s Wine Country


We've created the must-have checklist to make planning a company retreat to California’s Wine Country. So what are you waiting for? Plan that fantastic event you're dreaming of and wait for the kudos to roll in. As VP of Corporate & Group Sales for WineCountry Media – which owns and runs,, and – I’ve helped companies from around the world plan their corporate and group meetings, retreats, and events in California’s Wine Country. And every time, there are important items these companies haven’t thought of before contacting me about their upcoming meeting or retreat. So I want to share my top 14 considerations a CEO, executive assistant, or event planner should keep in mind when planning a corporate retreat to California’s Wine Country. My private, battle-seasoned checklist for creating a successful Wine Country retreat to earn kudos from your colleagues and make you look like a pro meeting organizer. Right then: Let’s dig in. Below is the actual questionnaire I use for every new corporate client, one I’ve honed from working with a wide variety of companies and the services they, and their employees, need once they arrive. By the last question, you’ll have a solid grasp of the when, where, what, and how needed to plan your next successful Wine Country team event. The Questionnaire #1. What is the purpose of your event? Of the 10 most common types of company events, it helps to know exactly what category your event falls in, so that the group salespeople at the Wine Country hotels and resorts know how to respond to the RFP (Request For Proposal) accordingly. An executive meeting or employee team training seminar, for example, will most likely be held indoors, often in a window-free meeting room to avoid distractions, whereas a team incentive trip dinner might be held outdoors in a vineyard or in a wine cave. Providing the correct label on your event at the start could prevent multiple problems later. #2. How large is your group? Be aware that most Wine Country hotels and resorts consider 10 persons to be the minimum size of a “group.” Any size smaller than this will most likely not get you the benefits of a group booking. If you don’t know the exact size of your party, that’s okay – hotels expect this and will give customers some leeway on unbooked rooms. Once we know the estimated number in your group, we then match it with the most appropriate Wine Country hotel or resort. Smaller groups tend to match better with small-to-medium-sized properties, and the unique service they provide is often more personal, whereas the large resort properties can save you thousands in transportation costs by having everything your groups wants or needs on-property: restaurants, spas, wine tasting, and even a bowling alley at the Meritage Resort and Spa. #3. Has your group been to the Wine Country before? If so, where did you stay? It’s not uncommon for group event coordinators to say they want to stay in Napa Valley, then end up staying in Sonoma County, even when they had no idea that hosting a retreat in Sonoma County was even an option (usually it’s the average Napa Valley hotel room rate that helps convince them). If the client has been to the Wine Country before, then they usually have a clear idea of where they want to host their event. And knowing where they stayed and dined lets us know not to send RFPs to the same venues, unless they specifically request it. #4. Do you want to stay in Napa Valley or Sonoma County? About 90% of corporate event clients say they want to host their retreat in Napa Valley, but when Sonoma County is recommended as well, they are usually open to that as an option. What usually determines their final destination is cost: A hotel room in Sonoma County is typically about 30% less than Napa Valley, and most people gasp when[...]

10 Must-Know Facts About Brazilian Wine


Here are 10 facts that few people know about Brazil’s exciting and emerging wine industry.When you think of Brazil, wine is probably not something that comes to mind, but the South American country best known for its sandy beaches has been, up until recently, quietly flying under the radar while producing fine wine, and lots of it. So, if you know virtually nothing about Brazilian wine, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve rounded up the 10 most important things to know about what’s been brewing – er, fermenting – in Brazil. Brazil’s Wine Industry is Still Pretty New Up until the 1990s, Brazil operated under a closed economy. Because of this, there was no competition to Brazilian wines; the locals would purchase whatever they could get locally. When things finally opened up and fine wines from places like Argentina and Uruguay entered the country, Brazil’s winemakers were forced to push themselves to make better, competitive wines for their own survival. It’s really just in the last 20 years that Brazil’s wine industry began to emerge. The Wine is Flowing Though young, Brazil’s wine industry has been hard at work playing catch up. The country actually accounts for the fifth-largest wine production in the Southern Hemisphere, ahead of the more commonly known New Zealand. Brazil is covered in 79,000 hectares of vineyards (roughly 195,000 acres), there are more than 1,000 wineries – 90 percent of which are small family wineries – and more than 20,000 winemaking families, who produce small amounts of wine for themselves or to sell through collectives. Courtesy of Casa Valduga Vale dos Venhedos Vineyard Only A Small Part of Brazil is Making Wine The country is mostly covered in rainforests, not vineyards, so Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, is responsible for 90 percent of Brazilian wine production and is home to five of Brazil’s six major wine regions. Within that, the Serra Gaúcha region is the most important and impactful, containing five sub appellations: Vale dos Vinhedos, Pinto Bandeira, Altos Montes, Farroupilha, and Monte Belo. It’s Known as the Tuscany of the Southern Hemisphere Brazil’s Wine Country is largely inhabited by Italian immigrants, who immigrated to Brazil in the 1870s and brought with them vine cuttings from home to make their own wine. Many of the older residents still speak an old Venetian dialect, and the Italian culture has made a big impact on the local culinary scene. You can find some of the best, most authentic Italian food outside of Italy at trattorias like Mama Gema. Courtesy of Vinicola Miolo Brazilian Wines Express Brazilian Culture It’s important to Brazilian wine producers that one can essentially taste Brazil in the glass. Therefore, Brazilian wines are generally easy-drinking, light and fresh, fruit-forward, and lower in alcohol than the bold, full-bodied red wines we’re used to finding from California’s wine-producing regions. They’re extremely approachable and can be sipped for any and all occasions, from date night to Carnival! Sparkling is King It makes a lot of sense that a country known for its vibrant, colorful culture would make great bubbly. Recognizing the region’s sparkling potential long ago, Moët & Chandon opened up Chandon Brazil in 1973, and today, the Serra Gaúcha region is being touted as the next sparkling wine destination. Brazilian wine producers use three methods: Traditional (used for Champagne, cava, and high-quality California sparklings), charmat, and muscat. While the country does produce some sweeter sparklings – a favorite of the natives – dry sparkling wines reign. Courtesy of Casa Valduga dos Venhedos Vineyard They Make Still Wines Too Sparkling wine[...]

Exclusive Giveaway! Enter to Win Tickets to Passport to Dry Creek Valley


Enter to Win the Ultimate Weekend Package to Passport to Dry Creek Valley, April 28-29, 2018. This unforgettable weekend in April will feature 40+ Dry Creek Valley wineries, exquisite food and wine pairings, a series of winemaker & vineyard lunches, and grape to glass experiences in the wine world's most coveted vineyards. Enter to Win the Ultimate Weekend Package Passport to Dry Creek Valley (April 28-29, 2018) is one of Sonoma Wine Country’s Premier Food & Wine Festivals. This unforgettable weekend in April will feature 40+ Dry Creek Valley wineries, exquisite food and wine pairings, a series of winemaker and vineyard lunches, and grape-to-glass experiences in the wine world’s most coveted vineyards. The Passport to Dry Creek Valley Ulitmate Weekend Package ($1000 value) includes tickets to several of these exclusive events over two days, in addition to all-access to a variety of festive celebrations at participating wineries. Don’t miss out on the fun, and enter to win this one-of-a-kind package! #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; width:100%;} /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Enter Passport to Dry Creek Valley Giveaway Passport Package Details Two Tickets to Friday’s Vintage Soiree Kick off Passport to Dry Creek Valley weekend with a carefully curated wine and oyster reception along with exclusive sips of large format and library wines from Dry Creek Valley Vintners. This is your opportunity to enjoy delectable wine and food pairings from local chefs alongside live music and a great start to a fabulous weekend. Two Tickets to Saturday’s Vineyard Tour at Bradford Mountain Enjoy your vineyard tour with sweeping views of Dry Creek Valley. Join Peterson Winery founder and winegrower, Fred Peterson at his vineyard and home on top of Bradford Mountain. A true gem of an estate, that sits jetted out on the western edge of Dry Creek Valley, at 1,000 feet of elevation. Walk through the rows of the 14 varietals that grown on the property and taste wines maybe previously unknown, like Carignane and Petit Verdot. Make it a tour to remember. Two Tickets to Sunday’s Vineyard Designate Tour at Saini Vineyards The Saini Family, celebrating 100 years of farming in Dry Creek Valley, will host this private tour and tasting showcasing wines from three of the family’s unique Old Vine Zinfandel blocks. Planted in 1930, 1942 and 1964, these three blocks have not only produced some of the finest Dry Creek Zinfandels, but serve as a warm reminder of the heritage of grape growing in Sonoma County. Two 2-Day tickets to Passport to Dry Creek Valley Visit 40+ wineries throughout the weekend. Each winery has their own unique Passport style and truly something for everyone. Sneak a peek at all of the themed wine celebrations here. Drink delicious wines, meet premier Sonoma County chefs and taste the bounty of the Dry Creek Valley region, and rock out to live music. See list of participating wineries. *Note: The Grand Prize Winner will be selected and announced two weeks in advance of the event. A second winner will also be selected, and they will be awarded a pair of Passport tickets. Don’t miss out on all the fun! Enter to Win your tickets to this one-of-a-kind weekend. Experience Passport: Food & Wine Itinerary Check out our handy Passport to Dry Creek Valley Guide. Here you will fine suggested wineries to visit each day and the details on their unique festivities as part of the event. Abo[...]

Guide to Wine Tasting Like A Pro


Our handy guide to tasting wine breaks it all down into a few simple steps, to help you fully understand the nuances that make wine so enjoyable to drink! Regardless of whether you consider yourself an expert, budding wine enthusiast, or beginner, one of the best ways to appreciate wine is to know how to properly taste it. That being said, wine tasting shouldn’t be intimidating or full of “rules,” but rather, it should be a fun and enjoyable experience! Our handy guide to tasting wine breaks it down to help you understand what’s in your glass, so you can fully appreciate the nuances that make wine so enjoyable to drink! First Things First: What is Wine? Wine is made from grapes, but not the types of grapes you serve on a cheese plate. Rather, wine is made with particular types of grapes known as Vitis Vinifera, otherwise called wine grapes, that are small, sweet, and have thicker skins. Chardonnay is a wine grape, as well as sauvignon blanc, merlot, and cabernet franc, and these grapes produce wine of the same names. Sometimes, though, a wine is known by its regional name versus the grape, which is why you’ll see “Burgundy” on the label, for example, which is a red wine made of pinot noir in the Burgundy region of France. The same goes for Champagne, which is the regional name of Champagne, France – producing sparkling wines composed of chardonnay, pinot noir, and/or pinot meunier. Does Glassware Matter? While we don’t think it’s necessary to spend a fortune on the “right” glassware for each wine varietal, there is certainly truth in how the shape of a glass can make a difference in the wine’s overall enjoyment. Certain glasses are specifically designed to accentuate the defining characteristics of a wine, directing aromas and taste profiles to different areas of the nose and tongue. If you’re a beginner, rather than tossing your existing glassware, we’d suggest finding a glass that highlights your favorite style of wine. If you drink a lot of pinot noir, try a larger Burgundy-style glass meant for lighter-bodied red wines, which will help bring out the wine’s aromatics. Crisp, light-bodied white wines more your style? Then go for a smaller bowled glass – it will help preserve the floral aromas and keep the wine chilled for a longer period. However, there’s a time and a place for everything, so if you want to drink your rosé out of a red Solo cup at a picnic or pour Bordeaux into a coffee mug while camping, we won’t judge. When you really want to evaluate a wine though, pay attention to how the wine comes alive, or not, in the vessel you’re drinking it from. Finding The Right Temperature Ever had a warm beer? Or perhaps a warm glass of lemonade? They just don’t taste their best unless properly chilled, do they? The same goes for wine. Overly chilling a wine can mask the delicate aromas or make it seem flavorless, while a wine that’s too warm can overemphasize the alcohol – which obviously limits how much you can enjoy the wine. Try serving sparkling wine between 38°F – 44 °F, white wines between 44°F – 52 °F, and red wines around 53°F – 68 °F. Lighter styles should be served on the cooler side, while wines with oak aging or more tannic structures should be on the warmer side within each range. How to Taste Wine Now for the fun part: tasting! Essentially, wine tasting can be broken down into four easy steps: look, swirl, smell, and sip. Each step helps you fully take in all of the nuances of a wine by focusing your attention on each individual component – clarity, aromas, taste, and flavor profiles – so you can determine if the wine is balanced or off, delicious or mediocre. Just like learning to play piano o[...]

Best Picture Food & Wine Pairings for the 2018 Oscars


No one said cinema snacks need to be dull, so forget the run-of-the-mill and find inspiration from 2018’s Academy Awards Best Picture nominees. .blog-movie { display: table; } @media only screen and (max-width: 520px){ .blog-movie { display: block; } } .blog-poster { display: table-cell; width: 200px; margin: 0; vertical-align: top; } @media only screen and (max-width: 520px){ .blog-poster { display: block; width: 200px; margin-bottom: 20px; } } .blog-poster img { width: 200px; margin: 0 !important; } .blog-poster h6 { margin: 5px 0 0 0 !important; } .blog-poster h6::before { display: none; } .blog-movie p { display: table-cell; padding-left: 20px; vertical-align: top; } @media only screen and (max-width: 520px){ .blog-movie p { display: block; padding-left: 0; } } The 90th annual Academy Awards are just around the corner, and what March 4th brings – beyond a packed house of glammed up celebrities at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theater – are nine diverse and celebrated films with a guarantee one will take home the coveted award of this year’s Best Picture. And with many of these nominees up for multiple awards, there will be plenty of reasons to celebrate. If you plan on tuning in on the big day or are looking for a different kind of movie night at home, we came up with film by film pairing ideas to elevate your viewing experience. No one said cinema snacks need to be dull, so forget the run-of-the-mill and lets find inspiration in 2018’s Best Picture nominees. Call Me By Your Name Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics While an Italian villa might be hard to find for your Oscar party backdrop (although, the 13th-century home that hosted Call Me By Your Name is currently available for purchase), find your own young love for a wine pairing with some real spark. Build a mini-charcuterie of fatty prosciutto and almonds to complement Italian prosecco. You may not be summering in 1980s Europe, but this combo has chemistry. If you want to take the relationship further, wrap the salty meat around melon for something really special. Darkest Hour Courtesy of Focus Features There’s no need to go full-blown Churchill, like Gary Oldham in Darkest Hour, especially if you’re taking in the Oscar-nominated flick at home. But there are a few things that can do up any occasion, and we’re thinking champagne and truffle oil. Not only was Champagne Winston Churchill’s libation of choice – it’s said he consumed over 42,000 bottles in his lifetime – but truffle oil is an excellent topping for movie’s traditional snack, popcorn. The rich and salty combo is a royal complement to a coup or two of your favorite champers. Dunkirk Courtesy of Warner Bros. We’re going to be honest with this one. Get your hands on any and all alcohol for this film. Based on the historical and dramatic true story from World War II, from start to finish, the intensity of this film does not stop. And just like those tears that will be flowing, you’re going to need anything to take the edge off. Set yourself up with a delicious spread of French cheeses and dig in for battle. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Get Out Courtesy of Universal Pictures Jordan Peele’s masterpiece is spiked with moments of confusion, disgust, and fear and even a sprinkle of the comedy that you’d expect from the typically wacky comedian. And when it comes to wine and a movie, we’d go with something red for this film. Maybe even something blood red, like sangiovese. The wine is dry and can be quite the [...]

7 Dry Creek Valley Wineries For Zinfandel Lovers


Don’t miss our top Dry Creek Valley wineries for zinfandel lovers! From Old Vine zin to new age styles, these wineries offer something for every palate. Sonoma County may have it all when it comes to scenery – a beautiful coastline, lush forests, mountains, and rural farmlands – but when we think of California Wine Country, we can’t help but picture miles of hillside vineyards and winding roads. That’s just what you’ll get when you visit the north end of Sonoma County, especially within the rural wine region of Dry Creek Valley. Here, surrounding the must-visit city of Healdsburg, you’ll find plenty of family-owned wineries offering intimate tasting experiences and award-winning wine. If you love zinfandel, there’s no better place to be! The Dry Creek Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) was established in 1983, though the area has a grape growing history dating back almost 150 years; the region’s first vineyard was planted in the 1870s! And, although it’s one of the most compact regions in Sonoma at only 16 miles long and two miles wide, it’s packed with over 9,000 acres of vineyards and 70 wineries – many of which produce some of Sonoma County’s best wines. Over 30 grapes are planted here, but this region’s heart lies with zinfandel. Blocks of old vine zinfandel produce distinctive wines that garner lots of recognition, and with good reason. From elegant and concentrated to robust and structured, we can’t get enough of the impressive zinfandels of Dry Creek Valley, and these wineries are a few of our favorites for tasting California’s Heritage grape! Dry Creek Vineyard Courtesy of Dry Creek Vineyards The family-owned Dry Creek Vineyard has been a fixture in the valley for over 45 years and recognized as the first new winery established after prohibition in 1972. Though they produce a wide variety of tasty wines, including chenin blanc and cabernet sauvignon, the winery is most known for its signature zinfandels – eight to be exact! They also produce a Zinfandel Rosé and Late Harvest Zinfandel. Modeled after a French chateau, the tasting room is charming and welcoming, but if you want to make a day of it, be sure to reserve a spot in advance for the outdoor bocce court. 3770 Lambert Bridge Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-1000 Seghesio Family Vineyards Courtesy of Facebook: Seghesio Family Vineyards Located just a few blocks from downtown Healdsburg, Seghesio is a fifth generation family-owned and operated winery deeply rooted in Sonoma County. Founder Edoardo Seghesio planted his first zinfandel vines in neighboring Alexander Valley in 1895. Today, you can taste their selection of structured yet balanced zinfandels in their Dry Creek Valley tasting room, which is open daily. Enjoy one of three unique tasting experiences, such as a sit down cheese and charcuterie pairing or the Chef’s Table experience, offering a four-course meal paired with an exclusive selection of library wines. 700 Grove Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-3579 Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves Courtesy of Bella Vineyards We love the casual, laid-back vibe at Bella Vineyards, where Adirondack chairs, picnic tables, and lawn games beckon for a more relaxed pace. Tastings at this small, family-owned winery take place in their wine cave, where you’ll sample a selection of hand-crafted, organically farmed zinfandel wines – many produced from their own 100-year-old vineyards. While no reservations are needed for a regular tasting, we’d suggest making an appointment for their ‘Mixing It Up’ Blending Tour, which includes a 90-minute tour and barrel tasting, as well as a personal blending experience to make your own [...]

The 9 Best Wine Country Hotels To Visit in 2018


Live the good life in Wine Country with a visit to any of these top Napa Valley and Sonoma hotels. With a new year just around the corner, our new year’s resolutions are all about finding ways to enjoy the good things in life, which to us means more visits to Wine Country. Whether we’re relaxing by a pool, getting pampered at a luxury spa, or fulfilling our foodie dreams, a visit to any of these Napa Valley and Sonoma hotels makes it easy to enjoy all that Wine Country has to offer — sometimes without ever leaving the property. The best part? As a reader, you’ll get special deals and exclusive Wine Country Perks only available when booking through us,, or, because spending more time in Wine Country is a new year’s resolution we want you to keep! How to Book Booking is easy and can be completed online or via phone by using the promotional code provided on the,, or listing page. A Taste of the Luxe Life Expect the royal treatment at any of these Napa Valley and Sonoma hotels, which are dripping in luxury and sure to impress. Courtesy of MacArthur Place MacArthur Place 29 E MacArthur St, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 938-2929 Located a few blocks from Sonoma Plaza, MacArthur Place is a luxurious 64-room inn and spa that seamlessly blends history with modern luxury. The two-story Victorian house, built in the 1850s, is set amongst seven acres of beautifully manicured gardens dotted with sculptures, rose bushes, and serene sitting areas reminiscent of the English countryside. Plush robes, an inviting spa, and luxurious in-room bath products make MacArthur Place a worthy destination in Sonoma County. To top it off, expect 2-for-1 wine tastings, $20 off per person at the spa, and late check-out when you book through us. Courtesy of Facebook: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn 100 Boyes Blvd, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 938-9000 The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is the ultimate elegant oasis, blending the beauty of wine country with luxurious accommodations in the heart of Sonoma. The impressive spa includes natural mineral pools, baths, and peaceful treatment areas, and a Championship golf course and Michelin-starred restaurant add to the inn’s first-class experience. We’ll help sweeten the deal with 25% off the best available rate, a bottle of wine at check-in, and complimentary wine tasting passes. Courtesy of Silverado Resort Silverado Resort 1600 Atlas Peak Rd, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 257-0200 As one of Napa Valley’s most popular luxury resorts, The Silverado Resort and Spa offers the perfect mix of leisurely activities, fine dining, and comforting amenities. There’s not one but two PGA championship golf courses, the largest tennis complex in North America, and a full-service spa to unwind after a day of fun. Don’t be surprised if you’re so busy enjoying the amenities at The Silverado that you forget you’re surrounded by some of Napa’s most popular wineries. Book now to enjoy 25% off best available room rates, a $50 resort credit, and late check-out. You can thank us later. Pool Envy From natural mineral hot springs to Instagram-worthy pools, these hotels offer a chance to dive in to a perfect vacation in Wine Country. Courtesy of Facebook: Solage, an Auberge Resort Solage, an Auberge Resort 755 Silverado Trail N, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 266-7534 With its modern farmhouse architecture and stylishly chic vibe, the Solage is a worthy upscale destination near the town of Calistoga. While you may enjoy cruising into town on the compliment[...]