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Experience Wine Country



Updated: 2017-09-21T18:46:43Z

 



Valette’s Peppercorn Crusted New York Steak

2017-09-19T05:17:56Z

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="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eEMPKcRydOo?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" 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 fondue on the side of the plate and the potato and pepper hash to the side. Put the steak on [...]



What Is Crush? We’ll Tell You

2017-07-31T21:41:29Z

We’re entering that time of year in wine country where “crush” gets thrown around. Not a word one typically uses after they leave high school. But in the land of wine it signals the beginning of one of the best times of year. We’re entering that time of year in wine country where “crush” gets thrown around. Not a word one typically uses after they leave high school. But in the land of wine it signals the beginning of one of the best times of year. But outside of the I Love Lucy images of the old world tradition of crushing with your bare feet, there are much more modern practices happening during harvest season. We thought we’d give you a rundown of what crush means in wine country! Bountiful Harvest Definitions of crush vary from winemaker to winemaker. Some loosely refer to crush as the entire harvest from picking the grapes in August through November to the time when the wine is in the bottle. But it’s more typically defined as picking and crushing the grapes, which is more complicated than many realize. The grapes start to change colors during middle to late summer, usually in July and August. Unlike other types of farmers, grape growers want their vines to hold less grapes because the grapes ripen more and be higher quality. Fewer leaves on the vines is also desirable so the fruit gets more sun exposure. As the grapes ripen, the amount of sugar in the fruit increases and those sugars will ferment into alcohol eventually. Winemakers will closely monitor the grapes to determine when the grapes have ready to be picked and might even taste them or test them in a lab for sugar and pH levels. Pick Me, Pick Me The weather also has a huge effect on when the grapes are picked and the date can easily vary every year. No one wants a severe storm to wipe out the vineyards. Grapes for sparkling wines are usually picked first with grapes for dessert wines are typically the final ones picked. For high-quality and/or small-production wines, grapes are still usually picked by hand which requires a lot of labor. For most mass-production wines, the grapes are harvested by machine for the sake of time. The biggest downside to harvesting by machine is that the grapes have to be sorted for quality and ripeness and to remove debris after they are picked. We’ve Got A Crush Stainless-steel machines await the arrival of the grapes and once the highest quality grapes have been sorted, the crush can officially begin. Crushing the grapes and letting the juice come out allows the yeast to start fermenting, which is a key part of the winemaking process. For many white and sparkling wines, the grape juice cannot be exposed to the grape skins but for most other types of wines, mixing the juices and the skin during fermentation is very important. Pressing grapes instead of crushing them can help prevent the juices from mixing with the skins. Instead of using bare feet to crush the grapes, most wineries now use crusher-destemmer machines to crush and remove the stems from the grapes. The grapes are funneled from containers into the machine, destemmed and then crushed. Then the grapes move into containers for fermentation. The crush is over and the grape juice is on its way to becoming wine. Discover how Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon is made via Napa Valley Vintners. We’ve selected a couple of fun events where you can experience crush first-hand: Sonoma Valley CRUSH , Sonoma County: September 2017 Join 13 wineries in Sonoma Valley this September for an unforgettable harvest experience. Get involved, hands-on. Meet the Winemakers, learn about harvest and taste amazing wines. Wineries will be Grape Sampling in the vineyards, offering Crush Pad tours, sampling Fresh Pressed Juice and grapes picked fresh off the vine. You may even have an opportunity to taste a wine while it’s fermenting and learn how to read a Refractometer to gain a deeper understanding about the importance of the balance between sugar and acid level[...]



Hands on Winemaking with Holman Cellars

2017-07-27T07:07:08Z

Husband and wife duo, Jason and Helen Holman, lead the charge at Napa’s Holman Cellars along with cousin John. Their 3000 square foot winery is in an unlikely location and calls a south Napa industrial park home.Husband and wife duo, Jason and Helen Holman, lead the charge at Napa’s Holman Cellars along with cousin John. Their 3000 square foot winery is in an unlikely location and calls a south Napa industrial park home. Founded officially in 2010, the couple met in law school and with a combined passion for winemaking (and a familiar one for Helen), began the journey of producing small lots of unique wines using unusual varietals with their flagship brand, Uncharted Wines. While the winery’s location is an uncommon one, Holman Cellars hosts a highly personalized experience for guests who make the trek off the beaten, Napa Valley, wine-tasting path. They’re focused on producing the highest in quality wines and ensuring guests have the most engaging visit through sampling their wares in bottle and barrel, and for the most curious of visitors, a behind-the-scenes and hands on winemaking adventure with Wine Country Experiences. Hands on Winemaking Holman Cellars 190 Camino Oruga, #9 Napa, CA 94558 Experience available year-round, Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 2pm $125 You never know what you’ll be walking into when you book this very special experience. That is what they’re most excited about! This is a working winery and there are jobs and to-dos to be done that are of a very seasonal nature. Whether you’re sitting in on a blending session between Jason and John, climbing in and cleaning out tanks or bottling wine there isn’t a more indepth Napa Valley experience. In their most recent offering, guests were able to pull up a chair and sit across from Napa Valley winemaker Jason Holman as he walked through the process of blending wine. On the surface there doesn’t seem to be much to blending wines. One would assume(correctly) you take one wine and stir it with another, and the result is a wine that tastes a little like both. But as Jason and John will show you, it is more than simply stirring. Bottles are uncorked, wine glasses set out and paper at ready for note taking. There is a masterful side to blending that not only requires an understanding of its mechanics but also requires a palate with some finesse and an ability to envision a flavorful outcome. Jason guides you through the process as you take in the smells and sips of three varietals. Then the blending begins. Back and forth you go until you arrive at the perfect mixture. On the whole, blending to improve wines is more like an art than a science. Their small lots of one to four barrels make it possible to create new and exciting wines that mystify even the biggest wine connoisseur. The Holman’s use unusual varietals, secluded vineyards, and unconventional production techniques, in order to provide the consumer with an unforgettable experience. You will enjoy tasting Jason’s uncommon wine varietals, along with cheese and charcuterie, during this one-of-a-kind experience. You’ll leave with a better understanding of wine and winemaking, but no promises that you’ll leave with clean hands. Book your own Hands on Winemaking experience through WineCountry.com/Experiences, and explore the full list of current offerings. [...]



Best Things to Do in Napa Valley

2017-07-27T07:11:10Z

Wine loving newbies and established experts flock to Napa Valley year round to taste the food and wine wares from one of the most well known and delicious wine destinations around the world.Wine loving newbies and established experts flock to Napa Valley year round to taste the food and wine wares from one of the most well known and delicious wine destinations around the world. Napa Valley may be small in physical size, only three miles wide and 30 miles long, but with over 400 wineries and tasting rooms to visit, killer views, and enough Michelin stars and illustrious culinary spots to shake a fist at, there’s ample savoring and amazing things to do in Napa Valley. — Wine Country Experiences Take the guess work out of booking compelling activities in Napa Valley and visit Wine Country Experiences for a one-stop destination of must-do wine and food adventures. Experiences offered range from couple hour jaunts to multi-day excursions, and include culinary explorations, arresting views, and of course, our favorite Napa Valley liquid libation, ample amounts of wine. Guests to the site can explore diverse offerings, read itineraries and tips, and book directly through one website visit with ease. Insider Tip: The next three Napa Valley activities are offered through Wine Country Experiences. Click through to the Marketplace and effortlessly book one (or all three), and explore other available packages. Cruise and Wine Taste On The Napa River The Napa Wine Yacht Napa Yacht Club, 100 Riverside Road, Napa, CA 94559 See Napa Valley from a fresh perspective. Relax on a 50-foot Catamaran Yacht as you enjoy a 4-course meal by Tarla Grill and CIA graduate Chef Kadiye. The owner and winemaker of AUM Cellars will be aboard to pair his wines with each course of dinner. You will enjoy a delicious dinner and a personal tasting with a charming winemaker while taking in the beautiful views of Napa. Aum Cellars makes interesting blends that you probably haven’t tasted before, but you will be delighted when you do. As you cruise along the Napa River, you’ll have distinct views of the Mayacamas and Vaca Mountain ranges as the spectacular back drop for you tasting excursion. The Wine Yacht is a 50’ power catamaran built in New Zealand for shallow draft and stability. It’s luxuriously designed for entertaining and hosting events and wine tastings in the romantic setting of wine country. Built and designed by one of New Zealand’s most prolific catamaran designer/engineers, Alan Wright and Angelo Lavronos of New Zealand. The hull was designed for 3’ to 5’ seas to provide efficiency and enhanced platform stability for the 1999 and 2003 New Zealand America’s Cup Series. This vessel carried the Gyro-cameras for the Louis Vuitton series and AC finals providing excellent efficiency, speed, decreased roll and stability. It now lives in Napa. Insider Tip: There are no other businesses like the Wine Yacht that provide the views you’ll get of the Napa River. This is truly a one of a kind WineCountry Experience! Estate Ranch Tour and Exclusive Tasting Tamber Bey 1251 Tubbs Lane Calistoga, CA 94515 Trip Advisor: 4.5 stars; 176 reviews A visit to Tamber Bey Winery is truly an out of the ordinary experience in Napa Valley. The winery is located at Sundance Ranch, a working equestrian facility where winery owners, Barry and Jennifer Waitte, actively train their endurance race horses. The ranch’s 22-acre property is as picturesque as it is functional with unbelievable views of the surrounding Palisade Mountains and well-known Mount St. Helena, and the remodeled, state-of-the-art winemaking facility. Let vintner and owner Barry Waitte lead you through a private tour of this spectacular and unique facility. The tour begins with an inside look at the winemaking process located on site in their 15,000 square foot facility with 36 fermentation ta[...]



Cheese Lover’s Tour with West Marin Food & Farm Tours

2017-07-11T08:38:22Z

West Marin chef, gardener, and teacher, Elizabeth Ann Hill, holds an ingrained bond with the California region she calls home. It’s a familiar relationship, one that has gone back multiple generations, when her family used to travel by way of ferry and horse-drawn carriage from Berkeley to West Marin’s beautiful Tomales Bay to enjoy the summer months.West Marin chef, gardener, and teacher, Elizabeth Ann Hill, holds an ingrained bond with the California region she calls home. It’s a familiar relationship, one that has gone back multiple generations, when her family used to travel by way of ferry and horse-drawn carriage from Berkeley to West Marin’s beautiful Tomales Bay to enjoy the summer months. The region is chock full of artisan food and organic farming, a larger animal population than human, and views that are out of this world. Elizabeth has a passion for the land, the people, and the products that are crafted here, and through this interest, an idea was born. West Marin Food & Farm tours, which began in 2012, are packed with flavor, and really the only way you can fully understand is to experience one yourself. The dairy delightful Cheese Lover’s Tour is one of two available through Wine Country Experiences and we wanted to shed light on each delicious element. Boasting visits to three established West Marin creameries, Elizabeth gives exclusive access to private farms and a behind-the-scenes taste of the region’s artisan cheesemaking. Cheese Lover’s Tour Available Year-round, Wednesday through Friday, and Sunday 10:30am – 3:30pm $195 Cowgirl Creamery at Tomales Bay Foods The adventure begins in Point Reyes Station, where you’ll meet Elizabeth and new, cheese lovin’ friends (typically there’s between 4-7 people in a group) at the famed Cowgirl Creamery. The creamery was founded in 1994 by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, two women who had been intertwined in the food scene for some years, as a bonus to the opening of Tomales Bay Foods in a renovated barn in this quaint, Marin town. The structure housed a small cheese-making room and cheese dreams were pursued. Over the course of the last 20+ years, Cowgirl Creamery has grown from a modest room and a bit of curiosity, to a heavily awarded creamery with four retail stores, two production locations, and sales being made in over 500 additional retailers. While this location only produces their pundgent, triple cream variety, Red Hawk, visitors on West Marin Food & Farm Tours can get an inside look (and taste!) of all their renowned cheeses. As you enter the building, windows welcome viewers to take a peek into the original facility and watch as each step of the process is completed. The tour official begins with munching cheese-centric, baked delights care of Bovine Bakery and a lesson in past and present farming and food production in Marin from Elizabeth. As soon as the last crumb is nabbed, Elizabeth gets into the good stuff (the cheese, of course) and the group can try the full bounty of regularly produced aged and fresh cheeses, and a taste of their seasonal creation. Insider Tip: Plan on arriving at Tomales Bay Foods early to explore the market and the many goods for sale. The company continues to stay true to their ethos of supporting the community and artisan cheesemaking, and offers over 200 additional cheeses from around the globe alongside their own. Toluma Farms and Tomales Farmstead Creamery Elizabeth will take the wheel as the whole gang hops into the West Marin Food & Farm Tours’ van for a picturesque drive through West Marin. Head up the eastern coast of Tomales Bay, where salty, steady waters host oyster farms and unbelievable views of rolling hills and the tree lined Point Reyes National Seashore park. After winding up the coast and heading inland just past the small town of Tomales, you’ll reach Toluma Farms, the home of the Tomales Farmstead C[...]



Sonoma County Restaurants You Can’t Miss

2017-07-22T15:06:21Z

While Sonoma County has put itself on the map as a bastion of celebrated wine, the restaurant and food scene are in a league all their own. With the farm-to-table movement having started in Northern CaliforniaWhile Sonoma County has put itself on the map as a bastion of celebrated wine, the restaurant and food scene are in a league all their own. With the farm-to-table movement having started in Northern California, Sonoma County eateries truly embody the agricultural region and the diversity of the people who call this area home. From Latin cuisine and noodle houses, to hip local joints that serve food grown on their own farms, Sonoma County restaurants boast some of the best food in the world. Mix It Up spoonbar 291 Healdsburg Avenue Healdsburg, CA 95448 (707) 433-7222 TripAdvisor: 4 stars; 327 reviews Located in downtown Healdsburg, spoonbar serves up locally sourced meats and farm-to-table produce in an airy, contemporary setting. When the “walls” are removed, you are opened up to the sidewalks of Healdsburg to people watch and enjoy the sublime Northern California weather. If you thought the food was local though, give the cocktails a try. Their talented mixologists behind the bar can pour you a glass of local wine or they can create an experimental union of local herbs, mixers, and spirits that is bound to knock your socks off. Insider Tip: Head in on a Sunday for their prix-fixe, four-course, homemade pasta night where they showcase different regional styles along with seasonal ingredients. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, pair our pasta with a beverage from their Experimental section of their cocktail menu. Latin Spice Mateo’s Cocina Latina 214 Healdsburg Avenue Healdsburg, CA 95448 (707) 433-1520 TripAdvisor: 4 stars; 208 reviews Mateo’s Cocina Latina is not your traditional Mexican food joint. With roots in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Chef Mateo Granados pairs his country’s cuisine with the local agriculture of Sonoma County. He’s blended the two cultures in a culinary explosion of delicious creativity. When the weather is nice, enjoy sitting on the outdoor patio or pop inside to enjoy the tequila bar and it’s creative libations. Insider Tip: Two words. Taco Cones. Think ice cream cones, only better, and involving gratuitous guacamole. Farm-to-table Fusion SingleThread 131 North Street Healdsburg, CA 95448 (707) 723-4646 TripAdvisor: 5 stars; 21 reviews SingleThread can be summed up in one word — experience. This is not your typical Sonoma County restaurant, but instead the culmination of years of preparation, thought, and passion to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the heart of Healdsburg. With an eleven course tasting menu catered to all dietary restrictions and needs, SingleThread creates a journey from their own farm, located in the Russian River Valley, to their meticulously set tables. A reservation is considered a “ticket” to this culinary experience that fuses Japanese influence with Sonoma County agricultural bounty. Insider Tip: SingleThread has placed itself in the highest region of Northern California‘s fine dining echelon. Be prepared to purchase tickets for a minimum of $294 per person, not including alcohol. But it’s worth every delicious penny. Sebastapol Spice and Sake Ramen Gaijin 6948 Sebastopol Ave Sebastopol, CA 95472 (707) 827-3629 TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars; 51 reviews The town of Sebastopol has adopted a hippie vibe that it can’t quite shake (nor does it want to). But that “hippie” sensibility to live from the land and harvest its bounty is seen in Ramen Gaijin, a “uniquely Sonoma County noodle shop”. Ramen Gaijin puts out an extensive and fresh menu of regional ramen styles paying homage to the culture that created the dish and the local agriculture that helps sustain it. Fresh fish, local produce, and hand-made noodles factor into[...]



Where To Stay In NapaValley

2017-07-11T08:36:02Z

A mere 30 miles long and just a few miles wide, Napa Valley may be small but it is packed to the brim with delectable experiences. After long days of eating, sipping, and savoring every last drop, the place where you tuck in at night for rest and relaxation needs to check off all your must-haves.A mere 30 miles long and just a few miles wide, Napa Valley may be small but it is packed to the brim with delectable experiences. After long days of eating, sipping, and savoring every last drop, the place where you tuck in at night for rest and relaxation needs to check off all your must-haves. Whether you’re searching for the charming comforts of a bed & breakfast or an amenity-rich resort, we’ve got you covered. Napa Valley Lodge 2230 Madison St Yountville, CA 94599 (707) 944-2468 TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars; ‎1,246 reviews Located in the quaint town of Yountville, Napa Valley Lodge has the quintessential rustic feel with luxury details that has defined Northern California hotels. With fine dining from first-class chefs down the street and surrounding wineries to tour and explore, there is no shortage of activities to activate your tastebuds. The hotel also features bocce ball, pool cabanas, spa treatments, and fire pits to ensure maximum, on-site relaxation and fun. Insider Tip: Wake up on time for their complimentary, champagne breakfast. Before you book your trip, make sure to check their package specials which can save you money on daily rates as well as offer adventure incentives for hot air ballooning, winery touring, and spa retreats. Silverado Resort 1600 Atlas Peak Rd Napa, CA 94558 (707) 257-0200 TripAdvisor: 4 stars; ‎3,400 reviews Only a stone’s throw from a handful of amazing wineries, featuring two champion golf courses, and less than 5 miles from downtown Napa, this Napa Valley hotel is known for being a private getaway in the center of it all. An epic, heated, outdoor pool, tennis courts with Pro staff, and 360 views of the Napa Valley make this hotel an exceptional getaway from the everyday. Insider Tip: If golf is your sport and you’re planning to play a couple rounds, be sure to make a pit stop by the Snack Shacks located on either course and enjoy their “burger dog”. This fairway fare is based off the very same offering at the world-famous Olympic Club. Wine Country Inn 1152 Lodi Ln St Helena, CA 94574 (707) 963-7077 TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars; ‎1,006 reviews Nestled among the hills of St. Helena, Wine Country Inn is a secluded bed and breakfast in Napa Valley with romantic grounds and picturesque views. This idyllic getaway is perfect for those looking for an intimate stay somewhere more remote, but still within a 10 minute car ride from all of the excitement of downtown. Insider Tip: Every night the B&B offers a wine and cheese happy hour (featuring local wines, of course) and a chance to mingle with fellow guests. SENZA Hotel 4066 Howard Ln Napa, CA 94558 (707) 253-0337 TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars; ‎640 reviews One of the more newly-renovated, Napa Valley hotels, SENZA has all of the personal touches of a cozy B&B with luxurious amenities and elegant style. A boutique hotel in Napa, you can enjoy a list of excellent spa options and a daily continental breakfast. Be sure to ask for additional recommendations in the area from the Hall family for local drinking and dining options. Insider Tip: Don’t worry about adding extra weight to your luggage after your tastings, SENZA’s helpful front desk staff can arrange shipping for any of your wine purchases. Brannan Cottage Inn 109 Wappo Ave Calistoga, CA 94515 (707) 942-4200 TripAdvisor: 5 stars; ‎133 reviews If you’re looking for Calistoga accommodations that are entirely delightful and filled wi[...]



What’s Hot? Mexican Wine Country

2017-06-15T16:51:50Z

When you think of Mexico, the first thing that probably comes to mind is tacos. That’s followed closely by hot peppers, hot weather, bright colors, adobe buildings, and maybe Corona beer. Mexico is the home of hot peppers, hot weather, bright colors and adobe buildings. Add to that delicious cuisine, sandy beaches and tequila or two and you’ve got one of our favorite vacation spots. You probably don’t think wine, right? That’s because while Mexico has had a thriving wine industry since the 1920s, pretty much all of Mexican-produced wine is consumed within its borders. Sound intriguing? It gets better. Believe it or not, Mexico has its own version of Napa Valley, called La Valle de Guadalupe, where you can find vineyards producing juicy cabernet sauvignons, crisp chardonnays, and full-bodied tempranillos. You’ll find other varieties there too — vineyards en la valle are known for blending varietals that you might not see mixed by European wineries. But the real distinguishing factor of Mexico’s wine country is the way it feels off the beaten path. It’s the perfect option for millennials who don’t mind roughing it (or, alternatively, have the money to stay in the one very high end hotel) or any wine aficionado who’s aching for something less traversed. Take a trip south of the border for a unique long weekend perfect for any wine lover — as long as you’re up for a bit of an adventure. Oh, and those tacos? The fish ones pair perfectly with those chardonnays I mentioned. A B&B With Soul Adobe Guadalupe Parcela A-1 s/n Col. Rusa de Guadalupe Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico +52 646 155 2094 TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars Don’t let the Persian-influenced architecture of Adobe Guadalupe fool you. You are, in fact, in Mexico. In addition to the vineyard, the grounds also boast a B&B, where breakfast is served at a long communal table. The property also boasts a breeding and training stable for Aztec horses that are also used for therapy for children with cerebral palsy. Sip on one of their nine wines, take a break next the fountain in the courtyard, or enjoy some of the art by local artists scattered throughout the property. Insider Tip: You might notice that all of the wines are named after archangels. That’s because the owners lost their son in a tragic car accident when they were starting Adobe Guadalupe. The wine names are a tribute to the angels that they believe are surrounding their son in heaven. A Labor of Love Xecue Vinicola Valle de Guadalupe | Km 89.1 Ensenada-Tecate Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico +52 646 175 3830 TripAdvisor: 5 stars; 92 reviews Xecue Vinicola is relatively young. They started selling wine in 2005 but have already made a splash in the Mexican wine scene. They specialize in reds and rosés, which are enough of a draw, but definitely don’t miss their octagon-shaped tasting room. The open walls allow you to look out over the countryside and enjoy the smells of tress and cactus as you sip your wine. “Xecue” means love in an indigenous Mexican language and visitors rave about how clearly the owners, José Luís and Alberta, love their winery and love showing guests the upmost in hospitality. Stop here if you want a truly personal experience during your visit to La Valle de Guadalupe. Insider Tip: José Luís love succulents, so make sure to stop by and see his collection while you’re there. Tostadas and… Boats? Vena Cava Vinícola Exit left near Km. 88 Valle de Guadalupe 22755, Mexico +52 646 156 8053 TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars; 44 reviews Vena Cava is one of the most unique wineries you’ll ever visit, at least when it comes to architecture. Look closer and you’ll realize that many of the buildings on the property have very distinctive rooflines — they’re ov[...]



WineCountry Recipe: Homemade, Wine Ice Cream

2017-06-14T19:39:46Z

While wine is conventionally enjoyed as a beverage, either on its own or as part of a meal, it can also be used as an ingredient in a variety of recipes. Professional chefs use it to prepare thick sauces, add it to meat, pasta dishes, and also incorporate it into desserts.While wine is conventionally enjoyed as a beverage, either on its own or as part of a meal, it can also be used as an ingredient in a variety of recipes. Professional chefs use it to prepare thick sauces, add it to meat, pasta dishes, and also incorporate it into desserts.

Unlike professional chefs though, you don’t need years of cooking experience or training to make this wine flavored ice cream. All that is required is a high quality wine, a few simple ingredients, and use of some common kitchen utensils.

Ingredients

(image) This recipe makes use of fresh berries, so any sweet, fruity wine will work well. You’ll need one cup of your chosen variety. Because we are preparing ice cream, you will want to use cold wine. You can either chill the wine in an ice bucket beforehand or grab a bottle straight from your wine cooler (as a side note, check out these dual-zone freezers if you’re on the lookout for a cooler capable of storing a variety of wines at different temperatures).

You will also need one cup of sugar, two cups of cold, heavy whipping cream, two tablespoons of cornstarch, three tablespoons of dry milk powder, one teaspoon of salt, one cup of slightly pureed mixed berries, and the scrapings from two vanilla pods (or a few drops of vanilla essence).

Method

(image) Add the whipping cream to a large mixing bowl and whip it for about a minute or until it is fluffy. A hand mixer would be ideal for this but you can easily use an egg whisk.

Once whipped, add in the rest of the ingredients and combine well until you are left with a uniform mixture. Pour this mixture into a freezer safe container and place it into your freezer overnight.

And that’s it! By morning the mixture will have frozen to the consistency of ice cream. Be warned, this ice cream is highly addictive, so if you plan on sharing it with friends and family, you might want to prepare a secret batch for yourself! Recipe and blog by Veronica Shah of healthsomeness.com



Where To Stay In Sonoma County

2017-06-14T19:09:34Z

Finding the right place to stay in Sonoma County can sometimes be a challenge considering the diversity in unique, stellar options and your needs when choosing accommodations. Finding the right place to stay in Sonoma County can sometimes be a challenge considering the diversity in unique, stellar options and your needs when choosing accommodations. Here are some top picks to kick up your feet and tuck in after exploring the many sides of Sonoma wine country. Hilton Sonoma Wine Country 3555 Round Barn Boulevard Santa Rosa, CA 95442 (707) 523-7555 TripAdvisor: 3.5 stars; 1245 reviews Located in Santa Rosa, the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country is easily accessible to more than 300 wineries just a short ride away and the hotel concierge happily assists guests to arrange tastings or tours. Set on thirteen, beautiful acres, the hotel also hosts an olympic-sized swimming pool and a large event space for those planning a special day in a beautiful, wine country setting. Insider Tip: The hotel is pet friendly and includes an area for walking furry pals on the property. Inn at Sonoma, A Four Sisters Inn 630 Broadway Street Sonoma, CA 95476 (707) 939-1340 TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars; 843 reviews When staying at a Four Sisters Inn, it’s easy to become accustomed to certain luxuries, such as the daily breakfast, afternoon wine and hors d’oeuvres, and their fresh-baked cookies. The Inn at Sonoma is no disappointment when it comes to those special touches, but it also happens to be just down the street from the historic and vibrant Sonoma Plaza. With 19 rooms in the main building and another eight in the newly completed Vintner’s Cottage, there’s no shortage of space to rest your head. And with such close proximity to Sonoma fun and the comforts of this charming inn, it’s easy to feel like you’re living like a local. Insider Tip: Take out one of the Inn’s complimentary bikes for a ride along the nearby bike path and be sure to stop at the wineries along the way. Flamingo Resort and Spa 2777 Fourth Street Santa Rosa, CA 95405 (707) 545-8530 TripAdvisor: 3.5 stars; 628 reviews The Flamingo is a historic landmark that brings a touch of mid-century Vegas glamour to wine country. Located in Santa Rosa and with easy access to the wineries of Sonoma Valley, this is a great jump off point for exploring the area. There’s an on-site health club and spa, which can be enjoyed for additional fees, but access to the hotel’s gorgeous swimming pool is included with every stay.The Lounge at the Flamingo is a local favorite for live music and dancing. Stop in for their nights dedicated to swing and salsa music to get those legs moving. Insider Tip: Looking to add something extra to your stay? Explore our Flamingo Resort Wine Country Exclusive offer! Jenner Inn 10400 Coast Route 1 Jenner, CA 95450 (707) 865-2377 TripAdvisor: 3 stars; 289 reviews Located on the Russian River just one mile from where the river meets the Pacific Ocean, the Jenner Inn offers a collection of delightful rooms and cottages in the cozy town of Jenner. Many of the rooms have balconies overlooking the river, and it’s an amazing spot for decompressing, relaxing, and enjoying the surrounding nature and wildlife. Insider Tip: When you book through us enjoy 20% Sunday-Thursday,complimentary breakfast and wifi with the Jenner Inn WineCountry Exclusive. Vintners Inn 4350 Barnes Road Santa Rosa, CA 95403 (800) 421-2584 TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars; 575 reviews With an emphasis on providing a serene destination in the heart of wine country, the Vintners Inn is a terrific find. North of Santa Rosa, but close to main roads, the hotel’s lush grounds are surrounded by pic[...]