Wine tickets to a wine safari!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a bit, you know that I love to support local charities, especially by #drinkingforcharity.  Today, I would like to tell you about Vineyards to Village, who is dedicated to supporting clean water for schools in Kenya.
Every year, they host a Wine Safari, where you can drink fabulous Sonoma County wines and support water projects for schools in Kenya!  This year, our friends at Christopher Creek Winery, Deux Amis Winery, Fritz Underground Winery, Merriam Vineyards, Pedroncelli Winery, Portalupi Wine, Thumbprint Cellars, Trione Winery, Williamson Wines, the Windsor Tasting Lounge, and Viszlay Vineyards are offering complimentary tastings at their properties for Safari guests from September 3-11.
These boutique wineries offer small, intimate experiences with some of Sonoma’s best wines!  Each Safari Passport gives you one week to visit all of these tasting rooms, and participating wineries will donate 1/3 of their sales of a given wine to Vineyard to Village safari-clip-artm-vector-clip-art-online-royalty-freefor the week.  This Wine Safari also includes a limited edition keepsake glass!
With the purchase of every ticket, you will be entered to win wine raffle prizes! If you visit every “animal” (winery) on the safari and show us your complete safari pass on our Facebook page, you’ll get an additional 10 raffle tickets! You also receive an extra raffle ticket with every purchase of V2V wine!

For more information no Global Partners and Vineyard to Village, please click HERE.

Enter the giveaway below to win two tickets to the Jambo Safari event!  If you prefer to purchase tickets directly to support this wonderful cause, please click here.

Happy first week September!

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Digging Underground

uc-logoI know what you’re thinking – if you’ve seen one daily deal site you’ve seen them all. Perhaps, perhaps not.

Underground Cellar is a new daily deal wine website that offers free upgrades and a revolutionary way of storing wine in the cloud. The best part about this new service is that with several wine offers available each week, there is always a great selection.

Each individual offer features between 3 to 5 rare wines. It’s a bit like the old fashioned grab bag, where you end up paying the loweest price bottle price, say $15, but one of the bottles might be a bonus $100 bottle in the lot. Works for me!

Underground Cellar offers everyone the option of storing their wine purchases in CloudCellar, a state of the art Napa wine cellar. Instead of choosing a shipping address at checkout, a customer can select CloudCellar and hold their wine there for as long as they’d like. When your CloudCellar has 6 bottles, you can ship your wine for only $5… and when you’re up to 12 bottles, the box ships for free. That’s great if you live in an extreme temperature zone and you don’t want to ship in the dead of winter or height of summer.

You can see what wines are in the offers at Underground Cellar, and decide for yourself. Want a chance to try it out for free? Answer the trivia question and enter to win a gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Zinning in to 2013 – **WINNERS ANNOUNCED**

Happy New Year!  How the heck is it the second week of 2013 already?  Wowzah.

But here were are, smack dab in the middle of a chilly winter in San Francisco; what better time to celebrate America’s Heritage Grape than a cold winter night?  Celebrating 22 years of Zinfandel, this year’s event will be just as entertaining as last year’s, in the new event space at The Concourse.

One of the most unique American wines, Zinfandel has a long history in California.  From Italian field blends during the gold rush to the new gold rush of wine, zinfandel has a solid palace in history.  There are so many different flavor profiles you can find, from raisiny ripe Paso Robles to spicy & racy Sierra Foothills, to brambly blackberry punch of Dry Creek.  What better way to taste them than at the 2013 Zinfandel Festival!

January 31st, the Festival kicks off with Epicuria, my favorite event of the week.  This informal walk around event allows you the opportunity to nibbly on tasty tidbits, paired with 50 delicious zinfandels hand picked to bring out the zinny flavor.  There will be plenty of pork to go around, as well as some wonderful dessert offerings.  Come early, and come hungry!  The best bites go quickly.  $125

Congratulations to Amy Abascal and Cindy Gooch, who each won a pair of tickets!  Looking forward to seeing you!

 

Friday afternoon, Flights is designed for the enthusiast with a passion for the legendary, this exclusive seminar-style tasting ignites your imagination for the varietal as you delve into the history, culture and science behind the many flavors of Zinfandel. Flights offers unique insight into the Zinfandel varietal and allows you to experience the true character of the wines through the eyes of experts as you revel in a sensory experience like no other.  $75

 

Friday evening, a benefit event whisks you back to the 1940s with a Casablanca theme, benefiting ZAP and the Heritage Vineyard project.  The Winemakers Dinner is always a banner event, where premier winemakers host, and share the intrigue and romance behind their craft at this elegant reception and dinner.  Specially chosen private selections of Zinfandel will be poured as you get in the time machine and learn about the origins of Zinfandel, and modern techniques in wine making.  $250

 

Culminating in Saturday’s Grand Tasting, featuring over 100 zinfandels from all over the US, the week is sure to be zinny, zany, and downright purple.  Create your own Zin-fari, as you weave the isles through each growing region, to explore the diversity of American Zinfandel.  Taste barrel samples, new releases, and more!  $65

Congratulations to Shari Johnston & Amy Holtzman, who each won a pair of tickets!  See you there!

Tickets for this year’s festival are available HERE .

That said, you lucky readers, I have something special for you!  Two lucky readers can win a pair of tickets to Epicuria.  Two other lucky readers can win a pair of tickets to the Grand Tasting!  You must be in San Francisco for the event.  Tickets are non transferable once claimed.  Good luck and the deadline for entry is Jan 18th.  Enter below!

See you zinners there!

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Dark & Delicious, mysterious, Petite Sirah

 
Long the source of confusion, Petite Sirah is such a misunderstood grape.  Dark and brooking, dark and delicious.  Yum is what I say!

The love child of Peloursin, a very old, and pretty much dead French varietal, and Syrah, that charming, eclectic Rhône grape, Durif became known as Petite Sirah because of it’s boyish good looks.  Well ok not exactly, but it does sort of look like baby Syrah grapes.

Don’t know much about Petite Sirah?  Lucky for us, Petite Sirah I Love You (PS I Love You) is here to help!  If you’re located in the greater Bay Area or can be here on Friday, February 17th, Dark & Delicious, the annual food and wine pairing focusing on Petite Sirah will take place at Rockwall Winery in Alameda.

Don’t know much about Petite Sirah?  Want to learn more?  Check out the amazing wineries pouring at this event:

Pouring side by side with these wineries, there is also a list of over 35 food purveyors making tidbits to specifically match Petite Sirah’s unique flavor

What others have said about Dark & Delicious:

Wineries Debuting  Wineries Returning
Andis Wines  Artezin (Hess Collection)
Aratas Wines  Aver Family Vineyards
Christian Lazo Wines  Ballentine Vineyards
Flying Horse Wines  Berryessa Gap Winery
Guglielmo Winery  Bogle Vineyards and Winery
Handal Denier  Clayhouse Wines
J. Baldwin Wines  Concannon Vineyard
J. Rickards Winery  David Fulton Winery
Odonata Winery  Diamond Ridge Vineyards
Ridge Vineyards  Don Sebastiani & Sons
Shadowbrook Winery  Estrella Creek Wines
Trueheart Vineyard  F. Teldeschi
 Turkovich Family Winery  Field Stone
 Foppiano Vineyards
 Grizzly Republic
Gustafson Family Vineyards
Harney Lane Winery
Lava Cap
Line 39
Line Shack + Lido Bay Winery
McCay Cellars
Mettler Family Wines
Michael~David Winery
Miro Cellars (with Trentadue)
Mounts Family Winery
Nottingham Cellars
Occasio Winery
Page Mill Winery
Parducci Wine Cellars
R&B Cellars
Robert Biale Winery
Rock Wall Wine Company
Rosenblum Winery
Rutherford Grove
Silkwood Wines
Stage Left Cellars
Stags’ Leap Winery
Stanton Vineyards
Tercero Wines
Trentadue Winery
Tres Sabores
Twisted Oak
Vezér Family Vineyards
Vina Robles
Wilson Vineyards

This is a not to miss event!  Tickets are on sale NOW for $63.  But you, my fabulous readers, have a chance to win a pair!  Just tell me why you love Petite Sirah in the comments below (and for additioanlly entries, don’t forget to use the RaffleCopter Form).  What makes you crave the dark & delcious grape?

See you there!  Happy drinking.

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A long winter's night…**ZAP WINNERS ANNONCED**

It’s that time of year again, where you curl up in front of your fake Amish fire (no wood burning here please, it’s Spare the Air!), open a big juicy zin, a good book, and your new furry slippers.  It’s cold here these days, and the damp chill of the morning fog makes it feel more like London than San Francisco.  That’s not all bad however, as it’s days  like this that make me cook up a big pot of bean soup and open some of my deliciously California Zinfandel.

One of the most unique American wines, Zinfandel has a long history in California.  From Italian field blends during the gold rush to the new gold rush of wine, zinfandel has a solid palace in history.  There are so many different flavor profiles you can find, from raisiny ripe Paso Robles to spicy & racy Sierra Foothills, to brambly blackberry punch of Dry Creek.  What better way to taste them than at the 2012 Zinfandel Festival!

January 26-28, 2012 join thousands of Zinfandel aficionados in San Francisco for the 21st Annual Zinfandel Festival.  This year marks a departure from the past festivals, with both a venue change and event revamping.  I am excited to see how these changes impact the festival.  In 2012, the festival will be help for the first time in the Concourse Exhibition Center, an urban venue south of Market Street in San Francisco.  While this can present a logistical nightmare, my hope is that it will encourage more taxis and bus travel than auto travel – which has resulted in some less than stellar behavior in years past.

But back tot he event!  Thursday ZAP kicks off with Epicuria, formerly known as Good Eats & Zin.  This has long been my favorite event, with it’s smaller crowd and delicious food pairings.  At this gourmet extravaganza, you can discover the diversity of zinfandel, as it is paried with a huge variety of sweet & savory food sfrom some of the best restaurants in California.

Friday afternoon, Flights continues it’s journey with Forums of Flavor.   At this exclusive seminar-style tasting you will discover themed flights of Zinfandels and interact with Zinfandel experts. Aimed at the true wine aficionado with an aptitude toward learning more, Flights offers in-depth insight into the Zinfandel varietal and provides the opportunity to experience the true character of the legend.

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Who needs Woodstock, we got Rootstock! **GIVEAWAY CLOSED**

Who needs Burning Man or Woodstock!  We have Rootstock!  Rootstock is a festival of food, wine, an music that brings together people of all kinds in an urban winery coop in Santa Rosa.

This year, Chef Bob Blumer will host the TasteLive broadcast, pairing wines with foods created from his new book “Glutton for Pleasure”.  Yours truely will be on deck with $20 Wine aka my other half, to interview the chef after the live tasting.  We will be live tweeting from the event under the hastag #rootstock!  Ziggy the Wine Gal and Alan Kropf of Mutineer Magazine will also be in attendance.

Tickets to the extravaganza are $35 each and can (and should) be purchased in advance.  But for you, I am giving away a pair!  Two lucky readers will win tickets to the festival on July 16th.  Just leave me a comment about your favorite street food and I’ll draw two random names.

Rootstock was founded in 2009 by Joel Quigley & Cailyn McCauley of Creative Furnace, Rootstock will have tons of live music hosted by Ziggy and KRSH 95.9.  Additionally, Heather Irwin of Bite Club Eats will host the Best Bites, with food from Mateo Granados (yay Mateo!) who was recently written up in the Chronicle, and other local chefs of tasty treats.  Wines from more than 20 wineries wil be poured for your sipping pleasure!  Sounds like fun right?

Rootstock is tasking place at Santa Rosa Vintner’s Square, a complex of four wineries in town, who will be adding several new winery tenants over the next year.  Stop by and check it out!

So, what’s YOUR favorite street food?  Mine is Chairman Bao here in SF.

Do tell!

 

 




Are you a Rhonely heart?

And the winner is:

Congratulations to Valerie, the WineDog and Helene!

If for any reason you cannot go, the runner up is Beau and Brandye.

These results were randomly generated by Random.org.

ps if you didn’t win here, please check out:

________________



 

 

 

 

 
It’s that time of year again!  Time for one of my favorite of the big tastings here in San Francisco, Rhone Rangers.  Rhone wines are diverse which is one of the reasons I love them.  At this tasting, you can taste over 500 wines from more than 100 producers all in one place.

The Rhone region of France is one of the oldest cultivated areas of wine.  Here in California, a similar climate has spawned a plethora of producers that specialize in the Rhone wine varitals.  Did you know that they were 22 distinct grapes that are Rhone?  There are both red and white Rhone grapes, and they create some delicious wines.  The region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is in the Rhone region, which is a classic blend of up to 13 variteis.

Since you are reading this, you probably know a little bit about the area.  If that’s true, I have a challenge for you.  If you can correctly name TWO of the lesser known Rhone Grapes (there are 22 in all), you will be entered in a drawing for a free ticket to the public tasting on Sunday March 27th here in San Francisco.  I’ll give you a hint: Syrah is classically co-fermented (and sometimes blended) with Viognier.  Grenache is also known as Garnacha in Spain.  Mouvedre can be called Monastrell but not if you call it Mataro.  Marsanne and Roussane are best friends.    Those are six of the 22 grapes – can you name two of the other 16?

Give it a shot!  If you name 2 of the rest of the 22 grapes correctly, and they can be Red or White, then you will be entered in a **random** drawing to win a pass to the Rhone Rangers Public Tasting here in San Francisco on Sunday March 27th.

 

Tickets are $40 each, so you can always buy one for your bestie to come with you!  Out of all of the correct answers, I will randomly pick TWO WINNERS.

While you’re in town, check out some of the Rhone Rangers seminars!  You could learn about the Green Rangers, growing things sustainably, or maybe Mouvedre on the move (one of my favorites).

Next up in Rhone News, is the world class and world famous Hospices du Rhone in Paso Robles April 28-30th.  This 3 day extravaganza of all things Rhone has been going strong for 19 years with tastings, seminars, and parties galore.  But more on that later, I just wanted to tease you a little bit – because I can.

Good luck and I hope to see your comments here, and I’ll see YOU at Rhone Rangers!

If you’re a Tweetie, please follow them at @RhoneRangers.  During the event we will be blogging and tweeting under the hashtag #rrsf to keep it short and simple.  While Ft. Mason isn’t known for it’s stellar cellular reception, you can usually find a corner to take your glass of yum to and tweet for a minute.

 

Editor’s Note:  I will select the two random winners on Friday, March 4th.  Please make sure I have your email / twitter / smoke signal address if not included in comments!

 

**obvious hint:  if you read about the event, there are many more of the 22 grape varietals mentioned!


Pinot – how do I love thee, let me count the ways!

It’s Valentine’s Day today, and that means, roses, chocolate, and – yes!  Pinot Noir!  What better way to say I love you than to share the heartbreak grape with your sweetie.

Personally, Pinot Noir is the wine that excites me the most, because of its mystery, and allure.  There are so many different styles and flavors in a Pinot Noir, and it’s a world in your glass!@

Do you want to learn MORE about Pinot Noir?

On Saturday, February 26th, 300 lucky Pinotphiles will be able to attend the Pinot NOir Summit in San Francisco.  If you are thinking about attending, and you should be, I have a secret deal for you  just because you actually read my blog.  This deal is SO amazing, SO huge, SO fabulous, that you just can’t pass it up!

Because it’s so amazing, i can only offer this deal to two of my readers – well really it’s four – because  here’s the deal..

You can get 2 tickets to the ALL DAY SUMMIT for the price of one!  That’s a $250 value for $125.

Now, I know that seems like a lot of money to spend on wine, but look at what you get:

A full day of Pinot Noir!  Starting with a blind tasting of the top rated juice from a long and arduous process (yeah well I was a judge, such hard work), test your buds against pros, panels, and pinotphiles.  Vote for your faves!  We will find out what women liked, what men liked, and what the judges liked at the end of the day.

You also get your choice of two Pinot Noir workshops.  This year we have:

Session One
New World Pinot Noir
A Question of Style
Discovering New Stars

Session Two

Oak and Pinot Noir…Getting it Just Right

Pinot Noir, the Most Versatile Wine on the Planet

Winemaking 101

But wait!  You thought I was done?  Nope.  You ALSO get a Sparkling Wine Reception, to see how Pinot Noir behaves under pressure.

And then, the GRAND finale – the 9th Annual Pinot Noir Shootout Grand Awards Tasting with top Pinot Noir winemakers showcasing their wines. Includes a pinot-friendly selection of light hors d’oeuvres.

SO if you want to take advantage of this deal, post a comment here and let me know WHY you really want to go and should get this half of deal.  HURRY though!  I only have two to offer and I know it’ll be popular!
I can’t wait to hear your comments!

Through the wine glass…and other tales of wine tasting

There is often a lot of discussion controversy about the use of specific wine glasses in wine tasting; does a wine glass make a difference in how a wine tastes?  Does size really matter?  Or in this case, does SHAPE matter more?  Personally, I think that size and shape are critical for discovering the nuances in some of the finer wines, and particularly good Pinot.  Different shaped glasses aim the wine at different points in your mouth, therefore highlighting flavors more strongly than others.  All this with the shape of a glass.

But what do you do when you don’t want to have 17 individual wine glasses?  Is there really ONE glass that you can use for ALL red wine?  Or all white wine?  Not that I drink that much white wine these days… Personally, I have many all purpose wine glasses, but I still ensure that all of my Pinot Noir is served from Pinot specific glasses because I want to make sure that the subtleties of the wine are captured when I take a sip. I have often been in the situation where all wines are served in hotel type glassware, or “occasion” glassware – the kind you get at a wine festival for example, and not enjoying the wines I was recently at a bar having a glass of Pinot that was served in a small Chianti type glass, and it just left something wanting.  I know the wine was better than that.  Enter a different wine glass, and the expereince can dramatically change.  So, fo rthat purpose, I have many generic, mostly Bordeaux shaped glasses that I use for every day, a few different shapes of Pinot glasses, and a lot of event glasses that I avoid except for parties.

Andrea Robinson, wine expert and master sommelier, has developed a new wine glass called “The One” that promises to be the only wine glass you need.  There is one for red wine, and one for white one, and the red glass closely resembles some of the lesser known Pinot glasses I have seen.  To determine if I would be able to use just ONE glass for all of my red wine needed, I selected two control wines:

A Pinot Noir, because that is what I drink most of right now.  A Syrah, because that is the thing I drink when I’m not drinking Pinot Noir or Rose.

To control the taste test, I chose a Pinot Noir that I knew I liked.  I did that because I didn’t want to run the risk of opening a sample or a wine I wasn’t familiar with.  I also selected a Riedel Pinot Noir glass, the large classic Burgundy balloon, and a generic Pinot Glass that I got at Pinot Days last year.

I sipped.  I sniffed.  I tasted.  I sipped some more.

First:  The Riedel, my go to Pinot Glass, actually accentuated to omuch of the bitter spiecde and wood characteristics of the wine.  I was a bit mifed at this since I knew I loved this wine.

Next, I tried the generic Pinot Days glass.  mmmm there was my old friend, the rich spicy juicy raspberry Pinot.  That was more like it.

Finally, I tasted the wine out of Andrea’s glass.  Ok it was good, but the cherry berry cola accents were too strong for my taste.

Ok, let’s let the wine sit for bit.

Same thing.  So, score one for generic, zero for Andrea.

Next, my sample set was a syrah.  Again, a wine I know and love.  This time I selected a generic event glass, with the basic Bordeaux shape, but smaller.  I also selected a Cost Plus Connessieur stem, which is made by Spiegulau, which is now owned by Reidel.  Pretty much the same line up as the Pinot Noir blind sample.

For this wine, The One faired just as well as a generic tasting glass.  The wine was lovely, and the nuances of flavor were showing through.

One thing that I really love about these glasses, all shapes and sizes being said, is that they are tough.  I am really hard on my glasses.  I knock them over (frequently).  I bang them in my sink.  I crash them against

dishes.  The One did NOT break!  For that reason alone, I would buy some for general use.  At $50 for a set of 4, they are reasonable, especially if they last through a party or bashing them around.

The verdict:  If you are a Pinot Noir snob, I’d make sureyou have a couple of specialty glasses on hand for that purpose.  I am picky about my Pinot Noir glasses, and I do believe that different shapes impact how you percieve the flavor of a wine, particularly if you have  a developed palate.  the reason this happens is that different shapes target the wine on different centers of taste buds in your mouth.  There is a lot of controversy abuot these tounge maps, but I find that for me – it’s true.

If you’d like to try The One by Andrea Robinson for yourself, I have a set to give away, 1 white, 1 red.  Just leave a comment and tell me why you need a new wine glass!  I’d love it if you wrote about your opinion as well, but that’s not required.

Ciao Italia!


TorreBarolo

Have you been to Italy?  Are you longing to go?  Are you dreaming of going?  I must say, my trip in 2007 was amazing, and I would love to go back and spend some more time there.  That said, an ex-pat named Megan owns this gorgeous property in the Piemonte region.

In an effort to draw people to the region, and to boost the exposure of her property there in beautiful Barolo country, Megan is giving away 3 nights at the house shown to the left.  This property is 17th century tower in the heart of the Langhe wine region, which would be ideal for a wine lover from all over, but particularly you European wineaux, and maybe even some of us from the US.  Robbin Gheesling I’m talking to you!

The contest is pretty simple – you are entered to win (or is that wine?) 3 nights at TorreBarolo by becoming a fan on Facebook.  All of the fan names will be put in a drawing on Feburary 1st, and the name drawn gets the getaway.

As for the region, I’m not that up on my Italian but the Piemonte is known particularly for Barolo and  Barbaresco wines.  There are also many other wines produced in the nearby Langhe valley.  Megan also mentioned that TorreBarolo is only 15 minutes away from Alba, which is known as the world capital of truffles – and I don’t mean chocolate!

There is a ton to do in the region, so if you’re interested in a free place stay, fan up TorreBarolo.  Good luck!

I wasn’t paid for this post, or given a free trip to Italy either.  I just thought it was cool!

The Road to WBC!


Wine Blogger's Conference 2010 - Walla Walla, WA

So, as you know, we here at the WBC Scholarship are all about getting a diverse group of bloggers together in Walla Walla to have some great wine, learn a few things, and have a great time.  As you may have read, before & after the official conference, there are excursions to the Yakima Valley and Red Mountain regions.  In addition, several of us are going to Portland for some pre-WBC tasting and fun.

I’d also like to mention that the good folks over at WineCHATr are holding a contest for out of state (non-Washington) bloggers, for a 3 day road trip through wine country.  The WBC-or-Bust campaign is hosting 12 bloggers from Seattle to Walla Walla, and they taste wine, explore the wine regions of Washington, and get to know each other for 2 days before the Wine Bloggers Conference.

The road trip begins on June 23rd in Seattle, where you will be picked up downtown and taken out to Woodinville for an afternoon of wine tasting!  The itinerary is:

  • Food & Wine Pairing at Ste. Michelle
  • Woodinville Grand Tasting at Willows Lodge
  • Lunch at Barking Frog.
  • Palate Refresher at Pike Brewery
  • Ending up at the downtown Renaissance Seattle Hotel
  • A grand Winemaker dinner will close out Day 1

Day 2 you will be carousing through Red Mountain and Yakima, to visit some premier growing areas and wineries.  More information will be available shortly on that day, and you will end up in Walla Walla at the Marcus Whitman for the kick-off to the WBC!

In order to qualify for the “WBC-or-BUST” campaign wine bloggers need only signup on WineCHATr.com, add a contest badge to their website, and then blog about Washington wine. At the conclusion of the campaign 12 bloggers will win a seat on the all expenses paid road trip headed to Walla Walla and the 2010 WBC.

The contest ends in April 2010 and a total of 12 bloggers will be chosen on the following basis.  Two winners will be chosen for posting the most Washington wine related blog entries (minimum of 150 words required for each post). Six additional winners will be chosen for the best category based posting:

  • Top 2 Best Washington winery posts
  • Top 2 Best Washington wine or tasting note posts
  • Best Washington growing region post
  • Best Washington vineyard post

For all the details on how to enter, head on over to WBC or Bust for the complete rules and instructions.

Special thanks to WineChatr and WBC or Bust for their support of the WBC and the WBC Scholarship!  Creative ideas like this are always welcome, and the unique experience for out of state bloggers is guaranteed to delight.  plus, it’s easier and cheaper to fly to Seattle, so enter and good luck!

A wine-full month!

It’s January, and for me, that means a busy wine month.  First, Winter Wineland is next weekend – January 16-17.  At Winter Wineland, over 100 wineries in Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley throw open their doors and show their best wines and nibbles. There are some wonderful themes at wineries, including my personal favorite, The Winter Wineland Olympics at Michel-Schlumberger.  I heard tell that there will be an Elvis sighting at Hanna as well!  Now, I normally avoid the wine country on event weekends, but with the list this year including some 5-10 new additions, this is a great opportunity to taste the wares of many wineries on a single weekend, where they show their best bottles.  Thickets are $40 online until 9pm TONIGHT January 11th, and are good for both days.  You can buy 1 or 2 day tickets at the door, but the price increases.

That same weekend, Santa Cruz Mountain Wine Assocaition’s Password Weekend allows you the unusual opportunity to visit some of their terrific wineries, many of which are only open on special occasions.  I have enjoyed this event every tiem I’ve gone, and your $40 passport is good until you have every winery stamped.  The passport event is every January, April, July and November, so it’s actually a great way to see all of the Santa Cruz area wineries over the course of a year!

Finally, at the end of the month, ZAP!  The Zinfandel Advocates and Producers week long tasting extravaganza hits the town in San Francisco.  nter is January 15th, and this year’s theme is Zinfandel in Paradise, and it promises to be a great event as always.

  • The event weekend kicks off with Thursday, January 28th’s Good Eats & Zin, where noteworthy restaurants and award-winning wineries turn the art of food and wine pairing into an entertaining and approachable affair. Talented chefs present the ultimate combination of distinctive tastes, while winery proprietors offer delectable Zinfandels to match.
  • Friday has two events, starting with Flights! A showcase of Zinfandel, where you can immerse yourself in the hitory and diversity of Zinfandel.
  • Friday evening is Evening with the Winemakers which is your chance to hobnob with famous winemakers and wineaux alike at the intercontinental.
  • The weekend culminates in Grand Tasting on Saturday, where you can taste over 200 zinfandels from around the state, as well as a few from lesser known regions.

As luck would have it, my friends at Vintuba are giving away 2 pairs of tickets to the Grand Tasting for some lucky viewers.  You’ll hav eto meander over to their site to find out how to win, but let’s just say , some great words, and facebook are involved.  Deadline to enter is January 15th, so don’t miss out on this great contest!

Just Grapes is also giving away 2 tickets to ZAP.  You have until January 23rd to tweet the following to be entered to win:

I want to win 2 tickets to the ZAP Zinfandel Festival in San Francisco from @justgrapeswine Go to http://tinyurl.com/yg4ynst for details

Each tweet will give you one “ticket” in the drawing, which will happen on January 24th.    Good Luck!

Contests contests contests!

So here I was, minding my own business, when two very attractive emails came my way regarding contests which promote specific wine regions by attractive prizes like trips.  I don’t often post contests, but these two were things I actually entered myself, so against my better judgement, I’m going to share them with you!

The first is sponsored by Vacations in Austria, the Official Travel Guide.  This sweepstakes is offering a 7-day trip for you and a traveling companion to Austria, with one of it’s themed trips.  The options include an outdoor adventure, art & history, or…Wine & Food!  That’s right dear readers, you can win a 7 day vacation to Austria that focuses on wine!

Now, I have been to parts of Austria, and really enjoyed my time in the land of Mozart and The Sound of Music.  This could be an amazing adventure for some lucky winos.  To enter, you must fan them up on Facebook and be sure to read the official rules. You can increase your chances of winning by tweeting about the contest with the hashtag #itsgottobeaustria, once you fan them up.

This contest ends January 15, 2010.


I also came acorss this great offer from the Vibrant Rioja people.  If you join thier e-newsletter, you will be entered to win things like a case of Rioja, a wine party at your home, tickets to NYC Fashion Week, or – a trip to Rioja! The Vibrant Rioja site is a visually stunning informational resource that I highly recommend you take a look at if you’re interested in learning more.  I really want to go to Spain, so here’s hoping.

Good luck and think of me if you win!

Friday Follies

No, I’m not offering to put you up for the weekend, but my friends at Bottlenotes are giving away a pretty awesome trip to the good life.  If you win, Bottlenotes’ founder and Chief Wineaux, Alyssa Rapp, will meet you and three friends in Napa to sample some of the best of the valley for a fun filled weekend.  This is a great chance to get to some difficult to get in to places, and also enjoy a chillaxing day up valley.

The current itenerary includes:

  • Cakebread Cellars

Meet one of the founding fathers of the Napa Valley, Jack Cakebread. Tasting appointment includes a VIP tour and tasting, along with a private lunch with Jack Cakebread, founder of Cakebread Cellars and an iconic figure in Napa.

  • Arietta

Spend an hour with Fritz Hatton, owner of the boutique winery Arietta and former Head of Christie’s Wine Department, at his beautiful Victorian home in St. Helena. Tasting appointment includes a rare tasting of all five new releases of this cult wine.

  • Spring Mountain Vineyards

Yes the one Falcon Crest was filmed at!  Enjoy an unforgettable mountain adventure at this beautiful private estate, the largest single contiguous property in the Napa Valley (850 acres!). Enjoy an exclusive mountain tour of Spring Mountain Vineyards by Jeep, followed by a tasting of library vintages of estate-bottled Cabernet Sauvignon with the winemaker.

  • Charles Krug

Explore your senses with industry icon, Peter Mondavi Jr. This visit includes a wine blending session with Pete Mondavi Jr., himself, who will teach you the secrets to making great wine. You’ll complete your visit with a grill-your-own-steak lunch with Pete and your newly blended wine, plus a selection of Charles Krug wines.

Now, there are three ways you can enter to win the fun fest.

  1. First, if you are a Daily Sip subscriber, you’re in like Flynn.
  2. Second, you should head over HERE to complete the online form.
  3. And finally, refer a few friends to the Daily Sip for some extra credit entries.

All the vital stats can be found over here at Bottlenotes Contest page, and the official contest dates are November 4th through December 14th.

Wouldn't you like to get away?

livingston-treeMaking your way in the world today
Takes everything you’ve got;
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?

I know i certainly would.  As luck would have it, you actually CAN get away, and for free!  Livingston Wine Cellars is currently running a contest to win a 4 day, all expenses paid trip to wine country.  I live here  and I want to wine!  Err win.  Yeah that’s what I meant.  Now I have no vested interest in this contest, and in fact, I am not even familiar with Livingston Cellars, but I thought this was worth writing about since everyone needs a little extra in the vacation budget.

To enter the contest, all you need to do is write an essay about how you are “Living the Livingston Life”.  Even if you don’t drink their wine, you might be living the life without even knowing it.  Entries are being considered until December 31st, 2009, and need to be 250 words or less about how you achieve the following things in your wine life:

  • Be an individual
  • Stay connected with your friends and family
  • Discover your world, new and old
  • Make a difference to others around you

I think that most of us embody these qualities, don’t you?  The trip takes place in June of 2010, and includes stops in Yosemite, a winemaker dinner, a tour of the Central Valley wine region, a blending seminar with the Gallo masters, and a whirlwind tour of San Francisco – my hometown.

Ok so maybe you’re not in to the “Lifestyle Wine”, but there are plenty of people who are!  Everyone needs a little value in their life.  Livingston is part of the E&J Gallo Winery family.  It’s definitely a value wine, but perhaps you have family members that living in this fighting varietal world who might want to take a trip with you.

For details:   http://www.TheLivingstonLife.com/Getaway

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