Do you love Cabernet Sauvignon? Are you curious about the different regional characteristics in the Napa Vallley that create dynamic, bold, and different wines? Check out CabFestNV, from Feburary 28 through March 2nd in various venues in Napa. This inaugural three-day celebration of the king of Napa Valley wine varietals will featuring more than 100 of the biggest names in the wine industry. And, in case you haven’t heard, there will be a celebrity guest star! Yes that’s right, Jeff Bridges, movie star and rocker, will be performing in his band. In addtion, keynote presentations by “The Wine Bible” author Karen MacNeil, and cult winemakers are sure to draw people in. Here are some of the highlights: Friday – CabFestNV Kickoff Winery Tasting Circuit at more than fifteen select, participating wineries from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for complimentary wine tastings. At 7:00 pm, famed Oscar-winning actor, singer and songwriter Jeff Bridgesand his country-rock band, The Abiders, take the stage at the Lincoln Theater for the CabFestNV Kickoff Concert, with Bridge’s talented daughter Jessie Bridges as the show opener. Following the Festival Kickoff Concert, the exclusive “Cigars & Guitars” afterparty (open to VIP All-Access Pass holders only), will feature an intimate post-concert, private performance by Jessie Bridges, Cigar Aficionado Magazine’s cigar-sampling tent (AJ Fernandez, Room 101 and Casa Magna Cigars), whiskey tasting (Redbreast by Pernod Ricard USA), a rare guitar exhibit (co-sponsored by the Napa Valley Museum and Gibson Guitars) and exceptional fortified wine and library Cabernet wines. Saturday: Grand Tasting Saturday, March 1, Grand Tasting (11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.): All-day. “How Music Affects the Taste of Wine” a musical exploration of “tasting notes” by Symphony Napa Valley’s Orchestra Institute Fellows and guest artists; “Napa Valley Rocks” film, presented by the Napa Valley Vintners; Keynote Presentation by Karen MacNeil: “What Makes Great Cabernet Sauvignon Great” – Interactive keynote address, with a fun blind-tasting mission. (Wine tasting limited, first-come basis) Napa Valley Vintners: “Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” The Paris Tasting of 1976 launched Napa Valley into the international spotlight, and Cabernet hasn’t been the same since. Includes a panel discussion and wine tasting with some of Napa Valley’s most renowned and iconic Cabernet Sauvignon producers. Sunday: Grand Tasting (11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) All-day. “How Music Affects the Taste of Wine” a musical exploration of “tasting notes” by The Symphony Napa Valley Orchestra Institute Fellows and guest artists Keynote Presentation by Karen MacNeil: “Cab on the Couch,” a spontaneous conversation and uncensored observations featuring such well-known vintners as Charles Krug’s Marc Mondavi (aka the Water Witch); Food & Wine Magazine’s “Winemaker of the Year” Aaron Pott; wine auctioneer, musician and vintner Fritz Hatton; pioneering Napa Valley grape grower Andy Beckstoffer; Blake Gilbert, director of ultra-premium winery Bond, and other surprise stars. 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Take the “Last One Standing Challenge” presented by The Culinary Institute of America: A blind-tasting and knowledge challenge that will put everyone in the starting lineup as CIA Wine Instructor, Robert Bath, MS asks a series of progressively probing questions about Napa Valley Cabs. Someone will be the “Last One Standing.” Prizes and bragging rights will be rewarded! To Blend or Not to Blend” featuring a star-studded lineup […]
Have you heard of Dishcrawl? It’s a craze that’s sweeping the nation, where like-minded foodies get together on a themed “dish” crawl. Much like the traditionally bar crawl, each Dishcrawl stops at several locations; typically themed around a food or a neighborhood, it’s an amazingly fun way to meet new people, discover new restaurants, and enjoy some really awesome grub. Now, Dishcrawl has launched a new event to focus on the food truck craze! Battledish will be hosting events all over the country, including Seattle, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C. Lucky us, the first event will take place here in the Bay Area – at San Mateo’s Bay Meadows Expo Center! As in most metro areas, food truck culture is huge here. From Off the Grid here in San Francisco, to lunch time random truck-ness, there is nary a time when a delectable food truck isn’t a stone’s throw away. This makes my taste buds very very happy! On October 5th, Battledish is sure to be an entertaining afternoon, with food truck chefs competing for the best dishes! With 15 food trucks and 30 dishes, only one can win. Featuring new concepts from your favorite food trucks, you can join in the fun and be a beta tester too! Entry to the event is $10, and you can enhance your experience with one of the ticket packages that include food, beer, wine and spirits. Here’s a few of the trucks that will be featured at the event: We Sushi – Lobster Taco, BBQ Albacore, Vegan Taco Tia Maria – Beef Picadillo, Chicken Afritada, Fresh Vegetable Lumpia Cluck It Up – Mini Mochiko Chicken Sliders, Won Ton Tacos with Honey Sriracha Chicken, Garlic Fries Frozen Kuhsterd – Mini Dynamo Donut Sandwich, Napa Style Sundae, Boba Guys Sundae There are fives titles to be won, including: Most Delicious, Most Creative, Best Modern, Best Cocktail, Most Authentic. Stay tuned, because every week in preparation to the event, a new dish and truck will be revealed! Now for the fun part. Be your own judge! The ticket packages below allow you to nibble your way through some, or all, of the tasty treats being offered, plus, beer! Teaser Package: 6 Chef Dishes: $35 – Try six dishes with this package! (6 tickets valued at $5 each for food and/or drink). Includes Admission. Gourmand: Chef Dishes with all 15 food truck chefs: $80 – Get your belly full by trying a full collection of dishes from all 15 chefs with this package! (15 tickets valued at $5 each for food) Includes Admission. VIP: Dishes and Drinks at all 15 trucks, Beer Tasting, and swag bag: $100 – The VIP package includes 15 food dishes and 1 Beer Tasting, and swag bags. Admission with Beer Tasting: $25 – This includes a drink wristband good for a 5-beer tasting as well as admission into the event. (food packages sold separately) Just added! Wine Tasting Package sponsored by my friends at Uncorked Ventures! For an additional $10 you can taste a flight of 5 wines. Remember to use […]
It’s that time of year again! BBQs, corn on the cop, and, suddenly – the summer is over and it’s Labor Day. Boo! Except that every year, Labor Day signals the Wine Country Weekend extravaganza in Sonoma County! This event is a local tradition, and many a la carte items sell out early. Foodies who love wine will have even happier taste buds as more than 200 Sonoma County wineries, grape growers and chefs are preparing for the three-day festival. From Friday, September 2nd through Sunday, September 4th, wineries all over Sonoma County will participate, culminating in the annual Taste of Sonoma on Saturday, and the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction on Sunday. For me, as an observer, and never an attendee, the highlight of this weekend is the Taste of Sonoma County at MacMurray Ranch. This property sits smack dab in the middle of Russian River Valley, and is known for it’s Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. And yes, Father really did know best when Fred MacMurray bought this property as an escape from Hollywood to raise his young family in 1941. The property itself has been farmed since the 1850s and is steeped in local history. Some other highlights of the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend lunches, dinner parties and BBQs include: Arrowood Vineyards & Winery Dinner Party – Dine poolside to live acoustic guitar at the Arrowood Estate Guest House with Winemaker Heidi von der Mehden while experiencing a harvest sunset. Arrowood’s philosophy of producing classic varietal wines with grapes grown exclusively in Sonoma County will be featured while library wines and rare vintages from the cellar are poured. A five-course dinner will be prepared by one of Sonoma’s favorites: the girl + the fig restaurant. DaVero Farms & Winery Dinner Party – Guests will enjoy the bounty of DaVero’s certified Biodynamic farm with Owners Ridgely Evers and Colleen McGlynn who will tour and taste with wine and olive oil while introducing the fascinating practice of Biodynamic farming. Chef Christopher Greenwald, a renowned Sonoma County rising star, will build a meal from the abundance of DaVero and neighboring farms. Hidden Ridge Lunch –An unforgettable picnic in a breathtaking high-altitude vineyard with Proprietors Lynn Hofacket and Casidy Ward awaits guests. Designed to thrill the adventurous explorer, this experience begins with a four wheel-drive tour of the mountaintop vineyard – a place so steep, so well developed so interesting that it has been described as “really that amazing.” Chef Duskie Estes of Zazu lends her formidable culinary talents to create a seasonally inspired meal perfect for the Hidden Ridge Vineyard wines. Keller Estate Dinner Party – The remarkable summertime scenery of Keller Estate’s vineyards and olive groves will set the tone at this dinner hosted by Keller Estate Winemaker Jacqueline Yoakum and Chef Joey Ray. Keller Estate is a true Estate: from vine to bottle everything is done on the property – and the result is a lineup of wines that are deeply expressive of their individual terrior. Little Vineyards Family Winery BBQ – Little Vineyards Family Winery promises […]
It’s less than 2 weeks before the annual Wine Bloggers Conference, and I’m finally getting a little jazzed with it. life has been busy these days, with my day job, the WBC Scholarship, and, well, STUFF but I’m looking forward to a few days off spent with my 300 closest friends in the sweaty summer weather in Virginia. As a 4 year veteran, some things that I’ve learned on the road to blogging: Get to know your sponsors. We have a few hours on Friday to learn who has made the event possible; stop by and say hi! You never know what relationships might form. Attend the keynotes with Jancis Robinson and Eric Asimov. These sessions are great kick starters and will get you in to the groove. Go with the flow, don’t get overwhelmed. Be prepared to want to do more than one thing at once have FUN! Don’t be overly structured Spit spit spit. I can’t emphasize this enough. Yes, there are moments (dinner, after hours parties) where I don’t spit and enjoy myself, but you are representing bloggers as a whole, and should have some decorum. It’s a business conference at the core, disguised as a party. Present yourself accordingly. Don’t forget to sleep! Engage in the “Anti-Conference” spontaneous events; these are the best way to network with your fellow bloggers, writers, and industry professionals. Participate in the Unconference sessions. These informal discussion panels let you get involved. Have an open mind. You never know if there are wines you wouldn’t normally try, that you will love! Bring something from home that represents your region, style, and / or personality. This could be wine, but it could also be food, a book, or a t-shirt. Bring business cards. yes it may seem archaic, but it’s the best way to quickly introduce yourself with a memorable item. The stacks of cards collected are reminders when we get home to follow, tweet, and read otehr peoples information. Follow the #wbc11 twitter stream. Make sure you are not protected (my main account is, but I tweet under @luscious_lushes for public consumption). We want to hear your thoughts! Find time to post a few quick blog posts with your thoughts BEFORE, DRUING, and AFTER the conference. First impressions are great conversation starters. Spend some time on Friday morning meeting the sponsors. They are the reason we are all able to attend this event, and they want to know the bloggers are much as we want to know them. Participate, however briefly in the after hours events such as the Other 46 Tasting and the International Wine Night. While there will undoubtedly be parties at the time time, it’s a great way to get to know other people. Find a party to attend! This is a great way to get ot know people on a personal level. Sponsors, wineries, and bloggers all host formal and informal parties during the event. Attend the break outs. Too many people don’t attend the core of the conference and they miss out. While You Need […]
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!
Spring, wonderous spring. The rain has left for now, and the wine festivals are upon us. Or are they? Recently, I found that Pinot Days, the San Francisco varietal focused event held at the end of June, will not be offering any trade tickets to this years event. Huh? No trade tickets? To ANYone? While I understand that the definition of “trade” has become blurred recently with bloggers, media, and other supposedly credentialed folks clamoring to take part in free wine, I really think that Pinot Days is missing the boat here. First, the “Trade Requirements” link takes you to a page that says yo must be a legitimate member of one of the following categories: Wine Retail Owner or Buyer Restaurateur Sommelier Wine Distributor Wine Buyer Wine Broker Ok, great. That makes sense. But when you click on Request Trade Tickets, you are rudely informed that San Francisco will not be offering trade tickets at all. To restrict trade tickets to a select few individuals does make economical and logistical sense. This is what Rhone Rangers has started to do, by reviewing each trade request carefully, and making a determination of trade eligibility. Fair enough. If I qualify, i get notified. If i don’t, I make the decision to pay or not pay to attend with the rest of the public. Understandably, the costs and time required to verify legitimate trade members may be more than the actual cost of the ticket, which presents a good reason for not taking the time to review every site individually. Now I appreciate the fact that some of these events have gotten out of control, and every Tom, Dick or Harry, attempts to pass themselves off as trade. However, to eliminate the attendance of restaurants, wine retailers, and traditional media Representatives entirely is to put a big DO NOT ENTER sign on your front door. As a blogger, I am keenly aware that word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool there is. See my collective rant about Domaine Chandon’s lack of service recently. If I am not exposed to things to talk about, then I guess I won’t be talking about them at all. My focus will be shifted to those wineries I will be visiting at Barrel Tasting this weekend and next, because they WANT me to visit. They practically begged me to visit. Yes, many of the wineries pouring at these events have an elitist attitude and feel that they don’t have to “sell” their wines to the trade. We should know who they are obviously. Clearly, I should be printing the pour list out and running to my local wine shop requesting each and every wine to be stocked. Obviously, I am a little befuddled at that thought process, since this is one of the few single varietal tasting events, and it allows me to explore new areas, new wineries, and new tastes in Pinot which I can then review. Furthermore, I can network with retailers and […]
Can you really go around the world in only 80 sips of wine? My friends at Bottlenotes think so and I’m going to try to find out! Around the World in 80 Sips is inspired by Bottlenotes’ mastermind Alyssa Rapp’s tasting guide of the same name. On Thursday, February 19, the first companion tasting event will be held here in San Francisco at Crushpad. You know, Crushpad. The place where I am making my own wine, the place where all the cool events happen, the custom crush facility in Dogpatch? Yeah! Crushpad! This pour a thon will feature Bottlenotes wines, who will be pouring their wares, from all around the globe. With wine being more popular than ever, and a global enterprise, Alyssa embarked on a guide that will provide us with sensible, and sophisticated advice from educated consumers. The book was born out of popular tasting events by Bottlenotes, and this event was born out of the book! This event is the first of it’s kind so be sure to get there early! There is a VIP portion set aside for Media, Bloggers and special folk at 5pm, while the regular Joe’s can enter at 6. Remember to bring your media enabled devices! The Twitterati will be out in force, and we will be tweeting along with the sips. Our hashtag for this event is #80sips, and you can follow all the fun by going to search.twitter.com and entering this code! Tickets are $40 for the public, but if you are a blogger, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for special dispensation to the VIP tasting event. If you are a friend of Twisted Oak, ask Jefe how you can save $10 on tickets! Google
ZAP, the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers trade organization, is dedicated to advancing public knowledge of and appreciation for American Zinfandel. Next week marks its 18th annual festival, a weeklong celebration of Zinfandel themeed events. Being the Zinner that I am, I look forward to this event every year. I also am a volunteer, so I have seen first hand how the love of zinfandel has grown over the years. Although the public tasting on Saturday, Jan 31st, can be a bit of a zoo, there are several other events throughout the week that make this event an enjoyable experience. Wednesday – Jan 28th Flights! Prepare for take-off… Take a seat and buckle-up to embark on a voyage of discovery. Your crew at our intimate, seminar-style setting will include the intrepid men and women winemakers and owners who grow and craft these remarkable wines. The City College of San Francisco Culinary Arts & Hospitality Studies program will create delights for your taste buds to savor during the walk-around Zinfandel reception following the seminar. Also on Wednesday, Crushpad is hosting a BYOB Zinfandel event to help kick off ZAP. I love these mixers at Crushpad, because we get to taste a lot of great wine, but also meet some new people. This time, bring a bottle of zin. Crushpad will brown bag it, and present it with the other offerings for you to sample. At the end of the evening, we vote on our faves, and reveal! So much fun, and perfect for an economical evening out. Please RSVP here Thursday – Jan 29th Good Eats & Zinfandel Pairing If you are a devoted foodie with a passion for Zinfandel, make plans to indulge your “inner epicurean” and spend the evening at Good Eats & Zinfandel Pairing! Noteworthy restaurants and award-winning wineries turn the art of cooking and wine pairing into an entertaining and approachable affair. Talented chefs present the ultimate combinations of distinctive tastes, while winery proprietors offer stunning Zinfandels to match. Detailed menus are here. This is my favorite event of the week, because you get the opportunity to taste some speical wines that aren’tr always poured on Saturday, in a quieter more relaxed atmosphere. Take a look at these sample menus! Zinfandel Braised Pork Shoulder with Butternut Squash and Cipollini Onion Ragout with Carol Shelton Wines Miniature Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Easton Zinfandel Barbeque Sauce with Easton wines Friday – Jan 30th Evening with the Winemakers This event is a benefit auction and dinner, and is the ritziest of the week. This elegant sit down dinner benefits the ZAP’s Heritage Projects–preserving the historical and viticultural significance of America’s Heritage Wine–Zinfandel, including scholarships and other designated charities. Wine 2.0 Best Practices Seminars Wine 2.0, the innovator in social networking and events in the wine industry and ZAP, invite you to participate in “Winery Best Practices,” an education session on January 30, 2009 at Ft. Mason in San Francisco. 1. Winery eCommerce: 12:00-12:45 pm – A panel moderated by Jeff Carroll […]