I moved to Napa Valley a few years ago and after a few awkward wine moments, I learned some simple rules that keep me out of trouble. To save you any embarrassment, we asked the pros for some do's and dont's so that you can look and sound like a wine pro at your holiday gatherings.
I asked a famous Italian winemaker how she had chosen the wine and food pairing for a special dinner. She laughed and said: “Don’t be silly, you shouldn’t pair wine with food; pair wine with an affair, a situation. I chose this wine because we’re strangers and this wine is complex enough to create conversation.” With this romantic notion in mind, here is your guide to pairing wine with whatever holiday affair you have ahead...
While few wineries are open on Thanksgiving Day, Wine Country has a cornucopia of events, dinners, and specials for the holiday. Options range from hosted dinners at wine-country resorts, take-home winery feasts, and wine-soaked festivals. The following is what's on our agenda:
Looking to impress your friends or a date with a little knowledge about fine wine and food pairings? Or perhaps you’re seriously considering a career in the wine industry? Whatever your level of interest may be, knowing your wines and what to serve them with will certainly serve you well. Here are our favorite places and classes, at all levels, to get you on the road to becoming an educated Oenophile:
While Napa reigns king of wine country, underrated Sonoma skims under the radar. Time passes slowly here. Instead of tour buses, traffic, and crowds, you can stretch out in the town square with an open bottle of red, bike between wineries without getting run over, and have leisurely conversations with local proprietors.
That being said, high-end restaurants, hotels, and boutiques are popping up and polishing up their games. Travelers wanting a more covert experience need to be a bit more intrepid in their journey. Here are a few of our favorite off the beaten path destinations in Sonoma:
The past few harvests yielded quality wine, but the tumultuous weather conditions hampered fruit quantity and dampened celebrations. This year, Mother Nature dealt Wine Country a fantastic hand, so there is plenty to celebrate. Here are our favorites parties this season:
While starting a winery is still exceedingly difficult and expensive, you can now create your own wine with ease.
Experiences range from quick and fun to serious and studious. At the end, you’ll have a custom wine and label, a good buzz, and a better understanding of winemaking.
Here are a few favorites that are open to the public:
Despite significant obstacles, there are new brick and mortar wineries popping up in Napa Valley, and we’ve found the latest and greatest. So take pleasure in knowing that you’ll be the first of your friends to hear about these hot new spots, and try them out!
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