Bay Area Holiday Vineyard Happenings: From Truffle Hunting to Cellar Tastings + Vino Tips


Chime your glasses in the name of holiday cheer and in celebration to the begging of a new year! Here are some of our favorite vino-happenings in and around the Bay Area to do just that—toast to everything joyous and wondrous, present and past, in your life.

Saturday, December 9th: Cheers to Garage Sales @ The Wine Foundry

When: 10am to 5pm (Come and go, as you please)

Where: 45 Enterprise Court (Napa Valley),

Why: Holiday wine garage sale! Come do some last minute holiday shopping, taking full advantage of the fact that the Wine Foundry has 600+ cases of perfectly good (and formerly expensive) wine to get rid of. Entire cases start at $30.00, a steal for the wino in your life. (Napa Cabernet Magnums are going for $40.00 per bottle, which, normally run upwards of $120 per bottle.) Military personnel get an additional 10% off. Admission is free, but an RSVP on the Eventbrite page is recommended.

Vino Tip: When storing A-class wine, in lieu of a cellar, line a shoe box with towel or crumpled-up newspaper and place the bottle of wine within it, put the top back on said re-purposed box, and store it in a nice, cool place at the bottom of your cabinet. This will ensure the least amount of light will pass through the bottle, while also ensuring it remains as stable a temperature as possible.

Sunday, December 10th: Refine Your Palate @ McGrail Vineyards

When: 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Where: 5600 Greenville Rd. (Livermore),

Why: Think your palate is discerning enough to tell the subliminally differences between American, French, and Hungarian Oak? Plot twist: probably not. But, come this Sunday night, you'll get the chance to explore the different oaks commonly used to age wine and savor them side-by-side at McGrail Vineyards, and, indeed, elevate your judicious tasting abilities. Tickets ($15-$25) can be bought on

Vino Tip: After the grapes have fermented in their assigned wooden barrels, they usually leave behind a fair amount of yeasty grape solids called "lees," which double as fine fertilizers. Should you be in need of a medium to help fertilize your next garden project, ask a vineyard if they have any to give; odds are they'll be more than happy to lend you some, free of charge.

Sunday, December 17th: Being Single = More Wine @ Bonny Doon Vineyard

When: 4pm to 6pm

Where: 450CA-1 (Davenport),

Why: Find your wine tribe, just south of San Jose at Bonny Doon Vineyard's famous singles wine tasting party. While, admittedly, it's an hour's drive away, the tickets are only $10, and include free, endless tastings, plus appetizers to cleanse the palate, and dessert later in the evening. Dress to impress; drink to break the ice. Tickets ($10) can be bought on at the door.

Vino Tip: For the eco-savvy enthusiasts, feel free to walk off that second or third pasta offering at Storrs Winery— one of California's most sustainable run vineyards, amassing almost all of its needed energy through solar panel installations and watering almost all of its vines with previously collected rainwater.

Thursday, December 21st: Walk and Talk; Drink and Eat @ DoNapa Culinary Crawl

When: 5:00pm to 8:30pm

Where: 1460 1st St. (Napa Valley),

Why: A walking food and wine tour featuring Downtown Napa's best culinary destinations, the DoNapa Culinary Crawls, hosted by JaM Cellars, is a treat for the senses. For the better part of three hours, you'll be hitting-up a bevy of Downtown Napa's most acclaimed and celebrated restaurants for simple, exquisite tastings of both food and wine, while, perhaps making a new friend or two along the way. Tickets ($40) can be bought on Eventbrite.

Vino Tip: Even though you're technically drinking, don't forget to properly hydrate during your crawl! The general rule of thumb is (with wine) an ounce for an ounce, i.e. follow one cup of wine with one cup of water.

Saturday, January 13th: Dig For Truffles and Drink Wine @ Napa Truffle Festival

When: 8am to 4:30pm (Time spent digging, eating, drinking, and touring the Shadybrook Estate winery)

Where: 1314 McKinstry St. (Napa Valley),

Why: What better way to usher in a new year than with partially filled glass of wine and seasonal entrée—topped off with the shavings from the very truffle you dug up yourself? Come the second Saturday in January, head north to Napa valley and learn just how you can forage for your own truffles, digging-up these diamonds-like fungi by the dozen; courtesy of a day's training in truffle hunting 101. (And, yes, truffle-sniffing beagles will be in attendance, too.) Tickets ($495) can be bought on Eventbrite.

Vino Tip: When pairing truffle-inspired pasta dishes with wine, reach for a subdued red (like a Barolo) when cooking with white truffles and a lighter, more robust white (like a pinot grigio) when accompanying black truffles.

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