On February 28, 2013Marcy Gordon answered the question:There’s more to wine country than wine. Both Napa and Sonoma are prime olive growing regions and produce some of the top oils in the world. Though January and February are filled with festivities celebrating the olive in Sonoma Valley, the splendors of the tiny Mediterranean fruit can be appreciated year-round through guided tastings and tours at orchards and mills, and at the many wineries that also have olive orchards and bottle their own estate grown oil.
McEvoy Olive Ranch, Petaluma
Discover a bit of Tuscany in Petaluma at the 550-acre McEvoy ranch, which features a working orchard, olive tree nursery and community mill. Tours of the mill and orchards are offered by appointment. Year-round, you can find the award-winning McEvoy olive oils at its store in the San Francisco Ferry Building.
Dry Creek Olive Company Tasting Room, Healdsburg
Sample and evaluate oils pressed from the on-premise mill and learn the basics of olive oil flavor and style in guided tastings. Get expert advice on what type of oil flavors —buttery, tangy or peppery — pair best with different foods.
The Olive Press, Sonoma Valley
Take a tour of the facility to see how the oil is made and enjoy a complimentary tasting of the award-winning olive oils and tapenades.
Olive Trees in Sonoma State Historic Par, Sonoma
Olive trees can live to be more than 1,000 years old and are one of the hardiest species of trees. Stroll among the majestic heritage olive trees at Sonoma State Historic Park and find a picnic spot under the historic trees at the General Vallejo home site, or sip some wine in the shade of the olive grove at Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma.
B.R. Cohn Winery, Glen Ellen
Surrounded by vineyards and French Picholine olive trees planted in the 1870s, the B.R. Cohn estate in Sonoma Valley has almost a cult-like following for its oils and wines. Partake of an estate olive oil, vinegar and wine tasting at this family-operated establishment..
Round Pond Winery and Olive Mill, Napa
One of the best wineries for an estate-grown olive oil tasting is Round Pond in Napa. For a $35 per person fee, visitors learn about harvest techniques and are immersed in the sights, sounds and aromas of a working olive mill, followed by oil and vinegar pairings with fruits, cheese, and breads.
On February 25, 2013Marcy Gordon answered the question:Lodging options in Napa and Sonoma run the gamut from ultra luxury to cozy hide-away. Here are a few of the best options for splurging in Wine Country.
Auberge Du Soleil: Romantic and magical—a total escape into a beautiful world of harmony, balance and serenity. Bardessono: Tucked just off the main street of Yountville, this LEED Platinum Certified hotel is as sensitive to your needs as it is to the environment. Meadowood Napa Valley: The ultimate all–in–one resort, everything you can imagine in the most enchanting setting.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn: A legendary spa and iconic hotel built around a natural mineral hot springs and close to the Sonoma Square. Healdsburg Inn: Understated luxury in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country. The ideal home base from which to explore the renowned Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Wine Valleys.
On February 25, 2013Marcy Gordon answered the question:If you’re looking for a small hotel that delivers a full-size experience with attention to guests every need look no further than these boutique hotels in Napa and Sonoma.
Milliken Creek Inn and Spa
Set on three tranquil wooded acres along the banks of the Napa River the spacious private suites at Milliken Creek Inn and Spa are perfect for those seeking five stars of pampering and bliss.
The Carneros Inn
The individual guest cottages are compact and luxurious with all the amenities one expects from a mainstream hotel with but with the privacy and quiet of the open countryside setting. Bathrooms are generous with both an indoor and outdoor showers connected to a private sun deck.
Just steps from the square, H2Hotel is an urban eco-chic oasis, right in the middle of Healdsburg. The 36 rooms, all with private balconies or patios make this a choice spot to commune with nature in style.
Farm House Inn
Seclusion and privacy without pretension, Farm House Inn in Forestville has a rustic farm feel but with lavish sensibilities. Choose a luxury or deluxe “barn room” featuring indoor/outdoor fireplaces.
On February 24, 2013Marcy Gordon answered the question:The best souvenirs reflect the bounty and flavor of Wine Country and there is no better way to capture that memory than with Wine, Cheese, Olive Oil, Jams and Honey, or Whole Bean Chocolate Bars from the top producers in the area. If you travel strictly carry-on and liquids are limited, opt for a cookbook from a local Chef like Thomas Keller or Chef Sondra Bernstein, owner of the popular restaurant Girl and the Fig. NapaStyle in Yountville carries a host of merchandise that can also double as practical souvenirs. For the ultimate souvenir that will enhance your home for years, consider an original painting or sculpture from one of the many art galleries featuring local artists.
On February 24, 2013Marcy Gordon answered the question:The best holiday events are traditional ones with plenty of hometown spirit and you can’t beat the quirky charm of a lighted tractor or boat parade to transport Santa to town in style.
One of most eagerly anticipated holiday events is the Annual Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade that celebrates both the season and the regions agricultural heritage. Locals and curious visitors line up early along Lincoln Avenue in downtown Calistoga for a front row view to one of brightest events of the year as antique tractors, vintage trucks, and modern farm equipment decorated with thousands of twinkling lights roll through the center of town. Santa makes an appearance too. Note: The 18th Annual parade will be held Saturday, December 7th, 2013 at 7PM.
Petaluma Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
Watch as more than 100 watercraft decorated in colorful lights and holiday garlands make their way into the historic downtown harbor to usher in Santa and then dock for the evening in the basin. The glowing flotilla is best viewed between the Petaluma Mill and the Golden Eagle shopping center.
On February 23, 2013Marcy Gordon answered the question:The best views in my opinion are from wineries where in the event it’s a cloudy or overcast day you can always console yourself with a glass of wine and imagine the vista before you. But seriously, some of the best views are at found at wineries and here is my list:
When you have to take a gondola ride to reach the winery you know a stunning view is on the agenda. Sterling is perched 300 feet above Calistoga, and the panoramic views of Napa Valley are indeed tremendous.
Call for an appointment first and and then make your way up to VinRoc for the most extraordinary views of the valleys and vineyards below Atlas Peak. This tiny winery is well worth the drive up the long and winding road.
Sunset on the terrace at Silverado is a guaranteed “peak experience” for those seeking the best views across the valley. From any angle Silverado has a vista worth viewing.
Gloria Ferrer Winery—
Enjoy sweeping views over the vineyards and of the valley from their tasting room patio. Nothing pairs better with a fine sparkling wine than a great view and you’ll find both here.
This birds-eye view of Mount St. Helena, the surrounding mountains and valley below, is one of the best you can get without being airborne.