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Wine Country News, Events and Resources
Wine Country Welcome has information on wineries, tours, weddings, humane organizations, wine caves, day spas, car rentals and much more for those who visit the wine country of Northern California and the Central Coast.
Celebrate the end of Napa's 2014 Harvest by enjoying a leisurely evening journey through the quiet vineyards. The New Moon will create a dreamscape for the imagination as your reflection gazes back at you from the window.
For two nights only, the Gourmet Express Dining Journey, regularly $119, will be just $75.
Book for October 23rd or 24th to take advantage of this special. This is an exclusive special and seating is already limited. Reserve your table today or share this with a friend.
Special only available by phone. Please call 800 427-4124 with code HARVEST14
Art Stolen From Downtown Sebastopol recovered
Sometime between Monday afternoon, September 22, 2014 and Tuesday evening, the 23rd, three works of art were illegally taken from the walls of Screamin' Mimi's in downtown Sebastopol.
The artwork belonging to Victoria A. Kochergin was being displayed on the walls of the ice cream shop as part of Screamin' Mimi's ongoing kindness in displaying works from local artists.
Victoria is a world-known botanical artist who has had her art accepted for display in such notable settings as the Filoli Botanical Garden's 16th Annual Botanical Art Exhibit this year.
The Sebastopol Police worked quite hard on this case (although they are under staffed), and recovered the art work on Thursday, the 11th of October.
Great job, Sebastopol Police Department from Wine Country Welcome.
Photo: Victoria A. Kochergin, Artist
If charisma is a banjo, Victoria Kochergin's art is a violin.
On a brilliant fall day in early October, I visited Victoria where she works at Joseph Phelps tasting room in Freestone, CA, to taste their wines and talk with this delightful young lady.
I'd met Victoria three years before when the tasting room was pouring Freestone Winery's selections and was enchanted by her charm, completely unaware she was so talented.
I only knew she was nice. Again I saw her a week or so ago pouring Phelps wine at a Bodega Bay Chamber mixer at Osmosis in Freestone.
Victoria does not draw flowers, she finds frail beauty in plants and captures it in colored pencil... read more
Wine Country Weddings
California's wine country provides the perfect venue for weddings. Visit our Sonoma and Napa Weddings page or our Central Coast Weddings page to see what wineries offer on-site services for your wedding or reception.
Perhaps nowhere else in California offers as remarkable a venue for a wedding as does the Wine Country. Not only does it have world-class hotels and services but it gives your wedding guests a remarkable array of activities to indulge in.
From the Armstrong Redwoods to 78 miles of pristine beaches to the beautiful Central Coast, the California Wine Country really is the best spot to host your events. We also list resources to help the wedding parties find just the right music, photographer, flowers and non-winery venues.
If I was asked to tell you what's in Carolyn Craig's wines, I would have to say, "her dreams."
I can't remember exactly what Frank said but we all felt a friendly warm front moving into Graton.
Frank is known for his quick wit and banter so we did expect a good welcome.
What we did not expect was a crush of charisma so smooth we knew immediately this was a bar you could quickly call home.
Patiently, he waited for us to stutter through the bar menu and, when we finally got it together enough to decide what we wanted, quick as a drink he had our oysters, flatbread and lettuce wraps placed carefully in front of us.
When he brought us the eats, Frank lingered just long enough to make everyone feel comfortable and off again he was to drag others at the bar into the party mood ...more
On caution's side, be careful when driving around the wine country in your expectant state of euphoria.
If you just roll into any old winery and tumble out of your car looking for a good tasting experience, you might find staff a bit grumpy. While many winery's love visitors, some emphatically do not (think Alien vs. Predator).
As mentioned above, the majority of wineries on the Central Coast and in Napa and Sonoma who do allow visitors would like you to give them some advance warning before you come at them like a mob of thirsty zombies.
Most wineries also charge a tasting fee these days. These fees are normally set at a fair price and most fees are waived if you purchase wine.
So do your homework here on WCW before coming to the Wine Country. Again, our individual town pages provide extensive information on wine-tasting fees. Print out the pages and take them with you.
Oh, it's also nice to be seen in public with lovely ladies. I take my daughters (seen above) along to wine tastings whenever I can.
CarTrawler? Who the heck is CarTrawler? Find out here.
The short version is, we have some of the best prices for car rentals in Paso Robles, Santa Rosa, Napa, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and around the world. If you're traveling abroad, CarTrawler has over 24,000 car rental locations worldwide.
Please compare our prices with our other quotes on the booking engine at the top of the page.
How to Find a Winery
If you want to browse through all the wineries in Napa or Sonoma, please visit the Town listings for Napa County Wineries Central Coast Wineries and Sonoma County Wineries pages on our website. These winery pages are set up for easy scrolling and we have indicated what wineries have tasting rooms (again, please call them first to confirm tasting fees and appointments).
If you are visiting the Central Coast of California and want to do some wine tasting, you can find information on what wineries have tastings on site and where to find tasting rooms and wine bars in the various towns.
It's easy to find tasting rooms and wine bars in Napa County because the towns line up from south to north.
Whether it's your first visit to the Wine Country or you are a local, one of the easiest ways to enjoy a variety of wines is at a tasting room or a wine bar. Sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference.
Of course, you can drive around the county looking for wineries offering wine tasting and this can be fun. However, an easier way to find the wine of your dreams is to take a stroll around the towns of Sonoma County and pop into the many available tasting rooms and wine bars.
On our Tasting Rooms and Wine Bars page, we have some photo listings with direct links to websites so you can plan ahead.
Sailing away in a Hot Air Balloon is one of the favorite highs in the Wine Country. Mix fun people, beautiful weather and the feeling of floating away and you get an elixir to rival those enjoyed by kings, moguls, Civil War spotters and Sub chasers.
There are close to two hundred wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties with wine caves. There could be more but, well, they're hidden, you know. We've gathered together a few who do Cave Tours with all their information and links to their web pages.
If you'd like to have an extraordinary wine-tasting experience, we suggest you consider a visit to a Wine Country winery with a wine cave.
As you walk through the rooms and wine caves of this balanced estate, you can feel the harmony and grace characterized by their fine wines.
The Cave Theatre is especially beckoning with art lining its grottos and it's been rumored more than one love-struck young man has proposed there.
Want to feel pretty (you already are, you know)?
Wine Country Welcome has an extensive list of spas in Sonoma and Napa, including Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Occidental where you can experience a Cedar Enzyme Bath, the only one of its kind in North America.
Skincare, waxing, aroma therapy, it's almost too much to think about.
So don't think about it. Get on up (or down) to Wine Country and pamper yourself.
From the thrills of riding a wine train to suspending high in the redwoods on a zip line, Wine Country has plenty of things to do.
Even Violet Fur Pants knows this and she's all over the Safari West tour in Santa Rosa if her date ever comes to pick her up. Where the heck is he anyway? Doesn't he know she's looking lovely?Left: Sylvia Parkinson
I'm happy to report the All-American Hamburger is alive and well done in St. Helena, California.
The radiant Sylvia Parkinson from ATL Events in Santa Rosa invited me to tag along with her to attend Sutter Home's Build a Better Burger contest in Napa Valley on May 18 to witness the judging of this year's better burgers and my stomach said, "yes."
I love tagging along with Sylvia to new places. It's like entering a dark room with a lantern in your hand. Even if she doesn't know anyone when she arrives, she knows everyone by the time she leaves.
So I savored the ice cream first and dreamt a bit of Vermont until I remembered the 18-below winters there. When I had finished my small cup of paradise, I went to the Burger line with Sylvia and experienced the best moment of the day, Sylvia picking a small bug off a stranger's coat and gently blowing it into the breeze... more
Take a Tour on the Wine Side
When visiting wineries in the Wine Country, we highly recommend booking a tour. There are plenty of them available. Just check with your hotel when booking a room or visit the local chambers of commerce for free coupons.
Back in the old days (the '70's), we used to drive our VW's into Napa Valley and see how many wineries we could hit in an afternoon.
In that geological period, most tastings were free and, although we bought plenty of fine bottles of happiness to take home with us, we certainly drank more wine than we should have as we continued on our merry way.
You can't do that today and, let's be honest, it was pretty stupid to do it back then. But we were young and, well, we were stupid.
You can experience so much more when you take a Central Coast, Sonoma or Napa Valley winery tour. On a winery tour, you are availed a good amount of local knowledge and more time to enjoy the day with your fellow thrill seekers.
Thank you for taking a little time to visit our website. We especially welcome our Irish and other European visitors from Tour Clare. Tour Clare is our travel website out of Ireland with resources and tours throughout Europe.
Drop me an email if you'd like your winery, your posh hotel, your event, your business or even your apple-dumpling B&B listed on WCW. We'd love to hear from you. No cost, of course.
Napa Valley Wine Train - Providing elegant dining at 20 miles per hour.