New, Cool and Innovative Ways to Experience Wine Country for Less
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Grape harvest is approaching, a time when a foodie’s fancy turns to thoughts of wine.
To launch the harvest season in September, destinations across the Golden State are celebrating California Wine Month. From innovative wine immersion experiences and hot travel deals to cool events, it is an ideal time to visit wine country, when the air is buzzing with the creative energy of California’s artisan winegrowers and winemakers bringing in the grapes and beginning the process of crafting the next great vintage. For full details on the deals below and more information on cool ways to experience wine country at a value go to www.visitcalifornia.com/winemonth.
“California is the leading wine and food destination in the U.S., producing 90 percent of the wine and boasting nine of the top ten producing agricultural counties in America,” said Caroline Beteta, president & CEO of the California Travel & Tourism Commission. “These cool new ways to experience wine country help consumers get the most value out of their California Wine Month getaway. From the most serious oenophile to the beginning taster, California’s diverse wine regions have something for everyone.”
Wine Country Smartphone Apps and Other Digital Innovations
- Digital divas will love that California wineries and wine associations are launching smartphone apps and other tools to help them explore California wine country in a new way. Recent wine region association apps include: Santa Barbara, Monterey, Lodi, Dry Creek (Sonoma), Santa Clara, Santa Cruz Mountains, Livermore Valley and Fairfield-Suisun Valley.
- Ridge Vineyards, a pioneer of single-vineyard winemaking, has injected digital innovation into its guest experience at each of its winery estates in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Sonoma wine country. Through the use of a free aerial simulation in the tasting room, guests are taken on an interactive journey through all of their estate vineyards. The tour shines light on the contributions of place in the wines guests taste through the exploration of elevation, soil type, vine age and varietal. Tastings start as low as $5 during California Wine Month.
Wildlife and Wine Packages
Want to taste on the wild side? Safari West in Sonoma County is offering 10 percent off the below prices on wine tasting safaris, tours, lodging, massages and meals. Safari West offers three unique wine tasting safaris, such as:
Zip, Zin, Zebras and Zzzzzzs, starting at $655 for two adults which includes:
- a zipline adventure with Sonoma Canopy Tours
- innovative wine tasting and a Safari over the 400-acre preserve
- night’s lodging in a safari luxury tent on the Sonoma Serengeti
- Complimentary tasting for two at the newly renovated Francis Ford Coppola Winery resort
Winos and Rhinos – Wild Nights in Wine Country, starting at $550 for two adults, includes:
- One night lodging in a safari luxury tent
- Three hour safari tour
- Dinner in the Savannah Cafe with a private wine tasting featuring select signature Francis Ford Coppola Wines at their resort.
Cheetahs and Chardonnay Private Safari, starting at $1,400 for up to six guests (adults only), features:
- Chardonnay private safari, where guests get a wild, up close and personal visit with cheetahs and their handlers.
- Pampering the senses with selective local wines and African Ranch style cuisine.
Be a Winemaker for a Day (or more) Packages
Want to be a winemaker for a day? Several hotels and wineries let you do just that:
- Conn Creek Winery, Napa Valley – The American Viticultural Area AVA Room Barrel Blending Experience lets guests learn about, taste, and blend local wines, taking home the fruit of their labors in a bottling they custom blend themselves from barrels containing wine from 14 of The Napa Valley’s appellations ($95).
- Judd Hill Winery’s Bottle Blending Camp, Napa Valley – If you’re jealous that your kids went to camp and you didn’t this summer, fear not. Here adults can work with a winemaker to create their very own Bordeaux style cuvee, starting at just $225.
First Crush Winemaking Experience, Paso Robles – If you’re planning on visiting the Central Coast, don’t miss this rare opportunity to experience a California wine grape harvest, crush and even bottle your own wine Sept. 23-25. Starting at just $255 per person you also get to:
- Meet local growers and winemakers while learning about the Paso Robles wine region
- Sip premium local wines and getting access to vineyard winemaker meals served al fresco
- Register by September 15 and get 10 percent off when you mention California Wine Month
Crushing Good Time Package, Sonoma County: - If you want to be a California winemaker for more than a day, and really get into the lifestyle, check out this fall/spring package at Hope-Merrill House & Hope-Bosworth House in Geyserville, starting at $1,500 per couple, which includes:
- Four nights of luxurious accommodations and gourmet breakfast every morning
- Work with UC Davis trained winemaker Graham Parnell on everything from harvesting grapes to blending and bottling their wine on specific dates in September and March
- Special California wine and food receptions, gourmet picnic lunches and al fresco dinners
- Private winery tours and tastings
- Get a 10 percent discount by mentioning California Wine Month when booking
Star in Your Own Movie or Adventure Package
Want to star in your own movie or combine wine with an adventure? Let the Calaveras Concierge in Gold Country hook you up with one of their customizable packages, such as:
“Star for a Day at Millerosa” Tour – For just $299 per person (normally $399) when you mention California Wine Month or September Wine Deals, you can:
- Star in your own film “The Wild Bunch” at a local movie set ranch (get a DVD of your movie)
- Get gourmet catered lunch with paired California wine tasting (minimum 5-10 people, weekends only)
“Calaveras Zip and Sip” Adventure – On Sept. 10 save $100 on your adventure, featuring:
- Zip line at Moaning Cavern
- Wine tour of Murphys with a picnic lunch at a winery
- Gourmet winery harvest dinner and dancing
- Just $239 per person (usually $339) when you mention California Wine Month.
Pair Music With Wine
Music and wine lovers can find their groove with a new interactive tasting experience at the legendary Robert Mondavi Winery. For just $30 guests can do a special tasting and choose the wine they feel best represents a musical selection, and vice versa, leading to lively discussions about how we feel about wine, rather than analyzing its usual elements.
For more information on innovative ways to experience wine country at a value go to www.visitcalifornia.com/winemonth.
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“More than 20 million visitors come to California wine regions each year to learn about the wines and the personalities behind them,” said Bobby Koch, president & CEO of the Wine Institute. “One of the most popular times to visit is during California Wine Month, when there are dozens of festivals and experiences and the year’s work culminates in the annual harvest. It’s a beautiful time of year, when the air is cooling down and the breeze carries the fragrance from more than 100 different grape varieties that only California can cultivate with such excellence and abundance.”
Wine Month Events
From special tastings and harvest tours, to wine education classes and wine and food festivals, California wine lovers have many event choices for day trips in their own back yard – or quick getaways a short distance from home.
- If you’re near Northern California over Labor Day weekend, don’t miss Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, named one of the 10 Best Wine & Food Events in the U.S. (Celebrated Living).The event features more than 170 award winning wineries and 60 chefs showcasing their talents at Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch, as well as a wine auction, seminars, cooking demonstrations, vineyard tours and parties at other wineries.
- On Sept. 17, CALIFORNIA WINE RUSH , a walk-around tasting showcasing top wines from more than a dozen California wine regions throughout the state, will take place in San Francisco in the Grand Hall of the historic Ferry Building during the lively Saturday farmer’s market.
- Passionate about Pinot? Check out Pinotfest Monterey in Central California, a beach party and charity auction on Sept. 16 with live music, food and wine that showcases several wineries.
- Savor the Central Coast 2011, presented by Sunset Magazine and the San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau, will feature a grand tasting with 200-plus wineries, wine seminars, winemaker dinners and other culinary adventures during this four-day experience Sept. 29-Oct. 2.
- If you live in or are visiting L.A., Palm Springs or San Diego, check out the CRUSH: Temecula Valley 2nd Annual Wine & Culinary Showcase, a multi-winery harvest festival with wine, food and live music on September 10. As an added value, five participating wineries are offering passport savings anytime during the month.
- If you’re a foodie, you won’t want to miss the Masters of Food & Wine Culinary Weekend in Carlsbad near San Diego, on Sept. 24. This fabulous weekend is where world-class chefs and sommeliers converge, featuring regional California wine and food and interactive workshops.
For more information on California Wine month events go to www.discovercaliforniawine.com/learn/september-winery-events. On that site you can also find more information on California wine varietals, a map of California wine country, information on regions as well as activities at individual wineries.
The California Travel & Tourism Commission (CTTC) is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to CTTC, travel and tourism expenditures total $95.1 billion annually in California (18 percent of which is international), support jobs for 873,000 Californians and generate $6.1 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about CTTC and for a free California Visitor’s Guide, go to www.VisitCalifornia.com.
Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the association of more than 1,000 California wineries and wine-related businesses that initiate and advocate state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. Wine Institute promotes the California Wine Month campaign with the California Association of Winegrape Growers to help contribute to the economic vitality of the state by showcasing its outstanding wine and food offerings. For more information, see www.wineinstitute.org.
SOURCE California Travel & Tourism Commission