Friday, March 22, 2013

Giddy Yap with the Rhone Rangers

Spring brings one of the most anticipated events of the year to wine lovers when the Rhône Rangers ride into town March 22 and 23 for the 16th annual Celebration of American Rhônes in Fort Mason, San Francisco. The Rhône Rangers are winemakers dedicated to producing bottles from the 22 grape varieties made famous in the Rhône Valley in France. The event celebrates the full array of wines from Syrah, Viognier, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Roussanne as well as lesser-know grapes like Cinsault, Counoise, Picpoul and the wily Carignan.


Photos courtesy of The Rhone Rangers

Monday, March 4, 2013

What are the best attractions in Napa and Sonoma?

This post first appeared on Forbes Travel Guide here.

First and foremost, wine is the main draw in Napa Valley, and many wineries are worth a visit, even for those who are not wine tasting. My personal favorite for all-in-one wine, fun, and education is Raymond Vineyards.

In Napa proper, visit Oxbow Market for the best food purveyors all under one roof. Check the schedule at the Uptown Theater for top music and entertainment events, or board the Wine Train for a leisurely gourmet ride though the vines.

The Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga, and the Petrified Forrest are wonders of nature at the north end of the Napa valley.

I think the best attractions in Sonoma County are found outdoors. Grab your hiking boots and enjoy the rugged beauty of the Sonoma Coast, the tranquility of the soaring redwoods in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve Park, or the relaxing Russian River.

In Northern Sonoma County, follow The Wine Road for the best wineries in Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley. And for an experience way beyond sniff, swirl and sip, check out Francis Ford Coppola Winery, located in Geyserville, with an array of activities including a resort style pool with cabanas, and a mini-museum of film memorabilia.

Fans of Peanuts comic strip will want to make a pilgrimage to the Charles Schultz Museum and keep an eye peeled for character statues scattered all around Santa Rosa. In tiny Bodega, flock to the spot where Alfred Hitchcock filmed the famous schoolhouse scene from The Birds.


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