A Caution in the Age of COVID-19
March 14, 2020 – 9:44 pm | Comments Off on A Caution in the Age of COVID-19

If you’re traveling for a foodie event, check with the organizers to be certain it’s still scheduled. It’s probably been canceled, and you should be “sheltering in place” anyway.

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Springtime in California Wine Country

Submitted by on March 21, 2020 – 8:27 amNo Comment

Wine Institute, California Special to Road Trips for Foodies
From the Wine Institute

California wine country is a fabulous place to visit all year long, but there’s something about springtime that is magical. As winter gives way to milder temperatures, the state’s vineyards, hillsides and winery gardens burst into life—not only with buds for the coming year’s winegrape crop, but with wildflowers, newborn farm animals and fresh produce destined for farm-to-fork wine pairings. Wine Institute offers seven reasons to enjoy springtime in California wine country:


  1. Mild Weather & Smaller Crowds
  2. Springtime brings mild weather across the state and wineries invite visitors to enjoy gourmet provisions at outdoor tables with stunning vineyard views. Search winery picnic areas at DiscoverCaliforniaWines.com. Springtime is typically less busy, so visitors can enjoy an intimate, leisurely experience.

  3. Mustard, Cover Crops & Wildflowers
  4. Spring is California’s greenest season. This is the ideal time to view the emerald hillsides and valleys along wine country back roads, and keep an eye out for bright yellow mustard flowers and cover crops between vineyard rows that aid winegrowers in their sustainable farming efforts. Wildflowers are a natural attraction in most wine regions.

  5. Vineyards Come to Life
  6. The first buds of the season appear in the vineyards and flower clusters form on the tips of young vine shoots. More than 2,100 vineyards representing 29% of statewide wine acreage are Certified California Sustainable by third-party auditors of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, and springtime heralds a host of eco-friendly activities among the vines. Nesting boxes installed by vintners attract birds that hunt down gophers and other vineyard pests, and wineries literally buzz with activity as resident bees pollinate cover crops between vine rows.

  7. Winery Gardens in Bloom
  8. Winery gardens offer a stunning array of flowers, trees and estate-grown produce. Visit seven distinct gardens at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate. Take a garden tour of 150 rose varieties at Korbel Champagne Cellars. See 10,000 tulips at the five-acre Ferrari-Carano Japanese tea garden. Call the “tulip hotline” for information. Tour Quivira Vineyards sustainability-focused garden of heirloom vegetables, fruit trees and herbs. Learn about Benziger Family Winery’s Insectary Garden, essential for vineyard health. At Deaver Vineyards’ sister operation, the Amador Flower Farm, walk among thousands of day lilies.

  9. Baby Animals
  10. Animals abound in the spring, when newborn lambs frolic along hillsides, and wineries send crews of sheep and goats into the vineyards to help with sustainable winegrowing. Many California wineries, including Cline Family Cellars in Sonoma and Concannon Vineyard in Livermore Valley, recruit sheep and goats as “wooly weeders” to munch spring growth between vine rows. Visit resident farm animals at wineries such as Buttonwood Winery & Vineyard in Solvang, Santa Ynez Valley, Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley, Domaine Artefact in San Diego County, Pennyroyal Farm in Mendocino County, and Truett-Hurst Winery in Sonoma County.

  11. Spring Produce Stars at Winery Restaurants
  12. Several California wineries have on-site restaurants, some with patios for outdoor dining. See: Livermore Valley’s Wente Vineyards offering estate-grown produce and beef; Long Meadow Ranch in Napa Valley highlighting family farm produce; Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Sonoma County, using herbs and produce from the winery gardens; Local, seasonal ingredients at Ponte Winery and South Coast Winery—both in Temecula, and Justin Vineyards & Winery and Niner Wine Estates—both in Paso Robles. Lodi’s Michael-David Winery features meats sourced from the local 4H program and onsite produce.

  13. Homegrown Food & Wine Pairings
  14. California’s spring produce inspires vintners to take food and wine pairings to the next level, including: Lynmar Estate in the Russian River Valley; Ram’s Gate in Sonoma; J Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma; Round Pond Estate in Napa Valley; The Prisoner in Napa Valley; C.G. di Arie in Amador County; Edna Valley Vineyard in San Luis Obispo; and Daou Vineyards & Winery in Paso Robles.


Wine Institute is the public policy association of California wineries producing 80 percent of U.S. wine.

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