Take a California Road Trip This Summer with Hilton Hotels!


Warm temperatures have already begun in California.  The past few weeks have been in the 60’s and 70’s, truly the beginning of the summer season in California.  As travelers hit the road this summer in California, to not only explore the Golden State, but celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love, Hilton Hotels is offering a GREAT deal with their “California Road Trip Package,” +a destination package that inspires thrill-seekers and value-minded explorers. Discover an array of adventures and authentic experiences with rates starting at $149 per night.

A loving couple, on a summer afternoon, watching sunset from the roof of an old car, around the classical landscape of Tuscany, vineyards and farmland. The two lovers come out from the car roof

A loving couple, on a summer afternoon, watching sunset from the roof of an old car, around the classical landscape of Tuscany, vineyards and farmland found in California.

 

The package will highlight premier destination cities such as San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Anaheim and San Diego with special rates available through Labor Day Weekend 2017. To book, visit California Road Trip Package  and take a Virtual California Road Trip on our YouTube channel.

The California Road Trip package features savings of more than $125 per night, with exclusive discount of up to 15 percent on Enterprise/Alamo and National Car Rentals, $25 food and beverage credit (available in MIX Restaurant only), complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, unlimited access to the hotel’s Health Club & Spa and a California Road Trip Road Kit featuring exclusive discounts on local entertainment and attractions. Room rates start at $149 per night, tax not included.

Hotel Properties included in Hilton’s California Road Trip Package include:

Parc 55 and Hilton San Francisco Union Square:

A Hilton Hotel and Hilton San Francisco Union Square package includes (Rates starting at $265):
•       The San Francisco CityPASS® program which covers unlimited cable car rides, admission to four top attractions, priced 42 percent less than the same tickets purchased separately.  CityPASS® ticket book contains helpful information, including insider tips, an attraction location map, attraction and transportation details, directions and money-saving coupons. Books are valid for nine consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use. Includes:
o       3-Day Muni Cable Car and Bus Passport
o       California Academy of Sciences tickets
o       Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure tickets
o       Aquarium of the Bay tickets
o       Option Ticket: Exploratorium OR de Young Museum + Legion of Honor tickets

The Fess Parker: Santa Barbara:

A DoubleTree by Hilton Resort package includes (Rates starting at $249):
•       Tote bag, Visitors Guide, Vintners Association and Urban Wine Trail Maps, Downtown Organization Map of Shopping and Cultural Attractions, Waterfront Map, Two for One Santa Barbara Sightseeing Trolley Passes, a Santa Barbara Organic Granola Bar and bag of Santa Barbara Pistachio Co. organic pistachios.

Hilton Anaheim: Anaheim

Hilton-Anaheim

Hilton Anaheim package includes (Rates starting at $149):
•       Tote bag, bottled water, granola bars, $10 Starbucks gift card, Visit Anaheim drawstring bag, visitors guide and map, Visit Anaheim postcard with exclusive deals and discounts on local attractions and dining.

Hilton La Jolla and Hilton San Diego Bayfront:

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines and Hilton San Diego Bayfront packages includes (Rates starting at $249):
•       Branded bag, San Diego Magazine Spring Visitors Guide w/ coupons, Where Map, Brewers Guild map, sunglasses and mints.

 

If you’re anything like me, vacation is calling, and this California Road Trip is exactly what I need, how about you?

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Spirits Made from Paso Robles Wine Grapes: RE:Find Distillery


Disclosure: I was invited out to RE:Find Distillery this past January.  This is about my experience, and what I learned along the way.

If you’ve been paying close attention around California the past few years, you may have noticed a huge boom in the Craft Distillery industry!  Craft Spirits have become huge in California, and in Paso Robles, it is no different. Paso Robles now has their own Distillery Trail and Passport for those with a love of Spirits, Whiskeys, Gins, Vodkas, and more! There are NOW over 10 Distilleries within the Paso Robles area, and they are continuing to grow.

Craft-Spirits

BUT, with that being said, one company RE:Find Distillery has been a bit ahead of the curve in Paso Robles, and were definitely one of the first in the area.  Believe it or not, it all started with wine. (Yep, wine, are you intrigued like me?) Alex and Monica Villicana began their start in Paso Robles by owning Villicana Winery in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles.  As winemakers are often thinking of sustainability, and reusing the resources they have at hand, Alex was challenged by the concept of Saignee, and how not to waste so much of it.

Alex-and-Monica-Villicana

Monica and Alex Villicana

Saignee, for those that may not know, is the juice from the red grapes that is bled off before fermentation.  A lot of winemakers will use this Saignee to place in their Rose’s, or it will be discarded.  This wasted product really bothered Alex, and he wanted to find a new way to place it into an one of a kind product. Not only has he found a way to reuse his own Saignee waste, but other wineries in the area have reached out to Alex and Monica, and they are now also putting their Saignee into their product.  Their spirits are CREATED by Paso Robles Wine Grapes.

So, they take this Saignee, from local Paso Robles Wine Grapes, ferment it, and then triple distill it to create wine-based Spirits, and that is how the name of RE:FIND was created. Finding a new use for grapes and refining it into spirits!

Lets Talk Spirits: What are they creating?

REFIND

Vodka: For the majority of their spirits, they use this vodka as their bases for creating the other spirits in their line.

Gin: For their Gin, they use the Vodka as the base, then place back in the still and then add, through a vapor pass, a proprietary blend of botanicals including juniper berry, coriander, orris root, lemon & orange peel, grains of paradise, and lavender to impart a rich gin flavor.

Limoncello: When I walked into their distillery, it smelled of Lemon everywhere to find out, two days prior, they had just ran through an entire batch of limoncello which they create by utilizing fresh fruit from local, area farmers. 

Cucumber Flavored Vodka: For those that love Cucumber water, now, you can enjoy that same clean flavor in this fun, summer spirit that will be released this July. 

Kumquat Flavored Brandy: And as they continue to try out new seasonal flavors, the real winner for them was Kumquat this past fall.  Alex and Monica have plans of planting Kumquat Trees throughout their land, and will continue to keep this fall favorite going. 

Barrel-Finished Vodka: They start with their premium vodka, and then finish aging it in a combination of new and used rye whiskey barrels giving it that barrel aged finish people love.

Rye Whiskey: And yes, for you die-hard Whiskey fans out there.  They have created a California Whiskey for you.  They’ve partnered with local, small, artisan breweries to create a custom mash bill for their Rye Whiskey. 

Bourbon:  Ready to be released any day now! Keep your eyes peeled for it.

Although, I don’t know a ton about spirits, I did get to try them, and I can say tasting through their offerings left a nice, clean finish in my mouth, and I found a new found love of Gin from their creation.  It might have something to do with wine grapes being the base though too.

Recommend:

If you’re not a huge spirits fan, I still recommend stopping into RE:Find Distillery to try something new off the tasting path in Paso Robles.  My recommendations to try include the Gin (SRP: $44.00), Limoncello (SRP $26.00), and the Kumquat Brandy (SRP $26.00).  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Coming in the Future: Alex and Monica recently purchased the historic Fox Theater in Downtown Paso Robles, and this will be the FUTURE home of RE:Find Distillery Tasting Room in Downtown Paso Robles.  An exciting project up ahead!

Plan Your Visit:

REFIND-Distillery

RE:FIND Distillery

2725 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446

Tasting Hours: Daily 11-5pm

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A Dream, A Vision come to life at Alta Colina Vineyards!


Disclosure: I was invited out to Alta Colina Vineyards in Paso Robles where I met Bob and Maggie Tillman over lunch at their property.  We took a tour, talked wine, as they shared their story.  This was my experience.

This was my 3rd visit to the Paso Robles Wine Region.  With each visit I discovered new properties, new tidbits about the area, and met amazing winemakers and wines in the process.

Alta-Colina-Tasting-Room

Alta Colina Tasting Room which opened in 2014

BUT, as I set foot onto Alta Colina, I knew this visit would be a bit different.  And it definitely was.  As Bob and Maggic walked out with their dog Honey, and asked me to hop in their pickup truck, I knew it was going to be an adventure.

Prior to coming here, a few months back, Alta Colina had teamed up with Tinker Tin Trailer Co at their property around their “Trailer Pond,” to bring a new kind of camping experience for the wine lover.  There are 6 Trailers you can rent out and camp in during the year right on their vineyard property.  I was looking forward to seeing this in person, and see this vision come to life.

As we hopped in the pickup truck, we began trucking up the road to their vineyard property.  TRUST ME on this, you have to drive up the estate, otherwise it would be quite the walk and adventure, otherwise. Their property lies 1800 Feet about Sea Level. Their Vineyard lies within the hillside of the Adelaida District.  Alta Colina means “high hillside” in Spanish, quite fitting of the property.   While in the pickup truck I asked how they found their love of wine?  Maggie’s response was perfect, “oh, it’s always been there.”  Needless to say, Bob has always had a love of wine.  He was an engineer during the day, and a home winemaker at night.  In 2003, he finally began to look at properties to make his TRUE vision come to life.

Alta-Colina-Vineyards

As Bob looked out at the view, as we stopped to take in the view, I could still feel the sense of wonder he felt when he first set foot on that property.  The view is fantastic, and it is quite the site.  He found this property back in 2003, and the minute he walked it, he knew it was the one.  Today, known as one of the best views throughout Paso Robles.

We hopped back into the Pickup and drove further through the property when I first set my eyes on the Trailer Pond: During my visit, most of the trailers were taken into Storage due to the heavy rains the area has been receiving the weeks prior, but 2 were still out around the Trailer Pond.

Trailer-Pond

Maggie described how she met up with Tinker Tin Trailer Co, and they were looking for a property to place their trailers, after further talking, Maggie knew that Alta Colina would be a great place for them, and so the project begun:

I mean, think about it.  You’re wanting an incredibly unique wine experience: How more unique can you get than staying inside a trailer right next to a Vineyard with many Tasting Rooms and Wineries surrounding you all around Paso Robles?

The Wine:

Lets talk the Wine.  Paso Robles has been known for their Rhone Varietals and GSM blends, and it is no different at Alta Colina: they concentrate on Rhone Varietals such as Voignier, Marsanne, Grenache, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Mourvedre.

And, Bob, has made sure, that the majority of the work, for the wine, happens in the vineyard.  That’s what truly makes a wine.  And the property at Alta Colina speaks volumes as to the kind of wine they produce.

My favorites of the day:

As I tasted through 6 Varietals with Bob and Maggie that day, there were 2 wines that truly stood out to me, and ones I’d highly recommend:

  1. Old 900 Estate Syrah Retails: $48.00

Old-900-Syrah

If you’ve been curious about the beauty of a Paso Robles Syrah, this is definitely the wine I’d recommend for you.  The Old 900 Estate Syrah really spoke volumes to the property at Alta Colina, but also, to the beauty of a Paso Robles Syrah.  Truly, an everyday drinking wine, as well, that would be a GREAT component to any red meat meal.

2. Ann’s Block Estate Petite Sirah Retails: $55.00

Anns-Block-Petite-Sirah

The second wine that really stood out to me was the Estate Petite Sirah from Ann’s Block.  Ann’s Block, paying tribute to Maggie’s Grandmother.

But, this wine was truly a beauty, and one truly worth taking home.

They also had a White Voignier, a Marsanne  Cuvee, GSM, and their Sun Worshipper (which truly highlights Mourvedre, for those Mourvedre lovers out there!) For more information on their wines, visit here.

But for me, a visit to a winery is more than just the wine.  It’s about meeting the property, the experience, and also meeting the people behind the wine.  Bob and Maggie Tillman are the type of people you want to bring home to dinner, and have around you.  And it’s been a pleasure seeing Bob’s vision come to life:

Bob-and-Maggie-Tillman

 

Experiences not to miss:

Tasting: In the tasting room, for just 10 dollars, partake in a wine tasting of 5 Varietals of their wine.

Vineyard Tour and Tasting:  30 Dollars:  This is what I’d recommend:  Make an appointment for a vineyard tour and tasting where you are taken to the vineyards atop the hillside for the great views, and enjoy the wine right on the vineyard right where I’m standing below:

Vineyard-Tasting-Alta-Colina

Camping at Alta Colina;

And of course, a sure bet for this spring and summer, book a getaway at the Trailer Pond in one of the Tinker Tin Trailers.  2 night minimum required:

Tinker-Tin-Trailers

 

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