21st Annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival!

Disclosure: I will be attending this year’s festival and can’t wait to keep you posted on all the fun.

One of my favorite California Wine Regions is hosting their annual Pinot Noir Festival in a little over a month.  This year, bringing a little more magic of the Anderson Valley to the festival with their new location at Camp Navarro! As guests learn about the Anderson Valley, and the magic of Pinot Noir throughout the weekend, they’ll be surrounded by nature at Camp Navarro.  Guests are even invited to stay the night in Cabins or Tents throughout the weekend.

The festival kicks off Friday, May 18, 2018 at Camp Navarro with their Techincal Conference  which will dig into all that wine geek stuff such as red blotch in vineyards to DNA testing in Vineyards to vineyard specific tastings.  The festival will end on Sunday, May 20, 2018 as Anderson Valley’s wineries opens their doors to festival goers with their annual open houses.

The full itinery of the festival is below:

Friday, May 18:

  1. Technical Conference ($100 dollars): 10am to 4:3pm:  check in at 9:30am (Bosch Lodge)
  2.  Casual BBQ at Husch Vineyards, 5:30pm
    $75 – EARLY BIRD TICKET $60
Begin the weekend festivities at the casual BBQ at Husch Vineyards in Anderson Valley  and enjoy an evening filled with great food and wine.  Mingle with the winemakers, Pinot fans, and guests. Taste Pinot Noirs from both near and far – plus sample a few surprises. Guests are encouraged to bring a bottle to share.
Farmer John of Mendocino Heritage Pork Company will be serving up an amazing BBQ meal.
Of course we’ll have a terrific band that will have folks up dancing to driving blues and rock-n-roll live music.
Bottle of wine to share is considered a donation to a 501 (c) 6, not for profit, keeping it legal and fun!
Saturday, May 19, 2018:
1. Grand Tasting, 12-4pm (Under tent cover in Bosch Lodge Meadow)
Taste the world-class Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs of more than 50 producers and savor perfectly paired foods designed to complement these exceptional Anderson Valley Pinot Noir wines.
Silent & Live Auction – Bid to win wine and experiences like private tasting with the winemakers; weekend stays; vineyard tours, magnums, and more.  The top 5 silent auction lots will be a part of a LIVE AUCTION (new in 2018!) emceed by Tom Allman. All auction proceeds benefit the Anderson Valley Health Center.
2. Winemaker Dinner, 6pm (Bosch Lodge)

6pm Sparkling & Check-in on the deck of the lodge, dinner at 6:30.

Menu (subject to change):

Course 1: Escargot Vol-au-vent  w/ Maitake Mushrooms & Confit Garlic Herbed Cream
Course 2: Ravioli stuffed with House-Made Ricotta, Farm Fresh Egg-Yolk, Chives, Brown Butter & Crisp Sage
Course 3: Seared  Scallops, English Pea, Smokey Jus, Peas Tendrils & Spec
Course 4: Roasted Tenderloin w/ Jus of Pinot Noir & Dried Cherry, Spinach, Roasted Asparagus & Farro Verde
Dessert: Sourdough Chocolate (Cherry) Bread Pudding w/ Anglaise & Port Poached Cherries

Participating winemakers include Roederer Estate, Scharffenberger Cellars, Handley Cellars, Domaine Anderson, Black Kite Cellars, Cakebread Cellars, Harmonique, and Balo Vineyards.

Sunday, May 20, 2018:
Greenwood Ridge
Meander and visit winery tasting rooms along Highway 128 from Boonville to Philo, listen to live music, and enjoy a wide array of food offerings with wines from local Anderson Valley producers.
Lodging: On Site at Camp Navarro.  Camp underneath the stars and the Redwoods.  Breakfast will be served to on site guests on Saturday and Sunday morning.  Accommodations are for 2 night stays only.  Cabins, Tents, and RV options available.


1. Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

Friday Technical Conference,
Friday Casual BBQ at Husch Vineyards,
Saturday Grand Tasting,
Saturday Winemaker Dinner,
Sunday Winery Open Houses

2. Special Two Day Friday Technical Conference and Saturday Grand Tasting Combo Ticket


This combo ticket is offered as a convenience and, as an added bonus for you, you’ll save $10 off Early Bird tickets or $35 off regular tickets, purchased separately.
All Tickets Available Now at Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival



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6 Reasons I love the Napa Valley!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post although all opinions are my own!

Being a local to the Napa Valley and Sonoma area, I feel incredibly lucky to reside in such a beautiful area. Even so, about once a year I love booking through Napa Valley vacation home rentals to enjoy the weekend, and the area for all that it’s worth.

With that being said, I wanted to share with you the 6 Reasons WHY I love the Napa Valley area so much to inspire you to book a weekend getaway or time away there yourself!

1) The Small Town Feel

Whoever designed the Napa Valley was an incredibly smart individual because I love how the towns are broken up throughout the valley.  Whether I want to spend a day in Downtown Napa exploring the Restaurant and Bar Scene, or exploring the food purveyors of the Oxbow Market, or getting my eats on at the Model Bakery, I can do so!

Or if I want to spend a day in Yountville to get my Bouchon Bakery on, or enjoy an incredible dinner experience at The French Laundry, I can do so! Or enjoy the boutiques and tasting rooms, or take in the art scene, I can do so!

Or if I want to spend a day in St Helena taking in the wineries up valley, or shopping along Main Street, I can do so!

Or if I want more of a smaller town feel, I can easily head to Calistoga for a day of shopping, wine tasting, or exploring things such as The Petrified Forest, the views along the Silverado Trail, or seeing the Geysers go off! Each time I come to town, I can choose a different experience, and that’s such a huge draw for me!

2) The Wine

Wine Tasting at Whitehall Lane Winery

Lets be honest, the wine is TOP notch, and with over 500 Wineries and Tasting Experiences to choose from, you’ll never run out of ideas or exploration.  The Napa Valley is known for their Caberenet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and yes, even Merlot (my personal favorite!)

But the heritage this valley has had on the California Wine Industry is pretty awesome, and a visit to the Napa Valley to take in that heritage and experience is an absolute must!

3) The Food

Winemaker Lunch at Cunat Family Vineyards

With the Napa Valley being in such close proximity to so many farmers, there are some incredible restaurants in the valley, as well.  Places such as Basalt, Morimoto, Brix, Mustards Grill, Rutherford Grill, Ad Hoc Addendum, and some locals favorites such as Buster’s BBQ, Gott’s Roadside, and more! And of course, we can’t forget about the dining experience at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry.  Prior to your dining experience, be sure to visit the gardens across the street where the Chefs pull their local ingredients from.

4) The Shopping and Art Scene

Art found along Downtown Yountville

If you love shopping, you definitely can have that with all the small boutiques found throughout the valley, and ART is huge in the Napa Valley, as well. Stop at some of my favorites: Dean and Deluca, Atelier, V Marketplace, The Oxbow Market, or along St. Helena’s Main Street!

In Downtown Napa they’ve opened up an entirely new retail shopping area to explore and check out! Buy a new outfit for your Napa advenures, or find a new piece of home decor, trust me, you’ll find something you’ll love.

Spend a day perusing the art along Washington Street in Yountville then take the afternoon to explore the Napa Art Museum, or enjoy the art at the wineries around town such as Hall Winery or the art collection at the Hess Collection.  During the entire month of April, Napa converges their two loves of Art and Wine together through a variety of events.

5) The Experiences

Wine and Cheese Pairing at Brasswood Napa Valley


No one knows hospitality like the Napa Valley, and the experiences you can have here are pretty incredible.  Whether it’s enjoying the animals at the Castello di Amorosa, enjoying a picnic on the winery grounds of V. Sattui, or taking in an aerial tram ride at Sterling Vineyards, Catching a Hot Air Balloon ride or just sitting down for a fantastic Cheese and Wine Experience, there is something for everyone in the valley!

The Napa Valley truly knows hospitality and how to take your Wine experience to an entirely new level.  I dare you to stop into a place that wasn’t on your list, although, reservations recommended, and you may just unlock a new place to explore! Trust me, there were many times where I discovered new favorites by stopping into a place I never would have thought to before.

6) The Views

Morning View at Castello di Amorosa

But, I must admit, one of my all time favorite reasons for heading to the Napa Valley a few times a year are the incredible views found throughout the valley.  Views that truly can take your breath away!

It’s fun to take a side street from Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail to just take in the views.  Or to explore a Winery on the hillside to capture the beauty of the Napa Valley.  Or, if you enjoy hiking, there’s a few great trails waiting to be discovered.  Bring camera in hand to capture those views to bring home with you.





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5 California Wine Regions to Visit in 2018!

As you begin to THINK about 2018, and where you’d like to TRAVEL to this year, I wanted to point out some GREAT California Wine Regions worth visiting.  This article focuses more on the smaller, wine regions throughout California that may GET overlooked, and may just showcase WHY they’re worth looking into:


  1. Santa Ynez Valley
  2. El Dorado County
  3. Amador County
  4. Livermore Valley
  5. Mendocino County


Santa Ynez Valley:

I absolutely FELL in love with exploring the Santa Ynez Valley this past May.  The area includes beautiful locations such as Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and towns on the outskirts of Santa Barbara County.  And this Wine Region is really starting to come into their own in terms of wine making.

Stop into OstrichLand While in Buellton, just outside of Solvang

The small town of Los Olivos is now host to over 20 Wine Tasting Rooms within walking distance of one another.  REALLY, it’s a one stop shop when you visit this town.  Stay at the beautiful Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa, and walk to the many surrounding tasting rooms through town.

The town of Solvang is the largest Danish Village on the West Coast, and its adorable buildings, wind mills, shops and bakeries make a GREAT Day Adventure while visiting the area.  Great Restaurants, Hotels and Tasting Rooms surround this town.  They have great festivals throughout the year including: Taste of Solvang (March 15-19), Old Santa Ynez Day (June 10), Solvang Danish Days (September 15-17), and their Holiday Wine and Beer Walk (December 9-10).

El Dorado County:

For those in the Bay Area that have made the trek to South Lake Tahoe, you may recognize the region known as Apple Hill, although just one part of El Dorado County. Apple Hill is an area full of Apple Farms, Fruit Growers, Wineries and Breweries within one area of El Dorado County. It is the perfect stopping location between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe.

This region is now home to over 42 Wineries within the El Dorado Winery Association! Each Winery having their own story and passion for Winemaking, it’s an entire region worth discovering.

Start your visit out with the Boeger Winery, one of the oldest family run wineries within the region, and continue your Gold Country Trek with a visit to Downtown Placerville, where great shops and restaurants await your arrival!

                                                            The Beauty of Skinner Vineyards in El Dorado County

Or take in the views at Skinner Vineyards, or get inspired by artist turned Winemaker at Chateau Davall, or explore the Rhone Varietal Wines at Holly’s Hill.  There’s a little inspiration at every turn in this fun wine country region!

Amador County:

After spending time in El Dorado County,  it’s time to take your wine tasting adventure to the next county over, just 20 minutes away in Amador County. It’s perfect to plan your wine country vacation by visiting both of these REGIONS.

Let this Gold Country County take you away to great wines just waiting to be discovered by you. This region, that sits in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas offers great views, hospitality, and a slower pace of life.

Andis Wines

Amador County is always a FUN LITTLE ADVENTURE, and a great place to escape any type of city life for a weekend or much needed time away.  The county is now home to over 40+ wineries that are small, family owned wineries, where often, you’ll see them pouring your wine, as you visit!

Mark the calendars for some of their BEST annual events including: Behind the Cellar Door (March 2-4) and their Big Crush Weekend Event October 6-7.

Livermore Valley:

I always LOVE reminding people about Livermore Valley, because, it is probably one of the closest wine regions within the Bay Area, just 45 minutes outside of San Francisco, and even closer to the South Bay.

Concannon House

Concannon House

This wine region is home to California icons such as Wente and Concannon, huge proponents in bringing Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon to California, and a HUGE reason why EVERY wine lover needs to visit this area of California.  To honor the lineage to California Wine.

This region is now home to over 50 wineries that excel in making excellent Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and great Port Wines.  It’s the perfect weekend getaway!

Mendocino County:

For me, residing in Sonoma County, I always love taking a weekend getaway to Mendocino County.  It’s where I go when I need to get away for my everyday routine, and where I go to get renewed.  It’s a slower pace of life, but this region makes some incredible wines. And it’s just north of Sonoma County.

Yorkville Cellars within Yorkland Highlands of Mendocino County

Whether you’re visiting Anderson Valley, which excels in their Alsace style White Wines, or their cooler climate Pinot Noirs, and even Sparkling Wine, or whether you choose to explore more inland of Mendocino County and visit the small town of Hopland or north of Ukiah in the Redwood Valley, there’s a lot of GREAT wine meaning to be explored.

Greenwood Ridge Vineyards in Anderson Valley: Mendocino County

This region has quietly been making wine for the past 20-30 years, and the ones that know GREAT wine know to keep coming back here! It’s also a region that has always had great sustainability practices when it comes to wine thanks, in part, to the Fetzer Family, who has helped shaped so much of Mendocino County, and the future winemakers of this region!

Along Bonterra Vineyards: McNab Ranch: Mendocino County

Happy exploring in 2018, where are you headed off to first?



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