Winter is an excellent time to enjoy winery tours in northern Sonoma County, California and a great way to chase away the winter blues or post-holiday slump. Each year, the wineries and lodgings in the Russian River Valleys and Alexander Dry Creek region hold a spectacular event known as Winter Wineland.
Sponsored by Wine Road, an association of more than 150 wineries and 50 lodgings, the annual event draws thousands of wine tasting enthusiasts to the area. The theme of the weekend event is “Wine, Art, Education”, encouraging participants to travel from one winery to another to enjoy food pairings, wine sampling, art exhibitions, library tastings, winery tours and the opportunity to meet a variety of wine makers and vineyard owners.
Each of the wineries that participate focus on displaying one particular artist’s work, or have educational displays that focus on the many facets of wine making and the management of vineyards. The participating lineup of wineries for the 19th Annual Winter Wineland, held January 15-16, 2011 included Clos du Bois, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Kendall Jackson, Foppiano Vineyards, La Crema Winery, Lynmar Estate, Silver Oak Cellars and Zichichi Family Vineyards, just to name a few.
Art exhibitions included photography, paintings, fused glass creations, kinetic water sculpture, and one-of-a-kind jewelry designs. Many of the educational displays are designed to be interactive with the guests, featuring games or quizzes on topics such as the aroma of wines or the history of corks. In addition to sharpening one’s wine knowledge, participation may lead to wine discounts or prizes.
Among the food pairings offered, there is a wide range of choices one can experience traveling down the Wine Road, including entries like roasted persimmon soup and flatbread paired with a Russian River chardonnay, or oysters paired with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Participants in the Winter Wineland event can purchase tickets in advance through the organization’s website, and have the option of purchasing a ticket for the entire event or a single day. Special tickets are available for designated drivers to ensure that all winery tour guests enjoy the event to the fullest. The next Winter Wineland event is scheduled for January 14 & 15, 2012. Details are available at www.wineroad.com.
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