Celebrate The Holidays In California Wine Country

Nov 29, 2012, 18:21 ET from Wine Institute

California's Wine Regions are the Place to Eat, Drink, Shop and Be Merry

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When it comes to merrymaking over the holiday season, nobody does it better than California wine country. From festive events and activities, to inspiring decor and unique gift ideas, California's wineries are the perfect place to celebrate in style.  See all the offerings listed at www.discovercaliforniawines.com.   


California's wine regions are enchanting any time of year, but over the holidays, the state's wineries kick it up a few notches with holiday lights and decor.

In Sonoma County, check out the 7th Annual Sonoma Valley Gingerbread Winery Contest and the Sonoma Valley Holiday Wine Trolley to tour historic landmarks and beautifully decorated wineries. Over in Napa Valley, wineries have gone all out on decor, from Sutter Home's Victorian estate to the solar-powered lights on Far Niente's olive trees. The vintage truck outside V. Sattui is adorned with many lights and a Christmas tree, and a huge star illuminates the night at Ehler Estate's 1800s stone facade. Robert Mondavi Winery invites visitors to its Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and Party on December 1.

Up in coastal redwood country, BARRA of Mendocino Winery invites guests to a special tree lighting celebration on Nov. 30 from 5:30-8 pm.

Holiday Shopping

Visitors to Napa Valley and Sonoma County will find plenty of gifts and stocking stuffers. In the Russian River Valley, take advantage of the Korbel Holiday Shopping Spree Weekend Nov. 30-Dec. 2, featuring holiday gifts, ornaments, and special case sales. Visit the nearby J Vineyard's Holiday Sip and Shop Event Dec. 7-9, where you can sample limited-release sparkling and varietal wines while perusing elegant gift items.  Rodney Strong Vineyards Holiday Craft Faire Dec. 1 -2 offers a festive shopping experience with gifts by local artists. Due east in Napa Valley, Black Stallion Estate Winery Holiday Open House and Art Show on Dec. 1 will feature local wine country artists presenting painting, pastels and photography as well as ceramics and jewelry along with Black Stallion Estate wines, holiday nibbles and local musicians.

Events and Activities

Head to Holidays in the Vineyards in Livermore Valley Dec. 1-2 to visit the region's 40-plus wineries and enjoy wines, gourmet food, live music, and unique arts and crafts. Wente Vineyards is hosting a Gingerbread Family Workshop that weekend, and will offer a unique Gingerbread Class & Wine Tasting the following week on Dec. 5.

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines in San Jose is offering the J. Lohr Wine, Cheese & Charcuterie Pairing Seminar on Dec. 9. Enjoy the J. Lohr Holiday Feast Dec. 15-16, featuring an elegant six-course holiday meal. The J. Lohr Holiday Wine, Cheese & Dessert Mixer on Dec. 20 lets wine lovers savor six wines alongside a selection of gourmet cheeses and holiday desserts.

In Napa Valley, the Merryvale Holiday Barrel Tasting & Pinot Noir Release Party is on Dec.15, featuring new releases, holiday decor, gifts and savory soups.


Holiday Lights

On the Central Coast, Vina Robles in Paso Robles is lighting up the holidays with its annual Illuminating Evening on Nov. 30.

Holiday Shopping

Check out A Mountain Holiday with Summit Wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Region. Five wineries offer a festive weekend on Dec. 8, filled with gifts for sale by artisans, live music, food, and wine. On the same day, Pomar Junction's Holiday Open House in Templeton (San Luis Obispo County) lets shoppers enjoy hot cocoa, treats and wine tasting while perusing an extensive selection of gift items. Also that weekend, visit the Riverbench Holiday Open House Weekend in Santa Barbara. See Santa Barbara County Vintners Association's site for more holiday events that weekend.

Events and Activities

Need inspiration for holiday entertaining?  Take a wine education immersion class at Niner Wine Estates in Paso Robles—a Cooking Class on Dec. 15 with Chef Robert Trester to create tempting dishes with local ingredients. Also in Paso Robles, Eberle Winery is hosting its annual Holiday Open House on Dec. 8, featuring live music in the caves, appetizers and holiday shopping. Or check out their gourmet grilled cheese and wine pairing event Dec. 7.  Vina Robles will be serving up a Pre-New Year's Eve Bash from 7:30–10:30 Dec. 31, 2012. Nearby you can also ring in the New Year roaring 20s style with Robert Hall Winery at their Great Gatsby Gala


Holiday Lights

South of Los Angeles, see WinterFest Holidays' Twinkling Lights in Temecula, with thousands of twinkling lights in Old Town, which is surrounded by vineyards.

Holiday Shopping

Ponte Winery in Temecula is a great place to find last-minute gifts, selling everything from wine accessories, home decor and cookbooks to gourmet condiments, beautiful plates and vases. They also have a New Year's dinner in the barrel room and a 1920s Speakeasy New Year's Eve celebration.

Events and Activities

Also, in Temecula, South Coast Winery and Spa will have horse-drawn carriage vineyard rides throughout December. Enjoy special Christmas Eve and Day meals at their Vineyard Rose restaurant and their Fire & Ice New Year's Eve Four-Course Wine & Food Pairing Dinner.

For more ideas on wine tasting and other activities in California wine country during the holidays and beyond, go to Wine Institute's website at www.discovercaliforniawines.com.

Wine Institute is the association of 1,000 California wineries and wine-related businesses dedicated to enhancing the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine.  California is the fourth largest wine producer in the world, making 90 percent of all U.S. wine and two out of every three bottles enjoyed in the U.S.  Each year, 21 million tourists visit wine regions throughout the state to explore and enjoy the wines, the cuisine and cultural offerings associated with California's signature industry. 

SOURCE Wine Institute