Monday, January 29, 2018

Cork vs Screw Cap

It used to be that when you thought of a screw capped bottle of wine you thought of a cheaper wine. Screw capped wine has been around since the 1950s but usually on more economical jugs of wine. Higher end bottles of wine are associated with corks, but recently that is changing.

In the 1400s, with the increase in popularity of glass bottles, the use of corks to close those bottles became more popular, as well. This is because cork bark, which is pliable, is great for holding the liquid inside the glass bottle. Corks are also preferred in the long-term aging of wines. They are made from renewable resources and are environmentally friendly. However, with other options available it may not be the best choice to use corks in all bottles of wine. They are more expensive, can cause TCA ‘Cork’ Taint, and natural corks may not breathe at a stable rate.

Some alternatives to corks include screw caps and corks made of other materials, such as plastics or plant-based polymers. These options are cheaper to make and easier to use, but like corks, they have their downsides. Some of them don't breathe at all, they are made from non-renewable resources, they are not biodegradable, and they are often associated with "cheap" wine.

Don't be surprised to see an increase in alternative methods to corks in not only economical wines, but also in high-end wines. They may not be the tradition, but when weighing the pros and cons of each they seem to be just as good.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sonoma County Spas

Known for it's amazing wineries, endless activities, and amazing dining options, Sonoma County is one of the best places in the world to live it up. But did you know that it's also a great place to relax and unwind? With a variety of exquisite spas, Sonoma is the perfect destination to lay back and enjoy a little pampering. Here are some of the best spas in Sonoma County.

209 Bohemian Highway
Freestone, CA 95472
Local: 707-823-8231
Email: reservations@osmosis.com

"Located in beautiful Western Sonoma County- Osmosis is the only day spa in the U.S. that offers the Cedar Enzyme Bath- a rejuvenating heat treatment from Japan. We also specialize in a variety of 75-minute massage modalities performed by our community of experienced therapists. In reflection of our commitment to wellness and the environment, we feature an array of organic facials, skin care, and waxing services. We welcome you to relax in our authentic meditation garden with a cup of our exclusive blend of organic herbal tea. Shop anytime in our unique spa boutique filled with great gifts and products to support your healthy lifestyle. Gift certificates are available year round for any occasion, either in our boutique or in 30 years! Voted Best Spa by North Bay Bohemian for 17 years running! Named Best Spa North of San Francisco by San Francisco Magazine." [1]

100 Boyes Blvd.
Sonoma, CA 95476
Toll Free: 866-540-4499
Local: 707-938-9000
Email: smi.reservations@fairmont.com

"In the midst of Wine Country’s grandeur stands a true treasure: The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, rated among Travel + Leisure’s top 25 spas. The elegant Spanish Mission–style inn boasts an enviable location atop an ancient thermal mineral spring, flowing from 1,100 feet (335 meters) below and historically revered by Native Americans for its healing power. The tranquility and beauty of this environment is echoed throughout the 40,000-square-foot (3,700-square-meter) spa, which offers endless opportunities to find your energy—whether it’s relaxing by the inviting fireplace, soaking in our mineral baths and Watsu® pool, or indulging in one of our signature treatments." [1]

10400 Sonoma Highway 12
Kenwood, CA 95452
Toll Free: 800-353-6966
Local: 707-833-1293
Email: caroline@foursisters.com

"Open to both overnight guests and day visitors, the Spa at Kenwood Inn has earned its reputation as one of the leading spas in the United States. A consistent award winner, this perennial reviewers’ favorite is the ultimate body retreat in Sonoma Wine Country.

Amidst exquisite surroundings, experienced and highly trained therapists and aestheticians provide clients with results-oriented treatments, leading to a feeling of total relaxation and rejuvenation.

Many selections from the extensive spa menu here prove that wine is not just for drinking. Our Honey Wine Wrap, Crushed Cabernet Scrub and Massage and Vinoperfect Facial are among our most popular offerings. Our Vinotherapy Baths are the ultimate add-on; choose Pinor Noir, Chardonnay or Sparkling for a therapeutic soak unlike any other, and sip a glass of bubbly while the bath soothes your stress away. With your bath, we’ll also provide a gift bag of Vinotherapy products so you can recreate the experience back home. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m." [1]

Contact Us Directly
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Local: 707-494-7374
Email: cindy@thespagourmet.com

"The Spa Gourmet delivers the ultimate luxury vacation experience to visitors of Sonoma County from Wine Country to the Coast. Offering Pampering Spa Treatments followed by gourmet cuisine, from a light healthy spa lunch... to a five course dinner complete with "apres-massage" hors d'oeuvres (poolside), wine pairings and decadent dessert." [1]

13555 Highway 116
Guerneville, CA 95446
Toll Free: 800-555-8509
Local: 707-869-9093
Email: relax@applewoodinn.com

"Applewood: An Enclave for Romance at the Heart of the Russian River Valley

This Boutique Wine Country Inn, with its 19 rooms and suites and a spa, is located one hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the heart of the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir growing region.

Sheltered by towering redwoods and surrounded by fruit orchards and gardens, this romantic getaway offers adults a secluded and peaceful refuge to relax, rejuvenate, and re-connect.

The Spa at Applewood offers relaxed pampering in a tranquil setting. Whether it's a day visit or an appointment during your stay, the spa is a key ingredient for a perfect get away.

The Gardens at Applewood grow organic fruits, herbs and vegetables and together with its apiary and chicken coop, reflect Applewood's commitment to sustainability.

The green apple in Applewood's logo is a symbol of the eco-consciousness apparent throughout the property. The use of solar energy for producing electricity and heating the pool, an in-house, aerated, composting system and many other green practices provide a canvas for the conservation of Applewood's beauty.

Applewood is a sanctuary for tranquility and intimacy as well as a portal to world-class wineries, the mystical Russian River, the rugged and dramatic Northern California coastline, and the millenarian Armstrong Redwood Forest." [1]

Monday, January 15, 2018

Plan Your Valentine's Day Getaway to Napa Valley

Valentine's Day is about a month away and Napa Valley has so many romantic activities available. Some popular activities offered include hot-air balloon rides, bicycle rentals, horseback riding, and of course wine tasting! Click here for more activities in Napa Valley. Here are some more events and specials offered in Napa Valley for Valentine's Day:

Where: Cliff Lede Vineyards
What: Multi-course dinner catered by Tre Posti featuring musical entertainment and a live table-side mozzarella pulling demonstration.
When: Saturday, February 10th at 6 pm
How Much: Tickets are $195 for club members, $250 for non-members. Must purchase by January 31, 2018

What: Special three-course dinner including a glass of sparkling wine.
When: Wednesday, February 14th 5:30pm-9:00pm
How Much: $75 per person

What: Hot, Steamy, and Dreamy Valentine’s Day package which includes two nights in one of our renovated, retro-chic rooms outfitted with rainfall showers and hoodie sweatshirt robes to cuddle in. A Mudnage à Trois spa experience for two at our MoonAcre Spa and Baths, including time at our DIY Mud Bar, two private bathing sessions, and two 50-minute massages. An aphrodisiacal wine and chocolate pairing experience for two at Clif Family Winery's tasting room. Naughty dice and card game to enjoy in room and take home for later.
When: Available for all of February

Where: Judd's Hill
What: Valentine's Party including wine, delicious nibbles, and a dynamic duo of masseurs giving complimentary neck and shoulder massages.
When: Sunday, February 11 from noon to 2:30 pm
How Much: $55 per person

What: Private hot-air balloon ride at sunrise including a sparkling wine toast (if you mention Visit Napa Valley at the time of reservation, they’ll include an exclusive in-flight photo package).
When: February 10 to 18, 2018
How Much: Private flight for two is $2,200

Where: Silverado Cooking School
What: A hands-on cooking class & dinner where you and your date will prepare and enjoy a seasonal three-course menu featuring fresh ingredients from our own farm, Stone Tree Farm.
When: Wednesday, February 14, 6 to 9 pm
How Much: $275 per couple

Monday, January 8, 2018

Wine Etiquette Tips

At home you may snuggle up in your pajamas chugging a bottle of wine from a coffee mug (we're not judging... we do it, too!) but when you're in public it's probably a good idea to practice some wine drinking etiquette. Whether you're meeting your significant other's parents, attending a business dinner or party, or going to any formal event, it's a good idea to have some manners. Here are a few tips on how to impress people with your knowledge of the correct way to drink wine.

• Hold your glass by the stem - The wine glass is not only designed to be beautiful, it's designed to keep your wine from getting warm. If you hold the glass by the stem it prevents your hand from warming the wine inside.

• Smell your wine - Wine is an experience. Don't miss out on half of the experience by only tasting your wine. Smell it first, then sip it to get the full flavor.

• Drink from the same spot of the wine glass - If you drink from one side of your wine glass, then rotate the glass and drink from a different part you will be putting dirty looking mouth marks (especially if you're wearing lipstick) all over your glass. Try to drink from the same spot of the wine glass every sip in order to keep your glass cleaner.

• Clink glasses bell to bell - Try to cheers someone by clinking the bell of your glass to the bell of theirs. This helps avoid breaking either glass. It's also good etiquette to make eye contact with who you're clinking glasses with.

• While pouring wine, hold the bottle in the palm of your hand - If you're the one who's pouring the wine from the bottle make sure to hold the bottle at it's base in the palm of your hand. Try to hold it with the label facing outwards so everyone can see what it is.

• Don't overfill your glass - Wine is meant to aerate once poured so don't fill your glass all the way. If you fill it a little less than halfway it allows the wine to breathe.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Annual Official Wine Drinking Days

You may know that May 25th is "National Wine Day," but do you know when "Drink Local Wine Week" is? Or how about "National Zinfandel Day?"

In order to avoid missing an opportunity to drink wine this year (not like we need a specific day), here is a list of official wine drinking days to celebrate:

February 18th: Drink Wine Day
February 27th: Open That Bottle Night
March 3rd: National Mulled Wine Day
April 17th: World Malbec Day
May 9th: World Moscato Day
May 25th: National Wine Day
August 1st: International Albarino Day
August 14th: International Rosé Day
August 18th: National Pinot Noir Day
August 30th: International Cabernet Sauvignon Day
September 16th: International Grenache Day - Technically held on the third Friday in September
October 11-17th: Drink Local Wine Week
October 23rd: Champagne Day
November 7th: International Merlot Day
November 12th: Wine Tourism Day
November 12th: International Tempranillo Day
November 18th: National Zinfandel Day
December 4th: Cabernet Franc Day
December 5th: Repeal Day - On this date in 1933, we could all drink again
December 20th: National Sangria Day
December 31st: National Champagne Day