Archive for Wineries
Comforting food, complex wines, inviting atmosphere, engaging staff… It seems there’s always a dose of warmth oozing from this corner of the world, even when the weather outside is frightful. (Pix to the right>)
In one corner of Sacramento’s central city we have Revolution Wines, a winery, tasting room and bistro. And in one southeast corner of Davis we have Rominger West, a winery, tasting room and event space. Rominger (pronounced ‘roam’inger) West’s grapes are grown in the coastal range that overlooks the Sacramento Valley. Revolution’s grapes come from various locales in California, including the Sacramento Valley. Both produce and serve red and white wines, although I’ll refrain from comparing them, since wine palate and preference are so individual.
Just off Hwy. 80 at the Mace Blvd. exit, Rominger is in a ‘business park’-like setting across from Target. But once inside, it’s really a non-issue. Revolution is right off of – and almost beneath – the 160 freeway… So as far as convenience goes, they’ve both got that going for them. Revolution hosts wine dinners and release parties, happy hour and Second Saturday functions, and it also has a restaurant on the premises. Rominger West has local businesses cater during their weekly social events that include Thursday Happy Hour, Friday night parties, live music and dance lessons.
Rominger tries to be as sustainable as possible, is in a college town, and yet draws plenty of older folks. Revolution has a nice outdoor patio and offers a $10 deal for tasting and a glass of wine. Seems nearly neck and neck to me, but since these days more than one winner can exist at the same time… I figure it might just come down to where you’re headed or coming from, what day or time it is, and whether or not there’s enough room in your schedule for both.
Here’s to the urban wineries~ Making wine more accessible and mainstream!
http://www.Revolution-Wines.com, (916) 444-7711, 2831 S St, Sacramento
http://RomingerWest.com, (530) 747-2044, 4602 Second St, Ste 4, Davis
Within minutes you’ll find buildings and subdivisions fading away as you drive toward the foothills, seeing a dotted mix of old factories, nurseries and fruit stands that soon give way to large pastures and farm houses. The drive quiets to a lull as you approach the lowest hills, the foliage bursting open to greet you as you pass the old Sloughouse Inn to Davis Ranch. A working farm and large outdoor market, Davis Ranch is perhaps best known for sweet corn in the summer (The Corn Festival is held in July).
Continuing along Jackson Hwy. you’ll reach the town of Plymouth, which is the main portal to 34-and-counting Sierra Foothill wineries. With excellent red varietals like Sangiovese and Zinfandel – and equally tantalizing views – the area is coined by many to be “The New Napa”. If you’re around in June, stop in for the 2nd Annual Barbera Festival at Cooper’s Ranch. For 360-degree views of the (slightly snow-capped) Sierras, drive a little farther up to Skinner Vineyards and take a picnic – and camera – with you. If you choose to go right at the fork rather than straight, springtime is the time to visit the Amador Flower Farm and Daffodil Hill in charming gold rush-era towns.
You may find that setting out on the open road for a few hours is just enough time to return refreshed and ready for dinner, as well as enjoy that bottle of red that’s perfectly ripe and ready for the un-corking.
[see photos of Skinner and Karmere Wineries to the right]
Digging for nectar at Miner’s Leap!
So like many things in life, we found it by accident. On the way to Bogle we passed a very appealing-looking winery with signs that read: “Wine Tasting”, “Today” and “Open”. That’s all it took for us to turn the car around and make a detour from our original plans. Although we did manage to make it to Bogle before they closed, our first experience at Miner’s Leap was an all around pleasant – dare I even say inspiring – one.
From Mandy’s energy and friendliness to lazy rescue dog Lilly, from luscious red wines to well-stocked beer refrigerator, and from scenic grounds to getting to know Stefani, in total it was more than we bargained for… but in a ‘more is more (and better)’ kind of way.
Sipping wines just outside the 111-year-old barn with views of Yolo County’s agricultural landscape, Tom and I enjoyed hearing about Mandy’s adventurous life-shift from Cabo San Lucas to Clarksburg. A bit later lounging on the well-manicured patio overlooking the event grounds, we sipped a cool brew in the warm autumn sun and contemplated risk and worth in life.
Only getting tidbits of the colorful stories – the winery owners, their staff and animals included – their immense zest for life shows in their presence, their openness, and their wines alike. Making the very best of what they have to work with and being willing to risk it all, if necessary, in order to live to the fullest… Well, it’s not an easy way to go about it day to day, but it’s certainly a courageous and admirable one. And if a Miner’s Leap is one of faith – equipped with some preparedness and a love for both the experience and effect – I think that’s a mighty fine way to find and define success.
Miner’s Leap Winery
54250 S. River Rd., Clarksburg
Start in any of the following towns – Davis, Winters, Vacaville or Capay – and then enjoy the scenery as you meander to the next. While passports aren’t required to be present, you will need one in order to partake in all the extra VIP fun. Passports are $40 and more information can be found at the link below.
Enjoy the bounty and beauty of Northern California!
Passport Weekend ~ October 8 and 9th, 10AM-5PM
Friday, September 2nd, 5-7PM, Bogle Vineyards, FREE!
Clem’s a real nice (and talented) guy.
Bogle is beautiful, the staff is friendly, and their wine is both affordable and yummy.
It’s a great start to a holiday weekend.
It’s a great ending to the summer months.
It’s a beautiful drive.
Wine, women and song.
You can sit on a wagon.
The vineyards are breathtaking.
You can re-stock the wine rack/closet/cellar.
Didn’t you hear me say it was free?!
37783 County Road 144, Clarksburg – just 15 minutes from town, http://www.boglewinery.com
They really couldn’t make it any easier.
1. Go to Rominger West just outside of Davis and off the I-80 freeway Thursdays anytime between 4 and 7PM.
2. Taste their whites and reds for a $5 flat fee
3. And/or buy a glass for about $4.50
4. Grab some free munchies
5. Take a seat in front of the live music or back a little at a high-top
6. Enjoy the wine
7. Enjoy the music
8. Enjoy the munchies
9. Mingle if you’re so inclined
10. Enjoy the artwork
11. Admire the barrels
12. Buy some wine to take home with you
13. And/or come again next week
Just don’t let the location full you. Rominger West is in a peculiar place – It’s almost like a strip mall or office building. But it’s worth the visit. Especially on a Thursday afternoon. Check their events page for more information: http://www.romingerwest.com/romingerwest/news/events.jsp
If I could write a song about wine, this would be my first line. But it’s taken already, isn’t it? More reason to get back to the tasting of wine, rather than the singing about it. And ’tis the right time, for the golden state wine competition has just revealed its winners!
The California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition is the “oldest and most prestigious wine competition in North America.” It is open to all California-bonded wineries selling retail, and the judges are said to be chosen quite meticulously. Now, I’m no expert at wine-making or tasting for that matter, but I know what I like and I continue to try to refine my palate (as well as wine vocabulary, which could use some help). Anyway, out of those I tried, I was quite pleasantly never really disappointed.
The CA State Fair used to offer tastings of the winners (for a “fair” fee), but as all things must change, now they only offer them by the glass. Something about people bellying up to the bar for too long… Anyway, if you seem really interested in wine itself (not just the guzzling of it) and happen to get a friendly, slighty rebellious barmaid or barbutler, he or she might let you try a few before choosing one by the glass. And since this did happen to us (thank you, kind sir), I will share my findings.
Jeff Runquist Reserve Barbera 2008 – I thought this was rich and yummy.
Montevina Barbera 2007 – While this Barbera was lighter, it was still nice. My husband preferred it to the former.
Macchia Petit Syrah 2008 – Rich, smooth and yet zesty. (I like bold wines).
Fetzer Chardonnay 2008 – A little sweet, good overall, but with a bit of an aftertaste? (Since Fetzer uses organic grapes and works toward environmental sustainability, I feel good buying it. Not to mention, their wines tend to be affordable for “everyday” drinking.)
Barefoot Pinot Grigio Sparkling – Fruity, a bit sweet, pleasantly refreshing.
Barefoot Brut – To my surprise, I liked the Pinot Grigio sparkler better, but this one was nice and balanced overall like a traditional brut.
For a complete list of all the award winners and more information on the competition itself, click on: http://www.thebestcaliforniawine.com/wine-competition/award-winners. And if you’re interested in a more serious immersion of winners, watch for next year’s Grape & Gourmet in July: http://www.thebestcaliforniawine.com/grape-and-gourmet/event