Archive for Winters
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
Shrimp sizzling in garlic butter; peppers, onions and sea snails; chicken, chorizo sausage and risotto; sangria with pomegranates and lemon, sangria sweetened to near perfection, sangria with jalapenos?! It can’t be often that the wine at Berryessa Gap takes second stage…. But on this night of sangria, tapas, paella dishes and festive people, it was difficult for me to give the wine I love so much all the attention it truly deserves. November 6th was Berryessa Gap’s annual Paella Cook-Off & Dinner, and this being my first, it certainly won’t be my last. Sometimes when you fall in love with something, it actually loves you back.
One of the owners, Mike Anderson, escorted a few of us around the grounds and showed us how the magical elixir is made while dispensing some very frothy champagne into our glasses. I sipped carefully and tried to absorb the lessons at hand: An immense respect and care for the grapes, an unfaltering appreciation for good wine at an accessible price, a unique approach with exotic varietals… The really important stuff was coming across, while on another level (and to my delight) I felt I was re-living scenes from ‘Bottleshock’.
Fast forward a bit into the evening: Nick Toma from Good Day Sacramento, Charlotte King from The Grand Adventures of a Food & Wine Diva, a few other community pillars and food lovers, and myself are judging the paella dishes. Having sat next to her, it is clear to see how much Charlotte knows about food, and I know I have a lot to learn, but the soft-hearted ‘can’t-we-all-just-get-along’ part of me wants them all to be winners. Still, there’s a lot to consider: Is the meat or seafood under or over-cooked? Is there any flavor overwhelming the rest? Does the flavor of the rice reflect the complexity of the dish? Is it a more traditional or bold style paella? And on and on.
The sangria and paella themes of this event pay homage to the area’s Spanish roots. If you visit the tasting room in downtown Winters, there’s a binder with the history of the area, which is quite impressive for such a tiny town. But that’s the thing ~ How small a town is does not define its depth. And the same can be said for Berryessa Gap wines. You’re not going to find them mass produced and put on every store shelf… But if you sip, focus and think about what really matters in life – good company, good health, good food – this wine pairs well with it all!
If you’ve never been to Winters, you’re missing Norman Rockwell’s point. Adding to the small town charm of an adorable and historic rural community, the 1st Annual Winters Outdoor Quilt and Textile Art Festival is coming Saturday, June 27th and Sunday, June 28th. Take a gander because you love quilting… or just because it’s a great reason to get you to go. (I once had a roaring time at the Stockton Asparagus Festival… and I wasn’t even all that fond of Asparagus at the time).
Anyway, when things like this come to a tiny town, one might say the whole town gets involved. And the involvement in Winters is getting more and more artsy, and more and more inviting. Home to the beloved Palms Playhouse (live music), the infamous (in a good way) Buckhorn Steakhouse, Putah Creek Nature Area, art galleries, wine tasting, and plenty of good eateries and charming businesses, Winters is a perfect little day trip, afternoon jaunt or weekend getaway.
In addition, there’ll be a sunset dinner with local Firefighters. I assume it’s a fundraising thing, either for the artists or public servants. But I say, ‘sunset, firefighters, local art… you probably can’t go wrong either way.’
(Winters is just west of Woodland and Davis, north of Vacaville. Call 530-795-2580 for more information on the festival or visit http://www.yolocvb.org for general area and event information).
[Photo Courtesy Solano Magazine]