wine country (20)

This winery is more than just a producer of fine wines in the heart of Sonoma County's picturesque landscapes. Balletto Family Vineyards is a story woven into the very fabric of this wine-rich region, and its tale is as captivating as the wines it crafts. Come along with us as we discover the secrets and stories behind Balletto Family Vineyards, a place where passion and tradition meet, and every Balletto wine bottle is a testament to the dedication of its maker. Browse our online wine store for

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Sonoma County, with its picturesque landscapes and world-class wineries, is a haven for wine lovers seeking an unforgettable getaway. Nestled in the heart of California, this region boasts a rich winemaking history and a reputation for producing a lot of great wine. Whether you're a seasoned oenophile or just beginning to explore the world of Sonoma wine, Sonoma offers an ideal escape filled with vineyard tours, tastings, and breathtaking views.

Steeped in history, Sonoma County holds a signific

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9009521097?profile=RESIZE_930xLuke Petrinec/Steuban County CVB

As a member of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association
(IFWTWA), I was fortunate to attend a webinar on the Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes presented by Kevin Costello, president and CEO of the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau, and Dave DeGolye, the bureau’s communications manager. I was only somewhat familiar with this wine region, so was pleased to learn more about its wineries as well as to be introduced to all its fasc

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Naturally we started our trip off with a glass of wine at lunch. After all, it was too late for breakfast…  “Deux verres de vin rouge – um, uh -- pas sec. Un peu…” Finally I just threw my hands in the air and laughed. I meant well but it seemed unfair to make our poor waiter suffer for my lack of versatility with the language. Our waiter obliged with two glasses of wine and a hearty, “Welcome to Provence!


A Typical Cafe in Provence, photo by Victor Block


Our first morning, Vaccination Card in ha

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It’s that time of year again: la vendimia, the harvesting of grapes in various parts of Spain, from Jerez to Rioja and Rías Baixas to Penedés. And north of Madrid, winding 115 kilometres (miles) through the heart of the region of Castile-Leon (and of the entire Iberian peninsula, for that matter), the Duero River traces a route through not only some of Spain’s finest vineyards, but some extraordinary cultural, historic, and natural heritage. In short, a European wine country package par excelle

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Located an hour north of San Diego and a few minutes more than that south of Los Angeles, Temecula Valley wine country just keeps getting better, with mature vineyards and beautiful places to enjoy. On my recent visit, I was impressed by how much the area had grown since my visit 20 years ago. Upscale wineries that rival Napa and Sonoma and scenic views as far as the eye can see.  At that time, you could count the number of wineries on one hand, and now 44 wineries dot the Temecula landscape. Th

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Bento Gonçalves
 is a slice of Italy in Brazil's far south.  It's not overly well known outside of the country but a highly-regarded destination among Brazilians, who consider it a first-class tourist destination. This is because this city in Rio Grande do Sul state is one of the most beautiful and important in the Serra Gaucha mountain range, due to its landscapes full of vineyards and the expansive nature which make this place a most welcoming destination.


As you enter the city you will find a

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It was a warm, balmy early summer evening as I was sitting outside among the flowers and palms near the pool. What could be better? Toss in some Wine Council friends, some very special wines served with delectable food pairings along with a couple of creamy cheeses, and you have the recipe for a magical evening.


The first wine our group sampled was a dry white from Spain called Cal y Canto Dry White 2012 ($18). This wine is a great summertime wine that engaged us with its crispness along with g

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Jazz lovers from Southern California and all over the Western United States have been coming to Thornton Winery in Temecula (north of San Diego) for an amazing twenty six seasons. And amazingly, both the talent line up and the concert experience continue to get better. I’ve been fortunate to have seen some of the true giants of contemporary jazz, including Lee Ritenour, David Sanborn, Bob James, Brian Culbertson, and Keiko Matsui at this intimate and acoustically excellent venue. But Saturday’s

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It was truly a Bella Notte—a “beautiful night” at the Europa Village Winery in the Temecula Valley Wine Country in Southern California, where the winery’s first musical, internationally-themed wine dinner of the fall season took place recently. Europa holds these wine pairing dinners occasionally and they are always exceptional events.9008797876?profile=original

We were with friends from Nebraska who had never before experienced the magic of a wine country evening with such luscious food, exquisite wine, and musical entert

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The Thornton Winery in Temecula, CA is home to one of California’s longest running concert series. In fact, this year is the 25th anniversary of the Champagne Jazz Series. As you would expect, this summer’s lineup features some of the biggest and most popular of today’s Jazz performers (Dave Koz, Spyro Gyra, Kenny G, George Benson, Chris Botti, Boz Scaggs, etc.) I’ve enjoyed at least one concert at this intimate venue each of the last three summers and have been inspired by guitar god Lee Rite

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The Wines of California's Santa Rita Hills

9008600293?profile=originalOoh, ooh, ooh -- how I love discovering underappreciated wine regions.  The next best one just might be (it certainly gets my vote)Santa Barbara County’s Santa Rita Hills. Located about 30 minutes from Santa Barbara, think Highway 246 off the 101 Freeway and the cities of Buellton, Lompoc and Los Olivos.  Total acreage is 30,720 acres.  About 2,500 acres are planted in wine grapes. The appellation is spelled Sta. Rita Hills on the  wine labels so as not to step on the toes of the Santa Rita wine

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9008601089?profile=originalRivers of wine streamed down craggy roads lined with grape vines and surrounded by mountains. At Casa Lapostolle, 350,000 bottles shattered as scores of oak barrels rolled off their rackings. It was February 27, 2010, in the Colchagua Valley (right) Chile’s main wine region. An 8.8 magnitude earthquake had just rippled in from the coast where a tsunami had caused considerable havoc. With tremors lasting 90 seconds, the earthquake turned out to be among the country’s most destructive—third only t

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Napa Revival Well Underway

Downtown Napa used to be a sleepy place, with working-class roots that set it apart (some might say pleasantly so) from its increasingly chic and expensive "up valley" neighbors: Yountville and St. Helena. But these days Napa is turning into every bit the wine country destination. With about $700 million in public and private investment flowing into downtown, Napa is abuzz with more than a dozen new restaurants, several luxury hotels, wine tasting rooms, a refurbished theater and opera house, a
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Gay Vendimia Wine Festival in Mendoza, Argentina


2012 Gay Vendimia



By Roy Heale

Mendoza is the fourth largest city in Argentina with a population of approximately one million people. It is the acclaimed capital of Agentina's wine industry and famous for the Malbec vintage. Mendoza is nestled in the foothills of the Andes, about 1000 meters above sea level and is also a center for skiing in the nearby mountain peaks during July, August, and September. Attractive streetscapes, the beautiful parks and lakes, and pulsing nightlife are establishing

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The Thornton Winery Champagne Jazz Series in the formerly “undiscovered” Temecula, CA wine country has set a standard for big names and great performances in an intimate venue, but this 24th season just might boast their best lineup ever.  It’s more than remarkable that a venue seating less than 600 can bring in the likes of Chris Botti, Bobby Caldwell & David Benoit, Dave Koz, George Benson, Boney James, and Peter White, just to name a few.  And a beautiful venue it is, with a Mediterranean ter

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Secret Weekend Escapes in California

Most of the tourists visiting California are young and enthusiastic youths and they love to hang-out at a peaceful and lovely spots. Here are those secret destinations one can visit in California Tours.

1. Pacific Grove - Near Monterey

Pacific Grove is a coastal city located between Point Pinos and Monterey. It is known as America’s last hometown and is filled with Victorian type homes. Pacific Grove contains several habitat types including marine, littoral, pine forest and mixed oak woodland. The

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Winery sign post , Old Redwood Highway , Road to Healdsburg


Just a short drive from San Francisco from and you've entered a new world. In fact, drive 45 minutes north, over the Golden Gate Bridge, and you'll be in Sonoma County. Not sure if I've traveled across the Atlantic and landed in Tuscany. No, but Sonoma Counties wine country, rivals any in the world, and does have a "Tuscan" feel.

Sonoma County many times takes a back seat to it's "big brother" to the east, the Napa Valley. While Napa is

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The English Beat Rocks Temecula!

Much like a gorgeous Bordeaux blend paired with an aged-to-perfection Havarti cheese, Temecula’s Wine Country has many well-known “pairings” - Wilson Creek Winery & their Almond Champagne; Masia de Yabar & their numerous Argentine Malbecs; Thornton Winery & their annual Champagne Jazz Series; and South Coast & their lovely Grapeseed Spa.  There are others, of course (name your favorite), but one “pairing” that has now climbed to the top as one of my personal favorites is without a doubt Wiens Fa
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You have to love a wine tasting adventure that is nestled between a national forest and the sparkly Pacific Ocean. A destination that doesn’t get the proper respect it deserves yet continues to strive to showcase its fine wineries, classic beach culture, and amazing culinary scene. When you can just hop in the car for a short drive from the LA, Inland Empire, or San Diego area, experience year round temps in the 70’s, and take an easy, breezy 2 -day break… what could possibly be keeping you back

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