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November, 2000

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  • Featured Sponsor: Harvest Inn
  • Editor's Note: "Wine Country Farming"
  • Travel Tips: In the "Mood" for Wine Country?
  • November Events Calendar
  • The November Contest: Bodega Bay Lodge!!!!

Harvest Inn
(707) 254-8980

Enchantment in Napa Valley

Escape to a world of fine taste and seclusion amidst rich redwoods and captivating gardens bordering a 14-acre working vineyard. Ideally located in St. Helena, our English Tudor-style inn's uncommon comforts and exceptional services make every visit here unforgettable.

Luxurious cottages, suites and guestrooms feature rich furnishings, wet bar and featherbed. Most guestrooms include brick fireplace and private terrace with vineyard views. An elaborate wine-country continental breakfast is complimentary with your stay.

Two pools and spas lie nestled among lush, tranquil gardens with the Whitehall Lane Vineyard just beyond. Relax with a refreshing swim or rejuvenating massage after a day of fun and exploration in the Napa sunshine.

Harvest Inn also offers indoor facilities and outdoor settings for elegant, memorable weddings and productive corporate retreats.

For romance or to just get away from it all, there's no better place than the Harvest Inn.
Toll free: 800-950-8466

Editor's Note: Wine Country Farming

There's so much hype around the wine business these days. With spiraling prices, cult wines, numeric ratings, and tasting rooms packed with passionate aficionados, sometimes it's difficult to remember that wine, for all the pleasure it offers, is ultimately just a crop, albeit one that is harvested and processed with an artistry unrivaled by anything else grown on a farm, with the possible exception of cheese. This year, a Sonoma County grower and a neighboring winery are offering visitors an up-close look at the agricultural roots of their business.

Spectacular scenery is the first thing visitors notice on a crystalline October day at Westside Farms in the Russian River Valley. Mount St. Helena, two counties and twenty-five miles away, looms over a vast blanket of vineyard, now turning gold and red for Autumn. Rubbing shoulders on the north bank of the river with more famous neighbors like Rochioli and Williams Selyem, Westside Farms has forty acres planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which it sells to several wineries, including Alderbrook, Gary Farrell, Korbel, and Chateau St. Jean Though the owners, the Kaisers, grow corn, sunflowers, gourds, and even lamb alongside the grapes, their most famous crop is pumpkins.

Westside Farms renames itself during the Halloween season as "October Farms." More than just a pumpkin patch, the Kaisers provide a complete farm experience, with horse and carriage rides, tractor-pulled hayrides, and acres of pumpkins for families to browse through while looking for that perfect specimen to take home. Children can climb a straw mountain, crawl through a maze of old tractor tires, man the cornstalk ramparts of "Fort October," or visit with the farm's pigs, goats, horses, and sheep. Many visitors still talk fondly about Rosebud, a mountainous pig who passed away last year.

Sadly, "October Farms" itself is following the legendary hog. The Kaisers have announced that this is the last year for the pumpkin patch. Their children are all off in college, which dries up the labor pool a bit, and the economics of the wine business have dictated that they replant the pumpkins with Pinot Noir. Both the Kaisers and their Pumpkin Patch will be sorely missed.

Across the Russian River, Lynmar Winery is moving in the opposite direction. The winery, which crafts about six thousand cases of estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay a year, is inviting visitors to its second annual pumpkin patch this Autumn and expanding its three acres planted with flowers and vegetables. The winery doesn't have a tasting room and it attracts only few visitors, usually oenophiles seeking out one of their favorite producers. As Winemaker Daniel Moore says, watching the last of Lynmar's 2000 Chardonnay crop as it heads into the crusher, "There's really not that much to see." Maybe not, but it's lovely place to find pumpkins and other fall produce growing next to premium Russian River Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

On a counter outside the white wine barrel room, winery staff and their families display an array of heirloom tomatoes, winter squash, decorative corn, dried flowers, and pumpkins, all just picked from the winery's soon-to-be certified organic gardens. Families pull wagons past rows of Pinot Noir vines to find the pumpkin patch, where traditional Jack-O-Lantern material grows next to more esoteric pumpkin varieties, like Turbans, Cinderellas, and Sleeping Beauties. On a walk through the adjacent gardens, visitors can see the last vestiges of early season crops, like green beans, basil, and eggplant, as well as a dizzying variety of flowers. Oddly, some of the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, including Arkansas Travelers, Pink Brandywines and Zapotecs, have languished unpicked on the vine. That's easy to explain. Asked to describe the how Lynmar's vegetable growing skills match up with the main work of the winery, Moore says, "I think we grow them really well, but we don't harvest them as well as we harvest grapes." The problem is that Moore and his staff are too busy coddling grapes and making wine when the vegetables are ready to be picked. For this harvest at least, he's more interested in making a point than in making a profit, though he expects that to change as the winery reaches its goal of planting one acre of crops for every ten acres of vineyard. "I'm trying to rail against monoculture a little bit, and show people that wine is not the big bad industry that everybody is making it out to be. There are more people who are responsible and forward-thinking than not."

Moore's clearly given a lot of thought to the role of the wine business in the community, goading growers, on the one hand, to adopt sustainable agricultural practices, and environmentalists, on the other, to recognize that that purely organic farming risks soil erosion because it calls for tilling organic material into the vineyards. Of his pumpkin and vegetable patch he says, "We lose money, but we do it because it feels right."

We encourage your feedback! Please send your comments to our newsletter editor at Suggestions of topics you would like to see in future issues are welcome.

Wine Country Travel Tips
So you can't travel to the Wine Country often enough? How about a virtual visit?

"Imagine you're high on a hillside, surrounded by tall, whispering grass. Vineyards stretch out below you, while birds dance in the gentle breezes above..." Sutter Home Mood Maker

We thought you might be interested in a wonderful desktop application that one of our clients, Sutter Home Winery, is offering to all visitors to their site. Go to Sutter Home and download the "Mood Maker" to experience the sights and sounds of the Wine Country!


FreeRun has a new portal to the WineCountry network for Mendocino County! From the home page click on Mendocino.

November 8 - 19 -- Mendocino Wine & Mushroom Festival
Twelve-day County-wide extravaganza. Includes: A Mushroom Symposium, Winemaker Dinners, Guided Mushroom Identification Tours, Exhibits, Cooking Classes, Special Lodging Rates, and yes...more! Call for additional information.
Fee: Various.
Time: Various.
Phone: (866) GO-MENDO Mendocino Alliance

November 24 - 25 -- Thanksgiving Fair
Arts, crafts, paintings, photography, ceramics, jewelry, and unique gifts. Great food and drinks! Mendocino Art Center, Little Lake Street, Mendocino
Fee: N/A.
Time: 10am - 5pm.
Phone: (800) 653-3328 or (707) 937-5818

November 9 - 12 -- "The Great Wine Escape Weekend"
Presented by Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association This three-day affair will feature over 25 wineries at 15 locations, with tours occurring either by narrated bus tour or self-guided tour. Other events include a Golf Tournament, the Monterey Wine Auction & Gala, Winemaker Dinners by world-renowned chefs, the Great Wine Symposium, an evening Jazz Concert, and The Great Wine Escape Finale - with over 30 wineries pouring their world-class wines. In addition, local hotels will be offering discounted rates and local restaurants will be offering something special to event participants.
Call for various locations.
Fee: Call for various ticket prices.
Time: Call for various times.
Phone: (831) 375-9400

November 24 -- Christmas Tree Lighting on Cannery Row
Santa Claus' arrival at the snow-covered Steinbeck Plaza on Cannery Row Festivities include lighting of the 25-foot tree, musical performances by Joyful Tidings Caroling Company, and The Salvation Army Band, and free photos of children with Santa in his cottage.
Fee: Free.
Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm.
Phone: (831) 372-2259

November 5 -- Autumn Wine Tasting & Festival
Come taste the best of the mountain in the leafy courtyard of the Christian Brothers historic monastery and retreat, Mont La Salle Meet owners and winemakers from 15 Mount Veeder wineries who will pour their Mount Veeder wines accompanied by light hors d'oeuvres and music. Make your reservations by October 25th. As the tasting will be sold out, no drop-ins on the day of the event will be allowed.
Fee: $25.00 per person.
Time: Event times are staggered from 1:00-3:00 and 3:00-5:00, so please RSVP for either time.
Phone: (707) 965-3735 Amy Zuidema

November 24 Yountville Festival of Lights, Lighting Ceremony & Street Faire
Kick-off festivities for the November 24th through New Year's Eve 12th Annual Festival of Lights celebration. All-day street faire with food, wine, strolling musicians, jugglers, face painters, sketch artists, & magicians entertainment. A magical tree & town lighting extravaganza, visit by Santa Claus, carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides and shops open until 9pm. Yountville Chamber of Commerce Special Event
Fee: N/A.
Time: Faire 2pm-9pm, Lighting 6pm.
Phone: (707) 944-0904 or (707) 944-2451

November 11 - 12 -- 14th Annual Holiday Affair at Ferrari-Carano
Kick off the Holiday Season at Ferrari-Carano's Annual Holiday Affair. Enjoy a festive wine and food pairing in the Underground Cellar, tour the fabulous gardens and pick up some great holiday entertaining and decorating ideas. You'll find wonderful gift shopping and enjoy the world-class wines of Ferrari-Carano in the tasting room. Healdsburg. Fee: $20.00, includes logo glass.
Time: 11am-4pm Phone: (707) 433-6700

November 14 -- Winemaker Dinner at Sonoma Mission Inn
Be part of an intimate gathering with a renowned Sonoma vintner, tasting premier wines and savoring perfectly paired wine country cuisine! November 14th features Cale Cellars. Advance reservations are recommended and spa and golf vacation packages are also available in conjunction with this event. Fee: $90 + tax & gratuity.
Time: 6:30.
Phone: (800) 862-4945 Reservations

There are so many events to choose from -- we encourage you to pick your favorites from the full list at:

Enter Our Contest!! For November, we have a One Night Stay at the Bodega Bay Lodge!

Located 65 miles north of San Francisco, the luxurious Bodega Bay Lodge has beautifully appointed rooms, excellent conference facilities, and a full service spa and fitness center overlooking the dramatic bluffs and white sand beaches of Bodega Bay. From tidepooling to antique shopping -- come explore!

This gift certificate is good for one night stay, Sunday through Thursday (holidays excluded). Certificate must be used within one year from date of issue, and can be combined with another reservation.

To enter this contest: 1.) click "Reply" and 2.) in the body of the message type: "Yes! I want my night at Bodega Bay Lodge!"

One entry per person, please. Deadline for response is Midnight (Pacific Standard Time) Sunday, November 5, 2000. We're sorry, we will not be able to respond to everyone - only the winner will be contacted. Winner may be asked to provide a quote for the following month's newsletter.

FreeRun employees or past employees are not eligible to enter this contest. Good Luck!


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more events
For more events in the Napa Valley area for September and the rest of 2000 please look through our extensive Events Calendar:

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For information on advertising in the Napa Valley Events Newsletter, please contact Kathy Moore at or 707-265-1853 ext. 109. Please refer to the Napa Valley Events Newsletter.

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