Discover Winter in the Wine Country

March 2004

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Bud Break in the Wine Country
To Your Health!
Choosing Wines for Every Season
Wine Country Featured Destination
1801 First – History Beauty Meets Contemporary Luxury
Wine Country Recipe
Peas & Lettuce
Wine Country Featured Event
Redwood Coast Whale & Jazz Festival Drawing!
A Romantic Night and Adventurous Day - for Two!!

From all of us at FreeRun - Thank you for using our sites!
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Shady Oaks Country Inn
"The Best of Both Worlds"

Shady Oaks Country Inn--The Best of Both WorldsThis is the best of both worlds; Shady Oaks Country Inn, located on a quiet country lane just two miles from historic downtown St. Helena. We are knowledgeable and happy to act as your personal concierge for dinners, winery tours; anything you may want or need.

We are famous for our full gourmet champagne breakfasts and the Roman pillared patio where breakfast and "premium wines and cheeses are served each evening with warm hospitality!"

Each guestroom at the Shady Oaks Country Inn boasts its own private bath, antiques and fine linens. Three have fireplaces and two have their own private entrances. The owners are also winemakers and will be delighted to let you taste their wines and sample right out of the barrel.

It is our sincere wish that your stay with us be romantic and memorable. Off-season mid week rates available.

Shady Oaks Country Inn, 99 Zinfandel Lane, St. Helena, 707-963-1190,


Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery

Niebaum-Coppola Estate WineryFrancis Ford Coppola has been making movies for more than 30 years, and wines at his Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery in the Napa Valley for almost 20. In February 1995, he purchased the remaining part of the original estate--the massive stone Inglenook Chateau and its adjacent vineyards. This purchase reunited Gustave Niebaum's original Napa Valley estate established in 1879.

March is a special month for us here at the winery. It signifies the release of our Flagship wine Rubicon. Our 2000 Rubicon captures the heritage of Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon and is made from 100% organically farmed grapes grown on our estate.

With so much more to offer than just great wine, we invite you to visit us in person at the winery in Rutherford, or online at We're offering first-time web shoppers a 25% discount on all online purchases made from now until March 20th, 2004. Simply enter the coupon code FRN33 before you begin your online shopping. Questions: or call 800 575-9927.


Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
"Come Celebrate Spring With Us!"

Holiday Inn Express HotelSpring is here and the Holiday Inn Sebastopol invites you to come celebrate its arrival in the tranquil beauty of West Sonoma County. The daffodils and mustard are abloom; the wetlands are aflutter with migratory birds; and wine is aplenty at events along the Russian River Wine Road! Enjoy a 'Barrel Tasting Weekend' or the 'Pick of the Vine'. Visit the misty ancient redwood groves. Stroll along unspoiled beaches to whale watch, view the Harbor Seal pups or spectacular Pacific coastline.

Holiday Inn Express in Sebastopol you will find spacious, well-appointed accommodations convenient to all of these attractions and events. Complimentary continental breakfast, free local calls and wireless internet connectivity, in-room coffee makers and refrigerators, outdoor pool and spa, fitness room, guest coin-laundry, and a friendly staff to accommodate you. It is the perfect place to stay as you celebrate spring in Sonoma County!

Call (707)-829-6677 to reserve a room at the Inn, or reserve on line now.

Bud Break in the Wine Country

To Your Health!

Bud Break in the Wine CountryHere in California, the feeling of spring has already arrived. The daffodils are already fading, and a resplendent symphony of flowering trees plays daily alongside vineyards brimming with mustard and clover in bloom. Last year, the weather in March was dry, and the landscape was glorious and bright every day. Even if there is rain, awesome days follow each storm, with brilliant sunshine sprinkled between any clouds. The air is fresh, the days are lengthening, the drama of spring is building yet again.

As nature begins her cycle anew, your wine country wanderings will rejuvenate your spirits and infuse you with new energy as you take the beauty in. Ultimately, you might look to renew yourself physically too, taking the meaning of vacation to a new level. Relieve muscle tension and stiffness, strengthen your immune system, eliminate toxins, replenish skin tone and youthfulness. Maybe exercise a bit.

Health Spa Napa ValleyHave you found your ideal wine country spa yet? Remember that in most cases, it is best to plan ahead. Here are some recommendations by area:

Health Spa Napa Valley in St. Helena is centrally located, convenient to Napa and Calistoga. Here, they offer a complete set of massage, skincare and body treatments, yoga, fitness classes and training, whirlpool and lap pool. Many great packages are offered. Pick your own, or try the ultimate Outrageous Indulgence, including a full day of special treatments and a luscious lunch at nearby Tra Vigne (served poolside when the weather is nice). The convenient setup, with lockers and in-town location, means that if time is limited, you can just pop in while your friends who don't want to indulge have plenty to do in town. More information at

Bodyworks SpaSonoma Body Works is located in Glen Ellen, but offers on-site massage services delivered to your door in the Sonoma Valley. This is especially great when you are already residing at one of Wine Country's finer properties. Try the Aromatherapy selection--the lavender facial steam and Swedish massage combination is the perfect order to follow busy days of stimulated senses…call it dessert. Or choose the Massage for Two and share! Let them do the bodywork while you relax after your own indulgence. More at

The Alles European Day Spa, located in somewhat suburban Windsor, is especially convenient to Healdsburg and Santa Rosa. Body treatments, European facials (customized for men, women and teens!), many styles of massage, waxing and nails are all offered in a thoughtfully created, elegant environment where you can surrender to the benefits of whichever selection cures you best. Try a Grapeseed Mud Wrap, Ayurvedic Four-hand Oil & Herb Massage, or for something really different and wonderful, try thermotherapeutic Earth Stone massage. Warm stones are used to relax and massage muscle tissue, dissolving stress and melting through tension. More at

So, reconnect with nature and earth while you rejuvenate body, spirit and health during your next visit to the California Wine Country. Consider the added benefits of sharing with a friend. Remember, reservations are typically recommended at least 2-7 days in advance, but you always can call to check for last-minute availability. Relish the opportunity, indulge and revitalize, enjoy!

Article submitted by Taylor Poff

Choosing Wines for Every Season


Preparing for your visit to wine country?   You're doing your homework, that's a smart start.   Perhaps you will be attending one of the numerous Barrel Tasting Events, sampling wines as you experience the glory of the spring.   Don't just get caught up in the enthusiasm.   You will be making important wine choices…are you making a shopping list now?  

For background on pairing food and wine, there is a helpful outline of principles for success here: .

Remember to consider the spices and other items in your recipes along with the main ingredients.   Reducing and intensifying flavors, adding richness and spicing all change the way wine and food interacts.   Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Style of preparation, especially with vegetables, can increase wine possibilities.   Creaming spinach or asparagus, or adding butter to artichokes, changes the performance of the wines as richness is judiciously added.
  • Match acidity.
  • Match sweetness.
  • Keep in mind that salt in food suppresses bitterness in wine;   also, sweet wines will taste sweeter.
  • Match weight and intensity of food and wine.
  • Interplay with interesting side-dishes, creatively involving fresh spring produce.

Protein and fat in rich meats soften red wines with big tannins, overcome the gaminess of lamb, and makes the wine taste more fruity.   If you like your steak well done, lighten the wine up since there is less fat to promote that interplay.


You should be!   There is nothing worse than realizing that a hot, high-alcohol Zin doesn't match the upcoming barbeque weather, or that the case of big luscious yet tannic Cab everyone raved about in the tasting room just isn't ready for spring holidays…but maybe for next winter!   Shopping for the cellar is smart too, but if you are really shopping for occasions more immediately at hand, you may want to consider these suggestions for food and wine now, and compile a list to guide your purchase strategy.

So let's cut to the chase.   Here are a few great foods to enjoy during spring, some preparation ideas, and some wines you might look to match with them:

Since Sauvignon Blanc has come up as a match for a lot of these spring foods, here's one to check out:   try the interesting 2002 Gusto from Davis Family Vineyards …a Sonoma County winery working with New Zealand fruit, bright and fresh with a crisp, clean finish, hallmark of the special micro-climate there.   They recently opened a tasting room conveniently located in the new complex on Front Street near Memorial Bridge in Healdsburg, where a number of interesting wineries are located together .   Another standout would be the creamy, complex, contemplative Hawley Wines Viognier, available at LOCALS Tasting Room in Geyserville just to the north.

For actual recipes, you probably know how to tickle the search engines.   But have you noticed how winery websites are becoming more and more useful for exploring and finding actual recipes and wine-pairing ideas?   Alderbrook Winery in Healdsburg, for instance, offers a variety of ways to search…by wine varietal, by ingredient, by category, with their excellent wines too.   Check it out at   Also, you’ll want to take a look at, which is also searchable starting with food or wine, and gives several different varietal suggestions to match each of the many recipes offered.


Spring Lamb

Raisin/Sugar Glaze

Rich Zinfandel, Cabernet or Merlot
Dry Rosé, Dolcetto

Seasonal Vegetables


Garlic Sautee

Au Gratin, or with
Cream Sauce

Dry Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc,

Sauvignon Blanc

Seasonal Comfort Food
Macaroni & Sharper
Cheddar Cheese
Egg Salad
Rice Custard


Fresh Cilantro


Creamy Viognier, Sangiovese
Creamy Viognier or Chardonnay
Viognier Port, Muscat

So taste to your hearts content, and don't hesitate to fill the cellar for the long term.   But be sure that your focus is on finding the wines that are values today and a good match to the Spring and Summer foods that aren't far away.   Remember, we are talking about wines where ready-to-drink won't be a question.   And they can be found in the Tasting Rooms if you taste, and purchase, thoughtfully.

Finally, we've covered some good food and wine possibilities for the spring season…don't forget to keep your eye on summer too!   Varietals like Sangiovese, lighter Zinfandels, Malbec, Mourvedre and Carignane are wines to look out for to match summer events.   Value-oriented, quality reigns as well in some of these lesser known varietal wines, and their lighter body and alcohol will be a great match to informal summer eating as things heat up.   Go ahead and find the wines you like, you can trust us to bring the foods to match in June…see you at the barbeque!

Article submitted by Taylor Poff

Featured Sponsor
 Shell Ferrari/Maserati Historic Challenge at Infineon Raceway

Shell Ferrari/Maserati Historic Challenge at Infineon Raceway
Race fans have something to look forward to — the Ferrari/Maserati Historic Challenge series at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. This series offers spectators the opportunity to see - and hear - some of the most exotic cars in the world, in the environment they were designed for – the race track. Enjoy the first appointment of the 50th Anniversary of Ferrari in N.A. Saturday and Sunday (March 20-21).
More Info and Tickets

Wine Country Featured Destination

1801 First - Where Historic Beauty Meets Contemporary Luxury1801 First - Where Historic Beauty Meets Contemporary Luxury

Recently a member of's editorial staff stayed at 1801 First, a Napa Valley Bed & Breakfast Inn, finding it peaceful and luxurious. Similarities to classic B&Bs ends at the door. 1801 First is a gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian, with striking, classic architecture that has been carefully blended with modern, sophisticated resort-style décor, amenities and courtyard garden.

The elegant and beautiful one-time home located at 1801 First Street was designed by William Corlett, a prominent early 20th century Napa architect. Centrally located in the thriving and increasingly popular historic district of downtown Napa, the inn is a mere minute or two to the Napa Opera, Copia and numerous reviewed restaurants.

1801 First - Where Historic Beauty Meets Contemporary LuxuryFor those like our writer, who find too many antiques and lacy décor to be cloying, the inn is a refreshing and urbane departure. Clean colors, textures and contemporary design combine with down duvets, sateen linens, silky robes and spa amenities to create a relaxing experience. Speaking of spas, a full complement of spa services including facials and a menu of massage selections are available in-room or at the inn's neighboring day spa, rendering the 1801 First even more resort like. Two of the most favored treatments are the ‘morning massage' with breakfast in bed or conversely the ‘Late Night Special' which couples rave about. A memorable way to complete a day in Wine Country, couples are treated to an in-room or suite one-hour massage each combined with candles, sparkling wine and aromatherapy.

1801 First - Where Historic Beauty Meets Contemporary LuxuryRooms and cottages are spacious and well-appointed, many with TV/VCR and CD players, spa tubs and fireplaces, and have a stylish esthetic. Mornings are highlighted by many choices. Guests may choose from a spa breakfast, room service breakfast, expanded continental or the gourmet three-course ‘indulgence' breakfast. Table-side service includes hot entrée with fresh baked breads, fresh fruit, granola, and coffee, teas and juice. Special dietary requests are gladly accommodated.

Innkeepers are really more like concierges. Owner Darcy Tunt prides herself on training her staff to be knowledgeable personal concierges handling the minutest of details to enhanßce your Wine Country visit.



Featured Sponsor
Discover Winter in the Wine Country

Discover Winter in the Wine Country
Up to 50% off on lodging, free wine tasting, dining deals, spa specials, shopping discounts & more from Nov 1st thru March 31, 2004. Discounts only available with a Wine Country Gift Pack. $25 Gift packs include 2 logo wine glasses, ID card and more. Must show ID card to accesses discounts. Valid Nov 1, 2003 thru March 31, 2004. For listing of participants or to order, call 800-799-6456, 707-942-6333 or visit

Wine Country Recipe

Peas and Lettuce

It is hard to improve on lightly steamed fresh peas with a little bit of butter. Here is a fancy side dish that uses a few other  vegetables available from local growers.

2 tbsp. butter
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small head of Boston or Bibb lettuce, finely shredded
4 lbs unshelled fresh peas, shelled (about 4 cups)
4 tbsp. water of chicken broth
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. dried thyme or 1 sprig fresh
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Heat the butter in a heavy pot that has a tight cover, and add the green onion and lettuce. Stir to coat the greens with butter. Add all the other ingredients except the parsley, cover tightly and simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes or until the peas are tender. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Makes 4-5 servings.

Reprinted from the Unabridged Vegetable Cookbook.

Featured Sponsor
The Yountville Epicurean Affair Featuring Chefs and Winemakers of the Town

The Yountville Epicurean Affair
March 28, 2004, 1pm to 10pm - A day filled with delicious treats & educative seminars with Chef & Owner, Cindy Pawlcyn from Mustards Grill and Sandra Hewitt, Director of Marketing from Bell Wine Cellars. Includes private winery tour & festive dinner with live music. For more information and enrollment contact Ms. Axel Fabre, Founder & Producer: 707.944.9429 or Website:

Featured Sponsor
Valley Men Who Cook

Valley Men Who Cook
April 25th at Culinary Institute of America. Teams of amateur chefs cook to raise money for charities. Gourmet food, wine & spirits, live music, art, & auctions. Tickets $45 advance / $50 at door. $75 Premiere Ticket also includes 2 theater-style Celebrity Chef demos with wine expert. Demos at 1pm / Event at 2pm. Tickets at or 707-963-4456.

Wine Country Featured Events

Things to Do in the Wine Country:

April 2 - 4 -- Redwood Coast Whale & Jazz Festival
The northern California Coast is a prime area for watching the migration of Gray Whales, and whale festivals abound each spring. On the northern edge of Sonoma County and the southern edge of Mendocino County lies the Redwood Coast, whose 2nd Annual Whale Festival has been "jazzed up", combining whale watching with the finest in jazz entertainment, culinary delights and more.

Come for Dinner & Jazz, Brunch & Jazz, Seafood Chowder, Wine and Micro-brew Tastings, plus Free Jazz on Saturday. Saturday Night Headliner: The Larry Vuckovich World-Class Sextet performs a tribute to Count Basie and Benny Goodman. Whale watching and activities will be held at Point Arena Lighthouse. The three-day festival takes place on Friday through Sunday in Gualala and Point Arena.

Fee: Varies with event - Free to $30 pp. Time: Various. See Full Schedule on Website. Phone Number: Info: 800-778-5252 Tickets: 707-884-1138

For a complete calendar of events by region, visit: Gold Country, Mendocino, Monterey,
Napa Valley
, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Sonoma County, Temecula, Virginia Info Drawing:

Win a Romantic Night and Adventurous Day for Two!

Enter to win a one night stay at The Carneros Inn, a luxurious new resort in the midst of Napa Valley's beautiful Carneros winegrowing region.   Surrounded by spectacularly picturesque vineyard landscapes, The Carneros Inn is " a place designed to make absolutely everything feel better."   Located an hour from San Francisco, and minutes from both Sonoma and Napa, the Carneros Inn offers a elegant comfort and all the modern conveniences.

Start your Day of Adventure with a 'Sip N' Cycle Tour' for two from Getaway Adventures.   Spend the day on a guided bike tour through Calistoga's beautiful quiet country roads, stopping to taste fine wine at several extraordinary wineries along the way.

After a day exploring wineries and beautiful countryside, sit back and enjoy dinner for two…an extraordinary five-course meal aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. Open year-round, the magnificent Napa Valley Wine Train is an attraction you surely won't want to miss during your visit to the Wine Country. Treat a friend or loved one to world class wines, freshly prepared fine dining, and relaxed elegance.

***No purchase necessary. Must be at least 21 years old to enter. Carneros Inn & Getaway Adventures gift certificates must be used Sunday through Thursday. Only one entry per person permitted. Winner will be selected March 15, 2004 by random drawing. Winner will be notified by email. Employees of Freerun Technologies are ineligible. Void where prohibited by law.

Click here to enter this drawing! (Please note: If you are already subscribed to the newsletter, you are automatically entered in this drawing.)

The Carneros Inn :
Getaway Adventures :
Napa Valley Wine Train :

The Winner of this Drawing will be announced on The Winner's Page after March 15. Info...

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