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Napa Valley Museum
Located in Yountville, California, the Napa Valley Museum is a destination for locals and visitors alike. The museum offers a variety of programs and changing exhibits, from fine arts to history and the natural sciences, showcasing the cultural and environmental heritage of the Napa Valley
A member of the WineCountry.com staff recently visited the Napa Valley Museum to view their latest exhibit and catch a Saturday afternoon program, Lost Arts of the Napa Valley, a talk and demonstration with Joe Callizo and Ed Salvestrin, two Napa Valley historians. Joe and Ed talked about the old ways of growing a vineyard—those techniques that have been replaced by modern farming methods. They brought a complete array of old tools and demonstrated how to use them.
The current exhibit at the Napa Valley Museem is based on the book Native Grandeur: Preserving California's Vanishing Landscapes, published by the Nature Conservancy of California. The extraordinary landscapes and unique light of California have inspired painters from when they first arrived on the West Coast. The approximately 50 paintings in this exhibit document with clarity the visions of these early landscape painters.
An impressive photography exhibit that runs through November 3, 2002, is Wine Caves: Napa Valley Underground. This visual story of the history and construction process of wine caves was developed by Randolph Murphy, Senior Curator at the Museum, along with Lowell Downey and Janna Waldinger of Art & Clarity in Napa. Using over 80 remarkable photos of some of Napa Valley's most exclusive wineries, this work embodies not only information but beauty and creativity as well.
A visit would not be complete without touring the museem's permanent exhibits.The Land and People of the Napa Valley exhibit focuses on the unique environment and history of the Napa region. Another permanent and very popular exhibit is the California Wine: The Science of an Art, the Valley's only interactive wine exhibit. Using 26 video disc players, 9 microcomputers, 24 monitors, and 11 audio speakers integrated into glowing three-dimensional panels, this exhibit traces the complete winemaking process. Technology combined with music, the spoken word, and images in accelerated time, allows visitors to enjoy and explore the realm of winemaking at their own pace.
The next time you are in Yountville, WineCountry.com suggests you take a tour of the extraordinary Napa Valley Museum, and learn about the unique cultural and environmental heritage of the Napa Valley.
Visit their website at www.napavalleymuseum.org
Charles M. Schulz Museum
Fifty years of memories...
The Charles M. Schulz Museum is the vision of Jeannie Schulz, wife of the late cartoonist, Ed Anderson, close family friend and Schulz's lawyer, and the late Mark Cohen, Santa Rosa cartoon collector. Although Charles Schulz was very much opposed to the idea, not wanting to create a "theme park" atmosphere, the end result could not be further from that.
The Museum is a place where those who loved the daily comic strip can forever enjoy the Peanuts Gang. Situated in Santa Rosa, CA, just one-half block from the studio where many of the comic strips were created, the area is filled with close to 50 years of memories.
A member of the WineCountry.com staff visited the museum during its first week of operation and found it to be a warm, inviting, and especially entertaining place to visit. The kids will enjoy exploring all the whimsical artwork and displays while the adults take a stroll down memory lane with the Peanuts Gang. The museum encompasses over 27,000 square feet, including various galleries, a video room complete with bean bag chairs for enjoying old Peanuts movies, an art studio, a research center which provides information on the life and career of Mr. Schulz, a 100-seat auditorium, and of course, Charlie Brown's kite-eating tree!
Ruth Gardner Begell, the Museum Director, reported a constant flow of visitors on both the Member's Opening Day with between 1,500 - 2,000 visitors, and the first day the museum was open to the general public with close to 1,500 visitors. Ms. Begell was very pleased with these numbers saying "They provided the best possible experience for those visiting the museum."
So far one of the the most popular
and most inquired about exhibits is the "Colorado Wall". This
wall was moved from Mr. Schulz's home in Colorado Springs where
he lived in 1951 and contains early images of the Peanuts characters.
It had been covered by several coats of paint applied over the
years that was painstakingly removed inch by inch with cotton
balls. The other exhibit that draws the most curiosity is the
17' x 22' mural of Lucy and Charlie Brown in the museum's Great
Hall, which is compiled of 3,588 individual comic strip tiles,
It took Japanese artist Yoshiteru Otani over two years to complete
the layout of the comic strips to create the Peanuts' characters
Instead of one grand opening day, the Museum will offer special programs from August 17 - September 2, 2002. There will be book signings, trivia contests, special appearances by the Peanuts Gang, discounted rates at Snoopy's Home Ice, and documentaries as well as interview video footage of Charles M. Schulz shown in the Auditorium.
Visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum at http://www.schulzmuseum.org.
Chateau Souverain – Café at the Winery
Dining on the patio at Chateau Souverain may well be the Wine Country's quintessential experience. Located in Sonoma County's Alexander Valley, which has been recognized as a premium grape-growing region since the late 1800s, the Café At The Winery Restaurant offers the chance to dine at the winery itself and experience excellent wines produced from the grapes grown just yards from your table.
The extraordinary food competes for your attention while the sun is setting over the surrounding lush vineyards - and triumphs admirably. Chef Martin Courtman's bistro-style menu reflects the local bounty with excellent salads and sauces obviously made from just picked ingredients. The Souverain Caesar Salad with Vella Dry Jack cheese was classically prepared and a wonderful, first course to the delicious Fig Stuffed Quail. Each dish was paired with a wine suggestion that suited the selection perfectly. Food and wine pairings are important at Chateau Souverain, and the opportunity to taste several flights of wine offers the novice a chance to hone their palette.
Don't forget to take a peek at the desert menu before you go, or perhaps sample a Chateau Souverain Syrah Port for the perfect ending to an excellent meal. The experience of dining at the Café at the Winery Restaurant should not be missed during your next trip to the Wine Country.
Recipe of the Month
This month, we bring you a featured recipe by Chateau Souverain's Executive Chef Martin Courtman, Dungeness Crab & Ricotta Cheese Pillow with Blood Orange:
Make this recipe and let WineCountry.com know how it turned out. Send responses to email@example.com
Tasting Room Recommendation
Kirkland Ranch Winery
The Kirkland Ranch Winery is a beautiful architectural rendition of a rustic ranch lodgehouse. This spacious structure is supported by massive cedar trunks, some three-stories tall, and is decorated in a western motif that conveys the feeling that you are stepping into years gone by, to the time of the early California settlers, cowboys and cattle ranchers. In fact, this property was previously a working cattle ranch built by generations of Kirklands. In 1985 the Kirklands planted their first vineyards, and in 1998 produced their first estate wine. Currently Kirkland Ranch Winery has over 142 acres of prime estate vineyards. The winery itself was opened to the public in October of 1999
A WineCountry.com Lifestyle editorial staff member recently visited the Kirkland Ranch Winery and found it to be an unpretentious, friendly kind of place run by real down-to-earth people. Located on the second floor of this rustic lodge of high ceilings and western artwork is the immense and exquisite tasting room. After being greeted by the delightful Tasting Room Manager, Daniel Barnes, our staff member was presented with a tasting that included five selections. A very smooth 1999 Pinot Grigio; a 1999 Rosato Di Sangiovese, 100% Sangiovese, full of fruit aromas and flavors; a 1996 Merlot produced entirely of estate fruit from vineyards surrounding the winery; and a 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon with lovely earthy characteristics and a finish that lingers. Last but not least, a taste of the 1999 Agape - Agape means "Unconditional Love." This richly flavorful and fruity wine excites all of your taste buds! The wines were delicious and David's passion for the wines and knowledge of the winery's history added to the ambience of the experience.
Visitors are encouraged to explore the room, the artwork, and the majestic, panoramic views. There are many spots to sit back and relax - at a table, in front of the massive fireplace on a comfy sofa, or outside on the balcony. The beautifully decorated wine shop is filled with wonderful treasures to select from. Take home a bottle of Kirkland Ranch wine to savor while you reminisce about your Wine Country visit!
Located on Highway 12 between Highways 80 and 29, Kirkland Ranch Winery offers a tasting room and wine bar, wine gift shop, and impressive event facilities. The winery is set high upon a knoll, with spectacular views overlooking vineyards, the Carneros wine-growing region, San Pablo Bay, and San Francisco. Visit the website at http://www.kirklandranchwinery.com
Vineyard Creek Hotel, Spa and Conference Center
Is Santa Rosa the center of the Wine Country? Local newspapers are touting the newly opened Vineyard Creek, Hotel Spa and Conference Center located in Santa Rosa as being just that. A member of the WineCountry.com Lifestyle editorial team recently stayed the night at Vineyard Creek to find out for themselves.
Certainly the hotel's Santa Rosa location could not be a better starting point for shopping, dining and visiting the wineries. Located just 52 miles north of San Francisco, with its property bordering historic Railroad Square http://www.railroadsquare.net, the 155 room Vineyard Creek Hotel, Spa and Conference Center is designed in a Mediterranean style with courtyards, pool, full service spa, and beautiful sculpture gardens.
Despite being located in an urban area the Vineyard Creek Hotel, Spa and Conference offers a secluded feeling. The rooms are very well equipped and comfortable and, in addition to a long list of amenities, feature high-speed internet access just in case your trip is not all pleasure. In fact, if you need to be in Santa Rosa or the surrounding area on business this property offers a nice mix of both relaxation and business amenities.
Executive groups will appreciate the beautifully appointed boardrooms and conference rooms, as well as the proximity of several excellent golf courses. Leisure travelers will enjoy the hotel's proximity to many of the Wine Country's favorite attractions. The Spa offers massage, aromatherapy, facials and full body treatments - perfect after a long day of meetings or wine tasting. The hotel's restaurant, Brasserie de la mer, offers regional cuisine inspired by classic country French influences and an excellent selection of regional wines.
Check out Vineyard Creek Hotel, Spa and Conference Center's web site:http://www.vineyardcreek.com
Events for September
September 14 -- Emeril In
The Harvest Sun Hosted by Fetzer Vineyards
September 20 - 22 -- Mendocino County
For a complete calendar of events in the Mendocino Region, visit: http://mendocino.winecountry.com/events.html
September 21 --
Galante Vineyards Days of Wine & Roses
September 28 -- Hahn
Estates Smith & Hook
For a complete calendar of events in the Monterey Region, visit: http://monterey.winecountry.com/events.html
September 14 -- Harvest Party at
September 21 -- Staglin
Family Vineyard Music Festival
For a complete calendar of events in the Napa Valley Region, visit: http://www.napavalley.com/events.html
SAN LUIS OBISPO:
September 14 -- 15 -- Autumn Fest
at Paso Robles Hot Springs &
September 1 --Pops
by the Sea '02
For a complete calendar of events in the San Luis Obispo Region, visit: http://sanluisobispo.winecountry.com/events.html
September 6 -- Winemaker Dinner
September 21 -- Crush Party at Gainey
For a complete calendar of events in the Santa Barbara Region, visit: http://santabarbara.winecountry.com/events.html
September 28 - 29 -- Cinnabar
Vineyards Grape Stomp
September 22 -- San Francisco Comedy
Competition at the Crow's
For a complete calendar of events in the Santa Cruz Region, visit: http://santacruz.winecountry.com/events.html
September 1 -- Ten Years
of Winemaking at Chateau
September 24 -- Dinner with the Winemaker
at Tastings Restaurant
For a complete calendar of events in the
Sonoma Region, visit: http://www.sonoma.com/events.html
Win the "Vintner's Choice Wine Country Tour"!
Your tour begins mid-morning at the Napa Valley location of your choice and will take you and your guests to a day filled with world-class wines and the ever present beauty that defines the region. Sit back and relax while sipping complimentary champagne. Our knowledgeable chauffeurs/tour guides will take you and your guests to unique family-owned wineries and some of the unforgettable cornerstones of California Winemaking.
You may find a more intimate wine experience by visiting a small and more personal winery where the opportunity may present itself to talk with the winemaker and discover the secrets of their handcrafted products.
Investigate the winemaking practices and enjoy the handcrafted products of two different wineries located in the Rutherford Bench or the Stag’s Leap District where some of the most highly coveted Cabernet Sauvignon’s can be found. Unveil the rich traditions and winemaking techniques that go into every step in production from grape to glass. .
A unique barrel tasting at a world-renowned winery will help you to understand how a wine’s color, texture, taste and aroma are exemplified in the early stages of a wine's life and how those elements change throughout the years.
No visit to wine country is complete without a picnic alongside the vineyard. Select all your favorites from a gourmet deli and enjoy a bottle of the wine made by their family since the late 1800’s.
Tour includes: Includes 6 hour limousine tour
for up to 6 people, tasting fees at 4 wineries, wine country
picnic, and gratuity. (Valued at $900.00)
Arrangements made by California Wine Tours www.californiawinetours.com
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Photography © courtesy of Nicholas Elias