David Auerbach/Carols in the Caves

December 2001

Welcome Note
Napa Welcomes Copia
Holiday Shopping
Events For December
This Month's Recipe
Dining Recommendation
Tasting Room Recommendation
Newsletter Contest Info

From all of us at FreeRun - Thank you for using our sites!
MontereyMendocinoNapaValleySanta Barbara
Santa CruzSonomaWineCountryDrinkwine

Welcome Note

Greetings from! This December we encourage our readers to embrace the wonderful winter season and celebrate each day. We have included in this issue a fabulous way to celebrate the holidays, or any day, with a sparkling wine from Gloria Ferrer. We have also included for you details on Napa's latest addition,
Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts. Also, if you are hunting for the perfect gift this season we have included great wine country inspired gift ideas that are sure to please! Additionally, you'll find in this issue a fun and quick recipe for your holiday party and if you don't feel like cooking, we've included recommendations to a wonderful Pacific Grove restaurant, Passionfish, located on the Monterey Peninsula. The events calendar is full of upcoming activities, so don't forget to check it out as you plan your holiday Wine Country getaway!

As always, we invite you to explore all that the Wine Country has to offer, as the possibilities are endless! The Wine Country embraces new travelers, and for those on a returning journey, we're positive the Wine Country will entice you all over again!

The Wine Country is our home, our workplace and our inspiration…Enjoy!!

The Lifestyle Newsletter is brought to you by the division of FreeRun Technologies, Inc.


California Wine ClubThis holiday season, send a California Wine Adventure with The California Wine Club!

Each month your gift recipient two bottles of award winning wine, hand-selected from the best of California's small, family-owned wineries. Included in each shipment is our fun and entertaining newsletter Uncorked.™

Monthly gift subscriptions start at $32.95 plus shipping. Send as many months as you wish. We also have special discounts on gifts of 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. Corporate discounts are available.

Give a gift that fills their glass with adventure and a taste of the good life from The California Wine Club!

For more information, call The California Wine Club at 1-800-777-4443 or visit our website at


Christmas in the ParkDo you know the way to San Jose? Every December, over 400,000 people make their way downtown to discover one of San Jose's best family traditions: Christmas in the Park. Yearly, the two-acre park is transformed into a holiday fantasy with over 60 musical and animated exhibits, glittering lights, and outdoor ice skating rink. Click on the following link for further information:

Do you know the place to stay in San Jose? Just a few minutes from downtown is the Clarion President Inn. This AAA 3-diamond Inn has 46 well-appointed rooms and suites. After dining in one of San Jose's fine restaurants and exploring the sites and sounds of Christmas in the Park; return to the Clarion for complementary hot apple cider in the lobby. You may also wish to bring your bathing suit and soak in the hotel's heated pool and jacuzzi. In the morning enjoy a complementary deluxe continental buffet breakfast. Then, visit one of the local attractions such as wineries, shopping, or even visit the Winchester Mystery House. Click the attached link for further information: Weekend rates from $63.20 to $99.00. HINT: Call directly (408-972-2200) and reserve Clarion's $89 Winchester Mystery House package, which includes 2 adult tickets. Happy Holidays!

Napa Welcomes Copia

Copia welcomes the newest addition to Napa, CA, Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts. Members of the staff recently attended the grand opening of Copia and participated in a fabulous wine tasting, met Juila Child as she celebrated the opening of Copia's restaurant, Julia's Kitchen, and took part in a delicious cooking demonstration. After the Pecan Pie cooking demonstration, featuring Beth from Beth's Fine Desserts of San Francisco, it was time to venture to the theater, and listen to the masterminds behind the Copia project. On the upper level of Copia visitors strolled through the beautiful lobby and into the art gallery and later participated in a wine and chocolate pairing activity as well as a blind tasting.

The grand opening was a great success and was pleased to be a part of it.

Copia is essentially a "cultural museum and educational center dedicated to exploring the distinctively American contribution to the character of wine and food in close association with the arts and humanities, and to celebrating these as a unique expression of the vitality of American life, culture and heritage." Copia is now open to the public to experience the classrooms, concert terrace, exhibition spaces, gardens, gift shop, dining room, café, and theater.

Copia has many wonderful things to share, and we at invite you to celebrate your senses and experience all the best Copia and Wine Country has to offer.

Holiday Shopping

The Wine Country always has something beautiful and unique to offer, any time of year.

Seasons of the Vineyard

In the wintertime - crisp fresh air, dramatic skies, bright, clear sunlight angled low over the slumbering vines… A breathtakingly beautiful place to spend the holidays.

During your visit (virtual or actual), no doubt you will be selecting gifts to give to a beloved friend or relative. Naturally there are the countless bottles of fine wines to select from, but this year give something a little different from Seasons of the Vineyard to warm hearts and homes. Create the perfect holiday table setting with a beautiful array of table linens Vietri, Positano and Italian tableware; Alan Lee, Italian glassware; sumptuous array of gourmet foods and holiday centerpieces.

Mustard Seed Clothing Co.

Or, if you are looking for a special woman's gift, but can't remember what she liked-- don't worry, just visit Mustard Seed Clothing in Napa. If your special woman finds something she likes at the Mustard Seed, they will take a digital picture and email it to you, not to mention wrap the gift for free. The Mustard Seed will also accommodate the tired husband or shopping companion by making them comfortable while they wait with a glass of wine or a scoop of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Visit for their latest fashions and holiday gift ideas.

Cannery Row

In the quest to find the perfect, perfectly unique gift, look no further than Cannery Row in the famous Monterey, CA. Boasting more than 75 stores for your shopping convenience, Cannery Row has something for everyone on your list. Stores are open late during the holidays. Visit their shops on-line and find that one-of-a-kind gift for your special someone at:

Check out all the shopping opportunities the Wine Country has to offer at:

Events For December


December 22 - 31 -- The Holiday Skunk Train
Come enjoy a Holiday Train Ride on the Northspur Loop! The train departs daily from the Ft. Bragg Depot located at Hwy. 1 and Laurel Street (excluding Christmas Day) at 9:45 AM. Travel time for the Holiday Skunk Train is 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Advance reservations are recommended. Call for additional information.
Fee: Adults $29 - $31; Ages 3 - 16 $16 - $18 Time: Train Departs at 9:45 AM Phone Number: 800-77-SKUNK (7-5865)

December 31 -- New Year's Eve Party at Brutocao Cellars
Ring in the New Year in the Bliss Event Center at Schoolhouse Plaza. The festivities will include appetizers, dinner, live music and champagne. Come party with your friends and welcome the coming year!
Fee: Call Time: 7:00 PM Phone Number: RSVP by calling 707-744-2020


December 8 -- Claudia Villela & Ricardo Peixoto
Come enjoy the Brazilian vocals and smooth guitar sounds of Claudia Villela and Ricardo Peixoto at The Jazz & Blues Company, located at Highway One and Rio Road, Carmel. Advance reservations required. Admission includes both sets!
Fee: $25.00 Time: Doors at 7:00 PM; Show at 7:30 PM Phone Number: 831-624-6432

December 31 -- First Night Monterey
Annual Celebration of New Year's Eve through the arts. Music, dance, poetry, special installations and exhibits indoors and out throughout historic downtown Monterey. This is an alcohol-free event that will provide fun for the entire family!
Fee: $8.00 through December 20, $12.00 through December 30 and $15 on 12/31 Time: 2:00 PM - 12 Midnight Phone Number: 831-373-4778

Napa Valley:

December 1 - 2 -- Carols in the Caves at Hans Fahden Vineyards
Hans Fahden Vineyards is a resplendent natural paradise, secluded high in the Mayacamas Mountains. Additional performances will take place throughout December at Trefethen Vineyards (in the historic 1886 wooden gravity-flow winery), 1160 Oak Knoll Avenue, Napa; Folie a Deux Winery (in the hidden cave on the valley floor), 3070 North St. Helena Highway, St. Helena; and at the RMS Carneros Alambic Stills (not a cave, but amid stunning cognac stills), 250 Cuttings Wharf Road, Napa. Call for performance schedule or visit the Carols in the Caves website.
Fee: $35.00 General Admission Time: Varies According to Performance Location Phone Number: 925-866-9559

Ongoing Sundays -- "Victorian Stained Glass" Open House
La Belle Epoque Bed and Breakfast Inn invites you to view the Inn's stunning collection of Stained Glass. The collection encompasses both antique and contemporary pieces of both stained and painted glass.
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Phone Number: 707-257-2161

Santa Barbara:

December 1 - 31 -- Winterfest Celebration
This is our favorite time of year in the European Village of Solvang! A month of events, pageantry, and millions of lights await you! Santa & Mrs. Claus will make appearances throughout this special season. Come to our little Danish village and make Solvang a holiday shopping tradition. Call for the schedule of events.
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: Daily Phone Number: 805-688-6144

December 31 -- Santa Barbara Symphony New Year's Eve Concert
Experience the festive side of the Symphony as they unleash their playful personality with a special Pops program at the Arlington Theatre. Join the Symphony for an extravaganza of Broadway show tunes, a tribute to the Big-Band sound, and some surprises. A Post-Pops party will be held at the University Club. The Arlington Theatre is located at 1317 State Street, Santa Barbara.
Fee: Varies Time: 8:30 PM Phone Number: 805-898-9386

Santa Cruz:

December 1 - 26 -- Gingerbread Village
What do you get when you mix 50 pounds of gingerbread, 3 gallons of egg whites, 35 pounds of powdered sugar and every kind of candy imaginable from licorice to peppermint sticks? You get the Gingerbread Village! A collection of 25 gingerbread houses prepared by hotel pastry chefs. At the Fountain Restaurant, Fairmont Hotel, 170 South Market Street, San Jose.
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: Daily Phone Number: 408-998-1900

December 31 -- First Night Celebration
Thousands of Santa Cruzans gather downtown to bring in the New Year. Art, music and a parade continue from afternoon through the evening at outdoor stages and indoor venues until the finales at 12 Midnight at the Town Clock. This is an alcohol-free event. Fun for the entire family! Held in Downtown Santa Cruz.
Fee: $12.00 In Advance; $17.00 Day of Event Time: Parade begins at 5:30 PM Phone Number: 831-425-7277

Sonoma County:

December 13 - 22 -- It's a Wonderful Life at Cinnabar Theater
The beloved classic movie takes a musical turn for a World Premiere presentation by Cinnabar Music Theater Ensemble. From the early days of youth, George Bailey put his live on hold for the good of others, and now he's facing ruin. A trip into his past must help him come to terms with a life well lived. 7:30 PM Performance dates are 12/13, 12/14, 12/15, 12/20, 12/21 & 12/22. 3333 Petaluma Boulevard North, Petaluma.
Fee: $10.00, $6.00 Time: 7:30 PM and 12/16 at 2:00 PM Phone Number: 707-763-8920

December 7 - 24 -- Dickens Dinner Series 2001
Enjoy a fabulous six-course supper prepared by our Chef Jesse Mallgren, while the melodies of the Twelfth Night Singers resonate in the halls and dining rooms. The dates are the 7th, 8th and 14th through the 24th. Sunday through Thursday is $72.00 p/p; Fridays and Saturdays are $77.00 p/p. On December 24th, the price is $85.00 per person. At the Madrona Manor, 1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg.
Fee: Varies Time: 6:30 PM Phone Number: 707-433-4231

This Month's Recipe

Apple Salsa With Cinnamon Chips


  • 2 medium tart apples, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 2 medium kiwifruit, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small orange
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple jelly, melted


  • 8 flour tortillas (7-8")
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For salsa: Combine apples, strawberries and kiwi in a bowl. Grate orange peel to measure 1 ½ teaspoon; squeeze juice from orange. Add peel and juice to apple mixture. Stir in brown sugar and jelly.

For chips: Brush tortillas lightly with water. Combine sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over tortillas. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges. Place in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool, serve chips with salsa.

If you have a favorite "Wine Country inspired" recipe you would like to share, please send your entries to

Dining Recommendation

PassionfishDining with Tom

When visiting Pacific Grove in Monterey County, Tom Biggs our Sales Engineering Support Associate "reviewer" suggests that you try Passionfish Restaurant.

In Tom's words:

Passionfish: As the name implies, the owners and staff are passionate about the food and wine they serve. Guests are warmly greeted and treated exceptionally well throughout their meal. While waiting for a few moments to be seated, we took in the warm atmosphere created by the many candles displayed around us. A unique quality of the Passionfish restaurant is that it has a simple but elegant style, which makes it appropriate for either casual or upscale dress.

Wine lovers will delight in the extensive wine list; well over 100 labels are available and priced just a bit over retail. The staff is very knowledgeable about all of the wines and very considerate and willing to help guests choose the most ideal wine accompaniment for a given meal. Each evening, there are six featured wines by the glass -- three red and three white. We chose a glass of Mount Eden Cabernet and a Chance Creek Sauvignon Blanc, and were not disappointed by either selection.

The main course menu selections emphasize quality, not quantity. A small but well-rounded selection of 10 choices are lovingly prepared and rotated seasonally.

We started our meal off by sharing a crab cake that had a crispy exterior surrounded by a lively fresh relish featuring red peppers, onion, and lime. Our two salads were especially delightful! One, a baked Gorgonzola salad with curried greens and golden chutney, and the other, a beet salad with petite and tender fried onion rings, prosciutto, Cambazola, and figs. Throughout our meal we enjoyed crispy bread, warm from the oven and served with whipped garlic butter.

When our main courses arrived, they were nicely presented. The sweet white corn and mascarpone ravioli with tomato and arugula was delicious, as was the chicken breast, twice baked acorn squash and kale with a rosemary infused chevre. The acorn squash exuded its natural sweetness and was wonderfully spiced -- just enough to bring out the natural flavors.

We found the portions to be generous, but not too large, which left just enough room to share a dessert consisting of autumn fruit with cabernet syrup over vanilla ice cream. The fruit was a delightful combination of pears, persimmons and pomegranates, which put a perfect final touch to a wonderful dining experience.

I highly recommend dining at Passionfish on your next visit to Pacific Grove.

Reservations are suggested by calling 831.655.3311 or online through Open Table.
Closed Tuesdays.

Tasting Room Recommendation

Gloria Ferrer

If you're looking to truly experience a tasting room, enjoy the estate, learn about wine making and spend the afternoon celebrating a beautiful day, look no further than Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves.

Gloria Ferrer, located in Sonoma, CA, encourages their visitors to not only celebrate special occasions with Gloria Ferrer's extraordinary sparking wines, but to celebrate the daily occasions of a hearty dinner, a gathering of friends, or a simple dinner for two. Gloria Ferrer is often found as the sparking wine of choice at weddings, parties and special events, but can be found as the most versatile food wine when served with shellfish, seafood, pate as well as variety of ethnic cuisine.

Winemaking facility

Tasting room

The editor at recently spent an afternoon at Gloria Ferrer and was very impressed by the beautiful 335-acre estate, the in-depth tour of the facility and the mini lesson on making sparking wine. All tours of the facility are guided and most take visitors to see the various steps of making sparkling wine, the cellar and caves.

The tasting room at Gloria Ferrer is unique in that the atmosphere is similar to a wine bar. For many, to fully experience a sparkling wine is to not just taste, but rather enjoy a glass. Gloria Ferrer's tasting room serves their sparkling wine by the glass, and their new table wines are also available for tasting. The tasting room warmed by a fire in the cool fall and winter months, is comfortable and inviting. The room is positioned to look out onto the estate and visitors to Gloria Ferrer are invited to picnic for the day, or relax with friends on the Vista Terrace.

Visiting Gloria Ferrer reaffirmed the need to celebrate every day occasions and enjoy the compliments of sparkling wine with food. highly recommends visiting Gloria Ferrer, either to picnic or to just sit back, relax and watch the world go by.

As Gloria Ferrer's motto goes, "When you serve sparkling wine, you are serving a smile."

Gloria Ferrer is open daily from 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM and is located at
23555 Carneros Highway (121) in Sonoma, CA.

Newsletter Contest

Because Visiting the Wine Country for FREE Only Happens Once in a Lifetime!!

Win a luxurious trip to the Wine Country! Snuggle under a lush feather comforter with all the accompanying amenities and fragrant vineyards outside your bedroom window... Journey on the Wine Train while you tease your palate with a delicious and decadent five-course dinner… Relax with a private and romantic wine tasting at an exclusive tasting room of the Napa Valley…

On January 7, 2002 you could win a two-night stay at the Napa Valley Marriott, tickets for two on the famous Wine Train which includes a five-course dinner, and two tickets for an exclusive wine tasting at the private tasting room of Koves-Newlan Vineyards and Winery.

No purchase necessary. Must be at least 21 years old to enter. Only one entry per person permitted. Winner will be selected January 7, 2002 by random drawing. Winner will be notified by email. Employees of FreeRun Technologies are ineligible. Void where prohibited by law.

Click here to sign up!

Visit Napa Valley Marriott at:

Visit the Napa Valley Wine Train at:

Visit Koves-Newlan Vineyards and Winery at: Info

For weather predictions, please visit:

Past Newsletters:

If this newsletter has been forwarded to you and you would like to SUBSCRIBE please visit:

To UNSUBSCRIBE follow this link:

Our privacy policy can be found here:

To Advertise:
For information on advertising in the Lifestyle Newsletter, please contact Carolyn Lewis at or 707-857-4100.