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Wine Country Featured Destination (full article)

Something Fun for Everyone — Holiday Happenings Throughout America’s Wine Country

Santa Cruz Roaring  Camp Railroads The holiday season is a terrific time to enjoy a slightly different take on wine country lifestyle.  In December, most wineries are a little less crowded than at other times of the year.  As a result, you might receive a little more special attention as you sample and choose wine gems to enjoy with your holidays. Certainly you can choose from loads of special events designed to lure you away from the malls! 

Here on WineCountry.com, each region has its own event calendar.  To discover more of what is happening near you, go to your region of interest, and click on Events.  You’ll be amazed at all of the special pourings and memorable happenings scheduled to help make your holidays special.  Here is a selection that we especially recommend.

Central Virginia—A special favorite holiday event in this area is the Virginia Dare Flotilla Boat Parade held Saturday December 11 starting at 7pm.  This is an incredible nighttime parade of boats all decked out with dazzling lights reflected on Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia's second largest lake.  Spectators will be delighted with the view from the park - - or you might book passage on the lead boat, the side-wheel paddle boat Virginia Dare itself and enjoy.  Viewers are asked to bring an unwrapped toy donation.

Northern Virginia—The Carols in the Cave Holiday Open House event is sure to please.  Live Christmas carols will reverberate through the winery, with mulled wine and a roaring outdoor fire to warm your heart, hands and toes.  Start your holiday shopping with unique event for the wine lovers on your list.  Located just 60 miles west of Washington, DC at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Farfelu Winery offers premium, handcrafted wines in a one-of-a-kind rustic setting.  Saturday & Sunday, December 4-5, $5.
-Click for December Virgina Wine Country Events

Florida—Visiting the Tampa Bay or Orlando areas?  Not too far away, a special holiday celebration will be held at Florida Estates Winery to kick off of the holiday season Friday December 5th, from 5:30-9:00 pm.  The event will include an educational tasting of selected wines, a commemorative Florida Estates Winery logo wine glass, hors d'oeuvres, live music and prizes. Tickets are $7 per person in advance and $10 at the door.

Walla Walla, Washington— Matching the character of an eclectic group of wineries in the Walla Walla Valley, for the Holiday Barrel Tasting, each winery participates in their own special way.  Offering a variety of entertainment including music, art exhibits, wine dinners, cooking demonstrations, poetry readings and of course food pairings, all within the festive atmosphere of the season.  Didn’t you always want to know what wine to pair with emu?  Find out at Colvin Vineyards during this event.  December 4-5, Walla Walla, Wash. New this year, the Backstage Pass offers your exclusive access and discounts.

Livermore, Northern California—The Holidays in the Vineyards Event celebrates the season by sharing the joy of special wines, crafts, music and more!  In the Livermore Valley, old-time brands and larger wineries mingle with newer, small production artisans for a stellar array of tastings and special holiday offerings.  Located a short drive from any Bay Area location, this weekend Open House is Saturday & Sunday, December 4th & 5th, free.

Monterey County, Northern California—A parade Brightens the Harbor as boats with a combined length of three football fields glow with decorations, and vie for the top prize.   The parade starts in Monterey at Coast Guard Pier, goes to Lover's Point and returns to the Harbor.  Sunday December 12 at 5:30pm, free.

Hahn Estates Wreath Making EventOften overlooked by Monterey tourists, the Monterey State Historic Park celebrates the holidays with the popular 21st Annual Christmas in the Adobes. Nineteen beautiful historic buildings are furnished with holiday cheer reflecting their history, for instance Jalisco harp at an 1840’s Mexican California adobe, or classical guitar at the 1830’s American consul's home.  Illuminated by candlelight and enhanced with period decorations and musical entertainment, costumed docents share the history of the buildings.  December 9 and 11, tickets $15 / $2 ages 6-17.

The spectacular setting at Chateau Julien in the Carmel Valley is host to a holiday performance like no other.  A magical presentation of musical harmony and the inspirational talent of a cappella choir is offered in the winery's Chai, or barrel room.  A reception showcasing holiday gift ideas and wine tasting follows. Sunday December 5, 2004, 2:30-6:00pm featuring The Choral Project of San Jose. $25 per person or $15 for club members.

In the Salinas Valley near Soledad, Hahn Estates 24nd Annual Open House & Wreath Making Event will please folks young and old.  Friends and family will enjoy a day of wreath making, wine tasting, barrel samples, great food and music.  Gift items will also be on display, so this is a good chance to get some shopping done while you create your own decorations.  Sunday December 5 from 11-4, free.
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Santa Barbara County, California—The Winterfest Celebration showcases what has been the favorite time of year in the Village of Solvang for generations!  A month of events and pageantry will illuminate your holiday.  Of course Santa and Mrs. Claus make appearances throughout the season in this highly decorated little Danish village.  Friday December 3rd is the lighting ceremony for the Community Christmas Tree.  On December 4th, Solvang’s Christmas Parade entertains, while nearby Los Olivos celebrates its Olde Fashioned Christmas -- galleries and businesses host open houses as Los Olivos glows with holiday spirit.  Solvang’s Nativity Pageant, a fantastic production with choir, costumes and live animals, is narrated by Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and presented in Solvang's outdoor theater Saturday December 11.
-Click for December Santa Barbara Wine Country Events

San Luis Obispo, California—Enjoy the famed Hearst Castle showing its most joyful attitude, decorated for the Christmas Season. The Assembly Room, Morning Room and Refectory are lavishly decorated with hand-made garlands, brilliant red poinsettias, and two glorious 18-foot Christmas trees.  The Experience Tour during the daytime includes these rooms; special evening tours are also available.  Tours are offered daily except Christmas and New Years, and reservations are highly recommended.
-Click for December San Luis Obispo Wine Country Events

Santa Cruz, Northern California—Enjoy your ride through Victorian Santa Cruz on the Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train, weekends through December 19.  This festive holiday offering from the famed Roaring Camp Railroads tours a different setting than their beach and big tree lines.  Sip hot-spiced cider, listen to carolers and view decorated homes as you travel for that surprise meeting with Santa.  Tickets $14 ages 3 and older.
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Luther Burbank Open HouseSanta Rosa, Northern California—The historic Home and Gardens of famed horticulturalist Luther Burbank are decorated in a traditional Victorian style for the Annual Holiday Open House.  Fragrant greenery, fruit and flowers abound, and visitors will be inspired by the festive atmosphere, seasonal music and freshly baked cookies too! Many items will be offered in the Gift Shop, with many unique items produced for and available only at Luther Burbank Home & Gardens.  Saturday and Sunday, December 4 and 5, free tours between 10 and 4 pm.

While shopping in the area, you also might want to check out the nearby Sonoma Holiday Gift FairSeven themed areas with more than 300 booths fill two large buildings.  This is the largest holiday shopping event in the North Bay, and offers wine tasting too!  At Grace Pavilion and Hall of Flowers on the Fairgrounds, December 4, 5 and 11,12. 

If you wish to go wine tasting around the holidays in Sonoma County, a banner on the Russian River Wine Road site leads to detailed information on the many interesting wineries that will be open during the holiday season.
-Click for December Sonoma County Wine Country Events

Napa, Northern California—Take a free, self-guided tour inside nine beautiful Victorian homes in downtown Napa, the Holiday Candle Light Tour.  5-7pm Saturday December 11, (707) 255-1836 for more information.
-Click for December Napa Valley Wine Country Events


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