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April 2001

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  • Editor's Note: Santa Barbara!
  • New Wine Country Tips
  • Wine Country Recipes
  • April Events Calendar
  • The April Contest!

Editor's Notes: Santa Barbara!
The Santa Barbara region of California's Wine Country has a strong coastal influence, mild winters, and extremely long growing season. These uncommon characteristics allow winemakers to craft fantastic and unique wines!

Byron Vineyards, makes Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc in the cool climate of the Santa Maria Valley. The modern multi-level winery facility was built to use gentle gravity flow techniques for moving the grapes, juice, and wine. This technique results in remarkably smooth, and outstanding wines.

Io, a very limited Rhone-style wine, is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. This marvelous rich and complex wine was introduced in 1999 after more than a decade of experimentation and research, and is available only at the winery: Consider pairing Io with one (or more!) of the several enticing recipes inspired by the wine. These recipes are also offered on the web site.

Zaca Mesa Winery has a 250-acre estate planted with Rhône grape varietals: Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsaut, Counoise, Viognier, and four different clones of Chardonnay. Read about the extraordinary estate grown wines, the winery, "Zaca Stories," and the history of the area at The information on the web site is extensive and inviting. Check it out and you will find yourself planning a visit soon!

Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards, located in Los Olivos, makes a variety of marvelous wines, including a Methode Champenoise sparkling wine. Browse through their online store for wine and merchandise - check out the bottle topper!

To complete your visit to Santa Barbara Wine Country stay at The Fess Parker Wine Country Inn, an elegant "AAA Four Diamond" hotel. The Vintage Room Restaurant at the Inn specializes in Wine Country Gourmet dining! Don't forget to visit Spa Vigna!

For more information visit the Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association:

See you in Santa Barbara!

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.

NEW WINE REGION ON WINECOUNTRY.COM - Santa Barbara! Have you checked out our new portal, Santa Barbara? Here is a quote from someone who has:
"I am so excited that you have added Santa Barbara to My husband and I love the country-feeling of this area and the laid-back attitude of the hosts in the wineries. Planning to visit again in May, and will be looking for accommodations and tours, etc.
'til then...
Jana & Larry Franklin

Check it out!! Go to and click on our New Region: Santa Barbara!

This month's Wine Country Recipe comes from Celeste Carducci of McClelland-Priest Bed & Breakfast Inn

Tuscan Strata:
Serves 10 people

Non stick-spray a large baking dish.
Line bottom with 10 pieces of sliced French bread (cut off crust).
Layer bread with shredded cheddar, then a layer of chopped green & black olives, pimentos, onion creating your own Italian salsa (save 10 tablespoons of mixture for garnish).
Sprinkle garlic powder & Italian herb seasoning on top.
Optional add chopped Italian Salami, or ham or bacon.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, until souffle'd and bubbly. Cut and loosen from baking dish and neatly place serving on center of each plate. Place a tablespoon of reserve olive mixture upon each serving Dust borders of plates with chopped Italian parsley & serve.

Celeste Carducci
McClelland-Priest B&B Inn

"While in the Napa Valley, you are invited to stay and experience the stately elegance of the McClelland - Priest Bed and Breakfast Inn. Our Historic Landmark takes you back to 1879.

Upon your arrival you are warmly welcomed at the front entrance's expansive stained glass doors. The innkeeper/owner Celeste Carducci imparts a brief history to set the ambiance for your Victorian pleasure ahead. As you proceed from the grand foyer into the formal parlor, hospitality and amenities abound. Relax amidst European antiques, handcrafted plaster ceilings, and authentically ornate chandeliers as you enjoy an early evening reception featuring hors d'oeuvres and fine Napa Valley Wines.

Retreating to your large, elegantly decorated bedroom suite you will experience luxurious comfort in a truly classic ambiance attributed to a famed composer, writer or artist. Fireplaces, jacuzzi tubs and private baths add to your pleasurable stay."

McClelland-Priest Bed & Breakfast Inn

April 7 - 8 -- Hopland Spring Passport Weekend -
An extraordinary group of seven wineries, each with distinct specialties, participate in this fun weekend. Each winery will present a sumptuous feast, along with a special selection of their signature wines. Winemakers will be on-hand to answer questions, and tempt visitors with tastes of rare vintages, reserve wines, barrel tasting, futures and special offerings from the cellar. Each winery will entertain in their own special way with rollicking live music, costumes, bocce ball, barbecues and more! Participating Wineries: Brutocao Cellars, Domaine Saint Gregory, Fetzer Vineyards, Jepson Vineyards, Mendocino Hill, McDowell Valley Vineyards and Milone Family Winery. Fee: $25 per person, includes logo glass (save $5 if ordered before April 1st)
Time: 11am - 5pm
Phone: (800) 846-8637

April 27 - 28 -- Thatcher Inn Cooking School -
Two days culinary retreat featuring Mediterranean Cuisine. Package includes two nights lodging, multi-course dinner & wine tasting Friday, hands on cooking class & four course dinner Saturday, full breakfast Saturday & Sunday, lunch Saturday, recipes, t-shirt and Marlena's herbal mixes. All in the heart of Mendocino's Wine Country - beautiful Hopland. Thatcher Inn (
Fee: $595 Per couple; $325 Single
Time: Call for reservation
Phone: (800) 266-1891 or (707) 744-1890

April 5 - 8 -- Monterey Wine Festival
The biggest and most celebrated wine event in the country. More than 125 wineries will feature over 800 different wines from California's diverse wine regions. Famous names from the world of wine and food come to Monterey for testing, tasting and comparing good wines. Lectures, seminars and gourmet dining with wine. Cooking Demonstrations. Opening night will be held at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and winemaker dinners, winery tours and other activities will take place at locations throughout the beautiful Monterey County, including historic Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey.
Fee: Call for various ticket prices
Time: Call for various events
Phone: (800) 656-4282 or (831) 656-WINE

April 29 -- 7th Annual Steinbeck Wine Country Spring Open House
Salinas Valley Tasting Rooms (Cloninger, Chalone, Smith & Hook/Hahn Estates , Jeckel, Paraiso Springs, , Riverland, Scheid Vineyards) invite you to celebrate Spring in Steinbeck Country! Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the wonderful views.
Fee: Complimentary
Time: 11am - 4pm
Phone: (831) 678-0300, (831) 678-2132, or (888) 4SVIWINE

April 14 -- Barrel Tasting at Merryvale Vineyards
"A unique wine country experience -- sample Merryvale wines 'thieved' from the barrel along with the prior vintage poured from the bottle." Merryvale Vineyards, Main Street, St. Helena -
Fee: Call
Time: 1pm - 5pm
Phone: (707) 963-7777 or (800) 326-6069

April 29 -- "The Art of Giving, The Giving of Art"
Napa Artists for People with AIDS (N.A.P.A.) Art Show and Auction 2001. Enjoy music, fine wine, and hors d'oeuvres while viewing and bidding on extraordinary art. Culinary Institute of America at Greystone - 2555 Main Street, St. Helena.
Fee: $20, good toward any successful bid
Time: 2:00pm - 4:30pm
Phone: (707) 257-8686

April 21 - 22 -- Vintners' Festival
An Afternoon of Wine from over 50 Santa Barbara County Wineries and Food from over 40 of the area's finest restaurants! Live music, silent auction, and exhibits. Firestone Meadow near Los Olivos
Fee: $65 per person - sold in advance only
Time: 1pm - 4pm
Phone: 800-218-0881

April 21 -- Dixie Chicken Barn Dance
Join Zaca Mesa Winery for this annual Vintners' Weekend event. Always a sellout! Jim Fiolek and the Bay Area's legendary "Call Me Bwana" band provide rockin' tunes throughout the evening. BBQ dinner, wine, and lots of fun included! At Zaca Mesa Winery -
Fee: call
Time: 6:00pm - 10:00pm
Phone: 800-350-7972 ext 311.

April 7 - 8 -- "A Taste of Spring" at Ferrari-Carano
Garden and flower lovers as well as wine aficionados will delight in this preview of a fresh, new season. The stars of the preview are the new releases of wine. Co-owner Rhonda Carano shares favorite recipes and winery chef Joseph Costanzo prepares spring-time foods to pair with the wines. Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery, Healdsburg.
Fee: $15 per person
Time: 11am - 4pm
Phone: (707) 433-6700

April 21 & 22 -- April in Carneros - Open House Extavaganza
15+ Carneros Appellation Wineries host an Open House weekend showcasing the uniqueness of this region which forms the southern end of the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. Featuring music, entertainment, new release tastings, Library wines, food & wine pairings, some special wine prices, plus lots of fun and old fashioned hospitality. Carneros Quality Alliance;
Fee: $10 logo glass/ two-day pass
Time: 10am-4pm
Phone: (800) 654-WINE or 825-9475

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

Enter Our Contest!!
We received so many wonderful essays for our last contest! Here is the winner:

"I would have to say that after planning many, many vacations using what's available online, is very close to perfect. What keeps it from being perfect? I have come up with two suggestions. I'm not very good at gauging distances so it would be helpful to have a link to MapQuest or one of the other websites that provide free online maps and driving directions. When planning my day I would like to know how long it will take me to get from Domaine Chandon to the Napa Valley Wine Train? How many miles between Hakusan's Sake Gardens and Mumm Cuvee Napa? I like to see and do as much as possible when on vacation so anything that helps me do that is appreciated.

My second suggestion is that it would be nice to have a link that gives suggestions as to how to spend a day, a weekend, or a week when in the wine country. What things shouldn't be missed if you're single? Married? Have a family? There's so much to see and do that narrowing the choices down would be very helpful. A single person would find a balloon ride or a mud bath lovely. A family with small children might find those things too troublesome. They might want to know a place where they can have a picnic or wineries that are kid friendly. There's no better planning tool than a local's opinion.

Hopefully I've given you food for thought. A hot air balloon ride in Spring sounds lovely. Clean smog free air and beautiful vistas. Sounds like heaven to me!"

Sunshine Weber, California

Congratulations Sunshine -- Enjoy your Hot Air Balloon Ride for Two, from Balloons Above the Valley!! We appreciate your suggestions!

For our contest prize this month, we are offering a Wine Country Experience for Two:

Complimentary wine tasting for two and two baseball caps from Newlan Vineyard
Two T-shirts -- one from and one from Fess Parker Vineyards
A Gourmet Dinner for Two on the Wine Train!! Enjoy a 5-course meal and relaxing three hour journey through the picturesque Napa Valley aboard lavishly restored Orient Express-style vintage 1915-1917 Pullman Dining & Parlor Cars. Choose from Chef Patrick Finney's award winning culinary presentations, order from over 100 wines or cocktails in elegant comfort and fine dining service!

For this month's contest, tell us your best Wine Country Experience - Real or Virtual!

***Please limit your essay to 200 words or less!!!***

The best experience, to be determined by FreeRun Staff, will win the Wine Country Experience for Two! (Winning decision is final)! By submitting your suggestion, you are granting FreeRun Technologies the right to include your answer in our newsletters and on our web sites.

One entry per person, please. ***Deadline for response is 8:00 am (Pacific Daylight Saving Time) Wednesday, April 11, 2001***

We're sorry, we will not be able to respond to everyone - only the winner will be contacted.

The winning suggestion will be published in Lifestyle News, along with the writer's name and state of residence only (email address, physical address, or other personal identifying information will not be published).

Please note: In addition to being emailed to our Newsletter Subscribers, all of our newsletters are also displayed online at:


FreeRun employees and their families are not eligible to enter this contest.

Good Luck!

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