|take our survey • site index • event calendar • do business with us|
California is dotted with valleys and mountains that provide unique growing conditions for wine grapes, some little known outside local circles. One is Bennett Valley in the Sonoma Mountain chain between Santa Rosa and Glen Ellen.
The valley recently received approval as a distinct appellation or American Viticultural Area, and growers and wineries in the valley held a party to celebrate.
There are 36 growers with 700 acres of vines and three small wineries in the 8000-acre appellation, but the area is dominated by Matanzas Creek Winery owned by Jess Jackson and his wife Barbara Banke, who attended the event.
The valley is surprisingly cool because of its altitude, fog and openings to cold Pacific breezes, and cooler-climate grapes such as Merlot and Chardonnay are its most widely planted vines, though naturally Pinot Noir and even Syrah also do well.
Most vineyards are planted at 500 to 600 ft. and, in fact, it’s not really a valley but an alluvial bench rising from Matanzas Creek and surrounded on three sides by mountains. – PF
THE WINE GARAGE STORE owned by Todd and Joy Miller, is the newest wine bar & store in Napa Valley. Located in Calistoga right off Hwy 29, The Wine Garage has upwards of 200 different wines available, with a current inventory of over 3,000 bottles. The store's specialty is that Todd seeks out and personally visits small wineries throughout California (usually in rural, less-traveled areas such as Lodi, Paso Robles, Amador and Mendocino) whose wines are not commercially available outside their own areas. The Wine Garage is open Tuesday – Sunday.
THE WINE GARAGE | CALISTOGA
VOLAKIS GALLERY,the newest gallery in Yountville, focuses on contemporary black and white photography, sculpture, and mixed media work from artists throughout the United States and Europe. Gallery owner and photographer Emanuel Dimitiri Volakis opened the gallery to showcase a collection of world-renowned artists including Barbara Kilne, Brian Oglesbee, Misha Gordin and Jan Reich. The gallery is open Wednesday - Sunday and is a must see for contemporary art collectors.
VOLAKIS GALLERY | YOUNTVILLE
Honor Mansion is owned by Cathi and Steve Fowler who have taken a huge step in providing the ultimate luxury resort experience exclusively for their guests. Nowhere in the Wine Country will you find a professionally designed full-size croquet lawn, putting green, two bocce ball courts, tennis court, basketball court and swimming pool surrounded by beautiful gardens in a totally private setting.
HONOR MANSION | HEALDSBURG
Southwest Sonoma County
The buzz is on about an exciting dining experience in Rohnert Park called
LATITUDE. This refreshing new bar and dining complex fills the formerly
dark and staid Wine & Visitors Center, adjacent to the Doubletree
Hotel at the north end of town, with uncommon spirit and quality. Unpretentious
yet special, sophisticated but comprehensible, the staples of California
cuisine are surrounded by inventive appetizers and luscious desserts in
a great setting. A family-friendly nature doesn't sacrifice distinctive
personality, which your adult parties will enjoy as well. Enjoying wine
or a cocktail outdoors on the picturesque lake and the awesome Sunday
Buffet Brunch have also quickly become popular features of this new landmark.
LATITUDE | 707.588.1800
LUCY’S CAFÉ | 707.829.9713
WASHOE HOUSE | 707.795.4544
PILAR BRINGS MORE FINE FOOD
While once visitors to Napa Valley had to head up to Yountville or St. Helena for fine food, downtown Napa has become a new destination with many excellent restaurants.
The newest is Pilar, opened by Pilar Sanchez and her husband Didier Lenders, proven chefs who both formerly worked locally at Meadowood Resort. Pilar also headed the staff at the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant at The Culinary Institute of America.
Pilar features innovative dishes that change with the season and what is locally available. The wine list features both Napa wines and their foreign counterparts for interesting comparisons. –PF
PILAR | 807 MAIN ST., NAPA
JUST OPENED | JESSUP CELLARS
JESSUP CELLARS has opened a tasting room in the heart of Napa Valley in Yountville. Producing wine since 1996, Jessup Cellars has been a family owned and operated winery. Representing a family working together for a shared reward. Mark (winemaker) and Pamela Jessup started their wines with their commitment, love, inspiration and support that they have gained through their relationships with family and friends. Stop by their tasting room to get a better understanding of their wines, and most importantly, their family. The tasting room is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.