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This Weekend: “Eat, Sip, & Be Merry” On The Santa Rosa Wine Trail

The Members of The Santa Rosa Wine Trail are hosting a special holiday tasting weekend on Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9 from 11 am to 4 pm each day. The wine trail is a collection of urban wineries and tasting rooms, restaurants, and a hotel, all located within a few minutes of downtown Santa Rosa.

You will enjoy food trucks, live music, and exclusive tours and activities at ten wineries. Each guest will receive a special “passport” for the weekend. Passports with stamps from each location will be entered for a drawing to win prizes including a case of wine for only one cent!

Eat Sip and Be Merry The ticket price of $25.00 presale or $35.00 at the door includes tastings at ten wineries and tasting rooms, a commemorative wine glass, and $10.00 in “wine bucks” which may be used towards the purchase of wine at any of the participating wineries. For designated drivers, a $5.00 ticket includes special activities and non-alcoholic beverages.

Tickets are available at, at participating wineries, and at the door at any of the participating wineries during the event.

Participating wineries are: Carol Shelton, D’Argenzio, Inspiration, Krutz Family Cellars, Old World, Paradise Ridge, Sheldon, Siduri/Novy, Two Shepherds, and the collective at Vinoteca.

The Fountaingrove Inn is offering a limited number of Deluxe King Rooms for just $89/night to Eat, Sip and Be Merry visitors who would like stay in town Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday nights. A link to the special purchase rate is available at Other lodging options may be found at

About the Santa Rosa Wine Trail

Santa Rosa Wine TrailThe Santa Rosa Wine Trail is a collection of eleven wineries, three restaurants, and one hotel in northern Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, California. The Santa Rosa Wine Trail card (print yours here or pick one up at one of our member wineries) is your passport to great days and nights of some of the best wine and food Sonoma County has to offer, all in close proximity.

Santa Rose Wine Trail Members are: Carol Shelton Wines, D’Argenzio Winery, Inspiration Vineyards, Krutz Family Cellars, Old World Winery, Paradise Ridge, Robert Rue Vineyard, Sheldon Wines, Siduri/Novy, Two Shepherds, Vinoteca, John Ash, Stark’s Steak & Seafood, Willi’s Wine Bar and Vintners Inn.


Micro wineries – big successes

Last weekend I drove up to Santa Rosa, to a tasting event for a group of micro-wineries hosted at Inspiration Vineyards. I enjoy supporting small businesses in general, and wineries in particular. My friend William Allen of Two Shepherds created and marketed the event – I got to be the very first member of his new wine club! – so special thanks to him, and to all the wineries, who poured some delicious wines.

Here are some brief tasting notes for selected favorites of mine. These aren’t the only wines I liked by any means, but other wines from the event have already been reviewed by other bloggers.

2010 Colagrossi L’Inizio, Nevarez Vineyards, Paso Robles (50% Grenache Blanc, 25% Roussane, 25% Viognier) ~300 cases produced
Refreshing, an ideal warm-weather sipper., it would also pair well with fruit, salad, or light fish.

  • Nose: Tree fruit, pear and jasmine.
  • Palate: Lemon, pineapple, and pear.


2009 Inspiration Vineyards Syrah, Dry Creek Valley.
Co-fermented with Viognier, the style is reminiscent of the northern Rhone valley. Paired surprisingly well with the chocolates offered by Truffle Gateau (see my comments below).

  • Nose: Blackcurrant and vanilla
  • Palate: Blueberry, chocolate and coffee.


2010 Two Shepherds MRV, Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley
(47% Marsanne, 47% Rousanne, 6% Viognier) 50 cases produced
Aged 6 months in neutral oak, on lees, racked once prior to bottling. A "winter white", would be wonderful paired with roast chicken or grilled root vegetables.

  • Nose: Melon, pear and stone fruit
  • Palate: Orange peel, pear, and spice


2007 Wesley Ashley Intelligent Design Cuvée, California Central Coast, 500 cases produced
(51.5% Carignan, 15% Grenache, 14% Cinsault, 11% Petite Sirah, 4.5% Mouvedre, 4% Pinot Noir)
100% French oak, 36% of the oak new. Wines aged separately for 18 months, then blended and bottled unfiltered. Full-bodied yet easy to drink.

  • Nose: Dark fruit and spice.
  • Palate: Cherry, plum and raspberry.


A note about Truffle Gateau: Normally I am not a fan of wine and chocolate. Somehow, however, these folks make the pairing work.
Recommended by over 400 California and Oregon winemakers, their dark chocolate Truffles pair surprisingly well with Cabernet, Zinfandel, Pinot, Syrah, Petite Syrah and Port wines. They didn’t have these at the event, but they also recommend their milk chocolate Truffle Gateau with a Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Viognier wine for another outstanding pairing. Anyone who’s tried the pairings with whites – please let me know in the comments what you think!

All-in-all it was a great time in the industrial park. I hope they do this event again soon – and don’t miss it when they do!

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