Uber in the Napa Valley: Good for tourists?

Uber in Napa and Yountville

Dining at Angele

Uber in the Napa Valley

Wine country travelers to the Napa Valley will be happy to learn this news. Uber has invaded the Napa Valley. Taxi cab drivers may not like this, but certainly tourists will find Uber to be an added convenience for hopping around the Napa Valley. If you don’t already know, Uber is a company that sends drivers for hire at your beck and call. All you need is the Uber App on your smartphone to hire a driver.

Currently, there are three different taxicab companies that service the Napa Valley: Yellow Cab, Black Tie Cab, and Napa Valley Cab. Cabs have, in a sense, a monopoly because there are so many hotels and lodging and so few cabs. Rates can change on the fly. We once took a cab from the Marriott hotel in Napa to Don Giovanni restaurant. On the way back we hired a cab from the same company and the fare was much higher.

Uber started their service in Napa on April 3rd, so it is just beginning to test the waters in the Napa Valley. Looking at the Uber blog, the new service for now looks like it is just between Napa and Yountville. I spoke with Michael Palmer, the General Manager at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa. He welcomes Uber. “We have a shortage of cabs currently and sometimes it can be an hour wait for a cab. Right now my Uber App tells me a driver is just ten minutes away.” He also expects that once Uber takes hold in the Napa Valley it will improve taxicab service. “A little competition is good for all.”

The Taxi companies are based in Napa, so their rates are going to be less for travelers staying in the town of Napa. If you are in Yountville or St. Helena, the cost of a cab increases greatly. The concierge at the Hotel Yountville mentioned that a cab right out the door begins at around $20. On my Uber App, I entered a trip from the Hotel Yountville to Mustard’s Grill, just about three miles up the road. The fees would be $7 to $10 for the uberX, $17 to $20 for UberBLACK, and $27 – $32 for the UberSUV. Uber drivers are not allowed to take tips because the tip is figured into the cost of the trip. Black Tie Taxi tells me that they would charge $20 for the same trip, plus tip. If you have a group of six, the SUV Uber would be the way to go with the party members splitting the fare.

Another convenience factor in Uber’s favor is that your trip is automatically charged to your credit card. To sign up for Uber, one downloads the App to their smartphone and enters a credit card number and other pertinent data. As I mentioned above, the tip is included in the total cost of the ride. If Uber is successful, and they should be in the very touristy Napa Valley, I would expect Uber’s competition, Lyft and Sidecar, to also make their way to the Napa Valley.

I do think that hotels and B&B’s should promote safe driving as much as possible. The Napa Valley is all about fine food and wine. Drinking and driving is never a good idea, and hotels should encourage their guests to hire a taxi or an Uber driver. The old adage, “Better safe than sorry,” is never more appropriate than for visitors to the Napa Valley.

The Uber folks are offering up to $15 off for the first two rides. Valid from 4/3 to 4/30/14. Uber coupon

Napa Valley Tidbits – Ovation TV and The Art Of: Wine Country

Ovation TV – The Art Of: Wine Country

Ovation TV is available on most cable companies, i.e. Comcast, Uverse and Direct TV. This Sunday evening Ovation will broadcast “The Art of Wine Country” at 7:30 p.m. ET. I checked out a couple of preview videos and it looks like an exciting show. I watched a clip of Napa Valley’s Gordon Huether and his amazing sculptures at the Artesa Winery in Carneros. In another clip, Chef Cindy Pawlcyn talks about the art of her vegetable gardening and its importance to the success of the food she serves at her restaurants.

Each weekly show, The Art Of: Introduces viewers to “a new artistic medium explored through profiles of boundary-pushing artists. Focusing on the celebrated as well as the undiscovered, this series explores the creative process behind each featured art form and uncovers how and why these artists do what they do.” If you are a lover of wine country and art, tune in to The Art Of: Wine Country.

To find the specific channel for viewing The Art Of: click on this link to the Ovation Website to find Ovation in the area where you live. Here is a preview of the show.

Gordon Hunter and Artesa

Yountville Hill winery stirs controversy

There is a proposal on the docket to build a winery atop the northwest area on Yountville Hill. It sounds like a massive undertaking. The plan calls for a 100,000-gallon production facility and 36,000 square feet of caves. Also proposed is a 12,800-square-foot admin and visitor center. This site is just north of the main town of Yountville and just above where Mustards restaurant is located. Prescott Ashe and Eric Sklar, the former owner of Alpha Omega, have filed the application. Wine Travelers to the Napa Valley wine country should be concerned. Yes, it looks like another wonderful winery to visit, but remember there are four wineries in this immediate area and who needs more congestion on highway 29? 

Luxury Travel Package

For you wine country travelers in search of more indulgence, The Plumpjack Group and the Carneros Inn have teamed together to offer “Plumpjack’s Ultimate Napa Valley Experience.” The itinerary includes:

• One-night stay in the Harvest Cottage at The Carneros Inn

• A tour and tasting for two people at PlumpJack Winery, CADE or Odette

• A six-course tasting menu for two at FARM from highly acclaimed Chef de Cuisine Andrew Budnyj

Starting rates for the “PlumpJack Ultimate Napa Valley Experience” begin at $1,285 plus gratuities. For booking or more information, please visit www.thecarnerosinn.com or call 707.299.4850.

Underground Cellars New Idea

Underground Cellars has beta tested for 6 months a very different concept for online wine sales. It has officially launched this week, and it’s a novel way for wineries to sell wine they might otherwise release to flash online wine sites or the big discount stores. Nothing could be more galling for a customer to purchase a wine at a winery and find it a week later at a deep discount at Costco or the like.

undergroundcellars

This is how this site is different from a flash sale site. For the winery: Underground Cellars negotiates with the winery to sell off inventory along with a small number of their current wines, library wines or even magnums. When the Underground Cellars customer buys say six bottles of this wine, that customer receives upgrades. Example, they may have purchased six bottles of the entry level wine but now they get an upgrade to a higher-priced bottle. That could be a $100 bottle of wine they receive at no extra cost. If you go to this page on Underground Cellars you might get a better visual of the this concept: How it works.

To entice wine shoppers to sign up for an account, the Underground Cellars has a giveaway for one lucky wine shopper. “Grand Sonoma Wine-cation,” where a lucky winner and their 3 guests will be flown out to wine country for an all-inclusive and unforgettable VIP wine country weekend (value of this is $10,000). Note: One should know that the value of the prize will always turn up as income on a 1099. Wow, what a surprise when you find out you will be paying state and fed tax to treat your friends!

For more information in the giveaway, go here:

Hall Wines leaps forward with winery iPad technology

image Hall winery

Revel Systems winery iPad technology at Hall Wines

The next time you stop in at one of Hall Wines tasting rooms, there will be something new to ponder at the counter: iPad tablets used by customers and staff to simplify the purchase and shipping of Hall wines. Hall instituted the Revel Systems iPad point-of-sale solution two weeks ago and all appears to be working nicely. According to Revel System CEO Chris Ciabara, Hall has taken a giant leap forward, integrating all its technology systems into one easy platform that can be used on Apple’s iPad tablet. Will other wineries in the Napa Valley and other wine regions jump on this technology?

The Revel System provides the Hall winery and staff versatility for making quick sales and enabling customers to order wines on the fly. This could be in the tasting room, on a vineyard tour or at a special tasting event. The Hall staff can check inventory and other data from the field. Image yourself tasting a wine as you walk along the vineyards. You like it, you order it on the iPad, and when you get back to the tasting room your wine package is waiting. The software also has a ship-compliant component to decipher all issues at that end.

I have seen some limited use of the iPad in a few wineries that I have visited. Andrew Murray, in his Santa Barbara County winery, uses the iPad to take your order and swipe your credit card, but I think that is just about it. Kathleen Inman has something similar in Sonoma County for visitors to read tasting notes and place an order. We shall see how this works out and how many other wineries adopt iPads in the tasting room for all transactions.

revel ipad

Revel Systems winery iPad Technology

BottleRock Napa Valley is a “go” for a second year

The BottleRock music concert returns to Napa in May with a new producer and a terrific lineup. Tickets are now on sale. Last year’s event was very popular with some 35,000 people attending. Here is your chance to combine wine tasting, food and music. Take a look at what is happening at BottleRock Napa Valley 2014.

Tickets are on sale now for this event being held May 30 through June 1, 2014. Single day passes are $149 per person, and can be purchased at www.bottlerocknapavalley.com or www.ticketfly.com or charge by phone at 877.4.FLY.TIX (435.9849). 3-Day ($279), VIP 3-Day ($599) and Platinum Passes are also available. Check the BottleRock Website for complete details of this extravaganza.

image of the cure

The Cure performs on Friday, May 30th

Eco-Friendly Wine Route

Ten years ago only a handful of wineries in the Napa Valley used any solar power or practiced any sort of eco-friendly farming in their vineyards. Today that has changed dramatically. Many wineries in the Napa Valley can boast that they are eco-friendly in some fashion: certified organic, sustainable, biodynamic, Napa Green or solar powered.

For those wine country travelers who would like to visit some of these wineries, we have designed an Eco-Friendly Wine Route. We are listing five wineries that have extensive eco-friendly practices, in addition to making some very delicious wines and providing visitors with enjoyable experiences in the tasting room.

The Eco-Friendly Wine Route

  • Robert Sinskey – Biodynamic
  • Honig Winery – Sustainable
  • Round Pond Estate – Sustainable
  • Frog’s Leap – Organic, sustainable
  • Casa Nuestra- Organic

This wine route is centered around the Silverado Trail that runs along the eastern side of the Valley. Use the map below as your guide for getting to the wineries that you would like to visit on this trail. Always check the winery’s website for tasting-room hours and for booking tours.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards

We begin our wine country getaway at Robert Sinskey Vineyards. The winery is located just north of Oak Knoll Road at 6320 Silverado Trail. It is on the right as you drive north. Robert Sinskey is a certified biodynamic winery and uses solar power. The terrace is a wonderful spot to sip some wine and take a look at the beautiful valley floor. Tasting is $25 per person including the appetizers from the Vineyard Kitchen. Tours are available by appointment. http://www.robertsinskey.com/visit

Honig Winery

“Family owned, sustainably farmed, and solar powered” is the slogan at the Honig Winery. This winery officially had its start in 1984 and is one of the first in the Napa Valley to start a program of sustainable farming. It has been a model for other wineries in California. To visit and hear about sustainable farming, you will need to make an appointment. If the weather is nice, you will sit outside and taste some delicious wines. We are particularly fond of both of the Honig Sauvignon Blanc labels, the Napa Valley and the Rutherford. “Sustainable” is a somewhat vague term, but essentially means that whatever farming is done does not deplete the land. Everything in some form finds it way back to the soil. “Sustainable” also means that the vineyards will keep the staff working long term.

Honig Tasting

Honig Tasting

Round Pond Estate

Round Pond is one of the new kids on the block with a first vintage date of 2002. The MacDonnell family owns the winery, olive oil plant and the vineyards. 95% of the grapes are sold to other wineries with the remainder allocated for the production of Round Pond Wines. “Sustainable” is the operative word at Round Pond, which has one of the most exciting views for a wine tasting. The patio is where you reserve your spot and enjoy a variety of food and wine pairings. The gardens, of course, are organically farmed.
Check the Website for the various tasting options.

The Terrace at Round Pond

The Terrace at Round Pond

Frog’s Leap

Frog’s Leap is another of the pioneering eco-friendly wineries of the Napa Valley. The winery has two different tastings for tourists, plus a fantastic hour-and-a-half tour that we suggest you take. It is very informative. The tour is impressive and demonstrates what each and every winery in the Napa Valley should be doing to preserve the environment. The tours are at 10:30 and 2:30, but you must call ahead to book your tour.

Frog's Leap

Frog’s Leap

Casa Nuestra Winery

For our last winery, we head up north almost to Calistoga to the Casa Nuestra Winery. This is another family-owned winery. This is a bit of a change of pace from the other wineries. Casa Nuestra is very small and on the funky side. It is a very fun tasting room to visit. The winery has been committed to organic farming for almost two decades. The winery also uses extensive solar power. The wines at Casa Nuestra are atypical of Napa Valley wines. Here you will find labels like Verdelho, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Tinto and Symphony. During the week you can probably just pop in and be able to taste wine. Weekends are busy, so be sure to call ahead to book an appointment.

Napa Valley Wine Tasting Fee Index

sign for tasting room

How much $$ for tasting?

You’re heading to the Napa Valley and wondering how much to figure on tasting room fees for your travel budget. You are not alone. Our readers will often email us asking questions related to tasting room fees. What should I expect in tasting room fees on our vacation? Are the fees the same from winery to winery? Are there any tasting rooms in Napa that do not charge a fee? Where can we get a discount or two-for-one tasting coupons? This got me to thinking how much tasting room fees have increased over the years. There was once a time when no winery in the Napa Valley charged customers to taste their wine. I have no idea how much tasting room fees increase each year. I’m sure someone out there has done a reliable study, and that is more likely a survey for industry wine folks. I want something as a gauge for the wine country traveler who visits our Website looking for that information. I decided to devise a quick and easy, but unscientific, Napa Valley Wine Tasting Fee Index, one that I can update a couple of times per year. It will be interesting to do a chart year to year on the increases in these wine-tasting fees. At the very least, the Index will give a ballpark figure when someone asks how much the tasting fees are in the Napa Valley.

Napa Valley Wine Tasting Fee Index

For the index I decided on a nice, easy, round number of ten wineries. I decided that, since most folks travel Highway 29 when visiting the Napa Valley, to focus on wineries between Napa and Calistoga on this road. I selected wineries on this route that are highly visible and popular. They are all open daily and visitors can pop in any time that the tasting room is open.

sequoia grove

Sequoia Grove – $15 for wine tasting

Just about every winery in the Napa Valley has a range of tasting options. Reserve tasting, library tasting, food and wine pairing, barrel samples, and a tour and tasting. For each of the selected wineries, I am tracking only the tasting fee for a basic, or lowest priced, level of tasting. Currently, these are the established tasting room fees as of February 2014 at these ten wineries for a basic tasting.

  • Alpha Omega – $25
  • Beaulieu Vineyards – $15
  • Beringer Wines – $20
  • Grgich Hills -$20
  • Louis Martini -$15
  • Peju Province -$20
  • Provenance – $25
  • Rutherford Estate – $15
  • Sequoia Grove – $15
  • Whitehall Lane – $15

Doing a calculation, the average Napa Valley tasting fee for a basic tasting is $18.50. Five of the wineries charge $15, three at $20, and two at $25.

I always remind readers that there are ways to save on tasting room fees, especially in the Napa Valley. Check with your hotel concierge, who will more than likely have two-for-one tasting coupons. You can always share a tasting with your partner. I find that the host will pour a tad more than if it was just one person tasting. A few wineries will waive the tasting fee if you purchase a certain dollar amount of wine. For budgeting purposes, use the Index to estimate how much to set aside for tasting fees depending on the number in your party and how many wineries you plan to visit.

Provenance - $25 for wine tasting

Provenance – $25 for wine tasting

Do you really need a tasting room appointment?

tasting room sign

Open daily, no appointment

Tasting room appointment

In short, the answer is no! We visit the Napa Valley numerous times a year and hardly ever make an appointment. In our travels to the Napa Valley we find three different tasting room scenarios.

The first are the wineries with regular visiting hours throughout the week. There are a plethora of Napa Valley wineries open daily, some starting as early as 10 AM. Most are open by 11 AM and stay open until 4 or 5 PM. Just enter the tasting room and belly up to the tasting bar. If you look at our list of suggested Napa Valley wine routes, the majority of those wineries have regular tasting room hours and no reservations are required to do a normal tasting of wines.

duckhorn

Tasting room appointment recommended

The second situation are wineries that are relatively new to Napa Valley and are subject to newer Napa County regulations for tasting rooms. These require that the tasting rooms entertain visitors by appointment only. You may see a sign outside saying “Open by appointment only,” but in reality anyone can pop in and taste wines. Use your cell phone and call and explain that you are just outside the tasting room, and more than likely you will be invited to come in and do some tasting. Our guess is that these regulations are an attempt by the County to control congestion in the Napa Valley.

A third set of wineries, and very much in the minority, truly do require visitors to make a reservation to taste or tour. These wineries tend to be small, boutique, high-end, and not staffed to take in numerous visitors.

Appointment required

Appointment required

When planning a trip to the Napa Valley, it is best to peruse the Website of each winery you want to visit and check on the section for visiting the winery. This is the best way to get the latest information.

If you are interested is a special tasting, a group tasting, a tour, or food pairing, more than likely you will need to call the winery and make a reservation. Two helpful winery reservation Websites are the Cellar Pass and Vino Visit. They have each contracted with a set of wineries to do all the booking work for the winery. They both work like Open Table does for restaurants. Both of these services do make a commission on each booking, so only a few wineries are using these services. The rest rely on folks hitting the website, emailing or phoning.

If you look at our Winery Finder/Trip Planner you will be able to see which wineries have regular tasting room hours and those that are open by appointment only. Always double check with the wineries, because they often change tasting room hours. Another good thing is to find out the cost of a tasting. If you are on a budget, tasting fees can add up quickly.

Your best course of action when visiting the Napa Valley and its many tasting rooms is to spend some serious planning weeks before your scheduled visit.

Wine Country Photographs 2013 – Our Favorites

In 2013 we probably spent more days in wine country than any other previous year. We spent a full week in the Napa Valley in addition to some two-day getaways to the Valley. We took trips to Sonoma County, Mendocino and Paso Robles. We spent ten days at the North American Wine Bloggers Conference with a pre-trip to Lake Chelan, Washington, followed by the main conference in Penticton, British Columbia. We also spent one week in the Santa Barbara wine country. The highlight of our year in wine country was a four-week trip to France and Spain in October. We enjoyed two weeks in the Rhone Valley and Languedoc wine regions of Southern France and two weeks in the Priorat, Montsant and Rioja wine regions of Spain.

In 2013 I shot nearly 10,000 photos during our visits to the wine country and these are my favorites of the year. I narrowed them down to 32 photos. They may not all be the best photos, but for us they bring back lots of wonderful memories. These photos are meaningful and delightful for us to view. I hope you also enjoy these photos.

Wine Country Photographs 2013

Click on the photo to view gallery of 2013 photos

Click on the Napa Valley photo to view gallery of 2013 photographs

Comparing Wine Tasting in the Rhone Valley to the Napa Valley

cave-carianne

We have just spent a wonderful week in the Southern Rhone Valley, roaming the vineyards of this beautiful land and visiting several wineries. I could not help but compare our experiences in the Rhone Valley to that of our broad travels in the Napa Valley. As I visited the Rhone Valley wineries, I was wishing that the Napa Valley wineries would offer some of the same amenities I experienced while visiting this spectacular wine country. I think that if the Napa Valley adopted some of these practices, the experience would improve for wine country travelers.

Most of the wineries in the Southern Rhone Valley offer visitors a tasting of wines without any fees. Tours usually require an appointment and fees are often charged for the tour.

chateau-montredon

Each staff member we have encountered in our travels was warm and friendly but, most importantly, extremely knowledgeable. They knew how each bottle of wine had been produced from start to finish. I was amazed at how they mentioned food matches for each wine and related it to their own cooking at home. This was not rehearsed by any means, but spontaneous and heartfelt.

The most amazing aspect of a Rhone Valley tasting room, and perhaps elsewhere in France, is the selling price of the wine. When visitors purchase wines from the Degustation (tasting room) the price of the wine is discounted from the regular sale price that you would find in a wine shop. At one winery the discount was 15% for all wines. It is not unusual for locals to drop into a winery and carry out a case. A case of wine in France holds six bottles of wine. Nice and easy to manage! In the Napa Valley wine is sold at full retail price, unless you are a wine club member.

Speaking of wine clubs, it appears that wine clubs in the Rhone Valley do not exist. We asked at one winery about a wine club and our host was quite surprised at this concept. No wine clubs, no sales push at any winery we visited. They were just happy to welcome visitors.

Many wineries, not all, were equipped with high-tech dispensing machines that we often see in wine bars. These machines prevent the wine from oxidizing. Just about any wine is available for tasting. I often hear in the Napa Valley, “We have these four wines for you to taste today.” In the Rhone Valley it is, “Which wines would you like to taste?”

I have not seen any large tour buses at any time in our wanderings. Occasionally, we will run into a wine tour guide, but perhaps with only four people in the car.

I love the Napa Valley for it great wines, dining and beautiful scenery. But what I do not like are the high tasting room fees, the high cost of wines, and the pretentious atmosphere that every now and then surfaces.

ZAP Festival 2014 Changes Course

The 2014 ZAP Saturday event will have a new look and feel this coming January. The location will be new and the format will be entirely revamped for the 22nd year of this annual Saturday gathering of Zinfandel oenophiles. What has been the “Zinfandel Grand Tasting” will now be known as “Tasting Tracks.” I spoke with Mark Vernon, President of the ZAP Board and President of Ridge Vineyards, about ZAP Festival changes: “We think the way we have planned the Saturday theme events will give folks a more enjoyable experience and be, in a sense, an education of Zinfandel wines.”

The Zap Grand Tasting 2012

The Zap Grand Tasting 2012

Reason for the Change

The Saturday ZAP Festival event has been held the last two years at the Concourse in San Francisco, and before that is was held at Fort Mason. Neither one of those venues is any longer available, which meant finding a place big enough to hold representatives from 400 wineries and close to 10,000 attendees.

Evaluations of past ZAP Festivals found that regulars were tired of the “same old, same old” tasting and perhaps even more concerned about getting a taste of the latest vintage of their favorite Zinfandel wines. The event turns a bit rowdy in the late afternoon, and essentially one has to fight through the mobs of tasters, some serious and many not so serious, to sample wine. Many of the participating wineries were also not exactly wild about pouring their valuable wine to over-served attendees. Was it really worth a winery’s time and effort to be at the ZAP Grand Tasting?

Saturday ZAP Tasting Tracks – The Presidio

The Saturday event will now be held at three separate smaller venues, each based on a wine tasting theme, all at locations close to one another in San Francisco’s beautiful Presidio. Each event will be repeated three times at specific time slots. Participants can purchase tickets for one or all three of the tastings.

The “Sensory Tasting” will emphasize the various characteristics of Zinfandel. Here a winery can compare and contrast two or more wines in their Zinfandel lineup. Small portions of food will be paired with the Zinfandel wines.

At the “Reserve and Barrel Tasting,” the main emphasis will be on tasting Zinfandel that will be bottled in the future. Participants will have the chance to see what wines taste like as they age in the barrel. Wineries will also have the opportunity to pour library or reserve wines, something a little special in their Zinfandel lineup.

“Terroir Tasting” will give the participants a chance to taste Zinfandel wines from various AVA’s. It’s always a great educational experience when one has a chance to compare wines in this manner. What’s the difference between Dry Creek Zin and Russian River Valley Zin? Or how does a Paso Robles Zin compare with a Lodi Zin?

ZAP will also have food trucks at each venue so folks can buy lunch or a snack if they want. The Presidio location should also provide a big improvement in parking areas.

On the surface, this new approach seems to offer a much better experience for both the ZAP attendees and the wineries. Zinfandel lovers can rejoice once again at the prospect of having the opportunity to discover Zinfandel wines and learn more about their character and flavors. For more information, visit the ZAP Festival Website.

Two happy ZAP attendees in 2012

Two happy ZAP attendees in 2012

Wine Country Watercolors – Artist Dale Perkins

daleI would like to introduce our readers to watercolor artist Dale Perkins. Dale and I were teachers together for many years in the Burlingame School District and are good friends. He was one amazing art teacher and art specialist for the district. After retiring from teaching, Dale has been able to devote much of his leisure time to his passion, watercolor painting. With tremendous talent, zeal and enthusiasm, Dale has produced a plethora of wonderful artwork. Dale grew up in San Francisco and has concentrated the majority of his watercolor paintings on famous San Francisco landmarks.

Some time back I showed Dale some of my favorite wine country photos. He pondered them for several minutes and then asked if he could borrow a handful of the photos. A few weeks later we met at our local coffee shop and Dale showed me how he had used the photos. With each of the photographs, he created his interpretation of the wine country scene in a lovely watercolor format. Wow! These are terrific renditions of the wine country, and ones that I have not seen anywhere in my wine country travels. Dale was obviously inspired by the beauty of wine country. Below are four of his wine country watercolor favorites. He has also made these watercolor paintings into notecards. For the wine lover, the notecards offer just the right touch to send a thank you or special message to family and friends.

dale-cabernet

dale-barrels

Any of these wine country watercolors can be ordered from Dale’s website, San Francisco Watercolors. Another one of the cool things that Dale does is commission work for business and for private citizens. Recently, he did an amazing pen and ink work of an English Tudor home of another one of our friends. It’s lovely to see the creative touch that Dale can bring out in his work to highlight the special character of a place.

I was thinking that in wine country there are many very wonderful and appealing winery buildings set against a spectacular backdrop of vineyards, rolling hills and mountain tops. If you own a winery, what a nice addition it would be to display a watercolor painting of your winery in the tasting room. How about a collection of watercolor notecards that depict your winery that you could offer to your wine club members? I think it would be a nice touch and, of course, any time a wine club member uses a notecard it’s a little extra PR for your winery and wines.

dale-zin

dale-mondavi

Dale likes wine but as I tell him not nearly enough. We need to change our venue from time to time and meet at a wine bar instead a coffee shop. I think a little more wine knowledge and a little glass of wine will inspire Dale to devote more of this spectacular work to wine country points of interest.