Posts tagged with "wine"

Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival

Birders descend on Morro Bay each year over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend to attend the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival and capture glimpses of the massive migrating madness as they dive, swoop and scatter by the hundreds. This is Insta-worthy at its finest. But, you don’t have to attend the festival to marvel at these fine feathered friends because Morro Bay is a distinctive coastal destination for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway through March.

The coastal Mediterranean climate sets the stage and creates the perfect backdrop for bird watching, no matter where you roam: the Morro Bay State Park boardwalk, bustling Embarcadero, iconic Morro Rock, or up close and personal from kayaks, paddleboards and boat tours. The Morro Bay National Estuary Preserve and its unique 800-acre wetland filled with salt marshes and mudflats are home to more than 250 species of land, sea, and shore birds as well as dozens of endangered species all winter long, including Peregrine Falcons.

ߦ The 23rd Annual Winter Bird Festival: January 18 – 21

This popular Winter Bird Festival, hosted by the Morro Bay Audubon Society, takes place each year over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. With more than 130 events, including nature treks, presentations, workshops, and lectures, there is a lot to discover. This event is designed to promote the understanding and appreciation of wildlife and environmental conservation. Topics range from geology and biology, to photography and more.

ߦ Saturday Art, Wine & Nibbles Reception – NEW

On Saturday, January 19, from 5:30 – 6:30 pm attendees have an opportunity to browse festival exhibits at a wine reception that includes light snacks. Afterwards, attendees will head over to the South Bay Community Center in Los Osos for James Currie’s keynote presentation.

ߦ Bird Festival Bazaar

Check out birding and bird inspired vendors, public presentations and environmental groups at the Bird Festival Bazaar Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

ߦ Self-Guided Tours

Get out in the field on your own schedule and at your own pace with the Winter Bird Festival self-guided tours. Try El Moro Elflin Forest Natural Area. With a raised board walk over the edge of the Bay, this is a great place to observe the unique plants and spot over 100 species of birds. Find the 13th Street entrance of Santa Ynez Street by following the signs in Los Osos.

ߦ Family Day

No preregistration or registration fee is required to participate in the family day events which take place on Saturday January 19th at the Museum of Natural History. Programs include arts & craft, educational talks, hikes, kayak and canoe rides, and up-close encounters with birds, reptiles, and insects. Children participating in Family Day will also be given a gift from the Morro Coast Audubon Society. Programing runs from 9:30 am-3 pm.

ߦ Mind Walks Series: Peregrine Falcons

Biologist Steve Schubert chronicles the efforts of nest site attendants and endangered species management techniques, captive breeding, double clutching, captive hatching of thin, fragile wild eggs, and the fostering of falcon chicks into the wild nests that have assisted in the recovery of a once-imperiled species. Author of the book The Peregrine Falcons of Morro Rock: A 50-year History, he is past president of Morro Coast Audubon Society. In its 25th year, the Mind Walk Series offers lecture on topics of interest to residents of the Central Coast, including cultural history, natural history, and current issues every Monday, January-March.

KEY WEST FESTIVAL

Key West Festival to Tempt Appetites for Food, Wine, History and Fun
 
Creative cuisine, premium wines and unique events in a subtropical island setting await attendees Wednesday through Sunday, Jan. 23-27, at the 2019 Key West Food & Wine Festival. The 10th annual festival celebrates Key West’s rich culinary culture and historic sites. 
 
Scheduled events showcase local chefs’ artistry, indigenous Florida Keys ingredients, fine wines from around the world and intriguing food-related adventures. 
 
The festival officially begins with the Conch Kick-off Party at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, saluting the unique food culture of Key West — whose native residents proudly call themselves “conchs” after the mollusk used in many island dishes. Seafood and Cuban-influenced treats by Chef David Fuhrman of Great Events Catering, fine wines andentertainment by The Fabulous Spectrelles characterize the gala in the garden of Key West’s Oldest House Museum, 322 Duval St. 
 
“Entree” highlights Jan. 24 include exclusive tasting strolls in Key West’s Bahama Village and Mallory Square neighborhoods, a class revealing how to make the Florida Keys’ signature Key lime pie, and a savory grilled cheese and beer tasting. 
 
Friday’s schedule stars the “Sunset on the Ingham” Grand Tasting aboard the historic U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Samuel D. Ingham, launched in 1936 and now a military museum moored at Key West’s Truman Waterfront Park. Attendees can enjoy notable vintages, island-inspired light bites from Small Chef at Large Catering, entertainment by jazz singer Libby York and a chance to enjoy Key West’s world-renowned sunset from the deck of the venerable vessel. 
 
Festival attendees can find a mile of temptations Saturday, Jan. 26, at Old Town Uncorked X 10, a sipping and shopping stroll down Key West’s renowned Duval Street. Attractions at the 2-5 p.m. event include “intoxicating” forays into galleries and boutiques. 
 
Saturday evening, a paella cook-off is to take place at the Truman Little White House, 111 Front St., where former President Harry Truman spent nearly six months while in office. The annual event supports the preservation of the property — now Florida’s only presidential museum — and includes unlimited wine tasting, cigars and live music. 
 
The festival also features an interactive blind tasting event focusing on Key West’s culinary culture and history. Staged at a secret location by event designer Francesca DeFranchis, the guided sensory experience features a six-course tasting menu and nine wines.  
 
Other festival attractions include a tropical garden tour and tasting, the “Red Socks at Rock House” spectacular featuring Eduardo’s Table, a lavish shrimp feast in the Key West Historic Seaport and the “Brunch Bucket List” series.

BEST CITIES TO VISIT IN 2019

From cities that may be closer to home to exciting overseas destinations, these are some of the top places to visit in 2019.

Auckland, New Zealand

The vibrant capital city of New Zealand recently became one of just 31 cities that are part of the UNESCO Creative Cities network for music. This trending travel destination is home to many of the nation’s renowned artists and institutions. No matter when you visit you can expect to find fabulous live tunes and there’s likely to be a music festival or special event to enjoy too. Visitors can also look forward to the famous panoramic vistas from the iconic Sky Tower and exploring countless museums like the Auckland Art Gallery, the largest art institution in the country featuring more than 15,000 works of historic, modern and contemporary art.

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City has been popping up on lists of top travel destinations everywhere in recent years, and for good reason. It’s one of America’s top foodie cities, with high quality dishes served at all price points from deep dish pizza to hot dogs and fine dining at the two Michelin-starred Acadia. Chicago is also home to one of the world’s greatest museums, the Art Institute of Chicago and five pro sports teams: the MLB’s White Sox and Cubs, the NFL’s Bears, the NHL’s Blackhawks and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls making it easy to catch a game just about anytime of the year. There’s so much to do in this midwestern city you might just find yourself browsing through Chicago real estate looking for your next new home.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is a place everyone should visit at least once and 2019 may be one of the best times to check this Argentinian city off your travel bucket list. Airfares are lower than ever thanks to low-cost carriers and emerging airlines, and the dollar is incredible strong against the Argentinian peso too, making that famously tasty Malbec more affordable than ever. Look forward to walking through the delightful pedestrian areas and watching tango dances in the streets as you explore the wealth of wine bars, cafes and steakhouses.

Berlin, Germany

There are two important anniversaries in Berlin that will be marked in 2019, including the 30-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the centenary of the Bauhaus, with its festival held from January 16 to January 24. Stroll through Berlin Mitte, the historical heart of the city. and you’ll be able to check out many of its top sites like the Brandenburg Gate, the iconic symbol of Berlin that symbolizes the reunification of the West and East. If you visit in September, the weather is not only likely to be ideal, but you can attend the Lollapalooza Berlin, hosted on September 8 and 9 in 2019. It’s sure to bring plenty of big-name artists – last year’s lineup included headliners like Imagine Dragons and Liam Gallagher. It also features an open-air art gallery, street theater, wine bars and a festival for kids.

FREDERICKSBURG

By Alexandria Baiz × Vaughn Lowery

Fredericksburg, Texas the destination of historical sites and culture welcomes us. With the hidden treasures of food, wine and goods the Texas Hill Country is a must-visit.

Beginning with a stay at the one and only Hanger Hotel. This hotel has a WWII hangar of the romantic 1940’s to it’s design with fine woods and custom carpets. Famous for the Observation Deck on the second floor with views adjacent to the airport to see the planes come and go from one end of the runway to the end.

Later a stop to the Pioneer Museum Complex preserved from the 19th century German Pioneer days. In the mid-1840s Germans faced every obstacle to come to Texas and create a unique German colony in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. The Museum strives to preserve and tell this story. With a combination museum and historical site, it reaches over 3.5 acres on Main Street in downtown Fredericksburg.

Dinner at Das Peach Haus that houses delicious jams, jellies and sauces made by Fischer and Wieser Speciality Foods. The Historic roadside fruit stand offers gourmet products with unique flavor combinations. The Tasting Room offers tastings from two Texas wineries, which change out every two months. Vintage wines are paired with international assortment of cured meats and cheeses. Fischer and Wieser include more than 70-award-winning products, which each inspire culinary adventures around the world by being able to purchase online.

Clear River Pecan does things differently with hot-from-the-oven baked goods, homemade ice cream and house deli. Homemade ice cream with high-quality ingredients has been voted as the third best ice cream in Texas. For a bite to eat the deli and salad selection is notable with house favorites like the Chipotle Ranch Chicken Wrap. Fresh baked goods can satisfy any sweet tooth with an Apple Strudel, Peach Cobbler and everything in between.

Tour at the George H.W. Bush Gallery at The National Museum of the Pacific War dedicated exclusively to telling the story of the Pacific Theater in World War II. The Museum is noted for its historic materials with iconic elements of the Pacific War era. Guided tours debut the newly renovated Pacific Combat Zone, a realistic environment for a deep understanding of the momentous struggle between Allied Forces and Japanese forces.

For lunch we enjoy an Arts District Stroll through the Peach Tree Gift Gallery and Tea Room. With the Cottage style restaurant, you will find a combination of fresh, homemade breads, soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts. For over 39 years this family owned business has been a destination in Fredericksburg, because of the seasonal fruits and vegetables they use.

After lunch, we took an art tour through the streets of Fredericksburg to meet with the area’s top galleries. Insight Gallery represents the cities artists and sculptors that today work on landscape, figurative, impressionistic, still life, wildlife and western art. The Good ART Company is beautiful with a contemporary fusion in a restored 4,000+ square foot historical building with high ceilings and limestone walls. The gallery features an array of genres with some of the best regional, national, and international artists. Koch Gallery owned and operated by Bert E. Koch a trader/broker for traditional, contemporary and modern Native American Art. For over 30 years it continues its long tradition of providing important works of art from all major cultural regions in North America. Artisans Gallery makes your artistic dreams reality with unique pieces that come in every medium, size and price range. RS Hanna a jewel for fine arts with original works of acclaimed artists. Workings range from oil, watercolor, bronze and wood. Gallery 330 is the newest addition to the art scene representing contemporary established artists whose works include sculpture, painting and prints, serigraphs and watercolors.

The Holiday Wine Trail takes us to Texas’s countryside to travel along Wine Road 290 with visit to award winning wineries.

The trail begins at Stout’s Trattoria at Grape Creek Vineyards a 100-acre vineyard estate. With oaks and vines surrounding the tasting rooms there is a romantic Tuscan setting that is truly unforgettable. The Vineyards have won over 100 medals in the last two years for their wines.

In the heart of the Texas Hill Country, 4.0 Cellars offers a relaxing and elegant setting to discover the infamous Texas Wines. In a private tasting room we enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing. With four award-winning chocolate truffles from local chocolatier with four carefully selected dry red wines.

Dinner at August E’s, known for it’s organic produce and superb local suppliers. August E inspired by his Thai roots and years in various culinary pursuits throughout the world has created a Nouveau Texas Cuisine. Utilizing ingredients like: Niman ranch Natural Premium Aged Angus steaks and local farmers fruits and vegetables year round. Menu specials change seasonally based on the creative mood of Chef Leu like duck from Maple Leaf Farms and Sashimi Grade Fish.

A favorite in the Texas Hill, we enjoy dinner at Otto’s German Bistro. Menu changes weekly with the season so each visit is an exciting adventure. Dedicated to local, organic produce ingredients that are always fresh and the highest quality.

We enjoy breakfast at Java Ranch a locally owned coffee stop. The ranch serves the finest hot or iced coffee drinks anywhere including lattes, cappuccinos, Hill Country roasted brewed coffee, Americanos and mochas. To start the day off we dive in a breakfast taco or kolaches, house favorites.

We take a visit to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park for a “Texas style” morning. During his administration, Johnson signed more education bills into law than any other president. In respect to that we see his first school where he signed the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education act of 1965. Other stops include the family cemetery and the LBJ Ranch Show.

In the afternoon we endow in lunch and a beer tasting at Altstadt Brewery Fredericksburg’s newest brewery an authentic Bavarian brewery. Dedicated to creating the purest drinking beers the 120-acre old world destination features a fine dining restaurant, brewery tours and a beautiful venue. Brewery exclusives include traditional brews like Schwarzbier, a traditional German “Black Beer.”

With over 150 specialty shops, shopping is one of the primary reasons visitors come to Fredericksburg. In store we see everything from clothing, upscale home accessories, to unique collectibles and more perfect items for holiday shopping. Blackchalk Home and Laundry originally an old laundromat had been transformed into an electric home goods store. The hip store features gifts, kitchen goods, and one of a kind rugs. The infamous Christmas Store open year round specializes in collectibles. For collectors, this store is paradise with Department 56 miniature villages and Christopher Radko blown glass ornaments. The Hill Country Outfitters and The Grasshopper offer products to fit the hill country lifestyle in downtown Fredericksburg. Brands like Ugg and The North Face are housed in the Outfitters. The Narrow Path Tasting Room inside is an intimate space with French cafe feelings in the air.

To continue the Holiday Wine Trail, a stop at Signor Vineyard in the rolling hills of Central Texas. Where the Pedernales River meets Grape Creek, established by a friendship spanning three generations of two Texas families. Their focus is growing premium varietal fruit with soulful wines reflective of the unique terroir.

Our stay is perfect timing for the Fredericksburg’s 61st Annual Holiday Home Tour. A self guided tour showcasing unique local homes decorated in their holiday finest. With more than 22 vendors each year selling personal gifts, homemade foods and holiday items.

For dinner we dine at Navajo Grill, which encompasses an unusual blend of Hill Country craftsman design. Enjoying Southern cuisine composed with old and New Mexican flavors with a touch of Creole & Caribbean influences. Specialties like the Sunday Chicken Fried Steak dinner are served with housemade sauces and dressings.

After dinner drinks at Elk Store Winery & Distillery. Since 1895 the business has carried a family tradition that pays homage to the spirit of realizing the American Dream. In the footsteps of their great grandfather Todd Smajstrla along with Scott Hladky, produced moonshine, gin, rum, and whiskey. Since then, the business serves Incredible wines from all over the world. Along with small batches of handmade liquors by the bottle or cocktails.

Dinner at Rathskeller a full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner spot in downtown Fredericksburg. The menu selection is extremely versatile featuring German dishes and daily specials. On Friday and Saturday nights enjoy live music that house the restaurant.

Nothing better than the taste of handmade tortillas for breakfast at Hilda’s Tortillas. Hilda’s is a small family owned and operated business. Specializing in authentic Mexican fare their breakfast tacos and burritos are a must try. Twice a week 300 or more pounds of tortilla chips are produced within the restaurant.

For some fresh air we bike the quiet country backroads with Jack and Adams Bicycles. At Jack and Adams you can rent out Road, Tri-bike, Cruisers and even kid bicycles and accessories from a variety of brands. The Hill Country scenes with its rolling hills and panoramic views, is considered the cycling capital of Texas.

In addition to the speciality shops we visited above there is a collection of shops specializing in different festive treats. Emma + Ollie bakeshop takes classic treats we grew up loving and elevated them. The shop prides themselves on using only fresh ingredients; no processed foods, no artificial sweeteners, just pure dessert. The founders Emma and Ollie wanted the shop to feel as if customers stepped into an upscaled version of their own grandma’s kitchen. Chocolat store creator, Lecia Duke, was the first to introduce European-Style, liquid centered chocolate in the U.S. The truffle chocolates are of course a house favorite as the delicate shell gives way to the pure liquid flavor casades in your mouth. In addition there is also colette’s, creams, silk fudges, nut clusters, barks, and caramels. Fredericksburg Pecan Company provides fine quality of pecan products grown in the Texas Hill Country. Owners are dedicated to providing excellent quality pecans available for online order at reasonable prices with the best customer service. Pecans are flavored and glossed in everything from pecan brittle to pecan coffee.

Rustlin Rob’s Texas Gourmet Food is not your ordinary gourmet food, not limited to people who cook but to “foodies” of all ages. The store is enjoyable because it caters to anyone who loves to eat. With over 350 gourmet foods we can sample from ranging from peanut butters, mustards, bread mixes, and some 5 Alarm hot sauces.

Fredericksburg Pie Company mission is to serve pie that is as good as, or better than your mothers or grandmothers made. In store pies are made from scratch and selections change daily with up to 20 kinds of pie. While here, we enjoy an option of coffee, milk, and more with our slice of pie and even a book selection. Sugar free pies are also available with a call in a day before.

Lunch at the Farm Haus Bistro in the Fredericksburg Herb Farm, with an American menu with French and Italian influences. Owners Dick and Rosemary Estenson take us on a tour of the B&B Cottages based upon the design of the early historic Fredericksburg “Sunday Houses. These houses are inspired by German settlers who built these small “city houses” to use on the weekends to buy provisions and attend Sunday church. We also visit the Nature Spa area dedicated to a truly unique relaxing experience.

Exploring Main Street is incredible when we can enjoy Eisban, an outdoor ice skating on real ice. Alongside Marketplace and the Christmas Pyramid. Afterwards a trip to Luckenbach, Texas made famous by Waylon Jennings’ and Willie Nelson’s 1976 classic country hit.

For our last destination Dinner and wine pairing at local Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Country Restaurant. Chef/Owner Ross Burtwell’s wish is to create a lasting impression of culinary craft where guest feel at home. Known for his speciality in preparing the freshest seafood, Certified Angus Beef, wild game and ranch fare. The wine selection is also superb with over 75 selections from around the State of Texas. Tripadvisor has ranked the restaurant Top 10 in the nation and we know why.

The good art company, gallery, art, Fredericksburg Texas,  360 MAGAZINE

August E's, 360 MAGAZINE,  Fredericksburg Texas

War museum, Fredericksburg Texas, 360 MAGAZINE,  Vaughn Lowery

Altstadt Brewery, Fredericksburg Texas, 360, 360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery

Chocolat, lecia Duke, 360 MAGAZINE, Fredericksburg, Vaughn Lowery

South African Tourism

2019 will be a landmark year as South Africa celebrates 25 years of freedom and democracy. South African Tourism is encouraging travelers to make 2019 the year they discover everything that the country has to offer, from its wildlife, natural beauty, and dramatic coastlines to its world-class restaurants, art galleries, and compelling explorations of culture. It is a unique moment to reflect and acknowledge the country’s socio-economic progress since the end of apartheid and its journey to becoming one of the world’s most sought-after travel destinations.

The new year will offer a diverse array of authentic experiences from art, culture and adventure to exciting hotel developments and new itineraries. With the continued strength of the dollar to the rand, it’s the opportune time to travel to the destination!

Reviving Cape Town

Thanks to innovative solutions put in place earlier this year to combat the drought in Cape Town, the Mother City is open for business and looks towards a bright 2019 with water levels stabilizing and significant efforts continuing to play a key role in the conversation on conserving our precious water. The city’s diverse range of breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural experiences, world class food and wine, art, marine life, nature and much more, are all ready to return to the spotlight in 2019.

New Activity Offerings

The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Robben Island Museum, is starting to offer tours to visitors upon request. A new exhibit at the Mayibuye History Centre at the University of the Western Cape are unique multimedia collections depicting images of the resistance and freedom struggles caused by Apartheid. The two historical exhibits offer visitors the ability to experience, learn, and pay respects to South Africa’s history and better understand the forward momentum the country has made.

Boosting Family Travel

South Africa is becoming more accessible for traveling families through updated regulations. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) announced on December 1st, 2018 that they are relaxing some of the regulations for children traveling to South Africa. The announcement comes at a pivotal point for family travel as the Festive Season, a time when many families travel with their children, is fast approaching.

  • As visas are not required for US & CAN travelers visiting for less than 90 days, generally, children (under 18) travelling with both parents will experience no additional questioning and will not be requested to provide any additional documents, over and above a valid passport.

  • However, if it may appear that you are not the parents of the child for any reason, documentation may be requested. It is suggested that you consider carrying a birth certificate which features the details of the parent or parents, or other documentation that might assist to prove the parental relationship such as a marriage certificate, adoption certificate etc.

  • For more details from the Department of Tourism click here.

News from the Bush

Located on the Kapama Private Game Reserve, the Relais & Chateaux safari lodge, Camp Jabulani, is opening “Little Jabu” in October 2019 that will house 12 suites. 7 are “Jabulani Suites” ideal for couples and 5 are “Little Jabu Family Suites” for families with up to two children. The award winning lodge is known for guided bush walks and Big 5 game drives as well as the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, a leading private research and breeding facility for endangered species in the country.

In the Eastern Cape, the renowned Shamwari Private Game Reserve has finalized the first phase of its extensive $25 million refurbishment of the Eagles Crag Lodge and the Riverdene Family Lodge. The second phase, due to complete November 2019, will see a new, flagship luxury tented camp, and the renovation of the historic Long Lee Manor, featuring 18 private luxury suites. The reserve offers visitors the opportunity to get behind the scenes of the conservancy’s volunteering efforts and environmental regeneration projects.

The Royal Portfolio announced that the The Farmstead will open May 1, 2019. This property will be an exclusive lodge at Royal Malewane, just a mere 12 minute drive south of it, and stand as The Royal Portfolio’s first property in South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park. Accommodations will be provided in a main lodge as well as luxury villas and suites with rates inclusive of accommodation, meals, drinks, game drives and bush walks. It provides a completely different design style than the existing safari lodges in South Africa with light oak, tin roofs, wrought iron and gentle hues of blue and white defining the style.

Welcoming New Urban Retreats

Newmark Hotels, Residences, Reserves & Lodges, known for the noteworthy opening of Hallmark House in Johannesburg’s trendy Maboneng Precinct, is opening Stock Exchange – an eclectic city hotel in Cape Town’s most up-and-coming region, Woodstock. Set to open March 2019, it will boast just 33 apartment-style rooms with kitchens and will include a restaurant, swimming pool, gym and shops. The interior of the rooms celebrate local talent and the connection with the neighborhood. As a result, furniture and decorations items in the rooms will be pinpointed on a “design map” of Woodstock, allowing guests to purchase similar items and support the region’s artists.

Placed on the only tree-lined and fully pedestrianized avenue in Cape Town is Gorgeous George, a new hotel set to open early 2019. The new structure is the first hotel in the area to be a member of Design Hotels. Located between St. George’s Mall and Green Market Square, the goal of the hotel is to be a new cultural hub that reflects South Africa’s design scene.

FAIRFIELD, CALIFORNIA

✏️By Alexandria Baiz & Vaughn Lowery

Fairfield, California the San Francisco Bay city famous for its fruit and local wineries that provide grapes to the Napa and other surrounding vineyards.

Welcome reception at the glorious Jelly Belly Candy Company, includes a self guided factory tour by the  staff. The marvelous Company is a family-owned business based in Fairfield with another factory in North Chicago. The Goelitz family started a confectionery business in Illinois in 1869, than a Candy Business in 1924 in California. Later the Candy Company would  expand a product line to include jelly beans. In 1965, the Mini Jelly Bean was developed. This was a small bean with a center of natural flavoring, different from traditional jelly beans in which only the outer shell was flavored. The company would become the infamous Jelly Belly Candy Company, with more than 50 varieties of flavors. Flavors traditional as cherry, exotic as buttered popcorn, and even inspired alcoholic drink flavors like blackberry brandy. Ronald Reagan while governor of California would quit smoking and turn to jelly beans as a substitute. The company also makes 100 different confections like gummies, candy corn, and chocolates. The tour is fun for the kids, but just as fun for the adults. This tour takes you through the process of making jelly beans, some stages include a video monitor explanation, while wearing a mandatory Jelly Belly paper hat. And, yes you get a free pack of Jelly Belly Beans at the end. There is also a  shop where you can purchase and a Chocolate Shoppe with a fudge bar available for tastings. The ground floor cafeteria is great for lunch with Jelly Bean shaped pizzas being a favorite. For adults, upstairs is a wine tasting room with six different Suisan or green Valley Wines to match the six different chocolates made by the Chocolate Shoppe.

Mankas Steakhouse, a full American steakhouse menu with a local California flavor was our dine for the night. Chef Peter at Mankas uses favorite Suisun Valley products. The local product in Wooden Valley Winery was our first visit the next day at 7am for a visit to watch wine harvest in process. The Suisun Valley and Solano Country American Viticultural Area(AVA) -which is a wine-grape growing region-includes more than 50 sub-appellations of the best known wines region. The Suisun Valley about 8 miles long and 3 miles wide, between the Blue Ridge of the Vaca Mountains on the east. One fifth of the valley is planted as a vineyard with more than 20 varieties of grapes, established in 1982. The Green Valley just west of Suisun Valley is 4 miles long and a mile wide. Also called the Solano County/ Green Valley, AVA was established in 1983.

For breakfast a visit to  Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company dedicated to growing and milling the “finest artisan olive oil” produced by owners Ann and Mark Sievers. Ann and her husband began with a harvest of 6 pounds of olives and 170 baby trees they planted in Green Valley. This turned  into more than 2000 trees in Green Valley and Suisun Valley. The Suisan groves have 12 single varietals from Italy, Spain, France, and Greece, with blends as well.  Il Fiorello offers in depth tours of their property, that concludes in an olive oil tasting and 13 balsamic vinegar reductions. Oil tastings are paired with seasonal bites of food including the classic Frantoio oil with steak.There are even cooking classes within the Fiorello’s Kitchen.  

A visit to the GV Cellars is just what we need for a glimpse into a simpler time. The tasting area on the second floor consist of a deck view of the vineyards and Vaca Mountains. The original property was an 80-acre fruit orchard which was replaced with grapes to produce wine under “Chateau de Leu”. In 2005, Bob Hager the current owner would acquire the winery and vineyards. Today, the Cellar grows within a 30-acre vineyard six distinct varietals:Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. The Dolcetto and Cabernet Franc are a house favorite.

Greeted by the  owner and winemaker Sal Glavan at his Galvan Family Cellars to taste his wines. Sal Glavan has been making wine in California since the 1990’s including a time working for GV Cellars. Galvan usually has a  focus on crafting from the Green Valley and Solano County vineyards, but also ‘high end’ wines from the Napa County vineyards. Producing about 3,500 cases a year depending upon the grapes available wines are exceptional with the signature Bordeaux-style blends or Cabernet Sauvignon-base. The cellars also hold the tasting room for rock Wren Winery, owner Dennis De Domenico has produced Green Valley grape wines since 2005. He is known for making his Frenchs style Syrah “in the classic French style”.

The Suisun Valley Co-op is a perfect tasting room that is cozy  but not crowded. Blacksmith Cellars, King Andrews Vineyards, and Sunset Cellars distribute their wine here. Matt Smith the owner and winemaker of Blacksmith Cellars started in 2003, with his release of his 2001 Alexander valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Smith starting as a chemist working in the lab at Beaulieu Vineyards in 1996. From that point he would work at various winecellars making a variety of familiar Suisun Valley wines. King Andrews is owned by Roger who is also the winemaker and Carol (Andrews) King. Sunset Cellars was established by Doug and Katsuko Sparks in 1977. Their speciality includes making small batches of  high quality red wines. There are many interesting wines to try like the Blacksmith Rose and Sunset Suisun Valley Charbono Sunset.

The Pacific Flyway, where more than a billion of birds follow the 10,000 mile stretch from South America to the Arctic on their annual migration, makes a stop in Fairfield. Suisun Marsh is one one of the significant stopover points where the birds rest, feed, and restore their energy for continuing on. The Pacific Flyway Center is an educational and conservation initiative. With goals to educate public about the Flyaway and restoring wetlands to keep the flyaway viable.

A drive to the Grizzly Waters Kayak in Suisun City, where we meet the owner James Berg and get set for kayaking Suisun Marsh. Suisun Marsh is part of the Bay Area Water Trail where you can go on trails and see local and migrating birds.

With greetings from Jennivive Soriano the supervisor of brewery experiences we explore the Anheuser-Busch Fairfield brewery. Opened in 1976, the Fairfield Brewery is the ‘greenest’ of the company’s breweries, which derives a third of its power from solar and wind energy. Brewery tours include  an hour of the Anheuser-Busch story and how their beers are produced. We took the tour of the brewery that includes the Flights of Fairfield. Fairfield is home to one of the Budweiser plants a famous attraction. The brewery is home to the one of a kind Budweiser Clydesdale (Horse) race events, tickets available online.

The Heretic Brewery Company  known for their inner heretic beers that push the boundaries of beer flavors. Owners Liz and Jamil Zainasheff started as homebrewers and in 2012 would open the Heretic Brewing Company. With a variety of 18 different beers on their menu they also have a bar menu of burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers.

The Vezér is a Suisun Valley winery, owned by Frank and Liz Vezér. The Vezérs came to Fairfield  more than 20 years ago and purchased 30 acres for vineyards, which has now spread to 60 acres. Originally selling  their grapes to other wineries but in 2001 established their own label. The family vineyards produce estate wines like their flagship, La Salette a blend of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. There are two tasting rooms one on Mankas Corner Road and the other on Suisun Valley Road.

A visit to the Cal-Yee Farm Shop whom specializes in dried fruits and nuts. Founder Yee chew Yong fled from China to work as a laborer in California. In 1908, he rented 20 acres of farmland on Clayton Road where his son would purchase the land and his son would start the family’s dried fruit business.

The Wooden Valley winery started in 1933 after prohibition by Salvador and Manuel Brea.In 1944,  Mario Lanza would partner with Manuel and eventually become the sole owner. Third generation of Lanzas, four brothers manage the Winery today. This winery is the oldest in the Suisun Valley with a large variety of red and white wines. The Lanza wines have the authenticity of traditional Italian family wines.

Dinner at Favela’s Fusion an upscale Mexican tequileria. The menu includes signature dishes representing the flavors of different regions in Mexico. The owner  Veronica Favela-Diaz’s parents immigrated from Mexico and she grew up in Northern California. She and her father opened three restaurants in the 90’s emphasizing  affordable quality Mexican food. After Veronica and Husband Edgar traveled all over Mexico learning about the different regions foods they came up with Favelas Fusion. This fusion offers a combination of traditional authentic Mexican cuisine. The Fusion applies a mix of Mexico to obtain one of a kind dishes that are beautifully displayed like the Shrimp Fajitas burrito with cilantro infused with rice and black beans in a tomato tortilla.

A trip to the Mangels Family Vineyards to meet owner Gary Mangels and winemaker Gina Oberti. Gary Mangels is a fourth generation of a  California farming and ranching family. His great grandfather bought 240 acres of land in 1876 and the family has grown grapes, made and sold wine, and raised livestock since. In 1943, surviving through prohibition the family sold the winery operation, but maintained the vineyards. Eventually the family would purchase Suisun Valley land and partner with Gina Richmond to found the Mangels Vineyards. Gina makes a variety of red and white wines including, Pinot Grigio and Syrah.

Backroad owners Jeff and Judy Anselmo greet us inside the tasting room in  the kitchen of the house. Their wines are relatively young and maturting. As they find their style the plans for construction of the multimillion dollar tasting room will be completed in 2019. Backroad will be a neighbor to The Wagner family of wines -owner of famous Caymus Winery- new tasting room on Suisun Valley Road.  It will open in late 2018 with hopes to specialize in ‘grand durif’ and become the trademark wine for Suisun Valley.

Dinner at Chez Soul in downtown Fairfield a Louisiana style restaurant. With every Southern comfort food you can think of from Gumbo to Southern Fried chicken. “Beneath the heart is soul. The soul needs food.”. The owner Cheryl Reed runs the restaurant with her family her brother is the manager and her daughter is the cook. Cheryl’s vision for Chez Soul is good food in a welcoming place that feels like home.

HOLIDAYS ROCK IN MORRO BAY

Bright Lights, Boat City – Morro Bay Rocks the Holidays!
This Maritime Village Celebrates Holidays with Lighted Crab Pot Trees, a Weekend of Lighted Boat Parades, Two Tall Ships in the Harbor, a Plethora of Holiday Events and Abundant Local Seasonal Crab at Fish Markets and Restaurants!
With a boat-filled harbor and miles of beautiful beaches, Morro Bay celebrates the spirit of this fishing village in maritime style during holiday season. Find festive holiday trees made out of crab pots throughout town, historic tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain in the harbor during November and December, Santa’s House on the Embarcadero, two lighted boat parades, a paddle parade and so much more.
 
“Morro Bay during the holidays is a fun place to visit,” says Jennifer Little, Morro Bay Tourism Manager. “Crab season is open and abundant, boat parades and tall ships in harbor, nearly 30 crab pot holiday trees light up town, and local wine tasting and Hearst Castle are minutes away. We’ve got so many ways to celebrate the holidays with family and friends.”
 
Hearst Castle and Wine Make us Merry!
Holiday cheer is in abundance in and around Morro Bay. Located on California’s Central Coast on scenic Highway 1 just minutes from the festive holiday tours at Hearst Castle, and wine tasting in Paso Robles and Edna Valley Wine regions, Morro Bay is the place to holiday. Paso Robles and Edna Valley are home to many wine touring companies that will come to Morro Bay and pick you up from your hotel. Need more reasons to visit?  Check out these holiday lodging specials.
Crab Pot Christmas Trees
To celebrate its heritage the Central Coast Fisheries for Women arrange for nearly 30 Crab Pot Christmas Trees to be placed throughout town as a way to honor the amazing fishing families of Morro Bay. As an alternative to traditional holiday trees, these lighted sparkling trees are made out of real repurposed crab pots. 
 
Fresh Local Crab on the Menu
During the holiday season, locals and visitors rave about the fresh and local seasonal crab found in abundance at Morro Bay
 seafood markets and restaurants. A true treat for the holidays, don’t miss out!
 
Rock these Holiday Events!
This time of year offers some of the best weather to be outdoors, on the water, on the beach or anywhere in Morro Bay! Check out these upcoming events:
November 28 – Dec 18: Tall Ship Lady Washington in Harbor
Lady Washington the official tall ship of Washington State will visit Morro Bay, CA  and offer walk-on tours and family-oriented Adventure Sails featuring demonstrations of tall ship handling, sea shanty singing, and maritime amusements. After your tour of the Tall Ship, walk across the street to the new
 Morro Bay Maritime Museum. The Museum is open every Saturday from 10am – 4pm.   
November 30: Citywide Holiday Crab Pot Tree Lighting
Join us in Morro Bay for a simultaneous lighting of nearly 30 Crab Pot Holiday Trees around the City of Morro Bay. The citywide celebration begins at 5 pm. Locations are City Park, Downtown, T-Pier, Anchor Park & other various locations around town.
November 30: Lighted Boat Parade Preview
Come enjoy our large vessels and commercial boats as they cruise up and down the Embarcadero waterway as you dine. They will be layered in lights and festive holiday spirit for your enjoyment while you eat in one of the many waterfront restaurants or stroll the Embarcadero. Some of the vessels in the parade preview include a U.S. Coast Guard Vessel, Tall Ship Lady Washington, the Papagallo, the Chablis and several boats from our fishing fleet. This event is brought to you by the waterfront restaurants.
November 30 – Dec 15: Santa’s House at the Embarcadero
Santa will be on the Embarcadero every night from 6 – 8 pm with presents and treats for the children.  Pictures are free with an option to purchase a frame.  Come visit Jolly ol’ Saint Nick in Morro Bay at the Chess Board on the Embarcadero. Santa’s House is sponsored by Morro Bay Rotary.
December 1 – Dec 18: Tall Ship Hawaiian Chieftain in Harbor
The Hawaiian Chieftain was influenced by the early colonial passenger and coastal ships that traded among Atlantic coastal cities and towns in the 19th century. In 1993, Lady Washington joined Hawaiian Chieftain for their first mock sea battle on San Francisco Bay and will replicate that adventure in Morro Bay.
 Get your mock sea battle tickets now! December 1: 33rd Annual Lighted Boat Parade
The Annual Lighted Boat Parade continues in its 33rd year as our motorized fishing, leisure and yachting community take to the water after decorating their boats with amazing lights and holiday cheer. Take a seat anywhere along the waterfront for your front row view. This visual event will include music by the Home Town Band, cocoa and treats for sale, and a winter wonderland. Prizes for best decorated boat include $1000 cash and more.December 2: Paddle Parade
On Sunday afternoon the harbor will feature holiday decorated kayaks, SUPs, small sailboats, surfboards and anything that floats in this Non-Motorized Lighted Boat Parade. Along with fun family activities on shore, prizes will be given for the best decorated will be $1000 in cash and gifts.December 7: Santa’s Crawl
Enjoy this 21 & over scavenger hunt featuring Central Coast beers and wines during our 2nd Annual Santa’s Crawl. Businesses along the waterfront will showcase local winemakers  brew masters, each offering a taste of their exceptional product. A completely filled out Yule-Tide Passport will enter you to win the Grand Prize Weekend Package where you wine and dine throughout Morro Bay!December 8: Gingerbread House Competition
Anyone can participate in this fun activity! Bakers love to build Gingerbread Houses for the holidays, and what better way to showcase your talents? Build a complete Gingerbread House and bring it to the Inn at Morro Bay and enter into this fun contest!December 9: Real Snow Event!!! 
Play like no one is watching at Morro Bay’s real snow event! Three areas of snow for different ages of children to play on include a sledding hill, snow ball alley and under five area for the little elves. An Elf on the Shelf competition will take place and is fun for the whole family! Create elf dioramas and win fabulous prizes. We provide the elves!

 
Designated as the  Best Budget Destination in California for 2018 by Budget Travel, Morro Bay is a world-class destination with rooms to fit any budget. Click here to find holiday lodgings specials for your next visit! For information on all the exciting things to do and see in Morro Bay, visit www.morrobay.org.

Dreaming Tree Cork Speaker

Now that we are in the midst of Holiday Gift Guide Season, we hope to put the new limited edition Cork Speaker from The Dreaming Tree wines (a California wine brand from winemaker Sean McKenzie and musician Dave Matthews) on your radar!

The first gift set of its kind, The Dreaming Tree Wines Cork Speaker is a limited-edition wine cork that also doubles as a Bluetooth speaker, using the bottle to amplify sound, bringing your favorite music to life while simultaneously keeping your favorite wine flavorful! The perfect gift for music and wine lovers alike, The Dreaming Tree Wines Cork Speaker will be sold alongside a bottle of fan-favorite, award-winning Dreaming Tree Crush Red Blend, aptly named after the DMB hit, for an affordable $35.00.

Additionally, in continuation with The Dreaming Tree’s commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation, a portion of proceeds from the sale of the Cork Speaker will be donated to Living Lands and Waters and The Wilderness Society, which protect, preserve and restore our nation’s major rivers, watersheds, and forestry areas.

See the Video here: https://vimeo.com/289707546/2fd94febcb

Captain Morgan Releases New Apple Smash

View some of the pictures from Captain Morgan event down below!

Here are some fun recipes you can try out for yourself:

Captain Morgan Apple Smash & Ginger

  • 1.5 oz. Captain Morgan Apple Smash
  • 4 oz. ginger ale
  • Add ice and stir. Garnish with lime

Captain and Ginger

  • 1.5 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
  • 4 oz Ginger Ale
  • Mint Sprig
  • Lime

Suisun Valley, Fairfield

Story by Susan Hiland provided by Daily Republic

Suisun Valley greeted a group of out-of-town travel writers with a bounty of beauty, food and wine over the weekend.

They toured just about every winery, olive oil factory, candy-making company and barley brew-maker in the area.

This was the result of the Fairfield Conference & Visitors Bureau reaching out to Geiger & Associates, which has put together these travel tours for several communities including Lodi.

“This is the first time we have done something like this,” said Anand Patel, president/CEO of Visit Fairfield. “The goal was to get people thinking about Fairfield and Suisun Valley.”

He said he hoped that the travel writers would see the beauty of the valley and share that with their readers. The writers came from Portland, Oregon, Southern California, Northern California and even Quebec, Canada.

“We hope people read their articles and get interested in the valley,” he said.

The group of writers included Susan G. Hauser, Elyse Glickman, Vaughn Lowery, Wendy van Diver, Cortney Erndt, Carla Waldemar, Ruksana Hussain, Wendy Lemlin, Janet Boileau and Robin Raven.

The writers arrived Thursday and enjoyed an afternoon at Jelly Belly Candy Co., where they took the tour, sampled sweet treats and shopped.

“Every single stop we hope they learn something new,” Patel said.

Boileau, a writer and publisher for Taste and Travel International Magazine, which is a culinary publication with 20,000 subscribers across Canada, had no idea about Suisun Valley.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “But this is a very impressive part of the wine country.”

She was enjoying how relaxing the area was with some wine from Suisun Valley Wine Co-op along Pleasants Valley Road. The stop offered an opportunity for everyone to sample a variety of wines from the area in one place.

Lowery is the president of 360 Magazine, a lifestyle magazine that goes out to thousands of subscribers from Los Angeles to Japan.

“Anyone visiting here needs to stop at Il Fiorello Olive Oil Co.,” he said. “It was a sensory overload.”

They sampled a meal with each of the foods having been created using produce from the company’s garden.

“This is a great cross of Napa and Sonoma,” Lowery said. “It’s a place you can take time out and is very drivable.”

He said he was envisioning himself returning with a convertible, rolling the top down and just cruising through the back roads as a vacation.

“We tasted the grapes at Wooden Valley Winery. They were so sweet, I thought no way that was real,” he said.

“Fairfield is just a great town for a great road trip,” he said.