Posts tagged with "wine"

Ciclismo Classico Cycling

Ciclismo Classico Cites Four Bike Trips In La Bella Italia That Burn Up The Road, Gelato and Carbs

The calories are climbing. But who’s counting? You are climbing, too, on a bike somewhere in Italy, burning up the road, gelato and pasta carbs as leisurely as you can.

Food — and the pursuit thereof — is a passion of Ciclismo Classico, the first company to launch small group guided bicycle tours in Italy 30 years ago.

Lauren Hefferon, founder and owner, recently asked her Ciclismo Classico guides in Italy about the gustatory delights guests can anticipate. Here are inner foodie-inspired sketches of specialties in four distinct regions.

Puglia, Basilicata, Campania, and Calabria

Pedaling Sea to Sea across the Italian peninsula is the scenery and gelato-driven Bike Across Southern Italy, part of the Giro del Gelato series, a six-day immersion (from $5,995 per person) in everything beautiful. The 2019 departures are Aug 27-Sep 7 and Sep 24-Oct 5. A tour of Matera, the famous city of stone, may be hard-pressed to compete with the fact that guests enjoy unlimited gelato (ice cream) daily, sampling flavors from some of the best artigianale gelateria (shops/stands offering artisanal ice cream). There are also demonstrations on how to create gelato and granita, a semi-frozen dessert usually made of fruits.

Cycling (an average of 39 miles daily) from Fano to Porto Ercole, the real Mediterranean diet emerges: pastas including tube-shaped paccheri, vermicelli with anchovies and wild fennel, linguine with lemon, spaghetti with clams and a 20th century creation, scialatielli; veggies; olive oil; fresh seafood; buffalo mozzarella, eggplant parmigiana and pizza! Also included:

  • The constant perfume of orange and eucalyptus
  • Amazing guided visits of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites
  • “Old World” hospitality from Italian natives
  • Breathtaking rides along the cliffs of the Cilento Coast
  • Sampling freshly-made Mozzarella and fresh peperoncini
  • Guide Frank Yantorno treats his guests to a cooking class where wife and husband together show how to prepare their fresh produce. These may include home-made scialatielle (a short and thick version of linguini), a pretzel-shaped fried pizza and le fritte, (French fries) over which home-produced honey and rosemary are drizzled. For details see here.

Sicily

  • Tastes turn to love and gelato come spring. Enrico Pizzorni, guide, says Sicily (and southern Italy) have the best gelaterie (ice cream shops) in the world. Gelato was birthed here when Romans stored snow from Mt. Etna in caves to be delivered it to the rich who in turn mixed in fruits and honey, creating sorbet. Today suited business men enjoy gelato or granita in a brioche (a cool morning sandwich) on their way to work. Whipped cream, pistachios, almonds, ricotta, honey and lemon can also be folded in. Other infusions include rosemary, onion of Giarratana, Moscato (wine) and Aztec chocolate with hot pepper. On the Aeolian Islands flavors vary by season: watermelon, fig, prickly pear and peach.

Focacce, pizze, calzoni, pidoni, scacce, arancini, and panelle are among the salty or sweet snacks villages display. In Palazzolo Acreide, a tiny village the Greeks founded some 2500 years ago, is Corsino that serves state-of-the-art sweet pastries highlighting their locally treasured almonds and ricotta.

Guests bike some 28 miles a day on the 2019 nine-day La Bella Sicilia, from $5,695 per person: April 21-29, My 5-13, May 20-28, Sept. 15-23, Sept. 29-Oct 7, Oct. 13-21, Oct. 27-Nov. 4 and Nov. 10-18. For details see here.

Puglia

The charms that lie in Italy’s boot until recently have been largely ignored. But Ciclismo Classico has a soft spot in its heart for La Bella Puglia, a nine-day tour from $5,395 per person. Departures in 2019 are April 26-May 4, May 25-June 2, June 7-15, Sept. 6-14, Sept. 20-28, Oct. 4-12 and Nov. 2-10. Guests bike on average 39 miles a day exploring fertile valleys, the cone-shaped dwellings (trulli), cave dwellings (sassi) and villages perched on steep limestone hills. See here.

For guide Henrick Murphy this is a journey of the senses through orange groves and eucalyptus trees, sampling freshly made mozzarella and fresh pepperoncini and imbibing what he calls a “cycle-food bomb” of fava bean puree with cicoria (chicory) at a farm in Alberobello. A guest favorite is cime di rape (turnip tops) with orecchiette (little ears pasta).

In Puglia peasant traditions are still intact. The cuisine reflects roots born of necessity and sometimes scarcity. Seafood, olive oil, artichokes and dense bread are plentiful, as is the ubiquitous orecchiette with tomato sauce. One town is famous for its capocollo, a traditional dry-cured neck of pork, typically sliced very thin.

Piedmont

This region of the northern Apennines is a favorite of both Enrico and Henrick. Enrico’s passion for gelato is satisfied here with what he calls “killer fresh, fruit-based gelati. He can’t get enough of a hazelnut torrone (nougat) made from a secret recipe.

Added Henrick, “On the last day on our Piedmont: Barolo & Truffles trip we stop in to meet with honey producer Giuseppe Pitarresi who has been producing honey and various other related organic products since 1990. We are lucky enough to visit the hives and afterwards have a taste of il Re (the King) of energy boosters — honey!” We’re zooming up those hills after that!”

The per person rate for this eight-day immersion into the food and wine of the Piedmont is from $5,195. Departure dates still available in 2019 are August 23-30, Sept. 20-27 and Oct. 4-11. Guests cycle an average of 35 miles daily, enroute enjoying:

  • Sumptuous dinners at Enoclub in Alba and Schiavia in Acqui Terme;
  • Introductions to vineyard-laden hillsides of world-famous local wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera with private wine tastings with local hosts and sommeliers;
  • A meet-up with a truffle hunter and his dog for a lecture on truffles.

The Piedmont is considered Italy’s greatest single wine region. Piemontese cuisine blends northern Italian and French influences. Truffles and mushrooms are seasonal key players. Come autumn cyclists may sample Tartufo Bianco (white truffle) at Fiere del Tartufo (International Truffle Fair) in Alba, Moncalvo and Acqui Terme.

La cucina Piemontese is a mosaic of more than a thousand recipes from the diverse areas and tiny valleys. Two foodie experiences include cucina casalinga, dishes made over generations at home. Young people are creating locande (inns) that serve authentic dishes with a slick, innovative presentation. See here.

For more food and wine themed tours from Ciclismo Classico see here.

For a full listing of trips in Italy and across the globe with additional information, detailed itineraries, trip availability and reservations please contact Ciclismo Classico by phone: 800.866.7314 (US & Canada) or 781.646.3377 (outside of North America), or visit online.

About Ciclismo Classico

Small group sightseeing through Italy by bike was a new concept in 1989 when Ciclismo Classico burst onto the scene to become the first company in the world to specialize in active cycle tours of Italy. Leading this charge was Lauren Hefferon who established another world-first: a woman-owned bike tour company.

This company’s rallying cry then and now is “Pedal Your Passion!” Tours are led by native-born guides who on average have each served Ciclismo Classico clients in excess of 10 years. Daily rides are carefully blended with a variety of cultural and culinary experiences and served up as the Ciclismo Menu that includes musical evenings, language lessons, wine and beer tastings, personalized cycling clinics, cooking demonstrations and opportunities for spontaneous discovery and cross-cultural interaction. Guests are carefully matched with a tour style and pedaling pace perfect for them, then outfitted with a quintessentially Italian, high-performance Bianchi bike. Having now expanded beyond Italy to represent tour destinations worldwide, Ciclismo also offers hiking itineraries, private and custom trip planning, photo tours and the ease of touring by electric bike. Recognized by media icons such as National Geographic Traveler and Outside Magazine, Ciclismo Classico is widely considered to be one of the premier active travel companies in the world.

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California Wines Down to Earth Month

The eighth annual California Wines Down to Earth Month kicks off in April with sustainability-focused wine events and offers across the state, including Earth Day festivals, vineyard hikes, food and wine events, eco-tours and more. Created by Wine Institute, the association of nearly 1,000 California wineries, the month-long celebration highlights the winemaking community’s commitment to protecting the environment, being a good neighbor and producing high quality wines with sustainable farming and business practices. See here.

The Taste of Mendocino is at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco April 27, and Handley Cellars will be one of 30-plus wineries pouring wines, including many that are sustainable, organic or biodynamic.  April 20 is Santa Cruz Mountains Passport Day with 40-plus participating wineries, many with “green” certifications. Ridge Vineyards is celebrating that day with a special flight of organic wines.

Coinciding with this year’s Down to Earth Month is the release of “Wine Country Table, With Recipes that Celebrate California’s Sustainable Harvest,” a book showcasing California’s rich sustainable bounty and the winegrowers and other farmers across the state who are helping to set the standard for innovation and responsible farming, along with 50 recipes and tips on food and wine. Acclaimed food writer, Janet Fletcher, is the author.

California is a global leader in sustainable winegrowing based on vineyard acreage and winery case production following these practices.  As of 2018, 70% (209 million cases) of California’s total wine production and 25% of statewide wine acreage (150,000 acres) are CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE.

To celebrate California sustainable winegrowing, 40 Down to Earth Month events are happening in April at wineries statewide including the region-wide events listed below.  New events are being added daily to the list here:

11th Annual Wine 4 Paws Weekend, April 5-7, Paso Robles: Visit San Luis Obispo County wineries and stock up on fine wines during this benefit weekend to help homeless cats and dogs. Nearly 100 wineries and other participating businesses will share their proceeds with the pets of the Woods Humane Society.

Drink Green: A Toast to Sustainable Winegrowing, April 6, Madera County: Participating wineries of the Madera Wine Trail will celebrate the region’s sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices by offering special tastings and education about eco-conscious winery practices.

El Dorado Passport Wine Adventure, April 6-7, Placerville: Pick up your passport for access to more than 20 participating wineries in El Dorado County in the Sierra Foothills, including many committed to sustainable growing and winemaking practices.

Santa Cruz Mountains Passport Celebration Day, April 20: Join more than 40 participating Santa Cruz Mountains wineries—many of them pouring sustainable and organic wines—for a day of tasting throughout the region.

Stags Leap District Wineries: Vineyard to Vintner, April 26-28, Napa Valley: Celebrating 30 years as an American Viticultural Area, the Stags Leap District Vineyard to Vintner anniversary celebration includes dinners, seminars on terroir and winegrowing, and tastings that include coveted library wines and new releases. A portion of the proceeds benefit a scholarship fund.

Taste of Mendocino, April 27, San Francisco: Head to Fort Mason Center in San Francisco to sample wines from more than 30 Mendocino County producers—known for their high rate of participation in certifications for sustainable, organic, biodynamic and fish-friendly farming practices—along with artisanal food bites.

Passport to Dry Creek Valley- 30th Anniversary, April 27-28, Healdsburg: Join more than 40 Dry Creek Valley wineries for tastings, food and wine pairings, fine cuisine from acclaimed Sonoma County chefs, and educational tours that highlight sustainable operations in the vineyards.

Earth Day Napa, April 28, Napa Valley: Come to Oxbow Commons and celebrate Earth Day with the Environmental Education Coalition of Napa County. The event features music, activities for all ages, delicious local food, wine and beer. More than 75 organizations and vendors will provide information about green products, services, the local environment, and how to make a difference for the good of the planet.

About the Wine Institute

Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiates and advocates state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine.  California wineries generate $114 billion annually in economic activity to the U.S. economy and create 786,000 jobs across the country of which 325,000 are in California. The organization also works to enhance the economic and environmental health of the state through its leadership in sustainable winegrowing and a partnership with Visit California to showcase California’s wine and food offerings and the state as a top travel destination.

About California Sustainable Winegrowing

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers, received the governor’s top environmental award for increasing adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices in California and for initiating new educational tools and program improvements.  To learn more, visit here.

Wineries and vineyards around the state have also earned Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing status through the third-party certification program launched by CSWA.  Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing and other programs such as the Bay Area Green Business Program, Fish Friendly Farming, Lodi Rules, Napa Green and Sustainability in Practice (SIP) play a vital role in the California wine community’s successful efforts to produce high quality wine that is environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially responsible.

Biodynamic Wine

A Toast to Biodynamic Wine

One of the hottest trends in wine today is not bubbly rosé or exotic eastern European varietals, but biodynamics. While biodynamic wines are popping up on more menus, there are still a lot of misconceptions about the term and it can be challenging for consumers to know what they are getting.

Unpacking the term biodynamics, think of it as organic 2.0. We have a general idea of what it means to be organic, but different standards and measurements within countries make even that a little tough to understand. When we make wine, there are two big steps in the process. The first is growing the grapes. Farmers can choose to spray the fields and use chemical agents to reduce disease and insects or choose to eliminate (or minimize) these products. Some of these agents include copper sulfate and glyphosate-based weed killers.

After the grapes are grown and harvested, the producer then needs to convert those grapes into wine. In a non-organic transformation process, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVPP) and other elements can be used for fining and filtering can occur with ion exchange resins.

There is a large debate on the heath impacts of these and other chemicals to grow and process grapes into wine, however, more and more people don’t want to take the risk and avoid them completely. For example, while copper and sulphur both exist in nature, it may not be a good idea to spray any of it on thin-skinned grapes.

The movement to reduce and eliminate these practices gave rise to organic wine. In the United States, the USDA set standards to normalize labels, by creating a standard for wine. Wine labels may state either “made with organic grapes” or “organic wine” (which means organic grapes and organic processing). The UDSA created a list of acceptable non-agricultural products that could be found in the wine and also set levels of Sulphur used to preserve the wine after bottling. Europe also set standards for organic wine, although they differ from the U.S. For example, Europe prohibits certain stabilizers in the wine like mannoproteins. Europe says it is ok to have ammonium phosphate, used to start secondary fermentation in sparkling wine, the U.S. says no. Many, especially smaller, wineries can’t afford the certification process but still following the organic guidelines. So, as a consumer, with variety in countries and labels it can be tough to find authentic organic wine.

Biodynamics adopts the philosophy of organics but goes much further. The philosophy of biodynamics was developed by Rudolf Steiner in the mid-1920s. His contention was that “use of chemical fertilizers would lead to the decline of soil, plant and animal health and the subsequent devitalization of food.” Beyond simply avoiding fertilizers and chemical agents, however, biodynamics promotes biodiversity and the integration of crops and animals and works to establish a “closed-loop” system of soil fertility. Balance is important, as is the awareness of moon cycles and weather conditions and how the environment impacts farming. When you hear people talk about biodynamics, they use words like balance and harmony and discuss ways to avoid negative impacts on the planet. These are the goals of biodynamics.

Undoubtedly, a growing consumer interest in helping the environment and making better health choices is causing an increased interest in biodynamic wine, but another significant reason for the success of biodynamic wine is the taste. Characteristically, biodynamic wines have a pure expression of the “place” where they are produced. The French call this concept terroir, and the minimal interventionist winemaker has the ability to express the unique nature of the soil, climate and varietals of grapes in the wine. Biodynamic wines have a much more varied flavor profile and more distinct regions are developing their signature grapes and wines.

Producing biodynamic wines is not easy and varies greatly depending on where the winery is located in the world. For example, northern European regions like Champagne in France, or Rías Baixas in Spain have challenging weather and without a lot of intervention, find greatly reduced yields (and revenue). That is why you find many more biodynamic wines in areas with sunny, dry (or breezy) climates.

Just because biodynamics is difficult in certain climates, does not mean it is impossible. One of my favorite biodynamic producers is Vincent Couche in Champagne. Instead of chemicals, he sprays herbal teas and plant-based solutions like nettle, horsetail, wicker, thyme, and queen flower. He chooses these sprays based on the properties to help the vines fight against excess heat and disease. Part of his estate is also vinified without Sulphur. I would argue that his Champagne is one of the most flavorful and expressive Champagnes in the world. The small winery, Bodegas Corisca, in Rías Baixas creates a wine from the Albariño grape that is extremely complex and expressive. After harvest, fermentation is spontaneous and Bodegas Corisca only uses natural yeasts, and then rests the wine on its lees.

While not ubiquitous, there is a standard for biodynamic wine, called Demeter. For biodynamic certification, the Demeter standard is much more extensive and has a “greater emphasis on on-farm solutions for disease, pest, and weed control” in addition to tighter controls around non-local fertilizers, water conservation and biodiversity. Although this is the gold standard for biodynamic wine, many wineries have not sought the certification because of the significant cost.

The best way to try biodynamic wine is to work through wine shops, bars and restaurants that have a focus on biodynamics and source their wines from producers. Try experimenting with biodynamic and non-biodynamic and organic wine and see if you can taste the difference.

About Michael Biddick

From computer programmer to wine scholar: Michael Biddick has disrupted century’s old systems of judging wine by creating an algorithm to systematically uncover the best wine regions in the world. In his recent award winning release, 43 Wine Regions (Mascot Books, Oct. 2018), Biddick broadens the palates of wine drinkers by offering practical and enjoyable visual infographics that clearly show why these 43 wine regions are so magical. A former contributing technology editor at Information Week and Network Computing magazines, Biddick uses accessible analytics to help people professionally understand wine culture. Biddick founded one of the fastest growing information technology firms in the country in 2009 and earned a Master of Science in Information Systems from Johns Hopkins University. Biddick is currently head sommelier and owner at Blend 111 organic food and wine bar in Vienna, Virginia outside Washington D.C. Biddick speaks English, Spanish and French. He is also a Master of Bordeaux wine, a certified French Wine Scholar (FSW) and was trained by the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Morro Bay Leprechaun Crawl

2nd Annual Morro Bay Leprechaun Crawl
Join in the fun as pubs, bars, and restaurants sample area IPAs, regional wines, and small batch craft whiskeys… alongside local nibbles and a GREAT NIGHT OUT!!!

Cost includes all of your tastings and nibbles (check out our map for locations). Only 2 requirements: Be over 21, and dress in your version of an Irish leprechaun (and you better believe we’ll have prizes for best costume!). Oh… and there’s more!!! A fully filled out Leprechaun Passport could win you $1,000 in prizes! Somebody is taking the prize home… will it be you? Tickets are on sale here.

And the party doesn’t stop there. Stay the night in Morro Bay and enjoy our “Green Walk of Shame” the next morning at participating restaurants. Details TBA.

Designated Drivers can play for free.

“Through the Lens”

Stunning Photography
Presented at Madrigal’s Sausalito Wine Salon & Gallery
Continuing Bay Area California Artist Series

On Thursday, January 31st, Madrigal Family Winery’s Sausalito Wine Salon & Gallery will open “Through the Lens” the latest exhibit in its Bay Area Art and Wine series. The exhibition features the work of Rose Hodges and Mary Serphos and local photographers, Jeff Greendorfer, Patricia Gatti and Davide Antonio, curated by Shiva Pakdel. The opening reception will be held from 6:00 – 8:30 pm in Sausalito. The exhibit is on view from January 24 – February 27. The Tasting Salon is open from 12-7pm Thursday through Monday.

Chris Madrigal, Madrigal Family Winery’s Founder & President states, “We love supporting our local artists and photographers, who are committed to a skill and to creating their own personal vision and appreciating life, very much like we are at the winery up in Calistoga. One of my favorite things to do on a cool winter evening is looking at art and listening to music while sipping a fantastic glass of wine.”

About Rose Hodges
Rose discovered photography while studying Graphic Design.  A well-known photographer came to the University to lecture sharing his still life and view camera work.  After many years of searching, Rose knew immediately this was her calling. Rose assisted other photographers for 5 years in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.  She decided to open her studio in San Francisco where she currently works.

 

About Mary Serphos
Mary started taking photos as a child, inspired by her father’s devout love of photography. In 1998, on a trip to Thailand, she used her first digital SLR camera and was hooked. Making the move to digital from film proved to be a long slow process but now it’s pure passion where Mary fuses photo imagery design with digital art. Please check out Mary’s Instagram gallery for a comprehensive look at over 7,000 of her artful images.

Mary has been exhibiting her work in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1998. She currently has an exhibit at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA and teaches iPhonography classes in Marin (see classes for more info) Mary grew up in New York and moved to San Francisco from NY in 1996 where she lived for 11 years then to Nosara Costa Rica for two years and has made her home in Fairfax, Marin, CA for the past 7 years.

About Jeff Greendorfer
In the earliest days of his childhood, Jeff has marveled at and been fascinated by cars, their designs, their curves and more. He saw them as works of art, especially pre-1960s cars. Since his early 20’s, photography has enabled him to capture subjects that have drawn him in, be it an amazing array of brachen ferns, the tail fins of a 1959 Cadillac, or the fluid-looking chrome grill of an early Bugatti.


About The Madrigal Family Winery Sausalito Wine Salon & Gallery
The Madrigal Family Winery Sausalito Wine Salon & Gallery is open from 12-7pm daily, closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays during winter. For information, contact Tasting Salon Manager Patricia Gatti at (415) 729-9549 or pgatti@madrigalfamilywinery.com

 

Located on Highway 29, halfway between Calistoga and St. Helena in the renowned Napa Valley, the Madrigal Family Winery continues the family tradition of viticultural leadership and wine production. Since the 1930s, the family has been building its reputation and earning recognition for their vineyard management program as well as their wines. Situated on 40 acres of estate vineyards, the state of the art Madrigal Winery specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, and small lots of single vineyard and estate wines. Today, Madrigal Family Winery is run by Chris Madrigal, the family’s 3rd generation.

Tuscan Women Cook

A Culinary Immersion Vacation Experience

Have you ever wanted to learn to cook in Italy, to participate in Tuscan cooking classes? And return home with recipes handed down over generations and collected by us since 2000? Each spring and fall, Coleen Kirnan and Rhonda Vilardo welcome guests from around the world to live, breath and cook as Italians do. Taking advantage of their years of business experience and knowledge, as master event planners, they create an insider’s Tuscan itinerary filled friendly, knowledgeable tour guides, translators, drivers and private cooking classes that only a local resident could access.

Indulge yourself in the Tuscan lifestyle and discover the region’s passion for food and wine in a small group of 18 people or less. The best cooks in all of Tuscany, the local women, or “nonnas,” teach their classes. They’ll share regional techniques, ingredients, and family recipes that have been passed down over the centuries. Put on your apron, gather around the old farmhouse table, get wrist-deep in pasta dough and learn Tuscan cooking from the source. You’ll learn first-hand how to make gnocchi, tagliatelli, and pici— thick strings of handmade eggless pasta made originally in Montefollonico.

Your week with Tuscan Women Cook includes six night’s accommodation at Agriturismo Belagaggio, a restored farmhouse in Montefollonico, breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, cooking classes, daily sightseeing, visits to local artisans, cheese and wine tastings. Full day sight- seeing in Siena with a private guide who has a doctorate in Sienese history. Full translation is provided at all classes. Transportation to all activities is in a Mercedes minibus with private driver.

For wine lovers, Tuscan Women Cook is situated in the heart of Brunello de Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano country, and border on the Chianti wine region. This is the center of the new Italian wine renaissance and a dream locale for your next getaway with family and friends. Wine connoisseurs plan the ultimate Bucket List trip here to sample new wines and visit the spectacular vineyards. Tuscan Women Cook hosts will provide you with exclusive introductions to renowned Tuscan vintners and opportunities to purchase their award-winning wines for their personal cellars.

To learn more about Tuscan Women Cook and view beautiful photos and videos, visit www.TuscanWomenCook.com.

Tuscan women cook, 360 MAGAZINE, Italy, wine, Vaughn Lowery

Tuscan women cook, 360 MAGAZINE, Italy, wine, Vaughn Lowery

Tuscan women cook, 360 MAGAZINE, Italy, wine, Vaughn Lowery

Morro Bay Bike Ride

Public Invited to Ride across Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 Finish at the Morro Bay Bike Ride Pre-Event and Party at the Pro Cyclists Meet & Greet

Cycle through the Stage 4 Finish Line on Race Day, Meet Former Professional

American Cyclist and Author Bob Roll and other Pro Cyclists at The Siren, Volunteer and Watch the Race Front and Center, Book Race Day VIP Lodging Packages or Hotels along the Race Route

The public is invited to participate in Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 race day fun in #cyclingmecca Morro Bay. The 2019 Amgen Tour of California announced Morro Bay will host the Stage 4 Finish of the men’s race on May 15, 2019 following the scenic route the Amgen Tour took in 2017, when Peter Sagan won the sprint finish. After passing through picturesque Morro Bay State Park, where riders get their first glimpse of iconic Morro Rock, Morro Bay’s busting waterfront before sprinting uphill into downtown Morro Bay for the big finish.

“Of all sports, it is cycling that has the most beautiful stadium and this ocean front Stage 4 Finish in Morro Bay is a stunner,” according to Bob Roll, former professional American cyclist and author. “With perfect year round riding weather, the world will get its chance to experience what the locals have enjoyed for years: varied terrain, wide open roads, first class dining and drop dead views. Can’t wait to be there!”

Morro Bay Bike Ride Pre-Event: Ride Across the Amgen Stage 4 Finish Line

Join event producer RaceSLO on race day for the Morro Bay Bike Ride May 15, 2019 from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. This ride ends with a sprint through the Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 Finish line on Harbor Street! All levels are welcome to this celebratory cycle pep rally with three participation options: kid-friendly, recreational rider or seasoned cyclist. Enjoy vendors, food and beverages as the crowd awaits the professional racers to start crossing the finish around 3:40 pm. Participants receive a collectible event t-shirt and free bike valet. Ride proceeds go to local non-profit partner Bike SLO County.

Pro Cyclists Meet & Greet at Siren Rhythm & Booze

Stick around after the race and head to the FREE Bob Roll Pro Cyclists Meet & Greet Event at The Siren May 15, 2019 at 5:30 pm, produced by RaceSLO. Get some cool cycling swag and raise some cold craft pints while helping raise funds for Bike SLO County during a LIVE Auction. Enjoy live music and catch a glimpse of Amgen competitors up close and personal. The event is over 21 only and FREE, but seating is limited so you must pre-register and present a ticket at the door.

Volunteer at Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 Finish

Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. Tour officials say the 2019 race will be the longest and most challenging in its 14-year history. Many volunteers are needed to make this event a success. You don’t have to live in Morro Bay to participate. Click here to sign up and see the race up close!

Book Lodging Along the Race Route or Amgen Tour of California VIP Packages

Book your stay at a hotel along the Amgen Tour of California route to get a front row seat as the riders pass by. Or, book a suite or waterfront room in one of the participating Morro Bay hotels and receive exclusive access into the Amgen Tour of California VIP tent filled with perks and goodies! Hospitality Passes provide exclusive access into the main VIP Hospitality Tent located adjacent to the FINISH Line. VIP Hospitality Includes:

  • Swag bag of goodies that you’ll receive upon check-in
  • Premium Viewing Location right at the finish line
  • Gourmet foods catered from local restaurants throughout the area
  • Open Bar (includes beer and wine)
  • Lounge Style Seating with closed-circuit tv viewing
  • Live Race Coverage (last two hours of the broadcast)

For additional information on hotels in Morro Bay check out our booking engine here. Recently named one of the Best Small Towns in CA by Country Living Magazine, Morro Bay offers year round mild weather, perfect for epic outdoor adventure all year long. For more information on visiting Morro Bay, go to www.morrobay.org. #multisportmecca

About Morro Bay

A true #outdoormecca, this active seaside fishing village with bustling waterfront offers a picture-perfect getaway for travelers who seek food, wine and outdoor adventures found in nature. Located along coastal Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County just south of Big Sur, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay offers year-round activities in an unspoiled slice of California. From ocean-side golf, kayaking, sailing, hiking, fishing, surfing, biking, and bird watching, to kite flying, shopping, dining, wine bars, local craft brews and miles of unspoiled beaches, there is something for everyone.

Sitting majestically between the beach and the harbor lays the iconic and historic landmark Morro Rock, welcoming travelers from miles away as they approach Morro Bay. Located just minutes from world-renowned Hearst Castle, historic missions, breathtaking Montana de Oro State Park, and surrounded by vineyards from Paso Robles to Edna Valley, Morro Bay is a destination designed to fit any style and budget for families, couples or groups. Morro Bay also offers a myriad of year-round events including food, wine and music festivals, art fairs and car shows unique to the town. For more travel information visit www.morrobay.org or follow Morro Bay on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

VENICE’S SAN CLEMENTE PALACE KEMPINSKI REOPENS FOR ITS 2019 SEASON

San Clemente Palace Kempinski, the Venetian luxury resort uniquely located on its own private island eight minutes away from St. Mark’s Square, will open for its fourth season on March 20, 2019.

Just minutes from the bustle of Venice and set among a centuries-old park, antique courtyards and monastery buildings, the 190-room resort has its own pitch & putt golf course, a tennis court, spa, heated outdoor pool and outdoor jogging trails, as well as a kids’ club for younger guests. Last year, the resort unveiled Al Bacaro, an outdoor lounge serving cichetti (Venetian tapas) and cocktails, overlooking the Venetian lagoon and skyline.

Throughout the 2019 season, San Clemente Palace will offer a number of unique offerings for Easter, Spring Break, the Venice Biennale and beyond. During Easter weekend, the resort will offer a special “Kids Stay for Free” package, along with celebratory chocolate egg-decorating workshops and Easter Brunch for the whole family. To commemorate the 58th Venice Biennale, from May 11 through November 4, 2019, San Clemente Palace will also offer a special dedicated package, including exclusive tickets to the Biennale.

San Clemente Palace is also poised to become a true foodie destination this year, as the resort will welcome four top Michelin-starred guest chefs to cook alongside Executive Chef Giorgio Schifferegger for a special event called “Cena a Quattro Mani” (“Four-Hands Dinner”). San Clemente Palace will also be home to a number of other special F&B events, including a Wine & Beer pairing menu with local craft beer and wine, and a pizza-tasting event welcoming Pizza World Champion Gianni Calaon.

In honor of the resort’s opening, San Clemente Palace is offering a discount of up to 40% on all suites for stays between March 20 and April 30, 2019.

For more information about the San Clemente Palace Kempinski, please visit

https://www.kempinski.com/en/venice/san-clemente-palace-kempinski/special-offers/.

National Drink Wine Day

Cheers! Celebrate National Drink Wine Day by Helping Your Heart, Gut, and Brain

Rosé Piscine, a rosé wine specifically made to drink over ice, serves up some of the health benefits the drink offers

February 18th is National Drink Wine Day, which is a day each year that celebrates the love and health benefits associated with wine. According to the consulting group BW 166, wine sales in the U.S. topped $72.2 billion in 2018, which was nearly a 5 percent increase over the prior year. Clearly, we are nation that loves a good glass of wine, and the more we learn of the health benefits, the more likely more of us will add a bottle to our grocery list.

“People were enjoying a good glass of wine long before the research showed that there are health benefits,” explains Blake Helppie, managing partner at Rosé Piscine, a rosé wine specifically made to drink over ice. “Now we can enjoy our glass of wine and feel good about what it is doing for our body, too. Rarely do we find something that we enjoy so much that also provides health benefits.”

Wine enthusiasts can rejoice as they celebrate National Drink Wine Day this year, because the drink has plenty of research pointing to the fact that it’s a healthy beverage to drink in moderation. What exactly is moderation? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate drinking is up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. One drink is defined as being four ounces of wine. Further, they recommend that number is not the average consumed over a week, but the amount consumed on any given day.

Most people who enjoy having a glass of wine with their meal love the taste, but they may not be aware of the way it’s helping their body. Here are some of the many health benefits that have been associated with making wine a part of your diet:

  • Heart health The National Institutes of Health reports that studies have shown that adults who drink light to moderate amounts of alcohol may be less likely to develop heart disease than those who do not drink at all or are heavy drinkers.
  • Gut health The April 2017 issue of the journal Current Opinion in Biotechnology included the research results of a study on the health benefits of fermented foods, including wine. The study found that fermented foods, including wine, provide health benefits well beyond the starting food materials, and contain living microorganisms of which some are genetically similar to strains used as probiotics.
  • Diabetes health The April 2017 issue of the journal Endocrine reports that the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend a Mediterranean diet for improving glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes. It also reports that studies show that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a 20-23 % reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The Mediterranean diet is one that includes drinking wine in moderation.
  • Brain health Research out of the University of Rochester Medical Center in 2018 found that drinking wine in moderation was associated with reducing inflammation and helping the brain to clear away toxins, including those that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

“From the brain to gut to your heart, drinking a little wine has health benefits for most people,” added Helppie. “It’s nice to feel good about what you are drinking, whether with dinner, at a party, or at the beach. You can drink some wine and know you are doing your body good.”

Rosé Piscine, a wine that has sold millions of bottles in France and Brazil, recently became available for sale in the United States. Uniquely, it is a wine that has been created to be served over ice. Rosé Piscine is made by Pascal Nacenta in southwest France. The French rosé is 100 percent destemmed, fermented for 20 days with cold stabilization at 60 degrees and then filtered. The final product emerges from stainless steel tanks, offering a floral aroma of white flowers and rose and an exotic fruits finish. Rosé Piscine can be purchased at select stores around the country and online. To find a store near you or to order online, visit the site.

About Rosé Piscine
A unique wine in that it has been created to be served over ice, Rosé Piscine is taking the nation by storm. Over two million bottles of it have already been sold in France and Brazil, and it is now available in the U.S. Rosé Piscine is pale salmon in color, light to medium in body wine and is made from Négrette, a locally indigenous varietal known for its powerful aromatic qualities. For more information on Rosé Piscine or the company, visit the site.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

For Your Stud

G-SHOCK MR-G – sleek, stylish arm candy. Perfect for the guy in your life. As seen, retails for $6200. Handcrafted in Yamagata, Japan, the limited edition luxury MR-G GPS Hybrid Gold Hammer Tone timepiece is the second collaboration with third generation master metal craftsman Bihou Asano, who individually hammered each bezel and band of 300 watches using the traditional Japanese Tsu-i-ki technique. Each timepiece features a titanium case and bracelet band, non-reflective sapphire crystal, GPS satellite synchronization system for accuracy, Multiband 6 and Tough Solar capabilities.

ACouplePuns
High quality paper goodies that are equally cute, as they are clever. All cards are illustrated by the owner and entrePUNeur, Angelica Hanley. She “draws” inspiration from pop culture, things she loves and places she travels. A card for every imaginable occasion, ACouplePuns delivers sweet messages accompanied by disarmingly darling drawings on superb card stock that is scored, folded and packaged by hand!

Barrow Watches
Masculine in style, classic in simplicity. The Barrow Modello Coal features a worldly, clean design that scoffs at basic smart watches too many people are wearing. Included is an additional free strap with each watch, meaning you can easily smarten things up when day turns to night. Swiss movement, sapphire crystal glass, a solid steel case, and all comfortably priced, sets Barrow apart from other brands that are less than.

Bubba Essential Bags
Fashionable yet functional! Bubba bags have a shiny or matte quilt fabric with strong reinforced stitches. They are water resistant and repels light rain or simple spills. The large center compartment fits up to 15″ laptop or tablet and the adjustable straps are padded for easy wear comfort.
Their main line of backpacks includes the Classic Collection and Matte Collection. Both contain bags that come in regular and mini sizes. Bubba Essential Bags are Canadian-born and designed, but after a successful distribution throughout the world, Bubba is approaching the U.S. first with distribution on Amazon. Find them available for purchase at www.amazon.com/bubba. They’re also taking social media by storm on Facebook @bubbabags, global spanish instagram @bubbabags and U.S. instagram @bubbabagsusa.

Grand Trunk
Have an adventurous guy in your life? Upgrade his travel gear with the Cozy Pillow and Blanket Bundle Pack! The pillow had a portable Carry Bag with drawstrings for easy storage and the blanket had a cozy foot pocket to keep it in place on a plane or in a hammock. Definitely snuggle worthy!

Hippy Feet
By offering basic skill training in inventory management, packaging, shipping and sales, Hippy Feet is able to give homeless youth an opportunity to transition out of homelessness, into the workforce, and back on their feet. In addition to employment opportunities, for every pair of socks sold, another pair will be donated to a person in-need. All products are made in the USA using environmentally friendly materials.

Dreampad
Designed to help with falling and staying sleep, the Dreampad offers highly researched sleep technology hidden within a comfortable pillow. It works by triggering the body’s relaxation response, resulting in a more relaxed state of mind which is conducive to sleep.

Mistymate
MistyMate®’s full line of personal misters gives you the ability to take continuous mist wherever you go. The misty operates without batteries, motors, electronics or fans enabling them to deliver high-pressure mist with virtually “no moving parts”. Perfect for anyone your active Valentine!

For your Gal

Lavish Leathers
Arm candy is old news! It’s all about ear candy! LL is constantly adding new styles to their collection – keeping a devoted follower of fashion trends perfectly equipped from season to season! All items are handcrafted and are truly like no other.

Leaders Cosmetics
Leaders Cosmetics brings you the best in Korean sheet masks by combining innovative technology with proven natural ingredients. Every formulation is developed by a group of 15 leading dermatologists – providing pure, natural and effective skincare that you can trust. Leaders empowers women to take care of themselves from the inside out with skincare products and formulations that work in just 20 minutes of “me time”.

Sur La Cote
These stunning Mallorca Pants are inspired by balmy summer nights and picturesque views found in this Spanish destination. High-waisted, fitted through leg with flare from knee. Cut slightly short for our petite gals. Thick waist band to flatter and smooth in just the right places.

Sips by™
For the Love of tea! Warm up your sweetie all winter this Valentine’s Day with a personalized collection of tea, delivered monthly. Each box is personalized to her tea preferences, features 4 unique tea brands totaling 15 cups of tea at only $15 a month. Sips by™ is an Austin-based brand started by tea lovers who want discovering tea to be fun, personalized and affordable!

nyl Skincare
Keep her skin looking fresh and dewy with nyl Skincare! A collection of all-natural products handmade weekly in a kitchen — not a factory. nyl focuses on delivering clean, yet effective products that won’t harm you or the environment. Free of toxins, animal products, parabens, and petroleum products, everything nyl makes is vegan and cruelty-free.

Sunshine and Glitter
The Sunshine & Glitter’s Gypsy Collection is made with Biodegradable glitter ready for partying from day into night. Beach Gypsy SPF 30+ offers Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection with 80 minutes of water resistance and Biodegradable glitter. As the sun goes down, Day is Done After Sun is a gorgeous glitter aftersun with nourishing aloe and cooling lidocaine in case you needed some cooling.

Uncommon Green
These beautiful Stemmed and Stemless Maps Champagne Flutes which are available in EVERY U.S. City/Town and 1000+ iconic Topographic Map locations around the world. The glasses are the perfect way to say I love You—celebrate her with a glass featuring the map where she grew up, met her partner, went to college, got married, etc. The glasses feature an intricately designed map which is etched entirely around it and extends from top to bottom, achieving a striking effect that makes any beverage more fun to prepare, serve, and drink. Stumped on the perfect gift to get your guy? These glasses come as Rocks and Pints too!

Nic D’Andrea’s Miss Bracelet collection
Empower your favorite gal pal and do a whole lot of good with the stackable favorite, Nic D’Andrea’s Miss Bracelet collection! You can feel good about giving a gift that gives back, too! New for 2019, a proceed of each sale collection will go towards, Girls Inc. Girls inc works towards encouraging and supporting healthy and active lifestyles at their more than 1400 sites in 400 cities across the USA and Canada.

The Comfy
The Comfy is the “As Seen on Shark Tank” solution to staying warm and cozy wherever you may be. It’s a blanket…it’s a sweatshirt….it is just awesome and SO warm!!!! Curl up on the couch, pull in your legs (and/or arms) and find out what The Most Comfortable Thing You’ll Ever Wear is all about.

Perfect Balance World
Perfect Balance World has done what no one else has – they’ve built balance into their clothing by adding “landmarks” which show the yogi where to place their hands, feet and arms while doing yoga poses. These landmarks are designed to help them perfect their yoga poses and stay in them longer. When using the landmarks, they will never slip out of their pose again – they gain the Perfect Balance.

Whine Down Time
This cheeky children’s-style book for adults shows the realities of mom life. Whine Down humorously captures the hiccups in every woman’s parenting journey, and how to find time for self-care in the middle of chaos.

For your Sweetheart with a Sweet tooth!

Dave’s Sweet Tooth
So long dusty chocolates in a tacky heart shaped box! Real butter, sugar, milk chocolate, and hand sliced almonds prepared with love, one batch at a time, every time. And, naturally gluten-free! Made the old-fashioned way, creating handmade toffee without the use of machines, microwaves, or assembly lines. Using the very best ingredients remains a priority and a promise.

Yummy Cupcakes
What better way to show your loved one how special they are then with cupcakes in a jar!The only hard part is deciding which ones you like best! They make the sweetest gift and have a gluten-less line to choose from.

Chocolate Pizza Co.
Melt their heart with Chocolate Pizza Company. Express your love exactly the way you want with this unique, delicious treat! Add your own words to this heart-shaped delight with an impressive candy avalanche border to create something they won’t be able to find anywhere else!

Blendtique
Is your Valentine a Wino? Blendtique Wine Company is a fun, hands on wine experience. You can create and design a personalized wine blend from the comfort of home. For the first time, you –the enthusiast- can take part in the winemaking process, not simply to taste, but to blend, experiment, and even package a wine created thoughtfully by you, for you.