Wine Dogs … Now, Wine Trucks

truck

Dog/wine lovers have their Wine Dogs of Napa and Wine Dogs of Sonoma books. Wine Dogs of Washington, too.

Well, step aside pups … the winery trucks are rolling in.

Wine Country Trucks of Napa & Sonoma Counties by Lisa A. Harris offers truly gorgeous photos of vintage trucks, working or not, at a variety of wineries.  And delightful commentary about each one.

There’s Mayo Family Winery’s 1931 Chevrolet pickup, gifted to Jeffrey Mayo at age 16 by his dad. Jeffrey lovingly restored it at his high school auto shop class.   It still has its original six-cylinder, 24-horsepower engine.

Or how about Old Yeller, the 1953 Chevrolet 3100 Series pickup that taught all the kids at Sonoma’s Beltane ranch to drive a stick shift, when it wasn’t acting as a prop for LL Bean, William Sonoma and NapaStyle.

Then there’s Gundlach Bundschu, the oldest family-owned winery in California with one of the oldest trucks,

a 1927 Chevrolet one-ton.  Jim Bundschu’s grandfather used it to deliver grapes, oats, hay and pears to market.   It helped Jim learn to drive in 1955, “when his father, Towle, instructed him to drive across a field littered with baled hay and to avoid the bales, which he mostly did.”

We hope you’re getting the picture–Lisa has a great fondness for trucks and has found a mother lode in wine country.

Know a guy you’d like to introduce to wine?

Here’s the perfect vehicle.

 

 

How to Find Great Accommodation Values in Wine Country?

Inge og Ole?s bolig

Let’s face it.  Staying in wine country can be pricey.  To keep the lid on accommodation expenses, here are some tips:

•  Off-season and mid-week specials. During the winter, there are significant savings to be had throughout California wine country.

• Stay on the outskirts: Instead of a hotel in Napa Valley or Sonoma, try American Canyon, Santa Rosa or Petaluma.  In Temecula, choose a hotel in town.

• B&Bs: Some are costly. Many are not. The owners are usually your hosts as well, therefore, B&Bs can offer a rich source of firsthand savvy about the local wineries and attractions. And the breakfasts are typically fantastic.

Got a tip on balancing a budget in wine country? We’re all ears!

Drought Relief

napa-valley-winter-mars-lasar

February rains have given Napa and Sonoma some relief from drought worries.  A mid-February storm dumped an average of eight inches in those two counties.  In some places, more than 12 inches were recorded.  Hillsides are greening up and winemakers are a bit more optimistic than before.  If more storms arrive, their mood will be even brighter.  Think rain.

Our Favorite Wine Country Shopping Spots

It’s the holidays and ‘tis the season to shop.

St. Supéry Vineyards

Image credit: St. Supéry Vineyards

Of course, the best gift is a membership to The California Wine Club, but if you want to augment that, here are some of our favorite wine country stops to buy unusual gifts and goodies:

St. Supéry Vineyards, Napa: Their tasting room always has top-of-the line items and their incredible wine education center is steps away.

Harmony Cellars, Cambria: A really unique collection of handmade ceramics and art.

Yountville: This little town is chockfull of great shops – V Marketplace at the south end of town is terrific.

Oxbow Market, Napa: In addition to Ca’Momi Wines, this fabulous venue is overflowing with some of Napa’s tastiest food and wine gifts. Great fun!

Sonoma Square: Quaint, historic and packed with fun shops and wonderful places to eat.

Enjoy!

Wine Country Characters

Traveling around California on the hunt for terrific wines for The California Wine Club, we’re always struck by how different each wine region is.

Napa is very compact…a 30 mile long valley, brimming with o incredible wineries, mostly high-end.

Sonoma, on the other hand, is all over the place from the hot Sonoma Valley to the very cool Sonoma Coast, and everything in between. Sonoma Coast is turning out to be a world class powerhouse for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Sonoma has every terroir imaginable.

Santa Barbara is a completely different character, a mix of wine (Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills), Danish culture (Solvang, huge tourist draw) and gambling (Chumash casino). Take your pick!

Wine Appellation Cuisine, anyone?

One of the coolest things about traveling California’s wine country is the different cuisine you find, depending on the appellation.  Take the Edna Valley in San Luis Obispo County on the Central Coast.  It’s just a few miles from Pismo Beach, so no wonder its crisp white wines are a match for crab and other seafood.

Zip over to Napa, and you’ll find beef from nearby ranches, as well as lamb and goat cheese (it’s become artisan fare).  A big Napa Cab is a must pairing.

Have you noticed any appellation cuisine?  We’d love to hear about your favorites!