Picnic in Napa

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Been on a Picnic Lately ?

Sure, Napa Valley has great restaurants, but it’s hard to beat a vineyard picnic or lunch made directly from a winery garden. Here are some of Napa Valley’s best places to sip and snack outside.

John Anthony Vineyards will drive you up its western hillside in a luxury 4-wheel vehicle to a private picnic area in the middle of a vineyard. Look out over the valley while you sip small-production, single-vineyard wines that are paired with carefully picnicselected bites. Pay special attention to the The Oak Knoll Cabernet, as you’ll be sitting in the vineyard that produces this mighty red wine.

In to farm-to-table eating? Schweiger Vineyards lets you loose on its massive organic garden to pick the fruits and veggies that are in season. The winery also sells Cowgirl Creamery cheese and Rustic Bakery crackers, or is happy to pick something up for you. But if you packed your lunch, you’re welcome to picnic before, as part of, or after the tasting and tour.

Make a tasting appointment at Frank Family Vineyards and you can pick a shady spot under one of the property’s elm trees to set out your spread. The winery offers a wide range of varietals, including sparkling wines and dessert treats, so you can be confident they’ll have the perfect pairing options, and suggestions for whatever is in your picnic basket.

If games are your thing, check at Tudal Winery. The relaxed spot has bocce ball, a king-sized chess set, wandering pets, folk art, and an impressive vegetable garden. Conveniently located and down-to-earth, this is your best bet if you’re looking for a little fun while you eat.

Chateau Montelena Winery requires that you reserve its picnic tables in advance, but it’s worth the commitment. Private and peaceful, the tables sit at the base of Montelena’s stone castle and around their estate lake. Wander the Chinese garden and walk over to the base of Mt. St. Helena after lunch to burn off all those snacks.

With two acres of shaded picnic grounds and a plethora of tables, V. Sattui Winery is Napa’s most famous picnic spot. With more than 60 wines, an Italian-style marketplace that sells house made sandwiches, salads, charcuterie from the winery’s own salumeria, and more than 200 cheeses, it’s the perfect place to have lunch in the great outdoors.

Napa Cellars is conveniently located on Hwy 29, but it doesn’t feel like it’s on the side of the road. The picnic area is surrounded by vineyards and coastal mountains so you’ll feel removed from the hustle and bustle of traffic. You need to bring your own picnic lunch, but there’s a welcoming outdoor patio and plenty of tasty wines.

The Napa Valley Vintners also just launched this handy map that allows to search all the wineries in Napa for specific criteria—including picnic spots.


Winemaker Janet Myers

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Wine Life Radio welcomes Franciscan Winemaker Janet Myers

Enjoy the Show (parts 3 and 4)


 Franciscan Wine Estate


Character doesn’t happen overnight. Neither does building a world-class winery. Franciscan Estate has had its roots Franciscan-Estate-NonVintage-Magnificat-Meritage-Label-Frontdeeply embedded in the soil of Napa Valley for over 35 years. Founded in 1972, and purchased in 1975 by industry revolutionaries Justin Meyer and Raymond Duncan, Franciscan Estate’s rich history was born out of a strong devotion to small-lot winemaking and a pioneering spirit. These ideals have been a hallmark for who we are and guide us as we continue to craft world-class Napa Valley wines.

Our home estate is located in Oakville, right in the heart of the Napa Valley. Our 240-acre parcel of prized land features loamy, gravely, well-draining soil which adds great structure to our wines. Our location in the center of the Napa Valley allows our Bordeaux varietals to enjoy the cooling marine influences while still receiving plenty of sun and heat. When you combine our location with dry-farming techniques, the vines produce smaller, concentrated fruit, which builds wine of good structure, body, and texture. This optimal blend gives our fruit the ability to maintain its vibrancy and ripen to its full potential.

With this unique balance of terroir and climate we knew Oakville was the ideal place to start our legacy; this was confirmed in 1975 when the very first vintage of our Napa Valley Cabernet was released. The results spoke for themselves – this was a distinctive wine of character and place. It was the first vintage to be released that included fruit from the Oakville estate. This was prior to our esteemed neighbors Opus One, Swanson, Silver Oak, and Groth. Oakville had officially landed on the map as a powerhouse district for Napa Valley Reds and Franciscan Estate had helped blaze the trail to make it happen.

Please visit www.Franciscan.com


Franciscan Estate

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Wine Life Radio welcomes Winemaker Janet Myers

Enjoy the Show (parts 1 and 2)

Also guests from the Durango Wine Experiencefestival

Please visit www.Durangowne.com

Are you “Experienced”?
Save the Date for the 9th Annual Durango Wine Experience,
April 23-25, 2015! 
Experience three days of educational seminars, wine dinners and unique tastings featuring hundreds of wineries, artisan spirits and craft beers.

Franciscan Wine Estate

For over 35 years there has been a select group of winemakers in the Napa Valley who have been pioneering the craft of fine wine-making. One of the founding members of this lineage established pristine vineyards in Oakville, and focused on the meticulous franciscan-estate-logo1principles of small-lot wine-making and his unwavering pursuit to capture the supreme expression of the land. Franciscan Estate was established in 1973 and began producing wines of true character from our Oakville estate in 1975. At Franciscan Estate, we only use grapes of the highest quality worthy to bear the Franciscan Estate crest. We strive to create wines of the highest character and excellence in every vintage. This is what devotion to wines of true character is all about. It is in every bottle and embodied in our crest that has been a sign of excellence on our wines for over 20 years.

Please visit www.Franciscan.com


Ask for the Wines of Black Diamond at your Local Wine Retailer


Durango Wine Experience

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Are you “Experienced”?
Save the Date for the 9th Annual Durango Wine Experience,
April 23-25, 2015!

Visit www.durangowine.com

Experience three days of educational seminars, wine dinners and unique tastings featuring hundreds of wineries, artisan spirits and craft beers. The Walk-About Durango is our signature, casual, multi-location, downtown Durango tasting event on Friday, April 24th, from 4-7pm.

Top local chefs are showcased and the finest wineries, distributors, breweries and distilleries from around the world are featured at the Grand Tasting on Saturday, April 25th, from 3:00-6:30pm. 

Durango is the perfect destination for your wine and culinary adventures.DWExperience_FinalLogosAll
We have multiple Wine Spectator acclaimed restaurants.
Over 50 liquor-licensed establishments.
600+ Hotel Rooms.
200+ galleries, boutiques & shops.

All right here in downtown Durango, Colorado.

Experience the 9th Annual Durango Wine Experience,
April 23-25, 2015!



Wines and Chefs

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Wine Life Radio welcomes the Chefs to the Studio

Enjoy the Show (part 3 and 4)


Food and Wine

When it comes to food and wine pairings, there are those who carelessly match any dish with any libation and those who painstakingly try to balance the flavors of the food with the perfect wine. No matter where you land on the spectrum, there are some dishes that remain challenging (potluck, anyone?), so having knowledge of ways to properly pair wine with your food can truly intensify the enjoyment of eating. It doesn’t get much better than sea bass with Sauvignon Blanc, duck breast with Burgundy and a juicy steak with a classic Cabernet Sauvignon, so here are some pairing tips that promise to make your next dish sing:

How food and wine pairings work

Wine flavors are derived from specific components: sugar, acid, fruit, tannin and alcohol. Foods also have flavor components, such as fat, acid, salt, sugar and bitter. The most successful food and wine pairings feature complementary components, richness and textures.

You can try for either a similar pairing or a contrasting one. For pasta in a rich cream sauce, for example, you could cut through the creamy fat with a crisp, dry, un-oaked white wine. Or you could wrap the flavor of the wine around the richness of the sauce by choosing a big, ripe, soft Chardonnay or Roussanne / Marsanne blend.

Cheers !



Chef Fabio Viviano

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Wine Life Radio welcomes Chef Fabio !

Enjoy the Show (part 2 of 4)


An Emphasis On Quality

Wine is not complicated. I focus all of my time and energy on finding the best fruit and using the best winemaking practices. I do not need to use shiny labels, heavy glass bottles or fancy gimmicks to make my wine stand out. Give it a try and it will speak for itself. I promise to make the best possible wine delivered at a fair price. It’s that simple.

GUYS, this is big news! I am SO excited to share that Wine Spectator has included the Fabio Viviani Wines Collection in their “Unfiltered” column! love how they really focused on my personal connection with winemaking culture and my plans to come out with more vintages soon. Wine Spectator is written for wine consumers and individuals looking to expand their knowledge about food, wine and travel and informs readers of the latest trends.


Chefs with Wine

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Wine Life Radio welcomes the Chefs!

Enjoy the Show (part 1 of 4)


Chef Fabio Viviani has possessed a passion for food since his childhood growing up in Florence, Italy. At age 11, Viviani workedFabio-151-smaller nights at a local bakery (since he was too young to officially join the staff) and, during his teenage years, held several positions in the restaurant industry, even serving under the mentorship of Simone Mugnaini, an iconic figure in the Italian restaurant industry.

Between his training in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine at IPSSAR Saffi and working with culinary luminaries such as Simone Mugnaini, Alessandro Panzani and Saverio Carmagini, Viviani owned and operated five restaurants in Florence, a Farm House and two nightclubs by the time he was 27. Although a well-respected businessman in Italy, he was ready for a change and moved to Ventura County, CA where he opened Café Firenze in Moorpark.

Teaming up with one of Chicago’s most innovative restaurant consulting groups, Dine|Amic, Viviani went on to open Siena Tavern in Chicago in 2013 where it received accolades from Michigan Avenue andChicago Tribune, to name a few. 2014 saw the debut of Mercato by Fabio Viviani, a quick service Italian concept in Chicago and San Diego, the opening of Siena Tavern Miami and the launch of Fabio Viviani Wine Collection.  Viviani is set to open his new steak restaurant, Prime and Provisions, as well as a craft cocktail and small plate concept, both in Chicago in 2015.Fabio-Viviani-Wine

Perhaps best known for his television debut on Bravo’s hit reality series “Top Chef” – earning the “Fan Favorite” title – his on-screen appearances have propelled him to become one of the fastest growing household names in the country.  In addition to competing in Bravo’s “Top Chef All Stars” and starring in the spinoff, “Life After Top Chef,” Viviani has appeared is a recurring guest on television shows such asGood Morning America, The Talk, The Chew, Ellen, Good Day LA, Access Hollywood.

Off screen, Viviani is a regular headliner at global food events and festivals, sells his own line of ceramic cookware, Co-Branded Signature Series Aeternum Evolution and is a proud endorser of beloved brands such as Bialetti Cookware, Bertolli Olive Oil and Bauli authentic Italian baked goods. He has authored three successful cookbooks: Café Firenze Cookbook, New York Times Best-Seller Fabio’s Italian Kitchen, and his most recent cookbook, Fabio’s American Home Kitchen, released in the fall of 2014. Viviani also regularly shares recipes with his fans through his own digital magazine, Fabio’s Magazine.


Wine Tasting

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Best New Area to Taste Wine !wine collection

It’s true that Santa Barbara is a bonafide wine destination… from wineries to wine bars to restaurants with killer wine lists, it would be a shame to be here and not like wine. Insert sad face here! Good thing you love wine! By now you’ve heard about the cool wine area close to the beach called The Funk Zone, but have you heard about the newest wine destination right in the heart of downtown? Clustered within Santa Barbara’s El Paseo complex in the Presidio Neighborhood are several wine tasting rooms, now part of what is officially known as the Wine Collection of El Paseo.

There are six tasting rooms located in this complex of courtyards and side streets, each with their own personality to showcase different styles of wine from Santa Barbara County’s AVAs. Margerum Wine Co. produces white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, as well as reds like Grenache and Syrah. Close by, you can find more of Margerum’s reserve wines in its MWC32 tasting room. Right next door, Happy Canyon Vineyard produces Bordeaux blends from the Happy Canyon AVA, which you can try in their polo-inspired tasting room. Decorated tastefully with equestrian gear, it’s the family’s way of paying homage to the two regulation-sized polo fields at their winery.

Tasty wine hidden among beautiful courtyards and tiny alleyways right in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara? You can’t go wrong. Plus, if you get hungry in between all those tastings, there are several great restaurants in and around El Paseo and the Presidio Neighborhood… it really is a one-stop shop!

Go Taste Some Wine !

Find out more at   www.facebook.com/WineCollectionofElPaseo !