5 Things to Do in Wine Country in December


With harvest over and the wines slumbering in the cellar, our thoughts turn to holiday entertaining, shopping, eating and partying to the very end.  Here’s how to end the year on a high note, wine country style.


Design for the holidays and beyond at the Sonoma Designer Showcase in Glen Ellen


Holiday table setting by designer Rochelle Mella

Get inspiration for your holiday décor at the historic landmark The Chauvet on December 7-9 from 10:30 am – 4:30 pm where four spacious, 2,200 ft.2 condominiums will be transformed by Interior Design Society Wine Country designers.  Each of the luxury wine country rentals are designed around a unique theme, Wine Country Chic, Global Inspiration, Eclectic Contemporary and Modern Rustic, with touches of stylish holiday décor throughout and paintings, sculptures created by local artists.  Proceeds benefit the United Cerebral Palsy of the North Bay.  Cost $30 pp in advance, $40 at the door.  Park at BR Cohn Winery, details herewww.idswinecountry.com

While you’re there, don’t miss the Glen Ellen Village Market across the street for high-quality sandwiches and one-of-a-kind, seasonal desserts or shop for wine country provisions to take home.


Experience the holiday spirit at Peju Winery in Rutherford


Peju Tower at night. Peju Province Winery photo

Post-harvest is a great time to catch-up with winemakers like Sara Fowler of Peju Province Winery, especially during their festive holiday Twilight Tasting and Tunes on December 9 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.  Taste their signature wines and discover the new Tess wines of the next generation Pejus accompanied by wine country bites prepared by Chef Emily Buller.  An intimate concert by Brendan James provides the mood.  Cost is $50 pp, 10% of merchandise sales at the event goes to Make-a-Wish holiday campaign.  Reservations requiredwww.peju.com


Bring home the gift of wine country flavors

In addition to your favorite wines, consider the gift of unique, local wine country flavors that the whole family will love.  Navarro Vineyards in Mendocino produces delicious, non-alcoholic gewürztraminer and pinot noir grape juices as well as verjus, the non-fermented grape juice made from less-than-ripe pinot noir grapes that provide tart but fruity acidity to dishes in lieu of vinegar.  Add a sampler of winegrower Sarah Cahn Bennett’s new goat and sheep’s milk cheeses from her Pennyroyal Farm down the road for a true taste of Mendocino. 


Farm to home. Phote Oakville Grocery

For the foodies in your life, pick-up everything they’ll need for the pantry at Oakville Grocery such as savory spreads, sauces and tapenades, mustards, vinegars, oils, flatbreads and jams and jellies.  Oakville Grocery brand products are made with ingredients sourced from Rudd Farm and Orchards’ 13 acre organic farm on Mt. Veeder. 


Medlock Ames Quince Apple Butter. Photo Kelly McManus

In Sonoma, drop by Medlock Ames, which makes their own cabernet-based verjus, plus preserves and pasta sauces made with ingredients grown at Bell Mountain Ranch. 



There are still a very limited number of seats available for The Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood, a series of dinners created by 12 innovative chefs from around the country and Paris, paired with Napa Valley’s most coveted wines.  The dinners celebrate the spirit of sharing among chefs and, during the holiday season, with others.  Twenty percent of proceeds go towards Share Our Strength, a campaign to end childhood hunger.  Selected dates between December 7-22, cost $1,240-$1,315 per couple for dinner, wines and overnight accommodation.  Taxes and gratuities not included.  Call (707) 967-1205 to reserve.  www.therestaurantatmeadowood.com


New Year’s Eve starter at Terra Restaurant – Main Lobster and Scallop Salad with Caviar Mousseline

New Year’s Eve calls for a truly exceptional meal and you will find it at Terra Restaurant in Saint Helena, where guests return year after year for the luxurious ingredients and savory flavors.  Think lobster with caviar mousseline, Porcini mushroom soup with quail meat balls and onsen tamago, sea urchin (uni) risotto with abalone, and lamb chops with black truffle sauce.  Cost $135 pp plus $76 pp for wine pairings, excludes tax and gratuities.  Call to reserve (707) 963-8931.  View the menu details at www.terrarestaurant.com.   




Photo Domain Chandon


What better place to toast the New Year than where the sparkling wine is?  Domaine Chandon hosts the ultimate party beginning with a 5-course dinner at étoile Restaurant paired with sparkling and still wines, followed by live music, dancing and the big midnight toast.  Cost $300 pp excluding tax and gratuities, includes commemorative portrait and party favors.  Call to reserve (888) 242-6366, opt. 2.  www.chandon.com

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