5 Things to Do in Wine Country in January


Spirituality in the natural world – a new photography exhibit at Robert Mondavi Winery

A new fine–art photography exhibit at Robert Mondavi Winery “Ancient Textures and Sacred Landscapes” explores the integration of religious architecture within the environment, primarily in Asia, and their symbiosis over time.  By using the 3-panel triptych format, Napa Valley photographer Teri Sandison captures the “inevitability of imminent change, which is inherent in nature and in all existence.”  The exhibit in the Vineyard Room at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville begins January 11 and continues through March 6.  Open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm daily. 


Sample Northern Sonoma wine country during Winter WINEland


The modern barn style of the Taylor Lombardo-designed Freestone Winery echoes the rugged coastal mountain range. Photo Taylor Lombardo Architects LLC

The first of three major tasting weekends a year sponsored by Wine Road, Winter WINEland allows oenophiles to explore the distinct regions of Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley in leisure.  From the convenience of tasting rooms around Healdsburg Plaza to the remote and romantic landscape of Freestone Winery just 8 miles from the Pacific, the detailed programs, maps and featured varietals of over 140 participating wineries will help you navigate the weekend.  January 19 and 20, 11 am – 4 pm.  Advance tickets purchased by January 14, $45 for a weekend pass or $35 for Sunday only, or purchase on the day of the event at participating wineries for additional $10.


Become a truffle expert at the Napa Truffle Festival


Lobby of the Craftsman-style Westin Verasa resort. Photo Westin

For the ultimate in truffle appreciation, delve into a 4-day intensive of this seductive delicacy at the Napa Truffle Festival January 18 to 21.  Held in and around the Westin Verasa resort in Downtown Napa and at select wineries, the festival includes a series of educational seminars, truffle-based lunches and dinners and cooking demos, as well as an orchard tour.  The fest concludes with the Napa Truffle Festival Marketplace at Oxbow Public Market on Monday, January 21 from 10 am – 2 pm.  Tickets range from $25 for a wine tasting ticket at the Marketplace to $1,250 for all-inclusive package, check the website for à la carte event pricing.


Crawl for crabs at the Mendocino County Crab, Wine & Beer Festival


One of thousands of crab cakes at the Crab Cake Cook-off. Photo John Birchard

The Mendocino coast bursts with crabs this time of year providing a bounty of food for the Mendocino County Crab, Wine & Beer Festival January 18 to 27.  The ten days of crab feeds, fishing excursions and food and wine tastings culminates in the 14th annual Crab Cake Cook-off and Wine Competition on January 26 in Fort Bragg from 12 -3 pm, cost $75 pp.  Check visitmendocino.com for all other events, locations and prices.


Felt vessel by Carin Engen


One of the official arts programs during the Crab Fest is a weekend felting workshop at Gualala Arts in Gualala January 19 and 20 where amateur and experienced students learn the technique of textured felting as well as shaped felting for hats, vessels, purses or shoes.  


Awaken the senses at a new art exhibit at Hall Winery in Saint Helena

After meditation, artist Mitsuyo Moore uses bold lines and colors to express the intersection of life and spirit in an intensely personal way.  Meet the artist at the opening reception at Hall Winery in Saint Helena, January 27 beginning at 2 pm.  Complimentary with purchase of tasting flight. 

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