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19191
California

North of Napa: California Wine Country as It Used to Be

Escape the tourist path to scenic Lake County, where you’ll learn about award-winning vineyards, traditional growing methods, local history and the fine art of pairing food and wine.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19191RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,579
California

North of Napa: California Wine Country as It Used to Be

Escape the tourist path to scenic Lake County, where you’ll learn about award-winning vineyards, traditional growing methods, local history and the fine art of pairing food and wine.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,579
Program No. 19191 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 23 - May 28, 2021
Starting at
1,579
Sep 26 - Oct 1, 2021
Starting at
1,579
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 23 - May 28, 2021
Starting at
1,979
Sep 26 - Oct 1, 2021
Starting at
1,979

At a Glance

A hidden gem of the wine industry lies nestled in the pristine valleys and hills of Lake County. Here, where Prohibition wiped out the vineyards that produced the earliest premier wines of the era, the vineyards flourish once again, world-class wines flow and an exuberant spirit prevails. Come learn the basics of winemaking, the roots of viticulture, and the enjoyment of wine along with food in California wine country as it used to be, free from crowds and commercialism.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Modest walking through vineyards and wineries; some uneven and sloped terrain.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn about the many natural elements that produce a great wine-growing area from an acclaimed winemaker, and study with local and regional viticulture and winemaking experts.
  • Explore the intricacies of wine with a sommelier, winemaker and wine competition judge followed by a wine paired lunch prepared by a gourmet chef designed to demonstrate the principles learned.
  • Savor award-winning wines and join in a wine blending contest as you journey to six outstanding wineries. Visit vineyards during bud break (Spring program) or harvest (Fall program).

General Notes

All rooms in the hotel have only king-size beds; therefore, we cannot offer roommate matching services on this program.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Bernard Butcher
With wife Lynne, Bernie Butcher owns the Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon & Café. The Tallman, built in the 1890's, has been completely restored and is listed on the California Register of Historic Resources as a Point of Historical Interest. Bernie is an exhibited black and white photographer and former history and economics and photography instructor. He co-founded and managed the Amsterdam Pacific Corporation, a private investment banking firm sold in 1995.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Bernard Butcher
Bernard Butcher View biography
With wife Lynne, Bernie Butcher owns the Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon & Café. The Tallman, built in the 1890's, has been completely restored and is listed on the California Register of Historic Resources as a Point of Historical Interest. Bernie is an exhibited black and white photographer and former history and economics and photography instructor. He co-founded and managed the Amsterdam Pacific Corporation, a private investment banking firm sold in 1995.
Profile Image of Randy Krag
Randy Krag View biography
Randy has been the Vineyard Manager at Beckstoffer Vineyards, Red Hills since 2004. In his role overseeing vineyard operations at the Red Hills Vineyards, Randy has developed automation and technical viticulture systems that have proven to be the model for many other vineyard operations. A Lake County native and long-time agriculturalist with a degree in Plant Production and Pest Management from UC Davis, Randy also grows cherries and walnuts in his own family orchards.
Profile Image of Pietro Buttitta
Pietro Buttitta View biography
Pietro Buttitta grew up in the Russian River Valley just outside of Santa Rosa, surrounded by French Colombard grapevines. As a student at Western Culinary Institute in Portland, he worked in several of the city’s finest establishments, serving in roles such as chef de cuisine, banquet chef, sous chef and pastry chef. Pietro spent his spare time working on his father’s vineyard in Kelseyville, and a connection to the vine was slowly rekindled. In 2008, he made the jump back into the wine world and is now the winemaker at the family’s Rosa d’Oro Vineyards. Rosa d’Oro’s focus on Italian cultivars has produced double gold medals at the California State Fair and the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. In 2010, Pietro became a certified sommelier and member of the Court of Master Sommeliers. He has judged at wine competitions, and in 2011, co-chaired the Lake County Wine Competition with Sonoma State University’s Ray Johnson, gaining an inside perspective to evaluation and judging.
Profile Image of Gregory Graham
Gregory Graham View biography
While working as winemaker at Rombauer Vineyard in Napa Valley, Greg envisioned producing wines under his own label. He began to do so in 1992, using fruit he purchased in Napa, Carneros and Knights Valley. In September 2000 Greg seized the opportunity to grow his own wine grapes and thus increase the quality of his wines. He and his wife Marianne purchased a 13-acre Zinfandel vineyard in the Red Hills Appellation of Lake County.
Profile Image of Chris Skarada
Chris Skarada View biography
As a native Californian, Chris enjoys promoting the bounty of the North Coast. Coming from a business management career, Chris took her experience to the wine industry. Chris has managed tasting rooms, worked in wineries and planned events. She loves to pair food and wine and traveling. Having joined Road Scholar in 2014, Chris currently leads two adult programs in Lake County and Mendocino and two Grandparent programs in Santa Rosa; Safari West and Heroic Hounds.
Profile Image of Gaye Allen
Gaye Allen View biography
Gaye Allen is the creator of the Lake County Wine Guide, the first highly illustrated and comprehensive guide to this unique mountain wine region. Gaye’s publication tells the story of each winery and its wine-making philosophy, making the guide the perfect companion to an excursion through an extraordinary, relaxed and less-visited mountain wine region.
Profile Image of Emilio de la Cruz
Emilio de la Cruz View biography
After serving in the military, he chose to enter Saint Gregory of Sinai Monastery as a Novice in the fall of 1998. In the fall of 2001, Emilio was asked to be Olive Mill Operator and Facility Manager of the newly acquired St. Gregory Olive Farm. He has educated himself through books, classes and seminars. When the monastery sold the Olive Farm and Mill to Chacewater in 2008, he worked closely to help train staff to farm and manage the olive trees, coming on full time in 2011.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Dinner, Overview
Upper Lake, CA
D
Tallman Hotel

Afternoon: Hotel check-in starts at 3:00 PM and Program Registration begins at 4:00 PM. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table at Riffe's Meeting House, adjacent to the Tallman Hotel, to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation at 4:30 PM at Riffe's Meeting House, followed by a reception at Hotel Parlor. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the Tallman Dining Room, enjoy a welcome dinner at our lovely historic hotel with your fellow wine enthusiasts!

Evening: Just north of Napa lies California's Lake County. Our study of the intriguing story of wine from growth and production to corking and tasting begins this evening as we are joined by the author of the "Lake County Wine Guide," Gaye Allen, and hotel owner Bernie Butcher. After dinner, Gaye will provide an overview of her book (to be distributed to all participants) and an overview of Lake County as a winemaking region. The wines of Lake County were well known prior to Prohibition, outnumbering those of Napa. During Prohibition, the abundant and fruitful vineyards were replaced with pear and walnut orchards. Learn how Lake County, with its unique climate, soils and elevation, combined with the spirit of passionate growers and winemakers, is re-emerging as a major wine-growing region. One hundred acres of vineyards in 1965 have blossomed to 10,000 today, now boasting over 30 commercial wineries.

DAY
2
Wine Appreciation and Wine Blending Day
Upper Lake, CA
B,L,D
Tallman Hotel

Activity note: The transfer from Tallman Hotel to Wildhurst Winery is about 17 miles, approximately 25 minutes. Getting on/off a van; walking less than a mile; standing up to an hour at a time indoors and out. Some paths and walks are paved, but many are gravel, or rocky. Be prepared for sloped terrain at numerous vineyards.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, our daily breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as fresh fruit salad & whole fruit, house-made granola, organic whole grain flake cereal, house-made quick bread, wheat & raisin toast, freshly baked scones, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, coffee, juice, milk, tea, water.

Morning: Although just geographically north of famous Napa, Lake County is a dramatic step back in time. Here you find the pristine natural beauty of mountainous terrain dotted with vineyards. The air features some of the cleanest air in California, and the beauty of the largest lake within California state boundaries. Here you are captivated by the spirit of the vineyard owners and winemakers who delight to share their passion, their stories and their insights with you on a personal basis. Our focus today is on wine appreciation, wine tasting and food pairing. Led by Pietro Buttitta, a Rosa d'Oro winemaker, sommelier and chef, learn how to taste and talk about wine. Unravel the mysteries of wine labels.

Lunch: Buffet lunch in Tallman dining room.

Afternoon: Put into practice your learning experiences today as we travel to Wildhurst Winery in Kelseyville. Wildhurst's home vineyard lies at the foot of the dormant volcano's western exposure. Enjoy a tour of the winery and history of development, past to present, followed by a team wine-blending exercise led by Stephen Dilley. Head back to Upper Lake to visit the Lake County Wine Studio, a popular female-owned meetup spot for winemakers and artists, conveniently located across the street from the hotel. About half of the 36 wineries in Lake County do not have tasting rooms; this charming facility features their wines to taste. Lake County Wine Studio owner Susan Feiler will lead a discussion about wines featured there.

Dinner: Buffet dinner in the garden (weather permitting) by the Blue Wing Restaurant or Tallman dining room.

Evening: Get to know your fellow enthusiasts relaxing over dinner. Then you can choose to enjoy the Blue Wing Monday Blues bands in the Blue Wing Restaurant.

DAY
3
Six Sigma Ranch, Lake County Viticulture, Sampling
Upper Lake, CA
B,L,D
Tallman Hotel

Activity note: The transfer from Tallman Hotel to Six Sigma Ranch is about 35 miles, approximately 45 minutes. Getting on/off a van; walking less than a mile; standing up to an hour at a time indoors and out. Some paths and walks are paved, but many are gravel, or rocky. Be prepared for sloped terrain at numerous vineyards.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we will depart for Six Sigma Ranch and Vineyard, where we will learn about their sustainable farming and grape-growing practices. Located south of Lower Lake in Lake County, this vineyard has 40 acres of high-altitude vineyards, placed among thousands of oak trees. We will tour the vineyard and taste some of Six Sigma's wines.

Lunch: At Six Sigma Ranch with a wine-paired barbecue lunch.

Afternoon: Depart for another outstanding vineyard nearby, the Gregory Graham Vineyard in Lower Lake. Meet with Greg Graham, who has been the master winemaker at Rombauer Estate in Napa for 20 years and is now the Dean of Lake County winemakers.

Dinner: On the veranda of the Blue Wing Saloon and Café next door to our hotel.

Evening: Later this evening, Bernie Butcher will give an overview of the history of this scenic area. As owner of the charming and historic Tallman Hotel, built in the 1890’s, he will discuss the restoration of this gem amongst country hotels.

DAY
4
Wine Making, Sustainable Farming, Free Time
Upper Lake, CA
B,L
Tallman Hotel

Activity note: The transfer from Tallman Hotel to Laujor Estate Winery is about 25 miles, approximately 30 minutes. Getting on/off a van; walking less than a mile; standing up to an hour at a time indoors and out. Some paths and walks are paved, but many are gravel, or rocky. Be prepared for sloped terrain at numerous vineyards.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we are joined by our instructor and retired Vineyard Manager, Randy Krag. Learn about the natural elements of pest management and sustainable farming practices that create the best wine growing areas, as we set the foundation for our upcoming experiences. Lake County is unique in its diversity, with wine grapes grown from lake level at 1400 feet to elevations over 3000 feet. The grapes are grown in areas that differ from highly volcanic soils to the rich loam of the old lake bed. Next, we will head out to walk a vineyard in Kelseyville where David Weiss, owner of Bella Vista Farming, will introduce us to their process of vineyard management and viticulture practices. Afterwards, we will head to Laujor Estate Vineyards, a small production, boutique-style winery located among rolling hills and vineyards as far as the eye can see.

Lunch: Picnic-style lunch at Laujor Estate.

Afternoon: Free time after the mid-afternoon completion of our lunch. Relax and enjoy the beauty of this exquisitely restored historic hotel, sip award-winning wine or head out to one of the local wineries or antique stores to explore on your own. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: On your own to relax or explore.

DAY
5
Mt. Konocti, Steele Winery, Chacewater
Upper Lake, CA
B,L,D
Tallman Hotel

Activity note: The transfer from Tallman Hotel to Mt. Konocti Growers & Winery is about 16 miles, approximately 25 minutes. Getting on/off a van; walking less than a mile; standing up to an hour at a time indoors and out. Some paths and walks are paved, but many are gravel, or rocky. Be prepared for sloped terrain at numerous vineyards.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Depart for Mt. Konocti Growers & Winery, family-owned and operated winery and pear orchard for nearly 100 years. Meet with Director Robert Gayaldo who will show an example of conversion of pear packing facility to winery. Head out then to Steele Winery where their winemaker will introduce us to their process and the individuality of their wines. Sample their wines and view the intricate bottling process led by one of their operations managers.

Lunch: Boxed lunch at beautiful Steele Winery.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will visit Rosa d'Oro Vineyards in Kelseyville for a vineyard tour and wine tasting. Following our visit to Rosa d'Oro Vineyards, we will visit Chacewater Wine and Olive Company for a taste of their wines and the wide variety of olive oils pressed on site.

Dinner: Enjoy a gourmet 3-course dinner prepared by Chef Pablo Aguilar as we round out the program tonight at the hotel.

Evening: Share highlights of your adventure in this evening’s wrap up session.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Upper Lake, CA
B

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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