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
1,299
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Class
Upper Lake, CA
D
Tallman Hotel

Afternoon: Hotel check-in starts at 3 PM and Program Registration and Orientation begins at 4 PM and 4:30 PM respectively. The orientation is followed by a champagne reception in the hotel parlor.

Dinner: Dine 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 wine making 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 8,800 today, now boasting over 30 commercial wineries. Lake County Wineries website: www.lakecountywineries.org

DAY
2
Wine Appreciation, Meet Winemakers, Brassfield Estate
Upper Lake, CA
B,L,D
Tallman Hotel

Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel

Morning: A wine enthusiast’s adventure awaits you as we begin our studies today! Lake County in its pristine beauty takes you back to the roots of wine making! Lake County provides the clarity of experience of “California wine country as it used to be,” refreshingly free from the commercialism of other more well-known wine locales. 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 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. The making of wine is our focus today. Led by Matt Hughes, our instructor for the day and past president of the Lake County Winery Association, we begin with a study of “Elements of Wine Making.” Matt will walk us through all the seasons as we explore the process of wine making from start to finish.

Lunch: Buffet lunch in Tallman dining room

Afternoon: Put into practice your learning experiences today as we travel to Brassfield Estate, which has some of the most extensive wine caves in California. All their wines are crafted entirely from grapes grown on the winery's high elevation estate above the lake where they are produced and bottled on the premises to create the finest of wines. Winemaker Matt Hughes will lead us on a tour of the facility and help us to form teams in a wine blending exercise. Head back to Upper Lake to visit the Lake County Wine Studio, conveniently located across the street from the hotel. This charming facility features wines from area wineries that do not have their own wine tasting room. Discuss and sample! Brassfield Estate website: www.brassfieldestate.com Lake County Wine Studio website: http://lakecountywinestudio.com

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
Lake County Viticulture, Sampling
Upper Lake, CA
B,L,D
Tallman Hotel

Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel

Morning: This morning we are joined by our instructor and Vineyard Manager, Randy Krag. Learn about the natural elements 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 and from highly volcanic soils to the rich loam of the old lake bed. Examines the different approaches to wine making and provides an orientation lecture this morning. Head out then to Beckstoffer Vineyards where Randy will introduce us to their process and the individuality of their wines. Sample their wines and view the intricate bottling process. Beckstoffer Vineyards website: www.beckstoffervineyards.com

Lunch: Box lunch at beautiful Laujor Estate Winery Laujor Winery website: www.laujorestate.com

Afternoon: Depart for the nearby outstanding vineyard, 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. Gregory Graham Wines website: www.ggwines.com

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
Food Pairing with Gourmet Lunch, Wine Appreciation Day
Upper Lake, CA
B,L
Tallman Hotel

Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Our focus today is on wine appreciation and 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. Rosa D'Oro Wines website: www.rosadorovineyards.com

Lunch: Blue Wing Chef Ruben Ramirez joins Matt Hughes to guide you through the fascinating intricacies of food and wine pairing. Using a variety of Lake County wines and local produce, observe how a master chef prepares and presents a gourmet lunch, and put into practice your new knowledge about food and wine pairing.

Afternoon: Free time after the mid-afternoon completion of our gourmet 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.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

Evening: On your own to relax or explore.

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

Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Depart for Mt. Konocti Growers & Winery, family-owned and operated winery and pear orchard for nearly 100 years, in Kelseyville. 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. Mt. Konocti Growers & Winery website: www.mtkonoctiwines.com Steele Wines website: www.steelewines.com

Lunch: Box lunch at beautiful Steele Winery

Afternoon: Explore downtown Kelseyville, which features the tasting rooms for local wines from Wildhurst Vineyards, Rosa D'Oro, Fore Family Vineyards and Smiling Dogs Ranch. Stop by the artisan glass-blowing shop of Jay Buechier or Blue Flame Glass. Following the Kelseyville visit, travel a short distance to Chacewater Wine and Olive Company for a taste of their wines and the wide variety of olive oils pressed on site. Wildhurst Wines website: www.wildhurst.com Rosa D'Oro Wines website: www.rosadorowine.com Fore Family Vineyards website: www.forewines.com Smiling Dogs Ranch website: www.smilingdogsranch.com Chacewater Wines and Olive Mill website: http://chacewaterwine.com

Dinner: Enjoy a gourmet 3-course dinner prepared by Chef Mark Linback 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: Continental breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Independent departures.






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