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 (4.89)
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
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 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 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 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 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.

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. Tour of 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, artists and lovers of fine wine and art, 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 Susan Feiler, owner, talks 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
Lake County Viticulture, Sampling
Upper Lake, CA
B,L,D
Tallman Hotel

Activity note: The transfer from Tallman Hotel to Bella Vista Farming 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: 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 and from highly volcanic soils to the rich loam of the old lake bed. Head out then 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.

Lunch: Picnic lunch at beautiful Boatique Estate.

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.

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, Food Pairing with Gourmet Lunch, Free Time
Upper Lake, CA
B,L
Tallman Hotel

Breakfast: Hotel buffet

Morning: 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 Viticulture and Wine Making.” Matt will walk us through all the seasons as we explore the process of wine making from start to finish.

Lunch: Blue Wing Chef Pablo Aguilar 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. 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
Kelseyville Day, 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 in Kelseyville, 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: 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. 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.

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: Independent departures.






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