Mystery has a new home in Sonoma

Sonoma Mystery Tour by Arcanum: The Wrath of GrapesThe choices of things to do in wine country just got richer this month.

It’s being billed as part mystery, part interactive theater, part walking tour and a whole lot of fun. It’s called The Wrath of Grapes and offers a brand new take on what it means to do wine country.

The Wrath of Grapes will introduce you to a mysterious whodunit world you never knew existed in wine country. In small groups, you will work your way through and around the Historic Plaza District of Sonoma, California on a 2 hour mission. During your mission you’ll visit unusual shops, taste wine at secret locations and interact with intriguing characters who will engage you, challenge you and ultimately help you as you solve one of Sonoma’s most scandalous secrets.

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On the Fringe: Viticulture in Virginia

Jefferson Vineyards - VirginiaWho knew? They make wine in Virginia, lots of it, and it is beginning to gain recognition for its quality. Virginia is home to a robust wine scene, with six AVAs, and countless wineries producing a wide range of wines from both European and Hybrid grape Varieties.  Growing grapes in Virginia, however, is not without its challenges. Frost, humidity, and tropical storms are among the problems faced by wineries in the state. In order to get a closer look at these challenges we will head to Jefferson Vineyards in Charlottesville, VA.

Jefferson Vineyards is located in the Monticello AVA in central Virginia. The wineries history extends all the way back to 1773 when Thomas Jefferson contracted an Italian winemaker to plant European grapes on his land. The project was short lived, as frosts killed the vines, and the unset of the Revolutionary War put viticulture on the backburner. The winery was revived in 1981 when property owner Stanley Woddward Sr. hired yet another Italian viticulturist, Gabrielle Rausse, to fulfill Jefferson’s original plan for a vineyard at the location. Currently, the winery grows a wide variety of grapes (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Riesling, Tannat, and Viognier) on their 25-acre property.

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On the Fringe: Viticulture Challenges and Solutions

Hopewell Valley Vineyards in DelawareWhen you think of grape growing in the United States what states in particular come to mind? California, Oregon, and Washington are probably at the top of your list and for good reason. These states not only grow the most grapes and produce the most wine, but also happen to be blessed with ideal climates for wine-grape cultivation.  Sonoma County is a prime example of an ideal grape growing region, with long sunshine hours, a stable and moderate climate, and enough rainfall to sustain vines without drowning the grapes.

However, some of the most interesting viticulture practices can be found outside prime grape growing country, where less than ideal climatic conditions force growers to think creatively as they try to grow grapes fit for winemaking. The purpose of this series is to investigate these marginal regions, the challenges faced by the wineries there, and the creative solutions these wineries  employ to grow wine-worthy grapes.

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Maintaining a Sonoma/Napa Vineyard

Sonoma VineyardAn area of 285,300 acres. That’s how much space is taken up by the vineyards in Napa and Sonoma Valleys, let alone the rest of northern California. With that much coverage and all the award-winning wines that come out of the area, you can bet plenty of maintenance goes into every acre.

Due to the distinct local micro-climates, this area in northern California has the ideal climate for raising a vineyard. If you’ve never raised a vineyard or even grown grapes, you might be surprised at the kind of care that goes into producing them. Vines are managed differently depending on the vineyard’s approach. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll focus on the basic practices of an average smaller vineyard in northern California.

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Recreating a Sonoma Valley Picnic with Outdora

As one of the most idyllic places in all of California, the Sonoma Valley has long been known for its lush rolling hills, impressive restaurants, and of course, its world-class wines.

While Sonoma locals grab their picnic gear, wine, stop at The Sonoma Cheese Factory for a picnic lunch special, and head over to Goat Rock Beach or to sip syrah underneath the oak trees at Buena Vista Carneros, you can recreate your own version of a Sonoma Valley picnic in your backyard with Outdora.

Sonoma Picnic

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Sonoma Wine Country Going to the Dogs

Take a Bite out of Accommodations in Sonoma with these Pet-Friendly Destinations

What is it about dogs & wine that go together?  Maybe it’s their uniqueness, their longevity, or perhaps it’s simply a true love of both wine and dogs.  However you choose, pampering your pooch during your visit to Sonoma, CA, is as easy with these great options for wine tasting, doggie day spas, and pet-friendly accommodation suggestions.

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