January Jaunt: Winter WINEland

Taste your way through a trio of Northern Sonoma County valleys.

AN ELEVEN-MONTH WAIT: Perhaps you have a pal who calls the Northern Sonoma Valley home. Or perhaps that friend frequents the region, whenever she or he can, because of its delish eats and pleasing wines and all of those memorable vistas, sunsets, cool stops, and such. Either way, chances are good that your NorSoCo aficionado has stopped by a vineyard or two in the previous 12 months, and, just maybe, if you were lucky, picked up a special vino, the kind of vino that seems to show up during special wine country events. If this is all the case, and we're hoping it is, you may have just sipped a wine, over the holidays, that was purchased at Winter WINEland, one of the region's big affairs. We say "big" because it is, thanks to numerous wine-making participants in three distinct spots: The Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valleys. Wineries in this trio of tasty locales offer up "limited production wines, new releases, and library wines" during Winter WINEland, which means fans of Northern Sonoma County libations tend to stock up during the event, or at least purchase a special bottle or two to save for the holidays some eleven months ahead. And the 2017...

WINTER WINELAND... is just on the horizon, spreading out over the middle weekend of January. That's Saturday, Jan. 14 and Sunday, Jan. 15, the 25th annual go-around for this glass-sparkling, beverage-posh to-do. Besides calling upon a bevy of wineries around the northern part of the county, you'll be able to eye the Winter Décor Competition, where the wineries go head-to-head on the pretty-lighting, baubles-and-more front. And, as you visit some of your favorite places, or try one or two new ones, keep in mind that the 2017 theme is "Vintages, Varietals, and Verticals." Will you chat up various winemakers? You will, if that floats your boat. Could you attend a special winemaker breakfast and Q&A? Absolutely, for a separate ticket. Will you discover a new cabernet that you'll save, for 11 happy months, to sip at the end of the year? It could happen. A weekend ticket is a pinch under $50, plus a fee, and that's good for both days of the sippable celebration.

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