January 2019 – Celebrate the New Year All Month

January 2019
January 2019 has started out with a bang. The fun continues throughout the month. There are many fun things happening throughout California that are sure to be loads of fun.

Attend special wine tastings and dinners, discover unique artwork, participate in a Champagne seminar, enjoy live music, go crab fishing, and more!

Make reservations soon as many of these events do sell out.

Top Ten Wine Events for January 2019

January 16: Bubbles for Every Occasion – Napa
Champagne Sparkling WineAttend a wine tasting class at the CIA at Copia where you explore sparkling wines from around the world. Taste the differences between Champagne and other wines made in the same style. Discover your favorites as you explore sparkling wines in a variety of price ranges.

The CIA at Copia is a branch campus of the Culinary Institute of America. Located in the Napa Valley, it’s the place to go for cooking classes, wine and beverage explorations, chef demonstrations, and wine tasting classes. Check out their schedule for a full list of upcoming events!

ZinfandelJanuary 17-19: Zinfandel Experience – San Francisco
If you love Zinfandel, you won’t want to miss this annual event. Imagine three days devoted entirely to Zinfandel. A variety of options are available including seminars, special dinners, auctions, and wine tastings. This is your chance to taste a wide variety of Zinfandel and experience delicious food in beautiful San Francisco.

January 17-20 Big Sur Foragers Festival – Carmel


Attention all mushroom lovers! If you love mushrooms (or want to know more about them), this is the event you don’t want to miss.

This annual event benefits local healthcare services in the Big Sur area and focus on mushrooms. Plans for this January 2019 event include fund-raising dinners, a special raffle, a Fungus Face Off, Mushroom Walks, and seminars.

crab, beer & wine days
January 18-27: Crab Feast – Mendocino County
Head to beautiful Mendocino County for a ten day celebration of crab. Enjoy crab-themed dinners, crab and wine pairings, whale watching, and crab fishing. Participate in the Crab Cake Cook Off.

Mendocino offers spectacular scenery, world class wineries, uncrowded beaches, and charming towns to explore.

January 19-20: Winter Wineland – Healdsburg
January 2019 Wine EventsTravel from winery to winery tasting wine on Northern Sonoma County’s “WineRoad”. This popular event is in its 27th year. Wineries are in the Healdsburg/Geyserville area.

This is your chance to meet the winemakers, taste limited production wines, new releases or library wines. All participating wineries will highlight a Vintage, Varietal or Vertical tasting for the weekend.

Santa Cruz Mountains
January 19: Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Passport
Passport Days are held quarterly throughout the year at Santa Cruz wineries. January 2019 is a great time to go wine tasting in this beautiful region. Some wineries that are not normally open to the public will open their doors to visitors for passport days.

Special events are planned at participating wineries . Discover the great wine being produced here on the Central Coast! Click here to learn about Santa Cruz wineries.

January 19: Art & Wine With Something More – Placerville
Placerville, CaliforniaEnjoy tastes from 20 local wineries, breweries & distilleries with food from 20 of El Dorado Counties best restaurants & caterers. There’s also a raffle, live and silent auctions, music and the best part …. unique, original art pieces created by our talented artists. The artists are developmentally disabled adults and the proceeds go directly to the artists.

This event takes place in historic Placerville. A fun town to explore! There are many great wineries scattered in and around Placerville.

January 25: Cambria Art and Wine Festival
Enjoy three full days of fun in the charming coastal village of Cambria. The activities are all about art and wine. There’s an art show, silent auction, and demonstrating artists spread throughout the village. Taste delicious wines while enjoying fabulous ocean views. Take a walk along the beach and visit the unique shops.

I always enjoy staying at the Blue Whale Inn when visiting Cambria. It’s right across from Moonstone Beach!

January 26: Uncorked: LA Wine Festival
This is your opportunity to sample over 200 wines in one location. Dance to the music of a live band and a D.J. Gourmet food trucks will be on hand for an evening of fun.

Funds raised will benefit the Rose City Crystals Figure Skating Team of Pasadena. Tip: Use code WINE for $10 off the price of tickets.

January 28-29: Annual Barrel Tasting – Temecula ValleyTour and taste wine at Temecula wineries at this once a year event. Each winery will provide food paired to go with their wines. You can purchase a single day or a two-day ticket. Visit participating wineries that you select and go at your own pace. A great way to explore the Temecula Valley!

Learn more about Temecula wineries!

If you attend any of these January 2019 events, please scroll down and leave a comment. Our visitors really would like to hear about your experiences!

September 2017 – Fun Things to Do in the Wine Country

September Events You Don’t Want to Miss

September 2017 Fun Things to Do in the Wine Country
September 2017 – Mark your calendar now. There are many fun things to do in the Wine Country that will be happening soon. Make plans soon as many of these events do sell out.

Experience wine, food, music, and art. Kayak down the Russian River in Sonoma County. Watch a turkey race. Observe and learn how wines are harvested. Visit a reptile exhibit. Attend a small town barbecue. It’s all happening September 2017!

Millbrae Art & Wine Festival
September 3-4: The Last Blast of Summer

Celebrate the end of summer with the spirit and flavor of the Big Easy. Experience two days of music and wine at the 47th Annual Millbrae Art & Wine Festival. Browses the booths of high quality original works of art.
Check out the classic cars on display. This will be a weekend of Mardi Gras-style fun!

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
September 4-6: Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Head to Sonoma State University for this annual event. Wineries from throughout Sonoma County will be pouring wine. Local chefs will be preparing food paired with wine.

Enjoy live music as well as winemaker lunches, dinners, and barbecues. Sign up for seminars and demonstrations. The Sonoma Wine Country Weekend promises to be a full of wine, food, and fun.

Pinot Noir GrapesSeptember 8-9: Winesong Weekend
Escape to scenic Mendocino for two days of fun. On Friday guys will gather at the Little River Inn overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Sample Pinot Noir from over 30 wineries. Meet the winemakers and sample culinary delights paired with the wines. On Saturday the celebration moves to the Mendocino Botanical Gardens. Stroll through the gorgeous gardens sipping on wine and beer. Sample food from regional chefs. Enjoy live music, auctions, and fabulous art.

Calistoga wineries September 9: Calistoga Wine Experience
Join in the fun at Pioneer Park in Calistoga. 40 Calistoga wineries will be pour wine along with gourmet bites from local chefs. It’s a chance to mingle with the winemakers and winery owners. Enjoy live music as well.

Find out why Calistoga was recently voted “One of the Top !0 Wine Destinations in the World” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Red Wine in Glasse4s
September 10: Taste of Downtown Livermore

Participate in a culinary stroll through downtown Livermore. Restaurants will be offering tastes of their delicious culinary creations. Shops are hosting wine and beer tastings. There will be live entertainment as well. This is a great time to explore the charming city of Livermore.

Capitola, CaliforniaSeptember 10-11: Capitola Art & Wine Festival
Visit the quaint village of Capitola overlooking Monterey Bay. Sip wine from over 22 Santa Cruz wineries. Browse the works of more than 160 fine artists. Enjoy live music and other performances. Try gourmet food from local restaurants. It’s still summer at this delightful little beach town!

Canoe Down the Russian River September 10-11: Russian River Jazz Festival
The focus at the Russian River Jazz Festival is on the music. There will be two stages of music. You can also taste local wines, dine on world class cuisine, and purchase art, apparel, and unique gifts from vendors. Experience the Russian River up close by taking a canoe, kayak or paddle boat ride. Camping is even available complete with BBQ area and laundry facilities. This is the perfect time to spend some time on the river.

September 14-17: Lodi Grape Festivalgrapevine
The Grape Festival is a long time Lodi tradition. It’s four days of continuous fun for the whole family. Enjoy live music and wine tasting. More unusual is their reptile exhibit, comedy circus show turkey races, BMX Bicycle Show, and live stingray experience. There will also be displays of quilts, art, photography, and floriculture.

Grape HarvestSeptember 16-18: Sonoma Valley Crush – Sonoma
Get involved in the 2017 Sonoma Valley Crush. Learn how grapes are harvested. Sample grapes in the vineyard. Tour a crush pad. Taste fermenting wine. 12 participating wineries will be teaching you the processes behind wine making. Enjoy wine tasting in the beautiful Sonoma Valley.

jazz September 16-18: Monterey Jazz Festival
Over 500 artists will be performing at this year’s festival. It’s considered by many to be the best jazz festival in the world. Enjoy the gorgeous grounds of the Monterey County Fairgrounds where there will be eight stages of live jazz. Experience the Jazz Festival – September 2017.

goat September 17-18: Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival
The 36th Annual Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival is sure to be a weekend of full of fun for the entire family. Taste wine and craft beer. Enjoy live entertainment on three stages. Visit arts and crafts booth. Carnival rides, a petting zoo, and games for children will be located in the Kids Kingdom area.

Casa Dumetz WinesSeptember 23-25: Los Alamos Old Days – North of Santa Barbara
This celebration honors the small town’s western heritage. Events include a 5 K Run/Walk, parade, car show, chili cook off, and silent auction. There’s a BBQ and live music as well. Los Alamos is a charming little town north of Santa Barbara. There are a few wineries with tasting rooms downtown, antique shops, and a fabulous place to stay and dine.
Learn more about Los Alamos.

Newport Beach, CaliforniaSeptember 29-October 2: Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival
Experience a variety of one-of-a-kind dinners by celebrity chefs in September 2017. Taste food from 40 top restaurants. Sip wine, spirits, and craft beer. Attend cooking demonstrations, tasting panels, and fascinating workshops.

Enjoy the beautiful area of Newport Beach and go wine tasting at Orange County Wineries.

If you attend any of the September 2017 Events listed here, please let us know in the comment section below what you thought. Our visitors will benefit from your experience.

St. Helena Restaurant – Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
While visiting the Napa Valley, be sure to dine at this St. Helena Restaurant. Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen is one of the top Napa Valley restaurants.

We love Cindy’s because of the excellent food and the quaint and cozy atmosphere. The restaurant is a former house that has been meticulously restored.

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen The small rooms provide an intimate setting that is warm and inviting. Service has always been outstanding.

This restaurant features fresh farm to table California cuisine. It’s gourmet comfort food at its best. The Classic Ceasar Salad may be the best I’ve ever eaten. Everything is fresh and full of flavors. Order the ceasar “brutus style” for a spicy cayenne kick.

Chinatown Duck Burger - Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
The Chinatown Duck Burger is the local favorite. This duck burger is served with house made shiitake mushroom, ketchup, and French fries.
The asian spices combine to create a flavorful burger that is extremely tender.

Another popular entree is Pollo Loco. This crunchy chicken is so moist and full of flavor. It’s served with an avocado salsa and a cheese stuffed Anaheim chile. Delicious!

Campfire Pie - St Helena restaurantSave room for dessert because there are some amazing choices. The signature dessert is Campfire Pie. Toasted marshmallow fluff and melted chocolate atop an Oreo cookie crust.

This rich dessert is both innovative and delicious. The pie is a large serving making it easy to share.

Cindy’s is owned by Cindy Pawlcyn. You may have dined at her other St. Helena restaurant, the popular Mustards Grill restaurant. Cindy is recognized as being one of the top wine country chefs. She has
three best-selling cookbooks that are available online.

Explore St. Helena Wineries

Contact Information for this St. Helena Restaurant

Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen
Address: 1327 Railroad Avenue, St. Helena, CA 94574
Telephone: (707) 963-1200

Directions from Napa
1. Head north on Highway 29 into downtown St. Helena.
2. Turn right onto Hunt Street.
3. Take the first left onto Railroad Avenue. Cindy’s Backstreet Restaurant is on the left.

Have you dined at this St. Helena restaurant? If you have, please share your dining experience with us. There’s a comment section below.

Temecula Hot Air Balloon – Soar High Above the Temecula Wine Country

Temecula Hot Air Balloon Ride
Temecula hot air balloon rides allow you to soar peacefully over beautiful scenery of Temecula. It’s great fun in the Temecula Wine Country, halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles.

The companies below offer balloon rides over the rolling hills covered with vineyards. Relax as you gently glide along 500 to 1500 feet above the ground. The flight is typically 60 to 90 minutes in length. Flights normally begin around sunrise and are followed by a champagne breakfast or brunch.

Some companies do offer sunset flights as well. The entire experience usually takes from 3 to 5 hours.

Wear comfortable clothing with closed toed walking shoes and casual pants or shorts. It might be chilly in the early morning, but it will be warmer in the balloon. Layers are recommended for comfort.

Hot Air Balloon

You can book a private flight for 2 or join a group of up to 16 passengers on some of the larger balloons. Either way, it is sure to be a memorable experience.

Temecula hot air balloon rides are available year round. A hot air balloon ride is an experience you will love! Reservations are required.

Some of the best deals on balloon rides can be found on the internet. Check out discount sites such as Groupon and Travelzoo to search for special deals. Browse the following list of companies offering flights.

While in Temecula, Go Wine Tasting

Monte De Oro WineryThe Temecula Wine Country is growing. There are so many incredible wineries producing great wines in this area. This is the largest wine region in Southern California. Temecula is a great place for wine tasting. There’s so many wineries all conveniently located near each other. Take the Rancho California exit off of I-15 in Temecula and you will be right in the heart of the wine country. Browse the list of wineries by clicking on the link above. Start planning a wine tasting trip now!

Temecula Hot Air Balloon Companies

Click on the links below to learn more about each company.

A Grape Escape Balloon Adventure
Address: 40335 Winchester Road Suite E, Temecula, CA 92591
Telephone: (951) 699-9987
Sunrise flights are available seven days a week. The 60-75 minute flight concludes with a continental breakfast served with champagne and juice in the gardens at Wilson Creek Winery.

California Dreamin
Address: 33133 Vista Del Monte Rd., Temecula, CA 92591
Telephone: (800) 373-3359
Float over the scenic vineyards of the Temecula Valley in a hot air balloon. Enjoy a pastry breakfast after your flight complete with juices, mimosas, and Champagne in a private rose garden.

Great American Balloon Company
Address: 250 N Lake Street, Hemet, CA 92544
Telephone: 951-927-2593
Flights depart from Maurice Carrie Winery in the heart of the Temecula Wine Country. Brunch and Champagne is served following the flight.

Hot Air Flyer
Telephone: (714) 369-5757
Flights of approximately 60 minutes in length take place in Del Mar and Temecula. You can sign up for group rides or private rides of 2, 4, or 6. Flights depart at sunset or sunrise.

Panorama Balloon Tours
Address: P.O. Box 218, Del Mar, California 92014
Telephone: (800) 455-3592
This company provides hot air balloon rides in Del Mar (northern San Diego County) and in nearby Temecula. They offer a special Del Mar Sunset flight in Del Mar. All flights come with complementary hors d’ouevres and beverages.

Sunrise Balloons
Address: P.O. Box 891360, Temecula, CA 92589
Telephone: (800) 548-9912
This company offers a variety of sunrise flight options over Temecula. Create the memories of a lifetime on a romantic Temecula hot air balloon flight over this scenic area.

If you have taken a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Temecula, let us know how it went. Please leave a comment down below.