Top Things to Do in Wine Country in January 2011


Written by:

Joe Becerra

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Now is the best time to travel to the wine country. I know it can be cold or rainy this time of year, but it so peaceful and relaxing because the huge crowds are missing. Here are some recommendations for formal and informal events that are happening in wine country in January.

San Francisco: “How Wine Became Modern” + the 20th Annual ZAP Festival

Etienne Meneau, Carafe No. 5, 2008, fabricated 2009

Well, San Francisco is technically not wine country but there are two events that are sure to attract wine lovers. The first one is happening at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, “How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now” on view through April 17, 2011. S.F. MOMA is offering enticing promotions to encourage you to visit this wine exhibit: If you not currently a member, you can receive a 10% discount if you join between now and April 17th. After you visit the exhibit, you can use your ticket stub to receive wine-related discounts in San Francisco and Sonoma County. Additionally, you can enter the SFMOMA Uncorked contest to win a Luxury Wine Adventure in exchange for bringing natural used corks to the museum for recycling. Wow!

The 20th annual Zap Festival is taking place Janaury 27th through the 29th. This event is all about Zinfandel. So if it’s Zins you love, don’t miss the happenings at ZAP. You can win 2 tickets worth $70 each for the Grand Zinfandel Tasting on Saturday, January 29th by visiting my other blog “GoodCheapVino.com” and entering a contest. You will have to hurry because the contest ends on January 9th. More information on ZAP activities and events.

Catch the Wild Mustard – January to March
The mustard in the Napa Valley and Sonoma wine regions should be spectacular this year because of the big rains in December. This is one of natures’s greatest shows in the wine country. Bring your camera, rain or shine, and you are sure to get some shots worthy of framing on the walls of your wine cellar.

Wild mustard in the Napa Valley

Do some barrel tasting – Formal and Informal
For a formal barrel tasting try the El Dorado Barrel Tasting Weekend, Jan. 29th and 30th.

Enjoy barrel tasting

More fun is to do some informal spur-of-the-moment barrel tasting. This is a great chance to learn about how wine ages in the barrel. Since the crowds will be light, ask your host in the tasting room if there is a chance you can do some barrel tasting. This way you can compare and contrast the current vintage in the bottle with a barrel sample of wines that have been in the barrels for different lengths of time. Of course you have to visit a tasting room where the barrel room is nearby. The best opportunity for this is on our Dry Creek and West Dry Creek wine trails. Try Hawley, Montemaggiore, or Mauritson. Better yet, call ahead to see if you can arrange this.

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.

3 thoughts on “Top Things to Do in Wine Country in January 2011”

  1. I know this is a late post but I think it can be rolled over to 2012 and beyond. Calistoga holds their annual “Winter in the Wineries; a passport event which
    takes place December 2-February 3rd. You can enjoy tours, tastings and the chance
    to meet winemakers at sixteen local wineries in Calistoga. The passport also entitles
    you to special offers at participating restaurants and lodgings. I believe the tickets
    are $40 per person and can be purchased through the Calistoga Chamber of Commerce.

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