In Wine Country, winter is certainly the slowest season. After all, we get our fair share of rain around here in January. To some, it can be dreary, but we never let that get us down. On the contrary, when it rains in Wine Country, we pour a lot of great wine. Sssh, don’t tell anyone, but it’s really rather nice. The crowds are gone and it’s just us locals.
One of our two favorite places to spend a rainy afternoon is the Sonoma Wine Shop, run by our friends Ken and Bryan. The Sonoma Wine Shop is located in the heart of the square on the west side of the Historic Sonoma Plaza.
At SWS, you can taste rare vintages from boutique wineries (producers who make only a few hundred cases or less). Mr. CG is a member here and often pops in to sample the latest arrivals. SWS is a place where we take all of our out of town guests.
We often end up in the back room, on the long trestle wood table, polishing off a bottle or two with friends as the rain falls down in the courtyard outside.
Another great place to stay dry and sample great local food and wine is at the Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa. This indoor bazaar is filled with several dozen local vendors featuring all of the bounty of food and wine offered by this region. Oxbow is the creation of Steve Carlin, who also planned and implemented San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace .
Stop in at The Olive Press to sample and purchase the finest olive oils in the region.
Hog Island Oysters serves freshly shucked oysters on the half shell at the bar, with wine and a light menu to accompany.
Chefs will love the scrumptious spice and salt selections at Whole Spice, displayed so artfully in hundreds of large glass containers.
My favorite vendor is the local artisan cheese dealer featuring the best cheeses from all over the world. They’re simply amazing !
I refuse to leave without trying just a few in a sampler platter, accompanied by fruits, nuts and a fine white wine. This is my definition of a perfect meal !
It’s winter in Wine Country.
Yet the dormant vines have a beauty all their own as they soak up the January rains.
It won’t be long until the mustard flowers bloom in February when the sun shines again.
Meanwhile, we’ll continue to pour when it pours.