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December 3, 2013 > Celebrate the season with Elliston Vineyards

Celebrate the season with Elliston Vineyards

By Jessica Nol Flohr

It was in the late 1700s that wine grapes first took root in California soil. Spanish missionaries introduced the vines, bringing cuttings from Mexico to produce sacramental wine for the celebration of the Catholic Mass, as well as for common, daily use at mealtime. Although the missions did not survive, the tradition of winemaking in California did. Today, California wines are recognized around the world and proudly stand alongside European varieties in restaurants and home wine collections everywhere.

There are several wine regions in California, from the South Coast region in San Diego to the Central Valley stretching into the Sierra foothills. Many connoisseurs are familiar with the wines of the North Coast region in Napa and Sonoma, just north of San Francisco. The Central Coast region is in our own backyard, home to the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association.

With the holiday season fast approaching, the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association is hosting its annual ÒHoliday in the VineyardsÓ on December 7 and 8. To kick off the holiday season, each year for the last 20 years local wineries have opened their doors to wine lovers and holiday shoppers. Some vineyards have special activities planned, such as caroling or a visit from Santa Claus. ItÕs a great way to get some holiday shopping done and sample a bit of Bay Area wine country at the same time!

Elliston Vineyards in Sunol is one of over 30 wineries participating in this holiday celebration. The historic mansion, built in 1890, will be decorated for the holidays in traditional Victorian style. As part of the festivities, Elliston is introducing five new wines: a 2004 Zinfandel, a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2010 Syrah, and two non-vintage wines (referring to a blend of products from different harvest years) including a Chardonnay and a special Captains Blend. What better way to ring in the holiday season than with a new bottle of wine?

The mansion at Elliston Vineyards will be open to the public free of charge, with no cost for sampling the new wines. Light hors dÕoeuvres will be served and holiday music will ring through the halls. Gift ideas abound at Elliston during this seasonal celebration; jewelry, candles, and other artisanal vendors are ready and waiting to grant your holiday wishes. In the spirit of the season Elliston, as well as other local wineries, will be collecting new, unwrapped toys or monetary donations for Toys for Tots. The Pleasanton-Livermore Fire Association will be collecting the donations after the event for the benefit of local families in need.

If a weekend tour of local wineries isnÕt enough to quench your thirst, be sure to book your reservation for EllistonÕs ÒHoliday Mansion Winetaster Dinner.Ó On the 14th and 21st of December, Elliston will host two private dinners for wine enthusiasts; hors dÕoeuvres and champagne round out a four-course meal, each course accompanied by one of EllistonÕs new wines. Guests are offered a choice of duck breast, salmon filet, or medallions of beef alongside in-season vegetables and gorgonzola-filled mashed potatoes. Vegetarians may request a non-meat option. Advanced reservations are required for the dinners. Tickets are available for $85 per person.

Step away from the lines at the mall, take a leisurely tour of local wine country, and greet the holiday season than with a glass of wine in hand. ItÕs bound to make your celebrations a little brighter!

Holiday in the Vineyards
Saturday, Dec 7 and Sunday, Dec 8
12 Noon - 4:30 p.m.
Elliston Vineyards
463 Kilkare Rd., Sunol
(925) 862-2377
Registration via website preferred but not required

Holiday Mansion Winetaster Dinner
Saturdays: Dec. 14 and 21
6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Elliston Vineyards
463 Kilkare Road, Sunol
(925) 862-2377
Tickets: $85 per person
Advance reservations required

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