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Friday, May 7, 2010

Linda and Lucca's Line on Wine

Linda and Lucca set out on another day of visiting wineries in the Sonoma Valley!

First stop:

The highest elevation vineyards in Sonoma up to 2400 ‘ is one of the most beautiful estates in wine country,
A small producer with fabulous Sauvignon Blanc and Lucca loves tasting the cork of course;

Their great reds will be released in the future….beautiful property and beautiful people.

Second Stop:

A small producer of bio-dynamic varietals
Lucca loved the scent of the vineyards

Little dog meets big dog: 

Great place for views, tapas and fabulous wines married with dog envy.

Linda and Lucca

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Linda and Lucca's Line on Wine

Time to enjoy the sunshine and roses, it’s wine time in California.  Lucca loves to travel the backroads to visit the obscure estates nestled in the mountain ranges which cradles wine country.  This winery has the most beautiful views in the appellation and this region also joins Sonoma Valley which is very unique in the world of wine.

Enjoy not only the bubbly but also the great still wines,  Lucca loves them too!!

Come visit, let me know  where you would like to see Lucca travel next, we also include San Francisco and he’ll be flying high with me shortly.

Linda and Lucca

Friday, April 23, 2010

An Evening in the Russian River Valley!

A few weeks ago, the entire Viviani team went out for a two-day working field trip, to learn all about what the Russian River Valley has to offer.

Our first day began with a visit to a local winery, which was absolutely magnificent. It's located in the small town of Sebastopol, just about  15 minutes away from Santa Rosa.

It is a beautiful winery that specializes in Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Both are absolutely wonderful. The winery itself is quite modern, and was designed by a local architect, well known for designing wineries in the area. After enjoying a tour of the property, we sat down to enjoy some wine and industry chit chat. That's what it's all about, right?

After our time at the winery, we all departed to the hotel that we were staying at for the night: The Farmhouse Inn and Spa.
Our first impression was WOW. It was a gloomy day in the valley, and the yellow buildings really perked us right up. After a quick check in, we arrived in our rooms. The rooms were absolutely beautiful. Not only were they large in size, but they were designed with great detail and with luxury in mind.

Because we were on a working field trip, we got to our meetings!

It was time for dinner, and we had earned a break! We all headed down to the property's 1 Michelin starred restaurant. Expectations were high, due to what we had heard about the restaurant, and we were not let down. The meals were all perfectly presented (and tasted wonderful too!), the service was friendly yet professional, the restaurant's ambiance was not too quiet yet not too noisy. We left dinner happy and full.

The next morning, we headed out for one more winery visit, and then it was time to get back to the real world.

This winery is out farther in the valley, but worth it! It is more rustic in design, but is luxury all the way. From the lush gardens on the property to the redwood-lined walls in the tasting room, we knew this was a great place to send our clients.

We had a lunch prepared for us, so it was time to tour the property and then sit down to learn about the wines.
Our lunch was beautiful, and the company was pleasant.

All in all, our trip to the Russian River Valley was absolutely memorable, and we can't wait to send our clients there!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Green and Beautiful Napa Valley!

There are so many businesses in the Napa Valley that are taking the initiative to be environmentally friendly, so as to preserve the amazing region we call home.

One business that we recognize as a great partner of ours, is the Napa Valley Wine Train. The Wine Train runs on 100% compressed natural gas. Here is a description, from the Train's website: "CNG is natural gas that is compressed – literally compacted – to pressures above 3,100 pounds per square inch. It remains clear, essentially odorless and smokeless, is non-corrosive and is an efficient fuel source. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

By and large, it is. Natural gas can be produced at a cost lower than gasoline or diesel. And, here is the biggie: according to the California Energy Commission, natural gas vehicles show an average reduction in ozone-forming emissions of 80 percent compared to gasoline vehicles.
“It’s a major breakthrough, because we are the really the only ones doing this. It is kind of the wave of the future – saving diesel, reducing smoke emissions,” says Napa Valley Railroad’s COO Gregg Evensen.
“This is a modern new technology; this is a brand new engine – still running our old equipment. This thing is really a clean air vehicle.”

Along with the Wine Train, hundreds of wineries are doing what they can do become certified organic, or "Napa Green". While most wineries are now practicing organic farming, it is a daunting task to become certified, and here is a link that describes all that the wineries must do: Click Here.

If you can imagine how difficult it is for a winery to become a certified 'Green' facility, it is a feat all it's own to become a 'Green Hotel'. One of our many hotel partners, Bardessono, is located in Yountville, and is one of the Napa Valley's newest hotels. It is a beautiful property with so much to offer, but they have also done their part in minimizing their carbon footprint. To find out how they did this, Click Here.

A lot of transportation companies are using hybrid vehicles to help keep their emissions as low as possible, which really helps keep our air clean!

Let us put together a Napa Valley trip for you or your clients that will highlight all of the 'Green' companies in the area. Imagine checking into Bardessono, driving in hybrid vehicles for your wine tour, visiting all certified organic wineries, and having dinner or lunch in the Wine Train!

Thank you to all of our local environmentalists!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Need a reason to come to the Napa Valley in January?

For those of you who want to come to Napa next month - here are a few reasons to! It's a great time of year to get great deals at hotels and at wineries, and Viviani, Inc. will work with you on touring costs as well.


January 2 -- diRosa Art Alive

Considered the most significant collection of Bay Area art in the world, di Rosa provides opportunities for creative enrichment and enjoyment of art and the environment year-round. The di Rosa houses approximately 2,000 works of art by more than 800 artists. A gift to the public from passionate art collector Rene di Rosa, the di Rosa is located on 217 scenic acres in Napa Valley.
Tickets are $10.

January 3 -- New Shanghai Circus at Lincoln Theater

Family Fun: Astonishing athletes – acrobats, jugglers & contortionists – defy gravity & execute breathtaking feats as they stretch the limits of human ability in this spellbinding show. These performers are fearless. With boundless energy they present more than two thousand years of seemingly-impossible Chinese circus tradition.

January 9 -- Health and Wellness Fair

Fair: Calistoga kicks off January with a health and wellness fair. Spas, restaurants, biodynamic wineries and health care professionals will hold open houses on January 9th to allow visitors to explore a day of health screenings, seminars, healthy food demonstrations, sample massages and exercise classes!

Fee: Free

January 10 - 15 -- Women's Wellness Week

This week-long series of events will encompass mindful hikes, massages, yoga, Watsu and talks geared toward topics of interest to women. Lodging properties will be offering discounted rates during the week.

January 16 -- Blood Sweat & Tears at Lincoln Theater

Live Music: Blood Sweat & Tears has left an indelible mark on the American music scene since 1968. Known as one of the greatest horn bands in popular music history the group has risen to join the ranks of some of the greatest jazz & rock musicians of our time. The current group, including founder Steve Katz, makes a stop on their 2009/2010 World Tour.

Fee: Tickets: $49, $39, $29

January 17 -- "Goodnight Moon" at Lincoln Theater

Performing Arts, Family Fun: A musical adaptation of the beloved Margaret Wise Brown classic work "Goodnight Moon", a children's literature favorite for over half a century. A small bunny experiences the gentle, reassuring bedtime ritual. The wonderful illustrations by Clement Hurd come to life on stage with lively musical numbers and colorful characters.

Fee: Tickets: All Seats only $10

January 20 -- "Yesterday and Today" at Lincoln Theater

Yesterday And Today, a top Beatles cover band from the New York-metro area, recreates the sound of The Beatles’ music down to every detail. Using instruments like those used by The Beatles, they blend superb vocal harmonies to recreate the magical and historical songs. Not a Beatles look-a-like band, Yesterday And Today is a group of dedicated professional musicians.

Fee: tickets are $20 and $25

January 30 -- Mustard Magic - Opening Night at CIA
Celebration: Indulge in fantasy at Mustard Magic, Napa Valley’s most theatrical food, wine, and art event of the year.

The Season's opulent grand opening event graces every contour of the magnificent, historic three story stone building, home to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

January 31 -- "The  Russians Are Coming"

Performing Arts: The Napa Valley Symphony's second classical concert continues with two major works from the Russian repertoire: Symphony #5 by Dmitri Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky's ever-popular Piano Concerto #1, Op. 47, with pianist Valentina Lisitsa as soloist.

Fee: $29 - $59

Experience the Great Wine Capitals Tour

Viviani, Inc. and the Napa Valley are proud members of the Great Wine Capitals network, including 8 other regions throughout the world. These regions are: Mainz, Germany; Bilbao/Rioja, Spain; Bordeaux, France; Cape Town, South Africa; Firenze, Italy; Mendoza, Argentina; Porto, Portugal.

Preparing for her trip to Bordeaux a few months ago, Linda Viviani had the inspiration to include all 9 cities of the Great Wine Capitals in an 'around the world' tour. Each trip would individually be fantastic and luxurious, in order to see all the best that each place can offer. All of this would of course be melded with the education of each regions' wines and history.

For those who are interested in this, please know that you do not have to enjoy all regions at once. One may choose to only see Napa and Bordeaux one year, and see two more the next year. But, for those who are interested in seeing them in sequence, we recommend that as well.

Any questions, please email us.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Day in Howell Mountain!

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend a day with the Concierge Alliance of Napa Valley (CANV) and explore the region of Howell Mountain in the Napa Valley.
From the Howell Mountain Association's website, here is a description of the area:
"When the fog rolls off the ocean and into the Napa Valley, the weather on Howell Mountain is generally sunny and cool. The appellation owes its distinctive climate to the fact that it is positioned well above the valley floor. Because of its altitude, generally, evening temperatures are warmer and daytime temperatures are much cooler—leveling out spikes in heat that tend to be more exaggerated at lower elevations. Although it gets nearly twice as much rainfall as the valley below, the soil tends to be dry, because rocky, porous soil conditions allow for adequate drainage and less accumulation. Seasonally, cooler spring temperatures cause buds to break later than average, and warm summer nights produce fruit that demonstrates a great balance between acidity and sugar. All of which, translates into a rich diversity of complexity and flavor in your glass."

Our first stop was Ladera Vineyards - "Ladera Vineyards is the home of estate grown and produced Cabernet Sauvignon focused primarily on our two designated wines, the Lone Canyon Vineyard Cabernet and the Howell Mountain Appellation Cabernet. Behind our fine wines is our historic 1886 restored and renovated stone winery and underground barrel caves." What a fantastic property - the owners gave us a tour, and showed us their facilities. Of all of their wines (we tasted 6 total), my favorite was their Malbec. Yum!

The next stop was O'Shaughnessy, which was an absolutely beautiful facility. The photo below (apologies for the reflection) shows the enclosed tasting table, for more private tasting sessions.

With a glass of their 2006 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Varietal Composition (which is phenomenal, by the way!), we headed into their caves to continue the tour.

Their caves are famous, and when you walk through them and experience them firsthand, you understand why! Our guide, Annette, brought us into the owners' private wine cellar, which is a spectacle. 
Moving back to the tasting room, we enjoyed a wonderful meal, and enjoyed the 2006 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon, which was amazing as well. Walking around on the beautiful, yet crisp morning, I snapped some photos of the private spots on the property:

We headed out, to see another winery - Cimarossa. This spot was so secluded and wonderful - we felt like it was the only house for miles. From the deck, we looked through the mountains and could see St. Helena on the clear day. Unfortunately I did not have my camera to take a picture of the shot...
We tasted the property's one varietal- their 2005 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a very rich, full-bodied red wine with notes of black current and blackberries, with a lingering taste of cinnamon.

We took off for the next stop - Arkenstone Winery. This property is still under construction, but has been a working custom crush facility for about 5 years. They are in the process of building a tasting room/winery at the time. But, to accommodate us (there were 15 of us!), we went into the fermentation tank room, and went onto a balcony overlooking the cave/barrel facility. It was a neat perspective - to see the people working away while we drank and enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

From here, we drove to see Spence Winery, which is the Spences' personal home. The home was absolutely beautiful - a classic american home with a wraparound porch and huge, open kitchen where we enjoyed the Spence 2005 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a beautiful and very drinkable, yet complex Cabernet. Here is a photo of the view from the porch:

How beautiful!

Reluctantly - as the owner had cookies laid out to enjoy with the delectable wine - we headed over to Summit Lake Vineyards. Due to the cold weather setting in (when you're up that high, the sun sets much earlier!), we were greeted by the owners, the Brakesman Family, to head into their home where it was warm. As a great spot to end the day, we enjoyed the estate's wines while telling stories about our experience that day. All of the estate wines were fantastic, but their Zinfandel Port was so amazing, everyone bought a bottle!

We went outside, to see their goats and see the winery (but mostly for the goats!)

This was the perfect ending to a great day - I am so glad I got to learn about the Howell Mountain region, as it is such a hidden gem.
Thank you to all of the wineries, and to the CANV for organizing such a fun day.