We are all finding new ways to continue to connect with our friends and family, keep busy and do things we enjoy, most likely on a virtual online platform. And usually when you think of wine tasting, you envision visiting a tasting room or winery for a vino pour. Well, wineries along the Madera Trail, (south of Yosemite), are virtually connecting wine fans with their favorite wine makers to bring the wine community together and continue in the tradition of wine tastings, in a virtual setting!
In my latest Zoom interview I had the opportunity to chat with Brooke Smith of Visit Yosemite Madera County Tourism office and Anna Marie Dos Remedios of Idle Hour Winery to find out more on this virtual wine connection. Plus, I learned about the virtual cooking classes being offered too! Chef Robert Snyder III is teach his kitchen-maestro tips in a virtual cooking class series. First up , he showed viewers how to prepare a simple, nutrition-packed Carrot Ginger Soup from the coziness of your own home. New videos will post regularly, and now the hospitality of the Chateau du Sureau can be experienced from your home.
As Brooke pitched : When the going gets tough, the tough come together, with new ways to appreciate things we love, like drinking wine. Although tasting rooms at Madera Wine Trail wineries are temporarily closed for anything except bottle pick-up and deliveries fear not, wine tasting is still on. Virtually, that is.
Your favorite winemakers are taking to Instagram and Facebook to open up a bottle (or two) of some cheerful reds and whites. If you are fortunate enough to have a bottle from the Madera Wine Trail tucked away, follow along with your own library. If not, grab a bottle of something you have on hand (we are sure you have stocked up, along with toilet paper!), make yourself a lovely appetizer, then have some fun chatting wine. “We wanted a way to stay in touch with our community, patrons and dear friends.” mused the winemaker and owner of Idle Hour winery, Anna Marie Remedios. “For now, we are temporarily rethinking our way of life during this time of social distancing. There are a variety of curbside pick-up or delivery options and a lot of fantastic wine discounts at the moment.”
If you’re a beer and wine fan AND headed to Maui anytime in the future…here are a couple MUST SEE spots for your visit! On my recent (work) trip to Maui we were able to visit and tour the island’s hottest spots for beer and wine…Maui Brewing Company and MauiWine. It was actually my second visit to MauiWine, I had went there previously with my sister and dad…but this time I got more of a “behind the scenes” look! And — I got to spin the footage for each place into feature segments for ABC7 Bay Area LIFE and you can watch them below!
Late last year I was booked as a model for a lifestyle photo shoot at the Beringer Winery in St. Helena, California. I didn’t have to think very hard about accepting the gig…I knew it’d be a beautiful backdrop and I’d be surrounded by wine! And — I’d be “working”!! Recently I was lucky enough to have several of the final images shared with me and so in turn, I wanted to share some of my favorites on here.
There were 5 other models selected and these images will be used in print ads and/or other mailers and visuals for the winery. Yes, I had a wine glass in my hand for virtually every shot, but no, I was not drinking on set!
The set ups were gorgeous, table settings to envy… don’t you love my arm and bracelet above!?! Hint: Blue blazer and gold bracelet.
The grounds of the winery and so beautiful and very relaxing for a day in wine country.
I just love the way my hair looks in this one.
Client shoot for Beringer Vineyards | Photos by Trinette+Chris | Talent by Blackwell Files
I recently embarked on my first ever wine-tasting outing in Northern California’s “Wine Country,” and it was so much more than I could’ve ever imagined. I went with a group of ladies, as we were all celebrating my sister Adrienne’s upcoming wedding, so it was a girls getaway bachelorette weekend of sorts. Like I said, I had never been wine tasting, so I asked around for recommendations before finally settling on a VIP Tour Raymond Vineyards in St. Helena. The contact who booked gave me a heads’s up that it was a non-conservative and atypical of a traditional winery..whatever that is. Honestly I was just expecting a plain room in the middle of a huge field of grapes on a vine and wine barrels. I couldn’t have been more wrong in “stereotyping” a vineyard/winery. This was anything but boring, typical AND oh so perfect for our occasion!
I instantly fell in love with our VIP host Gina, she was a complete doll! As soon as she saw our group, we got our glasses and popped the bubbly. Then she proceeded to take us for a short tour of their grounds, with beautiful gardens, farm animals and even a “Doggie Winery” if you will. She explained to us that they create their own energy and do their best to be “green.”
From there, the party started! We went into an indoor facility where they make the wine and this place is almost indescribable, you kind of have to experience it for yourself. It has sexy mood lighting with several Vegas showgirl-like outfitted mannequins…it had a Moulin Rouge feel…lots of “French” influence! There were elaborate chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and lounge music pumping through the room..and of course we were surrounded by wine!
From there we went to another outdoor area where we had an impromptu photo shoot on picturesque white lounge furniture before being ushered in to the “JCB Lounge.” JCB standing from wine maker and owner Jean Charles Boissant. The JCB Lounge is all-gold EVERYTHING! There’s also a huge projection screen and just a very rich, very high end vibe. My first thought was this is the perfect backdrop for a hip hop video! LOL!
Our last stop on the VIP tour was the private Red Room. Think velvet and leopard fabrics…it was out of this world, the room just sucked you in and invited you to relax. Gina was even kind enough to let my sister pic the Beyonce Pandora station to provvde our soundtrack for the room. All in all, I was blown away by this place..and I’m sure when I return there’ll be so much more to take in that I missed this time around. We may not have went to Vegas for this bachelorette, but Raymond Vineyards made us feel like that’s where we were..and the wines were amazing too! It couldn’t have been a more perfect VIP Tour of the Winery or for my sister’s special outing. We are so thankful we had the opportunity to visit it.
I would highly recommend this as a stop for anyone’s next jaunt into wine country. It’s nothing short of amazing and didn’t disappoint..both of which I never expected to be saying about a winery.
In late January I participated in the Coastal Virginia Wine Fest “Grape Stomp”…and my competition was a Nathan James of iHeart Media. At the time I didn’t really consider that the weight and (foot) size difference might give him the advantage..but in hindsight…grrr!! All in all it was lots of fun, and I finally just found some photos and a video of it to share! For the record, it was my first time EVER doing something like this and I stomped out about 16 ounces…which I thought was pretty good! Nathan on the other hand had done this once before and he trumped my with something like 22 ounces?? Sheesh!! Enjoy the pictures and video below…
And — YES, I did take a taste of my stomped grapes…since I was on the losing end!! :/
Check out this video below for a quick glimpse of the competition… stomping is from about 1:20- 1:50
Last Saturday night, we celebrated my dear friend and Deco Producer Odette’s birthday by getting our creative juices flowing at a new concept “store” called Painting with a Twist! I checked out the website before I went (they have locations in city’s all over the country), BUT honestly, I didn’t think I could really create a true masterpiece work of art!! LOL The idea is you bring a group of friends and your own wine..then paint, drink and be merry!!
Luckily we had a very patient master artist leading our class..he’s also a former Deco Producer..Eric! He asked if we had ever painted before, I thought about my childhood “paint by number” and water color sets….then I asked if murals/posters, etc.. for high school rallies count?? haha I’m sure at some point I have painted even if it was an adolescent art class. Anyway, birthday girl Odette chose a moonlit ocean/palm tree scene, and step by step we each put paint on the canvass to make our own (re)creation!
This was really a fun way to hang out and feel artistic and use the other side of our brain…. 🙂 We learned different brush strokes, how to make colors and I’m happy to say everyone was able to complete the task!!
SEEE! Yes…I PAINTED THAT!!! And — here’s a closer look…
I can’t wait to hang it up in the closet!! j/k So, if you’re looking for something else to do on a fun night out with a twist…give this a try, PAINTING WITH A TWIST!! You will be amazed at what you can do, all by yourself!