TRAINS AND TASTES: No study needs to be commissioned on Californians and their love of boarding a train and trying wine (hi Skunk Train, Napa Valley Wine Train, the Fillmore & Western; a hearty hello to all of you). We'll go wider on that, though; everyone who is a wine drinker and a train lover does, on occasion, like to see the two activities elegantly combined. Which they will be over the Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31 weekend in Livermore. It's Petite Syrah on the Rails time, and five local sips will be on the pour.
THE TASTY DETAILS: The train trip'll leave at 3:30 p.m. on July 30 (you'll be toot-toot-ing along the Niles Canyon Railway). Cost is $45. Even if you can't make the rails event, know that petite syrahs are getting the focus around the Livermore area all weekend long. There's a buffet at McGrails and all sorts of syrah-ish specials at vineyards dotting the region. If you're a syrah specialist, take a look at what's going down in the glass-raising festivities.