CHEER ALL AROUND: The tasting room experience means a little something different to everyone who sets out on a wine country Saturday. For some, a small dish of crackers next to the line-up of glasses is key to rounding out the experience. For others, the perfect ambient music can make -- or break -- the moment. (Truth: We sipped to classic rock at one winery and it was ideal, so, nope, tasting room tunes don't always have to be of the gentle, soothing ilk.) And, of course, a super staff, enthusiastic but not too butt-in-y, is perfection. But something we likely all desire is some cheer to the proceedings, even if it is the middle of a roasting June day. Spending a day visiting wineries is one of the most convivial of acts, and entering a tasting room that is fraught with weightiness and anti-cheer is indeed to be avoided.
THAT TIME OF YEAR: So when does the whole cheer factor go up, across the board, for all, or nearly all, wineries? Why that would be the holidays, of course. String quartets are brought in and specialty wines and toddies are brought out and wreaths are hung in every square inch of wreathy wall space. And a number of wine country orgs are ready to celebrate, including Heart of Sonoma Valley, which is hosting its 30th Holiday Open House on the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving.
THAT MEANS... that on Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30, some 27 wineries around Sonoma'll mistletoe-up and start pouring their tastiest concoctions. Muscardini Cellars, Valley of the Moon, and Pangloss Cellars are three participants, and count on every join-in-er to offer something a little dif and a little festive (music, decor, discounts). Two things to note: If you have relatives around, and you're looking for a way to get all of the adults out of the house, this is it (just make sure the kidlets have something fun planned, of course). And two? You'll want to show with three cans of non-perishable food to support the local food drive. Tickets at the door are $45. Cheers!