SUGARY STRUCTURES: Gingerbread is among the most pliable yet durable of all edible foodstuffs, meaning it can be shaped into practically anything. Walls? No problem. A fence? Sure. A chimney? Easy-peasy. So why the majority of gingerbread creations are houses is a bit of a mystery. Surely there can be gingerbread malls? And gingerbread swimming pools? And gingerbread gardens and beaches and aqueducts and jogging paths? Of course.
BUCKING THE TREND... of gingerbread houses only, though, is a certain wine country to the north. Sonoma Valley knows that the sweet treat is great at conveying all sorts of places, including wineries. In fact, don't some wineries already look as if they're made out of something baked and crispy, what with all of the sienna-type hues and such? We're just sayin', is all. Which all leads up to this: A baker's dozen of Sonoma winemakers are re-creating their properties in gingerbread form. It's the Sonoma Valley Winery Gingerbread Contest.
YOU CAN VOTE: All you need to do is snatch a map when you're out wine-tasting at Buena Vista Winery or Mayo Family Winery or Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards or any of the other participating spots. Then eyeball the on-display gingerbread wineries, decide if the whimsical details represent the season, and cast your vote (online is just fine, too, for vote-casting). It's frankly festive, is what, though the contest leads us to ask one question: What wine goes well with gingerbread?