A GIFT THAT KEEPS GOING: If you were to unwrap a corkscrew or a foil cutter or a bar towel or a pair of stemmed glasses, would you be able to guess what the giver of your gift has in mind? Would you assume that a bottle of nice merlot was hidden under the tree or on a table near the menorah? Might that be the place your imagination roams? It's a pretty good guess, and the gift of a corkscrew is often followed up by something to use it on (something quite lovely and tasty). But there is a way to go a bit further than a single bottle of wine, in the oenophile gift-giving department, and it involves purchasing a passport, or two, for a wine event that extends over much of the winter. The tricky bit of that is, of course, that many large-scale wine happenings used to be more summer- and fall-oriented, with the wintertime only seeing the expected holiday affairs. This isn't true nowadays, though; multi-winery weekends, and multi-month to-dos, are more commonly seen in our wine countries, and our wine-focused cities. Take Calistoga, for example, a town, and area, that offers a Winter in the Wineries passport each, well, wintertime (spoiler alert). The passport for the 2015-into-2106 event, the sixth annual outing for the passport, is now on-sale, and the specifics are pretty broad in reach.
HOW BROAD? Well the dates flow through three months in two different calendar years, so you're looking at Saturday, Dec. 5 through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2015. The cost is fifty dollars, and that covers you for tastings at fifteen wineries around the region. Your passport is also the key to unlock some discounts in the area, on hotels and shopping and such, so if you buy one, or buy a friend one, be sure to try it out on the money-saving end of things, too. There's also a contest going through Dec. 2, through VisitCalistoga.com, that involves both the possible winning of two passports as well as two nights at the pretty-as-a-postcard Brannan Cottage Inn and a VIP tour and tasting at Twomey Cellars (oh, and dinner at the Inn's restaurant, too).
SO... will you go the corkscrew-gifting route, before you present your friend/spouse/mom with the second gift, the passport to Winter in the Wineries? Just don't forget to buy your passport, too, so you can enjoy your Calistoga adventures together.