Fourth of July in Wine Country

The Independence Day party is down on the riverfront (plus a bbq, too).

NIGHT SKY OVER NAPA: A barbecue on the Fourth of July is always a good thing. It can consist of a bag of sour cream and onion chips and a sparkler, but if there are a few friends nearby and some patriotic songs to sing, it is a success. But Fourth of July celebrations that take on a slightly regional flair are something a little special, given that our country's strengths are due in large part to its regional idiosyncracies, charms, and unique spirit. So Fourth of July in, say, wine country, doesn't have to be all that different from Fourth of Julys elsewhere, but should it have a little local fizz. We think. If you're in the area on Independence Day, best head over to...

DOWNTOWN NAPA: Napa's Riverfront area is the scene for a barbecue dinner and fireworks. The Napa General Store is the host, tickets are $50, and the dinner? Pretty classic, save this wine country twist: cabernet marinated tri-tip. Yeah, we're not sure, either, if we've been to a Fourth of July party where the meat is cabernet-marinated. Props, Downtown Napa. That's local-style.

SONOMA: The long-running parade that wends through Sonoma is pretty quaint. How quaint? There's a "water section" listed on the route, which is where anyone who wants to get doused by H20 from the fire engine should sit. Cute. But what's the wine country twist? The beer and wine for sale is local -- hi Little Family Vineyards and Olde Sonoma Public House -- and excellent.

CALISTOGA: The Napa County Fair runs from July 3 through 7, meaning July 4 is smack dab in the middle. Okay, near the middle, but will there be fireworks? Indeed. Are the food and wine choices at the fair both traditional fair snacks and regional choices that are outright gourmet? Yup. Could you sip an award-winning vino while watching the pyrotechnics? Please. You're in Calistoga. We'd expect no less. Check out Celebrate! Napa Valley at the fair for all of your wine-based choices.

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