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5th annual Holidays in the Hills—a win-win wine event

20 Placer County Wineries Host Annual Event Offering Free Wine Tasting and Holiday Festivities with Toy Donation


AUBURN, Calif., Nov.19, 2014—Holidays in the Hills, an annual winery event benefiting the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, takes place December 6thand 7th.  The event is hosted from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days by 20 Placer County Vintners Association wineries.  Event guests will enjoy free wine tasting, and several locations will feature hors d’oeuvres, live music, winery tours and discounts on purchases in exchange for a toy donation for a child in need.  All participants will have the chance to win raffle prizes.

Holidays in the Hills takes place on the Placer County Wine Trail at these participating wineries:

Bear River Winery: Guests can sample newly released wines and a flight of Barbera paired with assorted chocolates and holiday cookies. Meet the winemakers and enjoy half and full case discounts.

Bonitata Boutique Wine: In addition to wine tasting, Bonitata Boutique Wine will offer a holiday atmosphere and wine-infused chocolate truffles paired with a2009 Barbera and 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cante Ao Vinho: Guests will sample olive oils, pesto, and gourmet taffy while sampling a selection of wines. A complimentary art show will provide beauty to the holiday atmosphere.

Casque Wines: Visitors will sample the winery’s all-new “Sargent” port which will be introduced for the first time, and receive holiday case discount.

Ciotti Cellars: Will be providing a “Bottle Your Own Wine” demonstration station where visitors will be able to purchase and bottle a special blended red wine. Guests will also enjoy desserts and holiday specials.

Davis Dean: While enjoying complimentary wine tastings, visitors will enjoy music and tasty snacks.

Dono dal Cielo: Visitors will groove to live music by Two Barrels Shy and Double Shots, in addition to enjoying complimentary wine tasting.

Fawnridge Winery: Will offer flavored popcorn and pouring new releases at the winery.

Green Family Winery: Attendees will enjoy tasty, healthy snacks, chocolate truffles with port, and cigars for purchase that can be enjoyed in a smoking area outside, weather permitting.

Lone Buffalo Vineyards: Celebrate the holidays with 3 new wine releases. Visitors can capture the moment in DIY Love’s Vintage Photo Trailer, peruse jewelry and art vendors, and enjoy delicious barbeque. Complimentary Lone Buffalo logo glasses will be given to the first 50 visitors to arrive each day.

Mt. Vernon Winery: Visitors to Mt. Vernon will enjoy live music, appetizers, and wine tastings inside the cave.

PaZa Wines: PaZa will have live music, appetizers and barrel tasting in the cave. Guests can enjoy wood fired pizza and peruse offerings from multiple local vendors.

Pescatore Vineyards and Winery: Will have a holiday market, and offer sweet and savory bites from Snow’s Citrus Court.

Popie Wines: Visitors can warm up with a special mulled spiced wine made from the 2010 Basin Red, and will enjoy special holiday discounts.

Rancho Roble Vineyards: Will be conducting a raffle and guests can win 2 bottles of wine.

River Rock Ranch Lindemann Winery: Winery guests will enjoy Christmas music, chocolate, and cheese. Those who purchase three or more bottles will receive a special gift bag.

Rock Hill Winery: St. Ashbury will be performing live music on Saturday. Guests will enjoy case discounts and sample new releases.

Secret Ravine Vineyards: Visitors will sample Christmas treats, shop for gifts, listen to holiday music, and taste the newly released2012 Montepulciano.

Viña Castellano Winery: Guests will receive a Varietal Food and Wine Pairing Chart as well as sample hot wine cocktails —Sangria Caliente & Spiced Cider Wine paired with spicy chocolate treats.

Wise Villa Winery: Guests will enjoy complimentary beef crostini with caramelized onions, along with a tour of the vineyard, winery and barrel cellar.

Australia won its first World Cup match since June 2010, defeating Tunisia 1-0 to give itself a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages in Qatar.

A brilliant header from Mitch Duke in the first half proved the difference between the two sides, as Tunisia spurned chance after chance and could not find a way past the stubborn Australian defense.

For both teams, seeking to reach the knockout stages from a group containing heavyweights France and Denmark, this was a must-win game.

The Eagles of Carthage kicked off with the wind at their backs, having secured a 0-0 draw against Denmark in their opening match, while Australia had succumbed 4-1 to defending champion France and needed a win to keep them in the hunt for qualifying.

Australia began the stronger of the two teams, pinning Tunisia in its own half during the opening skirmishes and the Socceroos took the early lead with an end-to-end goal.

They worked the ball up field, with Craig Goodwin finding space down the left wing and firing a cross into the box which, despite a deflection, found Duke who leaped into the air to rocket the ball into the goal with a glancing header.

Mobbed by teammates, Duke made a ‘J’ with his hands, a message to his young son Jaxson watching in the stands who responded in kind and with a thumbs-up.

Tunisia had chances to equalize before half-time as Mohamed Drager lined up a shot on goal but Harry Souttar swept the ball away and out of danger, before Youssef Msakni put the ball wide with the goal open in front of him.

The Eagles of Carthage kept pressing after the break but, despite engineering multiple attempts on goal, they could not unlock Australia’s defense.

With five minutes of regular time left, suddenly the game opened up and Tunisia poured forward on the counterattack.

Once again, it was Souttar who came to Australia’s rescue, defending his side’s slender lead and Australia held on for a historic victory.

Award-winning Wise Villa Winery earns Golden State Winery of the Year from the California State Fair

LINCOLN, Calif. July 20, 2015 – Located in the rolling hills of Placer County, just 30 minutes from Sacramento, Wise Villa Winery was named Golden State Winery of the Year by the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. Competing against 2,800 wine entries from 743 participating wineries across the state, Wise Villa Winery was awarded the prestigious 2015 Golden State Winery of the Year. Wise Villa Winery received the greatest number of high scoring wines in the entire state, solidifying their place among great California wineries for producing the most exceptional wine in the state.

“We’ve been winning top awards for a few years now, but this esteemed designation elevates our winery onto a new playing field,” said Wise Villa’s Co-Winemaker Dr. Grover Lee. “To beat out every winery in the state, including globally known regions such as Napa and Sonoma, validates the extensive measures we take to produce a great bottle of wine.”

Wise Villa Winery was awarded two Best of California awards, four Best of Class of Region, five Golds, seven Silvers, and five Bronzes earning Wise Villa Winery the greatest number of high scoring wines in the competition.

“The microclimates of Placer County have proven to be an amazing region for mandarins, and this esteemed award supports that our region is also an exceptional climate for vineyards,” said Foothill Farmers’ Market Association and PlacerGROWN Executive Director Carol Arnold. “I am proud of Wise Villa but not in the least surprised. Locals have known about their exceptional wines for years.”

Wise Villa Winery’s philosophy of great wine starts in the vineyard, serving as a guide for their winemakers. The winery distinguishes itself by holding true to three qualities—purity, balance and complexity—going as far as cold fermenting smaller batches of both red and white wines. This preserves the natural fruit flavors and aromas to make for a smoother, more flavorful wine. It takes much longer to cold ferment but produces better wine.

“It really comes down to examining every detail, from the grape to the bottle, from the position of each varietal, to hand-picking each cluster at peak ripeness and sorting through the grapes three times for purity,” said Co- Winemaker Kevin Luther. “We pride ourselves in understanding the chemistry behind winemaking and exploring the boundaries while never tolerating the mundane to restrain us.”

The estate vineyards have several advantages: well-drained loam mixed with decomposed granite creates a strong root system; a perfect climate with sunny days and cool, breezy nights provide a high temperature shift, a key to quality grapes with balanced acidity; rolling hills for better water drainage and air circulation. All these advantages result in much higher quality grapes which then produce exceptional wine.

“I have been privileged to watch Wise Villa grow and respect the passion they pour into their vines, grape selection and the meticulous winemaking process that ensures each bottle meets the highest quality standards,” said Placer County Agricultural Commissioner Josh Huntsinger. “The vineyards capitalize on Sierra Foothill’s deep, well drained soils and abundant sunlight to produce grapes that form the foundation of every bottle of Wise Villa wine.”

Beat the heat and taste award-winning wines at Grape Days of Summer celebration

3rd Annual Wine Passport Weekend to Take Place Aug. 4 and 5 at 15 Wineries along Placer County Wine Trail


AUBURN, Calif., July 26, 2012 – From Lincoln to Loomis, Newcastle and up into Auburn, The Placer County Wine Trail will soon be buzzing with activity during the Grape Days of Summer celebration. The annual event, sponsored by the Placer County Vintners Association, is a tour through 15 Placer County wineries with wine tastings at each venue and food at several locations. In addition to satisfying your taste buds, the event weekend will feature:

  • “From Vine to Wine” vineyard tours
  • Wine-blending seminars and wine samplings right from the barrel
  • Vertical tastings and wine-making education (A vertical tasting involves the sampling of different vintages all from the same winery)
  • Live music at several wineries

Other highlights include “Roam the Rhone,” offered by Lone Buffalo Vineyards where guests will learn about Rhone-style blends, go through interactive blending trials and enjoy special food and wine pairings from Smoky Ridge Charcuterie. Viña Castellano Winery will showcase the flavors of Spain with a live flamenco guitarist and sangria-making demonstrations. History buffs on the tour should also visit Bonitata Boutique Wines at the historic Bernhard Museum, which was founded in 1874 and is one of Auburn’s oldest surviving buildings.

Not to be missed is a stop at Fawnridge Winery for tasting right from the barrel paired with engaging presentations about the barrel-aging process and Casque Winery where visitors can enjoy music performances throughout the weekend as well as learn about the Roussanne white wine varietal.

A complete list of activities for each participating winery and event map are available online at

Tickets to the event are $30 in advance, $40 at the door and includes admission to the event both days, wine tasting at all participating wineries, food, music and educational activities, plus a special event wine glass. (Designated driver tickets are also available for $10)

WHO: Placer County Vintners Association

WHAT: Third annual Grape Days of Summer wine tasting event WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 4 and Sunday, Aug. 5, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Placer County Wine Trail (Auburn, Lincoln, Loomis, Newcastle)

WHY: To taste award-winning Placer County wines, meet the winemakers and learn about the wine-making process

Beat the heat with award-winning wines at Grape Days of Summer in Placer County


AUBURN, Calif. July 7, 2015 — Explore and taste the award-winning artisan wines of Placer County on Saturday, August 1, and Sunday, August 2, during the sixth annual Grape Days of Summer on the Placer County Wine Trail.

Tour the down-to-earth atmosphere of the Sierra Foothills while enjoying live music, fresh PlacerGROWN food, delectable wine and the local Placer County countryside.

“Placer County’s Grape Days of Summer provides an educational experience in understanding winemakers, wines, food and agriculture all in your own backyard,” said Foothill Farmers’ Market Association and PlacerGROWN Executive Director Carol Arnold. “It is a great opportunity to relax, unwind and taste deliciously crafted wines while enjoying the company of the community.”

The Placer County Wine Trail spans through Lincoln, Loomis, Newcastle, Auburn and Meadow Vista, which offers the beautiful scenery of Placer County. The annual event includes touring the 2015 Best of California award-winning wineries and other activities such as: appetizer pairings, barrel tastings and more.

Pre-sale tickets are available at a discounted rate of $30 until July 24 and are available at Tickets purchased after July 24 will cost $40, and designated drivers can enjoy the food and live music for $10. This event is on August 1-2 between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and features 19 Placer County wineries. For more information about participating wineries, visit

Big and bold flavors at 11 Placer County wineries yield 52 awards from the 2015 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition


AUBURN, Calif. July 9, 2015 – Placer County Wine Trail wineries won a total of 52 awards during the 2015 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition, including the prestigious Golden State Winery of the Year award. These esteemed wineries, located just outside the Sacramento area in the Sierra Foothills, maximize the micro- climate of the region to produce award-winning wines.

“Our Placer County wineries are a tribute to the region’s rich agricultural heritage,” said Carol Arnold, CEO of PlacerGROWN. “We are proud to have such talented growers and vintners who are dedicated to producing top quality wines made from delicious PlacerGROWN fruit in our own backyard.”

Competing against nine counties within the Sierra Foothills Appellation, and 58 counties across California, the Placer County Wine Trail wineries have outshined their competition by winning a total of 52 awards including: two Best of California, five Best of Class of Region, seven Gold, 16 Silver and 21 Bronze in the 2015 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

“Great tasting wine curated from the fertile hills of the Sierra Foothills are no longer a hidden treasure of the local Placer community,” said Placer County Agricultural Commissioner Josh Huntsinger. “The abundant natural resources found in Placer County allow for our vintners to harvest a ‘gold rush’ of award-winning wines.”

To tour these award-winning wineries, sip the artisan wine and taste the delicious farm-to-fork PlacerGROWN food, head out to the Grape Days of Summer on August 1-2. Tickets are available at For more information about Placer County wineries, visit or

California Wine Month in Full Swing

Placer County Wine Trail Offers Residents a Local Taste


AUBURN, Calif., Sept 10, 2014—The 10th annual California Wine Month in September is dedicated to celebrating California’s recognition as the premier winemaking state. Placer County residents and visitors can visit 20 wineries along the Placer County Wine Trail, spanning from Lincoln to Loomis to Newcastle and Auburn. Sample award-winning wines from the Placer County vintners who took home 52 2014 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition awards.

WHO: Placer County Wine Trail
WHAT: Celebrating California Wine Month WHEN: September I st 30 th
WHERE: Placer County, California
WHY: To celebrate Placer County award-winning wines during California Wine Month

The annual Auburn Wine & Food Festival as part of Celebrate PlacerGROWN Week, is another way to participate in California Wine Month. Attendees can enjoy family-friendly activities, farm-fresh eats and award­ winning wines. Sample up to 25 local wineries and restaurants on Saturday, October I I, 2014 from I p.m. to 5 p.m. in Downtown & Old Town Auburn. Tickets for a wine taster and their designated driver are $45; food only tickets are $20. To purchase tickets or learn more, please visit

The Placer County Vintners Association is a nonprofit association created to provide a forum for Placer County wineries to collaborate on events and programs. Together the Association also develops marketing programs to raise awareness of the Placer County wine region. The group believes that sharing best practices with all county wineries inspires the vintners to provide a high quality experience for winery visitors. For more information and maps, visit or call (9 16) 663-4486.

Cheers! Placer county wineries toast to best of class awards at 2014 San Francisco Chronicle wine competition

Placer County Wine Trail Vintners Honored with 52 Awards Including Two Best of Class, Seven Gold, 20 Silver and 23 Bronze Medals


A region with a rich heritage in winemaking, Placer County Wine Trail wineries have much to celebrate after earning several Best of Class wins at the 2014 Son Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Boasting a climate similar to that of Mediterranean grape-growing regions, the Placer County Wine Trail is winning big for its European blends, such as Tempranillo, in addition to its classic varietals. This year, Placer County Wine Trail vintners took home two Best of Class awards, seven gold, 20 silver, and 23 bronze medals at the competition.

The 13th annual Son Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition of American wines in the world, evaluates wines from around the nation, and this year received a record 5,825 entries from over 1,500 wineries. The competition judges included 60 wine experts within the media, trade, hospitality and education industries.

With 13 Placer County wineries placing overall, Vina Castellano’s T empranillo and Wise Villa W inery’s Cabernet Sauvignon each took home a Best of Class medal. The Lincoln-based Wise Villa Winery also earned thirteen additional medals: three gold, eight silver and two bronze. Vina Castellano brought home an additional silver and bronze medal for its Grenache and Abuelito, respectively.

“Vina Castellano was founded in 1999 in Placer County with the passion of our Spanish roots and due to our family’s love of wine,” said Teena Wilkins, co-owner and manager of Vina Castellano. “We are honored to receive such a prestigious award, as a result of that passion, and we’re thrilled to win alongside our peers in Placer County.”

  • Additional Placer County 2014 Son Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition wins include:
    Mt Vernon Winery: Two gold, three silver and four bronze medals
  • Ciotti Cellars: One gold, one silver and two bronze medals
  • Fawnridge Winery: One gold, one silver and one bronze medal
  • Popie Wines: One silver and four bronze medals
  • Lone Buffalo Vineyards: One silver and two bronze medals
  • Secret Ravine Vineyard & Winery: One silver and one bronze medal
  • Pescatore Vineyard & Winery, Davis Dean Cellars and Dono dal Cielo Vineyard and Winery: One silver medal
  • Le Casque: Three bronze medals
  • Bear River Winery: Two bronze medals
  • Bonitata Boutique Wines: One bronze medal

“We’re proud that Placer County wineries are being recognized yet again with Best of Class awards in this year’s competition,” said Placer County Agricultural Commissioner Josh Huntsinger. “We see these awards as a true testament to the high level of quality our Placer County vintners are dedicated to developing in each of their wines.”

The Placer County Wine Trail is home to 20wineriesand counting, all of which are easily accessible from I-80 and Highway 49 along the Placer County Wine Trail spanning from Lincoln to Loomis to Newcastle and Auburn.

Cool off at Grape Days of Summer farm-to-table wine tasting event

Fourth Annual Event to Take Place Aug. 3 and 4 at 18 Wineries Along Placer County Wine Trail


Many Sacramento residents aren’t aware that there are nearly 20 award-winning wineries right in their own backyard—along the Placer County Wine Trail. The trail runs from Lincoln to Loomis, Newcastle to Auburn and up into Meadow Vista, which is also convenient for Reno and Tahoe residents.  On August 3rdand 4thfrom 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Placer County vintners invite local residents to try the region’s noteworthy wines at Grape Days of Summer, a farm-to-table wine tasting event.

Vintners are partnering with local restaurants and artisans for the annual event in which attendees will enjoy wine and barrel tastings, complementary fare, live music, vineyard tours and educational experiences.  Educational activities will include sessions on winemaking, farming, sustainable practices in the vineyard and more.  Tickets are $30 per person in advance and can be purchased at $40 per person at the door.

Highlights of Grape Days of Summer include:

  • Celebrate local agriculture at Le Casque with an Alpaca demonstration, hayrides and a historical farm tour. Food provided by Flower Farm Catering.
  • Dono dal Cielo will feature the local sounds of Ghost of the Opera House on Saturday afternoon and Two Barrels Shy on Sunday afternoon. Karen McGillivray, the winery’s owner, will lead educational vineyard tours at 12and 2 p.m. both days and food will be provided by the Chef’s Table.
  • Have a “A Zinful Experience!” at Lone Buffalo Vineyards where you’ll experience an interactive sensory tasting, sip the winery’s gold medal-winning 2010 Thunder Beast Zinfandel, and enjoy grass-fed bison and PlacerGROWN beef sliders prepared by Café Zorro’s Gourmet Garage Catering.
  • Popie Wines and Ciotti Cellars will provide an interactive bottling session of a special PlacerGROWN blend of wine and the High Hand Café will provide food & wine pairings.
  • Wise Villa Winery will offer guests live music and gourmet tastes from its on-site bistro.

For a Grape Days of Summer event map and other information, visit

Donate a toy for tots & enjoy The Holidays in the Hills

20 Placer County wineries host 4th Annual Holiday in the Hills event featuring wine tasting for a great cause


AUBURN, Calif., November 25, 2012 –Visit the Placer County Wine Trail for Holidays in the Hills this December 14th and 15th for wine tasting and holiday festivities. Just bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Marine Toys for Tots foundation and you’ll receive complimentary wine tasting at 20 wineries, meet the wine makers, enjoy sweet treats and more.

Admission is free with a toy donation and you may start your tour at any participating winery.  Visitors also have the chance to win a case of Placer County Wines and other prizes.

When: December 14thand 15th from 11:00 am to 5:00pm

Where: Placer County Wine Trail -Auburn, Lincoln, Loomis, Newcastle & Meadow Vista

20 Participating Wineries will offer a variety of Holidays in the Hills activities, in addition to complimentary wine tasting, including:

Casque Wines will be offering special discounts on selected wines all weekend, along with small bites to pair with our wines.

Bonitata Boutique wine will have 10% off wine sales and will serve two homemade chocolate truffles infused with 2009 Barbera and 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Bear River Winery will be offering complimentary tasting of six wines featuring our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and a flight of Barbera paired with assorted chocolates. Meet the winemakers and enjoy 1/2 and full case discounts on our wines. We will have holiday decorations, crafts and cheerful seasonal music.

Davis Dean will be sampling holiday goodies, and offering10 percent off the purchase of $50 or more.

Dono dal Cielo will have live music on Saturday and Sunday and a kids Holiday Craft Corner.

Fawnridge Winery will feature local artist Hana Nicholson of Nicholson’s Blown Glass Studio working “live” on a painting and offering unique jewelry and wine ornaments.

Lone Buffalo Vineyards will be hosting live music from 1:00 to 4:00pm both days and food will be available for purchase from Auburn BBQ Company Food Truck.

Mt. Vernon Winery will offer wine and food pairing, fine chocolates, barrel tasting, live music from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. both days and case discounts.

Pescatore will have cheese tastings and a holiday bazaar featuring fresh gourmet flavors, holiday tins, stationery and handmade crafts.

Popie Wines will serve mulled “spice” wine from its newly released 2010 Basin Red (Barbera/Syrah blend) along with treats to pair with Popie Wines.

River Rock Ranch Lindemann Winery will provide music and cheese plates, along with an hourly gift surprise for guests.

Secret Ravine Vineyards will be all lit up for Christmas and will have select Library Wines available for tasting.

Vina Castellano will feature four wine cocktails for Holiday parties, recipes and demonstrations as well as holiday pairing lists and boutique items, perfect for holiday gifts.

Wise Villa Winery will offer a tour and barrel tasting to all guests, finishing with a wine and food mini-pairing of tri-tip steak and Cabernet Sauvignon, and live music Sundayfrom1:00 to 5:00 pm.

For a complete list of participating Holiday in the Hills wineries with venue details and directions please visit

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