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Make a Toast to Toys for Tots at Holidays in the Hills

20 Placer County Wineries offer free wine tasting with toy donation


AUBURN, CA December 1, 2015 – Placer County Vintners Association and Placer County Wine Trail members host the 6th annual Holidays in the Hills event to benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. During the first weekend of December, twenty Placer County wineries will offer tastings of award-winning, PlacerGROWN wines to those who donate an unwrapped toy to be distributed via the foundation to a child in need.

“Our crop-to-tabletop lifestyle extends beyond providing farm-fresh ingredients to the family dinner table,” said PlacerGROWN Executive Director Carol Arnold. “Our overall goal is to contribute to the success of a stronger and healthier community, and the holiday season is the perfect time for a heartwarming effort such as this.”

For the past six years, participating wineries have helped establish Holidays in the Hills as one of the most successful Toys for Tots events in Placer County. The respected community of local wine growers has demonstrated its generosity each year by offering free admission and wine tastings with the donation of a new, unwrapped child’s toy valued at ten dollars or more.

“Our generous community always shows its support by making Holidays in the Hills one of the highest donation events for Marine Toys for Tots Foundation every year,” said Placer County Agricultural Commissioner Josh Huntsinger. “It’s inspiring to see the turnout and know that each person who participates also represents a child’s holiday wish coming true.”

This year’s event takes place on December 5 and 6, with participating wineries open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. both days. Event attendees can meet with winemakers, vintners and other wine enthusiasts to taste artisan varietals and support less fortunate children in the area. Guests will be able to savor hors d’oeuvres, live music and winery tours while also enjoying unique activities at each of the participating venues.

For a complete list of participating wineries, venue details and directions, please visit To reserve a PlacerGROWN media pass for complimentary entrance to the event, please contact Brenda Forman at

Mandarin season is a sweet delight in Placer County


AUBURN, Calif., December 3, 2014—Mandarin season is one of the tastiest parts of winter in Northern California, and this year’s crop is no exception. The first and third weekends of December, the Mountain Mandarin Growers’ Association (MMGA) invites visitors to its ranches for Orchard Days, a free two-weekend event celebrating mandarins with freshly-picked fruit, mandarin products, wine tasting, crafters and family fun.

Mandarin growers are partnering with local vendors and artists for the annual event. Attendees will enjoy mandarin product sampling and spectacular views of gardens, ponds, orchards and the countryside. Various holiday gifts, plus bags and boxes of tree-ripened, hand-picked mandarins will be available for purchase, as well as mandarin-infused products like olive oils, marinades, honey and more. Visitors with a sweet tooth will enjoy fudge, cookies and cakes.

The fruit produced by MMGA members is picked only when fully ripe to ensure sweetness and freshness. Cultivating mandarin trees has been a tradition in the Placer County region since the 1880s, and has been carried on by families in the area, who have provided tree-ripened, hand- picked mandarins to Placer County and beyond.

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