E16 Winery — New Tasting Room in Somerset, CA

The new E16 Winery tasting room in Somerset, CA, has an inviting ambiance, friendly staff and delicious wine from both the E16 and Firefall labels.

One of the members of our wine tasting group, the Vineyard Vixens, had read some reviews of E16 Winery and suggested that it be one of our destinations for our September outing. It was a great choice but, sadly, the member who suggested it couldn’t go! I guess we’ll just have to go again. The E16 tasting room in Somerset, CA, has only been open for 7 weeks. Prior to that, they sold their wine to restaurants, including La Cave in Las Vegas where they had to pass a blind taste test to be accepted. In Amador County, you can enjoy E16 wine at Taste in Plymouth. The E16 Winery Tasting Room The E16 tasting room is located on Perry Creek Road up a little…

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Join the Family at Sentivo Vineyards

If you want to be treated like family when you go wine tasting then Sentivo Vineyards is where you want to be. Beautiful location, great wine and food.

A while back, my wine tasting group, the Vineyard Vixens, went to visit a couple of wineries in Fairplay, CA, and to pick up some futures. We had a bit of an unpleasant experience when we went to pick up our futures. Several members of our group had been wine club members at that winery and we had always been treated well and had a good time. Suddenly, since no one was a member anymore, we were treated like persona non grata. We didn’t stay to taste and instead decided to visit Sentivo Vineyards which had been recommended by Mary at Gold Vine Grill where we had lunch. I am so glad we did! The staff at Sentivo Vineyards saved the day for us so that it…

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Wine Blending at Wine Tree Farm

The wine blending class at Wine Tree Farm is educational and thoroughly enjoyable. It was a blast and I highly recommend it.

I have done a lot of wine tasting in Gold Country over the past couple of years and the most enjoyable times have been when I learn something new about wine or winemaking. As I’ve mentioned, I’m no expert. I just enjoy wine and learning about it. On a recent visit to Wine Tree Farm with the Vineyard Vixens wine tasting group, I attended a wine blending class which was both educational and thoroughly enjoyable. The vineyard and winery are located on Highway 49 near the turnoff to Amador City. It can be easily missed but just look for the large sign up on the hill opposite the turnoff. Even though the grapevines are still dormant, we’ve had so much rain that the hills are an amazing green. Owner…

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Pasta with Pumpkin Cream – Not Just for Fall!

Pasta with Pumpkin Cream, Butternut Squash and Chicken Sausage - my version of a delicious dish we had at Villa Toscano from Chef Tim Benham.

Several weeks ago, the Vineyard Vixens had a pasta dish for lunch at Villa Toscano that we all just loved. Executive Chef, Tim Benham, explained his process to us and told us the ingredients but didn’t give us any specific amounts. I played with the recipe and tweaked it until I came up with a version that I find quite yummy. I’m calling my version of this delicious dish Pasta with Pumpkin Cream, Butternut Squash and Chicken Sausage. The original dish had an even longer name! One of the ingredients of the dish is soy sauce soaked, roasted pumpkin seeds. There weren’t any on the portion I got from the buffet at Villa Toscano so I didn’t get to taste them. I thought this sounded like…

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Schmitz 24 BRIX Wines and Barrel Cellar Tasting Room

Schmitz 24 BRIX Wines Tasting Room is relatively new to the Shenandoah Valley. All their wines are highly rated with the Winemaker's Blend the most popular.

24 BRIX is a relatively new kid in the Shenandoah Valley. We watched over a period of weeks this past year as the old antique store on Highway 49 in Plymouth was transformed into the Schmitz 24 BRIX Barrel Cellar Tasting Room. When the Vineyard Vixens visited, we got a warm welcome from the owner and winemaker himself, Paul Schmitz. The 24 BRIX Vineyards I love learning new things about wine and winemaking when I go wine tasting. The name of the winery comes from the fact that they harvest their grapes when the sugar content is at or close to 24 brix (brix is a measure of the sugar content of an aqueous solution). They feel this natural sugar level is the optimal ripeness for the fruit…

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It’s All In My Head! – Food, Wine and Travel

A preview of what's coming on the blog in food, wine and travel - a field trip to Allspicery, some wine tasting and a couple of terrific recipes.

It seems I’ve been on a bit of an unintended hiatus from the blog. I’ve been so busy doing research, photograpy and coming up with ideas for content that I haven’t had (taken) the time to write it down. Now I have so many things in my head it is almost overwhelming but I will start getting it written! Here are some of the things I’m working on in food, wine and travel that you can expect to see on the blog in the next few weeks. When I wrote about my Wine Lovers Vino de Mocha Fudge, I promised an easy, microwave version. I’ve made several batches, including one I took to Thanksgiving dinner, and am very happy with the results. I’m also making a batch of it to add to a…

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The Vixens Play at Bray: Bray Vineyards

Earlier in September, the Vineyard Vixens toasted another year of wine tasting adventures, beginning with Bray Vineyards.

The Vineyard Vixens, the wine tasting group of the Mother Lode Newcomers, goes on hiatus for the summer. Earlier in September, we toasted another year of tasting adventures, beginning with Bray Vineyards. Some members of our group had been before but most had not, including me. We started our day with lunch at Villa Toscano as we often do. The buffet included a pasta dish that we all fell in love with. I asked Executive Chef Tim Benham for the recipe so he came out to our table and explained how he made it. It was so delicious and relatively easy. He didn’t give us any specific amounts of each ingredient so I will be working on replicating that recipe to include on the blog…

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Bluebird Haven Iris Garden

During the height of blooming season, you can see more than 100,000 irises at Bluebird Haven Iris Garden in Somerset, CA, in southern El Dorado County.

On our way back from Toogood Estate Winery in Fairplay, the Vineyard Vixens stopped at Bluebird Haven Iris Garden. We do have other interests besides wine! Bluebird Haven Iris Garden is located on Fairplay Rd. in Somerset, CA, just a few miles down the road from Toogood in southern El Dorado County. It is open year-round but if you are able to visit the garden at the height of the blooming season, usually during May, you’ll be greeted by more than 100,000 irises showing off their vibrant colors. As you drive through the big green gate, you begin to pass by row after row of beautiful blooms. Once you park, you can walk through the rows of cultivated iris to pick your favorites. This gorgeous Victorian…

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