Monday, March 26, 2012

Tasting Fees Rise at Inglenook

Tasting at Inglenook, formerly known as Rubicon Estate and Neibaum-Coppola, is now more expensive and by appointment.  While advance reservations are not required, they are recommended by the winery.  The new tasting includes a tour and a sit-down tasting with food pairings.  The experience lasts about 90 minutes and costs $50/person.  Stand-up tastings at the bar are no longer available.  Visitors can get a glass of wine at the small cafe.  Visitors may access the museum and the historic building without tasting.  (When I stopped at Inglenook yesterday, the concierge said that, for the same price, visitors cold get the tasting and food pairing without waiting until the next tour started.)

I do not know why Francis Ford Coppola decided to limit visitors to his historic property.  I would have thought he would want people to celebrate his recent reuniting of the historic property with its original name, but that does not appear to be the case.  Many upscale wineries charge around $50 for a tour and food and wine pairing, so the pricing is consistent with the upward trend in tasting prices in Napa.  It's just a shame that a tasting option does not exist for the visitor who does not want to take yet another wine tour or invest $50 at one winery.

If you would like to take a private Napa wine tour, please contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or

Monday, March 05, 2012

Un-Wine Country Cuisine

When one visits wine country, one thinks of refined dining using the freshest of local ingredients.  Fremont Diner, on the Sonoma side of Carneros, uses fresh, local ingredients, but dining is anything but refined.  When you have a hankering for diner food prepared with care, this is the place to go.  On a recent visit my guests and I enjoyed pulled pork sandwiches, a fried chicken sandwich, unbelievable buttermilk biscuits, and Dr. Brown root beer and cream sodas.  While Fremont diner has a couple of salads on the menu, don't go here if you are concerned about your weight, cholesterol, or blood pressure.  Go here for some of the best down-home food you'll find in Northern California.  You can dine inside, in the kitchen, or at outdoor picnic tables.  Fremont Diner is open daily for breakfast and lunch.

If you would like to take a private wine country tour or a tour of Muir Woods and wine country that includes lunch at Fremont Diner, contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or