Visiting the wine country during the winter holidays can include extra excitement and activities as many wineries offer special events, wine promotions, holiday cheer and festive decorations. This year wineries are offering their December visitors hay rides, great wine and gift discounts, special wine tasting events as well as food drives and clothing donations. Here is our Winery Advisor Top Ten Wineries to Visit this Holiday Season.
On Saturday and Sunday December 13 & 14, Tulip Hill Winery will have an Holiday Open House with complimentary sweet and savory treats, barrel tasting, wine games and music. Special discounts plus you can bottle your own private label Cabernet Sauvignon. If you wear a holiday accessory you can enter a drawing to wine a case of wine. Call 707.274.9373
Also that weekend check out the 2nd Annual Italian Christmas Festival, Festivale Natale, at the wonderful Tuscan Gardens at Terrill Cellars. This free event has Goomba Claus on Friday night along with live music. On Saturday starting at 11am visit the European market with craft vendors, hot mulled wine or cocoa, a cooking demonstration, gift-making workshops, children’s crafts workshops, a cooking contest, and then see the Italian version of “La Posada” to end this perfect day. 707.995.5079
Enjoy holiday decorations, music, food and special wine and gift discounts at the tasting room and underground cellars of Louis M. Martini Winery. There are discounts on dipped copper vine-leaves and a host of gifts. Third Generation winemaker Michael Martini will also be on hand December 6th signing wine bottles. Call 800-321-WINE
Enjoy the second annual Gingerbread Winery Contest where almost 20 wineries in the region have created lavish gingerbread house likenesses of their wineries. Visitors can cast a ballot for the "Peoples Choice Award".
Landmark Vineyards, who is defending their gingerbread title from 2007, has partnered with Redwood Empire Food Bank and will be collecting non-perishable food now through the end of the year. In exchange for your donation, Landmark will waive your $5 tasting fee. The winery property will also have thousands of glowing white lights, fragrant Christmas trees and holiday music. Call 707.833.0053
On December 13th & 14th, and on December 20nd and 21rd, from 1 to 4 pm, Santa will be at Larson Family Winery. So pack a picnic, and come enjoy the holidays in the vineyard. Guests of all ages will have the opportunity to have their picture taken with Santa for free with any wine purchase! Guests can also see Rudolph the Red Nosed Wine deer, Frosty the Sonoman and this year's gingerbread winery entry. Call 707. 938.3031
On December 6th - 7th & 13th - 14th from 10 to 5 pm the Guglielmo Family Winery will be celebrating the holiday season with their 20th Annual Holiday Gift Faire. The winery is in the heart of Morgan Hill and their open house features an impressive collection of wine themed gifts, unique Holiday gift baskets, custom-labeled wines and a large selection of gourmet food items available for sampling. Hot mulled will be served and carolers will sing. Call 408.779.2145
At Eberle Winery enjoy an "Old Fashioned Christmas" with a tree in the Tasting Room and Mr. Eberle's personal train running underneath it (he's really into trains under the tree!), a fire in the fireplace and decorated wine caves decorated. On December 13th attend their annual open house with carolers, spiced wine and apple cider, appetizers, etc. Call 805.238.9607
At Vina Robles Winery don't miss their giant 20 foot Christmas tree in their tasting room and the spiced mulled wine and apple cider during their open house on December 6 &7th. Check out their special discounts in their extensive gift shop. Call 805.227.4812
San Luis Obispo/Arroyo Grande
Talley Vineyards will be offering their six most sought-after estate wines in a special tasting flight during December. Enjoy the festive tasting room atmosphere, unique gift shop items and the panoramic views of the Rincon Vineyard. Call 805.489.0446
Temeculights Holiday Festival is a spectacular month-long celebration that includes more than 200,000 LED (light emitting diode) lights that stretch over rooftops and vineyards and provide more than 14 miles of low-wattage visual excitement. The event is part of the Green Lights Project whose mission is to raise awareness and funds for organizations that help child victims of terror, war, natural disaster or illness. Ten percent of the profit of all GLP products is donated to beneficiaries that directly assist children in need. Keyways Winery and Ponte Winery are sponsoring this event and are offering special evening hay rides, dinners, wine tastings and cookie decorating for the kids. Call 877.539.9297
It's best to call in advance to confirm all events, dates and times.