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Hearty Braise for Red Wine Days

Slow food: This year’s California grape harvest is now history, and growers and vintners are breathing easier. With shorter days and chilly nights, it’s time to retire the outdoor grill and dig out that Dutch oven. Get a succulent pork shoulder braising on top of the stove and open a California red wine you’ve been wanting to try. Cheers to fall! 

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Zinfandel Wine Pairings

Delicious Food Pairings for California Zinfandel Wine

This versatile variety can stand up to big flavors and many different cuisines. Read on to learn more about Zinfandel pairings.

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steakhouse dinner at home

Steakhouse at Home

Winding down: California’s grapevines have almost finished their job, delivering their annual crop of fruit to waiting winemakers. It’s amazing how soon the leaves change color after the vines give up their grapesAlready, wine country is a camera-ready carpet of magentasienna and gold. Come visit! Or if you’re nesting, open a California wine at home and treat yourself to this phenomenal grilled steak. 

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Chardonnay Food Pairings

Our Favorite Chardonnay Food Pairings

Wondering what to serve with your favorite California Chardonnay? We’ve got you covered.

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two-bite wonder fig appetizer

Two-Bite Wonders

Cheesy does it: California’s winegrape harvest is well underway with all signs pointing to an outstanding vintage. These critical weeks are what growers and vintners have been working toward all year, so it’s fitting that September is California Wine Month, with special events galore. Time to visit California wine country or celebrate at home with a bottle of California Cabernet Sauvignon and a made-in-minutes hors d’oeuvre.

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california wine month

September is California Wine Month

Join us in experiencing the excitement of the annual harvest season.

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it's taco time

It’s Taco Time

Hot tacos, cold wine: The fish tacos you love in restaurants are super easy to make at home. Gather your garnishes — a favorite salsa, sliced avocado, Mexican crema, shredded lettuce — and chill a California Sauvignon Blanc. Voilà, you’ve got a festive, colorful and healthy menu for a summer dinner al fresco. Add some fruit sorbet for dessert, and let the party begin.

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summer salad grilled nectarine

Make Summer Salads Sizzle with Grilled Nectarines

Turn up the heat: Never grilled fruit? Never too late. A little char makes nectarines even sweeter and juicier, concentrating their sun-ripened flavor. Toss them with arugula or other soft greens, fresh corn and toasted almonds for a backyard barbecue or campground picnic. Don’t forget chilled California wine to elevate your al fresco feast.

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summer salad grilled nectarine

Make Summer Salads Sizzle with Grilled Nectarines

Turn up the heat: Never grilled fruit? Never too late. A little char makes nectarines even sweeter and juicier, concentrating their sun-ripened flavor. Toss them with arugula or other soft greens, fresh corn and toasted almonds for a backyard barbecue or campground picnic. Don’t forget chilled California wine to elevate your al fresco feast.

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family friendly winery ancient peaks

California ‘Family-Friendly’ Wineries

Exploring the vineyards is one of the ways kids enjoy California wine country.

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Summer Grilled Five-Spice Chicken with Cucumber Peanut Salad

Up Your Summer Grilling Game

Cue the ’cue: Hamburgers and sausages. Been there, done that. This summer, shake up your grill game with fresh ideas from the many diverse kitchens that have made California cuisine so admired worldwide. Where to start? Vietnamese five-spice chicken with a crunchy cucumber-peanut salad will add some thrill to your grill. 

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summer wine country tasting

5 Reasons to Love California Wine Country This Summer

Plan your summer visit to California wine country!

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Mother's Day blueberry pancakes brunch

Make Mom’s Day with Blueberry Pancakes

Tiny bubbles: Show your mom some extra love this Mother’s Day (hint: it’s May 9) with made-from-scratch blueberry flapjacks. Ricotta and beaten egg whites make them super light and fluffy, while juicy blueberries keep them earthbound. If you were looking for a reason to open a bubbly on a Sunday morning, now you have it. You’re welcome.

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Spring Wine Cocktails Raspberry Frose

Spring and Summer Cocktails Brighten Up with California Wine

Raise a glass to Spring and Summer Wine Cocktails.

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carrot hummus

New Hummus Among Us

Earthly goods: A billion people are expected to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, an occasion now observed around the globe. Of course, we really need to protect the planet every day. To raise awareness, California wineries designate all of April as Down to Earth Month, with dozens of sustainability themed events and offers. Why not salute the Earth at your table this month with creamy carrot hummus and spring crudités? Thank you, planet! Learn more about this year’s Down to Earth Month celebration!

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ladybug on leaf

April is Down to Earth Month

It's an ideal time to check out California wines grown and made with sustainable practices.

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asparagus bruschetta

Spring on Your Plate

Fresh start: March is a hopeful time and a watchful time in California’s vineyards. Dormant grapevines are springing to life, unfurling their first tender shoots just as the state’s asparagus farms start their harvest. Why not celebrate the bounty of nature this month with roasted asparagus and goat cheese bruschetta? And while you’re at it, drink a toast to a fruitful winegrape harvest to come.

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chocolate cakes

Just a Little Chocolate Cake

Dessert wine time: Not that you need an excuse to bake a new chocolate cake, but Valentine’s Day is looming. Serve up these soft-centered mini cakes on February 14, open a luscious California dessert wine and prepare to be hugged.

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beef stew and cheddar scones

Beef Stew for the Win

New Year, New Stew: If you’re spending more time at home these days, why not make the most of it? Get a stew going on the stovetop and put some savory scones in the oven. Make the kitchen smell heavenly and become the place that everyone wants to be. A glass of wine and a great dinner make it a great day.

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citris salad

Hit Refresh 

Balancing act: Rich food is a given at holiday time, but you don’t have to put healthy habits on pause. It’s all about balance. You’ll still fit into those skinny jeans in January if you balance an indulgent dish (looking at you, cornbread dressing) with a bountiful winter salad. Here’s one camera-ready candidate.

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cheese pairing

The Cheese Board Challenge

Board games: With the holidays looming, you may be talking to friends and family about new ways to gather this year. Groups may be smaller. Traditional meals may go virtual. Still, we need those shared experiences, even if we’re not in the same place. So, dust off that platter, dream up a cheese board and open some California wine. Together or apart, you’re ready to celebrate.

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pork sugo

Pasta Night

Pasta perfection: Fall is the perfect time of year to polish your home-cooking skills. Start with a hearty pasta dish, salad, and of course, good red wine. This savory ragù with baby back ribs is clearly trattoria worthy. Bravo, chef!

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tomato tart

Tomatoes Heart Goat Cheese

Peak season: You probably cook with tomatoes year-round, but in September they deserve top billing. California tomatoes taste awesome right now: sun-ripened, juicy, and deeply colored, with a sweet fragrance that will fill your kitchen. Make them the star of a savory tart with a tender crust and a creamy goat cheese drizzle. California on your plate!

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harvest platter

Ready, Set…Harvest!

Peak season: It’s show time for veggie gardens and grapevines. Mother Nature, bring it on! Garden tomatoes are bursting with flavor. Sweet peppers are actually sweet. And for California’s winegrapes, the finish line is in sight. Celebrate summer’s bounty and release your inner Matisse with an artful platter of crisp vegetables and two luscious dips.

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Take It Outdoors!

Summer on a plate: California’s wild salmon season is in full swing, and this year’s catch is bountiful. Set the table outdoors and enjoy your thick, seared salmon fillets with a fresh corn salad, because sweet corn is peaking now, too. A warm evening is all the excuse you need to take your seafood dinner al fresco with a cool carafe of California wine.

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pork chops

Up Your BBQ Game

Patio perfect: Time to take it outdoors. Dust off the patio furniture, fire up the grill, and uncork a juicy Zinfandel. Whether you’re celebrating Dad on Father’s Day, or just enjoying a warm evening al fresco, your backyard barbecue menu could probably use a refresh. Grilled pork shoulder chops and a nectarine slaw are definitely not the same old same old.

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almond cake - top

Moms Love Cake, Real or Virtual

Berry beauty: Whether or not you can be face-to-face with Mom this Mother’s Day, she deserves a cake. And a toast. Maybe you have to pour the sparkling wine and clink glasses virtually, but she’ll feel your love. Try your hand at making this luscious Almond Meringue Torte for Mom, even if you’ll need screen time to “share” it.

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shrimp fried rice - side

Home Plate

Comfort cooking: In light of our current stay-at-home lifestyles, we’re all about comfort food right now. What could possibly deliver more comfort than shrimp fried rice? This DIY version is fresh and flexible: chockful of California asparagus and other goodies, like toasted almonds, and you can change it up to taste. Swap shrimp for tofu. Add snow peas or not. You’re the chef!

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Pappardelle w Artichokes

Coming Attractions

Easy Being Green: In spring (almost here!) California farms and vineyards shift into high gear. Grapevines, silent for months, unfurl their first tender shoots, keeping growers hyper-alert on frosty mornings. Suddenly, the world is green again. Artichokes, peas, asparagus and fresh leafy herbs brighten farmers markets. When artichokes meet pappardelle, a delicious spring dinner lies ahead.

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cheese board

Date Night

Put your heart into it: Why not treat your sweetheart this year to a dazzling cheese board to savor at home? No hot stove, no dirty skillets. A whole shareable dinner on one plate that you can linger over for hours. Collaborate on the composition or opt for surprise. You’re the chef of this masterpiece, and you don’t have to cook a thing.

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crab avocado tostada

Best. Avocado. Toast. Ever.

Holy guacamole! It’s California avocado season. And it’s Dungeness crab season. Thank you, Mother Nature, for your impeccable timing. Because nothing improves avocado toast like putting some sweet, fresh crabmeat on top. Corn tostadas make a crunchy base and—bonus points—they’re gluten free. Chill the white wine and enjoy.

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Deviled Eggs

Party On!

Instagrammable: Tis the season for decked-out deviled eggs. This fashion-forward trio is camera ready and just waiting for the bubbly. California sparkling wine makes everyone merry, but why not boost your bar cred this year and offer a wine cocktail? A new e-book supplies ideas galore, and with the new Wine Country Table book in your kitchen, you’ve got the holidays covered.

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Butternut Squash Soup

Autumn in a Bowl

Cornucopia, CA: There is much to be grateful for in wine country as northeastern Sonoma County recovers from the October wildfire. Most notably, that the community and nearly all vineyards and wineries are safe. Today, winemakers are back in the cellar, monitoring their fermentations. Home gardens are winding down from peak production and markets are filled with autumn abundance. Time to gather friends, open some wine, and celebrate nature’s generosity with a savory butternut squash and fennel soup.

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Steak salad

Steak of Your Dreams

Toast the Harvest: As autumn settles over California wine country, the sweet aroma of fermenting grape juice is in the air. The garden’s straggler tomatoes are ripening at last, and cooks are giving their grills a workout before the rainy season begins. Nothing loves the grill like a thick Porterhouse steak, seared until crusty and served with garlic toast to soak up the juices. Now there’s a glorious dinner for two. If you’ve been saving a California red wine for a special occasion, well, what are you waiting for? No cut of beef is more deserving.

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Chips and Salsa Dancer

Magic Maker: With spicy, smoky Mexican dishes, Zinfandel is a nimble partner. It doesn’t stumble with chipotle chilies or flame-roasted tomatoes, the flavor base for many Mexican soups and stews. It elevates humble recipes from south of the border that you might never have envisioned with wine. Even chips and salsa appreciate the upgrade when you open a bottle of Zinfandel. With chilaquiles—chips and salsa dressed up—Zinfandel makes magic.

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Burger Avocado

Make it a Burger Night

Hamburger Heaven: A juicy grass-fed burger with a glass of fine wine is one way to end your day on a high note. But just try getting that combo at the drive-through. Grill the burgers at home and you can have them your way, as the saying goes. With avocado. And chipotle mayo. And Cabernet Sauvignon. That’s your way, right?

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Potato Focaccia

Focaccia Time

Evoo for every day: Extra virgin olive oil used to be that condiment that cooks dispensed by the drop. Sauté with it? Are you kidding? Too pricey for that. But California olive growers have turned that notion on its head. They have a new way of planting and cultivating olive trees that brings the cost way down. Now we can use California extra virgin olive oil freely; reap the health benefits (it’s rich in antioxidants); enjoy its bold, zesty flavor; and make the tastiest focaccia ever.

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Duck with Cherry Sauce

Blink and They’re Gone

Fleeting pleasure: Ready, set, go! It’s California cherry season and it will be over before you know it. By the end of June, the crunchy, juicy California Bings—and that gorgeous blushing beauty, the Rainier—will be history for another year. Keep a bagful in the fridge for hand-to-mouth snacking, but reserve a few for a special duck dinner.

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Asparagus Ramen

Noodle Mania

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Chicken Gets Some Lemon Love

Game changer: If a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket is your go-to when you’re too busy to cook, this recipe could change your life. The prep takes all of 10 minutes, and the oven does the rest. Pour yourself a glass of wine and prepare your palate for some of the crispest, juiciest chicken ever.

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