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June, 2022

winery garden


Beautifully maintained grounds have long been part of the winery visitor experience, but at some California wineries, that landscape is edible. Sustainably grown vegetable gardens and fruit trees play a big role at some properties, providing just-picked produce for tasting plates or VIP lunches and dinners.

Some wineries, like Trefethen Vineyards, offer most of the harvest to employees, a much-appreciated perk. If you enjoy vegetable gardening yourself, plan a visit to Alexander Valley Vineyards, Benziger Family Winery, Cakebread Cellars, Justin Vineyards & Winery, Kendall-Jackson or one of the many others with inspiring edible landscapes. 

The Pour

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the Golden State’s most popular white wines, neck-and-neck with Pinot Gris in acres planted. Vintners like to put their own stamp on it. Some keep it lean by fermenting and aging it in stainless steel, showcasing the variety’s citrus and herbal aromas. Others prefer a rounder, richer style, so they’ll blend it with Sémillon or give the wine some time in oak barrels. Either way, Sauvignon Blanc tends to be less voluptuous than Chardonnay, and therefore more salad friendly. Sonoma and Napa lead the way in acreage, in that order, but Lake County is coming on strong. 

The Recipe

Arugula Salad with Zucchini, Carrots and Toasted Almonds

Save this fresh, colorful salad for early summer, when markets have small, tender zucchini. For the best results, look for zucchini that are no more than 6 inches (15 cm) long, and choose straight ones that will be easy to shave into ribbons. You can shave the zucchini with a vegetable peeler, but a mandoline or V-slicer makes the job easier. 

Wine suggestion: California Sauvignon Blanc or California Rosé

Zucchini and Carrot Salad with Toasted Almonds and Arugula


  • 1/3 cup (30 g) sliced almonds  
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) white wine vinegar, or more as needed 
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 4 small zucchini, preferably 2 green and 2 yellow, about ¾ pound (350 g) 
  • 2 small carrots, peeled 
  • 2 large handfuls arugula (2 to 3 ounces/60 to 90 g) 
  • Chunk of semi-firm pecorino cheese or crumbled cotija cheese (you’ll use about 3 ounces/90 g total)

Serves 4 


Preheat the oven to 350°F (190°C). Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until lightly colored and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, wine vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.  

Remove both ends of the zucchini and carrots. With a V-slicer, mandolin or vegetable peeler, shave the vegetables lengthwise into thin ribbons. Discard the first and last slices of zucchini, which are mostly skin. Add the vegetables to the bowl and toss well to coat with the dressing. Let stand until the vegetables soften slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. The zucchini should be pliable enough to twirl with a fork without breaking. Do not let them stand too long or they will release liquid and water down the dressing.  

Add the arugula and toss gently. With a cheese plane or vegetable peeler, shave about 3 ounces (90 g) of semi-firm percorino cheese, or crumble cotija cheese into the salad. Add the almonds and toss gently. Taste for salt and vinegar, then serve immediately. 

Wine Institute is an association of California wineries and affiliated businesses from the beautiful and diverse wine regions throughout the state. Wine Institute works to create an environment where the wine community can flourish and contribute in a positive fashion to our nation, state and local communities. For information please contact