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September, 2021

open spaces vineyard


Many city dwellers don’t realize how much they value nearby rural areas until that open space is threatened. Taking a weekend jaunt to wine country or to purchase fruit at a farmstand keeps us connected to the sources of our food, but it takes foresight and determination to keep farms in place and urban growth contained. California is leading the way on these issues. For example, Sonoma County Winegrowers have developed a 100-year plan with sustainable solutions to challenges that farms and cities both face, such as water use. Being a good neighbor is a key tenet of sustainability, and vintners recognize that a future in farming rests on thoughtful plans with community support. 

The Pour

With a Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from Livermore Valley, you’re drinking history. In the mid-1960s researchers took cuttings from a healthy Cabernet vine at Concannon Vineyard and propagated them. Today, an estimated 80% of California Cabernet grapevines descend from these cuttings, and the hardy Mother Vine still survives. Similarly, the great majority of California’s Chardonnay descends from vines Wente Vineyards imported from Burgundy in 1912. Pair your Instagram-ready stuffed figs with wines from this historic appellation and let the party begin. 

Click here for more California wine pairings and recipes to enjoy this harvest season.

The Recipe

Blue Cheese and Walnut Stuffed California Figs

Invite a few friends to drop by, then assemble a super simple hors d’oeuvre with juicy California figs, creamy blue cheese, toasted walnuts and a drizzle of honey. It’s an easy app that’s ready in five minutes, max.

Recipe and image courtesy of CA Grown.

Wine suggestion: California Cabernet Sauvignon or California Chardonnay

Blue Cheese- and Walnut-Stuffed California Fig


  • 8 fresh California figs, halved  
  • ¼ pound (125 g) blue cheese, such as Point Reyes Farmstead Original Blue or Bay Blue 
  • ½ pound (250 g) walnuts, toasted and chopped 
  • Honey for drizzling 

Serves 8 


Cut the figs in half. Cut a small slice off the curved side so the figs stay stable. Place the figs on a serving plate and top each fig with a nugget of blue cheese. Sprinkle generously with the walnuts. Drizzle with honey. 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