January is that transition month, named for Janus, the Roman god of doors, who is depicted looking forward at the new year and back at the old. We sometimes find it hard to move forward out of the holidays, but time marches on, and soon it will be March and barrel tasting will be upon us. But first, there’s January, the Superbowl and Valentine’s Day. Here are some fun things to put on your calendar.

Reserve Library Cabernet Tasting at McGrail

January 24, 2019, 6:30–8:30 pm

Walk through a tasting of 7 vintages of McGrail’s Cabernet Reserve, from vintage 2008 through 2014. After tasting through the wines, the patio will be open with the heaters on if you would like to enjoy a glass or bottle of wine on the patio. Limited to the first 60 people. Limited amounts of most wines will be available for purchase. Tickets are $35/wine club; $50/guest.

BoaVentura Tasting Room Open

January 25-27, 12:00–5:00 pm

When was the last time you visited BoaVentura? Come on out.

Fun Fridays with The FoxCatchers at Wood Family

January 25, 4:00–7:00 pm

Find out what all the excitement is about at Wood. If you haven’t heard The Foxcatchers, you are definitely missing out.

It’s the Cheese at Las Positas

January 26 & 27

On the recent cruise from Paris to Normandy, France, tasting room manager, Curtis Pipes, was introduced to many wonderful French cheeses, and they’d like to share them with you all month. Enjoy French Cheese & Wine Pairing every weekend in January. Among this month’s cheese pairings is the 2017 Estate Rose paired with Herve Mons “Pyrenees,” a semi-firm sheep’s milk cheese that comes in coffee-colored wheels, from the south of France. It’s rich and creamy, with a hint of caramel sweetness. Another great matchup is 2013 Las Positas Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Arnaud 15 Month Aged “Comte,” a semi-firm unpasteurized cow’s milk from the Jura Massif region. Maturation in special caves imparts a unique taste, texture and color, with flavors that run the gamut from sweet to savory, including nutty, salty and smoky notes. Also enjoy the 2015 Estate Malbec paired with Fromi “Brebirousse D’Argental,” a sheep's milk from Lyon, in the Rhone region of France. This is creamy, soft-ripened cheese with a bloomy orange rind from annatto. It’s like a brie and tastes a little sweet and buttery. Finally, the 2013 Meritage is paired up with Herve Mons “Camembert,” a moist, soft, creamy surface-ripened cow’s milk cheese first made in the late 18th century at Camembert, Normandy in Northern France. Aged for 3 weeks, this cheese is soft-ripened and famously issued to the French troops during WWI. Camembert has firmly become fixed in the French culture with many local varieties being made around the world. Vive la France and vive le fromage! A fabulous truffle experience is in the works for February, so stay tuned.

Martini Time at Sidewinder

January 26, 2:00–4:00 pm

On this day, Occasio wine club members will be treated to an exploration of the history of one of the world’s favorite cocktails. You’ll come away with an insider’s perspective on the evolution of the martini through the lens of three cocktails. Why does the martini play such an important role in literature and film? How did it come to define an age? And, you’ll learn the story behind a Livermore Valley winery’s importance in the fabrication of the famed James Bond Martini. Members will receive three tastings, a martini appetizer, and a take-home bottle of Sidewinder Vermouth. This might be just the perfect way to spend a Saturday without football. Members and their guests only. Price is $40 – seating is limited. Purchase tickets on the website.

Coming in February, Sidewinder will have both the grappa and eau de vie in bottle. Winemaker, distiller and mixologist extraordinaire Dave is working on the gin: cooler weather means slow fermentation times in winter, making it difficult to get base spirit.

Charles R 11th Annual Cabstravaganza

January 26, 11:30–4:30 pm

Don't miss this unique opportunity to experience how Charles R Cabernet Sauvignon develops from barrel to aging in the cellar. You'll start with a 2018 barrel tasting, compare the aromas and flavors with a nicely aged 2014, and a mix of wines from the cellar.

Evening in the Vineyards at Las Positas

January 26, 6:00–9:00 pm

Have some outdoor concert fun on select Saturdays, including January 26, when Joey T & Friends comes to Las Positas. Tickets are $5. Reserve your table and seats when you purchase tickets! 21+ only and no outside food or beverages.

Cuda Ridge Reserve Flight

January 26 & 27, 12:30–4:30 pm

Larry Dino, winemaker at Cuda Ridge, announces the first Reserve Tasting Flight of the year, , during normal tasting room hours. The reserve tasting will take place in the side room and will include the Melanage d' Amis Vertical (2013 - 2015) and the 2014 Bien Amie. The tasting is open to everyone and no RSVP is required. The cost is $25.00 for the flight, $15.00 for CRU Club members, and $10.00 for Connoisseur Club members. The tasting fees are refundable with 2 or more bottle purchase of the Reserve wines.

Cuda Ridge will soon be sailing to Bordeaux, embarking on March 28th, with lots of winery fans. There are a few cabins still available if anybody needs a vacation after the holidays!

Omega Road Open

January 26 & 27, 12:00–4:00 pm

Come meet owner/winemaker, Alexandra Henkelman, who was just elected Board President of the Livermore Winegrowers Association.

Fenestra’s 27th Annual Soup & Wine Pairing

January 26 & 27, 12:00–5:00 pm

Come join the family at Fenestra for this annual event where soup from six of the Valley's best restaurants are paired with award winning Fenestra wines. This year features soups from First Street Ale House, Backyard Bayou, Nonni's Bistro, Demitri's Taverna, Sauced, and Uncle Yu's. Bonus! Be among the first to taste their double gold award winning Chardonnay! $20.00 per person; $10.00 for club members

Music with Matt Finders & Friends at Retzlaff

January 27, 12:00–4:30 pm

Bring a picnic, buy some wine and enjoy the day at this gorgeous setting. Take advantage of a 6-pack wine special through January on Retzlaff Estate Red wines.

Music in the Vines at McGrail

January 27, 1:00–4:00 pm

McGrail’s Member Lounge will be open to all visitors to enjoy complimentary live music by Nashville Recording Artist Nick Tyrrel. Bring a picnic, buy a bottle of wine and relax in the cozy barrel room!

Wente’s Estate Tour and Tasting

January 27, 11:30 am–1:00 pm; 2:30–4:00 pm

Start the Estate Tour with a taste of wine and a beautiful stroll around the grounds. Experienced wine educators will share the Wente family history and the history of the Estate property. In addition, check out behind the scenes of the small lot production and working barrel room. The tour concludes with a tasting of Wente’s premier wines. Cost: $35/person. For availability or questions call (925) 456-2305.

Cuda Ridge Valentines Dinner

Cuda Ridge is hosting its third annual Valentine’s Dinner at The Purple Orchid, February 14th starting at 6:30pm in the banquet room. It will be a family style dinner priced at $135/per person. Menu includes ahi tuna wonton taco and roasted pork belly paired with 2016 Cabernet Franc (90 points - Wine Enthusiast), scallop and mushroom soup paired with 2016 Semillon, goat cheese trio and seared duck on bed of wilted greens paired with 2016 Merlot (92 points - Wine Enthusiast), filet mignon, sweet potato wedge, locally grown tri-colored carrots and steamed leek paired with 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and chocolate decadence cake paired with 2016 Petit Verdot. Cost: $135 PP (tax and gratuity inclusive). RSVP on the Purple Orchid Resort website or call Purple Orchid Inn at 925-606-8855.

More Valentine’s Day Ideas

No plans yet for Valentines Day? Three guys named Steve invite you to a romantic evening at 3 Steves Winery. They’ve partnered with the awesome culinary team at Posada Restaurant to bring you an amazing one-of-a-kind, four-course dinner, paired with their wines, including the Brut Sparkling. Horatio Monroe will be on hand with his acoustic guitar to set the stage for a night of love. Seatings are at 6, 6:45, & 7:30. Tickets are $115 per guest. Tables may still be available. For reservations, please contact Kevin at (925) 364-4889.

Many more Valentine's events are scheduled in wine country: we'll tell you about them next time.