Chocolate, Roses And Dessert Wine

The options for spending Valentine’s Day are coming fast and furious. Choose your favorite winery, or perhaps someplace you’ve not yet been. Then, it’s Presidents’ Day weekend, with plenty more to tempt your calendar to fullness.

Romance on the Rails, February 10

We dearly love trains, so the idea of spending it aboard the rails is highly appealing. Experience the magic of a bygone era as you travel through scenic Niles Canyon on a vintage train from Sunol to Niles and back. The train features a Southern Pacific 10040 Parlor Car newly restored to its elegant 1920’s appearance. The car is climate controlled for your comfort. Attendants will be on board to assist during the trip. An open-air car is also included on the train for your viewing enjoyment.

Two excursions are available on February 10, the first departing at noon and returning at 2:00pm, and the second departing at 3pm and returning at 5pm. Riders are encouraged to get into the romantic groove and dress up in period 1920—1940s attire. En route, specially-selected wines from the Livermore Valley will be served, paired with light appetizers. Tickets are $80+fee per person and are available at www.ncry.org. Note: The parlor/diner car is not wheelchair-accessible, due to the narrow passages on the vintage equipment.

Cupid’s Wine Pairings At McKahn Cellars, February 9 & 10

McKahn’s annual Cupid's Wine Pairing is back. Join them on Feb 9 and Feb 10, from noon until 5PM for this different take on wine and food pairing just before Valentine’s Day! Kelly, from Top Knot Bake Shoppe, will showcase delicious baked goods designed to perfectly complement the flight of McKahn wines. Denise declares that the flavors together are truly amazing! There will be a charge of $25 for 5 scones paired with 5 wines. Sneak peak: Grenache paired with London Fog scone (Earl Grey vanilla bean) and Morning Glass Red Blend with Gorgonzola honey walnut scone. Reservations are highly suggested.

Love Those Medals! At Rosa Fierro Cellars, February 9 & 10

Come out to Earhart Way to celebrate all the medals Frankie Favalore and Rosie Fierro raked in at the San Francisco Chronicle Competition this year! They’ll be pouring their medal winners in advance of the public tasting to be held at Fort Mason on Saturday, Feb. 16.

McGrail Valentine’s Dinner in the Barrel Room, Feb. 14, 6pm

Treat yourself and your sweetheart to a romantic dinner in the barrel room where you’ll feast on a short rib dinner in an intimate setting with a bottle of McGrail wine. Dinner starts at 6:30PM and includes appetizers, short ribs, wine country salad, veggies, potatoes, and a delicious dessert. Nick Tyrrel will be playing live music on the patio before and after dinner. Cost: $100/guest or $85/wine club member.

Occasio Teams Up with Posada at Sidewinder, February 14

Chef Eduardo Posada and the Sidewinder Team will serve a four-course dinner with wine and spirits pairings in the intimacy of Sidewinder Lounge, with seatings beginning at 7pm on Valentine’s Day. The menu includes goat cheese truffle and strawberry salad with fresh greens, mango and strawberry vinaigrette, paired with Bouvet Rosé Excellence Brut from Loire Valley, France, followed by a choice of grilled hangar steak with corn-stuffed chile relleno and tomatillo sauce or portobello ravioli with braised short ribs in New Mexico chile rojo sauce, paired with 2011 Occasio Heritage Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon or 2017 Occasio Founder’s Chardonnay. For dessert, enjoy caramelized flan with bourbon cherries, accompanied by wine or an after-dinner cocktail. Vegetarian option available for main course: please inquire. Full bar service available. Seatings at 7:00, 7:30, and 8pm. $125 per person, includes tax and gratuity. To book, please email John@Occasiowinery.com.

Page Mill Winery Spreads the Love, February 14

Here’s another great way to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day, with your friends at Page Mill Winery. Doors open at 6:30pm, with dinner served at 7:00p.m. The menu includes bruschetta caprese and prawn skewers for appetizers, arugula raspberry salad, tri-tip, lemon herb salmon, green beans with mushrooms, garlic rosemary potato puree, pesto tortellini, white dinner roll and garlic bread and a decadent dessert to be named. A vegan option is available with advanced notice. $85/pp for Wine Club Members and $95/pp for Non-members, tax & gratuity included. You’ll also enjoy a toast with Blanc de Blanc Sparkling wine, a bottle of award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon to share per couple (some substitutions available – additional wines available for purchase) and music by Rob Allen. Reservations are required, as space is limited. Call 925-456-7676 or email debbie@pagemillwinery.com.

Purple Orchid Offers Romantic Escapades

Even if you can’t join in for the Cuda Ridge Valentine’s night dinner at Purple Orchid, you can still take advantage of the unequaled setting of The Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort & Spa for a romantic escapade. Whether celebrating an anniversary, honeymoon, birthday, or just looking to escape for the weekend, the romantic setting sets the stage for a getaway with panache that only the Purple Orchid can supply. Surprise your loved one with something special: their Romantic Retreat Package which includes a one night stay in one of their suites and one of their couples massage services, along with a bottle of Nottingham sparkling wine.

Sip, Sip Rosé! At Wente Vineyards, February 14

On the Vine Catering presents an intimate meal served at the Wente Vineyards Estate Winery & Tasting Room (Tesla Road) accompanied by Wente’s handcrafted small lot wines. The evening begins with a reception showcasing the new release of Niki’s Pinot Noir Rosé, along with an assortment of international cheeses and appetizers. A coursed dinner follows, paired with hand-selected wines, finishing off with some fun at the chocolate fondue station.

Valentines in the Vineyard at Retzlaff, February16 & 17

It’s Sweet Heart Wine Weekend on the gorgeous lawn at Retzlaff, with live music, sparkling wine and sweet treats. For music, on Feb. 16, enjoy Jeff Bordes and the Burnt Ends and on Feb. 17, groove to Matt Finders and Friends. Kelly from the Pretty Little Bakers will be on site selling romantic sweet treats. There will be other gift vendors as well.

President’s Day Weekend Happenings

Right on the heels of Valentine’s Day comes Presidents’ Day weekend, when it’s time to toast the likes of Abe and George with wines from the Livermore Valley. Don’t forget that Saturday, Feb 16, is the SF Chronicle tasting at Fort Mason, featuring the Gold medal winners from this year’s competition. The tasting goes from 1—4pm, and tickets are required. $70, plus fee. winejudging.com

Cuda Ridge Wines, Vines & Valentines: S & M Release

Visit Cuda Ridge over President’s Day weekend, Feb 16—18, for the 12th Annual Cuda Ridge Wines, Vines & Valentines, featuring release of the 2016 S & M, their signature Sangiovese & Malbec blend. Live music on Saturday with Tim Gomes and on Sunday, it’s Frankie Bones. Andy’s Candy, all the way from Idaho, will be available for tasting and purchase. “Desire” Tasting Flight is $15.00, and complementary for club members. Come join in the fun.

Dante Robere Vineyards: "Weekend in Rhone"

For President’s weekend, Dante Robere is teaming up with their Westside Wine Trail partners, Fenestra, Las Positas and Cuda Ridge, to offer special tasting events at each of the four wineries. Join Dante Robere for a “Weekend in Rhone” with music on the patio Sunday and Monday, Rhone-inspired snacks and a sneak preview of their two estate 2016 syrahs, along with barrel tasting of 2017 grenache and mourvedre.

McGrail Vineyards Open for President's Day, February 18

Stop by on Monday and enjoy a tasting and pick up a great lunch by Anthony Scott, who will be selling sausages, meatballs, and flatbreads to pair with your wine.

Wood Family Wine Dinner at Range Life, February 18

Feeling presidential? As in Washington and Lincoln? Make reservations now for the Wood Family winemaker’s dinner at Range Life in Livermore. Just $100 for a four-course meal, including wine pairings. For reservations, call Range Life at (925) 583-5370 or email reservations@rangelifelivermore.com. Seats are very limited.

Duetto Premiere at Wente Vineyards, February 16, 12 – 2pm

Wente is excited to release their new 2016 Duetto, a 100% Cabernet blend that has been sold out for months. To celebrate its return, they are planning a special Duetto tasting with great food pairings by VinX and live music by Sunny and the Black Pack. Cost: $40 General Guests/$30 Wine Club Members

Wood Family Vineyards Barrel Tasting Weekend, February 16 & 17

Get ready for another awesome WFV Barrel Tasting Weekend, where you will get first dibs on the forthcoming grenache and GSM wines, as well as a chance to purchase discounted bottles on futures. Don't miss it. Cost: $15, non-refundable, free for club members.