It's officially time for the holidays! Unfortunately, that means that the day after sitting around with our favorite people and counting our blessings, we're trampling each other in the name of Black Friday sales.
We at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours have the antidote to crass consumerism. We firmly believe that the gift of knowledge is the best gift of all. That's why we're offering $10 off our Chauffeured Winery Tour and $5 off our Wine (and Beer) Train Tour*, so you can bring your loved ones out to learn all about wine, beer, and food pairings.
It's a welcome change from kneeing each other in the face over limited-edition plastic dolls. And it's the gift that keeps on giving! We'd rather spend low-key, fun days eating and drinking and making great memories with the people we love, wouldn't you? And isn't that what the holidays are really all about?
Plus, when you're with us, you get to avoid the Black Friday crowds. We're still up in the air about Cyber Monday…
Catch you on the flip side!
Brooke B., Sales Turkey
Thanksgiving is either a day of relaxing and epic feasting, or a nightmare of cooking and making hasty last-minute decisions for a group of ravenous friends and family members. It all depends what side of the cutting board you're on.
While we can't help you with the cooking, we can suggest a few wines and beers to pair with your meal to make everything go a little easier for you. We consulted with Stephen Ansley, our resident wine specialist, and did some "independent research" during San Diego Beer Week to find the best brews to sip with your deep-fried turducken!
The traditional Thanksgiving meal is especially wonderful, because turkey can be paired with just about everything. If you want a pinot noir, try Cycles Gladiator or an Au Bon Climat from Santa Barbara. The tartness of the pinot cuts through the richness of gravy and brings out the flavor of turkey. The fruitiness of merlots also works well, especially with dark meats or hearty stuffings. Try one of Flora Springs' or a merlot from McManis Family Vineyards.
White wine lovers, take heart! There's plenty of room for you at the table. The butteriness and oaky notes of a good chardonnay is an ideal complement to the sweet and savory combinations you get with turkey, stuffing, and cranberries. Try something from Columbia Crest Grant Estates or White Oak.
If you're in the mood for a brew but still want something to pair with the richness of the meal, try a hoppy (but not too hoppy!) brew or one that's complex enough to balance the stuffing and gravy. Our pick is either an Alpine Captain Stout for chocolaty malty goodness, or a Monkey Paw Patas Pale Ale, which has hops that shine through just enough to offset the richness of the food. We have also encountered some excellent saisons that we think would enrich your eating and drinking experience. Green Flash Brewery's Saison Diego has a clever name and a nice complex palate that won't overpower your meal. And last, but certainly not least, porters and their chocolate and coffee notes are a wonderfully rich way to end a meal. Our hands-down and bottoms-up favorite is, and has been, Alesmith Robust Porter. Try it with a tasty tender piece of turkey, dripping with gravy and juices, and you'll know we're right!
We hope these will make your Thanksgiving Day just a little tastier. We want the best for you, because, as always… we couldn't do this without you!
Brooke B., Thanks Giver
This is the time of year that the weather turns cool and the indoors start to look mighty cozy. By the way, did you know that turkey pairs with all wines, from delicate whites to rich reds to all types of roses? It's true! It's just one of the great things about Thanksgiving.
It's also a great time to try some new beers. Because there's so much caramelization in Thanksgiving meals, dark and chocolatey stouts are sublime, but the light hoppy brews are great as well. It's a veritable feast of beer and wine, and you can't go wrong with Thanksgiving! We're thankful for that, too.
Don't forget the champagne, either. Bubbly is great with everything, whether it's the meal, the post-meal game, or the post-game coma.
As you can see, we love to count our blessings while we're stuffing ourselves with cranberries and turkey. There are many things we're thankful for, but most of all, we're thankful for you.
Thanks for everything!
Brooke B., Stuffed Turkey
Halloween is almost here, and another special day is just around the corner: Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. In Mexico (and in other countries around the world!) it's a time that families remember their loved ones who have gone with altars and music. But it's not a sad holiday, at all – it's festive and happy, although it's perhaps just a little spooky.
Anthropologists have traced the origin of the holiday to a festival for the Aztec goddess Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of the Dead. It included marigolds and whatever things, including food and drink, the deceased person loved the best. If you see flower altars this October 31st and November 1st and 2nd, you'll see photographs, flowers, and sugar skulls and bread to help feed those loved ones in the afterlife.
Luckily, like us, the Aztecs also believed that you didn't have to die to get everything you love, and that included food and drink. In fact, they had 400 godlings all dedicated to wine – their mother, the goddess Mayahuel, was the goddess of the maguey and of pulque (a milky alcoholic drink made from the maguey plant) and fed those young gods, represented by rabbits, every night.
Like the ancient Aztecs, we appreciate the value of good wine. This November 1st, we'll tip a glass back to you – unless you want to come on one of our famous train tours or chauffered wine tours, and learn even more about the history of wine!
Feliz Día de los Muertos,
Brooke B., Mueca de la Catrina
Holy cow, it's nearly the end of September again. How did this happen? (We know, we know, the same way as always.) While San Diego's summer is filled with interesting and fun things to do, truth be told, our biggest open secret is that autumn is hands down our favorite season around here.
“But San Diego Beer and Wine Tours,” we hear you say, “there are no seasons in San Diego!” Ah, that's where you're wrong. There are four distinct seasons here, made all the more beautiful by their subtlety, and this is the best one of them all. It's not just because of the warm winds that sweep up from Mexico, or the way the angled sunlight makes ocean waves extra glittery, but also the wealth of opportunities to go out and have fun!
One such event is San Diego Beer Week. This amazing event, which is going on from November 1st through November 10th 2013, is now in its fifth year. You may have noticed that Beer Week lasts ten solid days. That's because it's too big to contain in a mere seven!
San Diego Beer Week was dreamed up as a way to showcase and promote our vibrant craft beer community. It's a wonderland of tastings and pairings at a variety of price points. From piney to sour, to barrel-aged beers, all brewed locally, there's sure to be something to make everybody happy. It certainly keeps us thrilled and eager to go explore the little-known nooks and crannies of San Diego's craft brewing scene.
That's just one reason we love the fall in San Diego, and it's a big one. If you don't believe us, check out some of the events going on. We promise you'll love it.
See you there at one of the great events of San Diego Beer Week. Remember: Drink, don’t drive. Call us at (858) 551-5115 for a ride to the awesome events! Mention “San Diego Beer Week” and we’ll give you $5 any of our tours throughout November!
Brooke B., Cerevisaphiliac
We generally don't delve into politics, but we have to take this time to tip our hats to our great state, because it has done something wonderful and once again declared September California Wine Month.
You know how we feel about that – that every month should be California Wine Month – but we're delighted to have more of an opportunity to showcase our wines and the people who love them. We sincerely feel that developing a taste and an understanding of wines leads to a greater appreciation for subtleties in other areas of your life.
We are especially happy about the opportunity to talk about the great Wine Country in San Diego. Restaurants throughout the county are getting in on the action too, heading wine tastings and pairing dinners; you can also explore wineries or take a guided tour. And we know just the place you can go if you want a wine tour or a wine and food pairing tour, especially a safe and environmentally-friendly one.
Get in touch with us, and we'll show you how to celebrate this month in style!
Brooke B., Winette
It's nearly autumn in southern California. The sky turns a particular shade of dusty blue and the heat waves everybody thinks should come in June always arrive in September. It's also a very exciting time of year in the wine industry, because it's harvest time!
We absolutely love harvest time in San Diego anyway, and the fact that we now have a month dedicated to wine makes it that much sweeter. There are special events and grape stomps all over the place! This year's harvest has come a bit early due to warm weather and a huge crop that promises to make 2013 a banner year for California wine.
For all your stomping needs across San Diego County:
The Julian Grape Stomp Festa takes place on the 7th of September, from 11am to 7pm. Thousands of people show up every year to enjoy themselves and sample Julian's particular natural beauty and tasty delights.
If you want to stay a little farther south that day or want to hit more than one stomp, Barrio Logan Winery's harvest celebration is also on September 7th from 11am to 7pm. It's about five minutes from the middle of downtown San Diego and will be an excellent time, with live music, costume competitions, and stomping contests, all going to a good cause.
September 14th is Bernardo Winery's grape-stomping festival. They'll serve up music and wine while allowing you to squish grapes between your toes. The stomp starts at noon sharp, so don't be late!
We're positive we'll see you at one or all of these.
Enjoy the harvest and stomp responsibly!
Brooke B., Twinkletoes
Sometimes, we hear complaints that southern California doesn't have seasons. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have four seasons here just like nearly anywhere else; all it takes to fully enjoy them is developing an appreciation for the subtle. Which is, of course, a great way to learn to fully enjoy wine, as well.
That's our way of telling you that fall is on its way! In San Diego, you don't see many trees changing color, and frost doesn't begin to pinch at your nose until at least December, but you can tell when autumn gets here. The air is clearer, but with a tinge of smoke from chimneys and faraway forest fires, the sky is a perfect shade of chilly blue, and the grape stomps begin.
Did you know that there are more than 60 wineries in San Diego County? San Diego Beer and Wine Tours would love to help you to discover them all. They're especially delightful in the fall, which is harvest time! We'll take you to the stomps at local wineries, where you can taste not only wine, but sample delicious farm-to-table food as well. It's an autumn tradition we're happy to share with you. We'll pick you up and drop you off on our guided, chauffeured wine country tour! Late summer and early fall is a beautiful time to visit San Diego Wine Country on a special Fall into Wine Country Tour.
See you at the wineries. We promise you'll "fall" for San Diego all over again! (Sorry, we couldn't resist.)
Brooke B., Season's Greeter
Grab your big hats and your pin money, because it's horse racing season again! We can hardly believe it, but it's that time of year already — the track is open for business today!
The Del Mar Horse Races are among San Diego's best known events; the racetrack is a place where people go to see and be seen, to place wagers, to showcase their summer pinstripes and their elaborate hats, and most of all to enjoy themselves! It's a decades-old tradition, and it gets better every year, featuring live music, special events, and fine dining with great beer and wine at the Turf Club.
We love horses, big hats, cool outfits, and above all, great food, wine, and beer, so the Del Mar Races are, obviously, right up our alley. We think they'll be your thing, too. Join us to celebrate Opening Day at the Races with $5 off our chauffeured winery tour or winery train tour now through closing day September 4th!
See you at the races!
Brooke B., Horsey Honey
Happy Pride from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!
Today and tomorrow, San Diego is holding its annual celebration of diversity: Pride Weekend. Much like our craft beer scene and Comic-Con, it started out a small gathering and turned into something much, much bigger. Every year, the Pride Parade, festival, and afterparties transform the always-lively San Diego neighborhood of Hillcrest into a gigantic, colorful (and sometimes glittery), and inclusive party.
We at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours love and respect the differences that keep life interesting. After all, who wants a world just full of Merlots when there are varietals like Albariños, Montepulcianos, and the ever-delightful and spicy Gewürztraminers to try, as well? And who wants to drink the same bland big brand beers every day when you can try a whole rainbow of craft stouts, pilsners, or IPAs?
That respect for diversity is part and parcel of who we are. That's why we're offering $5 off any of our beer and wine tours for the month of July, to help you appreciate the wine and beer world's rich pageant. Just mention "Pride" for your discount!
Celebrate diversity! It makes the world go `round.
Brooke B., Rain Beau
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