Happy Winter from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: December 2nd, 2014

Image Courtesy: Flickr user rkramer62

It's officially time for the Christmas countdown!

Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, you can't help but get caught up in the holiday spirit – lights are twinkling against our gorgeous California sunsets, the malls are full of specials (and people!) and there's just a certain feel in the air as the days get shorter and cooler. 

It's also a great time of year to start switching up your wines.  This cooler weather is not only welcome, it lets you consider completely different tastes and flavors!  Light and fruity, for example, is nice enough in the heat, but what you really want during a December downpour is a good, bold red or a hearty white.  

Luckily, the jamminess and spiciness that chilly weather really demands is readily available from California wines!  Here are some good picks for sitting inside and watching the rain fall on a cold San Diego winter's day.

Petite Sirah: This rich, flavorful wine has flavor and then some.  It would almost be overpowering on a hot day, but right now is the perfect time to curl up on the couch with a book in one hand and a glass in the other.  Try Doce Robles' award-winning Petite Sirah, or Bernardo Winery's Winter Vineyard Petite Sirah (both about $30 a bottle.)  Pair a glass with chocolate or rich cocoa.  It'll keep that chill at bay!

Pinot Noir: August West is a great vineyard out of San Francisco.  The rich lushness of its Pinot Noir has been getting rave reviews, and it's well worth a taste.   If you want to buy as local as possible, Orfila's Element 119 Pinot Noir is rich and robust.  We recommend pairing either of them with hot chicken soup.   

Gewurztraminer: You didn't think we'd forget about white wines, do you?  The choice of Gewurztraminer might seem counterintuitive, because its flowery complexity is perfectly suited to hot summer afternoons. But if you find one with enough tannins to balance out the sweetness, you have a bold wine great for pairing hearty fish stew.  We recommend Stony Hill's (because they understand the Gewurztraminer love) or one from Orfila, which never seems to go wrong with its Gewurztraminers! About $20. 

We love winter, not just because of the changing weather patterns but because of our changing palates and flavor palettes.  We're looking forward to tipping back a glass of winter wine with you!

Cheers!

Brooke B., Winter Wine-derland

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San Diego Beer & Wine Tours Is Thankful For So Many Things!

Post Date: November 20th, 2014

Beautiful table with thanksgiving food

It's almost holiday season. Well, actually, since holiday season starts right after Halloween these days, we guess it IS holiday season!

This the time of year that we tell all of you how thankful we are for all of you.  We couldn't be in this business without you, our fellow beer, wine,nd food aficionados, and all the good things you bring into our lives.  

We're also thankful we live in such an amazing corner of the world, where fine, locally-produced food and drink is available everywhere we turn!

Since we know you appreciate good meals and drinks just as much as we do, we thought we'd share some tried-and-true suggestions with you to make your Thanksgiving Day as delightful as it can possibly be.

First, to the food.  Do you have too much to drink hanging around the house? Is that bottle of sparkling wine from your great-aunt not really doing it for you?  How about roasting a champagne turkey?  The wine (or sparkling cider, if you don't feel like sacrificing a bottle) plus some butter leaves the turkey tender, moist, and absolutely delicious.  Or, if you have some leftover reds, how about adding a red wine glaze?  Spectacular!

When it comes to actually drinking the wine, turkey is a special case. While you can drink red or white wine with anything, of course, turkey actually pairs beautifully with both! 

So we think that if you want to kick it up a notch, you should take the middle ground and add a delicious orange to pair with your turkey, just to keep your family or friends guessing. Orange wine is white wine that's spent a lot of time fermenting in its own skins and seeds. At its best, it's complex and spicy and goes beautifully with a Thanksgiving feast.  The ever-wonderful Bernardo Winery has a sweet orange moscato that would taste divine with cranberry sauce or even with dessert.  It's also a gorgeous color! 

If you're feeling beerish, we can't recommend a good stout, like Alesmith's Speedway Stout, enough.  Its coffee and molasses notes are perfect for pairing with stuffing and its creaminess complements everything from peas to pumpkin pie! 

But if you're feeling adventurous, sour beers are where it's at for Thanksgiving.  Sour beers, in case you haven't tried them, are perfect for cutting through the sometimes-gamy flavor of dark turkey meat, and prep your palate for the lighter side dishes.  If you can get your hands on The Savage from Societe, it's a great American sour ale and we highly recommend it! Its cherry finish will leave you singing. 

Of course, you can always come out on a tour with us. We'll feed you fine food and drink – and you won't ever have to worry about cleanup!

As always, we're so thankful for you.

Brooke B., Thanks Giver 

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Posted in Beer, Breweries, Food and Vine, holiday, Local Business, Recipes, San Diego Wine Country, Tours, Uncategorized, Walking Tours, Wine, Wine Train |


San Diego Beer and Wine Tours loves a Day at the Races!

Post Date: November 6th, 2014

Heading to the racetrack doesn't always have to be a summertime affair. This year is an unusual one, because for the first time since an unsuccessful one-year run in the 1960s, the autumn horseracing circuit will be at Del Mar instead of Hollywood Park, whose racetrack closed down for good at the end of last year.

You know what that means?  We get to wear our big hats and party like it's summertime for the next few weeks. The Bing Crosby Season lasts from November 7th until the 30th, and it promises to be an exciting time, just like always!

But people don't just go to the races to watch the horses, although that's of course the main draw. The Del Mar racetrack is also home to great food and drink. There's something for everyone, whether you're looking for burgers and fries or a fresh Mediterranean buffet. Delicious!

But the real treats here are the drinks. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has some of the best mixed drinks you'll find anywhere in San Diego. And since November promises to be a warm month, it's a perfect time to come out with us and enjoy a cool and refreshing Del Mint Julep, or perhaps a Moet and Chandon Ice Imperial… delightful!  But there are so many more.

Don't forget, too, that the exclusive Turf Club at Del Mar offers Sunday brunch created by Chef Brian Malarkey for the duration of Bing Crosby Season, paired with bottomless mimosas. Just don't forget there's a dress code!

We're off and running. See you at the races!

Brooke B., Thirsty Thoroughbred 

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San Diego Beer and Wine Tours Loves Dia de los Muertos!

Post Date: October 30th, 2014

It's the spookiest time of the year! 

Halloween is on its way.  Kids are donning costumes, scary movies are all over Netflix, and ghosts are wailing in the trees (or is it just the Santa Ana?).

But we haven't forgotten about that other celebration of All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day: Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.  That's the Mexican celebration of the dead, where you can go to the graveyards and talk to your loved ones who have passed on.

We are so close to Mexico here in southern California that we would be remiss if we didn't mention Baja California's vibrant beer and wine scene.  But you shouldn't have to cross any international borders to sample them, if you don't want to! 

First up, let's talk about the craft beer scene, which in no way stops at the international border. We absolutely love Cucapa, which is out of Mexicali, and now is readily available in San Diego. 

A pair of binational brothers, Ivan and Damien Morales, have a tiny but great brewery out of Tijuana called Cerveceria Insurgente (Insurgent Brewing or Revolutionary Brewing) that is currently collaborating with Stone for something that will be truly delicious

And then there's Mexico's wineries, which are the among the oldest in the New World. Their wines are fruity and delicious, but sometimes a little minerally and salty – a byproduct of the soil in which the grapes grow.  Whether or not that is your thing is a matter of taste, but it definitely sets Baja's wines apart from the rest!

We'll also be brewing up wine and beer tastings this weekend, so grab your favorite calavera pals and taste some cerveza and vino with us.

It'll be an eerily fun time! 

Salud,

Brooke B., Calaca

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Posted in Beer, Breweries, Food and Vine, holiday, Local Business, San Diego Wine Country, San Diego Winery Tour, Theme Tours, Tours, Wine, Wine Train, Winemaking, Wineries |


Happy National Red Wine Day from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: October 15th, 2014

Today is National Red Wine Day! And what a glorious day it is. It's the day when we take a moment to sit back, take a sip, and really appreciate red wine. What, you say? That's every day? Well, read on for tips on how to appreciate it more! 

First of all, wine is history in a glass. No matter what you drink, you're sipping on the sun, the sky, the soil, the climate, and the temperament of the place your wine was born. It contains the minerals that nurtured it, the light that warmed it, the chill of the starry nights that helped the grapes grow. In short, it embodies the character of a place like nothing else you could eat or drink, and in the most delightful and delicious way possible.

And while people have been fermenting beverages throughout human history, red wine has a special place in history. Egyptians associated it with blood and therefore considered it sacred. Europeans loved red wine so much that explorers brought and planted their own grapes wherever they landed

Second, red wine is great for you. Red wine contains polyphenols and antioxidants that provide many anti-aging benefits, from preventing wrinkles to protecting your heart.

This is not to say that white wine, or orange wine, or green wine, or rosé are not glorious things to taste as well. We just think that red wine deserves an appropriately reverent attitude today, and really, every day. That's why we have our wine tours, so you, too, can enjoy the complexities of California's history and delicious climate in every glass.

Cheers!

 

Brooke B., Oenophile

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Happy Wine Month from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: September 9th, 2014

September is a very special month to us, and one that we always greet with great happiness. It's National Wine Month, and September 15th through the 19th is National Wine Week.  And best of all, governor Jerry Brown has just proclaimed this month California Wine Month, too – especially in light of the big earthquake in Wine Country.

 

Not only does this mean the wine world is chock-full of wondrous deals and promotions that translate to more fun for you, it's also one of the best times of the year for wine, at least in and around San Diego and – harvest time.

We've talked about how great the harvest is in the past, but we'd like to point out that this is also a great time to get to know new vineyards in the region, especially since so many new ones are about to start sprouting up, since San Diego County recently changed the rules and made it a lot easier to cut through the red tape you need to start your own vineyard.

So, come out with us and get to know some new wineries as we celebrate this wonderful time of year! You'll be glad you did. We were!

Salute!

Brooke B., Wine-ocerous

 

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San Diego Beer and Wine Tours Loves Food, Too!

Post Date: August 27th, 2014

We know we're called San Diego Beer and Wine Tours, but we don't just deal with beer and wine. In fact, we never have. We understand that beer and wine without wonderful food pairings is like having peanut butter without the jelly, ice cream without the sprinkles, yin without yang – you get the picture.

All of our tours, as a matter of fact, include food tastings to go with your beverages – the equivalent of a full meal. We don't just tour the finest wineries and breweries in San Diego. Our tours are filled with the best food this town has to offer, no matter what you're in the mood for!

It's a great way to savor the best gourmet, farm-to-table fare while you sip without having to commit to the price of a full meal. Plus, you get to answer one of life's eternal questions: what's better with pizzabeer or wine? (Answer: Both, of course. And don't forget champagne, too.)

Worried about calories? Don't be! First of all, you won't be getting overprocessed food – we deal with only the best food made with the highest-quality ingredients, and our walking tours will burn them right off.

We don't stop with beer and wine pairings.  We also have whiskey tours – we've found that Chedi Thai Bistro's food works beautifully with owner and chef Pia's creations.

And in case you're not in a drinking mood, rejoice. We have suggestions for wonderful non-alcoholic drinks to pair with food as well!

In other words, we have something for everybody and we proudly support the small businesses that produce the tastiest and freshest foods in San Diego.

Here's to health, good food, and lip-smackingly delicious libations!

 

Brooke B., Epicure  

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Happy Autumn from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: August 21st, 2014

The temperature's a-changing and fall's on its way. We have talked at length before about our love for southern California in the autumn, haven't we? Well, we'll talk about it again. It's one of the most beautiful times of year – drought notwithstanding – because while we don't get the spectacular rainbow-hued leaves and chilly weather you might find elsewhere, we have our own unmistakable signs that the seasons are changing.

One such sign is the marine layer. It lingers a little longer this time of year, making the mornings just a little cooler and more overcast. When the sun finally peeps through the coastal clouds, it's not so warm. In fact, the conditions are perfect for a day at the beach so that you can watch the rays sparkle on the waves. Further inland, the mountains and foothills are spectacular under a sky that isn't that particular shade of azure anywhere else in the world.

But one of the best parts of San Diego's fall season is the grape harvest. That's when you know autumn has arrived! Harvest time is the best time of year for winemakers and wine lovers alike, although we know it's a bit more exhausting for them than it might be for us. There are parties, wine tastings galore, and – our most favorite of all – a grape stomp. Who doesn't love a good stomping? They're all over the place for the next couple of months, from Julian to Escondido and beyond!

If you're interested in joining the party, contact us! We're all about a good harvest celebration, and we know where the best ones are.

Here's to the changing of the seasons!

 

Brooke B., Seasoned Wino

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Happy Labor Day from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: August 19th, 2014

It's Labor Day!

If we lived anywhere but this absolutely beautiful part of the world, this would be the unofficial end of summer and beginning of fall. But since we're in southern California, the march of the seasons are a good deal more subtle.

However, this is a great time to start planning outdoor barbecues and backyard parties with friends, and we're all for that!

Labor Day is actually a day to celebrate the rights and achievements of workers, long pressed tightly under the thumb of the manufacturing industry. After the Industrial Revolution, the average American worked more than 80 hours a week, with no days off, simply to put food on the table, and children as young as 5 were already working in the mines.

Labor unionized and revolted, organizing strikes and rallies. On September 5th, 1882, thousands of workers marched from New York City Hall to Union Square, agitating for change. And the change came. 40-hour weeks became the standard, and child labor was criminalized.

Twelve years after that historic march, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September a national holiday. Thus was Labor Day born. Over time, this day became a way to celebrate community through parties and parades. That's our favorite part!

So, whatever you end up doing, tilt a glass for the history of Labor Day and the courageous people who made life better for the rest of us… and remember, it's perfectly acceptable to drink white after Labor Day.

Cheers!

 

Brooke B., Proletariat

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Happy Wedding Season from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: July 23rd, 2014

It's wedding season! 

Actually, we know that you can get married any day of the year, but here in southern California, the summer is the season of love! June through August seem to be the magical months. That's when the skies are bluest and the beaches are the most beautiful — the winning combination for amore.

We love weddings! But, marriage isn't all about the wedding: It starts with a proposal. (I’d cut this next line: And while there are very few bad places to ask the person of your dreams to spend your lives together, some are more unusual than others.) Here's our list of romantic places to propose to your soon-to-be life partner:

1.     Balboa Park. Get an eyeful of San Diego's history, culture, and lovely architecture. If you stop in the middle of the bridge, you can also have a wonderful view of downtown San Diego.

2.     La Jolla Cove. This is one of the most enchanting places in the county. Not only does it have an underwater park, but its views above the water can't be beat. And be sure to go visit the seals around the corner as they sun themselves on the sand.

3.     Bernardo Winery. It's a lovely little family winery tucked away in Rancho Bernardo, complete with a tasting room and a restaurant. It's beautiful, memorable and we're big fans. Be sure to try the chocolate!

4.     Presidio Park. It's a little bit of a hike to get to the top, but once you get there, it’s worth it! You're treated with trees aplenty, green grass, and panoramic views of San Diego.

5.     On one of our tours!! We love seeing happy couples and we love being part of the first big step on their journey together! Check out this sweet proposal from a recent tour. (Congratulations, Claudia and Robert!)

We wish you the best in your lives together, and we would love to be a part of it from the proposal to your 50-year anniversary.

Congratulations to you all!

Brooke B., Wedding Planner

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