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
The second Sunday in August is a very special day. As of 2010, it's been “Spirit of `45 Day.” It was passed unanimously by Congress, and the first Spirit of `45 Day fell on August 14th, the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Spirit of `45 Day was created first and foremost to commemorate the ordinary people who lived through the Second World War and the mettle shown by surviving members of the Greatest Generation as they rebuilt the United States after the end of the war. Another, very important reason was to remind the world that the United States is committed to never allowing a world war to happen again..
We, too, would like to honor these ordinary heroes, the men and women of World War II, so in the Spirit of `45, we are offering $4.50 off any of our Train Tours or our Chauffeured Wine Country Tour between now and the end of August. There's no better way to celebrate than tipping back a locally brewed ale. San Diego's beer scene emphasizes the solidarity and the can-do spirit that characterizes the United States at its best.
Here's to the Spirit of `45, and we'll see you on a tour!
Brooke B., Andrews Sister
We're not gonna lie – Earth Day is one of our favorite days of the year around here. Since our inception, we've been all about saving the planet. Just check out some of the information on our carbon-footprint-reducing train tours and our emphasis on buying local!
By the way, if you're a beer and wine nut, one of the best things you can do is buy locally. It's not just that you'll get better beer and wine, even though you will, or feel more connected to the local environment while you sip, even though you are.
No, the best reasons to drink locally is twofold: first, you're supporting our vibrant Californian wine and beer culture and keeping local jobs coming, and second – and this is a biggie – by directly supporting all the local brews, you're reducing the enormous, gigantic fuel consumption that comes when global mass producers of beer and wine ship it to your neighborhood.
Plus, there are all the benefits that come from getting out and getting to know your beers and wines and the communities and neighborhoods around you that passionately love and support them.
So remember: Think globally, drink, locally!
To your health and the health of the planet,
Brooke B., Recyclist
There's no such thing as a perfect child. Admit it – you were a brat growing up just like all the rest of us. Do you see those grey hairs on your mom? Those are your fault, every single last one of them. That time you came home three hours late without calling? The time you got under the sink and tried to eat Drano? How about the time you brought home that really inappropriate “friend” in high school? Oh, we know. We've all been there.
At this point, the only appropriate question is, “How can I make this up to my mom?” The answer is simple: with wine. That's why we at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours have put together a wonderful Mother's Day gift to help you apologize for all those months as a kid you spent refusing to eat anything but Oreos and mayonnaise sandwiches. We offer special packages for this time of year that include a wine (or beer) and food tour, plus a deep discount on a spa day for her! We're offering it now through the end of May.
Trust us on this one: your mom will love it. And if you're a mom, you know what we're talking about.
Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful moms out there. We salute you!
Brooke B., Mamacita
Posted in Beer, Breweries, bus tours, Food and Vine, holiday, Local Business, San Diego Wine Country, San Diego Winery Tour, Theme Tours, Tours, Walking Tours, Wine, Wine Train, Winemaking, Wineries |
The vernal equinox is the first day of spring. That's when the day and night are roughly equal in length. Now nighttime is just going to keep getting shorter, until we're at summer's glorious peak!
Not that springtime in San Diego is anything to sneeze at, unless you're allergic to pollen, of course. In fact, it's one of the most gloriously beautiful times of the year here, with rare flowers popping out of the desert and cherry blossoms adorning Balboa Park.
It's also a great time of year to sit outside and sip some light springtime wines. We recommend light-bodied wines. Here are a few to try:
Prosecco is a light and sparkly wine, and at its best it's fruity without being oversweet. It's also quite wallet-friendly, running about $10 a bottle. Perfect for sipping with or without peach juice as you sit on the porch in the springtime sun. Try something from Nino Franco to start.
California has a serious rosé issue — it's serious about rosés. And so are we! Dry, balanced rosés make life worth living, and Napa Valley produces some of the best you'll find anywhere. Trefethen Family Vineyards produces a wonderful fruity rosé that's made with Pinot Noir grapes and has hints of cherries and strawberries. Perfect.
Red wine that carries just a touch of sweetness will be welcome on any sunny day, too. Modesto's Tisdale Vineyard carries a wine called Sweet Red of California that's a springtime favorite. It's great for summer, too! Pair it with your favorite barbecued food.
Enjoy the sparkling days and clear nights of springtime in San Diego. Here's to the equinox!
Brooke B., Spring Blossom
Statue of Dionysius, the Roman god of wine and the harvest. Also the most fun god. True story.
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.
Beware the ides of March.
What man is that?
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
March 15th supposed to be a day that bad things are bound to happen. The phrase "beware the ides of March" comes, like so many other things in the English language, from Shakespeare.
There's actual history behind the saying. As you may have guessed, March 15th is the day that Julius Caesar was assassinated, setting the stage for the Roman Republic to become the Roman Empire. But the middle of March wasn't always considered an unlucky day, and we agree that it shouldn't be. Back in the Roman days, it was also the feast of Anna Parenna, which was supposed to complete the cycle of the year.
This was a day of festivities, which included drinking as much wine as your belly could hold. It was thought that each cup of wine you drank meant you'd live yet another happy and healthy year. We can't say that's something you shouldn't do, but just keep in mind that wine back then was not as potent as it is now, since they mixed it with seawater (a thought which frankly horrifies us.)
Be that as it may, don't beware the ides of March… enjoy them, and have a glass of wine. Or two. Or three. One way or another, it'll make you happier!
To your health!
Brooke B., Haruspex
Little-known fact: He's actually reaching for a beer in this painting.
Happy Presidents' Day!
This is the day we have set aside to reflect on the many accomplishments of the presidents of the United States of America. What too often gets left out of the story, though, is our favorite part of it – the relationships between the leaders of the free world… and the breweries and wineries they kept.
Most recently, President Barack Obama gave new life to the phrase “amber waves of grain” by not only being photographed sipping beers, but also releasing the recipe to White House Honey Ale in response to a Freedom of Information Act request (which was released in 2012 to rave reviews.)
But he was far from the only one! George Washington loved his beer, and probably brewed it on his own estate. Fellow founding father Thomas Jefferson was not only a brewing nut, so was his wife Martha, who produced about 15 gallons of low-alcohol beer every couple of weeks. And John Adams came from a family of brewers – in face, Sam Adams (sound familiar?) was his second cousin.
The Founding Fathers loved their beer. But they also loved their wine! After all, Benjamin Franklin (yes, we know he wasn't ever president, but he was there) was the one who praised wine to the skies in his often-misquoted letter:
Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.
He also loved his "strong, harvest-time ale." He's said to have praised beer in his customarily pithy way, saying, “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is courage, in water there is bacteria.” We're actually not totally sure about this one, since the term “bacteria” didn't exist until the mid-19th century, but we're sure he would have signed off on it.
So tilt a brew or a bottle back today, because you're following in the footsteps of a fine American tradition.
To your health!
Brooke B., Historian Doyenne
It's almost Valentine's Day! It's the most wonderful day in the world if you're happily in love, but not so much if you aren't. But it could be! If you're looking for something to do this February 14th, or any day in February, we have an idea for you.
Here's our idea: Love yourselves! Life is wonderful, especially with fine wine or beer paired with wonderful food and like-minded people. One of the best ways we know of to pamper yourself and make yourself happy is by indulging in the tastiest of food and drink. And we have the perfect time to do it – on one of our Valentine's tours.
Whether you're coupled up or a singleton, we don't mind. We love bringing people along for our Romantic Tours to show you the best of what San Diego has to offer.
Everybody loves a lover, so love yourself! We love you.
Brooke B., Valentine Clementine
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
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