INDULGE IN YOUR PASSION FOR GOLF AND WINE
[dropcap size=small]W[/dropcap]hen I was younger, my father became a golf fanatic. My family traveled to any and every golf destination and waited while he played. We would usually find something to occupy our time; save for that one day he decided to play 36 holes. That’s why I know it is a good idea to find a resort that offers more than just the greens.
Santa Barbara Side Saddle
The Alisal Guest Ranch Resort in the Santa Ynez Valley offers much more than two 18-hole championship golf courses. Golfers can enjoy The Ranch Course designed by William Bell Jr., a par 72 course that spans 6,500 yards surrounded by sycamores that give the Alisal its name. There are also 10, 000 plus acres of this working cattle ranch to enjoy. While there are no TVs or phones (and limited cellular phone service), guests can enjoy tennis, hiking, a petting zoo, and riding the 50 miles of trails on horseback.
When the morning’s activities have worked up a big thirst, guests can jaunt over the bridge to the quaint Danish town of Solvang with wine tasting rooms galore. Try the Mandolina, which serves up estate-grown Italian varietals including Pinot Grigio, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Moscato, Sangiovese, and ever-popular Super-Tuscan blends of Bordeaux and Italian varietals.
Next door you’ll find the Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards tasting room where the Malbec and Viognier are especially good. Downtown Solvang is also home to the tasting room of the Stolpman Vineyards, which produces ten different wines, but is perhaps best know for its Syrahs.
Apart from tasting rooms, many area wineries near the Alisal Guest Ranch Resort also offer tours, most by appointment. The resort itself offers winemaker dinners, winery tours, boot camps, team building and a golf classic. For heavy hitters the Alisal even offers “Rent the Ranch Buy Out” programs where for a price you can take over all 73 of its rooms. [alisal.com]
Livermore Wine Country Links
A close jaunt from San Francisco, Livermore wine country beckons with multiple wine tasting opportunities. The Course at Wente, a Greg Norman-designed course offers unique opportunities to play and taste. Wente Vineyards offers a Golf Stay & Play package in conjunction with The Lafayette Park Hotel. This winery, founded in 1883, is now managed by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family. [wentevineyards.com]
Other local tasting rooms abound in the area. Along and just off Tesla Road, you’ll encounter a bevy of prestigious wineries. Concannon Vineyards has been around since 1883 and has become world famous for its Petite Sirahs. Their newest vintage of Captain Joe’s Petite Sirah received the Platinum Award, Best of Class and Gold Medal at the 2008 LA International Wine Competition.
The Steven Kent Winery is famous for its Premier Cabernet Collection each release is extremely limited and made from a single clone of Cabernet from a single vineyard. These include a 2001 Cabernet 3-liter selling for $275 and 5-liter bottles of 2002 and 2003 Cabernets that top the $500 mark. Owner Steven Mirassou is also the proprietor of the LaRochelle Winery that is well known for its Pinot Noirs. Current offerings include the 2006 Vintages of Russian River Valley, Santa Lucia Highlands and Classic Clones.
Tamas Estates produces a collection of wines grown from Italian varietal grapes that include a Pinot Grigio, a Zinfandel, a Sangiovese and a Barbera rich with flavors of cherry, pomegranate and a hint of vanilla. Murrieta’s Well Winery that offers a White Meritage blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc that is especially refreshing after a round. To learn more about the area’s wineries’ tours and tastings visit livermorewine.com.
Monterey and Carmel
The Lodge at Pebble Beach as well as the Inn at Spanish Bay offer luxurious lodging amidst some of the best and most scenic golf courses in the world, The Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Links at Spanish Bay, and Spyglass Hill Golf Course, considered one of the toughest in the world. During the event numerous wine tastings and culinary opportunities will abound as star chefs and wine professionals lead tastings and seminars.
Head inland to the Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club in Carmel Valley and take off on your own to area wineries and tasting rooms. Bernardus, Galante and Morgan even have tasting rooms in the town of Carmel, in walking distance of each other as well as local galleries and restaurants. You can find out more from carmelcalifornia.org. While wineries across the state of California use the delicious Monterey fruit to produce wine, there are some fantastic local tasting rooms a short drive from Monterey or Carmel.
Rebecca Chapa, is a Certified Wine Educator and holds the Diploma Wine and Spirits from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in London. Chapa is the Chairman of the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition and a freelance writer.
BY REBECCA CHAPA | http://19thholemag.com | IMAGE: LIVERMORE VINEYARDS
Rebecca Chapa, is a Certified Wine Educator and holds the Diploma Wine and Spirits from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in London. Chapa is the Chairman of the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition and a freelance writer. REBECCACHAPA.COM