Thursday, June 7, 2012

Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival Recap

Like I said, this weekend was jam packed full of outings for us and we certainly weren't about to miss the 31st Annual Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival at Heather FarmsDistinguished by its spacious park setting and family-friendly activities, the popular Walnut Creek Chamber Art & Wine Festival is recognized by the Contra Costa Times as the East Bay's Best Outdoor Festival.  We took a trip over this past Sunday after the market and spent the day enjoying the sunshine, friendly crowds, great food and fantastic wine selection that the festival had to offer.

We always make the effort to arrive early, sidestepping most of the crowds and heat that the two day event brings.  It gives us a chance to wander freely, check out the vendors and decide whether or not it's a beer or wine year.  This time around we chose to go the wine route, as there were 36 + vendors pouring from the vine and only 8 beer taps representing.  A good decision overall, we found some great new wineries and enjoyed a lot of old favorites.  It's certainly a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, walking around covered in sunblock, wine glass in tow.

One winery in particular stood out, called Laujor Estate.  Run by David and Cheryl Lucido of Kelseyville, CA,  Laujor Estate Vineyard was planted in 2006 to Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah Noir, and Cabernet Franc. Their growing region is in the Red Hills AVA which is well known for it's well draining soils due to the obsidian resulting from the volcanic eruption of Mt. Konocti over 350,000 years ago.  David and Cheryl believe in the utilization of a sustainable vineyard system by implementing preventative solutions; healthy soils which produce plants of good vigor and the reduction of disease and pest incidence with proper water and nutrient management resulting in improved yield and quality. With these ongoing practices they strongly believe that they will not compromise the future while meeting the needs of the present.  We sampled several of their wines including their 2009 Sauvignon Blanc and their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon- both lovely.  While both of the Lucido's were in attendance, I only had the pleasure of meeting David.  He was there pouring, a delightful man, full of spirit and intelligence behind the counter- we chatted for quite some time and he invited us up for a visit which we will surely be doing in the future. 

Next, we came across an intriguing booth called Global Grub.  Global Grub's mission is simple: "With their ethnic cooking kits, there's no need to search around for recipes and ingredients.  Just enjoy the best parts- cooking and eating!"  Go on a fun cooking adventure in your very own kitchen in just a few steps: 1: Choose an ethnic cooking kit. Each one features a tasty recipe, non-perishable ingredients that are pre-measured, and detailed instructions.  2: Pick up a few basic ingredients from our shopping list, and begin your adventures in cooking.  3: Enjoy tastes of the world with your loved ones.  Sounds so easy right?  I had to try it out, so I purchased the Red Chili Tamales kit.  I plan on making those later this week, so I'll keep you posted.  They look delicious, and the best part about Global Grub is that they are local, Walnut Creek to be exact, and for every meal kit you purchase they'll donate a meal to a person in need through the Alameda Community Foodbank.  What a fabulous idea!!

My husband fell deeply in love with Aunt Betty's Gourmet Corn Dogs that day as well.  As of right now I cannot locate a website for these folks, but man, do they need one.  I believe they are based out of Sonoma and they specialize in the world's biggest, meanest, most tasty corn dog I've ever seen.  The hubbs chose the Louisiana hot link option- a firecracker red hot sausage absolutely buried in cornmeal, as big as a shoe.  Filling, even for him, he says he's never tasted anything so good on a stick.  I hope we can find them around at other events so I can get more info on them.  It seemed like everyone that day was walking around with one in their hand.  Yum!  Pile on the hot mustard and you're good to go!

Outside of all the eating and drinking happening that day, I managed to find some "real" shopping to do, which is unusual.  I'm ordinarily busy indulging my stomach on most occasions but there were a couple finds that I couldn't resist.  I found a beautiful tie-dye skirt (yes, you heard me) from Green Dragon.  Based out of LA and produced completely in California, their pieces are made with organic, sustainable, and/or recycled fabrics.  I chose the skirt made of bamboo fibers and a similar slip dress- both at affordable prices. 

The hubby recently returned from a trip to Italy and was still fiending for some intermezzo tunes...  Turns out, he found some at the festival, thanks to Mr. Al Fabrizio & Hugo Wainzinger.  Between their Italian Mandolin and classical guitar, you too can feel like you are lounging about, sipping vino and enjoying the view in the Italian countryside.  We have one very old Italian Intermezzo CD we found about 15 years ago that has practically melted in the CD player over recent years, so it will be nice to add some new music to the rotation.  Plus, it's just fun to listen to.  You can find their albums through Heartstrings Music, based out of Mountain View, CA.

There is no way I'd be able to sum up all the fun we had at the WC Art & Wine Festival this year without leaving plenty of things out.  I'm not able to name all of the wineries, vendors or musicians that were in attendance, nor would I want to spoil the fun of you discovering them all on your own.  All I can say is that yet again, the festival proved itself to be a beautiful, entertaining way to spend a Sunday surrounded by friends and perfect weather.  I can't recommend attending this annual event enough, and I will certainly be back again next year.  It's both family and pet friendly, and Heather Farms is the perfect outdoor location to host such an occasion. 

Looking forward to 2013,

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