Drink, Eat, and Be Merry

Wanted: Earthy, complex, full-bodied dinner companion with good legs and a long finish. Does that describe what you’ve been seeking in a wine? Then you should find plenty to interest you on the upcoming California junket of Foodtravels.com. From September 15 to 19—coinciding with the annual grape crush—the new Austin-based culinary tour company will sponsor a five-day expedition through the Napa Valley, allowing extraordinary access to what makes Napa Napa. Company co-owner Cathy Cochran-Lewis (the former director of the Central Market cooking schools) has come up with a mouthwatering itinerary. Tourgoers will visit eight of the area’s foremost wineries and vineyards, explore markets (including the charming St. Helena Farmers’ Market) with food and travel writer Antonia Allegra, and attend cooking demonstrations by experts like chef and author John Ash (John Ash Cooking One on One). Dinners will be held at notable restaurants, such as Tra Vigne, in St. Helena, and accommodations (including a spa treatment) will be at the Inn at Southbridge, also in St. Helena. The main attraction, of course, is wine, and at the various wineries—Cakebread Cellars, Caymus Vineyards, Sterling Vineyards, and five others—participants will get primers on grape growing and winemaking. Those lessons will be put to good use at Rutherford Hill Winery, where tourgoers will get to individually blend their own bottle of wine. There’s no sending that one back. The price of the tour is $2,995 a person, excluding airfare. Sign up now; only fourteen can go. For more information, go to foodtravels.com.

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