C.J. Easter understands the value of physical fitness. As a former defensive back who faced some of college football's most fearsome offenses during a four-year stint with the Stanford Cardinal, he could only be as effective as he was lean. With visions of sleek physiques in mind, Easter earned his personal-training certification from the American Council on Exercise, founded Performance Science Training Institute, and set to work devising a fitness system of his own.
The gym's exclusive Metabolic Movement Training (MMT) System is the result of all that hard work. The system is designed to jump-start the metabolism, so it continues working long after the session is complete by helping the body burn fat all day long. After a dynamic warmup to boost flexibility and coordination, trainers lead students through progressive resistance training to strengthen bones and muscles. Next, exciting, short-burst cardio intervals work to condition the heart and lungs and boost endurance, and a final core-training session chisels the midsection. Every exercise includes modifications and progressions to ensure students at every fitness level will glean benefits, and every session ends with a cool-down and stretch to leave bodies feeling better than when they came in.
The institute's team of instructors also augment MMT exercises with counseling on how to make responsible nutritional decisions and set goals that are both challenging and achievable. This all-over approach doesn't simply help people get fitter; it helps them remake their entire lives in a healthier, happier image.
The Day of Discovery Festival provides patrons with the opportunity to kick back in a lush winery setting, while knocking back estate-grown grapey goods to the melodious offerings of 18 bands, including some Bay Area acts, on three different stages. Headlined by Luce, the festival also features the Bacchus Brothers, The Ferocious Few, and seven acoustic acts. Food, wine, and beer will be available for purchase all day and doors open at noon, with music starting at 1 p.m. Wente Vineyards offers an intimate viewing environment by each stage, ensuring that any spot you set down your blanket will give you a good view of the stage action, allowing you to shut off your internal bionic opera glasses.
At Tamas Estates, sippers swish the vineyard's award-winning varietals fermented with sustainably grown grapes. Epicureans sit at the bar swirling four vintages in one of two different tasting flights. Bouquets range from the pinot grigio's citrus hints and the zinfandel's berry hints to the Double Decker red's plum and crossword-puzzle hints. Visitors are encouraged to pair their vino with a picnic lunch, brought from home and savored on a scenic outdoor patio. Tasting duos come away with a bottle of Tamas Estates' 2008 barbera, whose crisp, fruity finish and vanilla hints stimulate taste buds and distract the mind while the heart goes on an emotional rampage.
The wine enthusiasts at Signaturewines.com—a group of professionals from various industries—foster a community for other wine and food lovers to connect and share their oenophile experiences. They regularly notify their members of tours, tastings, and wine-related events at more than 20 Northern California wineries. They also orchestrate special deals that immerse visitors in settings such as the opulent gilded decor of Domenico Winery, the rustic wooden architecture of Guglielmo Winery, and the verdant vineyards and 200-horse stables of Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards.
Keeping abreast of local and national food events,SignatureWines.com also introduces members to regional wine bars, wineries, and restaurants, and provides an online community where members can read reviews and share wine experiences. VIP cards let customers take part in complimentary tastings and avoid standard hassles such as corkage fees and general-admission mosh pits. Proceeds for such events often go to charities involved in various initiatives.
Bill and Stephanie Prioste stumbled upon winemaking?literally. After finding grapes growing at the rear of their half-acre plot, their property manager suggested they try to turn them into wine. Nearing retirement, it became more than just a hobby, and their initial venture grew into what today is Windmill Ridge Winery. There, they oversee the production of an impressive selection of wines, from silky and acidic Petit Syrah to light and crisp Chardonnay.
Wind tousles the broad leaves of vines above clusters of grapes the off-black blue of the dusk sky. Frank and Liz Vez?r, owners of Vez?r Family Vineyard, originally began growing the fruit to help fill the needs of wine producers including Ravenswood and Sin Zin. More than a decade ago, they also began producing their own wines. ?One could call it beginner?s luck,? says Touring and Tasting Magazine, ?but their award-winning streak has yet to be broken. Every single wine Vez?r has produced has won a top award or superior rating. Of most recent note, the 2007 Vez?r Cabernet Sauvignon won double gold at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and a whopping 97 points at a blind tasting at Napa?s Bay Leaf Restaurant.?
The winery adjoins the original Pony Express offices, and one can still almost hear the sound of plodding hooves and hooves frustratedly trying to apply stamps. On a copper-roofed cupola, an equine weathervane twists to face the winds above a sweeping swath of grass that fills with chatter during weddings and other events.