For over 50 years, Windsor Vineyards has been producing award-winning wines for every occasion. In keeping with its tradition of personally hand-writing custom labels on their wines, today, customers are invited to add their own special message or greeting. Wine clubs grant customers a vine-sourced passport to a world of varietals, shipping bottles throughout the year.
If you're going to open another place to drink wine in Sonoma County, you better have a unique idea. Luckily Jennifer Merletti Penrose did. Sure, she had experience managing a local winery, but her father was in the retail industry, globetrotting for products and fashions to present to Rodeo Drive boutiques and affordable pieces to resell at Los Angeles swap meets. So, she combined the two industries with Looking Glass, a designer boutique where shoppers can also sip on glasses or flights of champagne. The studio has included a diverse mix of designers that includes everyone from Tom Ford to Whetherly, and the rotating selection of champagnes is hand-picked by the owner of Traverso Fine Foods. You can drop by the boutique anytime to shop and sip, and even rent the space for bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and lessons on what hangers look like.
The inspiration behind thumbprint cellars' namesake was a happy accident, albeit a messy one. In his college years, Scott Lindstrom-Dake would bottle his own vintages in his garage and sign them with a pen that his wife and business partner, Erica, bought him. The pen began to leak one night, and in his attempts to stem the flow of golden ink down a bottle, Scott left a thumbprint on its surface. Now more than 20 of the winery’s products showcase the print in a rainbow of colors, recalling the work of Andy Warhol during his short-lived career in criminal justice. At the downtown tasting bar, patrons sidle up to the sine-wave bar for pours of those vintages, pairing them with bites of local cheeses and meats.
Mutt Lynch Winery owner Brenda Lynch loves wine and dogs, so it makes sense that her winery seamlessly integrates these two interests. Both Dog Fancy and Wine Advocate have praised Brenda for her dog-friendly winery, where canines and their owners can tour the facilities and sample several tasty wines. Cleverly named varietals range from the 2009 Merlot Over and Play Dead to the 2007 Portrait of a Mutt Zinfandel, while series include the limited production "mbf"—man’s best friend. Not only does Lynch oversee the winemaking process, she also donates a portion of the proceeds of every bottle to support local animal rescue organizations.
Michael Draxton has studied and mastered both winemaking and grape-growing for more than 25 years, including tenures with several well-known brands. In partnership with winemakers Randy Meyer and Ronald du Preez, the trio turns glistening grapes into a catalog of limited-run vintages at Draxton Wines. Inside the winery's rustic tasting room, visitors rest their elbows on a the marble bar top as servers pour glasses, sometimes straight from the barrel. The tasting room also features a wide window into the production facility so guests can calmly wave goodbye to grapes as they're transformed into Draxton's award-winning varietals.
Few spots in Europe feel as timeless as the Irish countryside. The craggy, untouched coastline and rolling, startlingly green meadows dotted with herds of sheep and the occasional crumbling castle seem to belong to a faraway past, as though the Industrial Revolution never managed to jump the Irish Sea. It's the perfect place to cobble together a romantic country idyll, with days given over to exploring rustic byways and nights to sipping frothy pints in cozy pubs. Authentic Ireland Travel's seven-day, six-night Romantic Ireland Escape Tour provides a taste of all that the Emerald Isle has to offer, as guests follow a flexible itinerary with pre-arranged transportation and accommodations. Click here to see a detailed itinerary of the trip. Days 1–2: Visitors arrive at the Dublin, Cork, or Shannon airport, pick up a rental a car, and escort themselves to Ballyseede Castle in Tralee, a turreted, 16th-century stone castle later converted into a hotel. Later, travelers can explore the Dingle Peninsula by rental car. The circular Slea Head Drive supplies sweeping views of the coast, and the twisting, turning Conor Pass cuts through the highest grouping of mountains in the country. A pint in one of Dingle's brightly painted pubs, many of which feature live music, brings the day to a tasty, tuneful close. Days 3–4: The Fairview Guesthouse in Killarney provides a centrally located home base for visitors to explore the brick footpaths of downtown, with its clustering of quaint pubs and shops located within walking distance of the hotel. A horse-and-carriage ride, included with this tour, supplies a leisurely trip around Killarney's historical sights, including the soaring St. Mary's Cathedral and the 15th-century Ross Castle. A drive along the 110-mile Ring of Kerry passes through sleepy villages and cool forest glades, and travelers to nearby Blarney in County Cork can receive the gift of gab by kissing the Blarney Stone after treating it to a romantic candlelit dinner. Days 5–7: The final leg of the journey includes lodgings at the friendly, family-run Bunratty Manor Hotel in western Ireland's County Clare. Close by, the majestic Bunratty Castle broods over the River Shannon and popular Bunratty Folk Park, a reconstructed village that depicts life in rural Ireland as it was lived 100 years ago. A short drive to Cashel presents the arresting sight of medieval buildings perched dramatically on cliffs overlooking the town. As evening falls back in Bunratty, a medieval four-course banquet dinner is served, complete with wine, mead, and costumed singers. The next day, an included Ancient Paths of Ireland Walking Tour takes hikers on a relaxed, guided trek through the rocky Burren near the coast. Later, a visit to Ailwee Cave lets travelers explore 210 passages, bridged chasms, and giant open caverns. The tour ends on day 7, when travelers depart for home from Shannon Airport in County Clare.