Posts Tagged With: wineries

San Antonio Winery: Pleasantly Surprising in Every Way

I was not expecting much from San Antonio Winery.  There are a number of billboards for this winery along the 5, suggesting a large advertising budget but not necessarily good wine.  As a connoisseur of boutiquey wineries that may or may not be open more than once a month, I equate big names in wine with a lack of quality or ridiculous prices.


Yet San Antonio Winery left me pleasantly surprised.  We enjoyed everything we tasted there.  I imagine not everyone would.  Their wines are definitely on the sweet side, and if you are looking for a rich, bold, deep red, this is not the place for it.  But since I like light, sweet wines, I was in Heaven.


The Maddalena Pinot Grigio and Riesling were both tasty and sweet, perhaps a little too sweet, but still good.  Stella Rosa Peach was a beautifully light, peachy Moscato, totally worth $9.  The chocolate Port was trying a little too hard, but their regular Port had a nice mellow flavor and again was very reasonably priced.


We enjoyed all of their wines, but once the Stella Rosa Imperiale Bracchetto touched my tongue, I could no longer care about anything else.

Magicale Bracchetto was the first wine I ever loved.  I first drank it at the Golden Vine Winery in Disney’s California Adventure, and it truly was a magical experience for me.  Alas, twenty-one-year-olds cannot afford to buy $42 bottles of wine with any kind of frequency, so while I thought of it often, I have only had the opportunity to taste it on a handful of occasions.

I have looked for a substitute, but while I have found other tasty sparkling reds, nothing quite measured up to Magicale Bracchetto’s perfection.  Then I saw the Imperiale Bracchetto on San Antonio’s tasting list and realized Bracchetto was a varietal.  With such a “magicale” name, it had not occurred to me that the name had given me a tool to search with all along, but as soon as I saw the name, I knew I had to try it.  And it was like coming back to that first taste five years ago at Disneyland.

Like I said, I have tried similar wines, but this taste was the same.  At first I thought maybe I wasn’t remembering it fully, but now I think they could easily be the same exact wine.  It was that close.  I couldn’t believe it.  It was perfect.  With trepidation, I looked at the price.  I still don’t know whether to be happy at how much less it is or sad that I paid $42 for something that could be gotten for $17, but regardless I snatched up three bottles then and there and wish I could have gotten more.

All in all, I had a very satisfying random stop at San Antonio Winery.  I will certainly plan on going again next time I make that drive.  In the meantime, I will be scouring World Market for more Stella Rosa Bracchetto.

Categories: Field Trip, Southern California, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to Stomp on the Grapes

There is no time quite like fall at a winery.  The grapes are ripe and being harvested.  New wines are revealed.  All around you, the leaves are changing in a display worthy of a state with actual seasons.

Fall is a great time to settle down with a nice cup of red and start preparing for winter.  It is also a great time to check out winery events!

If you have money to spare, and you are looking for a fall winery party, I would check out V. Sattui’s Crush Party.  Alas, I do not have money to spare, so I cannot go nor have I been in the past, but it looks like a lot of fun.  They take you through the wine production process with a good, old-fashioned grape crushing…with your bare feet.  There’s really nothing quite like people telling you it’s OK to squish a giant vat of grapes by stomping on them.

Watch and tell me this doesn’t look like a ton of fun:

Fall also means passport days are upon us!  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the awesomeness that is winery passport days, this is the time when you can try any winery you choose for a flat rate.  Wineries that generally do not do tastings are open and all sorts of special stuff can be found like barrel tastings and food pairings and vineyard tours and unique wines not generally available to the public.  Passports are split up by region, so take a look at where your favorite wineries are and mark your calendars!

Around these parts, we have…

Santa Clara Valley                        October 5 – 6                        $30
Santa Cruz Mountains                  November 16                        $45
Napa and Sonoma also have a continual passport deal.  For details, see and

Harvest Festivals abound this time of year as well in all parts of wine country.  The big wineries all have their own, but check out these to see a bunch of wineries at once:

The Sonoma County Harvest Fair encompasses three days worth of wine tastings from over 150 wineries, complete with food, demonstrations, seminars, and a FREE grape stomping competition.

If you’re looking for something a little more wine-centric, Reserve Sonoma Valley offers special peeks at wineries generally closed to the public along with food pairings and winery tours.

Of course, there are tons more harvest and fall events all across Northern California, so be sure to check with favorite vineyards for their festivals.  Which fall wine events are you favorites?

Categories: Bay Area, Bay Area Day Trips, Food, Local Travel, Napa, Northern California, Santa Clara Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains, Sonoma, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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