Naggiar Vineyards’ Winefest: food, wine & music starts this spring

THE FOOTHILLS HAVE SOME SPLENDID destination wineries: Viña Castellano in Auburn with a stone wine cave amid the 40-year-old Mendez Family Ranch; Wise Villa Winery in Lincoln with a bistro and tasting room set amid a 14-acre vineyard; Bent Metal in Grass Valley with sweeping views of the Sierra from comfortable Adirondack chairs; and Pilot Peak in Penn Valley with its flower-filled terraces, to name a few.

Naggiar Vineyards & Winery is a perennial favorite. From Hwy. 49 and Wolf Rd. north of I-80, wine enthusiasts head out to the winery on “roads less traveled”—surrounded by fields of wildflowers, majestic oak trees, creeks, coveys of quail and other birds and wildlife.

The journey ends at a 135-acre estate with a Mediterranean-style tasting room and a 60- acre vineyard with 18 varietals. Guests may be greeted by the affable owners, Mike and Diane Naggiar. With the help of a vineyard expert, they planted the vines in 1998 and later built their own home in the vineyards.

Mike and Diane have assembled a top-notch team, including award-winning winemaker Derek Irwin and bistro chef Georgia Gross, a veteran chef and caterer from San Francisco.

Naggiar has become a destination for wine, food and music. The Bistro is open Friday-Sunday for lunch and Fridays and Saturdays for dinner. The menu changes monthly with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Live music is Friday and Saturday from 6-9 p.m.

Now that it has finished its bottling, Naggiar’s annual wine release celebration is on May 16, with wine, food and live music.

Naggiar’s tribute band season will begin on May 30. A tribute to the hits of Motown with Nathan Owen’s Detroit Legends is on May 30; Robbie James & The Streets of Bakersfield on Father’s Day, June 21—the winery’s first country music tribute show.

A tribute to the music of George Strait with Strait Country is June 27; a Fourth of July celebration with A Stone’s Throw is July 4; a tribute to the music of the Doobie Brothers with Doobie Rock is July 25; a tribute to the Eagles is August 29 with Life in the Fast Lane; and a tribute to the Beatles is September 26 with Paperback Writer. Naggiar’s Harvest Festival is October 4, also with live music.

(Photo: Keith Sutter)

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