Tasting notes: Smith Vineyard turns 30, Nevada City Winery’s premium wines, Halloween Wine Walk

SMITH VINEYARD 30th ANNIVERSARY

IN 1980, DR. WAYNE SMITH FULFILLED his desire to farm when he planted a vineyard in Grass Valley. The winery, housed in a restored red barn, opened in 1987.

Nowadays, Wayne’s grandsons, the third generation, work alongside their parents, Gary and Chris, at the winery. Gary and Chris honored the fourth generation with Rylie’s Red and Wyatt’s White, delicious blended wines.

Smith’s wines are organic and estate grown, including varietals such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, primitivo, syrah and chardonnay from their 10 acre, certified organic vineyard. Their motto: “Estate bottled. Organically grown. Four Generations Strong.”

Smith celebrates its 30th anniversary on October 21, with food and wine, and live music from The Streets of Bakersfield. The winery is at 13719 Dog Bar Rd. in Grass Valley. On October 28, guests can visit a pumpkin patch at the vineyard. For more information, visit SmithVineyard.com.

NEVADA CITY WINERY’S PREMIUM WINES

The winery is launching new premium wines. It plans to release the first one—a 2015 pinot noir—this fall, showcasing the talents of veteran winemaker Mark Foster. The grapes come from the Russian River Valley and are aged in new French oak barrels.

“Rose petal, cherry and a touch of cigar box” make up the aromas. The “silky soft” wine pairs with salmon or other simple but rich foods. The winery is producing 117 cases of the wine. It plans to release a premium chardonnay in fall 2018 and a cabernet sauvignon in 2019.

HALLOWEEN WINE WALK

The wineries with tasting rooms in historic downtown Grass Valley are hosting a wine walk on October 28 from 4- 7 p.m. Avanguardia, Lucchesi, Sierra Starr, and Smith will offer complimentary tastings and treats in their downtown tasting rooms. Wear a costume. The wineries also are open during the 50th annual Cornish Christmas: November 24, December 1, 8, 15 and 22.

WINE AND ROASTED TURKEY AT SIERRA STARR

On November 18, Sierra Starr Vineyard hosts its annual food-and-wine pairing at its downtown tasting room in Grass Valley with turkey, cranberry and pumpkin pie. On December 1, Sierra Starr is hosting its annual jewelry trunk show, with proceeds going to a local nonprofit.

BENT METAL FALL OPEN HOUSE

On October 21, Bent Metal hosts a Fall Open House with food, music and barrel tasting. The winery has a picnic area, a gift shop, a bocce ball court and Adirondack chairs with sweeping views of the Sierra. It also sells cheese plates to enjoy with a bottle of award-winning wine.

SZABO AT VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS

We enjoy toasting the holidays at Szabo Vineyard’s handsome tasting room on Broad Street in Nevada City during Victorian Christmas: December 3, 10, 13, 17 & 20. The tasting room, often featuring local artwork, also is available for private events. Szabo’s wines are made from estate-grown grapes, and are notable for being big, bold and fruit forward.

THE BIRDS OF MONTOLIVA

Besides its award-winning wine, Montoliva Vineyard on the bucolic Colfax Highway is a bird watcher’s paradise. Owner-winemaker Mark Henry and his wife, Julianne, have documented 54 species of birds at the vineyard. “Sit down at the picnic tables out back with a glass of wine and watch for a Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, or a Great Blue Heron,” says Mark.

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