Wise Villa Winery: A destination in Lincoln

HISTORIC LINCOLN IN SOUTH PLACER COUNTY is well worth a visit, for shopping, dining, recreation and wine tasting.

It is home to Gladding McBean, which still provides its signature clay tiles to Stanford University; championship golf courses, such as Lincoln Hills; and Thunder Valley Casino Resort, a AAA Four Diamond award-winning casino and resort.

Last fall’s opening of the long-awaited Hwy. 65 Bypass reclaimed Lincoln’s historic main street—known as Old Hwy. 65—as its own.

The downtown area is busy with shoppers, diners and event goers year-round, including the Lincoln Wine Fest in April. A downtown farmers market is held every Thursday until August 29.

Lincoln is now home to its own destination winery—one of the finest in the foothills. Wise Villa Winery, a magnificent estate, winery, tasting room and bistro set amid rolling hills, is the creation of Dr. Grover C. Lee. Grover also is the head winemaker.

The estate vineyards consist of 15 acres planted with 12 different varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and now Malbec.

The family-owned winery includes an underground barrel cellar and a bottling line. Visitors can book tours (by reservation only).

Wise Villa’s Mediterranean-style tasting room and bistro is the place to taste the winery’s award-winning wines, alone or paired with gourmet dishes from Executive Chef Chris Barnum.

The tasting room and bistro are open Thurs.-Sun starting at 11 a.m. Bistro dinner pairing is Thurs.-Sat. starting at 5 p.m. The hours have been extended until 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for the wine and food pairings. Reservations can be made online at WiseVillaWinery.com.

The winery won 15 medals in this year’s San Francisco Chronicle wine competition, including Double Golds for their 2011 Estate Grown Syrah and 2012 Estate Grown Pinot Noir Rosé. It also won multiple awards at the California State Fair.

At Wise Villa’s new bistro, the wines are paired with gourmet food. Examples include Chardonnay paired with Pan-Roasted Skuna Bay Salmon, 2011 Tempranillo and House Chorizo Stuffed Pork Roulade and 2011 Syrah and Dixon Lamb Chops.

Chef Chris is a respected culinary artist with a background in French cooking. He previously was the chef at Café Zorro in Loomis, known for an innovative menu focused on fresh, local food.

A new “Fine Dining Fridays” includes seven gourmet creations and seven wines, all with a vineyard view from your table. Reservations are required.

Wise Villa is an entertaining and informative experience. Its events include a grape stomp, Hawaiian luau, Night Harvesting Dinner, Valentine’s Day Party and more. Wise Villa’s wine club offers discounts on its wine, food and events.

Wise Villa’s popular weekly events include “Weekly Wine Down” on Sundays from 2-5 p.m. with live music.

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