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Home Grown: Wine Country Folks Share Local Holiday Gift Faves

gifts I know a lot of winemakers (takes one to know one, I guess).  I also know a lot of non wine biz folks which is one of the best parts about living in Napa Valley’s largest city.    Winemakers or not, what we all have in common is that we live in “Wine Country.” We also are particularly enthusiastic about the wonderful food, crafts and gifts grown, produced and designed right here in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

Below are some of our favorite locally-made holiday gift ideas from friends and neighbors we know and love. The good news is that you don’t have to live in wine country to enjoy their wares. Happy gift-giving, one and all, wherever you may call home!

 

Steve Sando getting a look in on some of his famous beans.

Steve Sando getting a look in on some of his famous beans.

Heirloom Beans (and other goodies) From Rancho Gordo New World Specialty Foods

Beans? Yes, beans. If you’ve only ever eaten dessicated supermarket beans of questionable shelf life, prepare your taste buds for a treat. I’ve been a loyal customer of Steve Sando’s Rancho Gordo ever since we moved to Napa and his beans never fail to remind me of home, be that Napa or where I grew up in Santa Barbara County. My grandma always seemed to have a pot of pinto beans simmering on the stove and today they are still a key wintertime comfort food at our house.  Steve is a true American bean pioneer. His personal search for awesome dried beans (and more) lead him years ago to try growing his own and then to supporting small-volume Northern California and US farmers. Perhaps his most intriguing work is with the Rancho Gordo Xoxoc Project, a partnership with small Mexican farmers, which fosters the production of their indigenous foods like heirloom corn, prickly pears and of course, ancient varieties of beans. From beans to hand-made tortillas to spices and the odd vintage movie poster or three, Rancho Gordo is a wine country institution with global reach.

 

Olive and Poppy- I love the rings and bracelet made from pieces of wine barrels.

Olive and Poppy- I love the rings and bracelets made from oak barrels.

Jewelry and Thoughtful, Creative Gifts From Olive and Poppy

Several of my friends recommended I check out the super-cute creations of this dynamic Napa duo. I was immediately smitten with this cute-as-a-button wine barrel ring (see picture left). And since my next homesteading fantasy is to have a couple of beehives on our property down by the creek, I’ve found myself lusting after their honeycomb ring. Necklaces, scarves, tea towels, earrings….even cuff links for the man on your list. A lovingly-designed collection of well-curated pieces.

 

Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Napa's Oro Puro Vineyards is a rare handmade treat.

Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Napa’s Oro Puro Vineyards is a rare handmade treat.

Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc From Oro Puro Vineyards

Making true late-harvest botrytized white wine is a difficult feat in perfect-climate California. Most vintages, however, Deb and Jonathan Goldman manage to make it happen in their Sauvignon Blanc vineyard off of Silverado Trail just north of Napa. I love serving this wine with desserts, of course, but it is also amazing with cheese or dribbled on a summertime fresh salad of melons and mint. Order directly from co-owner Deb Freed Goldman for the goods. You’ll be so happy you did.

 

Candles from NapaScents make great hostess gifts.

Candles from NapaScents make great hostess gifts.

Soy candles from Napa Scents

Looking for something small but luxurious (and good for you and your home)?  These delightfully scented soy-based candles by local writer, blogger and personal fitness coach (yes, this mom does it all) Kristin Ranuio are a special treat. Soy wax, cotton wick, lovely array of scents, lots of sizes and even my favorite, the travel tin.

Free delivery for local orders over $50. Email: info@napascents.com, phone 707-299-0524.

 

 

Panettone, Truffles, Cheese etc., from Cheesemonger Doralice Handal

Doralice Handal knows how to throw down a cheese platter, as well as how to source hard-to-find Perigord truffles and exotic panettone flavors.

Doralice Handal knows how to throw down a cheese platter, as well as how to source hard-to-find Perigord truffles and exotic panettone flavors.

Call on Cheesemonger Extraordinaire Doralice Handal to help you find your favorite holiday goodies over the phone or email. She’s my go-to source for vintage chocolates, rare European vinegar, crazy-big panettone, black or white truffles (not the chocolate kind) and of course, cheese. You’re sure to find a cheese to please….ask Doralice for something to go with the aforementioned Oro Puro. Last day to place orders for delivery the week of Dec 15 is on December 12. Keep her info handy year-round….she’s one of our top secret sources for all things delish in Wine Country!

sharpandnutty@gmail.com  Instagram:  labodeguera

 

 

Wine Barrel Furniture and Home Goods from Buddha Barrels

I need about five of these Buddha Barrel spice racks in my kitchen....

I need about five of these Buddha Barrel spice racks in my kitchen….

I have so many favorite things on our friend Gwendolyn Larson’s online storefront it’s hard to focus. The pet bed! The pot rack! The magnetic spice rack! You can tell I’m excited about these hand-made home goods. This is the real wine-country wine barrel deal, folks. No mangy whiskey half-barrels mass-produced into things you can find in shopping malls. Buddha Barrels sources fine wine-soaked oak barrels from our neighboring wineries and lovingly realizes their functional and attractive designs right here in Napa.

 

 

Napa Valley Give Guide and Oakland Warehouse Fire Victim’s Fund

Tis the season to help those in need. We were so saddened by the recent warehouse fire tragedy in Oakland that I wanted to mention this new victim’s fund here. Funds go to pay medical and funeral expenses of survivors and victims. In addition, the Napa Valley Give Guide is your one-stop shop for giving. Choose your charity (Big Brothers Big Sisters?  Friends of the Napa River?  Sunrise Horse Rescue?) and make it happen for our community.

 

Enjoy this season of giving, my best holiday wishes to you and yours!

 

Alison Crowe is an award-winning winemaker, author and blogger.

Her wine: www.garnetvineyards.com (among other projects)

Her book: The Winemaker’s Answer Book

Her contact info:  ancrowe@hotmail.com @alisoncrowewine

All pictures above used with permission

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About Bob Lucas-Clark

Bob Lucas-Clark
I have transitioned from a successful corporate marketing career to starting a successful online business. My focus is helping people start their own online businesses. At the same time I am thrilled to have my own blog about one of my true passions: Cooking, Food & Wine. Enjoy my blog and thank you for stopping by.

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