If your New Year's resolution is to live life to the fullest all year-long, California has the perfect way to help you get started. The state's world-renowned wine and food take center stage throughout January during California Restaurant Month, featuring gourmet prix-fixe dinners, wine-pairing specials, celebrity chef events, and exclusive seasonal offerings in more than 30 destinations around the state. With more than 3,600 wineries and 400 specialty agricultural crops, California chefs source fresh ingredients and a diverse selection of delicious wines from their own backyards making the state a magnet for food and wine travelers.
In addition to enjoying California wine flights and pairings at many of these restaurants, wine lovers won't want to miss the opportunity to visit the places these vintages were grown. Savvy culinary travelers know that winter is a great time to do just that in California's wine regions, when hotel rates and visitors are at their lowest, and chances to meet winemakers are at their highest. Several wineries with restaurants are participating in California Restaurant Month, as an added incentive to explore the state's amazing wine and food scene. To help inspire you to pack your bags, Wine Institute recently launched a California Wines Food Tour video, complete with recipes and wine pairing suggestions.
In Livermore Valley, about an hour southeast of San Francisco, Eat Tri-Valley Restaurant Month, focusing on a different city each week, is offering special menus benefitting charities. A sure bet for an amazing wine and food experience is The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, where Chef Matt Greco created a special prix fixe menu ($22 for two-course lunch or $30 for three-course dinner) using the very best sustainable and organically grown local ingredients from Jan. 14-20. Pair your meal ‐ such as tagliatelle with braised duck or roasted salmon with charred brussels sprouts, sunchoke, blood orange and chestnut ‐ with a variety of wines from this historic estate, the country's oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery. More than 80 percent of California Chardonnay can be genetically traced to Wente and other vineyards in Livermore Valley.
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