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Replenishing the Soul

After a recent trip out to Sonoma and Napa I was struck by how much of an afterthought enjoying the physical beauty of the surroundings seems to be for most visitors.

It’s not an indictment because I’m guilty of building the same manic itineraries that call for packing in as much as possible using four wheels fueled by petro.  I do, however, think that it’s circumstantial fact that most people don’t think to take the slow and easy off road by building in a nature adventure in between sips of wine.  It’s a shame, too.  Somewhere in between the tour buses and the wineries exists unbelievably beautiful terrain—views that rival any vantage point in the world.

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Yet, as Hwy 12 and 29 slow to a meander with traffic, most of the natural beauty remains untouched (to the feet of visitors at least).  Not that some companies don’t try, though.  Companies like California Wine Hikes, Sonoma Vineyard Walks, and Napa Valley Bike tours all try to earn a share of visitor’s dollars by providing a unique experience, part wine and part nature – replenishing the soul in two good ways that a church can’t offer.

Next time I’m out in wine country I’m going to make it a point to do a biking tour, covering a decent stretch of ground across varied terrain, the kind of ride that makes you grab for the water bottle and an energy bar while looking forward to enjoying the vista with a nibble and glass of vino.

To get the wine, you have to go through the energy bar.

And, little did I know that California has not one, but two energy bar luminaries making wine in their midst.

Many around the online wine scene are familiar with Clif Family Winery.  I’ve been a hardcore consumer of Clif energy bars (my choice for breakfast on the go) for years and I’ve read founder Gary Erickson’s inspirational business book, Raising the Bar, as well.  Suffice to say, I’m predisposed to liking the wines.  And, true to form, while not overly complex, and perhaps priced a couple dollars higher than they need to be, both of their entry wines, the Climber Red and the Climber White pack a good amount of enjoyment in for not a lot of money ($17 and $14 respectively).

Clif is the energy bar story splashing onto the wine scene that many are familiar with.  Apparently, however, one of the scientists behind the development of the PowerBar is quietly making some good juice out in the Sierra Foothills, as well.

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Chaim Gur-Arieh,  Ph.D.  is the owner and winemaker at C.G. Di Arie, a winery located about an hour due east of Sacramento in the Sierra Foothills.  Amongst his stated accomplishments, in a long career as a food scientist, is development of the PowerBar.

Who knew?  I do know he makes a killer Rosé.  Fortunately, many of his wines are well distributed even if his production is modest.  Just 375 cases of the Rosé were produced.

It has been said that as a society not only is technology causing us general attention deficits as we toggle back and forth balancing out information overload, but we also have a nature deficit.  It seems to me that a glass of wine after a commune with nature is the perfect way to refill the spirit, if not the stomach, even after an energy bar.

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Posted in, Good Grape Wine Reviews. Permalink | Comments (5) |


Comments

On 07/29, winehiker wrote:

“Somewhere in between the tour buses and the wineries exists unbelievably beautiful terrain.”

You certainly said a mouthful there! For years, I’ve felt it important to promote the notion that there is so much more to the wine country, waiting to be discovered beyond the vineyard’s edge. But you have to put your shoes on and get out of your metal box to find it. Find it you will, and more.

A very eloquent post, Jeff; thank you for the shout-out! Let’s do that bike ride (or winehike?) together on your next visit.

Russ Beebe
California Wine Hikes

On 07/29, Dylan wrote:

Jeff, this is a post after my own heart. When you’re living on the vineyard there’s little question why sustainability becomes so important to you. It’s just so beautiful, you want it to last forever not only because it makes good business sense, but because it makes good sense, period. The way the land rolls out into this convergence of nature and humanity, there’s nothing like the harmony between the two.

On 07/31, 1WineDude wrote:

Is it wrong to hate you for writing so well?

On 08/03, Ed Thralls wrote:

Jeff,

Great post as always.  While in Sonoma last week, the wife and I rented bikes from Spoke Folks in Healdsburg and did both a RRV and Alexander Valley ride.  Both were beautiful and soul-fulfilling… give it a shot.

Next time, we’re calling Russ for some winehiking!

On 10/23, us mail address wrote:

Parcel post service began, providing rural postal customers with package service along with their regular mail and obviating a trip to a town substantial enough to support an express office. This, along with Rural Free Delivery, fueled a huge rise in catalog sales. By this time the post office monopoly on mail was effectively enforced, and Wells Fargo had exited the business in favor of its banking enterprises.


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