Winemaking. Life. The Dirt. Alison Crowe is a Winemaker Based in Napa.

Archives: Wine Country Events

Carneros Wine Alliance Hosting Bean-Bag-Toss Tournament and Tasting to Benefit Local Fire Department


Sat Aug 12 come try your hand (and tastebuds) at the Carneros Wine Tasting & Cornhole Tournament at Liana Estates in Carneros

Ever wanted to go head to head with a winemaker in a gripping bean bag tournament?  You’ll have your chance on Saturday, August 12 at Liana Estates.  The Carneros Wine Alliance is hosting an open-to-the-public event where you can hang out, taste wine and play Cornhole, the newest outdoor game to sweep wine country.

Tickets are $40 (purchase them here) and all proceeds go to the local Carneros and Schell-Vista Fire Department.

I got in touch with Carneros Wine Alliance Vice-Chair, and Schug Winery Marketing Coordinator, Crista Johnson, to find out more.

Q:  The Carneros Wine Alliance has held media and trade-only tastings in the past, but the Cornhole Tournament and Wine Tasting is the first public event the organization has held in a couple of years, right?

A:  “Correct. We are excited to connect with our customers, locals and tourists -and to help our local fire departments!”

(Read:  This is a unique and fun opportunity, so take advantage of all these great wines being in one place at one time in a gorgeous place.)

Q:  What can the public expect at this event?

A: The Carneros Cornhole Tournament and Wine Tasting will be a casual hangout at one of the finest wineries in Carneros and a friendly competition between the public and winemaking teams!”

(Read:  this will be a great chance to get down and dirty with your friends, and with Carneros winemakers (who might end up being your friends) on the playing field. Oh- and eat good food and drink great wine.)

Q:  What makes Carneros a fun/special/unique region to visit?

A:  “The casual atmosphere (while making some seriously good wines) and warm and friendly people.”

(Read:  You’re going to have fun and it’s going to be beautiful.  I would also add that it’s super-close to the Bay Area and easy to get to, about an hour from San Francisco and Sacramento, even closer to Oakland and the East Bay.  Liana Estates, one of Carnero’s newest coolest wineries to visit,  is located at 2750 Las Amigas Road, Napa CA.)

Here are the details:  Carneros Cornhole Tournament & Wine Tasting

What:  Taste classic Carneros wines from Carneros Wine Alliance members Bouchaine, Cuvaison, Etude, Hyde, Liana Estates, Schug and Truchard and then compete against local winemakers in a Cornhole Tournament! All proceeds go to the Carneros & Schell-Vista Fire Department.

When:  Saturday, August 12 2017, 4-6 PM

Where:  Liana Estates, 2750 Las Amigas Road, Napa CA

Tickets:  $40, buy them here, all proceeds go to the Carneros and Schell-Vista Fire Department


Alison Crowe is an award-winning winemaker, author and blogger based in Napa.  She is the Winemaker for Garnet Vineyards and Picket Fence Vineyards and is on the Advisory Board for the Carneros Wine Alliance.  @alisoncrowewine












What do Winemakers do After Harvest? Step it up a Notch, of Course!

Looking for some post-Harvest Halloween fun - try the Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon!

Looking for some post-Harvest Halloween fun – try the Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon or 5K!

2015 was a record early Harvest in Northern California’s wine country.  As a result, those of us (read: Winemakers) who rarely get to enjoy the festivities of fall are casting about for ways to celebrate the season.

I know some of us are thrilled to actually be able to make our kids’ Halloween costumes rather than throw something together from Safeway the day of.  Many of we winemakers are mentioning classic fall food as the days get shorter; I’ve seen lots of recipes for pot roast, butternut squash ravioli and split pea soup on Pinterest lately.  A lot better than taco truck burritos on the crush pad, to be sure!

We’re all talking about dusting off the hobbies, getting out for a little fall-weather hiking and maybe some “staycation” wine country activities with our friends and families.  If it’s the kind of thing you like do (and it’s the kind of thing I’m getting back into doing), why not join me at the “Best Destination Race in the Pacific West”– the Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon/Hallowine 5K on Halloween morning?  It’s my first time doing this race, and, when I saw the invitation from Destination Races of course I had to say yes.  I’ve never done this course because, of course, I’m always super busy on Halloween- except for this historically early 2015 season!

I'm looking forward to running around vineyards and *NOT* working. Grapes? All in the barn, baby!

I’m looking forward to running around vineyards and *NOT* working. Grapes? All in the barn, baby!

Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon Details:

Website:  Click Here

When:  Saturday, October 31, 2015

Start Times: 1/2 Marathon: 7:30am PST.  The Hallowine 5k has 2 start waves, 8:45 and 8:50am PST

Fun Fall Extras: 

-Welcome receptions and pre-race dinner events

-Race Day expo

-Post-Race wine and food festival

                -costume contest, feed and beer, live band, awards, wine tasting ($35 extra fee

-Involved wineries include Truett Hurst, Coppola’s newest gig, Virginia Dare Winery, Kendall Jackson, Trione, Mazzocco and Trentadue Winery- what a lineup!

All info can be found here:

All in all this looks like a really fun wine country race.  I’m so lucky to live in Napa, where it seems like there’s a 5K, 10K or half marathon within a 25 mile radius almost every other weekend.  Now that I don’t have to grab a fright wig from the “Seasonal Sale” shelves at Safeway, I guess the only question is, what should I dress up as on race day?


You just ran a 1/2 Marathon, what are you going to do? Taste wine, of course!









Alison Crowe is a Napa-based consulting winemaker, blogger and author of The Winemaker’s Answer Book.  She is the Winemaker for Garnet Vineyards, Picket Fence Vineyards and Buccaneer Wines, among others.  She got back into running this summer and was invited to participate in the Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon event as a local blogger.  All Photos credit:  Destination Races.