Any event that requires that I drink wine on a Saturday morning has my vote, so the Sierra Oro Farm Trail Passport Weekend was right up my alley. There were 30 participating wineries, farms, and food-related destinations, and I only wish there was some way for me to have visited all of them. We truly have an abundance of wine and food goodness in our area, and I feel like I got a small peek into something I knew little about.
It turned out to be a perfect day for it— sunny and breezy with bright blue skies, and not a cloud in sight. I started my morning at Odyssey Winery in North Chico, off of Cohasset. Leigh McDaniels, looking dapper in a green and blue plaid kilt, poured my first sample of the morning. I loved the ceremony of him standing in the grapevines, pouring barrel-select Syrah into my souvenir glass, while he described the wine: “These wines aren’t like the French style that beat you mercilessly about the head with a tree stump. They are lovely, fruit-forward wines that are subtle with the oak.” I thoroughly enjoyed sipping on my 10 a.m. glass of wine with a Chocolate Torte and a Grand Marnier Truffle from Mim’s Bakery. I think I discovered a new breakfast of champions.
My next brief stop was at Mooney Farms, out by the airport (lovely building, very crowded, delish sun-dried tomato artichoke dip), and then I quickly moved on to Maisie Jane’s. Sierra Nevada was at Maisie Jane’s representing with two beers on tap: their Harvest Wet Hop, and Breakfast at Chico’s (a divine brew made with almond meal from Maisie Jane’s). With notes of almond, milk chocolate, and coffee, it also falls into my “breakfast of champions” category. Craig Thomas and Maria Venturino—owners of Farm Star Pizza—were also there, stoking the wood-burning fire of their 3,000-pound beautiful behemoth of an oven. They were firing up simple and delicious slightly-blistered, crisp-bottomed flatbread; one with pesto and one with tomato sauce and North Valley chèvre dotted on top. I was so excited to meet the charming, funny and friendly couple since I have been enjoying their food for years.
Grey Fox Vineyards in Oroville was the last stop of my day. I elbowed up to the busy bar, quickly nabbed a glass of Syrah and found a shady bench under the trees to enjoy my last glass of wine and the live music.
If you didn’t make it to the event this year, don’t you worry your pretty little head. Many of the places that participated in the event are open weekends, so you can still find a way to sample some of their goodies and expand your understanding of what Chico and our surrounding areas have to offer. Go to http://www.sierraoro.org/farms-wineries to start your exploring!