The annual CrabFest is postponed until next year, but the Rotary Club of Los Gatos has some new plans for 2021. Save the date for Saturday, January 30th at 5pm!
“Don’t be crabby come ‘wine’ with us.”
That’s the slogan for this year’s fundraiser, also called the Virtual Crab WineFest & Auction! This year’s main event centers around a local wine tasting guided via Zoom by professional winemaker and Los Gatan, Left Bend Wine‘s Gary Robinson. A Wine Tasting Kit for two is provided via curbside pickup 1-2 days prior to the event, which will contain 5 tastings, 1 full size bottle, and gourmet snacks. Live streamed entertainment, including a performance by the San Jose Youth Symphony, 2 door prizes, and a silent auction are served beside this deluxe wine tasting experience. And as always, proceeds benefit the Rotary Charities foundations.
Virtual WineFest & Auction
Registration is now open through the Los Gatos Rotary website. Check the Virtual WineFest & Auction event page for ticket sales, event details and updates, to view the silent auction catalogue, contact the event team, or donate directly to the fundraiser. Each ticket is for a two-person tasting experience at a cost of $150.
Last Saturday we had family in town, so instead of hunkering-down at home to watch the Oscars, we enjoyed a night on the town to try someplace new to us: We Olive in downtown Los Gatos.
We Olive focuses on California grown, artisan, gourmet wine and olive oil.
Enter the shop and you will see shelves packed with olive goods and rows of tin tubs for dispensing samples into cups. It has fun, olive-themed goods, with olive wood cutting boards and bowls, appetizer trays, olive oil lip balms, free recipe cards, and bottle corks. The front of the store focuses on olive oil and vinegar, but also features complementary tastings of dipping oils, seasoned salts, tapenades, mustards, sauces, spreads, and even sweets like caramel and chocolate. I recommend the basil or Meyer lemon olive oils and the peach white balsamic or blood orange balsamic vinegars.
Move towards the back and there is a bar and table seating for wine tasting, which opens up into a spacious patio garden with more bar seating under a pergola wound with string lights. (And helpful heat lamps for our cool California evenings!)
Most wines available are California productions, and all but a few can be ordered in taster-sized glasses to build custom flights. We got recommendations for white and red flights and everyone was happy with their selection. If you’re unsure of what to get, or just indecisive, the bar staff can always give you tips and recommendations! Order gourmet snacks to enjoy with your wine, or make it a meal with salad or panini. We four ordered a cheese and charcuterie platter, and both the brie and the red wine and pepper salami were excellent. Don’t want wine? There’s also craft beer and a few non-alcoholic options. You can find the complete menu on the We Olive website (link below).
I should add that the staff we encountered were all very generous with their time, helpful, and attentive. They took good care of us and I would not hesitate to recommend them and We Olive for a pleasant time out.
Next time you’re downtown, stop in for some samples. Happy hour is every weekday with specials on select food and drink. On any Wine Wednesday, all day, pick up half-price bottles. Sample Saturdays feature new culinary delights using We Olive products with a new recipe every month.
Website, hours, address, and contact details for We Olive listed below:
Mary’s note: as always, this article was written after a pleasant experience and the shop’s employees did not ask for a review and no compensation was received for writing it. In short: it was my idea because I like the place. I hope you will, too.
Right in town, we have Testarossa Vineyards, which is located on the Jesuit property up on College Avenue (the winery is open daily from 11-5). Also presented there is Fleming Jenkins Winery (yes, as in Peggy Flemming, the famous ice skater – she is a resident of our fair town). Just into the coastal range (sometimes called the Santa Cruz Mountains, sometimes called the Los Gatos Mountains) there’s Byington and also Muccigrosso, both on Bear Creek Road. There are dozens more in the nooks and crannies of both sides of “the hill”. Back in the flatlands of Silicon Valley, you can enjoy tasting some vino without ever climbing a hill by visiting Pinder in Campbell. Further “in”, close to the San Jose airport, and not on the list of the Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association, you’ll find J Lohr, just off the Alameda, between Hedding and Race.
I can’t say I’ve been to all, but I’ve been to many of these. My very favorite Chardonnay wine is made by a local vinter in Saratoga, but the winery, Cinnabar, is closed to the public – it’s invitation only. Sigh.
Ridge on Montebello Road in Cupertino has a gorgeous picnic area with fantastic views of the Santa Clara Valley below. Several times we have been there and been in sunshine, while looking at the valley encased in fog, below. What a joy to be above the fogline when that happens! (If you go there, wander into the barn and note a large corkboard that says “RIDGE” with the letters spelled out using the wine-drenched side of the cork. The artist of that fine piece was none other than my own Jim Handy.) Cooper-Garrod has great wine and the unusual combination of winetasting and horseback riding nearby care of Garrod Stables (beware: you can, indeed, smell the horses when you picnic there).
This is just the tip of the iceburg. There are many dozens of great, local wines, without having to drive north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
I would suggest just one thing, though. Since many of these scenic and enjoyable spots are in hilly areas with very curvy roads, bring along a designated driver. The roads can be tricky under the best of circumstances as shadows dance in and out between the trees and cars unfamiliar with the roads weave out of their lanes a bit.
Happy tasting. Is it any wonder that this area was once called “The Valley of Heart’s Delight”??