Newspaper picnic contest winner revealed

Sue Gayrard, left, and Cathie Lohr talk and enjoy the wine and

The entries for the Best Local Winery to Have a Picnic contest poured in from folks who bubbled over for their favorite winery to sip wine and well, have a picnic. There were so many great entries that we were pressed to add an extra winner – a tie for fifth place – and are giving a grand-prize to the outstanding entry. Cheers and thanks to everyone who submitted an entry.


Ode to Solis Winery

What would Sunday repast be

With no trip to Solis Winery

Throw in some fruit, baguettes and cheese

Or anything else you might please

Sit on the deck and admire the mountains

While listening to the bubbling fountain

Gazing at the ripening vines

Provides a restive place to dine

Munching, talking, background piano

While sipping on our favorite Fiano

We reminisce the time we’ve spent

Attending all the cool events

A respite from the crowded spaces

It’s one of Gilroy’s lovely places

– Nancy Becker



Fragrant lavender, happy winery dogs and friendly faces aplenty form the picnic scene in the warmth of the Santa Clara Valley at Satori.  As the wine tasting begins, the world is suddenly more brilliant, like the vibrant labels on those wines with the witty names that sometimes make me chuckle out loud.  While the playful Rainbow Body Chardonnay tickles my taste buds and makes the brie cheese we brought taste like a buttery dream, sipping the complex JoyoUS Estate Reserve with our leftover roasted lamb leaves me wondering if this kind of sensory pleasure is really legal. Ahhhh, Satori.

– Valerie Nicklas

Martin Ranch

I am a club member of several wineries but Martin Ranch is my favorite! With so many wonderful wineries around you could wonder why it is my favorite. First of all the location is beautiful, hmmm, so is one other… Aha, the owners, Dan and Terese make you feel like they are truly happy that you the person are there not just you the customer!

They have wines that tantalize your palette, a gorgeous luscious garden whose produce they share. Last but certainly not least, some of my favorite friends are usually there to enjoy good times there with me!

– Monique Dubois

Clos LaChance

In late spring, my husband and I anxiously, but excitedly ventured away from our 4-month-old son for the first time. We stopped at a Safeway to gather picnic supplies of Dubliner cheese, grapes, and chocolate and away we went. When we arrived at Clos LaChance, we purchased a delicious bottle of 2008 Estate Petite Syrah and settled into an inviting picnic table on the patio. Gazing out at the stunning vineyard, I can easily say it was the first time I was able to relax since becoming a new mom! The beauty of Clos LaChance is unparalleled.

– Donna Sepe


Beautiful and tranquil surroundings, amazing hosts, and impromptu entertainment describes the ideal winery, which is Castillo’s Hillside Shire Winery.  The Castillo family warmly greets everyone who walks into the tasting room and treats you like an old family friend.  My ideal picnic would be an assortment of great cheeses, deli meats, olives, and fresh baked bread with a great bottle of their Malbec, my favorite wine.  However I would quickly devour my picnic just so I could join the Castillo family in the tasting room, munching on their snacks, talking with them or listening to them sing.

– Belinda Echevarria-Coleman

Guglielmo Winery

September 2004, we were married at the Guglielmo Winery, the most amazing day.  We had a beautiful outdoor wedding.  We go every month for a picnic to the winery as it has the most amazing wines, we start of with a little tasting and then if it is a hot day, we grab a bottle of very chilled Reserved Chardonnay, or a chillier day, bask in the sun by the water fountain and eat our picnic, which usually consists of a wonderful baguette, assorted soft cheeses, salami, and how could I even forget pate.  Followed by a lovely bottle of Cabernet Reserve.  The courtyard is so fantastic, the sound of the fountain and the fun we have had with friends, we love to sit and chill and chat.  If there is not an event going on, we take a stroll around the gardens and remember our most amazing, fantastic, brilliant day.

– Lisa Griffin

Lightheart Cellars

Wine and food go best with great friends.  The perfect afternoon at Lightheart Cellars includes a sit down with Jane and Sheldon.  In the shade of their comfortable tasting patio, we’d break out the distinctive Columbard that they produce; its tart flavors refresh on a hot day and blend perfectly with crisp Gala apple slices and mild Camembert cheese.   The  fresh Italian bread complements the thin, honeyed ham slices wrapped around sweet, hot mustard cooked chicken pieces. The dance of flavors  that blend the lines between meal and dessert remind us – among friends, enjoying the moment is the only rule.

– Patricia Grier


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