Wine Country

Growing and Caring for Lavender

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Three years ago Matt and I visited Matanzas Creek Winery and Lavender Gardens in early summer and wandered among the beautiful purple fields. Ever since we’ve returned every year, and even attended their annual Days of Wine and Lavender in late June which takes place under the oaks and among the lavender fields. It’s a beautiful event with gourmet food vendors pairing their lavender infused appetizers with the local wines, definitely worth a day trip in June if you’re in the area!

Lavender has been cultivated and grown for centuries and its a flowering plant that has long been a favorite through the ages for its beauty, scent, culinary and therapeutic uses. I’m a huge fan of this botanical, I have two dozen Provence lavender plants in my yard that I harvest every summer – I keep the buds for making sachets and dry several bundles upside-down for future use.

I asked if the specialist at Matanzas Creek would answer some questions about the growth and care of lavender, and today Pat Ross is the expert answering some common questions about the care and growth of lavender.

matanzas creek lavender

Hi Pat! Tell us your role in lavender production at Matanzas Creek Winery and Lavender Gardens?

I oversee the production of all of our lavender products and packaging, developing the unique packaging and marketing the products to spas and retail stores. We sell our lavender products online, you can find all of them in our retail store.

Lavender sunlight

What are the most popular varieties of lavender and how can you tell them apart?

Our large garden is both varieties of Grosso and Provence lavender. ‘Provence’ is a lighter shade of lavender used for culinary purposes. The ‘Grosso’ is a deeper shade used because the fragrance is important in sachets, bouquets, soap products, etc.

difference between provence and grosso lavender

 

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The Alexander Valley

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Just north of Healdsburg off of the 101 Highway is a unique wine growing region in Sonoma County known as the Alexander Valley. The Russian River runs through the heart of it where oak trees and vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see, and thrive in the sunshine.

The heart of the Alexander Valley is 45 minutes from our front door and we hadn’t visited in a few years, so we invited some of our good friends along, Dino and Heidi who love to go tasting and exploring (we attended the famous Kendall Jackson Tomato Festival with them last year) and off we went to visit some old favorites and new wineries we’ve never been to before. 

alexander valley winery signs

 

The region is really beautiful time of year, the sun is warm but still mild, and the tasting rooms are less crowded before late summer and the harvest in the fall when the large crowds arrive. In June you can sit, sip, and stroll among the vineyards, watching the grapes forming on the vine.

grapes on vine alexander valley

 

We started our afternoon at Hawkes Winery, next door to the famous Jimtown Store where you’ll catch a scenic view of the adjacent vineyards and can grab a bite for lunch.

red chairs looking over vineyard

 

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Traditional Home Showhouse Tour

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Last week I was invited to the opening event for the Traditional Home Napa Valley Showhouse event and was so excited to attend!  I love to read about the Showhouses all over the country but never get a chance to visit due to distance, so I was really happy to hear Traditional Home was hosting a showhouse out here in Wine Country, one I could actually attend!

traditional home showhouse

I arrived a little late but I was able to take some pictures of the spaces before the sun went down.  When you enter you are greeted by century old hound dog statue from France.  I asked what his name was because of course every good statue of a dog requires a name.  He didn’t have one, so I dubbed him Beauregard.  It fits doesn’t it? 

beauregard beagle

 

Inside are several spaces from formal to casual decorated by both renowned and upcoming interior designers with a fresh take on Napa style.  The formal dining room featured shades of emerald green and indigo, taking a cue from the peacock on a pedestal.  This room had really great combination of color and texture, the console and lantern sconces are my favorite.  Room design by Lucas Studio Interior Design.

napa showhouse dining room

napa showhouse dining room console

 

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