#ShareSLO Photo of the Week: Barrels of Fun!

The 4-day Roll Out the Barrels event kicked off at the San Luis Obispo mission last Thursday with wine, food and the music of long-time local favorite the Damon Castillo Band.

Thanks to @Calicoastwine for sharing this photo from the event. If you attend a fun event like this, please remember to post photos with the ShareSLO hashtag.



Tee Time! U.S. Women’s Open Coming to CordeValle

CordeValle, nestled in the rolling foothills just north of Gilroy, is set to host the 71st U.S. Women’s Open Championship. The property will host tens of thousands of golf devotees during the championship, which will be conducted July 4-10, 2016.

This will be the third time the U.S. Women’s Open has been conducted in California and the first ever in the Bay Area. CordeValle has hosted other top-tier championships, including the PGA Tour’s Frys.com Open from 2010-2013, as well as the 2011 and 2015 PGA Cups, and the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship in 2013.

“The USGA is looking forward to our return to CordeValle for the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open,” said Diana Murphy, USGA vice president and chairman of the Championship Committee. “This course, which beautifully incorporates the iconic Northern California landscape, will surely provide a true test of the competitors’ skill and mental fortitude, as well as a truly extraordinary experience for spectators.”

If you’re coming to the U.S. Women’s Open, be sure to stay at one of Gilroy’s budget-friendly hotels so you can discover everything else the area has to offer—including award-winning wineries along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail, over 145 brand-name stores at Gilroy Premium Outlets, family fun at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park, and outstanding restaurants in Gilroy’s historic downtown district. To plan your Gilroy golf getaway, go to VisitGilroy.com.

U.S. Women’s Open tickets range in price from $75 for a 2-Entry Flex Package, which includes two individual admissions to use on two separate days or on a single day, to a $125 7-Entry Flex Package, which includes seven individual admissions in any combination on any day or all on a single day. For those looking for an exclusive weeklong experience, the $225 CordeValle Reserve Package will provide an upgraded, elevated experience, including access to the lofty vistas at the on-site winery with an artisanal menu and choice beverages. Corporate discounts are available. Volunteer opportunities are also available for members of the local community.

Get U.S. Women’s Open tickets and find out more about volunteer opportunities at www.2016uswomensopen.com.

>> Explore more: Gilroy has several excellent golf courses for golfers at all levels—reserve your tee time today!

Rock Stars, Royalty, Artists and Chefs Wanted for the 2016 Gilroy Garlic Festival

We’ve still got several months to go until the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 29, 30 and 31, 2016. But there’s already a lot going on behind the scenes to get ready for this year’s event!

To start with, we’ll need to crown a new Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen. Young ladies ages 18-24 who live in Gilroy, Hollister, San Juan Bautista, San Martin, Morgan Hill, or Aromas are eligible to compete for scholarship prizes and the opportunity to represent their community at all three days of the Festival as well as other events. Contestants are judged by a panel of five judges on personal interview, talent, garlic speech, and on-stage question. Applications are due on March 4; the Queen Pageant will be held on May 1, 2016. 

The quest for this year’s winning art poster is on as well. Talented artists across the country are invited to submit original masterpieces that capture the spirit and flavor of the Festival to the 2016 Gilroy Garlic Festival Art Poster Contest. The winning entry will be reproduced as a high-quality, limited-edition poster to be sold at the Festival – and the winning artist takes home a $500 cash prize. Additional prizes are awarded for second and third place and the “People’s Choice” award (to be selected by Festival visitors in July). Entries are due March 18, 2016.

Vendors and performers who want to be part of the 2016 Gilroy Garlic Festival must also submit their applications by March 18. Each year, the Festival hosts 100+ Arts and Crafts booths featuring original fine arts and crafts, as well as food, beverage, and merchandise booths selling everything from Cajun crawdads to tie-dye t-shirts. A special Children’s Area features family-friendly entertainment, activities, food, drinks, and merchandise booths.  Festival guests also enjoy live entertainment on three stages in a wide variety of musical styles, including rock, country, blues, swing, and more. 

And long before the pyro chefs in Gourmet Alley start flaming up calamari and scampi for Festival guests, home chefs around the country will be fine-tuning on their own original garlicky recipes to enter in the 2016 Great Garlic Cook-Off Recipe Contest. The Cook-Off has become one of the country’s most prestigious amateur cooking competitions and will be held this year on Saturday, July 30. Eight finalists will be selected to prepare their dishes on stage at the Gilroy Garlic Festival for the chance to win a grand prize of $5,000. In the 2015 competition, Jodi Taffel from Phoenix, Arizona won the coveted garlic crown with her winning dish of “Shakshuka with Deep Fried Garlic.” Recipes for this year’s competition must be submitted by May 1.

In addition to all of these contests and other special events, volunteers are already hard at work getting everything in shape for the 38th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival itself, to be held on July 29, 30 and 31, 2016 at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy. If you’ve never been – or haven’t visited in a while – make this the year you come and get your garlic on!

Hotels do fill up fast for this world-famous event, so check the “Where to Stay” page at VisitGilroy.com and book your room today. And be sure to stay for a few days, so you can also enjoy Gilroy Gardens and the nighttime Lumination festival, shop at Gilroy Premium Outlets, go wine tasting along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail…and discover lots more fun things to do right here in Gilroy!

Spice Up the Romance with a Gilroy Getaway for Two

This year, don’t settle for a boring box of chocolates or generic greeting card. Spice up your Valentine’s Day and treat your sweetheart to a weekend getaway in Gilroy!

Start your trip with a leisurely tasting tour along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail, where you’ll discover award-winning wines, gorgeous scenery, and a peaceful, relaxed atmosphere at over 25 family-owned wineries. If the weather’s nice, bring along a picnic lunch and enjoy the views of the vineyards at local favorites like Solis Winery, Fortino Winery, or Sarah’s Vineyard. 

As the sun starts to sink into the foothills, head to historic downtown Gilroy. You can pick up a map at the downtown kiosk and take a self-guided walking tour, or just enjoy a leisurely stroll through the charming antique shops and boutiques. Capture a bit of old Hollywood glamour and romance by dining at The Milias Restaurant, once a favorite stopping-place for Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.

Book a cozy fairway room or spacious bungalow at the Rosewood Resort at CordeValle and enjoy superb views of the championship golf course and surrounding countryside. Treat yourself to a private steam in the rain room or a luxurious massage for two at the world-class Sense® spa.

The next morning, sleep in late and then head back downtown to enjoy a delicious champagne brunch at Old City Hall Restaurant. Then you can enjoy the rest of the day however you like—whether that’s shopping at Gilroy Premium Outlets, hiking, golfing, or getting some garlicky souvenirs at Garlic World, the Garlic Shoppe, or downtown’s Garlic Mercantile.

Of course, you don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day…you can spice up any weekend with a romantic retreat to Gilroy!

For a Wine Trail map, restaurant recommendations, and other helpful information, go to VisitGilroy.com or stop by the Gilroy Welcome Center. We’re conveniently located at Gilroy Premium Outlets Building A, close to Forever 21.


Super Barrel Tasting

What is Barrel Tasting?

On special days held just once or twice each year, the family-owned wineries along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail host “Barrel Tasting Days,” when visitors get to sample each winery’s newest vintages straight from the barrel. On February 6, 2016—the day before Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s® Stadium in Santa Clara—wine lovers are invited to Super Barrel Tasting Day at selected wineries in Gilroy, San Martin, and Morgan Hill.

Barrel tasting is just what the name implies – tasting wine straight out of the barrel! Red wines are usually put into barrels to age a few months after harvest, where they remain for anywhere from one to three years. During this time, the flavors deepen, and the wood from the barrel infuses the wine with flavor.

On Barrel Tasting Days, vintners bring a barrel of young wine up from the cellars and tap into it using a special pipette called a “wine thief.” Guests are allowed the unique opportunity to sample the wine several months—or even years—before it will be bottled.

So what can you expect from barrel tasting? Cindy Adams at Guglielmo Winery says, “Barrel tasting is fun because the wine still has the younger, fruity flavors that are very popular, especially with new wine drinkers.” It’s exciting to try something brand new and get a “sneak preview” of what could turn out to be Santa Clara Valley’s next award-winning wine.

Adams explains that barrel tasting provides only a taste of the structure of the wine. “The wine’s flavor will change and become more nuanced,” she says, “losing some of the fresh fruitiness once it completes the barrel aging process and goes into the bottle.”

Vic Vanni at Solis Winery offers a few special tips for Barrel Tasting Day visitors: Avoid tasting too many wines from the normal offerings, so you can focus your attention on the qualities of the barrel wines.  Take notes. Plan on only tasting at no more than four or five wineries. And, of course, designate a driver to ensure you have a safe trip home.

Whether you’re lucky enough to live nearby or are visiting the Bay Area for Super Bowl 50, we hope you’ll come out for the Santa Clara Valley Wineries Super Barrel Tasting Day on Saturday, February 6 from 12:00 to 4:00 pm. Tickets are $25 and are available at any participating winery or at the Gilroy Welcome Center (located at Gilroy Premium Outlets near Forever 21). 

Wineries participating in the 2016 Super Barrel Tasting Day include:

  • Creekview Vineyards
  • Fortino Winery
  • Guglielmo Winery
  • J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines
  • Kirigin Cellars
  • Lightheart Cellars
  • Martin Ranch Winery
  • Medeiros Family Wines
  • Morgan Hill Cellars
  • Rapazzini Winery
  • Solis Winery
  • Sunlit Oaks Winery

For more details about this event, go to VisitGilroy.org and download a Wine Trail Map to plan your own tasting tour!