Fitness, Food, Wine & Travel

sparkling wine

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Bubbles and Bling”, Friday April 20th at The Crest Theatre

Fundraiser Benefits the Volunteer Center of Sacramento’s 50th Anniversary

Sacramento, CA –The Volunteer Center of Sacramento (VCS) will hold “Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Bubbles and Bling” on Friday, April 20 from 5:30-9pm at the Crest Theatre in downtown Sacramento as part of its 50th Anniversary campaign!

The celebratory event will include desserts, appetizers, champagne and wine, a huge silent auction, a fun photo booth with a Breakfast at Tiffany’s backdrop, live music by The Honey Trees and of course a viewing of the classic movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” on the big screen. Doors open at 5:30pm and the screening begins at 7pm.

To celebrate our role in the community of supporting other non-profit organizations, we have partnered with the Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Center and the California Youth Crisis Line. All three non-profits will benefit from this fun night out.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through the Volunteer Center of Sacramento by calling (916) 567-3100 or online by visiting Call us to avoid the online convenience fee!

“We are excited about celebrating our 50th Anniversary, however, community support is essential for the success of this fundraiser,” said Frank Kennedy, VCS Executive Director. “We have strengthened the Sacramento community through volunteerism for the past 50 years and we look forward to strengthening it for 50 more.”

To find out more about the fundraiser, how to purchase tickets, or how you can help, please contact us at (916) 567-3100 or

About The Volunteer Center of Sacramento
Founded in 1962, the Volunteer Center of Sacramento works to strengthen the Sacramento community by connecting volunteers with opportunities to serve. We also run several programs such as BirthdayMAGIC which coordinates birthday parties for children in homeless shelters, Adopt-A-Family which provides food and gifts to struggling families during Christmas and our VolunTEEN series which offers fun and easy 3-hour projects for youth in need of community service hours. Visit to learn more about the Volunteer Center of Sacramento.

The Tour at Domaine Carneros

After our stop at Whitehall Lane, we were off to Domaine Carneros. The tasting room and production facility is located in an enormous château modeled after the Château de la Marquetterie in Champagne, France.

In the late 1970’s, Claude Taittinger, the president of Champagne Taittinger, wanted to find a site to produce wines in America in the same style as his winery in Champagne, France. The search for land was on, and in 1987 Champagne Taittinger (led by Claude Taittinger), along with partner Kobrand Corporation, selected a 138 acre land parcel in Carneros to form Domaine Carneros. For a little more (and pretty interesting family background), you can go here and read about the Taittingers.

Since Domaine Carneros was founded, the lead winemaker has been Eileen Crane (selected by Claude Taittinger), and she is still in charge of operations and overseeing the winemaking and exactly when the wines are ready to be bottled.

Domaine Carneros is known for their remarkable sparkling wines, especially their Brut Vintage and ultra-bubbly cuvée Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs.

In the winery’s beginning, they sold their Pinot Noir fruit to other area wine makers for many years. Since the wines being produced from these grapes were top-notch, by 1992, Domaine Carneros decided to begin making their own Pinot Noir.

All of the Domaine Carneros wines are from the Carneros Appellation, and 95% of the grapes are estate grown. All of Domaine Carneros estate vineyards have been has been certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers organization since April 2008.

We opted to take the “Art of Sparkling Wine” Tour (which is $25 per person plus tax) and offered daily at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. This is the winery’s signature tour and demystifies the creation of sparkling wine in the traditional method. The tour took us from the vines and then into the Chateau, while we were poured three different sparkling wines, and given a background on each. 

As I mentioned, the tour begins in the vineyard. Our knowledgeable tour guide was Al. He knows pretty much everything there is to know about Domaine Carneros, but that’s because it’s not his first day on the job. Al has been with the company numerous years.

We all gathered in the first room for a tasting of their Brut Cuvée Sparkling Wine.
The Domaine Carneros Brut Cuvée is a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay and vintage dated each year. All of the grapes are Carneros, and the wine is aged in the bottle for three years before release. 

These cages are used to gradually get the yeast down into the neck of the bottle so that it can be removed. This process is called riddling. This used to be done manually, by rotating the bottles on a riddler like the one pictured below.
The second sparkling wine we tried was the Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs.
The term Le Rêve translates to “the dream” in English.
This cuvee was was fashioned from Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne, and it is a white wine made from white grapes, also known as a Blanc de Blancs.
The Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs is generally 100% Chardonnay and is aged 6 years prior to release. We were amazed at the amount of bubbles in one glass! It was magnificent on the palette.
Here’s another shot of the production line.

The last sparkling wine we tasted (not pictured) is my favorite: the The Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé Cuvée de la Pompadour.  It has so many favorable qualities: elegant, crisp, festive, and the antique pink color!

It was made to celebrate Madame de Pompadour (the great courtesan and mistress of Louis XV) who first introduced sparkling wine to the court at Versailles, and who is quoted as saying, “Champagne is the only wine a woman can drink and remain beautiful.”

This Rosé is a balance of 58% pinot noir and 42% chardonnay. Domaine Carneros obtains their Rosé’s color and flavor using two methods: first, by allowing part of the pinot juice to spend several days in contact with the grape skins. (This is how many other non-sparkling rosés are made.) Secondly, a small amount of pinot noir is added back to adjust color and flavor.

Although it is pink in color, this Brut Rosé is not sweet. It pairs very nicely with salmon, duck, brunch foods like quiche, brie en croute, and even fresh berries.

At the end of the tour, we were introduced to Domaine Carneros’ portfolio of red wines. I liked them, too, but I was really there for the bubbly. I think it’s my favorite because it’s so festive. Now, my BF likes the Domaine Carneros the Pinots even better than the sparkling wines, and so a hefty purchase was made. One good thing about the tour is that you get 15% off per case when you buy.
The view from the stairs right after our tour.

We were strays from the tour and Al even helped us load up the car. I was trying to get him to sing (to no avail), which he told us he is banned from doing while working. 😉

If you visit Domaine Carneros, the main château and terrace are open from 10:00am to 6:00pm daily.  The last service of the day is at 5:45 p.m. If you do a tour, call ahead of time and make a reservation. I know it is hard to do when you are in Napa and sticking to a schedule is the last thing you’d probably want to do, but this tour is really worth it!

Their facebook page is located here, and you can follow them on twitter here.

And so it was off to The Meritage and dinner at Siena!

Poema Sparkling Wine & Sausage with Sauerkraut

I am having some of the most delicious meals ever without having processed grains, sugar, bread, gluten, or any of the other garbage that makes up most convenience/boxed food on grocery store shelves.
Saturday’s weigh in: 133 pounds. I am down 12.5 pounds since March 27th. I am happy with my progress, but just really want this weigh off. I am still working on trying to forgive myself for letting my weight get so out of control!! My goal is to look good in all the clothes I have in my closet from last summer, but to give you a number… I would love 115. I got down to 112 last summer and was a little too thin maybe.
BTW, I survived a dessert-themed birthday party on Friday night without having a single grain of sugar or even a sugar substitute (everyone around me munched on cookies, cakes, and lemon bars while I snuck in red and yellow bell peppers).
Then on Saturday, I attended Festa di Vino. Thank goodness for one of the vendors, Ambrosia… they had almonds and strawberries ❤ ❤ ❤ that held me over a few hours. Tried a little cheese, but just a tiny slice, and I knew there would be a “treat” food I would want to have this weekend. I also knew I would have some wine, so I allowed for that on both Friday and Saturday. I probably had a bottle over both evenings. I allowed for that calorically, and won’t drink again until next weekend. Calories per day are averaging about 1200-1300 and no more than 4 (alcoholic) drinks a week. I am working out 6 days a week, and average calorie burn per workout is about 400.
Anyway, last weekend, I shared this bottle of Poema Cava and a Sausage with Sauerkraut dinner with one of my close Cheffy friends. 🙂 It was actually cooked for me, which was really nice. Lovely to have someone from a well-known restaurant be your personal chef for the evening. 🙂
First, a little about the wine:
Poema Logo
Cava is Spain’s traditional method sparkling wine, produced mainly in the Penedès region in northeastern Spain. Crisp, fruity and well-balanced, Cava has grown in popularity in recent years and can be found throughout the U.S. market.
Parellada, Macabeo, and Xarel-lo are the main grapes used in Cava which is crafted using the traditional method (the same process which is followed in Champagne).
Cava is classified by the sugar content and length of aging. Ranging from driest to sweetest: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Dry, Semi-Dry, and Sweet.
Poema is available in Brut and Extra-Dry, each made from a traditional blend of Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada grapes grown in the Penedès valley.
Dry sparkling wine is probably my favorite wine because it is sipped in summer and in winter at parties, and at both casual and fancy occasions. It’s a versatile wine that can also be used to make fun cocktails. And I just love those bubbles. The Poema was dry, crisp, and refreshing.
Thank you to Kobrand Wine and Spirits for the selection.
For dinner that evening, we had Sausage and Sauerkraut. What a great one-pot meal–very little clean up in the kitchen:

1 1/2  Onions (sliced)

2 slices bacon

1 1/2 cups sauerkraut

1 package Aidell’s Cajun Style Andouille Sausage

Fry the bacon and render the fat. Then you will sauté the onions in the bacon fat until nicely cooked through. Slice the sausages on a bias. Add the sauerkraut and the sausage and cook 10-15 minutes to let the flavors come together and the sausages to heat through.

Remember kids, sugar is the enemy and fat is your friend!!