where family & friends come for good times & great food

Well, Good-bye to February, with an overall great month of business, meeting new residents, and enjoying our local favorite customers as well.
Thanks to all who participated in our Valentine’s Winemaker Dinner w/ Busby Cellars. This is an annual event, and this year’s dinner was absolutely fabulous! We were sold out by mid-January, so next year, be sure to book early!
The food and the wine were paired beautifully, and a very good time was had by all.
This March, one of my goals is to revitalize our lunch business. During my absence in late 2013 and early 2014, we closed for lunches, and re-opened last February. It’s been a bit of an uphill struggle, so we reach out to all of you to make a plan to visit us for lunch this month…tell a friend about us, or come with friends for a delicious lunch meal. We serve lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM until 3 PM. Thanks!
For you basketball fans, March Madness College play-off games will be shown at the Grill, and we’ll get Chef Greg to prepare some delightful specials for you to enjoy while cheering for your favorite team.
This coming weekend will be the “Behind the Cellar Door” event in Amador County. We will be supplying the food for the event at c.g. di Arie tasting room on Saturday & Sunday.
Oakstone Winery will be celebrating their 18th Anniversary on March 14th & 15th. Come to the Grill and have a great LUNCH, then head out to see Steve & Liz for their anniversary celebration. Gwinllan Estates, located next to Shadow Ranch on Fair Play Rd, will be hosting a “Be a Winemaker for a Day” event featuring Bordeaux varietals on March 7th & 14th, and Rhone varietals on March 21st & 28th.
Remember that you can always get a lunch to go for your group when you plan on spending a day at the wineries. Just call ahead, and you can pick up your meals on your way!
Our great dinner server, Renee will be returning to work next week with a brand new hip! Be sure to come in and help welcome her back!
Passport weekends are coming up in April, on the weekends of the 11th & 12th, then again on the 18th & 19th. Please remember that it’s always a good idea to have a designated driver for these weekends. Also, we have more places to stay in the Fair Play area than we’ve had in a number of years! Weather it’s a stay at one of our several lovely B & B’s, or a vacation rental from VRBO, you will enjoy a stay in these beautiful foothills, surrounded by the rolling hills and vineyards of the area. Make your reservations for a meal at the Grill while you are here!
I’m still formulating plans for our guest wine bartender this month. I’ll be sure to let you know when that gets solidified.
Please remember that you can contribute your comments about your winery trips, or any visits to the area right here on our blog.

Wow!  January is gone…Superbowl has been won and lost, and Valentine’s Day will be upon us before we know it!

As far as football goes, I’m not a die-hard fan, but always enjoy playoff season.  I have to say, watching the playoff game between Green Bay and the Seahawks, I stopped doing my household chores, as I was distracted by the number of penalties that Seattle was getting nailed for.  At one point, I think I gave up housework altogether, thinking “are they just going to incur so many penalties that they give the game away!”  Meanwhile, Green Bay just kept scoring field goals and touchdowns until it appeared to be all but over.  Finally, early in the 4th quarter, I pulled myself away from the TV (by this time, I had moved from home to the Gold Vine), and got finished with my errands.  Well, I guess we all know by now how that ended!  And it seemed almost like a deja vu experience on game day. You have to hand it to the Seahawks.  That must be a bit of why we watch  football…to see amazing plays during the final moments of a game that seems all but over. Call to make your reserations now.

And now we have the Grammys coming up on Feb. 8th. Gold Vine will be showing the Grammy Awards starting w/ the Red Carpet action on Sunday. Come in and watch and join in some fun activities with some great specials on fabulous local wines!

Now to more serious matters.  I was all prepared to write a big promo on Valentine’s Day, and the fact that each year we have a Winemaker Dinner w/ Busby Cellars, featuring the menu and a great mention of how much fun it is each and every year!  Well, lo and behold, we have sold out seating for Valentine’s Day’s Winemaker Dinner.  We have been sold out for almost 3 weeks!  We sold out before we ever even made the menu!  I wish we had a bigger restaurant!  To those of you who have called to make reservations, only to find out that we are full, I am so sorry to turn anyone away.  Please remember that we are open for lunch on the 14th, and also have our lovely regular dinner menu on Friday, the 13th and Sunday the 15th.  So, maybe beat the crowds and celebrate your love on one of those days.  Had I known that this would be such a popular dinner, I would surely have scheduled two seatings.

Our featured wine is Mellowood Syrah.  Mellowood Vineyards is owned by Linda Neal, a very sharp and lovely lady.  Her vineyard and tasting room are located on Omo Ranch Road just past Latcham Vineyards if you are coming from Mount Aukum Road.  She is open Saturday and Sunday for tasting.  I have tasted several of her wines, and enjoyed them all, especially her Syrah (but then I am a Syrah girl).  If you haven’t had a chance to visit her tasting room, it would be a worthwhile stop and/or you can always try her Syrah her at the Grill with one of Chef Greg’s delicious meals.

For all of you who have inquired about our server, Renee, she is in week 4 of her rehabilitation from hip surgery.   She seems to be doing very well, and we hope to see her back here in a few more weeks.  We welcome Nadia back from her move to San Francisco, and always appreciate Karen and Cheryl, our dinner servers, and Matt, out new lunch server.

We hope to see all of you very soon at the Gold Vine Grill.  Remember:  Wednesday nights are burger night at the Grill; Thursdays are Fresh Cod Fish & Chips; Friday and Saturday Night we have Steak & Lobster, and Sunday nights are Corage Free!  See you soon!

 

Happy New Year from Greg & Mary and the Staff of Gold Vine Grill!   What a wonderful Holiday Season we had this year!  We were pleased to be able to do some catering for the locals, which we have not done for awhile, and were happy to accommodate our clients at their holiday celebrations!

Our 12th Annual Holiday Open House was really lovely.  We enjoyed wines from Cedarville Vineyards, Bechard Winery, Peter’s Gate, and MV, all generously donated each year by the owners for this special occasion.  Greg and his busy elves prepared a wonderful array of appetizers and desserts for all to enjoy…Santa was here with a HO HO HO, and we had lovely acoustic guitar by Mark Hanson.  We ate, drank, sang and enjoyed the fellowship of our friends and neighbors throughout the afternoon.

New Year’s Eve, Greg and his crew outdid themselves with a fabulous 5-course wine paired meal for two different seatings.  We had a full house for both, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Now comes the relative calm of the New Year.  It looks like we will be having a rather mild January weather-wise, so please take the opportunity to come over to Gold Vine Grill soon!

I know a whole lot of you are crazy about football during this play-off season.  Just remember that we have a large screen TV at  the wine bar, and we will be watching the play-off games, hopefully with some of you.  We will be closed on Super Bowl Sunday, though, just so you know.

We would love to give a shout out to our kitchen crew who took over for Greg while he was recuperating from hip replacement surgery.  Many thanks to Hunter, Derrick and Christina for holding down the fort, and making us proud!

We would also like to welcome back Nadia to our staff of servers.  Nadia had moved away for a short while, but I guess she couldn’t find better people or food, so she has returned, and we are happy to have her.  Also, many good thoughts and wishes for Renee as she goes out for hip replacement surgery this month.  Gee, we have a lot of bad hips around here!  Anyway, many blessings Renee, and we will see you in about 12 weeks!

I’ll be adding information regarding our guest wine bartender in just a few days, so keep an eye out for that info.

We sure hope we are on your New Year’s resolution list as the place you MUST come to soon!

Happy New Year!

Make your reservations soon for our fabulous wine paired New Year’s Eve Gala dinner!  First seating is at 5 PM and second seating is at 8 PM.  First seating is $75.00 per person, second seating is $85.00  per person and includes a sparkling wine party after dinner.  All costs include food, wine, tax & gratuity.

1st Course:  Crab & Shrimp Crepes w/ a Silky Seafood Veloute

Wine:  Saluti Cellars 2012 Viognier

2nd Course:  Grilled Asian Pear, Arrugula and Pancetta Salad lightly tossed in a champagne vinaigrette

Wine:  2012 Lavender Ridge Grenache Rose

3rd Course: Sweet Potato Gnocci w/ Walnut Pesto

Wine:  c.g. di Arie Primativo

4th Course: Classic Whole Roasted Filet Mignon topped w/ Sauce Bernaise Wine:  Cedarville Cabernet Sauvignon

5th Course:  Chocolate Genache Cake

Wine:  Mellowood Syrah  

Whoa!  It has been a busy end of Summer and entry into the Fall season!  There is a lot of news for this blog, so pour yourself a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine), and please continue reading.

One of our most important announcements is that Chef Greg FINALLY had his hip replacement surgery.  As Andrea Bechard posted in Facebook “Hip Hip Hooray!”  However, more accurately, we should say “Hip Hooray!”, as he still needs to have the other hip replaced.  He is on his feet and practicing walking without a walker.  He is back at work on a limited schedule.  It is great to see him walk without the effort of working through pain, and we are all happy that he was finally able to get this first surgery completed.  His kitchen staff did a fabulous job in his absence, and we thank them very sincerely!  I have been going into high gear taking care of Greg, driving him to his appointments, doing his Costco runs, etc. as  well as my usual duties at the restaurant.  So, our apologies if this blog is a little late, but it’s here today!

This week was the one year anniversary(?) of my very surprising and unwelcome leukemia diagnosis.  But thank God a year has past, and I am on the road to recovery.  I’m looking forward to one year of remission coming up very soon!  Thank all of you for all of your love and support this year.  It has been a doozie!

Starting this Sunday, we invite you to join us for “Touchdown at the Grill”.  During the football season, we will be showing the NFL football game on our big screen from 11 AM – 3 PM on Sundays.  We will feature $2.00 selected beers and Chef Greg will have an “Off the Grid” special each week.  This is in the wine bar area only.

This month we are very happy to have  Tami from Madrona Vineyards for our guest wine bartender.  She will be featuring 4 wines from their wonderful vines for you to purchase by the flight, by the glass or by the bottle.  These nights are always special fun, so be sure to make your reservations for Saturday, November 22nd between 5:00 and 8:30 PM.

As we head into the Holiday Season, we are planning our 13th Annual Holdiay Open House.  On Sunday, Dec. 7th, from 2-4:30 we will be offering complimentary hors d ‘oeuvres and lovely local wines, with music, singing and  a good holiday celebration.  Please drop by on your busy way to or from your holiday chores.

We are once again planning our New Year’s Eve Gala Wine Dinner on December 31st.  We will hold 2 dinner seatings, one at 5 PM and the second at 8:30 PM.  This dinner will be a 4-Course wine dinner.  First seating is $75.00 per person which includes all food, wine, tax and gratuity.  The second seating is $85.00 per person which includes all food, wine, tax, gratuity and a sparkling wine party afterward.  Reservations are required for this dinner and are coming in, so call soon for yours.  This is ALWAYS a wonderful evening.

Remember Wednesday nights are Burger Nights at the Gold Vine.  Thursdays we feature Fresh Cod Fish & Chips.  Friday and Saturday nights we offer Steak & Lobster, and Sunday nights are Corkage FREE!

Gold Vine Grill will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas  Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Enjoy this joyful season with your loved ones, and come to see us when you can!

Welcome to those lazy, hazy crazy days of summer!  It looks like we are going to make up this year for the past few years of mild temperatures.  Just this week has really been a sizzler!  We would love to hear from you and find out what you are doing this summer for fun and relaxation.  Maybe you have a favorite “getaway” that you can share with the rest of us!  Greg & I like to adventure to new places once in awhile, and one of our favorites was a trip to Shelter Cove on Hwy 1, north of Mendocino.  What a peaceful, beautiful place!  They have the only stretch of black sand beach in California.  We highly recommend it for a quiet vacation.  What is one of your favorite “go to” spots?

Things are going pretty well for us at the Gold Vine Grill.  I am back part time to work, and feeling stronger.  Greg will be finally getting his hip surgery at the end of September.  We are looking for a qualified replacement chef to help us for awhile, so if you know of an available cook looking for some work, send them our way!

We would like to take this opportunity to say “good-bye” to one of our team here at Gold Vine Grill.  Logan Durrett worked for us for over a year.  Logan was killed in a single vehicle accident two weeks ago.  Of course this came as a huge shock to us all.  We become kind of like a family working together at the Grill, and it saddens us greatly to lose a member of our team.  Logan was loved by many in this community.  We offer our condolences to his family and friends.

We hope that you all have a memorable summer…be sure to be safe and have fun.

The healing power of food and prayers

by Wendy Shultz – written April 7th on page B3

After a whitewater rafting trip on the American River, Greg and Mary Kemp thought El Dorado County might make a good place to retire.

Mary laughs about the word “retire” now. With a successful restaurant and plenty of community involvement, retirement doesn’t describe her life at the moment.

From one wine region, the Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara, to another, it took the Kemps two years to find a house in El Dorado County and relocate in 1991.

“When we came here, Greg worked at Intel as a chef and I worked at Folsom High School as the culinary arts instructor,” said Mary, 61. “We had a catering business, as well, but it was a big dream of ours to open our own restaurant.”

 Dreams do come true

The dream took eight years to realize. The Kemp’s catering business was very successful, especially with the wineries that put on special events, so much so that Mary often brought her students in to help.

“I built a culinary arts program for Folsom High School, writing the curriculum and developing the standards and then I built the program for the El Dorado High School District,” said Mary. Continue reading

Happy Spring!  Well, while we enjoyed a very balmy Autumn and Winter, it looks like Spring has decided to come in like a lion, with cold temperatures and plenty of rain.  Thank goodness!!  We really need the moisture!  Many of you, like Greg & I, probably have friends and/or relatives living in the northeast who are really tired of the COLD, COLD winter.  I wonder if the Western states’ population will grow a bit this year…

Good news on the health front:  Next week will be my last round of chemotherapy for the course of treatment that I am on.  My next big decision is whether or not I will need a bone marrow transplant, but I’m going to gather lots of information and take some much needed time off from medications before I make that decision.

Passport weekends are coming right up!  This is a great time for the locals to drop in for lunch, as the wineries are full of visitors, and we are generally quieter for lunch during the Passport weekends.  Dinners do get quite busy, so please make reservations.  Dates for Passport are April 5-6 and April 12-13.  Please party responsibly.

Chef Greg has decided to feature his fabulous Fish & Chips on Thursday nights as our special.  They were very popular, and when he took them off of the Friday lunch menu, many people have since asked when they are coming back!

Listed under “Events” you will find a recommendation for you to watch next Saturday’s “Cut Throat Kitchen” (April 5th).  One of the contestants Kaitlyn Krill (formerly Kaitlyn Adams), was one of my culinary students, and worked here at the Grill our first two years before she went off to culinary school.  We are very excited to see her television debut on the Food Network.  Check your guide for the time.

We will be back periodically to bring you up to date news.  If  you have anything exciting to share, just post it on the blog!  We welcome your comments.

 

 

Guest Wine Bartender at our restaurant for the month is Ted Bechard w/ Bechard Vineyards on March 29th from 5:30 – 9:00 PM.

image of Ted & Andrea BechardWelcome to the History. . . . . . .             It all began hiking on the dusty road to St. Baume while volunteering at La Sabranenque in Southern France. La Sabranenque a non-profit organization based in Saint Victor la Coste, near Avignon in Provence, has been working for the preservation of the rural Mediterranean habitat, its heritage, architecture  and techniques. As we went off to work each day we passed through the famous wine regions of the Rhone Valley, Chateauneuf du Pape, Lirac and Tavel(known for their Rosé wines). Many of the restoration projects were in small intimate Chapels located in the remote countryside which we learned were used as a refuge for pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela.  A few years later after extensive research and planning we began our pilgrimage to Santiago by bicycle from St Jean Pied de Port on the border of Spain and France in the Pyrenees covering 500 miles through northern Spain. The plan continued to develop bicycling on the road to Compostella through the rolling hills of the Rioja wine region.  An idea, a dream, a midlife crisis became a desire to fully involve ourselves in the world of food and wine.

    Our adventure to the land of food and wine commenced with a 3500-mile journey from Bar Harbor, Maine to Northern California. Calistoga the northernmost town in the Napa Valley became our home and we remained there for the next four years.  Ted began working for Vincent Arroyo Winery in Calistoga and Andrea for Eleanor and Francis Coppola, owners of the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery in Rutherford.  These two family owned businesses showed us the diversity of wineries in the Napa Valley, ranging from an intimate tasting room in the wine cellar to a mutli-million dollar showplace. From our experiences we learned that the familiarity of our establishment could offer our customers a friendly and educational wine experience.

     Our winemaking experiences began with picking second crop grapes, stomping in the picking bin, fermenting in plastic barrels and pressing in a small basket press. After three years of training in the winery and classes in general viticulture, wine chemisty, microbiology, vineyard soils, plant nutrition, sensory evaluation and analysis of must and wines we were on our way to begin planning our own label.

     Realizing that the Napa Valley was unrealistic in terms of land acquisition, we began widening our search for vineyard property in Mendocino, Anderson Valley, Sonoma and finally came across the Fairplay viticulture region in El Dorado County located in the Sierra Foothills.  On our first trip we found a 20 acre parcel off the Grizzly Flat Road with a stunning view of the Cosumnes river valley.  We continued our search but we kept coming back to the beautiful parcel we first saw and eventually purchased the property in May of 2001.            

    Development of the vineyard began in 2002 with the first planting in the summer of 2003.  Our emphasis being small batch premium handcrafted wines with an importance placed on blending to achieve wine style with more complexity.  Following the traditional styles from the Rhone Valley in France and the Rioja region in Spain, the vineyard was planted with Viognier, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Tempranillo and Petite Sirah.     After making wine at several locations over the past few years we broke ground in the summer/fall of 2005 for the new winery building and contruction began after harvest was completed. We welcome you to visit the vineyard and celebrate in the continuing progress of our new home. 

     A Santé,

Andrea & Ted Bechard

Here is my update today: Arrived home last Monday after an unexpected week in UCD. Discovered an allergy to an antibiotic, which made me quite ill. Go in for tests twice a week to check blood counts. Had 8 transfusions last week! Friday, had a bone marrow biopsy in office (never fun). Results will show if there is any lingering leukemia. Last one was clear, so say your prayers for this one. Checking in on Wed. for round 3 of chemo. Will be in for 3-5 days. Two more rounds to go (one in Feb. and one in March), then hopefully I can do outpatient treatments. This is a long, grueling process. I have been home 17 days of the last 68 days. That’s a lot of time in one hospital room. Thank God for visitors and phone calls. Sometimes it almost feels like that’s home, and I visit here! Seasons have changed, holidays have come and gone. I am getting good care, and so love you all for your prayers, good wishes and friendships. Let’s hope we’re on the downhill slope now. Have a sunshiny day!

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