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Last Updated: 08/31/2008 05:00PM • Subscribe via RSSATOM

Local Winemakers

08/31/2008 ● By Super Admin

Winemaking, or vinification, starts with the selection of grapes and ends with the bottling of a perfectly finished wine, and in our region, it’s some of the best around. Recently, Style visited a few of our notable wineries and vineyards to get a taste of what’s being crushed in our own backyards. Montevina WineryNestled in the rolling hills of Amador County, Montevina Winery is steeped in history. Established in 1970, Montevina was the first post-Prohibition winery in the Sierra foothills region. Soon, the winery became known for its top-quality wines. Amador County is known for its Zinfandels, many grown from centuries-old vines; the soil and climate combination make it the perfect home for this varietal. And, Montevina produces some of the best Zinfandels around.Now part of the Trinchero Family Estates, Montevina is the largest and most modern winery in Amador County. Under VP and General Manager Jeff Meyers and winemaker Chris Leamy, Montevina produces world-class, award-winning wines in its state-of-the-art facility under the Montevina and Terra d’Oro labels, and its eclectic red and white blend under the Wild Bunch label.Set within 400 acres of gorgeous scenery, Montevina’s tasting room and shaded outdoor patio is casual and inviting, and provides an idyllic setting for a romantic picnic. So pack your picnic basket and head to Plymouth to experience the history and delicious wines of Montevina.Varietals:Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Barbera, Pinot Grigio, Muscato, Anglianico, Teroldego, Sauvignon BlancFavorite:Terra d’Oro Zinfandel – Terra d’Oro, literally translated as “land of gold,” is Montevina’s premier wine, produced from the winery’s best lots in limited quantities. It's one Zinfandel that's just right! According to the winemaker’s notes, “Like a backyard barbeque, dark smoky molasses and hickory aromas warm the nose. Blackberry flavors are spiced with pepper, clove and anise like homemade preserves. A long lingering caramel finish touched by dark toasty oak begs for another sip.”Where to find Montevina wines: Montevina’s wines can be found at montevina.com, and at Total Wine & More in Roseville, Beverages & More, Raley’s/Bel Air and Sam’s Club locations throughout the Sacramento area.Winery & Tasting Room:Montevina Winery20680 Shenandoah School RoadPlymouth209-245-6942Open daily, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. For more Local Winemakers, be sure to pick up this month's copy of Style-Folsom El Dorado Hills edition. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at gloria@sierrastyle.com, or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.

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Preschool

08/31/2008 ● By Super Admin

To say that young children are impressionable is a blatant understatement. From birth to age five, the physical framework and wiring of a child’s brain develops largely based upon his or her experiences during those early years.Quality experiences are the goal of First 5 California’s investment of nearly one billion dollars into affordable, quality preschools for all. First 5 Executive Director Kris Perry explains, “A series of studies over a period of 40 years shows that children who participate in high quality preschool programs are less likely to be in the court system, are less likely to require social services, are more likely to graduate from high school and college, and are more likely to make higher earnings.”  Experts say it’s the basic lessons learned in preschool that set the stage for success in school, and in life.How Preschool Prepares ChildrenA preschool teacher for 32 years, Lise Witthaus first opened the Folsom Montessori School in 1980. As she notes proudly, she now teaches children of former students. “The most important thing a child learns in preschool is how to be part of a school community,” says Witthaus. “They learn how to be in a group, and how to participate and take cues from their peers.” And key, she says, they learn how to take direction that’s given to the class, not just to the individual child. According to educators, those skills must be learned in order to succeed in elementary school.Additionally, the importance of academic basics such as reading, math and penmanship cannot be ignored. As First 5’s Perry points out, “School has gotten increasingly difficult.” Perry suggests that the curriculum most parents were taught when they were in first grade, is what today’s kindergartners are learning. “So the more parents can help their child prepare ahead of time, the better they will do the whole time they are in school.” ...<hr>For more Preschool Information, be sure to pick up this month's copy of Style-Folsom El Dorado Hills edition. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at gloria@sierrastyle.com, or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.

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Food & Wine

08/31/2008 ● By Super Admin

La ProvenceAppetizer:Cured Salmon in Lemon Cucumber Cups with Green Tomato ConCassé and Crème Fraîche     Tomato ConCassé 6 green Zebra tomatoes or other green heirloom tomato1 shallot, thinly sliced and chopped3 tbsp. rice vinegar¼ tsp. sugar Preparation: In a small sauté pan, bring the sugar and vinegar to a boil. Turn off and remove from heat. Add the shallots to the vinegar mixture and stir to coat. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out seeds. Chop the tomato and add to the vinegar mixture. Let sit for one hour at room temperature for flavors to bloom.Cured Salmon in Lemon Cucumber Cups 6 lemon cucumbers, seeded, cut in half to make one cup4 ounces cured wild salmon (lox), cut paper thin1 cup Tomato ConCassé¼ cup Crème Fraîchesea salt and fresh ground pepper, to tastePreparation: Cut cucumbers along the short side and scoop out the seeds to make one cup. Place a piece of the cured salmon in the cup with a  small “flag” sticking out of the top. Next to this, place a small amount of the green Tomato ConCassé. Drizzle with a thin ribbon of crème fraîche. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.Wine Pairing:Karly 2007 Sauvignon BlancDono dal Cielo 2007 Estate RoséFor more Wine Pairing Recipes, be sure to pick up this month's copy of Style-Roseville, Granite Bay, Rocklin edition. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at gloria@sierrastyle.com, or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.

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Golf Lesson

08/31/2008 ● By Super Admin

Is it a bad sign when you come into the pro shop to take your first golf lesson and nearly knock over an entire display of clubs with your own golf bag? Well, I almost accomplished this feat, and managed to embarrass myself before even getting to the tee. Holding my bag correctly on my second attempt, I made my way out to meet the Director of Golf at Bass Lake Golf Club, Erik Pohl. After our meet and greet, Pohl asked me to take a few warm-up swings at the tee. To prepare him for what he was about to find out, I let him know that I had never played a game of golf before, only swung the club a couple times at the range, way back in high school. I remembered a few tricks that my dad taught me in regards to holding my grip and the club correctly…but that’s about where my skills stop. I was very eager to not disappoint, and declared that my new goal is to master the game of golf. Pohl responded with, “One swing at a time.”Pohl tried to help me shake a few of my first-timer jitters by saying that for most golfers, it’s just a matter of learning the basics, feeling comfortable, and lots of practice! Pohl was pleasantly surprised that I already had a good grip, which is always the first thing you learn, and my stance and posture weren’t bad either. Score. After going through some of those body alignment logistics, Pohl demonstrated both the proper position of where the club should be at each point in my swing, as well as what each part of my body should be doing. For example, when you finish your swing, your back foot should be completely pointing toward the target (your torso should be facing that way too), and all your weight should be on your front foot by this point. So be prepared, in a first lesson you will learn that there is way more involved in a golf swing, than you might think. No wonder those PGA players…or winners I should say, get paid so much!...<hr>For more on Desiree's Golf Lesson, be sure to pick up this month's copy of Style-Folsom El Dorado Hills edition. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at gloria@sierrastyle.com, or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.

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VW Sportwagen

08/31/2008 ● By Super Admin

With the cost of fuel helping to short out the world’s economy, fewer people see the logic in buying massive SUVs for the daily grind. Interestingly, buyers who once saw station wagons as an automotive styling plague are beginning to rethink the idea of a tiny SUV, or essentially, a wagon. And, fuel economy aside, there are a lot of other reasons to love a wagon over an SUV – they’re easier to drive, ride better, often easier to get in and out of, take less room to park, frequently look better and are simply smarter for a daily use regime.Volkswagen is the latest to the segment with the new Jetta SportWagen. Where the Passat wagon was once the VW wagon of choice (it was the only one), the Jetta SportWagen brings a level of youthfulness and fun that the Passat is simply too formal and familial to offer. In a word, the SportWagen is fun. Yes, that adjective can be used in conjunction with wagon.The SportWagen is available in three trim levels and accompanying prices: S (starts at $18,999), SE (starts at $21,349), and SEL (starts at $25,990); and they are all well equipped from the get go. But, VW has taken the liberty of offering a wide array of optional extras to help tailor the exact SportWagen that customers would like to have. Things like polished aluminum exterior mirror covers, several rims from 16 inches to 18 inches, mild body kit upgrades, fog lights, leather, rear cargo cage, panoramic moon roof, manual or automatic transmission, and normally aspirated or turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (SEL only) are but a few of the things buyers can choose from to build the wagon that suits their lives perfectly.The top-of-the-line SEL is the best equipped with heated leather seats, leather shift knob, brake lever, and steering wheel, the turbocharged engine, 17-inch wheels, 12-position power driver’s seat with three-position memories, larger dual exhaust tips, premium sound system, and several more standard features that all come together to create a vehicle that truly rivals even higher-priced nameplates.Beyond how well equipped it is, the SEL is also no slouch, zipping to 60 miles per hour in 6.9 seconds, roughly a full second quicker than the non-turbo equipped S or SE. Each is relatively athletic and much more inspiring than the heavier, larger Passat, but not quite as capable as an Audi A4. Again, keeping the prices in mind, the SportWagen is a gem.Poking around with the “Build It” feature at vw.com, and selecting the most expensive wheels, panorama moonroof, and no roof storage options, we were able to load an S model to the hilt, and tip the price to just over $28,000, but for all the goodies we checked off in the options box, it’s a bargain. We clicked the same options with an SEL and broke the piggy bank for a cool $37,917. A bit flabbergasting for a VW, but again, taking into account all of the bells and whistles, both standard and optional, it’s not a horrific deal, but does knock loudly upon the Audi A4 door. Electing the same options for an SE, we built a $33,276 wagon.In terms of comfort, the SportWagen isn’t cavernous, but it’s not tiny either – it’s just right. A little snug, but not overbearingly so, the seats are supportive, the visibility is good, and it’s simply an easy car to drive. It also offers no pretensions whatsoever, meaning you don’t get glaring jealous eyes staring at you along the highway, but rather curious folks wanting to know more. And, should you go antiquing one weekend, you’ll have plenty of room for all the needful things available, and the merchants won’t be inclined to demonstrate the pricier sides of their goods, thanks to owning a VW.Later in 2009, VW will offer a Clean Diesel version of the SportWagen, which promises to be a much more efficient vehicle than we’re used to seeing. Some sources cite that 35 MPG on the highway isn’t far fetched, and in town, the Clean Diesel SportWagen won’t be hard pressed to achieve 28 MPG, which is utterly amazing. However, the turbo and non-turbo gas-powered engines currently available do pretty well too, finding 21/31 (T) and 21/29 (NT) respectively.All things considered, the wagon is back, but in a new way. Thanks to sleek styling and ample performance, the VW SportWagen isn’t the plague-inducing wagon of yore, but rather a sexy alternative to the bank-breaking SUV.

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Youth Group

08/31/2008 ● By Super Admin

Work together. Share. How many times will we utter these words to our kids before they reach 18? The answer to that question, for most of us, is incalculable. But for one organization, it is a mission. The Vision Coalition of El Dorado Hills – a nonprofit that works to increase development opportunities for area youth – practices what most of us so ardently preach.“The common thread that motivates this community is its youth,” says Coordinator Raeann Jones. “Because of the rapid growth of El Dorado Hills in recent years, villages have not had the time to coalesce. People do not know their neighbors and do not always feel comfortable reaching out. We have greater diversity now and need to learn to work together for the greater good.” Since its inception in 2003, the Coalition has partnered with decision makers representing 12 community “sectors” – business, health professionals, law enforcement, education, faith-based groups, service organizations and parents, among them – in a collaborative process for systematic change. According to Jones, involvement from these and other classifications provide an excellent paradigm for maximizing community input and accomplishment.The inclusive organizational structure of the Vision Coalition – made up of operational staff, a Youth Advisory Committee, Executive Advisory Committee, and board of directors – provides all community sectors with a voice, encourages contribution and supports an equal division of responsibilities. Jones explains that a group forum allows Coalition members to focus on similarities rather than differences in a non-threatening environment, and says that new relationships are forged and partnerships are formed at every meeting. Without collusion between the parties, the Coalition’s aims would be noble, but not achievable. The organization’s youth-centric mission is four-fold: to expand opportunities for youth that invite decision making; to increase school and social involvement; to coordinate the availability of youth-supporting resources and services; and to promote activities that keep young people healthy and free from drugs, alcohol and tobacco.  The Vision Coalition has played a key role in the development of several community projects, including the new Teen Center and Skate Park, and the Youth Transportation Van. It publishes a monthly newsletter, contributes to a weekly news column, and has helped make several videos and animated public service announcements for teens. In addition, the organization supports ongoing youth development training and peer-to-peer mentoring programs; hosts monthly birthday parties; tends a community garden for low-income youth; and has developed Project T.E.A.C.H. (Teens Educating Against Classroom Harassment) and the Parent Project – a 10-week adult-youth communication workshop. And somewhere in the middle of these efforts, the Coalition continues to sponsor a series of youth-centered health fairs, dances, concerts, raft trips teamwork and leadership training camps.“Long time residents of El Dorado Hills embrace the growth in the area, yet desire to maintain a tight-knit community where we know, care about and support each other,” says Jones. As such, the Vision Coalition, largely funded by grants, also accepts donations. Anyone is welcome to attend Coalition meetings. For times and locations, visit The Vision Coalition online at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.edhvisioncoalition.org">edhvisioncoalition.org</a> or call 916-643-4393.

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