Wine, Chocolate, Madera Wine Trail + Valentine's

Join the pre-holiday tastings at a host of area wineries.

THE GENERAL WAY OF THINGS, when it comes to wine, and to chocolate, at least? Both the sippable and the comestible have a way of finding us, whether we're sitting at a table in a restaurant (where we ordered a glass of chardonnay), or we're answering the door (where a box of chocolates has just been delivered), or we're somewhere where someone wants to treat us to a bottle of something fine or a heart full of sweets. But we don't need to sit back and await our favorite libations, and the confections those libations pair so very well with, not if we go to an area that likes to pause and celebrate both. And when better to celebrate then around Valentine's Day? In a pretty slice of Sierra-foothills-esque, not-too-far-from-Yosemite wine country? You guess it, we're talking about Madera County here, and the...

MADERA WINE TRAIL, which traditionally takes a couple of days each February to find the celebratory sweetness in wine, in chocolate, and how the two match up. The dates for the 2018 Wine & Chocolate Weekend along the trail are up, and the best way to remember when it is all happening is to keep the weekend before Valentine's Day in mind. For Valentine's is on a Wednesday in 2018, meaning the wine will pour and the chocolate will delight on Saturday, Feb. 10 and Sunday, Feb. 11. An ahead-of-time ticket is $25. Once you're ticket'd, you can start at any of the wineries joining in, and you'll get a glass, and a wristband, too. You can taste both or either day, at spots like Birdstone Winery, Idle Hour Winery, and other regional vineyards. Chocolate samplings will be part of the fun, too, and tunes and a few other festive details. So you say you want to go to the wine and chocolate, rather than awaiting it? Find your designated driver, make your overnight plans in the area, and start planning your pre-V Day weekend around marvelous Madera.

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