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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lily the wonder dog and our trip to Amador Flower Farm

Our faithful, adorable friend Lily can always be counted on to play with guests or sit in the sun...She recently turned two and was upset that it was not blogged about so here is a photo to make up for it.

We also took a trip to get some new plants last weekend to the Amador Flower Farm, which is about 30 minutes from the bed and breakfast.  It was a lovely, warm day and while Lily went with us, she had to stay in the car while we picked up some new plants for the inn.  All in all, a lovely day, with many plants to choose from--come stay and see the latest!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fair Play Wine Happenings

The wine region of Fair Play is just about 20 minutes from our B&B. Here are some events you might want to come and stay for.....

Tickets currently available for two dates:

Saturday, May 10
Saturday, June 21
If you haven't experienced a Fair Play Wine and Poker Run, you are in for a fun day! Where else are you invited to sample superb wines from five different Fair Play wineries, choose your favorite bottle from each and take it home with you, then end the day enjoying a gourmet meal in the beautiful foothills among vineyards and gorgeous views? The short answer is no where except here! Each winery you visit will present you with an envelope containing a playing card. At the end of the day, you will have at least five cards to create your hand. The grand prize, awarded for the best hand, features prizes such as a night at Fitzpatrick Lodge Bed & Breakfast or other comparable and valuable prizes. Many other gifts are also awarded for the lesser poker hands (including the worst and a few not so fabulous hands). Click here for tickets and information.

Fair Play Wine Festival

June 7-8, 11am - 5pm
Meet the winemakers of Fair Play at the 25th Annual Fair Play Wine Festival! The 20 participating wineries are planning some exciting festivities, including gourmet fare paired with exceptional Fair Play wines, live music, bottle signings, barrel tasting, art, demonstrations, discussions with the winemakers, and much more. More intimate than the typical wine festival, this is a great way to introduce your friends to us, and also makes a perfect office getaway or birthday gift for your favorite wine lover. Tickets are $35 until May 31, and $40 after that. Tickets are limited, so purchase yours online or from a participating winery today! Click here for tickets and information.

Come to Placerville and celebrate Mother's Day with us

Come to Placerville and celebrate Mother's Day at the Placerville B&B and Boeger Winery

May 11th, 2008
It's mom's special day so bring her to Boeger Winery. Try the newly released Muscat Canelli and White Riesling with a selection of locally prepared jams and jellies from Lavender View Farms. Each mom that visits the tasting room will receive a flower and complimentary Reserve Wine Tasting.

And they have new wines being released.

2007 White Riesling
This wine begins with wonderful aromas of dried pineapple, pear and a hint of lemon. The fore-palate consists of dried apple with a delicate honey finish. Serve this off-dry Riesling as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to an array of spicy cuisines. $15/bottle

Hangtown Red lot 36
Enjoy this wine's aroma of cherry and spice. This wine is a blend of 13 varietals, with Cabernet sauvignon and Cabernet franc as the two primary components. Moderate tannins and balanced fruit make this a great wine to enjoy with your favorite BBQ. $11/bottle

Carson Peak Cabernet Sauvignononly$93 a case!
The 2004 Carson Peak Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of fresh bell pepper with hints of caramel and spice. This Cabernet was aged for two years in oak barrels making it very drinkable. Mellow tannins and balanced acidity make this an excellent food-pairing wine!

2006 Pinot Gris only$10 a bottle!
This wine has delightful aromas of ripe apples and melon with a slight hint of spice. Light and silky on the palate, this wine is best served with light summer fare.

With the Albert Shafsky House just minutes from Boeger, how can you go wrong?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Vineyards are sprouting up all over El Dorado County

Vineyards are sprouting up all over El Dorado County and today's SacBee had a nice article about some of our newest players in the El Dorado Wine region. It is really great for us as there are so many good ones for us to try and pass on to our guests at the bed and breakfast.

"Dunne on Wine: El Dorado wineries are sprouting like vines
By Mike Dunne

Aside from wine enthusiasts, no one may be happier with the growing number of wineries in El Dorado County than the guy who prints the map for the El Dorado Winery Association.

Every time a new winemaker joins the group, the printer must get a work order to run off a new batch of maps.

And new vintners look to be showing up in El Dorado County at the rate of one every couple of months.

We recently took advantage of the association's 17th annual Passport Weekend to catch up with a few of them.

Iverson Vineyards & Winery
Pedigree: Eight years ago, Mike and Melodie Iverson were living in El Dorado Hills and working in the power business, he with Pacific Gas & Electric Co., she with the California Independent System Operator.

She's still on the grid, but he's now working full time in their vineyard and cellar, on a ridge along Perry Creek Road in the Fair Play area of southwestern El Dorado County.

They bought the property in 2000, and today tend 8 acres of grapes, all for such red wines as primitivo, sangiovese, zinfandel and barbera.

They planted malbec, too, but won't be making any wine from that plot in the near future. "Raccoons ate all the malbec this year," says Mike.

The Iversons opened their winery a year ago. Their winemaker is Rich Gilpin, formerly of nearby Windwalker Vineyard, now with his own winery, Lavender Ridge, in Calaveras County.

Why El Dorado: On wine-tasting treks into the Sierra foothills, the Iversons became especially keen on Windwalker wines.

On one of their visits they noticed a "for sale" sign on a 32-acre spread that included a house and a barn, the latter of which they've replaced with the structure that now houses their tasting room.

Focus: "We want very drinkable wines. You can take any of our bottles and drink it on the patio; you don't have to have anything with it," says Mike Iverson. "Nothing we have is big, thick and chalky. You don't need a steak to enjoy them."

Don't miss: With its alluring strawberry smell, note of pomegranate in the flavor and austere structure, the Iverson 2007 Sierra Foothills Grenache Rosé ($18) is suitable for patio sipping as well as pairing with shellfish. The Iverson 2006 El Dorado Barbera ($22) has been in the bottle less than two months and starts off tight, but with a little time in the glass it blossoms into a zesty representative of the varietal. Also check out the Iverson 2005 El Dorado Merlot ($19) and the Iverson 2005 El Dorado Syrah ($22).

Particulars: Iverson, 8061 Perry Creek Road, Fair Play, is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday through Sunday and by appointment; (530) 620-7474.

Sierra Oaks Estates
Pedigree: Jim and Toshi Brown's infatuation with wine began innocently enough with a home winemaking kit they bought some 30 years ago.

"We liked it, and went on from there," says Jim, at the time living in Marin County and working as a manager with Pac Bell.

By 1994 they'd bought a 40-acre parcel of bare land in the Fair Play area and had begun to plant what now amounts to a 10-acre vineyard, doing all the work themselves.

They were content to sell their grapes, but when Jim became convinced that the merlot he was making as a self-taught winemaker was better than the merlot that a Napa Valley winery was making with his fruit, he decided to start his own operation.

That was 2001. Because of a "private-road issue," the couple's winery isn't open to the public. As a consequence, five years ago he opened a tasting room at the junction of Fair Play and Mt. Aukum roads.

Why El Dorado: While living in the Bay Area, the Browns belonged to a wine-tasting club that spent one weekend a year in the foothills, customarily Calaveras County.

"We went to Amador County one year and liked it pretty well, but we couldn't find a parcel the size we wanted," says Jim.

Their continued exploration brought them across the Cosumnes River into the Mount Aukum and Fair Play area, where they found the sort of spread they envisioned.

Focus: Full-bodied wines without the gritty tannins. "We work real hard to get ripe fruit without harsh tannins," he says. "I grew up liking cherries and berries. I like to see that in wines."

he couple, now assisted by consulting winemaker John Montero of Napa Valley, makes only red wines.

"I have no passion for whites," says Jim.

Don't miss: The couple's signature wine goes by the proprietary name Zinzabar ($19). It's a slightly smoky, slightly spicy and youthful blend of zinfandel and barbera. The current release is a mix of zinfandel from the 2005 harvest and barbera from 2006, a decision Jim made when he couldn't find any 2005 barbera that he liked. We also liked the Sierra Oaks 2002 Fair Play Zinfandel and the Sierra Oaks 2002 Fair Play Merlot, but they're sold out.

Particulars: The tasting room of Sierra Oaks Estates, 6713 Mt. Aukum Road, Fair Play, is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; (530) 620-7079.

Busby Cellars
Pedigree: Elliot and Sherrie Graham were working in Sacramento and living in Rocklin – he was in sales, she was in advertising – when in 1999 they bought a 34-acre chunk of the landmark Meyers Ranch along Grizzly Flat Road just east of Somerset.

A sagging barn dating from the 1930s dominates the site, but now it's flanked by 14 acres of wine grapes. It's a diverse vineyard, planted to 15 varieties, though zinfandel forms the single largest block, 8 acres.

"We do everything ourselves," says Elliot, who learned home winemaking under his father's tutelage. "It's a hobby gone wild."

Since building the winery in 2003, he's been making about 2,000 cases a year, almost all of which is sold directly out of their tasting room, though at times the Sacramento restaurant The Waterboy has stocked Busby wines. "Busby," incidentally, is Sherrie's family name.

Why El Dorado: The couple spent three years scouting the foothills for suitable vineyard property.

Focus: "We're definitely into small-lot batches," Elliot says. "We make too many varietals, but I like so many types of wine.

"Our focus, however, is zinfandel; why fight it?" he added, referring to the region's long-standing reputation for zinfandel.

Stylistically, he's aiming for "well-rounded, fruit-forward wines with backbone." Their vineyards tend to give wines a spiciness suggestive of pepper and clove.

Don't miss: The Busby 2005 Fair Play Zinfandel ($18) carries its high alcohol (15.6 percent) well, the heat not at all intruding on its blackberry, licorice and peppery highlights, though its sturdy tannins suggest it be laid down for a few years. Also check out the Busby 2005 El Dorado Tempranillo ($16); the Busby 2005 El Dorado Petite Sirah ($16); and the nonvintage Busby El Dorado Apparition, a Bordeaux-style blend based largely on cabernet sauvignon ($18).

Particulars: Busby, 6375 Grizzly Flat Road, Somerset, is open 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday; (530) 344-9119.

Miraflores Winery
Pedigree: For three years, Yuma pathologist Victor Alvarez and his wife Cheryl scouted Arizona for potential vineyard land before they happened upon the Pleasant Valley area of El Dorado County.

That was in 1992. They liked the look and feel of the area and ended up piecing together a total of 254 acres, which they started to plant to vines nine years ago.

Today, they're cultivating nearly 40 acres of grapes, much of it syrah, zinfandel and petite sirah, but including cabernet sauvignon, viognier and muscat canelli.

In 2005 they created the brand Miraflores, at first making wine in leased quarters. A year ago they opened their own monumental facility, rising like a Tuscan villa amid poison oak and throw rugs of daffodils 2,000 feet up the Sierra.

Why El Dorado: "We didn't come here to build a winery. This place is so beautiful. It was meant to be a retirement place," says Alvarez.

One thing led to another, with their small vineyard expanding and their growing confidence in the quality of their grapes.

When local consulting winemaker Marco Cappelli urged the couple to hold on to their fruit and use it to start making their own wine, they began to stake out a site for the winery.

Focus: To Alvarez, Miraflores clearly is meant to be a "New World" winery, turning out big and brassy wines. He wants them packed with rich fruit, and he isn't leery of saturated color and high levels of alcohol, though he also wants his wines refreshing.

"We are an American-style winery, with wines with lots of flavor and fruit," he says.

Don't miss: Marco Cappelli, the former winemaker at Swanson Vineyards in Napa Valley, is recognized for crafting wines of clarity, balance and elegance, which at Miraflores is shown especially in the 2006 El Dorado Syrah Rosé ($15), the 2006 El Dorado Viognier ($18), the 2005 El Dorado Zinfandel ($20), the 2004 El Dorado Syrah ($30), and the 2005 El Dorado Petite Sirah ($22).

Particulars: Miraflores, 2120 Four Springs Trail, Placerville, is open 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily; (530) 647-8505."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Our nearest winery...Boeger

We are lucky to have so many great wineries just minutes from our Placerville bed and breakfast. Beoger is a great place to spend the afternoon as they have lovely grounds, and a wonderful group of staff in the tasting room. In the three decades since Boeger Winery was founded, they have been committed to only one standard: quality. They have built on their education and experience to produce exceptional wines. They are able to control the quality of our wines because they grow over 90% of our grapes. They are small enough to allow full attention to detail.

Boeger is committed not only to making the highest quality wines, but to pushing the boundaries of winemaking as well. Greg Boeger was one of the state's first producers of a varietal Merlot when it was virtually unheard of in California. Today he is a pioneer of innovative blends, drawing from over twenty-five varieties of grapes grown at the estate. Boeger is quickly becoming known for bringing new and uncommon varietals to the market place. They look forward to your visits!

Open for wine tasting 10AM-5PM, daily

Tell them the "Shafsky House" gals sent you!

Professional Innkeeping

Rita just returned from the 2nd bed and breakfast conference we thought we should attend of the year...PAII in Anaheim.  We figure that if you are going to run an inn you should belong to whatever learning association you can, so as to stay current with trends.  That is why you will always find us at the state (California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns - CABBI) conference and this year we added to the toolbox by going to PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International).

And while you are attending innkeeping conferences, if you can get one good idea, it usually translates into the cost of the conference and your membership for the year...or at least that is what we have found to be true.


We are pleased to announce that the 2009 InnSpire Conference and Trade Show will take place February 1-3, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey. We hope to see you there!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Innkeeping with the history theme this month - gold rush in Coloma

Near to our Placerville bed and breakfast is the place that started the gold rush to California - Coloma, CA.

From the State site:"James W. Marshall discovered gold in 1848 on the South Fork of the American River in the valley the Nisenan Indians knew as Cullumah. This event led to the greatest mass movement of people in the Western Hemisphere and was the spark that ignited the spectacular growth of the West during the ensuing decades. The gold discovery site, located in the still visible tailrace of Sutter's sawmill, in present day Coloma California, is one of the most significant historic sites in the nation.

The purpose of Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is to secure for the people and to make available for their observation, inspiration, and enjoyment, the gold discovery site and its environs as an accurate portrayal of the story that unfolded at the time of the discovery and Gold Rush. The park's interpretive program primarily embraces the period from 1847 through 1852, but also shows the town of Coloma as it developed.

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is the place where James W. Marshall found shining flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill he was building for himself and John Sutter. This discovery in 1848 changed the course of California's and the nation's history. See a replica of the original sawmill and over 20 historic buildings including mining, house, school, and store exhibits.

Visitors have the opportunity to try panning for gold in the American River and enjoy hikes and picnics under the riparian oak woodlands. Overlooking the beautiful river canyon, where the gold discoverer rests today, see California's first historic monument, the statue of James Marshall pointing at his gold discovery site .

Throughout the year the park provides daily interpretive programs at the sawmill replica. Participate in special events, exhibits and "Live History Days" planned regularly throughout the year; contact the Gold Discovery Museum and Visitor Center for details."

This is a great place to spend the afternoon strolling thru history.