Birthdays are always an occasion to dine out. Five of my women friends and I headed to The Greek restaurant on Front Street to celebrate a friend’s birthday. One friend in our group, who is Greek, knows the owner, Vasili Karagiannopoulos, so as soon as we were seated he started plying us with typical little appetizers – in true Greek hospitality style. Meantime, we had all ordered an entrée, so in less time than it takes to say yassou (hello in Greek), our table was weighted down with all kinds of good Greek food.
Although we ordered some Greek wine to go with the Hellenic fare, I had brought along a bottle of Ghost Tree Merlot, 2007 Santa Cruz Mountains. I thought it would be fun to try a taste of something local – even though nothing goes better with Greek food than the wine of this country. Greek wine production, by the way, has got better over the years. When I first went to live in Greece many moons ago – I was there for 13 years – the wine was not terribly exciting. But it has greatly improved and there are lots of good wines around in Greece nowadays. Mind you, after years of drinking the rough stuff – you can buy it by the kilo from barrels in tavernas – I actually acquired a taste for it, especially Retsina, the resin-flavored wine.
Ghost Tree wine is produced in Corralitos by Richard Alfaro, of Alfaro Family Vineyards, and his partner in various wine ventures, Joe Martin. When the two of them were growing up in the Monterey area, they used to hang out by an old tree, known as the Ghost Tree, so they named their wine after it. I bought it at New Leaf for about $10 – a bargain for a nice peppery brew with a good ruby hue.
Ghost Tree Wines, 420 Hames Road, Corralitos, 728-5172. ghosttreewine.com.
Silver Mountain Vineyards will be featuring its organic wine at a raw food event at Mint in Scotts Valley on Sunday, May 16 from noon to 3 p.m. Entitled “Fresh Start,” the workshop features food to cleanse, nourish and balance your body. It will be led by Robyn Boyd, author of “RawSome Recipes” and Melissa Mango, author of “Green Cuisine,” chef on GLiving TV, and an expert in the raw food world. Cost is $125, which includes making and eating a wide range of raw vegan recipes – paired with Silver Mountain wines. Call Robyn Boyd at 566-0500 to reserve a spot.
Corralitos Wine Trail: This very popular event will take place on Saturday, May 8 from noon to 5 p.m. at the following vineyards: Alfaro Family Vineyards; Nicholson Vineyards; Pleasant Valley Vineyards; Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery. Tickets are $40 for this music, food and wine event. What a nice way to start Mother’s Day weekend. Info: Corralitoswinetrail.com.