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‘WineDown’ your week at 3 Vigne’s new lounge

Music, food and vino make fruit sheds the place to be
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal features editor
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Good things come in threes.

That’s the mindset of the owners of 3 Vigne, a collaboration of three wineries who have been working together for three years in the High Hand Fruit Sheds in Loomis.

Now, the winemakers – Joe Ciotti of Ciotti Cellars, Michael Duarte of Popie Wines and David Brockman of Cristaldi Vineyards – have added two more features to make their business a triple threat.

On Friday and Saturday nights, good wine pairs with good food and good music at the Weekend WineDown Wine Lounge, set in the laid-back atmosphere of the beautiful fruit sheds. The lounge opened earlier this summer, and the vintners agree that it has been a good business decision.

“We’ve had a lot of wonderful local bands that are coming in,” Ciotti said. “There’s no cover charge, so you’re able to come in and listen to music, then you’re able to buy a glass of wine, have some light appetizers – pizzas and stuff, to order – and sit down and relax, have fun.”

Megan Duarte helps out at the lounge every weekend, making sure customers are comfortable and having a good time.

“I love it!” she enthused. “I grew up here in the fruit sheds, so it’s cool to watch the fruit sheds morph and really cool to see the three wineries in here and how it’s progressed each week from only a few couples to now we have our regulars coming back every week because they’re enjoying the new thing. They really enjoy walking around these fruit sheds, too, because it’s the history of Loomis.”

The three winemakers offer a rotating selection each weekend, with a variety of reds and whites to choose from. That variety, Duarte said, is what makes 3 Vigne work as a team instead of as three wineries in competition with each other.

“We have similar varietals, but they’re actually different based upon our styles of winemaking,” he said. “Like barbera – you don’t get the same barbera all three times. You get a definite difference.”

Those wines pair well with gourmet selections from the High Hand Conservatory, which offers a menu created just for the wine lounge.

“The wineries themselves have such distinct personalities, and you can taste it in their wines,” said Chef Shane Doyle. “It’s kind of a unique challenge to pair food with three unique wineries.”

The conservatory’s offerings include starters such as the popular Dungeness crab cake served with avocado roasted corn and a mango coulis, or fig salad served with pancetta, goat cheese and lemon thyme vinaigrette. Wood-oven baked pizzas have proven the most popular menu item, Doyle said, with lounge customers choosing from three-cheese with roasted tomato sauce, rotisserie chicken with fresh pesto and pepperoni with roasted tomato sauce.

Rounding out the lounge atmosphere is the live music. Acoustic sounds float elegantly across the rafters of the wide-open fruit sheds, making the music a welcome addition to the ambiance, not an overpowering distraction. Husband-and-wife team Anderson-Gram, consisting of Bob and Gayle Gram, has performed at the lounge before – “It’s a blast,” Gayle Gram said. Musical selections for September include blues and rock by Becca Danielsen and the alternative sounds of TJ McNulty.

Ciotti said 3 Vigne plans to offer the wine lounge every Friday and Saturday through the fall, and then will evaluate its success around Christmas to determine if this will be a year-round feature at the fruit sheds. So far, the lounge is proving to be a weekend hot spot.

“It’s a great way to showcase three local wineries,” Duarte said. “Very local, right in this area – three great sets of wine. It’s a good way to come out and relax, wind down and enjoy an evening with some great music.”

Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at krissik@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter, @AuburnJournalAE.

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Weekend WineDown

When: 5-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

Where: 3 Vigne, 3750 Taylor Road, Loomis

Cost: No cover; wine for sale by the glass and bottle

Info: (916) 538-9150; www.3vigne.com

Music lineup

Sept. 14: Becca Danielsen, blues/rock

Sept. 15: Sean Mee, blues guitar

Sept. 21: TJ McNulty, alternative

Sept. 22: Heather McAdam, blues