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Start your weekends with wine at 'Friday Night Flights'

Holiday Inn hosts wineries through August
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal features editor
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The vino is flowing Friday nights at the Holiday Inn, where wineries will pour the good stuff each week through the end of August.

Overcast skies didn’t stop the first “Friday Night Flights,”  held May 25 in the courtyard of the Auburn hotel. Artists displayed their work, live music filled the air and visitors and hotel guests enjoyed wine tasting while speaking to the vintner about the selection.

“The idea is to expose our local wineries to the guests of our hotel,” said Karin Koons, director of sales and marketing for the Holiday Inn. “And the art in this community is amazing as well, so it just seemed like a good combination.”

The wine tasting is free and not limited to hotel guests. Several community members dropped by Friday evening to listen to music, view local work by local artists and sample wines and finger foods.

“I thought it was a really nice thing to bring the Holiday Inn and tie it with all the different events that are happening in Auburn,” said Janet Nicholson, of Nicholson Blown Glass, who had artwork on display. “And I think it’s really nice for the people who are staying here to know what’s going on in the area.”

General Manager Tami Caufield said the idea for “Friday Night Flights” is similar to an event from her days working in Sonoma, although the event wasn’t quite so elaborate. The Auburn event features art and live music – on May 25, David Eugene Ivey and friends played what the musicians described as “optimistic Americana” throughout the evening.

All participating wineries are from the Placer County Vintners Association, which has also partnered with the Holiday Inn for a program in which guests present their PCVA-sponsored room keys at wineries for discounts, free tasting and other perks as decided by each winery.

“Being that the wineries here aren’t so discovered, I thought it would be a good way to share this with the guests who arrive on Fridays, and hopefully they’ll enjoy it and want to spend an additional night, and spend some time exploring Auburn,”?Caufield said.

The first event featured Cante Ao Vinho, a Wheatland winery that is a PCVA member. Winemaker Tom Farinha, who owns the winery along with his brother, Frank, poured three types of wine for guests.

“I brought three Spanish grapes,” he said. “I brought a Spanish rose Grenache, I brought a tempranillo and a graciano, and we’re doing a little blending, just for fun.”

Farinha describes graciano as a more acidic grape, which means a brighter fruit and more refreshing wine.

The wine tasting is free, and bottles are available for purchase. Koons said she looks forward to seeing even more artists and visitors come out for “Friday Night Flights,” which was Caufield’s brainchild.

“She’s just full of ideas,” Koons said. “And we both have such a passion for this courtyard. I just think it’s gorgeous – it has so much to offer. It just seemed like a great place.”

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