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Open houses and special tours offer break from between-holiday stress

By Dave Buchanan

The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas often prove uncommonly strenuous, a period when the demands of housework, cooking, cleaning, and shopping merge to make what should be a joyful time one of stress and worry.

One way to relax – other than locking the front door, turning off the lights and hiding under the blankets – is to get out and enjoy the holiday celebrations at some of the local wineries.

This weekend in particular offers several opportunities for you and youur holiday guests to celebrate the Eat Local movement by meeting some North Fork Valley winemakers and sampling their wines and their hospitality.

Saturday and Sunday will be the annual open house and barrel tasting at Alfred Eames Cellars in Paonia. Visitors can sample the 2010 vintage still in barrel as well as some of the older vintages winemaker Eames Peterson has in stock.

This truly is a once-a-year opportunity when Alfred Eames opens its cellars, accompanied by the renowned Madrigal Choir and serving some wonderful treats, including the homemade cheeses from Joe and Corinne Coniglio of Roubideau Farm in Delta.

Hours are noon to 5 p.m. both days. Information here

Also Saturday is the fourth annual Wine, Buffalo and Chocolate Trail near Hotchkiss. This popular tour features Leroux Creek and Lilliputian wineries and the grass-raised elk and buffalo from Dave and Sue Whittlesey's High Wire Ranch. Each of the three stops is unique, whether it's the wines and Leroux Creek Spa products at Yvon and Joanna Gros' Leroux Creek Vineyards, the ginger wine and hand-made truffles at Lillipputian Winery or the farm tours, Droste chocolates, wines from S. Rhodes and the specialty meats and sausages at High Wire Ranch.

Hours are 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday. Information and directions at 872-3019.

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