2022 is the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese Zodiac, representing the third in line of the twelve Zodiac animals. As one might expect, people born in the Year of the Tiger are courageous, daring and ambitious. They are also generous and self-confident, committed to helping others with a distinct sense of justice. This etched and hand painted magnum depicts this brave and independent-minded creature in all her glory. Best to keep the Tiger on your side!
This dense and polished red blend from 2017 shows ripe blueberry, black currant and fresh plum flavors layered with appealing notes of toasty oak, espresso, cola and vanilla. This is a full-bodied, boldly-flavored wine, supremely well-balanced with lively acidity, a generous texture and sleek, silky tannins. Pull this out on February 1, when the Ox cedes to the Tiger. See the 2017 Year of the Tiger Cabernet Sauvignon Magnum.
The Komes and Garvey’s have always been farmers first, and over 40 years the family has acquired 500 acres throughout Napa Valley, 300 of which are planted to vineyards. As farmers we are always aware of the relationship between the earth and our sun and the solstices that mark the seasonal transitions.
What is the Winter Solstice?
According to the Farmers’ Almanac, winter solstice is “the astronomical moment when the Sun reaches the Tropic of Capricorn, we have our shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere in terms of daylight.” The solstice marks the official start of winter.
When is the Winter Solstice?
The winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere occurs on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at 10:59 a.m. Eastern time.
What Does “Solstice” Mean?
The term “solstice” comes from the Latin words sol (Sun) and sistere (to stand still). During the solstice, the angle between the sun’s rays and the plane of the Earth’s equator appears to stand still.
Winter Solstice Traditions Around the World
The shortest day and longest night of the year inspire mystical celebrations, both old and new, in anticipation of the sun’s return. According to Wikipedia, “The solstice may have been a special moment of the annual cycle for some cultures even during Neolithic times. Astronomical events were often used to guide activities. Many cultural mythologies and traditions are derived from this.”
The start of winter and the winter solstice are celebrated in cultures and religions around the world with various traditions, holidays, and festivals. Today, the winter solstice is a reminder to honor our connection to the natural world. Learn more about holidays and traditions around the December solstice including but not limited to Christmas, Feast of Juul, Saturnalia in Ancient Rome, Gody in Poland, and Chaomos in northwestern Pakistan.
Attired in a golden crown and necklace, our Solstice Hare celebrates winter solstice; we like to imagine him watching over our dormant vineyards as the winter solstice approaches on December 21st. Like our other holiday illustrations in 2021, the illustration is inspired by Flora Springs’ matriarch and muse, Flora Komes, whose love for all living things, both great and small, was legendary. Shop now, and see our Holiday Shipping Guide for helpful ordering details including order deadlines to receive your shipment in time for winter solstice.
Friendsgiving is a blend of friend and Thanksgiving. According to dictionary.com, Friendsgiving is “a gathering of friends to celebrate Thanksgiving with a feast, falling near or on Thanksgiving Day, in contrast to the traditional celebrations that typically involve family.” While the word first appeared around 2007, it’s actually new enough that Friendsgiving didn’t make it into the dictionary until January 2020.
When Is Friendsgiving?
Friendsgiving can be celebrated any day, any time of year, but most gatherings take place in November, particularly the weekend before Thanksgiving. Many people celebrate Friendsgiving on Thanksgiving Day too.
How to Celebrate Friendsgiving
Friendsgiving can be as formal or as casual as you and your crew want. We suggest a balanced “Napa Valley Casual” theme – take the food and wine seriously (but not too seriously), but mostly importantly have fun.
Set the tone with hors d’oeuvres that look fancy, but are easy to make. Bonus points for appetizers that can be made or prepped in advance. And don’t be shy about asking your guests to each bring a dish to share. Here are a few of our favorites.
Gougères Recipe from Bon Appétit These delicate cheese puffs always impress. Once you get the hang of the dough, you’ll serve them at every opportunity.
Makes about 50 Servings
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of nutmeg
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
6 ounces (1½ cups) grated Comté cheese or Gruyère
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg yolk
Preheat oven to 400°. Bring butter, salt, nutmeg, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until butter is melted. Remove from heat, add flour, and stir to combine.
Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring vigorously, until a dry film forms on bottom and sides of pan and dough is no longer sticky, about 2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat and let dough cool slightly, about 2 minutes. Mix in whole eggs one at a time, incorporating fully between additions. Mix in cheese and pepper.
Scrape dough into a piping bag fitted with a ½” round tip (alternatively, use a plastic bag with a ½” opening cut diagonally from 1 corner). Pipe 1” rounds about 2” apart onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Whisk egg yolk and 1 tsp. water in a small bowl; brush rounds with egg wash.
Bake gougères until puffed and golden and dry in the center (they should sound hollow when tapped), 20–25 minutes.
DO AHEAD! Dough can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Gougères can be baked 2 hours ahead; reheat before serving.
Crostini Recipe by Flora Springs Wine Club Manager Madeline Nossiter
Ingredients Makes about 50 Servings
2 French-style baguettes
12 oz plain goat cheese
Mixed fresh greens herbs of your choice (we recommend thyme, basil, tarragon)
Red Relish – can be store-bought or made with tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, onions
Cut baguettes into ¼-inch thick slices.
Arrange in one layer on sheet pan and brush each slice with a nice olive oil.
Toast in 350 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes, toasts are done when slightly brown and crispy – let cool.
Spread room-temperate goat cheese on toasts in thin layer.
Top half of toasts with herb mixture and other half with red relish.
Autumn Mixed Greens Salad Recipe by Flora Springs Wine Club Manager Madeline Nossiter
Makes about 10 Servings
Approximately one pound of fresh mixed greens/mesclun
4 ounces aged Asiago or Parmesan Reggiano
3 ounces roasted hazelnuts
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons vinegar of choice (balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
If greens aren’t washed, wash and dry.
Put greens in large salad bowl, toss with vinaigrette.
Garnish with saved cheese and nuts.
In a liquid measuring cup or bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Stir well with a small whisk or a fork until the ingredients are completely mixed together.
Taste, and adjust as necessary. If the mixture is too acidic, thin it out with a bit more olive oil or balance the flavors with a little more honey. If the mixture is a little blah, add another pinch or two of salt. If it doesn’t have enough zing, add vinegar by the teaspoon.
Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for future use. Homemade vinaigrette keeps well for 7 to 10 days. If your vinaigrette solidifies somewhat in the fridge, don’t worry about it—real olive oil tends to do that. Simply let it rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes or microwave very briefly (about 20 seconds) to liquify the olive oil again. Whisk to blend and serve.
Regarding the sides and main dish – go traditional Thanksgiving with turkey and all the trimmings, or try something new; we’ll let you decide!
Err on the side of more is better—you don’t want to run out. Like purchasing Thanksgiving wine, figure one bottle per drinking person, and offer a nice mix of red, white, and rosé. Be sure to offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverages as well. You don’t want anyone over-consuming either. Our wine experts are available via phone at (800) 913-1118, email, or chat if you’d like a hand putting together a mixed case that will please your crowd. Shop now, and see our Holiday Shipping Guide for helpful ordering details including Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving shipping deadlines.
Relax, have fun, and enjoy your friends’ company – cheers!
Our etched and hand-painted bottles are a cherished tradition at Flora Springs, a way for us to commemorate special holidays with festive, one-of-a-kind bottlings. With each holiday release, the etched art changes and provides a unique Napa Valley wine to give or collect for yourself.
Our 2017 Be Mine Red Blend celebrates the most romantic holiday of all, Valentine’s Day, and is the perfect accompaniment to your date night candlelit dinner for two.
Or, delight your Galentine, mom, auntie, or sister with our playful Wine Love Stories.
Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is China’s most important traditional festival. Each Chinese zodiac year begins on Chinese New Year’s Day. The Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February. In 2021, Chinese New Year begins February 12th.
Year of the Ox
2021 is the Year of the Ox, the second of the twelve Zodiac animals. The ox symbolizes quiet strength, and a person born during the Year of the Ox is said to be self-confident, balanced and resilient.
Flora Springs celebrates this Zodiac sign with an etched and hand painted magnum featuring the playful resilience of this joyful beast of burden and the beauty symbolized by bamboo. Twice the size of a standard wine bottle at 1.5 liters, magnums are ideal for entertaining, for extended aging – and also make stunning gifts. Only 66 bottles were produced, with a limit of six bottles per person.
We shipped a record amount of wine to Wine Club Members and customers; thank you for your support!
We completed our 42nd harvest.
We supported Napa Valley wildfire relief efforts with a Halloween Dinner & Wine event and other initiatives, and thanks to you, donated over $5,500 to the Napa Valley Community Foundation’s Fire Disaster Relief Fund.
Maximilian Riedel, 11th generation glassmaker at the world-renowned Riedel Wine Glass Company, shared his experience of opening and tasting our 1991 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with his 88,000 Instagram followers: “..what a joy. The wine has been in my cellar for a very long time…look at that color, fun. Cheers!”
As another year comes to a close, we want to take a moment and thank you for letting us be a part of your lives. We are fortunate and grateful that you choose Flora Springs to accompany your meals, toasts, celebrations and special occasions. Here’s to a healthy, happy 2021!
Our etched and hand-painted Holiday Bottles are one of Flora Springs’ most treasured traditions, a way for us to give you exclusive access to rare wines in festive, one-of-a-kind bottlings.
This year Nat Komes found inspiration from a vintage greeting card he uncovered in his Grandmother Flora’s attic, an illustration of a cardinal perched on a holiday wreath. Christened the “Christmas bird” for its spectacular red color, the cardinal is a symbol of the beauty and warmth of the holiday season. This brilliant bird found its way onto each of our holiday designs, our Holiday 2020 Gift Guide, and even throughout our holiday photo shoot.
Halloween is always a cause for celebration at Flora Springs, and all year long we look forward to releasing our Halloween Wines. Over the last decade, these seasonal bottlings have become some of our most anticipated and highly sought after annual releases.
Arrive at your scheduled time, and park in front of the tasting room and call the phone number posted out front. One of our staff members will bring your wine out to your car.
Wine Club Members, please contact Madeline Nossiter at 707-967-6724 or firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate shipments or pickup of your wines.
Our staff is onsite 10 am – 4 pm, Monday – Saturday and able to safely and conveniently fulfill your wine order. Please allow at least 24 hours for us to get your order ready for you. Thank you for supporting our small family-owned winery.
During this unusual time our entire Flora Springs family wants you to know that your well-being is our top priority. We are not able to offer wine tastings or other wine experiences right now, but are looking forward to when we can. We can’t wait to see you!
Flora Springs Tasting Room
677 S. Saint Helena Highway
Saint Helena, CA 94574
Halloween is more than just a day at Flora Springs…it’s an entire season! After all, with one of the few remaining Napa Valley Ghost Wineries on our property, we’re reminded year-round that there are phantoms and spirits who walked here before us. So we celebrate in a big way, dreaming up fun costumes, planning spooky tastings and events, such as our Ghost Winery Tour, and looking for new ways to decorate The Room, The Estate and our own homes. For General Manager Nat Komes and his wife Anne there’s another reason to celebrate: their wedding anniversary falls on October 31st!
Napa Valley Halloween
Of course in Napa Valley the wine you serve on Halloween is nearly, if not just, as important as the candy bowl! It’s the adult version of the “treat,” and that’s why we put so much effort into producing special Halloween-themed wines for our Wine Club and Mailing List Members. These are not your average Halloween wines, made to drink and forget. We set the bar high in terms of quality, using some of the best fruit from our estate property, including Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Because these vineyard blocks are small, they lend themselves perfectly to these limited-edition wines.
Our Halloween labels are also a labor of love. Each year Nat Komes and his team let the creative juices flow as they seek inspiration from album cover art, comic books, children’s book illustrators and other artists to create brand new one-of-a-kind labels and packages. Skeletons, witches, pumpkins and black cats have all found their way onto these labels, in whimsical designs meant to treat, not trick. The only exception is our Ghost Winery Malbec, which always features a hand-drawn etching of our historic stone cellar on a label reminiscent of Flora Springs’ earliest releases.
We’d love to hear about your Halloween traditions and party ideas. If you have a story or tradition to share, email us at email@example.com or check out our We LOVE Halloween Pinterest board where we have collected all types of creative entertaining tips and ideas for a spooky wine tasting party.