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Dec 19th
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Vine & Dine

winePlaces to sip wine around the Thanksgiving holiday

Good Libations
Many people take a few extra days off work over Thanksgiving in order to add on to what is, for most, a four-day holiday. This is a perfect opportunity to visit restaurants, wine bars and wineries–and head to a few places you haven’t tried before. Here are some suggestions of where to find some tasty eats and good libations:

Solaire Restaurant & Bar
Solaire, the new restaurant and bar in the Hotel Paradox in downtown Santa Cruz is an upbeat spot to eat dinner–or to just sit at the bar and have a glass of wine or a fabulous cocktail.  You’ll be tempted to order some munchies, though, because executive chef Ross McKee makes exceptionally tasty dishes.
Solaire, 611 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, 425-7100. Thehotelparadox.com.

Vino Prima
If you have visitors in town and you’re wondering where to take them, then head to Vino Prima at the end of the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf. Not only do you get to experience a lovely tasting room with an almighty ocean view, but you also get the fun of the wharf and all it has to offer. Check out the sea lions right at the end.
Vino Prima, 55 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, 426-0750. Vinoprimawines.com.

Chocolate
David Jackman, owner of the delightful Chocolate restaurant in Downtown Santa Cruz, has come up with an upbeat Champagne Happy Hour–now served from 4:30-6:30 p.m. daily. Several different sparkling wines are offered for $5 a glass or $25 for the bottle. And to add to the fun, 10 percent off all appetizers makes it the deal of the day.
Chocolate the Restaurant, 1522 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-9900. Chocolatesantacruz.com.

Surf City Vintners
Surf City Vintners is a mecca for trying many different kinds of wine–with 12 tasting locations mostly within walking distance. And the good news is that the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 23, there will be an Art & Wine Bazaar – a laid-back local artist showcase with artwork available for purchase. The bazaar will be a benefit for the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center, so attendees are encouraged to bring food or new toys to each tasting room–and this will waive your tasting fees. Most of the wineries are in the Swift Street Courtyard complex (near Kelly’s Bakery), but check the website for all locations. Surfcityvintners.com.

Local Wineries
Most of our local wineries are open at weekends, so check the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association website for an up-to-date listing and then head on out. Scmwa.com.

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