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Kelly Been
July 26, 2017 | Kelly Been

Gilroy Garlic Festival Food & Wine Pairing with Sunlit Oaks

The 2017 Gilroy Garlic Festival is this weekend: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 28, 29 and 30. 


This year's Gilroy Garlic Festival is bigger, better and bolder than ever before! Don't miss the great garlicky food, live entertainment and family fun.

Sunlit Oaks Winery will be pouring wine in the newly relocated Wine Garden. Sunlit Oaks will be serving 3 of our favorite wines along with many of the other Wineries of the Santa Clara Valley. Here are some guidelines to get you started with Wine and Food pairing at the 2017 Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Sunlit Oaks 2016 Pinot Grigio will pair great with a brand new dish, Deep-Fried Gilroy Garlic Shrimp! Garlic LOVES the aromatic compounds of Pinot Grigio. Sunlit Oaks Pinot Grigio is completely dry, so that's a good starting point. Other Garlic Festival Dishes to pair with our Pinot Grigio include Garlic Calamari and Scampi.

(Deep-Fried) Gilroy Garlic Shrimp
Garlic Calamari
Garlic Scampi



Sunlit Oaks 2014 Moscato pairs well with spicy fare so try it with Zesty Garlic Fried Calamari or Cajun Fried Catfish- this sweet wine tames the heat from these festival favorites. Desserts are Moscato’s specialty meaning Garlic Ice Cream and Mini Donuts!!!

Garlic Ice Cream
Mini Donuts
Zesty Garlic Fried Calamari
Cajun Fried Catfish



2012 Rita’s Red Reserve is Sunlit Oaks Flagship Wine and a Wine Club Favorite, full bodied, and is a great match for hearty dishes. You will find a Garlic Festival staple Pepper Steak Sandwiches in Gourmet Alley. But if you choose to venture out to nearby food booths you can also try it with Italian Sausage Sandwiches, BBQ Ribs &/or Turkey Drumsticks.

Pepper Steak Sandwich
Italian Sausage Sandwiches
BBQ Ribs
Turkey Drumsticks



Time Posted: Jul 26, 2017 at 9:44 AM
Kelly Been
July 16, 2017 | Kelly Been

How to Store Red Wines in the Summer

Summer in the Santa Clara Valley is a wonderful time of year to visit local Family Owned Wineries. The warm weather will make you think of rosés and chardonnays, yet it is still appropriate in the summer to enjoy hearty reds!



Now, when storing all your favorite Sunlit Oaks Winery, Reds - keep bottles stored around
55-62 degrees. This can be difficult when battling 90 degree weather.
Try using a wine fridge, ice chest, or cool basement to keep them chill.



There is also the well known concept of "Room Temperature Reds"... this isn’t a corect way of storing or serving reds, it's acceptable in the winter, but unless you are running your A/C at a constant 60 degrees in the summer heat your reds will suffer. And it does make a difference, the recommended temperature of wine brings out its intended flavors, you wouldn’t drink a chardonnay room temperature?…would you?!


Every Sunlit Oaks Wine has its own unique serving temperature;

2016 Pinot Grigio: 45-55 degrees
2012 Chardonnay: 52-56 degrees
2012 Merlot: 55-60 degrees
2012 Sangiovese: 56-62 degrees
2012 Rita's Red Reserve: 58-65 degrees
2014 Moscato: 43-50 degrees

Keep this in mind when you bring your favorite Sunlit Oaks Wines to a pool party or outdoor gathering this summer - Store your wines out of the summer sun and place in the shade or cooler.



Time Posted: Jul 16, 2017 at 12:14 PM
Kelly Been
June 5, 2017 | Kelly Been

The Best Thing to Eat with Sunlit Oaks 2016 Pinot Grigio

Lemon Chicken Piccata wants to be paired with Sunlit Oaks 2016 Pinot Grigio in the best possible way!

This is a simple yet impressive summer dish with tasty lemon, butter and capers sauce. 




2 Skinless and Boneless Chicken Breasts

Unsalted Butter (5 Tablespoons)

 EVOO (3 Tablesspoons)

Salt & Pepper


Fresh Lemons or Lemon Juice (1/3 Cup)

Capers (1/4 Cup) 

Chopped Parsley (1/4 Cup)

Chicken Stock (1/2 Cup)

1 Bottle of Sunlit Oaks 2016 Pinot Grigio


Remove Chicken from packaging and pat the Chicken dry with paper towels. Then season both sides of Chicken with Salt & Pepper. After seasoning, Coat (or Dredge) each side with flour and shake of any remainder.

In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 3 tablespoons of Butter and 3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on medium-high until hot. Add 2 pieces of Chicken cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove and transfer to a plate. 

In same pan heat Lemon Juice, Chicken Stock and Capers on medium-high and bring to boil. Add Chicken to the pan and simmer each side for 2-3 minutes.

Remove and transfer Chicken to serving platter. Add remainder of Butter to sauce and stir to throughly combine. Season with Salt & Pepper to taste. Pour sauce over the Chicken and garnish with Parsley. (if used fresh lemons instead of juice, thinnly slice lemons and add as garnish)

Pop open a bottle of Sunlit Oaks 2016 Pinot Grigio & Enjoy! (Make sure our Pinot Grigio is served chilled)



Time Posted: Jun 5, 2017 at 3:38 PM
Kelly Been
May 24, 2017 | Kelly Been

Great Neighborhood Wineries in Gilroy


Santa Clara Valley the Up and Coming Wine Region You Should Visit


Hidden amongst Napa Valley and Paso Robles, Santa Clara Valley is a short drive from the tech central Silicon Valley. Now is the time to visit these Family Owned Wineries complete with views of the surrounding Valley hills.
Unlike Napa Valley, whose made a name for themselves internationally, Santa Clara Valley is just beginning to bloom. Daily tastings are available at most of the wineries, always check before bringing children or pets



The focus in this dry and sun-baked valley is on reds, from Gugliemo's 2013 Barbera to Fortino's 2014 Carignon the diversity in the wine making and varietals creates a unique tasting experience. But don’t fret white wine lovers over the summit of hecker pass the cooler climate provides this Valley with an amazing selection of white grapes. Sycamore Creek Winery has a crsip 2014 Viognier while Lion Ranch Winery has an estate grown 2014 Grenache Blanc and even here at Sunlit Oaks Winery our 2014 Moscato and light and refreashing.  

You may just discover the true origins of California’s Wild West, Wine Makers here love to take risks and stray away from traditional.


So plan a trip to Sunny Northern California and discover something new! 

The Best Way to Explore the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley - Is by taking in the natural beauty and Award Winning Wines of Santa Clara Valley’s Wine Trail. 
Just look for the Signs!





Time Posted: May 24, 2017 at 2:07 PM
Kelly Been
April 11, 2017 | Kelly Been

Hello Bud Break



Hello Bud Break, 

One of our favorite parts of Spring is the start of the grape growing season. Learn More here about our vineyard practices, we are looking to promote organic methods to protect our young vines. 

Now that pruning is done, growers and vineyard managers are making critical decisions about protecting their vineyards from wet winters. Wet winter weather always brings a concern of “Eutypa Dieback” (Dead-arm, grape canker) and how best to manage the risk in vineyards.

The good news is that there are some passive methods to help reduce infection. Here at Sunlit Oaks we use “wound paint” to cover pruned areas of the vines. This will prevent infection of pruning wounds when rain is predicted after pruning. 

These is a sustainable way to promote vineyard growth and protection of future vines, while reducing the use of pesticides. We are looking to promote cooperation not competition in our vineyards.


Time Posted: Apr 11, 2017 at 12:06 PM
Kelly Been
February 14, 2017 | Kelly Been

Wineries of Santa Clara Valley Map


"Silicon Valley" - it's easy to forget this area's role as California's first premium wine production region - the Santa Clara Valley. Native Americans named it "the Valley of the Heart's Delight." French and Italian immigrants who settled here during the Gold Rush era recognized the rich soils and Mediteranean climate as the perfect New World home for their European grape varietals.  And so it begins. 

Santa Clara Valley Wines

Take a step back in time to a more relaxed era. Visiting our historic wineries is to leave the Computer Age behind. The person pouring for you in our Tasting Rooms may very well be the winemaker!  When you are on vacation or business, please be sure to visit our conveniently situated wineries throughout the Valley. Daily tasting is available at most of our wineries. Many offer tours, special festivals, concerts and dinners. Several are available for picture-perfect private parties, corporate events, and weddings.


Time Posted: Feb 14, 2017 at 5:05 PM
Kelly Been
February 9, 2017 | Kelly Been

Clam Chowder Lightened Up

Whats better than thick creamy clam chowder, pairing it with Sunlit Oaks 2012 Chardonnay. We choose to Lighten up this Chowder with milk instead of cream and blending part of the soup will help thicken it up.


2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
1 large white onion, chopped fine
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups 2% milk
1 cup fat free vegetable broth 
2 (10 oz) cans clams, drained, juice reserved
2 bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
kosher salt and fresh pepper
1 cup fresh corn


In a large pot, melt butter .Yum. and add onions. Then put on low heat until onions are translucent. Add flour and milk then stir. Add vegetable broth, clam juice, potatoes, bay leaf, thyme and salt & pepper. 

Cook on medium-low until potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Remove half of the soup and bay leaves and blend it. (optional) Return to pot and add clams and corn. Feel free to adjust salt if needed and cook another 5 minutes.

Serve and garnish with fresh parsley. Add Bread Bowl for that WOW factor or garish with salted crackers. 

Clam Chowder

Time Posted: Feb 9, 2017 at 12:01 PM