Dad-ventures: Show your father gratitude with food and wine

V. Satui in St. Helena makes for the ideal spot to spoil Dad

When our children were very young, I commented to my husband that they must have thought he was pure magic. We’d wave him off every morning with excitement, then go about our day with a predictable routine. His arrival home in the evening was always met with ecstatic enthusiasm, little legs racing to the front door upon hearing his car. When he stepped foot back into their day, he never disappointed. He’d swoop each one up, lifting them high above his head, swing them around and playfully toss them onto the sofa. There were giggles, smiles and shrieks of joy. Wherever he was, so too was fun.

Our kids are well past the age of running to the door to greet him nowadays, but he still brings adventure to their lives, encouraging them to push themselves outside of comfort zones and finding ways to make life exciting.

Dads initiate spontaneous wrestling matches, dinnertime joke-telling sessions, weekend bike races and movie marathons. They’re responsible for the biggest thrusts on swing sets, the greatest lashing of hot sauce on their tacos and the most colossal splashes in any poolside cannonball challenge.

This Father’s Day, show dad your love with a gift of adventure – either a curated-for-the-holiday wine hamper or a trip to a Napa Valley winery.

Travel ‘abroad’

Take Dad away by assembling a custom food and wine at-home evening that will transport him to Spain. Begin with my easy tomato and jamon appetizer (find recipe at the bottom) and a bottle of Spain’s contribution to the world of sparkling wine, Cava.

Made using the traditional Champagne method (that is, secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle), Cava is both underpriced and underrated. While generally not as complex as Champagne, it has heaps of charm all its own and is a playfully perfect sparkler to kick off an evening of tapas.

Next, pair a seafood dish such as ceviche or seared scallops with an Albarino from the Rias Baixas region of Spain. Albarino is an ultra-refreshing coastal white wine that boasts really interesting salinity, making it a super wine to pair with light fish appetizers.

Finish Dad’s food and wine escape with a Tempranillo and thinly sliced Spanish chorizo and empanadas. A red wine, Tempranillo is made throughout Spain and is aged sometimes for several years before being released.

For tapas, I prefer a lighter Tempranillo. Look for bottles labeled “Joven,” meaning “young,” or “Crianza,” indicating that the wine has spent only a year in oak. Tempranillo Reserva is aged for two years in oak, while Gran Reserva spends two years in oak and a year in the bottle aging before release.

Offer a selection of Spanish cheese, some fresh fruit and grilled vegetables to round out the meal. Set the mood with cafe lights strung outside and throw a vibrant tablecloth on your outdoor dining table. Crank up guitarist Paco de Lucia on Spotify. For a more contemporary Spanish soundtrack to the meal, check out Mala Rodriguez.

With the wine flowing, nibbles abundant and music filling your backyard, Dad will feel transported to Barcelona. Luxuriate over the meal, as the Spanish do, by slowly pacing yourselves through the courses. Maybe even encourage Dad to regale all with his favorite stories and most repeated jokes.

Note that shopping for this dad-venture can all be done at Draeger’s Market in Los Altos. Visit to pre-order ceviche cups and empanadas.

Take a road trip

Dads often like to hunker down at home on a Sunday. Now’s your turn to push your dad out of his comfort zone. Convince Dad to jump in the car and he will be oh so happy he did! It’s a beautiful time of year to drive to Napa Valley. V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena is the ideal destination for the day. The winery is currently taking reservations for both indoor and outdoor tasting experiences at

The iconic stone winery produces a wide array of exceptional wines, including sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as dessert wines such as Port and Madeira. Plus, V. Sattui’s onsite deli boasts house-cured charcuterie, more than 200 cheeses, sandwiches, pasta salads, fresh fruit, and much more. If Dad is looking for a hot lunch, V. Sattui’s weekend barbecue and food truck has him covered. Right-off-the-grill tri-tip sandwiches, smoked ribs, salted cod croquettes and wood-fired pizzas are just a few of the hot food items on offer.

V. Sattui Winery is the ultimate spot for dad and all his crew – even dogs are welcome. Reservations are highly recommended to ensure you can relax and enjoy the full V. Sattui experience.

If the dad you’re spoiling isn’t within driving distance of V. Sattui, consider booking a virtual tasting or sending him one of its fabulous Wine and Gift boxes. Both its Wine Not? and Pasta Please! boxes seem especially suited for bringing some joy to Father’s Day.

Christine’s Tomato Bread with Jamon Serrano

  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 Midwife and the Baker baguette (visit 846 Independence Ave., Mountain View)
  • 8 slices serrano ham

Using box grater placed over shallow bowl, grate tomatoes. Discard any remaining tomato skin. Finely chop garlic and add to tomatoes. Add olive oil, salt and pepper.

Preheat outdoor grill to medium. Slice bread into 20 pieces. Toast on grill for 1-2 minutes per side, keeping an eye on it the entire time to ensure it doesn’t burn. Remove toasted bread from grill.

Assemble tapas by spooning small amount of tomato mixture onto each slice of bread. Tear ham into pieces and place one piece onto each slice of bread.


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