Gruet has opened a tasting room in the Hotel St. Francis (top) where you can sample sparkling wines and relax on the outdoor patio. The tasting room is open 11am-7 pm Monday-Wednesday, 11 am-8 pm Thursday-Saturday and from noon-7 pm Sunday. The Santa Fe tasting room opened in September, just in time for the Wine and Chile Fiesta. Gruet's tasting room in Albuquerque just had a facelift, so if you haven't been there in a while, check it out.

I hosted the KUNM Call In Show last week about craft brewing and craft distilling and folks were lamenting how the brewpubs seem to be concentrated in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. So East Mountain dwellers rejoice! Because there's a new brewery out in Cedar Crest. Ale Republic (28 Arroyo Seco, 281-2828) had its grand opening last weekend and is now open 2-10 pm Monday-Thursday and noon-10 pm Friday-Sunday. Ale Republic offers its own beers plus selections from other New Mexico breweries. Dogs and kids are welcome.

The first average freeze date in Santa Fe is this weekend. If you haven't yet had a freeze you might want to get out into the garden and pull any tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash and herbs that you want to salvage. In an interview for this week's review of Arroyo Vino, chef Colin Shane told me he was trying to figure out what to do with 10 pounds of shiso they had to harvest before the freeze. I have purple shiso in my garden, too (because why not?) but just about enough for one or two meals. Need recipes for shiso? Here are 43 ideas.

As fall turns into winter you can laze around knitting by the fire like I do (NERD ALERT) or you can make yourself a better gardener. It's almost time to sign up for the Santa Fe Master Gardener Association's master gardener classes. If you're interested, put yourself on the announcement list by clicking here.  Signup should start around Nov. 1. Last year it filled within a few days, so look out for the announcement! Classes will start at the end of January at the Higher Education Center at Siringo and Yucca.

Want to show your preschooler what growing food and flowers is about? Try Garden Sprouts at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden 10-11 am Fridays through the first week of November. Stories and hands-on activities for kids 3-5. Grown-ups must stick around. It's free for members or a $5 suggested donation.

This weekend's Gathering for Mother Earth at the Pojoaque Pow Wow Grounds will focus on the sovereignty of traditional foods and seeds with some workshops, in addition to food and dances. It's sponsored by Mother Earth Ecological Wellness Collaborative, which includes Traditional Native American Farmers' Association, the Acequia Association and a few other groups. Find more info here or call 747-3259.

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