The Wine Road Wine & Food Affair is one of my favorite events in the County and of the year. It features over 100 wineries from Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley offering their great wines, paired with some of the very best food to be found, from some of Sonoma Counties best chef’s and caterers.
Oh and pssst, listen close. TICKET SALES END TODAY. No exceptions!
The Cookbook Alone is Worth It
Admission includes this years stunning 308 page cookbook. I love this event so much I have sought out and bought almost all of the years bound copies in existence – and what an evolution over 13 years. Gorgeous full bottle shots, amazing recipes, of course paired with wine.
Each winery has two pages. On the left is a bottle shot (each one shot just for this cookbook) and some background on the origin of the recipe. This one from Mounts Family Winery, a personal favorite in Dry Creek, describes Lana Mounts family heritage and tie in to the dish, created by Jude Affronti, of Affronti Restaurant.
What is also amazing to me is how much this book has evolved. An early fan of the Wine Road, in the stint I left the Bay area for brief sojourns in Seattle, Denver, and Baja Mexico, I acquired used copies of previous years on Half.com to keep me company. Shown here side by side is the 2011 308 page cookbook, compared to the softbound, black & white, 160 page bound version from 2000. (Which is when I had started working for a Petaluma startup known as Calix.)
No Ticket Sales At the Door
Tickets are $70 in advance AND include this $35 cookbook. Even without the cookbook, $35 a day for the best of this regions food and wine is the least expensive, high quality entertainment you’ll find. Try getting a bottle of wine and a good dinner for two for much less than that!
Ticket sales end this Monday Oct 31st. , if they don’t sell out prior. (Which many years they do – so don’t wait!)
There is also a Sunday only option for $50. Are you a foodie more than a wine-o? DD tickets are $30.
1. Make A Plan.
Every year when I write about this event, I have the same primary suggestion plan. (See Don’t Miss! The Wine Road’s 11th Annual Wine & Food Affair. (tips inside))
This event is one to savor and enjoy, not racing around guzzling wine. As of this time, the downloadable guide is not yet available (I will add when it is) but you can go to http://www.wineroad.com/events/wine_and_food_affair/2 , click “Program“ and look at the pairings each winery is offering – this event is as much about choosing the food as it is the wine!
2. Map Your Route Around Traffic Times, Patterns
Some areas and wineries get VERY BUSY. Others that are new, or off the beaten track will be more manageable. Saturday afternoon is typically the busiest, especially in downtown Healdsburg and Dry Creek Valley. Consider saving those for Sunday, or doing first thing in the day. Many Russian River Valley wineries (downloadable map) , because they are more spread out, don’t get quite as heavily traffic.
Seek out some new wineries you haven’t been to before. Also remember not all Wine Road wineries participate, so it’s a good idea to again check the list of participating wineries.
3. Dump or Spit
This concept is as much about being able to properly appreciate the wines, as it is being responsible. After tasting at 2 wineries, if you have swallowed everything poured, you will have consumed enough alcohol to limit your sensory abilities. Essentially you have migrated from wine tasting and appreciation to drinking. And hey, if you have a DD and thats your thing, power to you., but for those of you looking to expand your wine appreciation consider this: Dump a wine in your glass you don’t love, or try the experience of spitting – the standard 16 oz plastic disposable cup is the standard weapon, and some wineries will have these out. Taste like a Pro, and you may get some special pours to boot.
4. Support Your Local Artisans: Take Home Some Wine
Yes you did pay for these tickets – but most of that money supports the event, and perhaps some of the food costs. These wineries, the vast majority of whom are very small family businesses, make money one way: WHEN YOU BUY WINE.
Buy a few less Starbuck’s lattes and/or that grocery store mass produced wine - if you like a wine you taste, buy a bottle. It will help you appreciate and remember the event, and you show your support for a local business and artisan, as well as have something great to take home. (ps put a cooler in the car – we often have nice weather for this event, always better to throw it one.)
Some of the wineries will offer sales incentives this weekend on new releases, other inventory for single bottles, case purchases, and more. I will publish a list of special promo’s sorted by region. This has been a popular article in the past as its a great chance to stock up – holidays are coming! Come back next Wednesday for this list AND a special announcement.
Follow the WineRoad on Facebook & Twitter, and “Live Broadcasts” via Twitter Hashtag
The Wine Road Executive Director is one of the best I know in Winery Social Media, and will keep you well informed. Follow the Wine Road on Facebook and on Twitter . To follow Tweets during the event follow Hashtag #WAFA11 or click here.
See you on the Wine Road – Heaven Condensed! (Love that old slogan!)