Posts Tagged ‘Events’

Summer New Release Bash tomorrow July 20th at Sheldon, Krutz and Two Shepherds

Summer is in full swing and Sheldon Wine, Krutz Family Cellars and Two Shepherds want to celebrate with a new release summer bash! (I don't publish events normally about just my own label, but since this is three, I hope readers don't mind.)


Each winery will be releasing 1-2 new wines, including the much awaited Two Shepherds 2012 Grenache Blanc, the Krutz 2011 Martinelli Road Chardonnay 96 points, at the recent North Coast Challenge, and the highly acclaimned Sheldon Anderson Valley, 2011 Roma's Vineyard Pinot Noir, 94 points by Virginie Boone of Wine Enthusiast.

We will also be featuring a oysters, chocolatier, local artist, and a Bocce Tournament.  Read below for full details, it's a not to be missed party!

Ticket Details

The wineries have decided to truly celebrate to waive entry fees and make the event free! We'd greatly appreciate RVSPs as it helps with planning. RVSP at

The event is from 2-7 p.m. at Sheldon Winery, 1301 Cleveland Ave, Santa Rosa.

Your ticket includes a taste of the 6 releases from the 3 wineries. Normal tasting fees applie to full lineup of each winery.

Wine will also be available by the glass to consume with your game of Bocce, BBQ, Oysters etc!

New Releases:

Krutz Family Cellars:

  • 2012 Inspiration Vineyard Chardonnay
  • 2011 Martinelli Road Chardonnay. 96 Points at the recent North Coast Challenge

Sheldon Wines:

  • 2012 Weatherly Rose'  – a special rose' of Graciano, an uncommon varietal!
  • 2011 Roma's Vineyard Pinot Noir – 94 Points Wine Enthusiast

Two Shepherds:

  • 2012 Grenache Blanc, Santa Ynez. Much anticipated, after the 2011 success
  • 2011 Grenache Noir, Russian River Valley, Saralee's Vineyard

Oyster Bar!

While supplies last, Dylan will be shucking oysters to pair!

Food with Wine, Of Course!

The boys will be grilling a pork shoulder and smoked beans will be available.  Wine will be available by the glass, so after your tasting of the 6 releases, grab a glass of something tasting, and enjoy the summer bash!
Interact & Socialize With the Wineries & Wine Makers

Too often we end up behind the table the entire event, filling glasses and have 30 second engagements. This time we have vowed to try and stay away from that, and out with our friends and supporters, socializing, answering questions, and having fun, while our talented teams fill your glass!

Guest Artisans

While you sip wine, check out these other cool Sonoma wares:

  • Photography of Damon Mattson: Damon Mattson has been a photographer for more than 20 years and is a Sonoma County ARTrails artist. Damon attempts to create photographs that are so realistic that you feel as though you are standing in front of the actual place. t
  • Bert's Desserts – Wine truffles and more! Syrah, a Petite Sirah and a Viognier truffle, as well as  Chocolate and Raspberry Truffles, and Peanut Butter Cups. Bert's was a big hit at our last event, come see why!

Bocce Tournament

There is a Bocce' court in the back, we'll be hosting a tournament! Bring a team, or form one on the spot.

THE Party of the Summer

So: cialis online pharmacy thats 6 new wines, an onsite oysters, food, bocce tournament, wine by the glass, local artists, party with the winemakers, at one of the funnest tasting rooms in town...

You have heatstroke if you miss this! (and yes we have AC!.)


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Rosé the Rhone Way – A Post in Pictures

A few weeks ago, William and the North Coast Rhone Rangers organized a beautiful Rosé tasting in the garden at Quivira Winery. Between the wonderful weather and the gorgeous bottles of Rosé, I ended up with a lot of really great pictures. I decided to just put them all up here and let the wine do most of the talking (with my own notes interspersed of course).

The pictures below represent just a few highlights from the tasting. The whole event was lovely and I look forward to adding some of these wonderful wines to my personal collection.


2012 Broc Cellars Santa Ynez Rosé $20

We started the day with the Broc Cellars Rosé. The blend is 50% Counoise and 50% Cinsault. It was a great refreshing way for us to start off the tasting. With clean, fresh, watermelon flavors it felt like a perfect start of summer wine. I personally am really excited about Broc Cellars – with a tasting room located in Berkeley, I know I will be stopping by before at least one Cal Football game this year.


2012 Campovida Rose di Grenache $34, 134 case production

The next Rosé was from Campovida. I had met the winemakers a few weeks earlier at the 7% Solution Tasting and was excited to get a chance to try their wine. Grenache Rosé is definitely something I've been enjoying a lot lately and this was no exception. To go from loving Grenache to discovering Grenache Blanc, it is only fitting that I've now progressed to Rosé and am growing quite passionate for it as well.  The Campovida was also selected by attendees as their favorite wine of the day, in a poll completed by attendees, by quite a margin, congrats!

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2012 Front Porch Rosé $25, 90 case production

My personal favorite of the day was the Front Porch Rosé being poured at the Idlewild table. As a blend of 70% Grenach and 30% Syrah, it has a lovely juicy flavor that was reminiscent of guava.

Of course, there were also some amazing Idlewild wines (which for some reason I didn't manage to get a picture of). The 2012 Vin Gris ($22, 70 case production) was an exceptionally light Syrah Rosé. With only 1.5 hours on the skins, it had delicate strawberry and crisp citrus tones.

The third wine at the table was another favorite – the Idlewild Grenache Gris ($28, 122 case production). With 3 days on skins and stems, it was darker in color than the Vin Gris. The wine had a beautiful nose and lovely cranberry flavors. I had tasted it a few weeks earlier and was happy to try it a second time and see that it was still as wonderful as I remembered.


Mounts Family Winery 2012 Grenche generic viagra Rosé $16, 82 case production

The Mounts 100% Grenache Rosé caught my eye initially just with how light and peachy the color was (I told you the pictures did a lot of the talking here). With only 4 hours of skin contact and low sugar content, it had such a light and crisp grapefruit flavor. It was absolutely perfect on the sweltering Sonoma day.


Quivira 2012 Rosé $19, 602 case production

It wouldn't be a complete review without mentioning the host winery's Rosé as well. This Rosé is a blend of 51% Grenache, 32% Syrah, and 17% Mourvedre. There was a lovely strawberry flavor that I very much enjoyed along with the bright pink color. The wine is also organic which I always support. In addition to the Rosé, I also picked up the Quivira 2011 Grenache. I had to contain myself from buying anymore and I'm sure next time I visit I will also be grabbing a few of their blends.


Drink Pink, Dress Pink

It wouldn't be a day of wine tasting without me hamming it up for a few photos as well. I was very enthusiastic that my dress matched many of the wines. I would love to say this was a happy accident but I noticed that most of my dresses had some wine spots on them and I figured in this case, no one would see if I spilled wine on myself. Ironically, since I took the precaution, I managed to refrain from my usual clumsy nature and keep all of my wine in the glass.


I can't take her anywhere…

The commentary on the event would not be complete without mentioning the beautiful sustainable garden at Quivira. It was fun to explore and see just how many different types of produce were flourishing. I can hardly keep my key lime plant alive so I was definitely impressed. My friend, Natalie, really enjoyed exploring the gardens as well. I hear the raspberries are delicious…


A wonderful end to a beautiful day of wine tasting!

After tasting a lot of lovely Rosé, we all went back to William's house for a wine filled homemade dinner that went way past sunset. It was a wonderful day and I'm looking forward to more of these smaller Rhone Ranger tasting events. At $15/ person, the Rosé tasting was a fun and inexpensive way to explore a very specific wine topic. Quivira was a perfect location for it and intimacy of the event really let me talk to the winemakers a little bit more. Thanks William for putting together such a beautiful tasting!

Related Posts

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Interview: Nikki Lincoln, Simple Hedonisms New Millennial Writer


Rosé has Legs! Report from Pink Out! SF

by Katherine Parker

I attended PINK OUT! SF this week, an event eagerly anticipated and long-awaited by me. PINK OUT! is an annual wine tasting and food-pairing celebration focused entire

ly on Rosé wines. It’s hosted by Chef Robert Lam at the San Francisco waterfront location of his Butterfly Restaurant. PINK OUT! SF, in its 8th year, is organized by the Rosé Avengers and Producers (RAP).

Getting Sassy at Pink Out! SF

Rosé came onto my radar when I moved to Sonoma in 2009 and started classes in the wine studies program at Santa Rosa JC. Instructors like Bob Frazer, Ray Johnson and others opened my palate to a broad spectrum of wine varietals and winemaking styles I had never considered drinking. Rosé was one of those.

Living on the border of Carneros, Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Coast, I was soon smitten. My piece “Romance with Rosé,” became one of Simple Hedonisms’ most popular. When I found out there would be a tasting of 30+ Rosé wines in one place, I was excited. The wines, the Butterfly waterfront venue and food, and the sassy spirit of PINK OUT! SF lived up to my expectations and more.

The Wines

Rosé is so versatile. Think of the many ways you can use and enjoy it: As a low(er) alcohol purchase cheap levitra wine for a business or vacation lunch (Envolve or Korbin Kameron); as a mouth-cleansing refresher with spicy Asian or BBQ food (Lasseter Family); as an appetite-stimulant with a plate of fabulous cheeses (Dunstan or Kokomo); as a celebration wine, when you want a Pink Champagne with (Gloria Ferrer) or without the bubbles (Chateau D’Esclans) as an aperitif for a festive occasion. Also, a very good Rosé can be had for a great price. Of 40 or so wines, most are priced under $25 with several good value Rosés at $14-18. These were just a few faces of Rosé at PINK OUT! SF.

Roses of all shapes and colors

I found Rosés of all origins, varietals and colors at PINK OUT! SF: France, Spain and Australia; Sonoma and Napa; Yolo and Lake county grapes are represented. There are Rosés made from Grenache, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Syrah, Sangiovese, Vermentino, Zinfandel … to name a few. And at least one (MidSummer Cellars) co-fermented with Viognier (Like!).

The Colors

Straw. Pale Gold. Silver. Platinum. Peach. Salmon. Pink-Pink.Foamy Pink. Licorice Red Candy. Clear Ruby. Hot-Pink! Deep-Pink. Take your pick of pink.

As a whole I found the wines well made. I had a few favorites, which are influenced by my personal preferences (running to dry, low-alcohol Rosé, particularly of Pinot Noir, a varietal I favor).

Top Picks

Top Pick: Kokomo 2011 Grenache Rose

Kokomo Grenache Rosé 2011. Grapes from Pauline’s Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma CA. This wine is elegant in every dimension: Crystal clear pale platinum in color, dry berry bramble nose, round and mouth-filling on the palette. Drinks well by itself and would pair excellently with an aged Spanish Manchego cheese, shellfish or naturally seasoned grilled pork. It was the perfect accompaniment to Chef Lam’s spicy paella. 13% Alcohol, $22.

Dunstan Rosé, 2011. Signature salmon color,

light fragrant nose, dry and cleansing on the palette. Balanced and satisfying. From Sonoma’s famed Durrell Vineyard Pinot Noir grapes.

VML 2011, Rosé of Pinot Noir. Winemaker Virginia (Ginny) Lambrix (Truett-Hurst and VML labels) made this lovely Rosé of Pinot, which retails for $19.

Many other wines here were also worthy of mention:

Chateau D’Esclans, Whispering Angel Rosé 2011, and Rosé 2011 from Cotes de Provence, France. Whispering Angel seems to create a category all it’s own. Made from a blend of 7 varietals – predominantly Grenache and Rolle – it is silvery pink in color, soft and round, and so light it seems to evaporate pleasantly in the mouth. Almost like champagne without the bubbles. 14% alcohol, $19. I liked the Rosé 2011 for its direct and structured approach – Grenache and Rolle with 20% oak. 14% alcohol, $35.

Gloria Ferrer was memorable for sparklers. They I tasted a couple of interesting and well-priced Spanish pink wines, Segura Viudas NV Brut Rosé ($8) and Freixenet NV Rosado Brut ($13). These were great paired with the oyster appetizers.

DEFINE Wines 2011 Syrah/Grenache Rosé. A new entrant with a finely-tuned, bold and fruity 13.5% alcohol Rosé. $38.

Carneros Wine Co., 2011 Fleur de California Rosé of Pinot Noir. Made from grapes from Carneros and Suisun Valley, this is a straightforward refreshing Rosé. Perfect for lunch at 12.5% alcohol and $14 retail.

Butterfly Restaurant

Chef Lam put together a menu of spicy paella, grilled-cheese burgers and salad that paired so well with the Rosé tasting it was a hard act to follow. Then it was followed by platters of cheeses with cornbread triangles that made me realize how much the cheese and the Rosé wanted to be together. The waterfront location is ideal with its floor to ceiling windows and open kitchen. I will be back soon to discover the menu and waterfront vistas.

Pink Out! SF Crew

The Bling

At the same time my interest in Rosé developed, Rosé winemaking styles have been rapidly evolving from a “what shall we do with the leftovers?” into an art and craft of Rosé. This event expresses the accessibility, diversity and enthusiasm of today’s Rosé. It’s on my calendar for next year on the second Tuesday of May. That should give me enough time to shop for something pink and sassy to wear in 2013.


Related Articles

A Call For Rosé – May Panel Review (Drink Pink!)

Tasting Notes: Envolve Winery 2011 Rosé, Sonoma Mountain

Two More Routes for the Barrel Tasting, plus North Coast Events for March 9 – 15

We’ve got another big barrel tasting weekend ahead of us. I’ll be able to participate this time and I’m really looking forward to it.

If you haven’t decided which wineries you’ll go to yet, here are a couple of theme-based itineraries.

The So

noma Advocate Tour

Antonio Galloni recently published his Sonoma Report for Wine Advocate. He focused heavily on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from producers that don’t happen to be part of the Wine Road Barrel Tasting, such as Paul Hobbs, Kistler and Hirsch. However, six wineries awarded 90+ points are pouring.

Of course, Galloni rated bottled wine. Get a leg up on him by evaluating barrel samples from these wineries yourself. (And don’t forget to give their neighbors a little love buy viagra online cheap us too.)

  • Freestone in Occidental
  • Siduri in Santa Rosa
  • Red Car in Sebastopol
  • La Crema in Windsor
  • Kendall-Jackson in downtown Healdsburg (that’s where they are pouring high-end Cabernet)
  • Stonestreet in Alexander Valley
There was a bit of a fuss about people piling out of limos and partying too hard last weekend. I suspect the issue was blown a bit out of proportion. However, if you want to avoid any risk of running into big bands of revelers, here are a few of the many fine wineries that don’t allow groups,

limos or buses. (Every winery not

allowing groups is identified on the Wine Road’s list of participating wineries.)

  • Bella Vineyards in Healdsburg
  • Claypool Cellars in Sebastopol
  • Freestone in Occidental
  • Fritz in Cloverdale
  • Joseph Swan in Forestville
  • La Crema in Windsor
  • Red Car in Sebastopol
  • Sausal in Alexander Valley
  • Stonestreet in Alexander Valley
  • Vinoteca (6 wineries in one location) in Santa Rosa
Enjoy your barrel tasting. I hope to meet up with you out there.


Lake County

Gregory Graham Winemaker Dinner at the Tallman Hotel — Upper Lake: Saturday, March 10, 6:30pm – 11:00pm
Owner and Winemaker Greg Graham and Marianne Graham will be there to introduce the wines and pairings.

Mendocino County

McFadden’s Second Saturday — Hopland: Saturday March 10, 10:00am – 5:00pm
Enjoy 100% organically grown grape wines paired with a delicious food treat.

Napa Valley

Calistoga Spring Jazz Festival — downtown Calistoga: Saturday, March 10, noon – 6:00pm
Live jazz music, wine and food right downtown in Calistoga.

Merryvale Pinot & Pizza Barrel Tasting — St. Helena: Saturday, March 10, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
An afternoon of wine, food and entertainment featuring current releases, library wines and Tra Vigne pizza.


Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: Friday, March 9, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Bill Vestal plays Americana music.

A Taste of West Sonoma County at Dutton-Goldfield Winery — Sebastopol: Saturday & Sunday, March 10 – 11, 10:am – 4:30pm
A rare tasting of their single-vineyard wines from the Green Valley of Russian River Valley appellation.

34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting — Northern Sonoma: Saturday & Sunday, March 10 – 11, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Your chance to sample wines from the barrel, talk to winemakers and explore the beautiful Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys.

Clash of the Sommeliers at Farmhouse Restaurant — Forestville: Monday, March 12, 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Three sommeliers pairing wines side-by-side for a four course, seasonal menu.

Songwriters In Sonoma at Meadowcroft Wines — Sonoma: Thursday, March 15, 7:00pm – 9:15pm
Dustin Heald, Rich Little and Fred McCarty


This article is by Fred Swan of for Copyright 2012 Fred Swan.

Events for This Weekend and Two Routes for the Wine Road Barrel Tasting

Guest Post by Fred Swan

This weekend’s events look a little sparse on the surface. But one little line item portends barrels of adventure. Hundreds of barrels. Full of wine. canadian viagra

tle=”The 34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting in Northern Sonoma” href=”″ target=”_blank”>The 34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting in Northern Sonoma.

There have already been excellent articles on this site about the barrel tasting. I don’t want to repeat what has been said. But, the list of more than 120+ wineries makes it hard to know where to start. So, I’ll offer a couple of itineraries for you to consider:

(Editorial note by William, for those of you who listened to me on KRSO tonight and are looking for the Tips & Ticket Contest, see Monday’s Post Here: Wine Road Barrel Tasting – The Premier Wine Buying Event of The Season. Learn, Share and Win Tickets! (4 winners!) )

Route 1: Get it While You Can — Wineries Open This Weekend Only

Saturday, focus on wineries west of Hwy 101. I might start at Moshin. Their Sauvignon Blanc will ease you into tasting. Follow it up with vineyard-designate Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

Next, head up Westside Road to De La Montanya. They have five different wines for you to sample, starting with Pinot Noir and closing with a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc. The dessert wine will lead nicely into lunch. You did pack a lunch, right?

Head north on Westside Drive as it turns into West Dry Creek. Pull in at Quivira. Eat your lunch near their biodynamic gardens. Then enjoy their Mourvedre and Petite Sirah.

From Quivra continue on to A. Rafanelli Winery which will be pouring 2010 Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their wines are always very good. And they age well.

On the second day do an eastern route. Rodney Strong will have a tasty assortment. Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Dry Creek Zinfandel.

From there, go to Stryker Sonoma. See how the Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate differs from the Dry Creek wines you tried on Saturday. The’ll also pour Merlot.

Stay on the Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon path by going to Trentadue. They’ll let you try their reserve, the La Storia Cabernet Sauvignon. The La Storia Zinfandel and La Storia Cuvee 32 blend will also be available.

For a taste of a completely different Cabernet Sauvignon AVA, head back across Hwy 101 to Ridge Vineyards. They’ve got a barrel of 2011 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Cruz Mountains. (Ridge is open the 2nd weekend too, but why wait?)


Route 2: Que Syrah — There’s more to Sonoma than Chard, Zin, Pinot and Cab

Formulate an itinerary from among these excellent Syrah producers:

Joseph Swan (Forestville) will be pouring not one but three vineyard-designate Syrah. Give them a try and see how the terroir of the different vineyards shows through in the wines. The winery will also have Zin, Tannat and more.

Vintoteca in Santa Rosa will be featuring six different wineries. Among the wines will be Olson Ogden’s Dry Creek Syrah. Before you dive into that though, try the Pinot Noirs from Bjornstadt and Baker Lane.

Krutz Family Cellars (Santa Rosa) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stagecoach Vineyards of Napa Valley was one of Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines for 2011. They’re opening a barrel of Syrah from that same vineyard, which excels with that variety.

Lauterbach Cellars (Windsor) has acclaimed Syrah fruit, but makes wine in tiny quantities. This is your chance to try some. They’ll have the 2009 Syrah, but will start you off with Pinot Noir and their Syrah Rosé.

Red Car (Sebastopol) is un-bunging their Estate Syrah. But first, enjoy Heaven & Earth and their estate Pinot Noir.

Dutton Estate Winery will be pouring My Father’s Syrah. …I didn’t even know my dad had Syrah! I’m sure it will be good though. They’ve also got Pinot and Chardonnay on tap wine thief.



Lake County

Six Sigma Ranch Pro & Amateur Pruning Competition —Lower Lake: March 3, 10:00am – noon
Learn pruning from the pros and try your hand at it, too!


Napa Valley

Cab Release Weekend at Velo Vino — St. Helena: March 3 – 4, 11:00am – 6:00pm
A special Vertical tasting of our 2006, 2007 and 2008 kit’s killer cab.

Charles Krug Winery Celebrates Charles Krug’s 187th Birthday — St. Helena: March 3, 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Imagine the light the birthday candles will put out! There’ll be appetizers and three-course wine dinner.


Sonoma County

34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting – Northern Sonoma: March 2 – 4, 11:00am – 4:00pm
144 wineries open their doors this weekend, many will be offering futures. Advance ticket sales are over, but you can buy tickets at the door.

Inspiration Vineyards Winemaker Dinner — Santa Rosa: March 2, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
There are still a few seats available for this dinner and the menu looks great!

Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: March 2, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Unwind after work, or barrel tasting, to rock and reggae played by Oscar Caleron.

Hanzell Vineyards Winemaker Dinner at Santé — Sonoma: March 8, 6:30pm
Join Hanzell winemaker Michael McNeill for a delicious four-course dinner paired with past and current vintages of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.


A Quick Plug:

The Wine Advocate will soon be releasing Antonio Galloni’s report on Sonoma County Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. You can learn levitra viagra online more about him and what he looks for wines by reading my in-depth interview with him. It’s being published in daily doses this week at

Enjoy your weekend!


Valentine's Day Weekend Wine Events Update

Everybody wants to be your Valentine! Wineries, wine bars and restaurants are pulling out all the stops. And all the chocolate! Even if you don’t have a romance to kindle, you can cuddle up with a glass of wine and y

our sweet tooth this weekend.

My previous post included a whole box of chocolate and wine events. And even some without cacao. But then I got a Kiss-o-Gram with even more events for this weekend!

All events listed below are in chronological order by region. Some events require advance reservations or ticketing, so it’s best to click through for any event you’d like to attend. The headline links for each event will take you to the calendar at where you’ll find further details on that event. And event organizers sometimes change details at the last minute, so it’s always a good idea to contact the host prior to showing up at their doorstep. For events in other regions, also check the calendar or my weekly NorCal event articles.

Mendocino County

Saturday, February 11

Valentine’s Wine & Chocolate Sampling at Milano Family Winery — Hopland: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Bring your Valentine and tickle your taste buds with heavenly creations by the ladies of Milano Family Winery.

Parducci’s Valentines Day ‘Death by Chocolate’ Event — Ukiah: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Parducci Wine Cellars presents a romantic day of music, sensuous wines, and exquisite chocolates to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Napa Valley

On-Going Events

Saturday February 11 – Tuesday, February 14
Chocolate and Wine at Cornerstone Cellars — Yountville:
10:00am – 6:00pm
Bring your sweetie to Cornerstone Cellars and indulge them in a wine flight paired with 3 chocolates hand crafted by Brent and Anette at Anette’s Chocolates, Napa Valley.

Saturday February 11 – Monday, February 20
The Ultimate Decadent Tasting at Trefethen Family Vineyards — Napa
10:00am – 4:30pm
Enjoy special selections of Trefethen wines paired with handmade confections produced by one of Napa’s finest chocolatiers.
Daily Events

Sunday, February 12

Cooking up Sweet Passion: Amy Reiley, Author of Romancing the Stove at Peju — Rutherford: 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Learn to make hand rolled chocolate truffles from Amy Reiley’s new cookbook Romancing the Stove while sipping Peju wines.

Sonoma County

Friday, February 10

An Evening with Merry Edwards at Paradise Ridge Winery — Santa Rosa: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Come spend a great evening celebrating Merry Edwards stellar career at a benefit for the Sonoma County Wine Library.

Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: 7pm
Music by Michael Hantman plus belly dancing by Kimberly Andora.

Saturday, February 11

Special Valentines Day Vertical Tasting at John Tyler Wines — Healdsburg: 11:ooam – 5:00pm
2004-2006 Pinot Noir and Zinfandel wines in a mini vertical tasting paired with Brix Chocolates.

Wine & Chocolate at Amista Vineyards — Healdsburg: noon – 3pm
Join canadian healthcare viagra sales us at Amista Vineyards for award-winning wines paired with specialty chocolates from Sebastopol chocolatier Peters Chocolates.

5th Annual Amphoradisiac Winemaker’s Dinner at Amphora — Healdsburg: 5:30pm – 10:00pm
A multi-course gourmet dinner with fabulous wine pairings, white tablecloths, candlelight and roses.


Event organizers and publicists get your events published here. Post your events in the calendar at Posting events there requires a one-time registration (easy, peasy), but is totally free of charge. And it only takes a couple of minutes. I’ll soon post a guide at with tips on how to make event posts as effective as possible.

Disclaimer: The events I’ll call attention to here are those that I’ve become aware of and which offer something beyond the standard winery tasting room experience. Neither I nor William are compensated by any of the event organizers in any way. The listings are for the benefit of the community. Event details are subject to change without notice.

This article is by Fred Swan for Simple Hedonisms. All rights reserved.

Upcoming Wine Events in the North Coast, February 4 – 12

William has invited me to keep you apprised of upcoming wine events for the North Coast with weekly posts here at Simple Hedonisms. Each article will cover roughly 2 weeks of events taking place in Lake, Mari

n, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties. Every now and then, there’ll be a sneak preview of something farther out in time or distance.

All events listed below are in chronological order by region. Some events require advance reservations or ticketing, so it’s best to click through for any event you’d like to attend. The headline links for each event will take you to the calendar at where you’ll find further details on that event. And event organizers sometimes change details at the last minute, so it’s always a good idea to contact the host prior to showing up at their doorstep.

One-time, up-front disclaimer (in future articles, this will appear at the end): The events I’ll call attention to here are those that I’ve become aware of and which offer something beyond the standard winery tasting room experience. Neither I nor William are compensated by any of the event organizers in any way. The listings are for the benefit of the community. Enjoy!

Event organizers and publicists wishing to maximize the likelihood of their events being published here should post their events in the calendar at Posting events there requires a one-time registration (easy, peasy), but is totally free of charge. And it only takes a couple of minutes. I’ll soon post a guide at with tips on how to make event posts as effective as possible.

Now that that’s out of the way… Wow! What a busy couple of weekends we’ve got coming up. If it weren’t for the Super Bowl this Sunday — an event against which few wineries are daring to compete — I’d still be clacking away, adding festivities. Valentine’s Day has inspired a huge bouquet of events pairing wine and chocolate, wine and oysters, wine and flowers, wine and romance. I’ll take any of those over a Hallmark card. (Gentlemen, this is not a suggestion that you forgo a card this year. Bad idea!)

Have a great weekend and I hope to see you tomorrow afternoon at the Micro-Winery Collective Open House at the Inspiration Vineyards tasting room in Santa Rosa.

Lake County

Saturday, February 11

Wine & Chocolate . . . and More! at Mt. Konocti Winery — Lakeport: 12:00 – 4:00
There will be more than 30 wineries pouring premium Lake County wines paired with gourmet chocolates and savories by Master Sommelier Candidate and Masters of Wine Candidate Sommelier Stephanie Green.

Marin County

Tuesday, February 7

Happy Hour with Tudal Family Winery at Bacchus Venus — Sausalito: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Taste through a flight of Tudal Wine’s for $10.

Mendocino County

Sunday, February 11

McFadden’s Second Saturday — Hopland: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Enjoy McFadden’s wines made from 100% organically-grown grapes and paired with a delicious food treat.

Wine & Chocolate Extravaganza at RWV Wineries — Redwood Valley: 11:00am – 5:00pm
One ticket gets you a glass for Wine Tasting and Chocolates at all 9 locations.

Cupid in the Caves at Saracina Vineyards, Hopland: 12:30pm – 4:00pm
Stop by the Saracina Tasting Bar for the romance-inducing foods of the gods: wine, oysters and chocolate!

Crab Feast in the Barrel Room at Jaxon Keys Winery — Hopland: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
A Valentines Weekend Crab Feast in the Jaxon Keys Barrel Room. They’ll start things off with Oysters three ways: Rockefeller, Florentine, and raw and then it’s all about the crab!

Napa Valley

Friday, February 3

Annual Open House at Charles Krug Winery — St. Helena: 10:30am – 4:30pm
The Peter Mondavi family welcomes you to their annual open house. Meet the family, taste new releases and enjoy live music.

Saturday, February 4

Annual Open House at Charles Krug Winery — St. Helena: 10:30am – 4:30pm
The Peter Mondavi family welcomes you to their annual open house. Meet the family, taste new releases and enjoy live music.

Winter Release Day at Silver Oak — Oakville: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Release celebration for the 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and kicks off of festivities for Silver Oak’s 40th Anniversary.

Cabernet Release Event at Bennett Lane Winery — Calistoga: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Visit Bennett Lane Winery for the pre release of their 2009 Cabernet and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winter Tag-a-Long at Saddleback Cellars — Oakville: 11:00am – 5:00pm
It’s a great day to taste at Oakville wineries since most in the area celebrate the release of the 2007 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon! At Saddleback, they’ll have an enhanced tasting day with food from Rebel-Dog and live music by the Wasted Rangers.

Cabernet Pre-Release Day at Cosentino Winery — Yountville: 12:00pm – 04:00pm
Get a sneak peak at the Cosentino Winery Reserve Cabernet and its library varietal, paired with chocolate.

Cabernet Pre-Release Day at Girard Winery — Yountville: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
A sneak peak at the inaugural release of the Girard Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

Friday, February 10

Cupid’s Kitchen at Girard Winery — Yountville: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Bubbles, the Oyster Girls from Tomales Bay, a sensuous chocolate fountain and exquisite cheeses.

Saturday, February 11

Valentine’s Oyster and Wine Pairing at Black Stallion Winery — Napa: 12:00pm – 4:00pm or until the oysters run out
Oysters by the pair, six-pack or dozen. And wine!

Goosecross Valentine’s Day Party at TopFlight — Napa: 2:00pm – 6:00pm
Enjoy an afternoon of wine, chocolate and romance.

San Valentino Dinner at Andretti Winery — Napa: 6:00pm – 10:30pm
Put on your best Upscale Wine Country attire and come celebrate amore and Valentine’s Day with Andretti Winery.

Sonoma County

Saturday, February 4

Crab Feed at Sbragia Family Vineyards — Geyserville: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
The Sbragia family invites you to join them for an evening of cracked crab and fabulous wine!

Winter Release Day at Silver Oak — Geyserville: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Release celebration for the 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and kicks off of festivities for Silver Oak’s 40th Anniversary.

Syrah Saturday at Amista Vineyards – Healdsburg: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Enjoy Amista’s signature estate wines with gourmet food pairings from 11:00-4:30 on Saturday, February 4th.

Wine & Chocolate Fantasy at Rodney Strong Vineyards — Healdsburg: 10:00am – 5:00pm
The Rodney Strong barrel room is transformed into a beautiful series of halls and rooms, featuring wine and chocolate and chocolate and wine!

Micro-Winery Collective Open House at Inspiration — Santa Rosa: 11:00am – 5:00pm
These wineries don’t have public tasting rooms. This is a special opportunity for you to try and buy wines from seven uniquely different wineries, each

with their own winemaker present to tell you their stories and introduce you to their wines.

Fundrasier for the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue at Marimar Estate — Sebastopol: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Tapas, wine, and an education booth run by Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue

Tuesday, February 7

Tasting Tuesdays at Willi’s Wine Bar — Santa Rosa: 4:00pm – 05:30pm
This week’s guest is Jesse Inman of August Briggs Wines.

Friday, February 10

Roche Winemaker Dinner at Sheraton Sonoma County — Petaluma: 6:30pm – 09:00pm
This “Pre-Spring Fling” Winemaker Dinner is open to the public, however, advanced reservations and RSVP are required.

Saturday, February 11

Reds & Romance Weekend at Dutton Goldfield — Sebastopol: 10:00am – 04:30pm
Featuring Dutton Goldfield Winery‘s luscious red wines, including single-vineyard Pinots from the amazing 2009 vintage. A special sweet treat awaits you as well.

Bring Your Sweetheart! at Deerfield Ranch Winery — Kenwood: 10:30am – 4:30pm
Deerfield Ranch Wines paired with Robert’s handcrafted chocolate truffles.

Culinary Romance: Valentine’s Weekend at Bella Vineyards — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Bring your special valentine and bask in the elegant ambiance of our wine cave as you explore the culinary side of romance.

Sweet 116 at the Wineries of 116 — Sebastopol: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Enjoy decadent treats and delicious wines at six wineries along Highway 116 near Sebastopol.

Valentine Library Wine Flight at Skewis Wines — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:00pm
We have a special tasting planned for Valentine’s weekend; a single vineyard, vertical tasting from our private wine library.

Miette Pastries at J Vineyards — Healdsburg: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Head over to J Vineyards and Winery and enjoy tasty treats prepared by Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell from the Miette, San Francisco’s most charming pastry shop.

Tasting Room Grand Opening at Karah Estate/Windy Hill — Cotati: 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Come to the grand opening of the new Karah Estate tasting room and enjoy a free tasting, plus its panoramic view of the Petaluma Gap!

A Zin Affair to Remember at DeLoach Vineyards — Santa Rosa: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Vertical Zinfandel tastings, gourmet chocolate, local artisan cheeses, live music and more!

Sunday, February 12

Reds & Romance Weekend at Dutton Goldfield — Sebastopol: 10:00am – 04:30pm
Featuring Dutton Goldfield Winery‘s luscious red wines, including single-vineyard Pinots from the amazing 2009 vintage. A special sweet treat awaits you as well.

Bring Your Sweetheart! at Deerfield Ranch Winery — Kenwood: 10:30am – 4:30pm
Deerfield Ranch Wines paired with Robert’s handcrafted chocolate truffles.

Culinary Romance: Valentine’s Weekend at Bella Vineyards — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Bring your special valentine and bask in the elegant ambiance of our wine cave as you explore the culinary side of romance.

Valentine Library Wine Flight at Skewis Wines — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:00pm
We have a special tasting planned for Valentine’s weekend; a single vineyard, vertical tasting from our private wine library.

Love and Meritage Blending Party at Topel Tasting Room — Healdsburg: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Topel winemaker Marcus Topel will pair up with KRSH Radio’s Ziggy Eschliman, best known as Ziggy – The Wine Gal, to guide friends (with or without benefits) and lovers through the wine blending process.

Wine Lover’s Event at Mounts Family Winery — Healdsburg: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Indulge yourself with a wine, cheese & chocolate Pairing and try pre-release Petite Sirah, Malbec viagra best buy and Zinfandel. RSVP required.

Looking Forward

Don’t forget the 7th Annual Int’l Alsace Festival coming up on February 18 in Boonville. There will be an Int’l Alsace Varietals Festival Technical Conference a Grand Tasting and a Winemakers Dinner. I’ve attended this event before and really enjoyed it.


This article is by Fred Swan for Simple Hedonisms. Photograph ©Igor Prole, used under license. All rights reserved.

Sonoma Holiday Wine Market delights with Wine, Food and Local Color

Dane Cellars Santa in "Floods"

The Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Association “Wine Market – Holiday Edition” proved to be a great opportunity to taste from 27 wineries in one place, including small producers not open to the public. Here you could taste, then purchase unique wines at fantastic savings. Excellent food tastings, and food-wine pairing advice was available from local Sommeliers  – in Santa hats no less.  Last not least, you could speak with the winemakers … and see what characters they can be!

Santa in Floods? Bart Hansen, winemaker at Dane Cellars, says he spends most of the year in Bermuda shorts. When Sonoma temps hit 75’ F on December 2, he rolled out to the event in his special Santa Floods.  The Dane Cellars Clarksburg 2009 Chenin Blanc he poured is richer bodied than a Sauvignon Blanc, making it a was a good wine for a sunny winter day and a perfect match for the Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese served up by the girl and the fig.

Santa Sommeliers. What is a sommelier (so-mel-yay)? A “Somm,” or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional specializing in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food matching.  Three certified Somms in Santa hats roamed the floor at the “Wine Market – Holiday Edition” event, helping guests with wine advice, pairing, and directing them to wine specials.

Eric Ross "Struttin' Red"

Cocky Wine: Eric Ross 2010 Struttin’ Red

Eric Luce, winemaker at label Eric Ross, invites you to taste his red blend of the year. 2010 is a unique blend of Tempranillo, Old Vine Zin and Petite Sirah. It screams out for a really good Cheeseburger. Failing to find any cheeseburgers, this wine was great with the Truffle Gateau chocolates featured at the Market.

Consumers have many benefits to gain from a single-location event like this. To name a few:

  1. Access unique fine wines and local cuisine
  2. Lower prices on quality wines
  3. Remove the driving around from a wine-tasting outing – all the wines and food, all in one place
  4. Access to *Santa Sommeliers* to advise on matching foods with the wines you like
  5. Buy where you taste and take your wine home with you!

I had a conversation with Christopher Sawyer, Somm at Carneros Bistro in Sonoma. I asked Chris how one should go about pairing up wines with a meal. “First of all, the method should be reversed. Decide your menu, then match the wine to it.”  OK, I said, then to break the rules a bit, let’s say I’ve got a Zinfandel from Haywood Winery, which is pouring here today. Chris suggests, “This is a supple, medium body Zinfandel that gives you a lot of flexibility with the food pairing. Game. Duck. Spicy pork with compote on the side. Strip steak. And of course Ribs will go well with Zin.”

Christopher Sawyer "Santa Sommelier"

Wines of note:

Eric Ross 2010 Marsanne-Roussane. Your guests will appreciate when you serve this unique white. Winemaker

Eric Luce blends two grapes from the famed SaraLee’s Vineyard in Russian River Valley to make a wine in the Rhone style that everyone’s talking about.  Full-bodied, food-ready, and a great under-$30 wine to diversify your palate.  It paired with the Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese and I would recommend it with any cheese.

Dane Cellars 2007 Jackknife Cabernet Sauvignon. When you are looking for full-flavored, medium-bodied Cab, the Jackknife is a great choice. From a vineyard high above Sonoma Valley, with volcanic soils and generous late afternoon sun, this wine explodes with fruit and complex flavors. Sommelier Sawyer says:  “With a medium-bodied cab like Dane Cellars’ Jackknife you have more flexibility in your menu – you can pair with red meat or you can go with a bigger fish such as sturgeon or tuna prepared with a soy sauce.”

Pip 2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.  Undecided between oaked and unoaked? You can’t go wrong with this under $20 wine from Dunstan, from famed Durrell Vineyards blended with nearby grapes, then aged in 1/3 neutral oak and 2/3 stainless steel.  The resulting Chardonnay will please both the oaked and unoaked taste, as the neutral oak imparts lovely vanilla aromas and softness while the stainless steel defines the varietal character and imparts a crisp finish.  Another great match for the Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese.

Abigail Zimmerman of Annadel Estate Wines

Best new wine find: 

Annadel Estate 2008 Anni’s Blend is an instantly memorable red wine that’s also easy to pair with food.  I got rich fruit medleys and a velvety mouth feel from this blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Cab Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. For a Cab-Merlot blend like this, you could even serve it with a Mac & Cheese dish with toasted walnuts and mushrooms, according to Sommelier Sawyer.  The adjacent “Coppa & Apple Mostarda on Foccacia” from Estate went well.  Annadel Estate Winery is the effort of a family who are restoring an 1880’s vineyard estate in the region. Expect to hear more about their wines soon.

There were many more varietals and examples of great winemaking available for taste. I can’t cover them all here. See what you missed and check back soon for upcoming events at the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance website.

On my Christmas wishlist:






A Plethora of Fun Weekend Events in North Sonoma Sept 9-12th

Harvest is upon us (for some early varietals) and with it heats up Wine Country Events; we’d need 3 separate articles to cover all of Sonoma + Napa; (hmm more guest writers?) so focusing on events closest to home this weekend, and look for a list of other resources at the end.

Some of my personal favorites coming up:

Thur Sept 9th

Launch Party for the new Windsor Vineyards & International Wine Accessories Catalog!

$5 at the door.  Includes: Tastings of Select Wines, Gourmet Snacks, Entry into Raffle/Door Prize for items from IWA (cool stuff!) and Vintage Wine Estates wineries. Meet the Catalog Models. A good time on a Thursday Night!

Held at the new VWE Tasting Room on the Square in Healdsburg: 308 B Center Street Healdsburg, CA, 95448.  6-9 pm Facebook RSVP Here

Thursday and Friday, Sept 9-10

Black Cat Cabaret

As written about a few weeks ago, the 2nd Annual Black Cat Cabaret features renowned performers from Las Vegas in an all-original show to benefit Pets Lifeline of Sonoma. Experience a magical evening with performances by international cirque aerialists, acrobats and musicians. This one-of-a-kind event takes place in an intimate venue that transports the audience into a truly dazzling and exotic environment. (! A few tickets are still left as of this morning!)

Filled with spectacular theatrical exploits, the Black Cat Cabaret includes exciting pre-show entertainment, fabulous wines, local cuisine, a live auction of extremely distinctive items and special behind-the-scenes VIP receptions. All proceeds go to support the programs and services offered by Pets Lifeline, Sonoma Valley’s only animal shelter.

Time: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. VIP Reception; 7:30 – General Admission check-in; 8:00 -10:00 p.m. Performance with Live Auction

Location: “Field of Dreams” (Fazio Field), 151 First Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476

Tickets and Information: Phone: 707.996.4577 x 110, email:,website:

Simple Hedonisms will be there Thursday night!

Saturday Sept 11th

14th Annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival

A GREAT event I attended last year, the 14th Annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival, held on Saturday, September 11, 2010 from 11am-4pm. All proceeds from this festival go to the School Garden Network of Sonoma County. Held on the lawn in the walnut grove behind the beautiful Kendall-Jackson Wine Center in Fulton, CA.

Guests will taste 175 varieties of heirloom tomatoes grown in our sustainable culinary gardens. Amy Goldman, author of The Heirloom Tomato will be demonstrating her tomato expertise at one of the many wine and garden seminars. In addition, Bravo’s Season 5 Top Chef winner, Hosea Rosenberg will go head to head with other Top Chef contestants in the Ultimate Chef Challenge. Other activities include tomato inspired small bites prepared by over 50 Bay Area chefs, additional food and wine education seminars, tours of our vegetable and wine sensory gardens, live entertainment and more.

Tickets are $65 per person. Please order early as the festival sells out in advance each year. For more information or to purchase tickets visit online  or call 1-800-769-3649. Tickets will be sold online until 9:00 am on Saturday, September 11th unless sold out prior to that time. All tickets ordered from 9/4/10 will be available at our will call area at check in the day of the festival.

11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Kendall-Jackson Wine Center, 5007 Fulton Road, Santa Rosa, CA

See you there Saturday morning!

Beer on The Plaza (Healdsburg)

This is one of those events I almost want to keep to myself, was great fun last year. Over 25 breweries pour, Live Music by The Remedies, Food, Beer, Silent Auction, Raffle.

Admission is $20 and includes souvenir glass and three drink tickets. Additional drink tickets $1 each. Children under 8 free, 8 to 20 year, $10

Downtown Plaza, Healdsburg, 3 to 7 pm, Alcohol service stops at 6:30. For more information call 707‐975‐7011 or go to

Tickets available at Bear Republic in Healdsburg or at the gate. 100% of the proceeds go to Healdsburg Area Community Service Projects.

Nothing like Microbrew after Wine Tasting and spitting – See you on the Square!

Sunday September 12th


The Instant Wine Cellar (IWC) is one of the Healdsburg Museum & Historical Society’s most popular annual events. Hundreds of bottles of wine are donated from generous wineries around the area and raffled off during three drawings.  The three primary winners each receive an “Instant Wine Cellar,” collectively representing hundreds of bottles of wine valued at thousands of dollars from some of Sonoma County’s finest wineries.  Additional raffle tickets are drawn for a dozen more prizes, and a Silent Auction provides still further opportunities to take home premium wine.

In 2010, in recognition of our landmark building’s 100th Anniversary (the former Carnegie Library), HM&HS is holding a once-in-a lifetime CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION AND INSTANT WINE CELLAR. Fitch Street will be closed and the Museum will be open!  Come join the festivities and partake of WINE, food, jazz bands, exhibitions, and MORE!

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2010 from 2 – 6 pm, EVENT TICKETS available for $45. PURCHASE:  Online – at Saturday Farmers Market – or call the Museum.

This year’s raffle winners will walk away with hundreds of bottles of superior wines valued at thousands of dollars – all donated by many of Sonoma County’s outstanding wineries.  There will be three Instant Wine Cellars given away:  a Grand Prize, Second Prize and Event Only Limited Drawing Prize (only 250 tickets will be available for purchase at the Event), with a dozen smaller prizes drawn before the day is done.


  • GRAND PRIZE – 143 bottles from 76 wineries valued at $5,600
  • SECOND PRIZE – 115 bottles from 62 wineries valued at $4,000
  • EVENT-ONLY LIMITED PRIZE – 122 bottles from 72 wineries valued at $4,600, (only 250 tickets to be sold)


  • The EXEMPLARY WINE that makes Sonoma County one of the premier outlets for fine libations donated by generous area wineries paired with delicious CATERED FOOD.
  • A SILENT AUCTION filled with fantastic items for those clever enough to time their bidding right (such as a week on a wonderful Vermont farm).
  • A JAZZ STAGE featuring local jazz bands.

Just because the 600+ bottles in my cellars isn’t enough, I’ll be there trying to win!

Saturday and Sunday, Sept 11-12th

Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival

Two events now combined into one a few years ago, a great line-up of music, and the cool weather, while not good for grapes, is great for outdoor concerts. The schedule of artists is here. Big name act for Sunday is the Doobie Brothers. Sad to not be attending this year, so many events, so little time!

Sat. September 11: JAZZ FEST

Sun. September 12: ROCK & BLUES
THE DOOBIE BROTHERS – 40th Anniversary Tour, JIMMIE VAUGHAN and the Tilt-A-Whirl Band with LOU ANN BARTON,

Johnson’s Beach, Guerneville

Other Links for Events:

Wine Road Events

Inside Sonoma Events

Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Events

Napa Vintners Events

Wine Goings-on in and around town of Sonoma August 7-8th

Sonoma Valley and surrounds are characterized by family-owned wineries large and small. Here are a few weekend events offering a chance to taste artisan and estate wines of some of Sonoma’s family vintners. You’ll find the winemakers on hand to answer your questions too. (Check Simple Hedonisms for tips on how to plan for a day of wine-tasting.)

8th Street Wineries Open House

August 7 – 11:00am-4:00pm. On Saturday August 7 you can taste wines from 10 artisan wineries matched with top-notch food pairings, converse with the winemakers, even meet the winery dogs – all in one warehouse complex in Sonoma. Over the past year, Sonoma’s 8th Street Wineries collective has grown from 8 to 10 wineries, representing at least 15 different varietals – most of them Sonoma-grown. The wineries are independently owned, most wines are limited production, and many of them are unavailable to taste – other than a at few exclusive restaurants. This bi-annual open house is a chance to experience hard-to-find wines and the unique personality of each winery warehouse. You’ll find the winemaking philosophy of each producer reflected in their workspace.

Chef John McReynolds

Doors open at 11:00am when you pick up your “Passport” and enjoy some tasting at renowned MacRostie Winery.  After visiting MacRostie, cross the street to visit 9 more wineries. Get your Passport stamped at each winery, and submit it for the wine raffle when you leave. Three names will be selected to receive 3 half-case selections from the 8th Street Wineries.

Rosso Pizzeria will bring their wood-fired pizza oven for pairings at  Tin Barn and Kamen Estate. Sage Fine Foods of nearby Cornerstone Sonoma, and John McReynolds — chef and olive oil meister at new 8thStreet winery Stone Edge Farms — are among the other purveyors. Each warehouse sets up their own food station, so expect some yummy surprises.

Eighth Street Wineries is an informal collective comprised of [winery/winemaker]:

Open Warehouses at 8th Street Wineries

Many awards and accolades are attributed to this collective of wineries. For instance, Tin Barn was awarded 5 medals at this years’ San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, including a Double Gold for their 2007 Zinfandel from Russian River Valley. In recent news, new member Kamen Estate was cited in a New York Times article on California Syrah.

Current releases, new releases, library wines and barrel tastings are offered. The price of $30 per person ($20 for wine club members of any 8th Street winery) includes tastings, pairings, and a souvenir wine glass. Parking is free and once parked, you can walk from winery to winery. Each winery will also have special discounts running this day. The most recent open house in February drew over 700 guests. I was there and can’t wait to return. The quality of the wines, enhanced by foods and conversations with the winemaking families make this a memorable experience. Come early for best selection and savory food pairings. Purchase advance tickets here.

Tip: Check back with Simple Hedonisms on Tuesday August 3rd for a contest to win free tickets!

Muscardini Cellars 5th Annual Barrel Tasting

August 7th and 8th, 12:00-5:00pm. This year’s Barrel Tasting will be held at the Muscardini Estate ~ Monte Terra, where guests can enjoy an afternoon in the courtyard, by the koi pond and under the oaks. Tickets are a steal at $20 – including a tour of the Estate Sangiovese vineyard, live music, delectable food and wine pairings, and special wine discounts. 2009 futures from the barrel as well as current releases will be tasted. Buy tickets here.

GunBun Summer Film Festival

August 7 at 7:00pm. Saturday is Movie Night at Sonoma’s Gundlach Bundschu Estate Winery. This evening features the 1996 film Swingers. Gun Bun’s annual night under the stars features a high-energy local band at 7pm, followed by the movie at dusk. Bring a picnic and a blanket and enjoy an evening under the stars. Wines available for purchase. $10/pp advance tickets to film; $15/pp tickets at door. Buy tickets here.

Screening of Smokestack Lightening, a Day in the Life of Barbecue with Lolis Eric Eliez

Lolis Eric Eliez and Sheana Davis

August 8th, 6:00-10:00pm. Sonoma’s own Epicurean Connection hosts an evening of food, wine, dancing to live music that is sure to be PRIMAL! Lolis Eric Elie, a New Orleans based writer and filmmaker and recognized expert on New Orleans food and culture, is the author of Smokestack Lightening: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country and co-producer of the documentary based upon the book. Elie most recently joined the staff of the HBO series Treme. He also produced and wrote the PBS documentary Faubourg Treme.

Memphis Minnies, The Epicurean Connection & Wild Thyme Catering and Events will cook a Barbecue dinner. Highway 12 Winery and Vineyards & Spann Vineyards will pour their wines, and beer will be available from Moonlight Brewing Company & Uncommon Brewers. Local group The Hellhounds will play for dinner and dancing. The event will be held at Wild Thyme. Cost is $45 per person, and includes screening, dinner and dancing. Tickets are available at The Epicurean Connection, Wild Thyme & Readers’ Books in Sonoma. For more information, call 707-935-7960 or Proceeds from this event benefit Southern Foodways Alliance.

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