It’s that time of year again! BBQs, corn on the cop, and, suddenly – the summer is over and it’s Labor Day. Boo! Except that every year, Labor Day signals the Wine Country Weekend extravaganza in Sonoma County!
This event is a local tradition, and many a la carte items sell out early. Foodies who love wine will have even happier taste buds as more than 200 Sonoma County wineries, grape growers and chefs are preparing for the three-day festival.
From Friday, September 2nd through Sunday, September 4th, wineries all over Sonoma County will participate, culminating in the annual Taste of Sonoma on Saturday, and the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction on Sunday. For me, as an observer, and never an attendee, the highlight of this weekend is the Taste of Sonoma County at MacMurray Ranch. This property sits smack dab in the middle of Russian River Valley, and is known for it’s Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. And yes, Father really did know best when Fred MacMurray bought this property as an escape from Hollywood to raise his young family in 1941. The property itself has been farmed since the 1850s and is steeped in local history.
Some other highlights of the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend lunches, dinner parties and BBQs include:
- Arrowood Vineyards & Winery Dinner Party – Dine poolside to live acoustic guitar at the Arrowood Estate Guest House with Winemaker Heidi von der Mehden while experiencing a harvest sunset. Arrowood’s philosophy of producing classic varietal wines with grapes grown exclusively in Sonoma County will be featured while library wines and rare vintages from the cellar are poured. A five-course dinner will be prepared by one of Sonoma’s favorites: the girl + the fig restaurant.
- DaVero Farms & Winery Dinner Party – Guests will enjoy the bounty of DaVero’s certified Biodynamic farm with Owners Ridgely Evers and Colleen McGlynn who will tour and taste with wine and olive oil while introducing the fascinating practice of Biodynamic farming. Chef Christopher Greenwald, a renowned Sonoma County rising star, will build a meal from the abundance of DaVero and neighboring farms.
- Hidden Ridge Lunch –An unforgettable picnic in a breathtaking high-altitude vineyard with Proprietors Lynn Hofacket and Casidy Ward awaits guests. Designed to thrill the adventurous explorer, this experience begins with a four wheel-drive tour of the mountaintop vineyard – a place so steep, so well developed so interesting that it has been described as “really that amazing.” Chef Duskie Estes of Zazu lends her formidable culinary talents to create a seasonally inspired meal perfect for the Hidden Ridge Vineyard wines.
- Keller Estate Dinner Party – The remarkable summertime scenery of Keller Estate’s vineyards and olive groves will set the tone at this dinner hosted by Keller Estate Winemaker Jacqueline Yoakum and Chef Joey Ray. Keller Estate is a true Estate: from vine to bottle everything is done on the property – and the result is a lineup of wines that are deeply expressive of their individual terrior.
- Little Vineyards Family Winery BBQ – Little Vineyards Family Winery promises a fun, sunny Sunday barbecue at their Glen Ellen winery. Little Vineyards’ rare and small lot wines will take center stage, pairing perfectly with a variety of grilled treats, while the winery’s beautiful property provides an inspiring backdrop for a relaxed afternoon of simple pleasures.
- Stone Edge Farm Lunch – Known for dedication to sustainable farming, Stone Edge Farm produces both the outstanding wines and the heirloom vegetables and olive oils that will be featured at this al fresco meal. Winemaker Jeff Baker will pair wines with each course created by Winery Chef John McReynolds for an unparalleled experience of field-to-table dining. Hors d’oeuvres in the vineyard will lead to a shady meal overlooking the bountiful gardens and vineyards.
With more than 170 wineries pouring thousands of wines, and over 60 local chefs whipping up divine pairings, Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch delivers a once-in-a-lifetime experience for oenophiles and foodies alike. Informative and entertaining wine seminars, lively cooking demonstrations, get-your-boots-dirty vineyard tours and so much more make for an enchanting afternoon enjoying the best of Sonoma County living.
The event tickets are pricy at $150, but well worth it to have a one stop shop. But wait! Visa Signature will offer cardholder $55 off ($95 Taste of Sonoma Tickets). Highlights of this day include Sommelier Star Tours – where you can taste a region, pair some food, or meander a varietal. There are several to choose from so check them out here.
Not to be outdone, the winery lunchyes that start on Friday promise to be amazing. I will be stuck at a user conference, but you can choose to attend a lunch with your favorite winery and winemaker among the Sonoma countryside.
$85 for lunch, wine and some great times is a steal! (Some winery locations are sold out)
There are also some fantastic winemaker dinner lined up! $160 gets you an evening with wine, food, and local winemaking stars. (Some winery locations are sold out)
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend benefits local charities that benefit children, students, farm workers and people in need, so you can once again – drink for charity!
I hope I”ll see you there!