Category Archives: Music

Passport to Dry Creek Valley

“A modern tradition with century-old roots” is a great description of the Dry Creek Valley and its eclectic mix of modern winemakers, family farmers and historical vineyards.  Always one of the most engaging events of the season, it continues to grow and evolve each year to offer something new and exciting.

Tickets are still available for the weekend on the Dry Creek Valley Winegrowers’ website. Also, pre-event luncheons are still available for a couple of great locations: Sbragia, Comstock and Capo Creek Ranch.  This pre-event luncheons let you relax with the winemakers and owners and learn about the Dry Creek Valley in an intimate family atmosphere.

Last year the DCV Passport added vineyard tours which are expanded from two to four this year.  The events on Saturday are a first come, first served model, so be on time or miss all the fun.  On Sunday, the tours require an appointment as space is much more limited.  The springtime in Dry Creek Valley is one of the most beautiful and a perfect time to learn about grapes.

I love the fun atmosphere of the themes at many wineries – at Armida Winery they are hosting the classic “Caddyshack” and Chateau Diana is going back to the 60’s with Flower Power. The wineries also focus on great food and wine combinations to showcase the farm-to-table blessings we have in Sonoma County. Some of my favorites last year were Collier Falls Vineyard, Comstock Wines, Devero Farms & Winery, Dutcher Crossing Winery, Forchini Vineyards, Gustafson Family Vineyard, Kachina Vineyards, Manzanita Creek, Mazzocco Sonoma Winery, Pedroncelli Winery, Rued Winery, Selby Winery, Truett Hurst Winery and Wilson Winery.

If fabulous music and wine away the afternoon you will have many choices from Country Western to Rock-n-Roll – for variety try De La Montanya Winery, Dry Creek Vineyard (Salty Shanties), Geyser Peak Winery (Rat Pack style), Kokomo Winery (Blue Grass), Malm Cellars (Country), Mill Creek Vineyards & Winery (Vegas style), Papapietro Perry Winery (New Orleans Jazz) and West Wines (America Graffiti) among others.

If you would just like to relax with a combination of great wines, fabulous food, good music and incredible views that is available too – try some of my favorite views at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery, Mounts Family Winery, Ridge Vineyards – Lytton Springs, Sbragia Family Vineyards, Talty Winery, Trattore Farms and Zichichi Family Vineyards.

If you like more activities try bocce ball at Mortarana Family Winery, Seghesio Family Vineyards or Lambert Bridge Winery; then hit it out of the park, baseball style at David Coffaro Estate Vineyards. Go for a unique experience and see a real amphora wine fermenter at Amphora Winery; catch talented local artisans at Amista Vineyards, sign a barrel at Blanchard Family Wines, visit a little piece of Germany at Gopfrich Winery, get a bottle signed by famed chef Charlie Palmer & winemaker Clay Mauritson at Mauritson Family Winery, visit old Hollywood at Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate, donate to local fire departments that help protect our precious vineyards with longtime volunteer fireman & winemaker Fred Peterson at Peterson Winery, and visit the biodynamic gardens at Quivira Vineyards and Winery.

There is something for everyone is this beautiful valley – don’t miss this annual event when the wineries of Dry Creek Valley showcase their best wines, food, music and entertainment.

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April in Carneros – Wine, Food and Entertainment

Springtime is a fabulous season to visit wine country; there are lots of classic events including ‘April in Carneros.’ 

Carneros is where the San Francisco Bay meets Napa Valley and Sonoma County to produce the some of the finest cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sparkling wines in Northern California. But the Carneros wine region is becoming even more with new forages into Grenache, Merlot and Petite Syrah wines that are expanding Carneros fans everyday.

During April in Carneros various wineries in Sonoma County and Napa Valley will be showcasing their wines with food pairings and music. The Carneros Wine Alliance, the organizer for this event bills it as “Where Everyone’s a VIP!”

For incredible views, two of my favorite wineries are Gloria Ferrer and Schug Carneros Estate.  Both of these wineries feature elevated views of the Carneros wine region.  Gloria Ferrer is scheduled to be featuring sliders from Black Bean BBQ and acoustic pop music from No Buenos. Schug Carneros Estate is slated to serve Greek Lentil Salad and Asian Noodle Salad from Oliver’s Market to the sounds of The Movers

To visit families that embody the Mexican heritage that has dominated viticulture in both Sonoma County and Napa Valley for generations stop by Ceja Vineyards and Robledo Family Winery. Ceja Vineyards is an ultra premium Latino family owned winery founded by Amelia, Pedro, Armando and Martha Ceja producing a diverse range of award-winning varietal and blended wines from their estate grown grapes. Or experience a true “American Dream” at Robledo Family Winery and visit the first tasting room in the United States established by a former Mexican migrant vineyard worker and his family. Both of these wineries are scheduled to showcase their heritage in food and music. These wineries make you feel like family.

Carneros is also a great location for local history with locations like Larson Family Winery, once the home the largest rodeo in Northern California, its barn turned tasting room is still full of memorabilia. This fun-loving, country-easy, family-style winery is a great place to kick off your boots and relax with a great glass of wine.

For more history, visit the sister wineries of Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. Cline Cellars produces rich, distinctive Rhône-style wines and intense Zinfandels served in an 1850’s style farm house tasting room with a California Missions Museum. Across the road, Jacuzzi Family Vineyards’ tasting room houses a premiere event venue and is named for founding Jacuzzi brothers (famous for the bath and spa products that bear their name). The winery is noted for its Italian varietals that showcase the Jacuzzi heritage.

The Bonneau family has been farming the Carneros region since the 1920’s originally a dairy farm and country store with vineyards replacing the dairy over the years. Since 2002 Bonneau Wines has produced their own label Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. 

There are many other great finds in Carneros from one-man wineries like Homewood Winery; to the boutique wineries in the beautiful Cornerstone Sonoma facility including Keating WinesMeadowcroft Wines and Poseidon Vineyard / Obsidian Ridge Winery; and wineries serving chocolate like Ty Caton.  In addition to the Sonoma County side of Carneros, Starmont Winery will be pouring on Sunday from their Napa Valley Tasting Room.

Tickets are available through many of the winery’s websites as well as the Carneros Wine Alliance

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Fort Ross Wine Festival 2015

photo ~ Fort Ross Conservancy

photo ~ Fort Ross Conservancy

Fort Ross-Seaview Harvest Festival will be held on October 17th 2015 10am-5pm PST.  Harvest is the time to enjoy autumn’s fresh air with friends and family, acknowledging all that the seasons provide us.

In addition to the spectacular Fort Ross-Seaview Wine Tasting and Grand Luncheon, the day offers a wide variety of activities suitable for all ages:  Song, dance, and gentle apple harvesting in the historic orchard; Horse and buggy rides; Interpretive talks by dedicated experts on the historic orchard, replica windmill, and the Alaskan marine history at Ross; Working demonstration of replica Russian-style windmill; Demonstration boat build of a traditional nigilax, an open kayak used by the Alaska Natives at Fort Ross; Food trucks with delicious seasonal fare for sale; Local samples of heirloom apples, apple cider, apple baked goods, Sonoma cheese, and more; Su Nu Nu Shinal Kashia Pomo dances; Lovely Eastern European harmonies of Kitka Women’s Ensemble; Russian House Kedry demonstrating old world Russian cooking, song, and dance; Alaska Native demonstrate their crafts; and Historic Russian crafts, communal dances. Something to interest everyone in the family.

Grand Wine Tasting (12pm-4pm, $40 per person)

LogoPresenting a remarkable selection of wines grown in the FORT ROSS-SEAVIEW VITICULTURAL AREA that consists of the steep ridge top vineyards that overlook the Pacific Ocean and produce wines of structure, balance and finesse. The Grand Tasting features local grape growers and winemakers, and a chance to meet and greet the people behind the wines. Includes cheese sampling with Omar Mueller of Freestone Artisan Cheese and Sonoma County cheesemakers. Wineries Pouring in the Tasting Tent:

Flowers Vineyard and Winery – Michelle Forry
Flowers Chardonnay 2013 Camp Meeting Ridge Estates
Flowers Pinot Noir 2013 Camp Meeting Ridge Estates
Flowers Pinot Noir 2013 Sea View Ridge Estates 2013

Fort Ross Vineyard – Linda and Lester Schwartz
2013 Fort Ross Vineyard Chardonnay
2012 Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noir Special Cuvée “Top of Land”
2012 Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noir Special Cuvée “Stage Coach Road”
2010 Fort Ross Vineyard Pinotage

Kutch Wines – Jamie Kutch
Kutch Pinot Noir 2013 Sonoma Coast
Kutch Pinot Noir 2013 McDougall Ranch
Kutch Pinot Noir 2013 Bohan Vineyard

Martinelli Winery – Mary Rodgers
Martinelli Chardonnay 2009 Three Sisters Vineyard
Martinelli Chardonnay 2012 Charles Ranch
Martinelli Pinot Noir 2012 Three Sisters Vineyard

Precious Mountain Vineyard / Williams Selyem Winery
Williams Selyem Winery Pinot Noir 2013 Precious Mountain

Raen Winery
2014 RAEN Pinot Noir Fort Ross Seaview Home Field

Tin Barn Vineyards
Syrah 2012 Sonoma Coast, Coryelle Fields
Rose of Syrah 2014  “Joon” Rose of Syrah, Sonoma Coast, Coryelle Fields

Wayfarer – Cleo Pahlmeyer and Todd Kohn
Wayfarer Chardonnay 2013 Wayfarer Vineyard
Wayfarer Pinot Noir 2013 Wayfarer Vineyard

Wild Hog Vineyard – Daniel and Marion Schoenfeld
Wild Hog Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir 2011
Wild Hog Vineyard Estate Zinfandel 2012
Wild Hog Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Vista

Grand Luncheon (1pm-3pm, $125 per person) Advanced Purchase Required:

Includes a four-course meal of seasonal fare expertly paired with wines from the area, prepared by renowned local chefs and served on a marine terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Includes entrance to Grand Tasting and Fort Ross Harvest Festival activities. Grand Luncheon tickets are available by advance purchase only and will sell out.


Grand Luncheon Menu

First course prepared by Barbara Hom
Trio of Corn: Chilled Soup of Corn Essence, Shellfish Oil
Corn and Crab Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, Cilantro Lime Dressing, Chive Oil
Corn and Cheese Tuille
Wine pairing: Flowers Camp Meeting Ridge Estate Chardonnay 2013

Second course prepared by Andrew and Liya Truong, Michelin star chefs at Terrapin Creek Cafe
Marinated Black Cod served with sunchoke and potato puree, roasted mushrooms and celery
Wine pairing: Wild Hog Estate Pinot Noir 2011 and Fort Ross Pinot Noir Sea Slopes 2013

Third course prepared by Michele Anna Jordan
Grilled Sonoma County butterflied leg of lamb with extra-virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, smoked paprika, and a coriander and black pepper rub, accompanied by a warm farro salad with local Merguez, cherry tomatoes, local sheep milk yogurt, red onion, Italian parsley, smoked paprika and preserved lemon
Wine pairing: Piazza Del Dotto Pinot Noir 2013 and Wild Hog Estate Zinfandel 2012

Dessert prepared by Jamil Pedan, Applewood Inn
Buttermilk panna cotta with chardonnay poached quince, candied orange zest, puffed amaranth, and brown butter
Wine pairing: 2013 Fort Ross Late Harvest Chardonnay

Photo ~ Fort Ross Conservancy

Photo ~ Fort Ross Conservancy


About Fort Ross Conservancy
Fort Ross Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and California State Park Cooperating Association whose mission is to promote educational, environmental, and interpretive activities at Fort Ross State Historic Park and Salt Point State Park. Fort Ross Conservancy (FRC) has been in operation since 1973 and relies solely on income from grants, memberships, donations, and bookshop revenue. With funding from the Renova Fort Ross Foundation, FRC has overseen significant restoration in the historic orchard and is managing the creation of the Fort Ross Historic Orchard Management Plan being developed by esteemed National Parks and State Parks experts. FRC is wholly independent but works in accordance with its cooperating agreement with California State parks pursuant to California State Public Resources Code 513.
For more information on park attraction hours, activities, events, parking and driving directions please visit  http://www.fortross. org/info.htm.

IMG_9591About Fort Ross Seaview Winegrowers Association
FORT ROSS-SEAVIEW WINEGROWERS ASSOCIATION is an association of local grape growers and wineries dedicated to farming “coastal cool” grapes on the very edge of the continent. Here the vineyards are like islands in the sunshine above a sea of coastal fog that nips at their edges during the long, slow and temperate grape growing season. The maritime climate of the area is ideal for growing wine grapes of the highest caliber. The vineyards here produce pure, focused fruit with lively acidity, minerality and nuanced tannins. These exceptional grapes produce internationally acclaimed wines of balance, character, structure and finesse that tempt the palate with their elegance. See or email us at

The Ultimate Wine Weekend – Your Way!

76Imagine Labor Day weekend in Wine Country with Jean-Charles Boisset (DeLoach Winery, Buena Vista Winery) ; Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane (Benovia Winery); or James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur semifinalists Mark and Terri Stark (5 Sonoma County Restaurants – Willi’s Wine Bar, Stark’s Steak & Seafood and Monti’s in Santa Rosa, and Willi’s Seafood and Bravas Bar de Tapas in Healdsburg).  These entrepreneurs are serving as honorary chairs for one of the most decadent weeken23ds of culinary and wine events, along with 200 or so of their favorite chefs, winegrowers, and winemakers in Sonoma County – Sonoma Wine County Weekend.

Sonoma County chefs have access to the seasonal abundance of the most fertile foodshed anywhere in the world, often grown and provided by small, local family farms – combine this with world-class wines and you have an event perfect for oenophiles and foodies alike!   Plan a weekend that exactly suits your fantasy from intimate luncheons or dinners to the exciting flagship auction at Chateau St. Jean with lots of exciting events inbetween.

BobbyI slide into the weekend slowly with an intimate winemaker luncheon on Friday – a fabulous way to meet with the owners and winemakers while you sample their current releases.  These are world class wines from the most diverse wine region in the world and the wineries pair them with seasonal local foods prepared by experienced chefs to perfectly highlight our local bounty.  These exemplary culinary and wine luncheons are relaxed and casual and usually hosted in the vineyards or wineries from which the wines are created.

At NightBut Sonoma Starlight dinner and dancing really gets weekend moving as Francis Ford Coppola’s team hosts an extravaganza – dine, drink and dance under the stars poolside Friday night at this iconic Sonoma County winery. Toast the start of Sonoma Wine Country Weekend at the sparkling wine reception, followed by a bountiful array of local, seasonal cuisine poolside. Over 25 local wineries will be on hand to share their finest Sonoma County wines, so you can create infinite perfect pairings for your favorite Sonoma County varietals and wines al fresco.

On Saturday, Kate MacMurray, daughter of Hollywood stars Fred MacMurray and June Haver, hosts guests at the breathtaking MacMurrary Estate Vineyards – once a gentlemen’s cattle ranch and now a premier estate vineyard for the Gallo Family of WiMacMurraynes.  This is a culinary and wine immersion into the culture of Sonoma County with a combination of chefs, winegrowers, and winemakers that is unequalled in Sonoma County – Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Estate Vineyards. Sip wines from more than 200 wineries pouring thousands of wines, and over 60 local chefs whipping up divine pairings in a once-in-a-lifetime experience for oenophiles and foodies alike. But it doesn’t stop there – cooking demonstrations throughout the day, farm-to-table marketplace, food & wine pairings with the pros, blind wine-tasting, reserve tasting, bubble room, sommelier lead tours, the crushpad (experience our harvest), and wine tours & talks. Many of these events sell out, so get yours tickets early – but the nice part is, you can customize your day to suit you own unique tastes and interests with a little or a lot.  On Saturday night you can relax at a winemakers dinner with local delicacies and wines that never disappoint.

Sonoma Harvest Auction 2On Sunday is the flagship event of this ultimate wine weekend with the Sonoma County Harvest Auction at Chateau St. Jean. One-of-a-kind auction items include unique tastings experiences, exclusive trips & packages, collectable etched wines, and many surprises every year.

In additional to acquiring fabulous items, your donations support deserving Sonoma County charities aiding efforts to support youth and children to ensure their success, preserve our environment for future generations, and provide for basic unmet health needs and services which improve the welfare of our local communities.

Your ticket not only offers you passage into the Wine Spectator Auction Tent, but it also allows you to minSonoma Wine Weekend Auction Story 1gle with Sonoma’s finest winemakers, as each table will be presided over by a local Vintner or Grower who will share not only their finest wines, but great stories, too! This is an upbeat fun time with featured chefs, including Ari Weiswasser, Glen Ellen Star; Armando Garcia, El Dorado Kitchen; Andrew Cain, Santé; Catherine Venturini, Olive & Vine; Douglas Keene, Cyrus; Duskie Estes & John Stewart, Zazu kitchen + farm; Dustin Valette, Valette; Jamil Peden, Applewood Inn Restaurant; John Franchetti, Rosso Pizzeria and Bar; Josh Silvers, Jackson’s Bar and Oven; Moaya Scheiman and Andrea Koweek, Crisp Bakeshop; Robert Nieto, Jackson Family Wines; and Tracey Shepos Cenami, Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates.

This is truly an oenophiles and foodies extravaganza that can be customized to your favorite culinary adventures and wine experiences.  But tickets for the most popular events sell out fast, so don’t wait for the last minute to plan your Labor Day weekend in Sonoma County.

For updates follow Sonoma Wine Country on Social Medial: Like Sonoma Wine Country Weekend on Facebook at, Instagram at @SonomaWineCountryWeekend, and follow on Twitter @SonomaWCW. Hashtag: #SWCW.