Sonoma Wine Country Weekend: Taste of Sonoma

SWCW_2016_logo_box-1
Photo courtesy of sonomawinecountryweekend.com

The scent of harvest is in the air.  What better way to pay homage to wine country’s most celebrated occasion than to spend Labor Day weekend in the Sonoma Valley during its flagship event, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend.  This annual event not only brings together the valley’s best wine and food, but is also considered one of America’s best wine charity fundraisers.  Having raised $4.6 million this year, $2.7 million of those dollars are dedicated to the Fund the Future program, which was established to promote literacy among Sonoma County children.

The festivities kicked off on Friday, September 2nd with winemaker lunches and dinners hosted at various wineries throughout the county.  Saturday’s Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction brought the celebration to a close with patrons bidding on auction lots to include world-class experiences, lavish parties and amazing bottles of wine.

swcw action kids

Photo courtesy of sonomawinecountryweekend.com

swcw auction table

Photo courtesy of sonomawinecountryweekend.com

swcw auction bidders

Photo courtesy of sonomawinecountryweekend.com

Saturday’s Taste of Sonoma is also an event that guests look forward to being a part of.  I was especially excited about attending, as I was tasked with the incredible opportunity to guest tweet for Sonoma.com during the event.  With the beautiful MacMurray Estate set as the backdrop, who could resist a warm afternoon of exceptional Sonoma County wines, delectable bites from local restaurants, and one-of-a-kind seminars and excursions to enhance your experience.

Driving from such a long distance on a holiday weekend, traffic was especially unkind.  Envisioning a long walking journey to the location of the event, I was pleasantly surprised to find Pure Luxury Transportation limo buses waiting for parking guests.  We loaded the buses and made our way up to the estate, in anxious anticipation for what lay ahead for the day.

image

What I really appreciated about this event was the attention to detail.  The lay of the land could not have been any more perfect.  With so many activities to take advantage of, the setting was designed to flow gracefully across the expansive property, giving guests the opportunity begin the day casually before jumping into the bustling tasting crowd.

After checking in, I made my first stop at the Gloria Ferrer Bubble Lounge, where you were greeted by non other than deliciously pleasing Gloria Ferrer sparkling wines.  There were bites from the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, Feast Catering and The Oyster Girls to  pair with your bubbly.  My favorite was the Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese, drizzled with honey and walnuts on a California Endive spear.  I believe I went back for thirds.

image

image

image

image

I took my glass of bubbles and headed towards the Marketplace.  This area was filled with an array of foods and beverages to give guests a glimpse into the rich, down-home character of the Sonoma Valley.  Jams, vegetables, oils, spices, coffee, cheeses, desserts and more were at every turn.  The first thing to catch this Southern girl’s eye was the peach jam from Dry Creek Peach and Produce.  I love peach ANYTHING!  The best way to describe this jam is to tell you that I will be getting into my car and driving all the way back to Healdsburg to visit this place very soon.  One bite took me right back to Mississippi to my grandmother’s kitchen as she pulled hot peach cobbler from the oven.

 image

I really did try hard to taste my way through every table that had samples out to enjoy.  But small bites and sips of deliciousness always have a way of filling you up quickly.  And I knew that I needed to leave room for the scrumptious treats that awaited me near the tasting tents.

image

I really enjoyed the versatile Sonomic Almost Vinegar from Sonoma Portworks.  Its a great addition to foods, including salads.  It can also be added to a club soda for a refreshing drink.

image

Tasty garlic treats from AddGarlic and Aglio Di Mirabella.  Sausage, cornbread and corn each rubbed in one of the award-winning gourmet garlic varieties.

image

image

image

image

image

Goat cheese is something I always enjoy with a meaty meal.  I was delighted to sample the assortment of goat cheeses from Redwood Hill Farm and Creamery.

image

image

image

One of the best features of this event were the tasting tents, which were strategically placed according to appellation.  This gives attendees the opportunity to focus on wines from their favorite areas or spend time tasting wines in places they have never ventured to try before.  Showcasing at Saturday’s event were the Alexander, Dry Creek, Sonoma and Russian River Valleys; as well as the Sonoma Coast.  I started with the Alexander Valley, as it and the Russian River Valley are two of my personal favorite areas for Sonoma wines.

image

In addition to the represented wineries pouring their best wines, each tent also housed several food tasting stations equipped with amazing edible presentations from local Sonoma Valley restaurants and eateries.

A few of my favorite stops along the way included:

Alexander Valley

image

RODNEY STRONG VINEYARDS
2015 Charlotte’s Home Estate Sauvignon Blanc
2013 Symmetry Reserve Bordeaux Blend
Three amazing single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Crown, Rockaway, Brothers)

image

SIMI WINERY
(They had wine on tap!)
2015 Sauvignon Blanc

image

STONESTREET ESTATE VINEYARDS
2014 Estate Sauvignon Blanc

image

image

JIMTOWN STORE
Peach Glazed Pork Belly with Pickled Red Onion and Puffed Farro on Little GEm Lettuce

Russian River Valley

image

MACMURRAY ESTATE VINEYARDS
2014 Chardonnay

image

SIDURI WINES
2013 Pinot Noir, Keefer Ranch Vineyard

image

THE BRASSERIE RESTAURANT & LOUNGE AT THE HYATT VINEYARD CREEK
Yellow Tomato-Strawberry Gazpacho and Smoked Salmon, Artichoke and Sonoma Dry Jack Mousseline Crostini

The tasting tents weren’t the only places were you could find a good bite to eat.  There were also grill stations and pop-ups throughout the event.  From the moment I decided to attend the event, I knew there was one item in particular that I was determined to find…PAELLA!!  It’s just one of those dishes that I love, but can’t find enough of.  Prepared by The Paella Guy, Chef Jose Castaneda, I was not disappointed by the flavors that burst from my plate.

image

Many years ago, my mother and I would frequent a local flea market.  For a short time, there was a company there that made fresh mini donuts for shopping customers.  Both my heart and my stomach were warmed to discover Harvey’s Gourmet Donut Company busy frying up batches of hot, delicious mini donuts.  Chef Harvey Cohen offered a special treat by giving you a variety of toppings to add to your dessert.  I went for the maple syrup.  Excellent decision!

image

There were so many other activities for guests to take advantage of.  From educational Wine Talks in the Barn, to Wine Tasting Tours with Sonoma’s Sommelier Stars, there wasn’t anything this event overlooked.  I thought that I would get the chance to partake of a little bit of everything, but there were just too many fantastic things going on in between.  However, I’ve never been happier to get distracted by delicious food, superb wines, or just enlightening conversation with new friends.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

One thought on “Sonoma Wine Country Weekend: Taste of Sonoma

Add yours

  1. Simply Excellent! This article captured the true essence of the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. The vivid description of the atmosphere, food, wine and camaraderie sent this Mississippians’ imagination into blissful overdrive. Waiting for more Miss. Magnolia!!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: