Most people, when they come visit me in San Francisco and ask to be taken to wine country, assume that they're going to Napa. But at least half the time, that's definitely not where we end up.
My well-meaning friends aren't the only ones who seem to forget that Northern California has many different "wine countries." Napa casts a long shadow, as it were.
I've got a bit of love for every piece of wine country we've got here in California, but there's a special place in my heart for Sonoma County, both because it is the place of my birth, but also because I think sometimes it gets short shrift compared to its more famous neighbor.
So while it's a good idea for wine lovers to pay more attention to Sonoma in general, February is especially a good time thanks to an event that is known as VinOlivo, which celebrates the wines of the Sonoma Valley.
Sonoma Valley, though it provides the namesake for the whole county's wine region can sometimes be overshadowed by the concentration of attention and acclaim for some other sub regions nearby: the Russian River Valley, the Sonoma Coast, or Dry Creek Valley. But Sonoma Valley has always been the home of some truly remarkable wineries and their wines, and is worth even the most discerning wine lover's time and attention.
The weekend starts on Friday February 15th at 7:00 PM, with a grand tasting of wines from about 50 Sonoma Valley wineries. he party continues the next day (but not too early), with special tastings at wineries throughout the valley, and concludes with winemaker dinners in various cellars.
Find out everything you need to know on the event web site, including info about their online wine auction for charity.
8th Annual Sonoma Valley VinOlivo
Grand Tasting: 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
February 15, 2013
The Lodge at Sonoma
Sonoma, CA 95476
Tickets for the grand tasting, which can be purchased online, are $75. Winemaker dinners will run you $85.
My usual tips for public tastings apply: get lots of sleep the night before; wear dark clothes to avoid red wine disasters; drink lots of water; make sure your belly is full; ladies (and gents) leave the cologne and perfume at home; and spit if you actually want to learn something.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Danilo Nada of Nada Fiorenzo Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/23 Vinography Images: Night Sorting Small is Beautiful: The Champagnes of Savart I'll Drink to That: Karl duHoffmann of Anchor Brewing Warm Up: Jerez de la Frontera I'll Drink to That: Antonio Flores of González Byass California 2015 - Vintage of Fire Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/16 A Selection of Georgian Wines
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune