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.
These days, thanks to the Pinot craze, lots more people have heard of the Sonoma Coast, but far fewer know about Sonoma Valley. And because Sonoma Valley Vintners doesn’t have the big marketing budgets that allow organizations like Napa (or even the much larger Sonoma Winegrowers Association) to throw larger public tastings, most consumers are left to their own devices to explore the region, tasting room by tasting room.
Well that’s all about to change as the Sonoma Valley Vintners puts on a seriously upscale set of events that they’re calling Signature Sonoma Valley.
Beginning on Thursday, May 16th and lasting until Sunday May 19th, the weekend bacchanalia features everything from a large-format bottle party to intimate winemaker dinners and lunches in private luxury residences to immersive tastings focused on a particular winery or vineyard site.
The piece-de-resistance of the weekend is the evening Icon Tasting at Ram’s Gate Winery on Friday night, which will feature a multi-course meal and tastings of wines from the following producers: Ram’s Gate Winery, Anaba Wines, Auteur Wines, Belden Barns, Beltane Ranch, Bennett Valley Cellars, Benziger Family Winery, Chappellet Grower Collection, Chateau St. Jean, Coursey Graves, Dane Cellars, Drystack Vineyard, GlenLyon Vineyards & Winery, Highway 12 Vineyards & Winery, Idell Family Vineyards, Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, Kenwood Vineyards, Kivelstadt Cellars, Korbin Kameron, Lasseter Family Winery, Ledson Winery & Vineyards, Locanda, MacLaren, Monte Rosso Vineyard, Muscardini Cellars, Pangloss Cellars, Schug Carneros Estate Winery, Serres Ranch, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards & Winery, Talisman Wines, The Donum Estate, Tin Barn Vineyards, Trestle Glen Estate Vineyards, Troika Wines, van der Kamp Vineyard, and WALT Wines.
But there’s a lot more exciting stuff to be experienced that weekend, including a brunch with bubbles on Sunday, which sounds like it might be worth the trip alone. You can find out more on the event’s web site.
If you’re not familiar with what Sonoma Valley has to offer, you should go educate yourself. I guarantee it will be a good time.
2019 Signature Sonoma Valley Weekend
Icon Tasting Dinner
Friday, May 17th, 2019
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Ram’s Gate Winery
28700 Arnold Dr.
Sonoma, CA 95476
Tickets for the Icon Tasting dinner are $250, and other events throughout the weekend run from $65 to $350. All should be purchased in advance online. Do plan to stay in Sonoma and take ride sharing to and from events if you’ll be drinking.