Kick off your Labor Day Weekend – and Sonoma Wine Country Weekend -- August 29th - 31st, by attending Sonoma Starlight at Francis Ford Coppola Winery (Friday night), or one of the many Winemaker Lunches or Winemaker Dinners. If you cannot make any of that happen then do NOT miss the Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch on Saturday or the Winemaker BBQs on Sunday. Although the capstone event, the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean is sold out, you can still place absentee bids on lots online.
Sonoma Starlight at Coppola is graced by famed Sonoma County Chefs Sondra Bernstein and John Toulze of the girl & the fig. They will create a seasonally inspired evening’s feast, accompanied by wines from 25 Sonoma County wineries. Besides the delicious cuisine you will enjoy live music (Pop Fiction), dancing and other entertainment - all under the stars with the Alexander Valley floating below. Is there any way you can go wrong?
Although many of the Friday evening winemaker lunches and the Friday and Saturday evening winemaker's dinners are sold out, a few excellent opportunities to be treated like wine country royalty remain. These events are, typically, intimate affairs held at the winery or in the vineyards with guest wine country chefs preparing beautifully paired foods to go with the winemaker's flagship wines. Been to a few and have never been disappointed.
MacMurray Ranch has been the home of "A Taste of Sonoma" for 34 years and Kate MacMurray, spokesperson for MacMurray Estate Vineyards, personally invites guests to enjoy an afternoon on her family’s historic Russian River Valley property. This event, one of the "Top 10 of the Best Food and Wine Events" in the United States according to Celebrated Living Magazine, features more than 200 wineries and 60 chef's from Sonoma County representing their various appellations. Restaurants represented will include Farmhouse Inn, Partake by K-J, Madrona Manor, Nick's Cove, Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria. El Dorado Kitchen to name several. Pairing food with the wine is de rigueur and this setting surrounded by trees and vineyards is nearly impossible to match.
Four very large (think huge) tents are dedicated to the four most well known appellations in Sonoma County: Alexander Valley, Sonoma Valley, Dry Creek Valley and the Russian River Valley. Each of these tents has roughly 15 food establishments set up side by side with the 50 or so wineries to offer food pairings.
The wineries of the county will be very well represented with Walt Wines, Imagery Winery, Pride Mountain Vineyards, Tricini, Thralls Family Cellars, Siduri & Novy Family, Sanglier, J Vineyards & Winery, Mauritson Family, Medlock-Ames, Bella Vineyards, Roth Estates, Ramey, and Gallo Signature among so many others. Plenty of fabulous Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
During Saturday's Grand Tasting cooking demonstrations will be conducted throughout the day and the Steel Chefs Competition will be fun and educational.
Of course live music will be performed throughout the afternoon to add that party atmosphere key to enjoying the outdoors, wine and food with hundreds and hundreds of your newest best friends.
All the proceeds from the various events and auction will be distributed to a long list of local Sonoma County Charities.
If you missed this 3 day weekend event in 2013, be sure not to miss it in 2014. It is truly a wonderful experience!