One of the highlights of this three day event is the Taste of Sonoma. This year over 200 wineries and 60 chefs were represented.
The venue was MacMurray Ranch a historical property in the Russian River Appellation that is closed to the public the rest of the year. It was originally farmsteaded in the 1850’s. In 1941, well known Hollywood actor Fred MacMurray bought the ranch – building its geographical reach over time as nearby neighbors sold their own properties. Today it is owned by the Gallo family; their MacMurray Ranch wines are known for high quality Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
Despite the change in family ownership, Fred’s daughter Kate continues to promote her family’s legacy and remains active in the local winery community.
Oenephiles and foodies descend in mass for this once a year event. Taste of Sonoma is as much a social gathering as an enjoyment of the county’s good wine and food. Culinary demonstrations are given by local chefs, local food vendors give out samples of their products and area restaurants provide tasty treats, showcasing their own chefs. Wines from the major appellations are poured under large tents.
There were certainly some culinary highlights; Sonomic, produced by Sonoma Valley Portworks is billed as “not quite vinegar”. That is an appropriate description; it is not as acidic as regular vinegar, more sweet and certainly richer than a typical Balsamic Vinegar.
We stopped by the only Farro producer in California, based in Petaluma – this is a grain product but very low in gluten. And the wine of course – with such a diversity of microclimates in the county, there is a diversity of wine produced from Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon and many other varietals. Several favorites among the wines we tried were Jordan, Capture and MacMurray Ranch. California’s oldest winery, Buena Vista was also here with the always entertaining historian George Webber in character as the “count of Buena Vista”.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend culminates in the county’s largest fundraiser, the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction. This helps raise money for a number of local charities including education and the environment. This year’s auction raised over 1.4 million – more than double the previous year’s take!
The Taste of Sonoma sold out in advance this year – secure your tickets to this event and other weekend related activities well in advance. Future events are held at the Green Center on the campus of Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park.