Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

Cover: Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is Sonoma County’s largest fundraising event, held annually on Labor Day weekend with winery lunches, winemaker dinners, barbecues, one of the nation’s largest charity wine auctions, and the Taste of Sonoma.

Rodney Strong, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Rodney Strong, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A perfect place to close out the summer, the event brings thousands together under the late summer sun to sip fine wines, sample delicacies, and raise funds to support area youth and children.

Ferrari-Carano, John Ash & Co., Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Ferrari-Carano, John Ash & Co., Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend: Where the winemakers pour and the chefs serve

Jordan Wines and Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Jordan Wines and Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures  © Chasing Light Media

Showcasing Sonoma’s exceptional wines and local chef creations, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is where foodies and oenophiles gather for three days of nonstop eating, drinking and charitable wine buying.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Against the sublime backdrop of Northern California’s vineyards, the event is a celebration of the best of Sonoma – with the chefs and winemakers in attendance, pouring their wines and serving their culinary delicacies in the relaxed, casual comfort the region is known for.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Taste of Sonoma

Sub Zero Ice Cream, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Sub Zero Ice Cream, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

While Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is a three-day feast of the senses, the largest event of the weekend is Taste of Sonoma and a true star in its own right.

What makes Taste of Sonoma work so well?

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

It’s relaxed – not snobby

Paul Hobbs Winery, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Paul Hobbs Winery, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Anyone that’s spent time in Sonoma would not be surprised by that statement but, a non-snobby wine event is actually worth noting.

Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Attendees eat, drink, chat, and relax in the easy-going wine country atmosphere. So, feel free to leave those five-inch heels & the necktie at home. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is about the wine, the food, and the cause.

MacMurray Estates Vineyards, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
MacMurray Estate Vineyards, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Speaking of food – there’s lots of food

Jordan Wines and Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Jordan Wines and Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Other wine events can be so wine-focused you have to leave the tent and head to a restaurant when you get hungry, but not at Taste of Sonoma.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Most tables pair food with the wines. Fabulous, creative food. From mushroom tartlets to watermelon caprese to shrimp cocktail shots to some of the most amazing pickles you’ve ever tasted – it’s all so very Sonoma – fresh, local, innovative.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Informative and entertaining seminars

Grape to Glass with Ray Isle of Food and Wine magazine, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Grape to Glass with Ray Isle of Food and Wine magazine, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Seminars provide a wonderful opportunity to gain insights from experts about food, wine, and kitchen techniques and add to an unforgettable Sonoma experience.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and panel discussions, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend provides a chance to learn from the masters – who are both informative and entertaining.

Grape to Glass, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Grape to Glass, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

And, of course, it’s about tasting some of the best wine in the world

Breathless Wines, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Breathless Wines, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Wine lovers have the opportunity to taste thousands of wines from hundreds of Sonoma County vintners and the informal atmosphere has wine fans mixing and mingling with the winemakers themselves.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend: The Proceeds Matter

Mark Start, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country
Mark Stark, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

At Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, the proceeds go to worthy causes supporting the children, environment, and health of the Sonoma County Community.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The 2015 event set a new record with proceeds expected to be in excess of $5.5 million, with Fund the Future, supporting children’s literacy throughout Sonoma County, raising over $1.9 million alone.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sonoma Wine Country

Did you know Sonoma County has more than 370 wineries and over 500 restaurants?The fabulous climate makes Sonoma County a year-round destination so plan some visits throughout the year.


Disclosure & disclaimer: Special thanks to Sonoma Wine Country Weekend 2016 for hosting us as their guests. The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Michel Schlumberger winery

Michel-Schlumberger

Cover: Michel-Schlumberger winery, Sonoma Country, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


A gently winding road heads through rolling hills and vineyards to the spot where Jean-Jacques Michel first planted vines to establish his winery in 1971.

Michel-Schlumberger winery, Sonoma Country, California
Michel-Schlumberger winery, Sonoma Country, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

On the west edge of the Dry Creek Valley, the area has both the cool climate conditions and the gravely soil to produce premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chardonnay grapes.

Michel-Schlumberger winery, Sonoma Country, California
Michel-Schlumberger winery, Sonoma Country, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In 1991, Jacques Pierre Schlumberger joined Michel and the Michel-Schlumberger brand was formed. Since that time, the Michel-Schlumberger Benchland Estate has gained worldwide recognition for their Bordeaux-style wines.

Michel Schlumberger winery
Michel-Schlumberger wineryPhoto: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Michel-Schlumberger is a beautiful estate influenced by both the European backgrounds of Michel and Schlumberger and the architectural heritage of California missions.

Michel Schlumberger
Michel Schlumberger Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

From the reflecting pool to the overflowing baskets of flowers, to the inviting chairs found throughout the winery, Michel-Schlumberger offers a tasting experience that exudes a welcoming warmth.

Michel Schlumberger winery
Michel Schlumberger winery Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With one of the few tastings where guests find a quiet area to sit and enjoy the wines, Michel-Schlumberger offers one of the most relaxing guest experiences in all of Sonoma and Napa.

Michel-Schlumberger winery, Sonoma Country, California
Michel-Schlumberger winery, Sonoma Country, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

On our visit, tasting room manager Ryan Leonhardt circulated from table to table, pouring wines for guests, taking the time to explain each wine, and then allowing them to experience the wines at their leisure.

Michel Schlumberger winery
Michel-Schlumberger winery Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In addition to both a classic and a reserve tasting, Michel-Schlumberger offers five-course food and wine pairings on select days of the week and a daily vineyard tour and tasting option.

Michel Schlumberger tasting room
Michel-Schlumberger tasting roomPhoto: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Getting to Michel-Schlumberger

Michel-Schlumberger is located about 10 minutes west of downtown Healdsburg.

4155 Wine Creek Rd
Healdsburg, CA 95448
707-433-7427


Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Michel Schlumberger winery
Michel Schlumberger winery Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Iron Horse Winery, Sonoma County, California

Wine tasting in Sonoma

Cover: Sonoma Country, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


The wine region of Sonoma is the quieter side of Northern California wine country.

Located just 45 minutes north of San Francisco, the Sonoma wine region includes over 400 wineries that range from large brands to small family owned properties. Generally more relaxed than Napa, Sonoma is a great place to unwind, enjoy the perfect weather, take in the scenery and sample some world-class wine.

Rodney Strong Master Blender Experience, Sonoma County, California
Mustard and vines, Rodney Strong, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Where to stay

Santa Rosa is the largest city in Sonoma County and has the most hotel options which range from chains to luxury retreats.

The Hyatt Vineyard Creek is close to downtown Santa Rosa, just across from Railroad Square, an area of restaurants and shops. The property has a large fire pit in the courtyard and the restaurant, Brasserie, turns out some tasty cuisine and has a nice patio. The Hilton Sonoma Wine Country is located in northern Santa Rosa on a hill with a beautiful view of the valley. The Lanai rooms have access to a shared deck overlooking the pool area, with each room having a private table & chairs. The Hilton’s patio is a great place to dine or enjoy a glass of wine and they serve a popular brunch buffet.

Just north of Santa Rosa is the Vintner’s Inn, a beautiful hotel in the midst of the vineyards with fountains, lovely décor & meticulous landscaping. One of Sonoma county’s best restaurants, John Ash & Co, is located on the property and home to our favorite happy hour in the area.

Vintner's inn, Sonoma County, California
Vintner’s Inn, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A little further north is Windsor, which has several hotel options, including a Hampton Inn & Holiday Inn Express.  Windsor Town Green is a great gathering spot with shops, restaurants and in the summer, a wide variety of activities and concerts.

Healdsburg is just further north and is known for their fabulous square filled with restaurants, tasting rooms and shops and a variety of hotels. To the south of Santa Rosa is Petaluma, which has a vibrant downtown and the town of Sonoma, which also has a wonderful historic square.

Getting around

Rockaway, Rodney Strong Master Blender Experience, Sonoma County, California
Sonoma County, California Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Step 1 – select a designated driver. Wine tasting is great fun, but drinking and driving are not. Roads can be narrow and winding, so drive slow. Sonoma is an agricultural community and farm equipment can be entering and exiting properties.

Dogs run off leash. People ride bikes. So, leave the hurried place of the city behind, select someone to drive and enjoy the slower pace of Sonoma. An even better option – hire a car service. The drivers know the ins and outs of wine country and there’s no better way to see and taste your way through Sonoma.

Special events

Sonoma is host to hundreds of events each year with highlights being the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend held each Labor Day weekend and the Rodney Strong Vineyards / KJZY Jazz Concert Series.

Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series

George Benson, Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series
George Benson
Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Imagine sitting amidst the grapevines sipping world-class wine while listening to the sounds of a legendary musician as the sun slowly sets.

No need to imagine – it’s the Rodney Strong Vineyard concert series – the magical venue that brings out locals and visitors alike. World-class acts ranging from Chris Botti to Mindi Abair to George Benson entertain in the intimate environment surrounded by beautiful vineyards, creating a perfect evening of wine, relaxation, and music.


Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is Sonoma County’s largest charity event held annually with hundreds of wineries pouring thousands of world-class wines and local chefs serving a wide range of fabulous culinary creations.

Tasting

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Home to almost 60,000 acres of vineyards, Sonoma County has 17 different American Viticulture Areas (AVA) or appellations (growing regions) producing a wide selection of varietals including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah.

Yield to tasters, Martin Ray Winery, Sonoma County, California
Yield to tasters, Martin Ray Winery, Sonoma County, California Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

If targeting visits to specific wineries, it is best to check with them via phone or their website before visiting – some wineries are by appointment only and hours vary for tasting rooms. Sonoma.com has a good list of Sonoma wineries to do so.

Otherwise, you can simply set out in one direction and follow the signs. Most wineries have a tasting fee; some have full tasting menus with numerous options. Some wineries refund the tasting fee with purchase.

Our favorites

We’ve visited quite a few wineries throughout Sonoma county. When we go, we usually grab a camera and take a few shots as we taste.

Martin Ray Winery

Wine tasting at Martin Ray, Sonoma County, California
Wine tasting at Martin Ray, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Rodney Strong Vineyards

Rodney Strong Vineyards, Sonoma County
Rodney Strong Vineyards, Sonoma County
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Michel-Schlumberger

Michel Schlumberger winery, Sonoma County
Michel Schlumberger winery, Sonoma County
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Iron Horse Vineyards 

Iron Horse Ranch and Vineyards, Sonoma County, California
Iron Horse Ranch and Vineyards, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Matanzas Creek Winery

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

St Francis Winery

St Francis Winery, Sonoma County
St Francis Winery, Sonoma County
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Red Car Tasting Room

Red Car Tasting Room, Sonoma County
Red Car Tasting Room, Sonoma County
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Kenwood Vineyards

Kenwood Vineyards, Sonoma County
Kenwood Vineyards, Sonoma County
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Rochioli

Rochioli Vineyards & Winery, Sonoma County
Rochioli Vineyards & Winery, Sonoma County
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Matanzas Winery

Sonoma Wine Country Labor Day Weekend Getaway

Cover: Sonoma Wine Country
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


As summer draws to a close, it’s time to indulge in a relaxing long weekend – in Sonoma! Sonoma County is the place to be this Labor Day weekend for three exquisite days under the late summer sun and stars sipping fine wines, listening to jazz and sampling delicacies.

What’s in store for the weekend?

Rochioli Vineyards & Winery
Sonoma County
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sonoma labor day weekend getaway: Friday

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend 2015

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is Sonoma County’s largest charity event with 200 wineries pouring thousands of world-class wines and 60 local chefs serving a wide range of fabulous culinary creations.

Friday winemaker lunches

The Labor Day weekend kicks off on Friday with dozens of wineries hosting lunches throughout Sonoma County with expertly crafted food and wine pairings.

* Insider tip – jump on this quick: Tickets for lunch with international Winemaker Nick Goldschmidt at Baci Café and Wine Bar in Healdsburg are still available. Goldschmidt wines are a perfect example of single vineyard source wines from both the Alexander Valley and Napa Valley Oakville appellations.

The opportunity to sample a wide selection of Goldschmidt wines as Nick guides a tasting paired with Baci’s Chef Shari’s locally-sourced cuisine will make for a memorable and sumptuous start to the weekend. Goldschmidt luncheon details: Friday, September 4, 12:30 – 3:00pm, $85

Sonoma Starlight

Sonoma StarlightUpdate: This event has sold out.

The place to be Friday evening is Francis Ford Coppola Winery for an enchanting evening of wine, food, music and dancing under the stars at Sonoma Starlight.

The evening begins with a sparkling wine reception, then moves on to an abundance of Sonoma’s seasonal offerings served alongside wines from over 25 local wineries.

At 8:00pm, it’s time to hit the dance floor when the band begins to play.

Sonoma Starlight details: Friday, September 4, 6:30 – 10:00pm, $125 general admission, $175 reserved seating.

Sonoma labor day weekend getaway: Saturday

Taste of Sonoma

Taste of SonomaHow’s this sound for the perfect Saturday afternoon?

Sample from 200 wineries pouring thousands of world-class wines as you stroll through MacMurray Estate Vineyards and taste delicacies prepared by 60 local chefs. From the Gloria Ferrer Bubble Lounge, to featured wine and food pairings, to grill stations, the Taste of Sonoma will dazzle the taste buds of of wine lovers and foodies. Taste of Sonoma details: Saturday, September 5, 11:00am – 4:00pm, $165 per person, $195 per person Grand Reserve.

George Benson at Rodney Strong Vineyards

George Benson at Rodney Strong Vineyards

Imagine sitting amidst the grapevines sipping world-class wine while listening to the sounds of a legendary musician as the sun slowly sets.

No need to imagine – it’s the Rodney Strong Vineyard concert series – the magical venue that brings out locals and visitors alike.

Mindi Abair at Rodney Strong Concert Series 2014
Mindi Abair at Rodney Strong Concert Series 2014
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In its 25th year, the Rodney Strong Vineyards’ summer concert series has delivered the biggest names year in and year out.

We’ve seen B.B. King, Michael McDonald, Mindi Abair, and more at Rodney Strong and, this labor day weekend, we’ll add ten-time Grammy Award winner, George Benson, to the list!

* Insider tip – get your tickets now: The Rodney Strong concerts have a strong following and with George Benson performing on such a big weekend in Sonoma, tickets will sell out – so don’t wait.

Rodney Strong Summer concert with George Benson details: Saturday, September 5. General admission tickets $75, VIP $110. Doors open at 4:00 p.m., show starts at 5:00 p.m.

Sonoma labor day weekend getaway: Sunday

Rochioli Vineyards & Winery
Sonoma County
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend 2015 continues on Sunday with two options for wine and food lovers:

  • Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction 2015Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction. The flagship event of the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction on Sunday. The auction is an opportunity to bid on a selection of rare, world-class experiences and wines while supporting Sonoma County charities. Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction details: Sunday, September 6, 12:30 7:00pm at Chateau St Jean in Kenwood. Tickets are $500 per person.
  • Winemaker Barbecues. Multiple Sonoma wineries will host Sunday barbecues for a more casual way to celebrate Labor Day. From ribs to sausages to kebabs, each winery will pair their grilled fare with fabulous Sonoma red wines. Winemaker barbecue details: Sunday, September 6, 12:30. Tickets are $85.

We hope you’ll join us for a fabulous Sonoma labor day weekend! Remember to designate a driver or hire a car service. Enjoy!


Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California

The best wine bars of Reno & Tahoe

Cover: Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


There’s something so compelling about a great wine bar. Maybe it’s the chance to sample everything from sparklings to pinots by the glass. Maybe it’s music that sets the perfect mood. And, of course, great food to accompany your vino doesn’t hurt. So, where are the best wine bars in Reno and the Lake Tahoe area?

Here’s three (okay, technically five) …

West Street Wine Bar

West Street Wine Bar, Reno, Nevada
West Street Wine Bar, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In downtown Reno, the place to head to grab a glass of vino is West Street Wine Bar. Tucked into the West Street Market, this casual, inviting wine bar has that cool, mellow atmosphere of a great wine bar and an assortment of wines to back it up. The primary list has a large assortment of offerings by the glass, but the reserve list is the source for true magic.

West Street Wine Bar, Reno, Nevada
West Street Wine Bar, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Using a Coravin® and a scale, West Street Wine Bar pours from the reserve list by weight. Not sure what to get? Ask. The owner knows his way around the world of wine and will guide you through a tour of some eclectic, boutique wines. And, if you work up an appetite from all that tasting, head next door to Bowl, place an order, and they’ll bring it over when it’s ready.

West Street Wine Bar, Reno, Nevada
West Street Wine Bar, Reno, NevadaPhoto: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

West Street Wine Bar
148 West St, Reno, Nevada 89501
West Street Market

Napa Sonoma

Napa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, Nevada
Napa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Napa Sonoma Grocery Company is a wine bar, a restaurant, a gift shop and one of Reno’s better wine shops. Selections can be chosen from the daily by the glass specials or from a menu of by the glass wines from around the world.

Napa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, NevadaNapa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, Nevada
Napa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With two bars and seating spread throughout the abundant wine racks, Napa Sonoma has a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere that draws locals and visitors alike. Located in the Plumgate Center, Napa Sonoma, also serves up great food – be sure and try the made in-house hummus.

Napa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, Nevada
Napa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Napa Sonoma Grocery Company
550 West Plumb Lane, Reno, Nevada 89509
Plumgate Center

Uncorked

Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

All three Lake Tahoe Uncorked locations – Squaw, Tahoe City and Truckee – offer a large selection of wines, each in a comfortable atmosphere with a wide selection of wines, including some limited production labels. Daily specials, frequent events and a wall of retail wine round out the offerings.

Uncorked wine bars offer a wide selection of wines by the glass in a relaxed environment from three locations around Lake Tahoe – Truckee, Tahoe City and Squaw Valley.

Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Uncorked Truckee
10118 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161


Uncorked Tahoe City
475 N Lake Blvd
Tahoe City, CA 96145


Uncorked Squaw Valley
1750 Village East Rd
Olympic Valley, CA 96146


Disclosure: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2012 Livermore

WineTwits wine tasting 2014 #WITS2014

Article by Kim Hull


The @WineTwits virtual twitter wine tasting was once again one of the most fun events of the year. The tasting, which included six wines this year, has grown over the years with participants hosting parties and preparing paired tasting menus to celebrate the event.

How’s that work?

A few weeks before the event, the wine for tasting arrives at your door.

WINETWITS2014 wine arrivesThis year’s wine included:

  • Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2012 Livermore
  • Garnet Pinot Noir 2012 Monterey County
  • Renwood Premiere Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 Amador Valley
  • Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Sonoma
  • Jamieson Ranch Double Lariat Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Napa
  • Franciscan Estate Magnificat 2011 Napa Valley

I decided to pair the wines with a vegan tasting menu from several of my favorite vegan chefs, Roberto Martin, Chloe Coscarelli, and Brian L Patton a.k.a, The Sexy Vegan.

We also decided it would be a good time to restock our wine glasses and ordered two dozen new glasses just in time for the event.

Wine glasses for WineTwits2014Wine √
Menu √
New wine glasses √

Let the tasting and tweeting begin.


#WITS2014

WITS2014 wine tasting line up


Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2012 Livermore

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2012 LivermoreThe first wine was a chardonnay from @Wente.

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2012 Livermore with mini stuffed potato skinsI selected @Chloe Coscarelli’s mini stuffed potato skins stuffed with avocado salsa from Chloe’s Kitchen to start off the evening alongside the chardonnay.

Reactions to the Wente:

WITS2014 Wente tasting comments


Garnet Pinot Noir 2012 Monterey County

For the second wine of the evening, I prepared @_ChefRoberto’s stuffed mushrooms (Roberto Martin, Vegan Cooking for Carnivores).

The mushrooms are one of our favorite recipes from Chef Roberto’s cookbook and they paired wonderfully with the @GarnettVineyards pinot.

Garnet Pinot Noir 2012 Monterey CountyReactions to Alison Crowe’s Garnet Vineyards pinot:

Garnet Pinot Noir 2012 Monterey County tasting comments


Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 Amador Valley

Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 Amador ValleyI thought a rustic Stromboli would go well with @RenwoodWinery’s Old Vine Zin and Brian L Patton’s, from The Sexy Vegan’s Happy Hour at Home, certainly hit the spot.

Renwood reactions:

Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 Amador Valley tasting comments


Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Sonoma

Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 SonomaInspired by the Kendall Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival held each year in Sonoma, I paired the @KJWines cab with@_ChefRoberto Martin’s Caprese  Salad with Tofu Burrata.

Always a fan of a big Kendall Jackson cab, the wine and the salad were big hits this evening.

#WITS2014 reactions to the Kendall Jackson:

Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Sonoma tasting comments


Jamieson Ranch Double Lariat Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Napa

Jamieson Ranch Double Lariat Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 NapaFortunately we decanted the Jamieson Ranch earlier in the day because by the time of the tasting, it was in spectacular form.

I decided on Grilled Veggie Kabobs for this one, but many chose a dessert to match the aromas of chocolate in the wine.

Reactions to the Jamieson Ranch:

Jamieson Ranch Double Lariat Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Napa comments


Franciscan Estate Magnificat 2011 Napa Valley

Franciscan Estate Magnificat 2011 Napa ValleyWe finished the evening with @FranciscanWines Magnificat which I paired with a simple Cappellini Pomodoro.

As the tweets continued to dominate, #WITS2014 stayed on the trends list for much of the evening.

Franciscan Estate Magnificat 2011 Napa Valley tasting commentsThank you @WineTwits for the best tasting yet – can’t wait until #WITS2015!

Disclosure: We received wines to participate in this event. The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Mendocino and the Redwoods

Mendocino County and the Redwoods

Mendocino County and the Redwoods
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Mendocino County is one of the most beautiful areas of Northern California. Located about 3 hours north of San Francisco, Mendocino County is filled with wineries, quaint inns, the seaside village of Mendocino, and of course, the amazing redwoods.

Navarro River Redwoods State Park
Navarro River Redwoods State Park Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Getting there

Mendocino County map

Head north up the 101 toward Santa Rosa and Sonoma. At Cloverdale, take 128 west toward the coast.

Highway 128 is a winding road that runs through Mendocino County’s wine regions, which produce some excellent wines. Yorkville Cellars is about 17 miles west of Cloverdale and further into the Anderson Valley region are numerous wineries including Husch, Roederer Estate, and Goldeneye.

Heading further west lies the Navarro River Redwoods State Park. The 11 mile drive through the tall redwoods provides ample opportunities for a short hike, picnic or simply to photograph the redwoods and forest habitat. Emerging from the redwood forest, 128 meets Highway 1 and heads north toward Mendocino and Ft Bragg.

Navarro River Redwoods State Park
Navarro River Redwoods State Park Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Mendocino

Mendocino
Mendocino Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A charming village by the sea, Mendocino is a great place to explore shops and galleries, enjoy a bike ride or hike, or simply relax.

Mendocino
MendocinoPhoto: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A variety of inns line the coast near Mendocino offering picturesque views of the rugged shoreline and a chance to unwind in an incredibly beautiful setting. We stayed at the very tranquil Stanford Inn by the Sea, which has lush gardens, a fabulous ocean view, and a fully-vegan restaurant. One of the most dog-friendly properties we’ve experienced, dogs are welcome everywhere on the property.  The rooms are rustic, the views are amazing and the breakfast, which is included, is a fabulous start to the day.

Mendocino County
Mendocino County Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

More Redwoods & the Drive Thru Tree

Redwoods, Mendocino County, California
Redwoods, Mendocino County, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

No trip to Mendocino County is complete without a visit to the see the famous Chandelier Tree, also known as the Drive Thru Tree.

Drive Thru Tree Park in Mendocino County
Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Heading further north on Highway 1, then winding inland through 20 miles of redwoods, the Drive-Thru Tree Park is located near Leggett. The Drive-Thru Tree Park states the Chandelier Tree is a Coastal Redwood or Sequoia semperviren and the hole in the tree was cut in 1936 or 1937. The tree is reported to be 2000 years old, approximately 315 feet high and 21 feet in diameter.

Drive thru tree park, Mendocino County
Drive-thru tree, Mendocino CountyPhoto: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

If you’re in the mood for more big redwood viewing, head further north up the 101 toward Eureka. Along the route, you’ll find the Tree House and multiple groves as you head toward Humboldt County, or head south on the 101 toward Ukiah.

Mendocino
Mendocino Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Disclosure & disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Mendocino
Mendocino Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Mendocino County and the Redwoods
Mendocino County and the Redwoods Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Kenwood Vineyards

Kenwood Vineyards

Kenwood Vineyards, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Established in 1970, Kenwood Vineyards produces well-loved wines in several different groupings – the Table Wine Series, Sonoma Series, Reserve, Jack London Vineyard and the Artist Series.

Kenwood Vineyards
Kenwood Vineyards
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A mix of old and new, Kenwood Vineyards’ cellar dates back to 1906 but has been modernized with more than 125 stainless steel fermenting tanks and large oak uprights, and 20,000 small French and American oak barrels.

Kenwood Vineyards
Kenwood Vineyards
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Located in the Sonoma Valley along Highway 12, Kenwood Vineyards has a strong local following in Sonoma County. The tasting room is a typically a mix of regulars picking up cases of their favorites and visitors to the valley exploring the “small lot” or “cuvee” style of wines that Kenwood is known for.

Kenwood Vineyards
Kenwood Vineyards
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Kenwood Vineyards
Kenwood Vineyards
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In addition to Kenwood Vineyards’ 22-acre vineyard at the winery location, Kenwood also sources grapes throughout the Sonoma County including Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Mountain.

Kenwood Vineyards
Kenwood Vineyards
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Kenwood Vineyards
Kenwood Vineyards
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Kenwood Vineyards

Kenwood Vineyards is located at 9592 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA 95452.

Kenwood Vineyards
Kenwood Vineyards
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County

Matanzas Creek Winery

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


A hidden gem in Sonoma County, Matanzas Creek Winery is off the beaten path, located in the Bennett Valley just outside Santa Rosa.

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Situated between Taylor Mountain, Sonoma Mountain, and Bennett Peak, viticulture in Bennett Valley dates back to the 1800s when Isaac DeTurk began growing grapes and producing wine. However, DeTurk’s venture was short-lived due to a phylloxera outbreak that destroyed his grapes. Prohibition soon followed, and significant grape growing was not seen again in the valley until it was revived by Matanzas Creek Winery.

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Founded in 1977, Matanzas Creek Winery quickly put the area on the map as a top wine producing region with their Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Adding to their world-class wines, Matanzas Creek planted lavender gardens along the drive into the winery in 1991.

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Truly spectacular in sight and smell, lavender gardens, native grasses and olive groves greet guests, inviting them to enter the inspiring and tranquil environment.

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With a tasting room tucked amongst the trees above the vineyards and lavender gardens, Matanzas Creek Winery is a perfect spot to spend a quiet afternoon taking in the panoramic view while sampling their excellent wines.

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The yields of the lavender fields are used to create a wide assortment of lavender products and decorative accessories – all available in the beautiful, spacious tasting room.

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Enjoyed on the deck outside the tasting room, the Matanzas Creek artisan cheese, and wine pairing is one of our favorite leisure pursuits in Sonoma County. Sampling limited-production wines and local artisan cheeses, combined with the serene setting, make for the perfect wine-country afternoon.

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Matanzas Creek Winery

Matanzas Creek Winery is located at 6097 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404.

Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

St Francis Winery, Sonoma County

St Francis Winery & Vineyards

St Francis Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


St. Francis Winery has created wines since 1983 in the Sonoma Valley.

St Francis Winery, Sonoma County
St Francis Winery, Sonoma County Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventure © Chasing Light Media

St Francis owns over 415 acres of vineyards and was the first to plant Merlot in Sonoma County. Well-balanced and fruit-forward, St. Francis wines are crafted with 100% handpicked fruit.

St Francis Winery
St Francis Winery, Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventure © Chasing Light Media

The sprawling mission-style tasting room has a relaxed atmosphere overlooking the vineyards and the surrounding Sonoma hills.

St Francis Winery
St Francis wines, Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

St Francis Winery & Vineyards

St Francis Winery & Vineyards is located at 100 Pythian Road at Hwy 12, Santa Rosa, CA 95409


Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Dog-friendly St Francis Winery
Dog-friendly St Francis Winery, Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Rochioli Vineyards & Winery

Rochioli Vineyards & Winery

Rochioli Vineyards & Winery, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media


Just a short drive from downtown Healdsburg in Sonoma Country, Rochioli Vineyards & Winery overlooks the floor of the Russian River Valley amidst Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc vines.

Rochioli Vineyards & Winery
Rochioli Vineyards & Winery Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

While the tasting room is small and casual, with a friendly staff, quiet areas to sit outside and cats wandering about.

Rochioli Vineyards & Winery
Rochioli Vineyards & Winery Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Rochioli Vineyards & Winery, Sonoma County, California is located at 6192 Westside Road Healdsburg, CA 95448

Rochioli Vineyards & Winery
Rochioli Vineyards & Winery Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Red Car Tasting Room

Red Car Tasting Room

Red Car Tasting Room, Sonoma County, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media


Red Car Tasting Room
Red Car Tasting Room Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

 

Red Car Tasting Room
Red Car Tasting Room Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

 

Red Car Tasting Room
Red Car Tasting Room Photo: Greg K Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

 

Red Car Tasting Room
Red Car Tasting Room Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Red Car Tasting Room is located at 8400 Graton Road Sebastopol, CA 95472.


Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.