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The Relationship Between Music and Libations in Sonoma County

Artists performing in the Brewster's Beer Garden Stage in Petaluma.

Sonoma County is the best possible place to check out the truth of the research suggesting that music can make the sensory experience of eating or drinking a glass of wine or a craft beer even more pleasurable.

Listening to music has the ability to change moods, put a smile on people’s faces, make someone feel nostalgic, or get people on the dance floor. I connected with a few local businesses to find out why wine, craft beer, or bourbon are the perfect pairing for live music: 

The team at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards sees many similarities between wine and music. Their production relies on creativity and unique interpretations. At the core, drinking wine and listening to music are subjective experiences by an individual. It really comes down to personal taste.

Every Sunday during the warm months of May through September, Sonoma-Cutrer hosts several unique events, including “Chardonay and Croquet” and the after-work “Wine Down Wednesday” events — both pair their Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast wines with local food and live music. Visitors to the winery, and to Sonoma County in general, are looking to be immersed in the wine country experience. Connecting with the musicians at Sonoma-Cutrer enriches that experience.

On Friday, Aug. 25, the winery is bringing the Sonoma-Cutrer Tasting Experience to the Green Music Center in Rohnert Park for the Pink Martini concert, an electrifying evening of international sound, featuring stellar vocalist China Forbes.

Featured pairing: 2015 Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay with Pink Martini’s ballad, “Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love.”

Brewsters Beer Garden can hold over 350 people in their outdoor dining restaurant. With a full bar, Sonoma County wines, an extensive beer menu, and farm-to-table pub fare, they are a local favorite in Petaluma. Add their weekly “Bluegrass & Bourbon” events every Thursday and you have an authentic experience where both the musicians and the crowd feed off of each other’s energy.

Owner Mike Goebel says that he “associates bourbon with bluegrass, as both are deeply rooted in the south.” The pairing has long been partnered together as loyal companions. He goes on, “As soon as I hear the harmonious strum of a fiddle I instantly salivate for the sweet taste of distilled corn whiskey.”

Brewsters loves working with local bands whenever they can, because, Goebel says “there are a lot of amazing musicians in Sonoma County and Northern California, so we are very fortunate to have a large selection to choose from.”

Featured pairing: A Trick Pony cocktail with bourbon, mint, apricot, and toasted almond with Dusty Green Bones Band’s bluegrass tune, “Rainbow Grass.” Join them on Thursday, Sept. 7th on stage at Brewsters.

Cooperage Brewing Company in Santa Rosa hosts live music at their Santa Rosa brewery every few weeks. Hard rock, punk, and blues music and Cooperage’s distinctive craft beers, including Belgians, IPAs, and Pale Ales, pair well with the “brewery next door” vibe. Check out their Facebook page for upcoming shows, including the upcoming eNegative, Osito, and MSG show on Friday, Sept. 1.

Featured pairing: Everybody’s Talking, a hoppy session beer with friends and Flogging Molly’s drinking song, "Drunken Lullabies."

Pro Tip: Test out the theory that music can alter your experience by having a wine tasting or craft beer bottle share with friends at your own home. Pair different wines like a Red Car Rose with 70s rock like David Bowie or The Rolling Stones, then switch over to pop music like Taylor Swift or Justin Timberlake.

Let us know if the type of music changes your experience with the tasting, and make sure to tag us @SonomaCounty on Instagram or @InsideSonoma on Twitter. 

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