Fabulous Wine, Food and Art Events in Sonoma County

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Carey Sweet
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It’s a springtime ritual, as all across Sonoma County, wineries open their doors for special events, chefs fire up the stoves for special parties, and art galleries plan extra special exhibitions. It’s a time to tempt, with tastings, food, music and peeks at the inner workings of these vibrant industries. Join in the fun!

Sonoma Art Walk

Every first Thursday March-December, 2019

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Art Walk evenings, businesses around the town of Sonoma operate as pop-up galleries, hosting painters, sculptors, musicians and all kinds of artists. You can visit tasting rooms, restaurants, boutiques, and yes, art salons to admire original works/performances, and meet the artists themselves. Many venues tempt further with wine tastings and delicious nibbles. More info

The Art of Dessert

March 30, 2019

Eat dessert and sip wine for a good cause? Yes, please. Since its inception in 2003, The Art of Dessert has generated more than $3.6 million and helped the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts to provide the enrichment of the arts to almost 400,000 children. Proceeds raised through the evening’s ticket sales plus silent and live auctions benefit arts and education programs for low-income and at-risk children, including musical instruments loaned free of charge to children, and in-classroom student workshops with artists. More info

Sonoma-Mendocino Coast Whale & Jazz Festival

April-May, 2019

This “jazzed up” 16th annual gathering along the cliffs in Gualala celebrates the yearly grey whale migration featuring food, beer, wine, poetry, art, and, of course, whales and jazz. An array of events runs through the end of May, with documentary films about jazz, jazz performances, poetry and jazz slams, educational talks about whales, and a highlight, the Chowder Challenge & Jazz show on April 14. Event locations vary, making this a great opportunity to explore the redwood region’s wineries, restaurants, inns, wine bars, casino, the classically restored Arena Theater and the Gualala Arts CenterMore info

Battle of the Brews

April 6, 2019

A flight of beer stands on the counter while the bartender explains the flavors at Russian River Brewing Company, Sonoma County, California

Since 1996, the Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds has come alive as hundreds of suds lovers converge to sample beers for the Craft Brew Cup Best of Show, and indulge in the food from local restaurants, while grooving to live jazz performances. This year, the event is bigger and better than ever, expanding past the Pavilion to take over more of the Fairgrounds, plus a larger Sonoma County Best Bites, highlighting fine foods from local chefs. It’s a great cause, too, with proceeds benefiting local at-risk children. More details

Apple Blossom Festival

April 12-14, 2019

Sebastopol’s heritage is founded on apple growing, and as this 73rd Annual festival proves, it’s still a delicious enterprise. Taste pies, jams, and the fruit in all its pure finery, while grooving to live blues music and browsing an arts and farmers market overflowing with treasures. Start with an art show and reception April 12 at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts; the show runs through April 14. Then, enjoy the festival with an old fashioned parade down Main Street on April 13, followed by another festival day and the Blues Music Explosion on April 14. More info

Wine Country Chefs of Tomorrow

May 1, 2019

An aquamarine pool in front of DoubleTree Hotel in Sonoma County, California
DoubleTree Hotel

This entertaining, action-packed night at the DoubleTree Hotel in Rohnert Park combines great food, terrific wines, and silent and live auctions to raise funds for local youth culinary arts programs. Now in its 17th year, it’s a great way to support budding talent, as high school students are partnered with a top hotel chef for a friendly appetizer competition. Guests taste the results and vote, awarding the "People's Choice Award." More info.

Passport to Dry Creek Valley

April 27 & 28, 2019

A view of red clover cover crop in the vines overlooking Lake Sonoma at Gustafson Family Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Gustafson Family Vineyards, participant winery in the Passport to Dry Creek Valley 

This festival is one of the longest-running regional wine events in Sonoma County, and this year, it celebrates its 30th anniversary with 40-plus wineries opening their doors and uncorking their very best bottles, including special library reserves. Activities feature wine tasting, gourmet food, property tours and live entertainment, while a big part of the fun is seeing what theme each winery comes up with each year. Past theatrical celebrations have included Escape to the Caribbean, Spirit of the Andes, New Orleans Jazz Fest, and Elvis. It’s a very successful recipe; Passport sells out every year, drawing visitors from all across the country. Start the party early, too, with the Vintage Soiree on April 27, boasting a walk-around dinner at the new Ranch at Lake Sonoma. More info

Signature Sonoma Valley

May 16-19, 2019

Visit the vineyards and cellars of some of California’s most iconic winemakers, cutting-edge innovators and multi-generational winegrowers during this three-day festival. Spanning properties from Moon Mountain to Carneros, activities range from a large format bottle party, to guided estate tours, winemaker hosted “wine and design” lunches, grand tastings, a gala historic wines dinner, and a Sunday bubbles and brunch. More info