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Summer Outdoor Winery Events

Summertime in Sonoma County means even more outdoor fun at our wineries. Basking in the sun, chilling in the shade, and sipping wine every which way, a winery day becomes an extra adventure with seasonal extras like festivals, vineyard dinners, and even tomato parties. Check out some of these top picks: 

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend (Sept. 2-4, 2016)

Every Sonoma Wine Country Weekend event sells out each year, as thousands of guests join hundreds of chefs, wineries and artisan food purveyors, all gathering for three full days of elaborate lunches, dinners, and the showcase events: Taste of Sonoma, and the Sonoma Valley Harvest Auction. 

Always held over Labor Day Weekend (this year, that’s Sept. 2-4, 2016), it's one star-studded event after another. Start with a Friday winemaker lunch such as the gathering at the breathtakingly beautiful Beltane Ranch, then head to the Sonoma Starlight party at Francis Ford Coppola Winery, for a poolside gala complete with live music and dancing, 20+ wineries pouring their best, and plenty of Sonoma County food. 

On Saturday, join Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch, where more than 170 wineries and 60 of Sonoma County’s top chefs ply guests with food, drink, and a rich array of educational and entertaining events staged all day long. Take a nap, then head to winemaker dinner. 

Sunday, it’s the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean Winery, or perhaps you’re in the mood for a more casual winemaker barbecue. Here’s a tip: fit in both. The auction is glamor all the way, as hundreds of bidders compete for such mouthwatering prizes as spa days, cooking classes, 100-bottle wine collections, and a three-day weekends at private winery cottages. Details: www.sonomawinecountryweekend.com. 

Quivira Farm To Table Dinner Series (Aug. 13, Aug. 27 & Sept. 18, 2016)

It’s quintessential Sonoma County, dining right in the middle of the vineyards, under the stars, surrounded by flowers and organic vegetables in the Quivira garden. Be an indulgent locavore with these Dry Creek Valley Estate dinners, where you can see the grapes in full ripening mode, ask the winemaker his secrets of the trade, and visit with farm manager Jim Barausky for how the goodies were grown and raised for the four-course wine paired dinners. New this year: meals are prepared by top restaurants including Calavera, Madera, and AQ. Cost: $145, get tickets by calling 707-431-8333. Details: 4900 W. Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-431-8354 

20th Annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival (Sept. 24, 2015)

Tomatoes hang heavy on the vine usually at the same time as grapes. So we celebrate both fruits, with wonderful harvests. Plan to spend the entire day at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center for an extravaganza showcasing more than 175 heirloom tomato varieties in a flurry of exotic names like Blue Fruit and Peace Vine, alongside tomato-inspired recipes from some 50 notable chefs plus wine samples of all kinds, drawing from Kendall-Jackson’s expansive collections including Vintner’s Reserve, Avant, Stature, Jackson Estate, and Grand Reserve. Event time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost: $95-$175. Details: 5007 Fulton Road, Santa Rosa, 800-769-3649 

Black Piglet @ Davis Family Vineyards (June 24-Oct. 2, 2016)

This saucy, sassy food truck comes from John Stewart and Duskie Estes, the talent behind Zazu Kitchen + Farm in Sebastopol plus Black Pig Meat Co. of Forestville. Fridays through Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., they park at this Healdsburg winery right on the Russian River, serving up superb Black Pig bacon BLTs, Sebastopol strawberry + Davis Family Rosé sorbet, pork belly poutine, maple + bacon donuts and more. You can play bocce by the river, sip Davis Family wines by the glass, and, when the tomatoes are ripe, u-pick for your own BLT. Details: 52 Front Street, Healdsburg, 707-523-4814

More summer fun at wineries and other venues: Great Outdoor Music Festivals and Summer Concerts.

Find more info about wineries in Sonoma County.

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