What’s New in Sonoma County March 2021
March brings the freshness of springtime in Sonoma County, where the fields are brimming with wildflowers, vineyards start to bud, melodious tunes of birdsong are harmonizing, and the rolling hills and countryside are full of life, like on the Sonoma Serengeti, where Safari West Wildlife Sanctuary just welcomed a brand-new baby giraffe.
Outdoor dining and tastings have returned, new restaurants are celebrating cultural roots and local agriculture, food and wine experts are hosting more elaborate virtual experiences to enjoy at home, and Sonoma County is celebrating the incredible women shaping our industries.
Note: Visitors and residents are asked to continue to wear face coverings in public, practice physical distancing, and follow the public health authorities’ recommendations. Please be sure to review The Safe Travels Promise and our Coronavirus Updates before visiting.
RESTAURANTS & EATERIES
The 2021 California Artisan Cheese Festival is virtual!
Dive into a delectable array of unique cheeses with a Grand Tasting at the Virtual Artisan Cheese Festival this March, delivered right to your doorstep. Celebrate the sustainably crafted artisan cheeses with a sparkling wine pairing primer with the pros at Gloria Ferrer, and a tasting kit that includes 10 diverse cheeses, a Volo Chocolate Bar, various tasty treats, and a ticket to the March 26th virtual program led by cheese, food, and farm experts. For those looking to add more bubbles to their month, La Crema’s Chef and Cheese Specialist Tracey Shepos Cenami is demonstrating three irresistible brunch dishes to pair with the very special and limited La Crema Russian River Brut Rosé Sparkling wine as part of the festival earlier in March.
10% of all ticket proceeds go towards nonprofit organizations that help protect and preserve lands, train the next generation of milk producers and cheesemakers, and support the artisan cheesemaking community in California. California Artisan Cheese Festival has to date made donations totaling more than $135,000 to the following: Sonoma Land Trust, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Petaluma Future Farmers of America, California Artisan Cheese Guild, Redwood Empire Food Bank.
Artisan Cheese Festival
Judy Groverman Walker
Khom Loi brings romantic lanterns and authentic Thai cuisine to Sebastopol
Explore the robust flavors of southeast Asia for a romantic rendezvous under the floating bamboo lanterns and select from a wine list filled with unique selections of sustainable, organic, or biodynamically made wines paired perfectly with Thai cuisine. Experience a cultural immersion with the exciting Kaeng Khei Whwan Hoy (green curry with fresh clams) cooked in coconut milk or the Bpet Yang (charcoal-grilled Liberty Duck breast) that has a crispy charred exterior turned buttery soft as your teeth sink into it. Enjoy the aroma of lemongrass and fried lime leaves as you indulge with the fried chicken dipped in a sharp black pepper and chile sauce.
From the beloved Ramen Gajin owners Matthew Williams and Moishe Hahn-Schuman, who partnered with Lowell Sheldon, this culinary adventure is set in a charming outdoor-indoor dining patio flanked by two-story sliding glass shoji walls in Sebastopol. Open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner, reservations are strongly recommended.
Khom Loi Sonoma
7385 Healdsburg Ave.
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Eggspresso dishes out egg-citing dishes and Acre coffee in Petaluma
Savor the cage-free eggs in Petaluma, the “Egg Capital of the World”. Pair a nourishing and energizing breakfast from Eggspresso with a cup of aromatic Acre coffee on their charming outdoor patio for a satisfying start to your day. Try the sausage egg and cheese sandwich served in a warm brioche bun or English muffin with fresh-squeezed OJ or Gravenstein Apple Juice. For lunch, sink into the juicy Wagyu beef Cheeseburger topped with a cage-free over medium egg, caramelized onions, and house-made dijonnaise in a fresh, warm brioche bun with a maple-candied bacon add-on. All sandwiches are served with potatoes lightly seasoned and perfectly golden crispy on the outside and savory on the inside, which pairs deliciously with the chipotle ketchup. Visit Eggspresso in Petaluma daily 7:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. for outdoor dining and takeout.
173 N. McDowell Blvd.
Petaluma, CA 94954
Belfare Sonoma pop-ups bring the heat all over Sonoma County
Chef Eric Lowe’s creations are creating a lot of buzz with his mouthwatering spicy fried chicken sandwiches with Cajun cabbage, spicy sesame mayo and Belfare Sonoma’s signature hot sauce. Farmers’ Market lovers can pick up these fiery meals, such as the jalapeño and bacon fried chicken sando with roasted jalapeños, applewood-smoked bacon, barbecue sauce, mayo and American cheese, at the Petaluma Farmers’ Market and Eastside Petaluma. On the side, add fingerling fries with nori and sesame mayo and Brussels sprouts with ponzu, Asian pear and Cajun spice. Changes and additions frequent the menu, which often includes pantry items like the Meyer lemon marmalade, while the langoustine sandwiches and Beef Wellington can be pre-ordered for pickup.
Savor these creations at local Farmers’ Markets, Three Fat Guys Winery, Gundlach Bundschu Winery, and Flatbed Farm in Glen Ellen by following their Instagram for the latest schedule of appearances. Food fans can inquire about custom live Zoom cooking classes or hire Belfare as a caterer.
Petaluma, Sonoma County
New Times Pizza brings Artisan pies to Cotati
There’s a new pizza joint in town, designed specifically for guests to enjoy unapologetic comfort food in these new times. New Times Pizza’s hand-pressed artisan pies adorn crispy, darkened thin crust edges and the freshest local, all-natural, organic, and sustainably sourced meats, cheeses and produce. They also offer vegan pizzas with ingredients that melt and sizzle just like the meat versions on the menu.
While many of the pizzas are conventional, there are some enticing options to explore, like the Crustacean with crab meat and jumbo shrimp tied together with tomatoes, scallions, fresh basil and Asiago cheese. The Fiori, topped with prosciutto, mushrooms, truffle oil and arugula, is a mouthwatering classic, and the Pesto Pepperoni with crimini mushrooms is a flavor-packed option to pair with a refreshing Caprese salad.
All baked in an 850-degree oven, these handcrafted pizzas are served with safety as a top priority and exceeding all safety protocols mandated by OSHA, the CDC, and the local Health Department. New Times Pizza also has a boutique artisan specialty grocery market, a one-stop shop stocking products from local Sonoma County craftspeople like WM Cofield Cheesemakers, LALA’s Jams, and Sola Bee Honey.
New Times Pizza
7582 Commerce Blvd.
Cotati, CA 94931
Tortilla Real brings Jalisco-style dishes served with freshly made tortillas
Celebrating Sonoma County’s fresh ingredients, this new Jalisco-style restaurant owned by Chef Luis Flores is the new culinary gem of Petaluma. Locals have already favorited the made-from-scratch homemade chicken tinga, carnitas tostadas and the five-napkin torta ahogada with chile sauce, tomato sauce and shredded pork. Eat your way through the slow-cooking traditions of native Guadalajara with dishes like chicken enchiladas, masa dumplings, pozole, and beer-battered cod tacos served atop of handmade tortillas. Their authentic fresh-made Mexican menu also offers plant-based options that doesn’t skimp on flavor, such as the vegetarian burrito filled with poblano peppers, fresh onions, zucchini and corn. Sip on their Micheladas that will transport you straight to Mexico, and pair it with their fresh and homemade chips and guacamole or molcajete salsa for a music-filled evening on the outdoor patio.
The Flores Family’s traditional dishes and flavors are sourced from their ancestors’ recipes originated in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Proudly serving fresh corn tortillas made with fresh corn masa every day by hand, the culinary roots go back to the culture of cooking from scratch. While the carnitas and Birria Tapatia (meat stew) are among the most time consuming to prepare, they are a favorite to make in their kitchen.
5 Petaluma Blvd. South, Suite C
Petaluma, CA 94952
F L O R A Coffee
Drop by the beautiful and thriving Flatbed Farm in the charming hamlet of Glen Ellen in the Sonoma Valley to discover a locally-owned coffee shop brewing fresh coffee and serving donut holes from City Garden Doughnuts. Owners Emily Reber and Jeff Alona have traveled near and far to test out the best coffees to share with their guests, and visitors can take home their unique blends of dark, medium, and espresso roasts. Enjoy warm and hospitable chatter with them as they share music and road trip stories along with their celebrated and delicious apple fritters. F L O R A Coffe’s specialty drinks include a house made chai served over ice with sparkling water and a wildflower garnish. Set on the Flatbed Farm, guests can casually peruse through the sustainably-farmed produce, eggs, herbs and flowers from the fields, greenhouse and chicken coop on property while sipping.
F L O R A Coffee
13450 Sonoma Highway
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
WINERIES & DISTILLERIES
Three Sticks Wines launches a virtual concert series on Facebook Live
Three Sticks Wine is putting on a virtual concert series featuring live happy hours with performances on Facebook Live. Partnering with Black Fret, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting exceptional Austin, Texas musicians, Three Sticks Wines invites you to celebrate Women’s History Month on March 11th while enjoying the musical talents of female musicians Sir Woman, Sydney Wright, and BettySoo. Get a sneak peek of this year’s SXSW musical acts a week before the festival on the March 25th virtual concert. Also held on Zoom, registered guests get the opportunity to connect with the artists in conversation over a glass of their favorite Three Sticks Wine, along with the chance to support the incredible work of Black Fret.
Three Sticks Winery
143 West Spain
Sonoma, CA 95476
Join a Chef’s Journey Through Alexander Valley for a six-episode virtual tasting adventure
Explore the world-class food and wine in the Alexander Valley with journalist and sommelier Courtney Humiston in this six-episode virtual tasting series. Meet the winemakers, local chefs, and host while enjoying premium wines from the unique Cabernet-driven appellation. Through the eyes of 3 local chefs, explore the diversity of Alexander Valley as they are challenged to course three varietals per episode while sharing the nuances of what makes the perfect pairing. Travel through the valley, from north to south, valley floor to mountaintop, to discover how microclimate and winemaking style can affect each varietal.
Chef and owner Liza Hinman at The Spinster Sisters is creating unique takes on crispy shrimp, braised duck legs, herbed lamb chops, crab and radicchio risotto, Burrata crostini, and grilled porkchop to pair with the Chardonnays, Zinfandels, Cabernet Sauvignons, and Malbecs over two episodes. Chef and owner Mateo Granados at Mateo’s Cocina Latina is pairing a seasonal crab salad, roasted pork belly, cured duck, Filet Mignon and Garden duck Alcaparrado with Sémillon, Primativo, Rosé of Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignons over his two episodes. Catch Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s Rustic Restaurant Chef Tim Bodell’s remaining episode to explore his pairings of local Dungeness crab, pork belly porchetta, and steak with a Sauvignon Blanc, a red wine Blend, and a Cabernet Sauvignon.
Alexander Valley Winegrowers
Sonoma County, CA
Prohibition Spirits opens tasting room & bar shop on the Sonoma Plaza
Taste ‘sunshine in a bottle’ in the award-winning Limoncello digestif that launched Prohibition Spirit into a company with over 30 different spirits ranging from gin and vodka to whiskey, rum and an assortment of brandies. Handcrafted in small batches, Prohibition Spirits features Amy and Fred Groth’s delicious collection of interesting spirits with fascinating backstories over fun, spirited conversations in their new Sonoma Plaza location.
Unique favorites include the Jamaican-style Sugar Daddy rums matured in toasted Chardonnay barrels, the handcrafted cellos made with either Navel oranges or infused with Black Mission Figs, the Sonoma Shine moonshine distilled from California grapes, and the Sonoma Julep barrel-aged cocktail ready to enjoy over crushed or shaved ice. Enjoy a tasting flight of any 6 spirits on the menu with a reservation at the tasting room, open daily from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
425 1st Street East, Suite E
French-inspired Sosie Wines is a family affair with a new tasting room
Celebrate the food-friendly wines adorning a French soul kissed by the California sun at Sosie Wines’ new tasting room on the bustling Sonoma Plaza. With Cab Francs from Atlas Peak, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs, Bennet Valley Roussannes, and a Sonoma Valley White Blend to choose from, explore a tasting of old-world wines made with the finesse and precision found in the Rhone, the Loire, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Sosie is French for “twin”, and this family-owned affair aims to be the French counterpart in Sonoma County with their meticulously-farmed fruit sourced from eight different vineyards. Celebrating the romance of slow food, Sosie wines are made to strike a balance between flavor and mouthfeel to ensure a perfect pairing every time. Enjoy tastings by appointment, customized to be as simple or elaborate as desired.
Sosie Wines Tasting Room
25 E Napa St. Suite C
Sonoma, CA 95476
Marine Layer Wines brings their coastal wines to new Healdsburg Tasting Room
After making wine in the Sonoma Coast for over a decade, Marine Layer’s cool-climate Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are coming to a new tasting room in the joyful downtown Healdsburg area. Soon guests will be able to taste through their meticulously crafted wines produced in tiny quantities using native yeast and minimal intervention. The Carina Rosé of Pinot Noir will be a delightful sip in the coming warmer months, and the selections of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs bring complex flavors to the palette.
Celebrating the thick blanket of fog that pours in from the Pacific Ocean most summer mornings through the Petaluma Gap in the Sonoma Coast, Marine Layer Wines specializes in organically-farmed, hand-harvested, and adamantly expressive wines.
Marine Layer Wines Tasting Room
308 B Center St.
Healdsburg, CA 95448
SHOPPING & ART
Heritage Alchemy is Sonoma County’s first Refill Station & Sustainable Goods Shop
Explore the sustainably curated brands at Heritage Alchemy’s new shop in Santa Rosa, where clean products are celebrated, and sustainability is the mantra to influence a better future. Find bestsellers like the Terrazzo-inspired mini gem soaps, which are hand cut and a beautiful addition to any bathroom counter. Other products include the plastic-free Safety Razor that is non-disposable and can be used for face and body, or the beautifully handmade and wheel-thrown mugs from Mayware Ceramics. From cleaning products to health and beauty necessities to tasteful home décor, every product is hand-selected by the women behind Heritage Alchemy.
Explore how their Refill Station for soaps, cleaners, and bath products are an economical way to reuse bottles, reduce consumption of single-use plastics, and minimize waste. For those looking to host low-waste events, Heritage Alchemy works with local rental companies to provide affordable service ware to help ditch disposables and work towards saving the planet. Shop the brick-and-mortar Wednesdays through Sundays from 10:00 A.M. through 4:00 P.M.
300 S. A Street, Suite 1
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Flatbed Farm’s Farmstand is a wine country weekend destination
This Sonoma Valley farm and farmstand offers fresh eggs from the chickens happily living on the property, as well as seasonal produce, oils and rustic flower arrangements sustainably farmed using all organic compost and soil amendments without the use of pesticides or sprays. Find preciously crafted pantry goods like salts, preserves, sugars, shrubs, syrups and pickles year-round, and produce offerings that change based on the season.
Tucked between protected open space of the Bouverie Preserve and Sonoma Regional Parkland in Glen Ellen, this property also consists of a greenhouse, planting fields, a chicken coop and a private residence. Visit the farmstand Saturdays from 10:00 A.M. through 2:00 P.M. and keep an eye out for pop-ups from local vendors to experience lunch at their picnic tables.
13450 Sonoma Hwy 12
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
Experience the Schulz Museum On-Demand
Dive into the Charles M. Schulz Museum’s most popular events around the clock and the world with experiences such as How to Draw Snoopy and How to Draw Charlie Brown, which provide step-by-step drawing instruction for all skill levels and ages led by Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates artists and cartooning professionals.
“We are so excited to share online art instruction taught by professional cartoonists from Charles Schulz’s own studio,” said Education Director Jessica Ruskin. “And now these events can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere.”
Viewers can also revisit some of the museum’s recent discussions with Charles Schulz’s widow, Jean Schulz, cartoonist Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), and cartoonist Patrick McDonnell (MUTTS).
“This increased accessibility has deepened the Schulz Museum’s mission to share the legacy of Peanuts and to build an understanding of the world of cartooning,” said Ruskin. “We are hearing from members and fans from New York, Tokyo, and beyond about how grateful they are for the lighthearted distraction during this difficult time. It gives fans a chance to connect with Schulz’s artwork in a new way—all from the comfort of their home.”
Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center
2301 Hardies Lane
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
“The Friendly City” Welcomes a new Fairfield Inn & Suites
Stay awhile at the newly opened Fairfield Inn & Suites Rohnert Park, featuring 5 floors of 69 rooms and 31 suites, centrally located with easy access to wineries, entertainment venues, beaches, redwoods and all that Sonoma County has to offer. Wake up to fresh and hot breakfast options, provided complimentary to guests, before embarking out to wine country adventures. Relax in the heated outdoor pool after a long day and settle into the spacious rooms and suites outfitted with plush pillow-top mattresses and complimentary WiFi. Guests can also enjoy the Fitness Center featuring Technogym fitness equipment with 24/7 access. The Fairfield Inn & Suites Rohnert Park also provides electric car charging stations and complimentary on-site parking.
Located less than an hour north of San Francisco, guests will find comfort in Marriott’s Commitment to Clean, where creating a safe environment for guest wellbeing is the top priority.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Santa Rosa Rohnert Park
405 Martin Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
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Experience Sonoma County, where Life Opens Up. Just as wine “opens up” when it’s allowed to breathe, Sonoma County inspires visitors to open up to new experiences.
Just 30 miles north of San Francisco, Sonoma County is one of California’s top food and wine destinations, home to more than 425 wineries ranging from rustic to regal. Hike among towering redwoods, cruise along rugged Pacific coastline, and get to know inviting small towns. Or, just sit back and take it all in. Because here, you’re free to go your own way.
Sonoma County was named Wine Enthusiast magazine’s Wine Region of the Year. Discover why by visiting it yourself. Start planning today at www.sonomacounty.com or call 707-522-5800.
Public Relations Manager
Sonoma County Tourism