SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA — The holiday season brings a flurry of new wine tasting venues, taprooms, and restaurants to Sonoma County, adding to the region’s abundant mix of fine flavors and experiences. Here’s a quick overview of what’s new in Sonoma County this December.
‘Victory’ gallops on Geyserville Sculpture Trail
A 25-foot-tall statue of a galloping horse fashioned with reclaimed steel and redwood rears up proudly on the Geyserville Sculpture Trail, which features more than 25 outdoor works of art in northern Sonoma County.
Commissioned by the Geyserville Community Foundation, the massive, muscular sculpture was about three-quarters complete when the October 2017 wildfires hit Sonoma County, destroying sculptor Bryan Tedrick’s art studio. Thankfully, Tedrick had cleared the grass from around the in-progress horse and had regularly hosed it down, so the statue suffered only minimal damage.
Now christened “Victory,” the imposing statue stands in an open meadow at the southern end of the Geyserville Sculpture Trail, just off Highway 101. For several years Geyserville worked with the nearby town of Cloverdale to host a joint sculpture trail. By mutual agreement the two sculpture trails are now separate operations, but continue to collaborate and support each other.
Many of the pieces on the Geyserville Sculpture Trail, including Victory, are on permanent display, while others will be replaced periodically. They are all located along Geyserville Avenue. A list of the sculptures and a downloadable trail map are available at geyservillecommunityfoundation.org/gallery-of-current-sculpture-trail.
Geyserville Community Foundation
P.O. Box 593
Geyserville, CA 95441
Robert Young Estate Winery adds luxury hospitality house
Enjoy fine wines and amazing views while learning about Alexander Valley winemaking history in the new serene, elegant, and welcoming Scion House at Robert Young Estate Winery in Geyserville, in northern Sonoma County.
Honoring six generations of the Young family, as well as future generations to come, Scion House is located on the family’s favorite hilltop overlook, with stunning 360-degree vineyard views. The Young family was among the original settlers in Alexander Valley and has carried on the tradition of growing premium grapes for generations on their 350-acre private estate.
Blending a contemporary design with rustic accents, the new hospitality center offers a selection of open, private, indoor, and outdoor areas for seated tastings and wine experiences. Guests will be able to learn about the family’s 160-year history on the ranch while sampling small-lot Cabernet, Bordeaux blend, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Merlot.
Robert Young Estate Winery
5102 Red Winery Road
Geyserville, CA 95441
Robert Young Estate Winery395-3550
Highwayman Wines opens tasting parlor in Cornerstone Sonoma
Share stories, taste bold and beautiful wines, and soak in local history at the new Highwayman Wines Tasting Parlor at Cornerstone Sonoma, an arts, culinary, garden, and market center in the southern Sonoma Valley, in eastern Sonoma County.
With three generations of winemaking tradition, long-time friends and Highwayman co-founders Michael Sebastiani and Paul Giusto use their long-term partnerships with premium growers to produce high quality wines from Sonoma County and other California growing regions.
Meticulously designed to create a bold yet sophisticated feel, the chic new tasting room is adorned with western-inspired art, and is both dog and kid friendly. Seven different limited-release wines are available in tasting flights or by the glass. The tasting parlor is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and closed on major holidays.
Highwayman Wines Tasting Parlor
23564 Arnold Drive
Sonoma, CA 95476
Russian River Brewing adds Windsor brewpub
In addition to its longtime downtown Santa Rosa location, the legendary Russian River Brewing Company now showcases its popular beers in its new brewpub/gift shop/tasting room in Windsor, just north of Santa Rosa in central Sonoma County.
With approximately 180 seats, the new location includes year-round patio seating, a large outdoor area for hanging out with friends and family, and a large pet-friendly outdoor beer garden. The large gift shop offers growlers, bottled beer, and plenty of brewery merchandise. Guided tours of the new site are offered by reservation, and free self-guided tours are available daily.
The Windsor brewpub features a more diverse menu than the Santa Rosa location, including burgers, double-fried Kennebec fries, fish and chips, salmon, schnitzel, tasty salads, and more. The tasting room highlights eight to 10 of the brewery’s most popular brews, making it possible to take a quick taste, and then be on your way with filled growlers.
Famous for its unbelievably popular Pliny the Younger release each year, Russian River Brewing Company specializes in hop-forward ales and lagers, including the flagship Double IPA, Pliny the Elder, and Belgian-inspired and sour barrel-aged beers.
Russian River Brewing Company Windsor
700 Mitchell Lane
Windsor, CA 95492
Russian River Media Inquiries
Shady Oak pours artisanal ales in new taproom
The sour and wild ales crafted by Shady Oak Barrel House are now available in the brewery’s first-ever taproom, located in Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.
Shady Oak is the passion of Steve Doty. After extensive experience home-brewing award-winning beers and designing beers for other breweries, he opened his own small-batch craft brewery focusing on farmhouse ales, sour beer, and barrel aging.
Doty’s main emphasis is on beers made with the wild yeast, Brettanomyces, as well as other bacteria that bring acidity to a beer, creating a delightful and earthy funky bouquet. Well-behaved dogs are welcome in the taproom; humans must be 21 or older. Outside food welcome.
Shady Oak Barrel House
420 First St.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
RESTAURANTS & EATERIES
Butcher Crown Roadhouse features internationally inspired barbecue
Latin American and African accents spice up the barbecue at the new Butcher Crown Roadhouse, a family-friendly countryside eatery in Petaluma, in southern Sonoma County.
The menu of contemporary comfort food by executive chef Christofer Gutierrez includes a variety of burgers, tacos, and sandwiches, plus platters like Piri Piri Chicken flavored with the southeastern African chile pepper, or El Tejano, with brisket smoked overnight, pumpkin mole, Jerusalem artichoke puree, pan di zucchero, roasted baby corn, and charred Negi onion. Dessert is ember-roasted apple with brown butter caramel, funnel cake, powdered sugar, and vanilla whipped cream.
In addition to craft beers on tap, and beer and cider in bottles and cans, the bar specializes in Sangria, with the red wine and juices stocked with chunky apple, citrus, and other fruit.
Butcher Crown Roadhouse
1905 Bodega Ave.
Petaluma, CA 94952
Pete Schnell, proprietor
Bollywood Bar & Clay Oven blends India with Wine Country
Enjoy authentic, ingredient-focused Indian cuisine with a modern twist at the new Bollywood Bar & Clay Oven in Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.
Inspired by the spirit of India and the best of Wine Country hospitality, this is a new venture by the Chandi Hospitality Group, which also owns Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Beer Baron, Stout Brothers Irish Pub and Restaurant, and the recently opened Mercato Pasta & Produce.
The farm-to-table menu by chef Niven Patel features contemporary interpretations of traditional Indian dishes. The spices come from a village in Gujarat, India, and as much fresh produce as possible is sourced from Sonoma County. The Smoked Lamb Shank is created in a six-day process in which the shank is brined, smoked, and braised until tender. The vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are marked on the menu.
In addition to beer and wine, the bar offers unique Indian-inspired artisanal cocktails that incorporate ingredients like raw turmeric, Buddha’s hand, makrut lime, and coconut milk.
Bollywood Bar & Clay Oven
535 Fourth St.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Bollywood Bar & Clay Oven
Mercato features made-to-order pasta, fresh produce
Watch the chefs craft made-to-order fresh pasta while you dine on delicious Italian cuisine, then peruse the in-house market selling fresh produce along with a few imported Italian goods at the new Mercato Pasta & Produce restaurant and market in Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.
In addition to using fresh produce in the restaurant, Mercato includes an onsite market featuring local produce and a selection of imported products. On Fridays and Saturdays there’s also a weekly farm stand out front, with a full array of fresh produce for sale.
Celebrating the Italian tradition of celebrating local artisanal food and farm sources, Mercato’s menu was designed by chef Niven Patel, a 2018 James Beard award finalist who spent six months training in Florence, Italy.
Order at the counter, and your food will be brought to your table. The menu lets you choose your pasta (spaghetti, fettucine, fusilli, rigatoni, gluten-free pasta, zucchini noodles, or ricotta ravioli), sauce (tomato and basil, Alfredo, Bolognese, basil pesto, arrabiata, or white wine and capers), and toppings (house-made meatballs, rock shrimp, grilled chicken, or local vegetables). For desert there’s vanilla soft-serve gelato topped with a choice of Nutella and hazelnuts, strawberry compote, or local honey and sea salt.
This is one of the latest ventures by the Chandi Hospitality Group, which also owns Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Beer Baron, Stout Brothers Irish Pub and Restaurant, and the recently opened Bollywood Bar & Clay Oven.
Mercato Pasta & Produce
630 Third St.
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Mercato Pasta & Produce
Nightingale Breads under new ownership
After 10 years of baking organic and wood-fired artisan breads for the western Sonoma County community of Forestville, founder Beth Thorp has passed ownership of Nightingale Breads to employee and baker Jessie Frost.
A graduate of the baking and pastry certificate program at Santa Rosa Junior College, Frost worked for Brickmaiden Breads in Point Reyes and Fat Angel Bakery in Fairfax before coming to Nightingale two and a half years ago.
Under Frost’s ownership, Nightingale continues to craft amazing breads, with a few additions to the menu. Recent daily specials have included oven-toasted pepper and corn baguettes; focaccia with local figs, goat cheese, and walnuts; olive and toasted fennel sourdough; and cranberry orange pistachio quick bread with a yogurt glaze.
6665 Front St.
Forestville, CA 95436
Shop at Miracle Plum in Santa Rosa
Choose from a variety of produce and products at Miracle Plum, an artisanal neighborhood market located in the historic Railroad Square in downtown Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.
The produce is always local and seasonal, the cheese selection changes literally every week, and the store makes its own seasonal and small-batch jams. Walk into this welcoming space that features highly curated pantry items, fresh staples from the dairy and farm, beautiful kitchen wares, cookbooks, magazines, and gift items like note cards, market baskets, a line of beauty products, beeswax candles, and more.
Miracle Plum is the brainchild, passion project, and longtime dream of Sallie Miller and Gwen Gunheim, who love the idea of being able to walk to a neighborhood market and pick up a few choice ingredients for a simple dinner.
208 Davis St.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
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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.
For a free visitors guide or information on hotels, wineries, events, spas, attractions, and dining in Sonoma County, visit www.sonomacounty.com or call 707-522-5800.
Public Relations Director
Sonoma County Tourism
400 Aviation Blvd., Suite 500
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
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