SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA — So much is new in Sonoma County this month, including new wineries preparing to participate in the upcoming 20th annual Wine & Food Affair wine-and-food-tasting weekend, new exhibits in the renovated museum at Jack London State Historic Park, and a new spa and 34 new guest rooms and suites at an iconic Sonoma County inn.
And that’s just for starters. There are also new tasting rooms, new restaurants, new tours — even a new company offering “wine tasting scavenger hunts.” Here’s a brief overview of all that’s new in Sonoma County in October 2018.
7 new wineries join Wine Road’s ‘Wine and Food Affair’ Nov. 3-4
With the addition of seven newcomers, close to 90 wineries will be offering wine and food pairings at the 20th annual Wine & Food Affair, Nov. 3 and 4, in the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River valleys in Sonoma County.
Wind your way along picturesque wine country back roads and byways, visiting the participating wineries of your choice. Each will post a favorite winery recipe online and will offer samples of that recipe both days. The newcomer wineries at this year’s Wine & Food Affair include Bowman Cellars, Donelan Family Wines, K Squared Cellars, Landmark Vineyards, Notre Vue Estate Winery & Vineyards, Rockpile Vineyards, and Super Sonoman Wine.
The Wine and Food Affair is coordinated by the Wine Road, an association of nearly 200 wineries and 54 lodgings in the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River valleys.
Wine & Food Affair
1437 Grove St.
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Renovated museum reopens at Jack London State Historic Park
After $1.5 million in improvements and updates, a renovated House of Happy Walls Museum will once again bring author Jack London back to life for visitors starting in November 2018 at Jack London State Historic Park, in Glen Ellen, in western Sonoma County.
With 22 new exhibits, the remodeled museum celebrates the adventurous and inspiring story of world-renowned author and adventurer London and his wife, Charmian. The couple bought the property, which they called the Beauty Ranch, in 1905. The new exhibition explores London as a true pioneer of his time — a conservationist and feminist, organic farmer and humanitarian, and organizer of equality and opportunity.
“The new exhibits have been designed to inspire guests, especially young people, to live their life to the fullest by example of Jack’s amazing life of innovation and achievement,” said Tjiska Van Wyk, executive director of Jack London Park Partners, the nonprofit that manages the park.
Jack London State Historic Park offers more than 30 miles of trails on 1,400 acres of lush forests, redwood groves, meadows, and hills with breathtaking views. In addition to the House of Happy Walls Museum, you can tour the simple cottage where the Londons lived; pay respects at their graves; walk through the gorgeous ruins of an old stone winery; marvel over the “Pig Palace” — an innovative 1915 piggery designed by London; and explore the ruins of London’s planned 15,000-square-foot mansion, which burned to the ground a month before it was finished.
House of Happy Walls Museum
Jack London State Historic Park
2400 London Ranch Road
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
The James Collective
Vintners Inn adds luxury spa, 34 vineyard view rooms, suites
With its two-year, $17 million expansion complete, Vintners Inn unveiled its brand new, 5,000-square-foot spa and 34 new rooms and suites in Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.
Reminiscent of a Mediterranean village, the California Green Lodging-certified resorts sprawls across 98 acres of lush vineyards and artfully landscaped grounds with courtyards and fountains. With the addition of two new two-story terraced villas, the inn now features five villas, each positioned for tranquility and privacy. The new Vineyard View rooms and suites include four room styles: Vineyard View Fireplace King, Vineyard View Junior Suite, Vineyard View Suite, and the Vineyard Terrace Deluxe Suite.
The inn’s new state-of-the-art Vi La Vita Spa is a premium, full-service day spa and fitness room accessible to hotel guests and locals. The heart of the spa includes an impressive space surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, vaulted ceilings, and a natural design inspired by the 200-year-old heritage oak that sits just outside the spa doors.
Spa features include a wellness relaxation lounge and fire feature, an indoor caldarium with a warm pool and lounges, an outdoor pool and deck, and his and her steam rooms. Custom and creative spa treatments include massage therapies, body polishes and scrubs, body wraps, skincare therapies, pampered spa packages, and signature treatments.
These updates complete the master renovation for the inn, which also included the breakfast and lunch hot spot River Vine Café (opened in summer 2017).
4350 Barnes Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Marcella Thompkins, McCue Marketing Communications
Kick back, relax at new Séamus Wines Tasting Lounge
Enjoying yourself is the only requirement at the new Séamus Wines Tasting Lounge in Kenwood, in the Sonoma Valley on the eastern edge of Sonoma County.
Buy wines by the glass or bottle, then take your time, hook up to the Internet, play a game, and basically savor the Sonoma Valley lifestyle. The tasting room offers a full range of tasting options to suit every palate. It always has two wines available on tap, with high-end, hand-crafted wines at a range of price points.
The Séamus Wines tasting experience can be anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes long. Most of their wines are either San Francisco Chronicle or Sonoma Harvest Festival winners.
Family owned, Séamus Wines produces 2,500 cases per year of ultra-premium, handcrafted California wines made with grapes from premium, hard-to-find vineyards. Their varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Rosé, and a Cuvée blend.
Séamus Wines Tasting Lounge
8910 Sonoma Highway
Kenwood, CA 95452
Enkidu Wines relocates its Sonoma tasting room
Sample the small-lot, handcrafted, award-winning vintages of Enkidu Wines in its new, intimate tasting venue on Eighth Street East in Sonoma.
The name “Enkidu” comes from The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest stories ever recorded. Written in Sumerian cuneiform nearly 4,500 years ago, the story details the life of King Gilgamesh and his best friend Enkidu, who embodied strength, passion, and incredible bravery. Enkidu was rustic and rough around the edges, but over time he became more cultured and refined.
Enkidu Wines takes its direction from the character of Enkidu, who evolved while staying true to his nature — the same way a grape does as it journeys from the vine, through the winemaking process, to a finished wine. Enkidu Wines sources its wines from vineyards across the North Coast, working closely with growers who farm conscientiously.
The new tasting venue is open daily for walk-in tastings from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the tasting flight ($15, fee waived with purchase) includes five wines. Private, customizable, by-appointment tasting experiences are available for up to six guests.
21481 Eighth St. E., Suite 1
Sonoma, CA 95476
RESTAURANTS & EATERIES
Barndiva welcomes executive chef Mark Hopper
Dedicated to elegant farm-to-table fine dining using carefully sourced sustainable local ingredients, the celebrated Barndiva in Healdsburg has tapped chef Mark Hopper as its new culinary director.
Hopper brings his passion for food and sustainability to Barndiva. His background includes working closely with Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, at the opening of Bouchon Las Vegas, and as executive chef of casual dining for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. He also helped establish Farmshop restaurants in Santa Monica and Marin, and was chef/owner of the former Vignette Pizzeria in Sebastopol.
Operating under the motto, “Wherever you are, eat the view,” Barndiva includes the Barndiva restaurant, cocktail lounge, and wine bar; Gallery Bar + Bistro, an art gallery and bar with classic French bistro menus; and event and catering services.
231 Center St.
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Sonoma’s Fremont Diner now Boxcar Fried Chicken & Biscuits
After closing abruptly last June, the Sonoma Valley’s immensely popular Fremont Diner recently reopened as Boxcar Fried Chicken & Biscuits, with the same ownership and delicious Southern-inspired comfort food, but with more limited hours and a pared-down menu.
Boxcar Fried Chicken doesn’t serve breakfast (the Fremont Diner did), but popular favorites are still on the menu, including fried chicken, biscuits, sandwiches, deviled eggs, pimento cheese, collard greens, and baked beans. Desserts include fried pies, milkshakes, and soft serve. Everything is made fresh daily, with locally sourced ingredients.
One major change is that instead of full service, with staff taking orders at each table, guests now order at the counter, and pick up their food when their name is called — which means service is much faster at this family-focused new restaurant.
Boxcar Fried Chicken & Biscuits
2698 Fremont Drive
Sonoma, CA 95476
Boxcar Fried Chicken & Biscuits
Riko Café & Restaurant opens in Sebastopol
Enjoy classic American food plus many Mexican and Latin specialties at the Riko Café and Restaurant, a new neighborhood eatery in Sebastopol, in western Sonoma County.
The extensive menu includes hearty breakfasts, burgers, wraps and more, under the tagline, “Where Food and People Come Together.” Riko is open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, and serves breakfast until 3 p.m., when it switches to its dinner menu. Outdoor seating is available.
Riko Café & Restaurant
7365 Healdsburg Ave.
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Riko Café & Restaurant
Vine & Seek offers wine tasting scavenger hunts
Create hilarious memories, stories, photos, and videos, all while enjoying a variety of delicious wines on a wine tasting scavenger hunt by Vine and Seek, in Sonoma County Wine Country.
Each group gets instructions on when and where to meet, and what to bring. Earn points by completing tastings, buying bottles, answering trivia questions, sharing on social media, and more. Each location has its own specialized missions. Then meet at a designated location to find out how each team stacks up to the competition.
These competitive wine tasting adventures last from 2 to 3.5 hours, and are great for corporate team building events, bachelor or bachelorette parties, family reunions, or other gatherings or groups looking for a fun activity to enjoy together. They can be customized to include beer, spirits, and food as well as wine, depending on what fits the group best.
Vine & Seek
Cotati, CA 94931
Bike Healdsburg expands its tour offerings
Fans of either craft beer or local history can now pedal with friends on the party bike tours offered by Bike Healdsburg in northern Sonoma County.
Bike Healdsburg recently expanded its offerings to include an afternoon and evening Beer & Bar Crawl Tour, highlighting Healdsburg’s burgeoning craft beer, distillery, and cocktail scene, and a History & Architecture tour, exploring Healdsburg’s rich past and architectural heritage by pedaling through some of the most charming and storied streets in town.
A party bike is a group bicycle powered by the pedaling of 10 people, plus four non-pedaling seats. Bike Healdsburg continues to offer its popular Wine Tasting & Nibbles Tour, Progressive Lunch Tour, Gourmet Progressive Dinner Tour, and Morning Exercise Tour.
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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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