SONOMA COUNTY, CA (August 30, 2023) As the days begin to mellow in late summer and early fall, and the pace of life takes on a serene rhythm, now is the time to immerse yourself in the tranquility and beauty of Sonoma County. Embrace the art of slowing down and find solace in the breathtaking landscapes that surround you. Explore sun-soaked vineyards, where the grapevines are heavy with promise. Engage in mindful moments as you savor farm-to-table delights and award-winning wines, all while basking in the warm glow of the summer season’s twilight. From the first glimmer of dawn to the slow, elegant evening swirl of Pinot Noir, Sonoma County invites you to experience the restorative power of ‘Pause and Effect,’ where every sip, every view, and every connection inspires you to take time to pause and find joy in all moments, big and small.

New in Hotels

The Madrona

Patrick Tafoya is the new executive chef at the Madrona in Healdsburg. Tafoya has a diverse resume, having worked at the Drake’s Sonoma Coast and previously owning his own restaurant, P/30. Most recently, he served as executive estate chef at Round Pound Estate in Rutherford. His goal is to make Madrona’s food approachable and comfortable. This means leaning heavily on the estate’s sizable culinary garden. 

The Kenwood Inn & Spa

Kenwood Inn & Spa has completed a multi-phase renovation project. The Sonoma Valley property’s Mediterranean feel remains but now with a sleek, modern touch. All 31 guest rooms and suites have been remodeled, as well as the property’s peaceful outdoor common areas, including the poolside cabanas. The lush foliage remains, but changes to the landscaping now allow details like the property’s water wheel to stand out. Additionally, the outdoor warming pool in the spa area has a new look, and couples lounge chairs and fire pits have been added to maximize relaxation.

New in Wineries

Bartholomew Estate Winery

Bartholomew Estate Winery is now offering a new forest bathing and wine tasting experience in partnership with Jenny Harrow-Keeler, Certified Nature Therapy Guide. Guests will be hosted by Harrow-Keeler who will guide them through the forest bathing experience through the vineyards, and alongside the creeks and trees of Bartholomew Park. Then they will return to the winery’s Oak Knoll for a flight of Bartholomew Estate Winery’s sustainably farmed and award-winning wines, connecting their sensory experience with the terroir showcased in the wine. 

Healdsburg Bubble Bar & Cuvée House

Sonoma County winemaker Sarah Quider, senior vice president of winemaking for Foley Family Wines, will open a Parisian-chic sparkling wine tasting room just off the Healdsburg Plaza this winter with her sister, restaurateur Samantha Tilley. Bubble Bar will highlight bottles from across the globe, with a special focus on grower Champagnes, which come from small, lesser-known producers.  The sisters plan to offer wine tasting by the flight, by the glass and by the bottle, as well as weekly educational wine tastings, a wine club and bottles to-go. The multidimensional wine bar also boasts its own Airbnb, the Cuvée House in a charming century-old, Queen Anne Victorian home.

New in Restaurants

The Second Story at Little Saint – Healdsburg

Stu Stalker, a former chef at Copenhagen’s Noma — widely considered to be one of the best restaurants in the world — has taken over the vegan culinary program at Healdsburg’s Little Saint. Stalker has opened a new restaurant concept, The Second Story, on the second floor of Little Saint. Chef Stalker’s multi-course menu will highlight the seasonal ingredients available at Little Saint Farm in nearby Dry Creek Valley and the surrounding area, and it will change based on availability. Differentiating from the downstairs all-day cafe and lounge, The Second Story features a set menu with consciously sourced wine, low-alcohol and no-alcohol beverage options as well as wine and cocktails a la carte.

Americana Restaurant – Sebastopol

The owners of Santa Rosa’s Americana restaurant are opening a second location in Sebastopol. The husband /wife team of chefs Ryan and Samantha Ramey are bringing their locally sourced diner-style cuisine to the food scene in Sebastopol this fall. The Ramey’s will continue to highlight their classic preparations where they can use the Sonoma County’s seasonal bounties. Sourcing is a key element to their offerings and mission using strictly local, organic and sustainable ingredients.

Pascaline Patisserie and Café – Santa Rosa

Pascaline Patisserie and Cafe recently opened a new location in the Montgomery Village area of Santa Rosa led by owner and top ranked chef Didier Ageorges with pastry chef Lea Schleimer. The new café imparts a cozy, relaxed country-chic vibe. In addition to elegant pastries, the cafe also serves savory breakfast and lunch dishes.

PikNik Town Market – Guerneville

Big Bottom Market the Guerneville specialty food store that earned the praise of lifestyle guru Oprah Winfrey, who selected the product for her annual Favorite Things List in 2016, has rebranded and is now the PikNik Town Market. The new store reflects the charm of its surrounding natural beauty, providing visitors and locals with a place to eat, socialize and shop. It’s a distinct space in Guerneville that serves seasonal, West Coast European inspired fare along with high end baked goods, grab and go items plus luxury grocery.

Sarmentine Bakery – Sebastopol

Santa Rosa’s Sarmentine Bakery, known for its Parisian baguettes and luxe patisserie, helmed by expat French couple Louis Zandvliet and his wife, head baker, Alexandra will open a second Sonoma County location at The Barlow in Sebastopol. The 3,500-square-foot space will be used as a multiuse restaurant, shopping, wine, and maker venue, including retail and production facilities.

The Goose & Fern – Santa Rosa 

When popular Railroad Square British Pub Toad in the Hole closed in February, rumors of a possible new owner were already in the air. Fortunately, the tales were true. Longtime Toad in the Hole employee Brit Clyde Hartwell and his wife Brittany, a trained pastry chef, have reimagined the space as the Goose & Fern gastropub. Enjoy British favorites like fish and chips, Scotch eggs or a plowman’s platter and hearty pints of ale, lager, and stout (including Guinness), as well as local hard ciders and Sonoma County wines.

Iggy’s Organic Burgers + Angela’s Organic Ice Cream – Healdsburg

Housed together in a single space overlooking the Plaza in downtown Healdsburg, Iggy’s Organic Burgers and Angela’s Organic Ice Cream shop bring together two family favorites. This combination eatery not only satisfies cravings but also prioritizes sustainable and organic practices. Iggy’s is committed to supporting local farmers by enjoying their mouthwatering organic burgers crafted with the Sonoma County ingredients.

The Matheson – Healdsburg

The Matheson is now offering family style dinner service every Wednesday. The menu changes every two weeks and will feature Chef/owner Dustin Vallette and Executive Chef Nate Davis paying homage to their favorite family recipes. The experience was designed for groups of four. Reservations can be made via Open Table Experiences. 

New in Craft Beer

Russian River Brewing Company

To scale organic and Regenerative Organic Certified ingredients, Patagonia Provisions, the food and beverage segment of outdoor apparel company Patagonia, has announced a new alliance with several Sonoma County’s Russian River Brewing Company, each brewed with Regenerative Organic Certified Kernza, a deeply rooted perennial grain.  This inaugural cadre of breweries each produced an original easy-drinking Kernza lager, co-branded with Patagonia, brewed with regionally sourced organic ingredients, and made available in their local area. The 11 participating breweries will each contribute 1% of Patagonia beer sales (matched by Patagonia) to local nonprofits that support environmental initiatives and meet 1% for the Planet eligibility criteria.

New in Arts and Culture

Museum of Sonoma County
The Museum of Sonoma County has announced the grand opening of Sonoma County Stories. A groundbreaking permanent exhibition that encourages the public to engage with the county’s past, and contribute to its future, through the power of storytelling. Sonoma County Stories combines vibrant recorded oral histories with other original sources. Featured in the exhibition are the personal histories of individuals, families, and communities representing the many cultures present in the county over the last two centuries, including Native American, Latino, Asian, African American, European, and more. An immersive experience, visitors are invited to use multimedia stations with access to videos, audio recordings, and images. This pivotal project is grounded in the three-decade journalistic and preservationist endeavors of Gaye LeBaron who spent her career with The Press Democrat.

New in Events

Second Annual Heirloom Apple Celebration – Gold Ridge Organic Farms

Welcome the change of seasons and peak harvest of the beloved Heirloom Apple varieties at Gold Ridge Organic Farms in Sebastopol. The celebration will feature curated tastes of a handful of the 70+ heirloom apple varieties grown in Gold Ridge’s organic orchards, as well as their organic Extra Virgin Olive Oils. Enjoy live music, farm tours, apple and cheese pairings, samples of Extra Virgin Olive Oils, plus freshly pressed apple cider. Additional offerings are available for purchase: wood-fired pizzas, apple treats, artisan ice cream, fresh Heirloom fruit, EVOO, and more. September 16 | 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Foley Sonoma Winery: Music in the Vineyard

3rd Fridays of the month through October Foley Sonoma Winery is offering FoSo Fridays: Music in the Vineyard, special evenings of wine, live music, and inventive food pairings from the Foley estate chef. Gather with friends in reserved lounge areas or bring chairs and blankets to settle in on the FoSo lawn overlooking Foley’s estate vineyards.

Experience Harvest with The Farmhouse and Small Vines Winery
Immerse yourself in one of the most beautiful and exciting times of the year in Sonoma County. For those who always wanted to work in the vineyard during harvest season, if only for just a day. Get your hands dirty, smell the grapes being pulled from the vines, and experience what goes on in a day during grape harvest at a small production family-owned winery. Experience the heart of winemaking as you join forces with the Small Vines team for guided, hands-on morning harvest activities, enjoy Al-Fresco farm-to-picnic-basket dining, luxurious chauffeured transportation from Farmhouse Inn to Small Vines Winery and return in the epitome of Farmhouse Volvo elegance. Throughout the day, a dedicated driver will be at the ready, ensuring your journey is as stylish as your destination. Seize the opportunity to unwind in luxury as you spend the night at Farmhouse Inn and breakfast for two. Through November 17 | Subject to availability

Art of the Harvest at St. Francis Winery

St. Francis Winery will host an elevated dining experience that celebrates the harvest bounty of Sonoma County. From the foggy coast to the highest mountaintops, Sonoma County is home to a wide variety of top-quality food provisions, such as fresh produce, meats, cheeses, bread, and seafood. Executive Chef Peter Janiak will use these fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create a tasting menu that is sure to impress. Each course is paired with St. Francis artisan wines to showcase the region’s perfect harmony of food and wine. September 22 | 6:30 pm

Fall Wine Trail on the Wine Road

Join over 30 wineries for a day of fall adventure on the Wine Road.  Sip wine while enjoying the splendor of fall in Sonoma Wine Country. The event includes complimentary tasting of at least 2 wines at any of the 30+ participating wineries. September 23 | 11:00 am to 4:00 pm 

2023 Participants by Valley:

Alexander Valley: Alexander Valley Vineyards, deLorimier Winery, J. Rickards Winery, Pech Merle Winery, Soda Rock, Trione Vineyards & Winery

Dry Creek Valley: Amista Vineyards, Amphora Winery, Cast Wines, Coyote Sonoma, Ehret, Frick, G& C Lurton, Jeff Cohn Cellars, Mounts Family Winery, Pedroncelli Winery, Peterson Winery, Trattore Farms, Wilson Winery

Russian River Valley: Acorn, Balletto Vineyards, Baldassari Wines, Char Vale, Colagrossi Wines, D’Argenzio Winery, Due Ruscelli, Dutton Estate Winery, Landmark Vineyards, Limerick Lane Cellars, Merriam Vineyards, Sonoma – Cutrer, Woodenhead.

Global Sonoma Roots – World Music Festival

Connecting Sonoma County to the globe, the Global Sonoma Roots – World Music Festival will feature 12 bands on 4 stages across 2 days. The festival will be held at Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, a world-class performing arts complex in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country. The event will include food trucks, family activities, workshops and an after party. Featuring performances by Carlos Mejia Godoy, Las Cafeteras, Paula Fuga, The Reminders, Mariachi Herencia de México with La Marisoul, San Salvador, Tia Leah’s Neighborhood, Kitka, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, and Balsa de Fuego. September 22–23.   

Sonoma County Art Trails 

More than 120 artists from all over Sonoma County will be selected by an anonymous jury to open their studios to the public for this signature program of the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Utilizing the free collector’s guide (available both in print and online), visitors may curate their own art tour as they roam  Sonoma County, a place where the thriving artists community, superb cuisine and world renowned wineries intertwine. Blue signage leads the way to individual studios where visitors may view a wide range of art mediums including paintings, collage, drawing, printmaking, glass art, fiber arts, sculpture, jewelry and assemblages. September 30-October 1 and October 7-8 

Pinot On the River
The 20th Annual Pinot on the River takes place on Old Courthouse Square in Downtown Santa Rosa. Enjoy some of the best Pinot Noirs that Sonoma County has to offer as more than 40 small-production artisanal wineries join with guest artisan food vendors. Pinot on the River is a benefit for Sonoma County LGBT Pride, which is dedicated to enhancing the lives and well-being of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI) community and allies throughout Sonoma County. October 7 | 11 am to 3 pm.

World Championship Grape Stomp 
Grape stomping may have originated in ancient Rome, but Sonoma County can claim the World Championship Grape Stomp as our own. As part of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, the annual grape stomp in Santa Rosa invites people of all ages to compete in the winemaking tradition of crushing grapes by foot. “Stompers” crush the grapes while “swabbies” direct the juice into the glass jugs. During the final round, 60 pounds of grapes will be stomped for five minutes. Whichever team fills the jugs with the most juice wins. Costumes are encouraged. Attendees can access the event with a Harvest Fair entry ticket. October 14 | 11:00 am to 4:30 pm

Fogbelt Beer Camp at Wildhaven
Who didn’t love summer camp as a kid? Time outdoors with friends, late night slumber parties, and all the treats you couldn’t have at home. What if we told you that we have something EVEN BETTER than that? Fogbelt Beer Camp is designed for our rad beer lovers who’s happy place is with nature. This two-night adult summer camp features amazing Fogbelt beers, live music, wood-fired cooking and so much more, all at the popular Wildhaven glamping experience located along the Russian River in Healdsburg. Featured activities include wood fire cooking, coffee roasting, yoga, astronomy, live music, barrel aged beers, falconry, wilderness first aid, and brewing techniques. October 20 – 22

Candlelight Concerts in Sonoma

Candlelight concerts bring the magic of a live, multi-sensory musical experience to awe-inspiring locations like never seen before in Sonoma County. Taking place in various spectacular venues, these candlelit performances allow you to experience live music in a completely new way. Enjoy a wide variety of themes and genres: classical, jazz, pop, movie soundtracks, ballet, among others. From Bach to the Beatles, there’s a Candlelight for everyone. Vivaldi, Aretha Franklin, Ludovico Einaudi, Queen, and Coldplay are just a few of the artists in an ever-growing list of programs. Dates vary.

New in Transportation

Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport 

Sonoma County Airport (STS) celebrated the completion of its $40 million terminal modernization project, marking a significant milestone in Sonoma County’s transportation infrastructure. The unveiling showcased a modernized air terminal filled with upgraded amenities, new facilities, and local artwork embodying the spirit of its namesake, Charles M. Schulz – the beloved American cartoonist, and creator of Peanuts. The renovations boast 27,000 square feet of additional space, including a refreshed ticketing lobby, improved security lanes, a spacious main lobby with four extra boarding gates, dedicated concessionaires, and an outdoor seating area. Travelers can look forward to passing through a state-of-the-art baggage claim area fitted with two carousels, car rental spaces, and artwork that pays tribute to Schulz. Also, last year, the County of Sonoma partnered with ForeFront Power to build a 963 kilowatt (kW) solar energy portfolio at Sonoma County Airport. The new solar parking canopy at STS is now generating enough renewable electricity to offset 100% of the airport’s annual electrical demand.

Groome Transportation
Offering the same professional service with a fresh new look, Sonoma County Airport Express is now Groome Transportation. Now in their 17th year of providing direct service between Sonoma County and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Oakland International Airport (OAK), Groome Transportation offers easy, safe, and reliable airport-to-city shuttle to and from Sonoma County.

Recent Sonoma County Awards and Accolades

Two Sonoma County properties with superior service and pristine natural settings excelled in Travel + Leisure’s annual “World’s Best Awards” survey for 2023. 165,000 T + L readers included Healdsburg’s Madrona and Forestville’s Farmhouse Inn on their prestigious list of 15 Favorite U.S. Resorts of 2023.

Wine Spectator unveiled the 2023 Restaurant Awards winners, which honors the world’s best restaurants for wines. Sonoma County restaurants “Best of” Award of Excellence winners include The Matheson, Dry Creek Kitchen, Little Saint, and Wit & Wisdom at The Lodge at Sonoma. Award of Excellence winners include Valette and Salt & Stone. The Grand Award Winner was Healdsburg’s SingleThread. 

Sonoma County was recently named among the most incredible places to visit in California by travel show host Samantha Brown on her PBS television show, Samantha Brown’s Places to Love. Samantha calls out Sebastopol’s California Carnivores – the largest and most reputable carnivorous plant nursery in the U.S. – and Safari West, the Sonoma Serengeti.

Online restaurant reservation and review platform Open Table has included two Sonoma County restaurants, El Dorado Kitchen and the girl & the fig on their 2023 list of the Most Popular Restaurants for Outdoor Dining in America. The list highlights spots offering delicious food, beautiful views, and above all, memorable outdoor dining experiences. 

With its unique appeal and charm, according to World Atlas Healdsburg is one of the “9 Friendliest Towns in Northern California.

The MICHELIN Guide has named John Schafer, Director of Operations at SingleThread, as the 2023 California Service Award Winner. The Healdsburg staple is known for its innovative farm-to-table approach and is recognized as an industry leader in guest hospitality.

Katie Jackson, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility at Jackson Family Wines has been named as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s “15 Game Changers Who Are Reshaping the Way We Eat and Drink in 2023.” She has been recognized for her Rooted for Good initiative, which pushes four company goals—ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion; reducing water use; transitioning the Jackson Family vineyards to regenerative farming; and becoming climate positive by 2050. 

The July 2023 edition of Wine Spectator profiled 11 sites that set the benchmark for “California’s Best Chardonnay Vineyards.” Sangiacomo Family Vineyards, with 1095 acres of chardonnay grapes in Sonoma County tops the prestigious list.

Sonoma County’s Bib Gourmands awards were announced for 2023, following the July release of the annual California Michelin Guide. Receiving the awards were Healdsburg’s Chalkboard; El Molino Central, Valley Bar & Bottle and FolkTable in Sonoma; Khom Loi and Ramen Gaijin in Sebastopol, Stockhome in Petaluma, and Glen Ellen Star in Glen Ellen. The lineup of eight eateries is considered by Michelin Guide to be restaurants with “good food at a moderate price.”

Jordan Vineyard and Winery has made the 2023 World’s 50 Best Vineyards list. Ranked at #20, the Healdsburg winery was recognized as a “continent winner,” or the top vineyard in North America. It was the only Sonoma County winery to make the list this year and only one of two U.S. wineries in the top 50.

The results of the 2023 USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards were recently announced. Congratulation to our Sonoma County partners that represent 11 of the winners selected by USA Today readers from across the United States. Best Wine Country Hotel: #10 – Boon Hotel + Spa, Best Wine Festival #10 – Taste of Sonoma, Best Wine Tasting Room #3 – Corner 103, #9 Benziger Family Winery, Best Wine Tour Company #10 – Pure Luxury Transportation, Best Winery Restaurant #7 – The J Bubble Room at J Vineyards & Winery, Best Winery Tour #3 – Benziger Family Winery, #4 – Merriam Vineyards, #5 – Cline Family Cellars, #8 – Gundlach Bundschu Winery, #10 – The Donum Estate.

Recognized for their commitment to clean and regenerative farming practices and growing varieties that preserve the culture and history of Sonoma County and American agriculture, the Culinary Farm at St. Francis Winery and Vineyards has been awarded the ‘Snail of Approval’ by Slow Food Sonoma County.

The book “Charles M. Schulz: The Art and Life of the ‘Peanuts’ Creator in 100 Objects,” published last year, earned the 2023  Eisner Award for Best Comics-Related Book. Inspired by Charles Schulz’s recent centennial, the book offers a comprehensive look at the cartoonist’s life and work through 100 objects from the Schulz Museum’s collection, including original artwork, letters, and personal belongings.

Pushpak Historic Sonoma Wine Tour has been recognized as a Viator Experience Award winner for Beverage Tours in North America. Viator is the world’s largest travel experiences marketplace with more than 300,000 bookable tours, activities, and excursions. The Viator Experience Awards ranks the world’s top experiences based on average review ratings, share of bookings with a review, and number of bookings on Viator over a 12-month period from travelers around the world—setting the bar for the best things to do and see.

New in the Digital Landscape

For story ideas and inspiration, check out our “What’s Happening in Sonoma County” video series.  


About Sonoma County Tourism   

Sonoma County Tourism is the region’s destination stewardship organization. Inspiring travel to the region through a variety of sales and marketing programs aimed at consumers, meeting and event planners, the travel trade, and media, the organization strives to ensure responsible tourism helps create a robust economy for the Sonoma County region. For more information visit    

Media Contacts:     

Birgitt Vaughan, Director, Public Relations   

Chris Vomvolakis, Senior Manager, Consumer Public Relations    

[email protected]