Sonoma’s food and wine industries entwine as closely as the vines trellised across its rolling hillsides. In Sonoma, food and wine pairing isn’t just an art - it’s an industry. And a hugely successful one.
Here, FoodableTV spotlights three wine country collaborations consumers can’t live without:
JoLe Restaurant | Calistoga
Combine wine country’s robust farm-to-table movement with a burgeoning artisan wine scene, and you’ve got JoLe Restaurant, a trendy, “casually sophisticated" hot spot in Calistoga. Long considered the gateway between Napa and Sonoma, Calistoga proves a perfect hub for this eclectic establishment. JoLe offers a constantly evolving wine list featuring more than 60 different wines, and an equally improvisational and seasonally-inspired menu.
JoLe sources about 90% of their wines from weekly ‘open tastings’ held with distributors, sales representatives and wine makers. By-the-glass price points range from $7-$35 per glass, and provide something for every palate. Owner Matt Spector especially enjoys showcasing small, local, often obscure wine maker projects.
Wine Country ‘Glamping’ | Patz & Hall Winery
As the groundswell for bespoke food and wine pairing experiences expands, one Sonoma winery leads the way. Patz & Hall Winery, maker of premier Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, opened their gracious Sonoma House in January 2014. From the start, it’s proven more than just another tasting room.
At Sonoma House, Patz & Hall showcases exclusive small-production, single-vineyard wines in an intimate environment. The winery, founded 28 years ago by four engaging, congenial partners Donald and Heather Patz, Anne Moses, and winemaker James Hall, offers guests an opportunity to partake in a selection of by-appointment only Tasting Bar, Salon, and Library experiences, each limited in group size, and guided by a seasoned Wine Educator. Club members also enjoy special events such as an annual sold-out lobster feed and posh release parties.
The Salon experiencepresents six featured wines with canapés designed by Napa caterer La Saison. The Library experience highlights limited library wines matched with delectables from area cheesemongers Two Rock Valley, Wagon Wheel, and Vella Mezzo Secca, savory artisan breads, and estate-grown fruit and vegetable medleys concocted by sommelier-on-staff Steven Harlor from the estate’s hand-tilled organic garden.
In 2015, Patz and Hall added to their food and wine repertoire with a lavish ‘glamping’ auction package benefiting the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. The indulgent three-day extravaganza, hosted at Sonoma House, included luxury tents, salon area, campfire and private butler provided by shelter-co.com, plus a private Patz & Hall Salon Tasting conducted by owner Heather Patz, exotic paella dinner prepared by ZuZu Napa, hearty breakfast at popular Fremont Diner, private tour and BBQ at Dutton Ranch, and formal 3-course meal in the Garden House assembled by Chef Armando Navarro of famed El Dorado Kitchen, served up with exquisite current release and library Patz & Hall wines.
The six lucky guests left intoxicated with their’ ‘glamour camping’ amidst the stars of Sonoma’s food and wine scene.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Perhaps the pre-eminent example of Sonoma’s food and wine industry pairing occurs during the annual Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. The tag line says it all: “Chefs serve. Winemakers Pour. And the proceeds matter.”
A joint venture between Sonoma County Vintners and Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Foundation, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend brings together over 200 top wine makers, growers and celebrity chefs each Labor Day weekend to benefits local Sonoma charities. Since its inception, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend has raised over $16M, and ranks among America’s top three charity events.
In 2015, honorary food and wine chairs comprise industry elites Jean-Charles Boisset of Buena Vista Winery and DeLoach Vineyard, Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane of Benovia Winery, and Mark and Terri Stark of Stark Reality Restaurants.
The weekend-long event encompasses dozens of Winemaker Lunches throughout Sonoma, a Sonoma Starlight wine, food and music experience at Frances Ford Coppola WInery, and Winemaker Dinners at participating wineries.
MacMurray Estates hosts the food and wine lover’s coveted Taste of Sonoma, where over 200 winemakers and 60 chefs share their most toothsome tastes of the region. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend concludes with its famed Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction and bevy of down-home Winemaker BBQ’s.
Forget wine and cheese. Or wine and chocolate. In Sonoma, the collaboration between food and wine industries proves the most decadent pairing ever.