Definitely helpful, and generous, was the provided shuttle service from the parking lot to the 2010 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. I remember thinking to myself, “This will definitely be a boon upon the event’s conclusion. All that wine and food, sheesh.” But, I pressed on, entering the arena of wine world experiences, adventures. Checking the clock on my new iPhone, 11:01AM. Okay everyone, let’s stop thinking, and start experiencing, delighting…
If you attended the event for the first time, like this author, you may have felt submerged within the pulls of various booths tents, stands, and exhibits. As in, “Where do I go first, what should I taste first?” One would recognize Alexander Valley, Sonoma Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and the ravishing Russian River Valley. Emphasis not merely on wine, but cuisine, industry, culture, beer, and social media as well. As a journalist of wine, one is to note the who, where, when, what, why. Okay, great. But what does that journalist do when thereare dozens of dozens of each? Relax, don’t self-overwhelm. Walk forward, enjoy.
All in attendance did just that. Four tents, for each of the four major valleys in this bewitching county of Sonoma. Under the grand Sonoma Valley tepee, you found heavy hitters such as B.R. Cohn, Blackstone, Chateau St. Jean, and my friends from St. Francis, whom, as reality would have it, served as Honorary Chair for this year’s event. For St. Francis, Chef Dave Bush paired a small Romesco braised shrimp with ratatouille, cous cous, and sauce verde with the 2008 Wild Oak chardonnay, St. Francis’ more Burgundian-style chard. And, there were plenty equally impressive setups on either side, in every direction.
So much was represented, with respect to food. You know you’d leave a couple, or more, out if you tried to recall all culinary encounters. Each of the tents offered elegant trays of savory bites. This required a bit of discipline, not to devour each offering paired with a wine. One booth that pulsates in my memory is the Sonoma County Mycological Association, with its delicious mushroom spreads atop crackers. I had never tried a spread like this, and neither had the folks next to me. A delicious learning experience, garnished with bountiful education value. The association also offers camps, trips, meetings, and fairs, we learned.
Right next to the aforementioned, one of the county’s favorite breweries, Bear Republic. Okay, it’s my fav’. Racer 5 was poured, which was quite welcomed in the increasing heat paired with wine burnout. Not to say that any of represented wineries were bad. No! Just at the end of the day, which is when I made my visit, a cold crisp glass of Racer 5 is quite invited.
Social Media sage, Shana Ray, headed efforts in the social media lounge, appropriately dubbed “Taste 2.0,” sponsored by Snooth. Here people could charge their iPhones and upload wine reviews and pics. Many found this to be extremely useful, and accommodating, with the presence of MacMurray Ranch’s pinot, and snuggly sofas. Oh, and it was shaded, which was pleasantly purifying.
And, of course, the scenic superiority of the MacMurray Ranch. This is true wine country splendor. All around us, green. Pairing magnificently with the libations and cuisine. Not just scenic, but captivating. I observed countless attendees just walking, glass in hand, grinning, taking pictures with me. Catching the experience, trapping it.
This wine country weekend, of our gorgeous county of Sonoma, was a true wine country experience. In the end, you weren’t overwhelmed. You were fulfilled, please, enriched. Finishing this piece, I, like you probably, sail through my camera’s amazing stills and collected information sheets. More than a mere memorable wine country event, one which contributed immeasurably to the consumer, their knowledge base and appreciation of this life. Open a glass with me, and reflect. Sip, sip…