WHAT’S NEW IN SONOMA VALLEY - HARVEST SEASON 2019
The 195th annual Winegrape Harvest begins in Sonoma Valley and with the start of “crush” come new openings, major hotel spa renovations and the chance to ride horses in the vines.
In this edition – artists in plein site, the longest running festival in California, the chance to pick your own grapes and new way to get around Sonoma without a car.
Major events and breaking news:
California’s longest running festival, Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, returns to Sonoma Valley for its 122nd year. The annual event serves as a celebration of the grape bounty during harvest season. The festival, happening Sept. 27 to 29, is held at the historic Sonoma Plaza and gathers locals and visitors alike. Beginning with an opening gala, the festival features daily grape stomps, a 5K and 12K race, wine tastings, an art festival and the “Get Your Glow On” parade. Attendees also enjoy music performances by The Kerry Daly Band, Levi Lloyd All-Stars, Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings, Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, Sue Albano and Scarlett Letters, Nicole Sutton and Luvplanet and Shana Morrison and Caledonia. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.valleyofthemoonvintagefestival.com.
Highlights of new and notable offerings throughout Sonoma Valley, include:
- Kenwood Inn & Spa: The spa at Kenwood Inn & Spa makes its grand debut on Sept. 1 following an extensive remodel. The new space features three individual treatment rooms, one couple’s treatment room, a private, outdoor terrace and a luxurious, private tub for bath treatments. Additionally, the spa has new separate men’s and women’s locker rooms and a poolside relaxation room. The spa menu features an array of face and body treatments, including a Rebalancing Facial, Cielo Bliss Detox CBD Massage, Espresso and Mud Detoxifying Body Wrap and more.
- MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa: With MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa’s recent full-property renovation, every moment is designed to awaken and engage the senses. Everyday activities are infused with unique sensory appeal and inspired by the natural and physical beauty of the garden property and Sonoma. New to the property, select guestrooms offer stunning bathrooms with open-air outdoor showers, adding a unique, sensory dimension to the bathing experience. The showers allow guests to gaze up at the speckled sunlight or starry Sonoma sky.
- Olea Hotel: As the final phase of Olea Hotel’s expansive renovation, the property recently unveiled two new Garden Cottages. Designed by Inspired Spaces of Santa Rosa, Calif., the Garden Cottages were built from the ground up and feature contemporary architecture and mid-century modern design elements. Each cottage features tall vaulted ceilings, an indoor/outdoor fireplace with glass tilework, a private outdoor patio with expansive views of Sonoma Valley and more. To maintain the vibe of the property’s other 13 guest rooms, Inspired Spaces brought in hues of blue, green, white and grey as a nod to the surrounding olive trees and newly-refinished sparkling pool.
WINERIES AND TASTING ROOMS
- Highway 12 Vineyards and Winery: After 11 years on the Historic Sonoma Plaza, Highway 12 Vineyards and Winery moved the Highway 12 tasting experience to the Highwayman Tasting Parlor location at Cornerstone Sonoma. The space offers both Highway 12 and Highwayman wines. To celebrate, tastings are complimentary through September.
- Meadowcroft Wines: Cornerstone Sonoma’s Meadowcroft Wines recently renovated its tasting room and garden patio, with the focus on bringing in the outdoors. The interior boasts new, comfortable seating perfect for the elevated tasting experiences and updated group seating able to accommodate groups of 12 or more. The garden patio also boasts upgraded furniture and a new standing bar area.
- Spann Vineyards: Inspired by Owner Betsy Lake’s father, Spann Vineyards released Lake Family Wines, a new brand to honor her family’s contributions to her career. The label features a reproduction of Lake’s original artwork. Four wines have been released as part of the label, including Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Petite Sirah 2016, Mourvèdre 2016 and Tempranillo 2015. Most of the wines contain a small percentage of other grape varieties blended in to maintain the Spann Vineyards signature style for balanced, smooth wines with flavor greater than weight. All four wines are available at Spann Vineyards tasting room in Kenwood.
- Sonoma Valley Trail Rides: Michelle Rogers created Sonoma Valley Trail Rides in 2018 to provide a unique way for locals and visitors to experience Sonoma Valley. The four horseback tour offerings are the Bartholomew Estate Experience, a 45-minute ride followed by a wine tasting; Vineyard Adventure, an hour ride with an optional wine tasting; Vineyard Excursion, a 30-minute ride through vineyards; and Art and Vineyard Experience, an hour ride followed by admission to di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art. Rogers’ team includes professional horse wranglers and wine specialists.
- eTrike Rentals: Similar to a golf cart, eTrikeCo Rentals is a new business offering electric tricycles that seat two people and leave enough room for shopping bags, sports equipment, handbags or other gear. eTrikes allow visitors to explore downtown, historic sites and paths with comfort and ease, avoiding navigating parking and traffic.
- Scott Nichols Gallery: Recently opened in the historic Sonoma Plaza, Scott Nichols Gallery is a fine art photography gallery featuring a combination of established, up and coming and contemporary photographers. Nichols, a Southern California native, has been a private dealer since 1980 and is considered one of the experts on Group f/64 and Brett Weston. The gallery is a member of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers.
- Women’s fashion boutiques: Mabel & Mae and Wildeflower: Sonoma Valley welcomes two new women’s clothing stores, Wildeflower and Mabel & Mae, both owned by Cindy Holman. Mabel & Mae’s features modern trends with a more muted color palate and fun statement accessories such as bags, sunglasses and jewelry. Whereas Wildeflower’s style is categorized as bohemian, highlighting fun, unique natural-fiber pieces and locally made jewelry.
- Cannabis - Sonoma Patient Group: Sonoma Valley welcomes Sonoma Patient Group, the longest permitted dispensary in Sonoma County. Established in 2007, but originated from the Caregiver Compassion Center in Santa Rosa in 2004, the Sonoma Patient Group focuses on helping educate its patients while providing a community service. The group seeks to remain a positive influence in the community by creating a place that is safe for those in need of healing.
ARTS & CULTURE
- Active Wine Adventures: Active Wine Adventures has added two new tours to its adventure arsenal. The Sonoma Hike & Wine Tour No. 3 leads attendees on an invigorating hike above Kenwood, where they will enjoy panoramic vistas of Sonoma Valley, followed by a seated outdoor wine tasting and lunch. The Sonoma Ultra Adventure Tour brings attendees on a hike in Northern Sonoma Valley, followed by lunch at a local restaurant and a visit to a high-end mountainside winery. At the winery, attendees tour the winery and cave while savoring a private, seated estate tasting of exclusive, limited-production wines.
- Sonoma 707 Candle Co. Candle Making: New to Glen Ellen and Jack London Village is Sonoma 707 Candle Co., where visitors can create their own candles. This experience allows guests to become Chandlers (candle makers) and mix their own fragrance, pour their own soy candle and create a custom label. For groups of eight or more, Sonoma 707 Candle will meet at a location of the guest’s choosing.
- Sonoma Plein Air Festival: Bringing acclaimed artists to Sonoma to paint, show and sell their work for charity, the Sonoma Plein Air Festival, Sept. 10 - 15, is a can’t miss experience for art lovers. Visitors can watch Sonoma-inspired works come to life in quick-draw competitions and out-and-about in Sonoma; bid on their favorite limited-edition art at a special dinner and gala; and browse previous festival winner creations in the 16th Anniversary Invitational Exhibit.
- Hands on Harvest at Meadowcroft Wines: On Friday, Sept. 20 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Meadowcroft Wines invites guests to experience harvest in the vineyard. Attendees will use pruning shears and pick grapes from the Meadowcroft Wines Cornerstone Sonoma vineyard during a harvest experience. Advanced reservations are required; to reserve contact the tasting room at (707) 934-4090 or email email@example.com. The cost is $80 per person.
- Harvest Festival at Landmark Vineyards: On Saturday, Oct. 5, celebrate Landmark Vineyard’s Annual Harvest Festival starting at 11 a.m. Festival attendees celebrate the bounty of harvest with barbecue dishes and live music paired with exquisite chardonnays and pinot noirs. Ticket prices range from $40-$60.
- Vintage House’s Jazz at the House: In collaboration with the Sonoma Valley Jazz Society, Vintage House kicks off a series of concerts called Jazz at the House on Sept. 21 with Chuchito Valdés. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.vintagehouse.org/events/.
- Sonoma County Wine Month: Visitors are encouraged to celebrate more than 60 varietals of wine and more than 400 wineries this October during Sonoma County Wine Month. All month, the county celebrates with special events and tastings, promotions and deals. For more information, visit www.sonomawine.com/octoberwinemonth.