WHAT’S NEW IN SONOMA VALLEY THIS SUMMER
SONOMA, Calif. – June 10, 2019 – From notable anniversaries, to new wine tasting offerings and a multitude of events, Sonoma Valley – a 17-mile-long valley within Sonoma County that encompasses the city of Sonoma and the villages of Carneros, The Springs, Glen Ellen, and Kenwood – has a variety of new offerings for travelers to enjoy throughout summer 2019.
In this edition – a major addition to the music festival scene in Northern California, the opening of A Chorus Line in the ruins of an old winery and a nanny you can hire when you need a little break from the kids.
Major events and breaking news:
Sonoma Harvest Music Festival, from the same people who put on the music and food festival BottleRock, returns to Sonoma Valley for the second year with an expanded run and major headliners. New this year is the addition of a second weekend, bringing tunes and wine country cuisine to Sonoma Valley September 14 to 15 and September 21 to 22, 2019. Headliners for the first weekend include Ben Harper, Lauryn Hill and CeeLo Green, with appearances by Iration, Mandolin Orange and the North Mississippi Allstars. On September 21 and 22, Chvrches and Death Cab for Cutie headline, with Walk the Moon, Misterwives, Silversun Pickips and Cold War Kids also appearing. Tickets go on sale June 12. More information at sonomaharvestmusicfestival.com.
Highlights of new and notable offerings throughout Sonoma Valley, include:
- MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa: MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa Executive Chef Cole Dickinson and Celebrity Chef Geoffrey Zakarian have officially opened their new restaurant Layla. The Mediterranean fine dining experience is named after Leilani Burris, great granddaughter of property founder David Burris. Layla serves breakfast, lunch and dinner – featuring organic, healthy choices with local ingredients. A sample of culinary offerings include ricotta toast and croque-madamsel for breakfast; cacio e pepe and steak frites for lunch; lamb tagine, chicken agrodolce and salmon for dinner; and pate de bombe and s’mores for dessert.
- Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa: Every Friday, from now until September, Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa hosts Poolside Happy Hour featuring its brand-new tiki bar, live music, outdoor BBQ and drink specials. Additionally, the property now offers the Summer Fun Package, which includes: room or suite accommodations, two Fun Flamingo beach towels, breakfast for two daily at the Terrace Grill or Poolside Patio, two Flamingo Mai Tais or specialty cocktails from the poolside tiki bar during Poolside Fridays Happy Hour and two woodfire BBQ entrées at the poolside patio.
- The Lodge at Sonoma: The Lodge at Sonoma now offers guests the opportunity to be shuttled around town in a vintage 1965 Volkswagen van. Available for use by groups and bridal parties, the van has become a must-‘Gram for guests to the luxe resort just south of the historic Sonoma Plaza.
- Café La Haye: Located just off Sonoma Plaza, Café La Haye now offers a weekly Tuesday grab and go wine country picnic dinner, coinciding with the Farmer’s Market. Starting at $20, in June, dinner begins with a chopped romaine salad with sweet 100s, feta, farm egg and Banyuls vinaigrette, followed by chicken breast with marinated olives, basil pesto, organic polenta and broccolini.
- Frenchie Picnic & Provisions: Frenchie Picnic & Provisions, now offers grab-and-go picnic lunches. The convenient and delicious picnic lunches include cheese, charcuterie and more, in addition to grab-and-go salads and sandwiches.
- Picazo Kitchen and Bar: Picazo Kitchen and Bar, an extension of Picazo Café, has opened off Highway 12 just south of The Springs. The family-owned and operated restaurant is the go-to place for excellent burgers and comfort-food in The Springs, highlighting the family’s signature recipes, household favorites and fun appetizers.
- Public Kitchen: The former Park 121 Café & Grill, located in the Carneros Corridor at Cornerstone Sonoma, has rebranded under new ownership as Public Kitchen. The café’s menu continues to serve favorites, showcasing its 25-year tradition of utilizing local purveyors throughout Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties. The eatery’s dishes are offered al fresco in a relaxed garden setting and indoors.
WINERIES & TASTING ROOMS
- Bennett Valley Cellars: Home to award-winning chardonnay, Bennett Valley Cellars now offers private tours of its 2010 established estate, Simpatico Ranch. The tours, which include a wine tasting, cover the history of the Bennett Valley and the Bennett Valley AVA, along with a presentation of the Zanin family history and their farming practices. The tours are conducted by Winemaker Toni Stockhaisen or one of the Zanin family members.
- Jacuzzi Family Vineyards: The Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Barrel Room is now home to a historic pipe organ, which is more than 100 years old. Originally gifted to the First Congregational Church of Sonoma in 1897, this pipe organ is the last fully manual organ in existence and is regarded as a rare treasure. Prior to helping celebrate events at Jacuzzi, the organ helped commemorate weddings, births, holidays and funerals for more than 100 years and is a part of Sonoma’s history. Jacuzzi Family Vineyards will utilize the organ during future events, and visitors are currently welcome to view the organ in the Barrel Room.
- Ledson Winery & Vineyards: Ledson Winery & Vineyards recently appointed Justin Kinkade as associate winemaker. Before joining Ledson, Kinkade worked under Kale Anderson at Newton Vineyard in St. Helena. At Ledson, he will be responsible for leading the winemaking program.
- Schermeister Winery: Husband and wife team Laura and Rob Schermeister recently opened Schermeister Winery tasting room in the historic Jack London Village in Glen Ellen. In addition to small-production pinots, the tasting room features an aroma bar to enhance the tasting experience. Look for the sculpture of wine bottles behind the bar – a unique take on their label.
- St. Francis Winery & Vineyards: New this summer, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards is offering Estate Pairings and Grand Tastings. During an Estate Pairing, an expert host will guide visitors through a chef-selected line-up of four exquisite wines flawlessly paired with lite, epicurean delicacies. The Grand Tasting provides visitors with an intimate introduction to some of the limited-release wine selections. Both experiences are offered from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
ARTS & CULTURE & OUTDOORS
- Active Wine Adventures: Encouraging travelers to get active while in Sonoma Valley, Active Wine Adventures has launched two new tours. The Sonoma Wine and Hike Tour #3 is an adventure above Kenwood. Enjoy panoramic vistas of Sonoma Valley and a great workout on this scenic and sunny trail. Then stop by a nearby winery with views of mountains and vineyards and then lunch at a restaurant or picnic at the winery. The Sonoma Ultra-Adventure Tour takes place in Northern Sonoma Valley where visitors can marvel at panoramic views of the valley and mountains while climbing up a rugged trail. After the hike, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Then we lead you to a high-end mountainside winery. Tour the winery and cave, and savor a private, seated estate tasting of exclusive, limited-production wines.
- Sonoma Valley Trail Rides: One of the few places to go horseback riding in Sonoma, Sonoma Valley Trail Rides recently announced its new partnership with di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art. This partnership combines the beauty of wine country and contemporary artwork by allowing visitors to ride horseback past artwork that typical museum visitors never get to see as the pieces are up in the hills above the museum buildings. Riders also receive admission to multiple galleries and a sculpture meadow.
- A Chorus Line! Under the Stars: Award-winning and renowned arts group Transcendence Theatre Company brings it’s first feature performance to the glorious outdoor venue at Jack London State Park in the village of Glen Ellen. A Chorus Line opens June 14. The iconic musical, which portrays young actors and dancers in the audition process, is one the longest running Broadway shows.
- Ace It! Bike Tours: Ace It! Bike Tours recently announced the launch of the Bodega Bay Bike & Hike Tour. The four-hour tour begins with a bike ride along the famous bodega harbor, providing views of sail boats and beautiful beaches, to bodega head. From there, guests hike on flat trails and view one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. On the bike ride back, the tour stops at the highest-rated clam chowder house in Sonoma County, where attendees will enjoy clam chowder soup.
- Jack London State Historic Park: In the heart of Glen Ellen, Jack London State Historic Park’s renovated House of Happy Walls has reopened with state-of-the art exhibits devoted to the life of the park’s namesake. Twenty two new exhibits commemorate the inspiring story of Jack and Charmian London. The exhibition, designed by the Sibbett Group and fabricated by Gizmo Art Productions showcases Jack as a true pioneer of his time: a conservationist, feminist, organic farmer, humanitarian and organizer for equality and opportunity among the working class. The second floor of the museum memorializes his wife, Charmian, telling the story of the paths she trailblazed as a woman and the profound impact she had on Jack’s life.
- The Ranch at Lake Sonoma: From June 9 through Sept. 8, from 4 p.m. until sunset, on the second and fourth Sundays, The Ranch at Lake Sonoma offers free, live music during the new Sunset Music Series concerts. Attendees enjoy local food, beer and wine while listening to free concerts that benefit local nonprofit groups. Music ranges from electric blues by Johnny Sansone to brass and soul by Spike’s Awesome Hotcakes. The Ranch at Lake Sonoma offers scenic horseback tours for all levels of experience, as well as providing a stunningly scenic rustic venue for weddings, corporate events, dinners, parties and other gatherings.
- 50th Anniversary of Sonoma Raceway: Stock car racing in Sonoma dates back to 1969 and in June, Sonoma Raceway is celebrating 50 years of racing during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event, June 21 to 23. To honor the raceway’s history and memorable moments, below are some of the 50th anniversary events, renovations and highlights visitors can experience during race weekend:
- New Course, New Challenge: The Toyota/Save Mart 350 will take place on the Sonoma Raceway original 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course for the first time since 1997.
- 50th Anniversary Book: To commemorate its 50-year history, Sonoma Raceway released an anniversary book filled with photo memoir chronicles of the raceway’s history, including its tumultuous early years, emergence on the national racing scene and transformation following its purchase by Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
- “Legends Chat” During Pre-Race Show: Race fans are invited to join a celebration of Sonoma Raceway’s 50th anniversary, on June 23, with three NASCAR legends: Ernie Irvan, Richard Childress and Hershel McGriff.
- Vintage NASCAR Stock Car Display: Race weekend will feature a display of iconic stock cars representing some of the most memorable cars and drivers from NASCAR’s history in Sonoma.
- “The Point”: Sonoma Raceway will debut a newly-renovated fan viewing area at “The Point.” The Point is the closest spot to watch drivers attempt the infamous 200-degree Carousel turn.
EVENTS & SERVICES
- Sonoma Farmers’ Markets: The Valley of the Moon Certified Sonoma Farmers’ Market is now open on Tuesdays from 5:30 p.m. to dusk in front of and behind City Hall on the Sonoma Plaza. The Sonoma Valley Certified Sonoma Farmers’ Market is open Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Arnold Field parking lot. The Springs Community Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Boyes Hot Springs off Highway 12. All three markets feature a variety of local produce, artisan specialties, heirloom treasures, live music and more.
- My Vacation Nanny: My Vacation Nanny provides an easy childcare resource for families, either visiting or local, in Sonoma. With the ability to book a nanny within four hours of requested time, nannies will come to an event, hotel room, vacation rental or house. Visit www.myvacationnanny.com to book.
- Gay Wine Weekend: Gay Wine Weekend, July 18 to 21, is a three-day celebration of food, wine and the ambiance of wine country for the LGBTQ community and friends. Celebrate this weekend with dinner, winery tours, after-parties, a drag queen brunch, a wine auction benefitting the Face to Face and the Sonoma County HIV/AIDS network, a pool soiree and a Twilight T-Dance. 2019 marks the eighth year of Gay Wine Weekend.
- Sonoma Harvest Music Festival: The intimate Sonoma Harvest Music Festival at B.R. Cohn Winery will return this year for two weekends, Sept. 14 and 15 and Sept. 21 and 22. The festival perfectly pairs great music with the best artisanal foods from Sonoma and B.R. Cohn’s selection of premium wines and Northern California craft beer, providing an experience that is reflective of the Sonoma Valley lifestyle.
- Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival: Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, a weekend of food, wine, art and a celebration of harvest kicks off on Friday, Sept. 27 with the Opening Gala and continues through Sunday, Sept. 29. Held at the Historic Sonoma Plaza, community members near and far gather to celebrate the grape bounty, community spirit and rich community history. As California’s longest running festival, it offers a unique opportunity to experience the arts, taste fine wine and gourmet food, while giving back to the local community.
About Sonoma Valley, California
Located in the heart of Northern California wine country, Sonoma Valley is a 17-mile long area within Sonoma County, and which encompasses the city of Sonoma and the villages of Carneros, The Springs, Glen Ellen, and Kenwood. The birthplace of the state of California, as well as the state’s wine industry, the year-round destination is home to more than 100 premium wineries, 85 percent of which are family owned. For more information, visit SonomaValley.com, or follow us on Instagram at @sonoma_valley, and on Facebook at @ExperienceSonomaValley.