A Feast of Festivals at Hand

    Wine festival season is in full swing, with lots of tasting opportunities coming up around the country.

     California’s Sonoma County, alone, will host two major fests over the next few weeks.

     First up is the 12th annual Grape to Glass Weekend, August 17-19 in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. Events take place all over the valley, and include a bike ride, Jeep tours, an auction, a barbecue and much more.

     What promises to be one of the more memorable events will take place at MacMurray Ranch – an estate we’ve featured in the wine clubs of Vinesse.

     Yes, the MacMurray for whom the ranch is named is the late actor Fred MacMurray, and his daughter Kate will serve as host. Planned activities include a talk by Kate on the history of the ranch, a tour of the restored homestead, a guided tour to the “high country” of the ranch with its magnificent views of the Russian River Valley, a western-style dinner, an outdoor showing of the 1942 film, “The Forest Ranger” (yes, starring Fred MacMurray), and plenty of MacMurray Ranch wine.

     We know it’s fairly late in the game, but you can check on last-minute ticket availability by calling the Russian River Winegrowers at 707-521-2535.

     If you’re not shopping for back-to-school items over the Labor Day weekend (August 31-September 2), consider attending the 15th anniversary edition of the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine auction.

     Bring along a sense of humor, because the theme for this year’s auction is: “The Wild Bunch — Is That a Magnum in Your Holster, or Are You Just Happy to Be in Sonoma Valley?”

     Because the auction raises funds for local charities, the tariff is stiff: $500 per person. However, there are some other ticketed events that aren’t quite so pricy:

      Palate — A fabulous dinner featuring the culinary talents of six chefs and the vinous wonders of 12 winemakers. It will be held at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. Price: $200.

      Winemaker Dinners — A variety of food-and-wine extravaganzas at various venues. Pick your favorite Sonoma Valley winery or get acquainted with a new name. Price: $160.

      EDITOR’S PICK — Taste of Sonoma Valley. A three-hour walk-around tasting at Sonoma’s Depot Park with the food and wine provided by 35 wineries and 30 restaurants. Price: $45.

     For individual event tickets or package information, call the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Association at 707-935-0803.

     One weekend later (September 8-9), on the other side of the country, New York’s Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest will be held.

     Hudson Valley vintners make all of the popular varieties, and most dabble in cold-climate-resistant hybrids as well. So here’s a chance to sample some varieties you may never have had before.

     For more information, call 845-658-7181.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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