Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, one of the country’s most prestigious wine events and Sonoma County’s largest food and wine fundraiser of the year, enjoyed record participation and attendance while raising more than $400,000 for local Sonoma charities.
The annual three-day, pre-harvest celebration — comprised of the 30th annual Showcase: Taste of Sonoma, the 17th annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction, and a series of vintner-hosted lunches and dinners — shines a spotlight on Sonoma’s unparalleled culinary, winemaking and hospitality heritage.
In all, more than 150 wineries, 60 chefs and countless hospitality providers and volunteers took part in the annual fete that drew a record crowd from across the country and around the world in idyllic wine country weather.
“We are thrilled with both the turnout and the proceeds from this year’s event,” said Executive Producer Maureen Cottingham. “This has been a challenging year, and we didn’t know quite what to expect. But everyone, from the participating wineries and chefs to the visitors who traveled here from all over the country, really stepped up to make this a fabulous event for Sonoma’s food and wine community and the local charities we support.”
Sonoma’s legendary Sangiacomo family served as honorary chairs for the 2nd annual Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, underscoring this year’s focus on the contributions made by Sonoma’s grape growers to the historic region’s world-class standing.
The weekend’s festivities began on Friday and continued into Saturday with a sold-out series of intimate vintner lunches and dinners hosted in the cellars, vineyards and dining rooms of Sonoma’s premier wineries. Guests enjoyed a unique opportunity to hobnob with their favorite winemakers and growers while enjoying feasts prepared by Sonoma’s finest chefs.
Some of the most coveted seatings at this year’s vintner series included Chalk Hill Estates, Hook & Ladder, Stryker Sonoma, Tandem, Paul Hobbs, Benziger, Lancaster, Quivira and the grand Honorary Chair Dinner hosted by the Sangiacomo family at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa.
Showcase: Taste of Sonoma was hosted Saturday on the grounds of the historic MacMurray Ranch in Healdsburg. The record crowd of 2,500 enjoyed a picture-perfect summer day, immersing themselves in the food and wine culture of Sonoma County.
Noted as “the largest outdoor food and wine event in California” by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, the Showcase featured 60 of Sonoma’s best restaurants including Cyrus, Bistro 29, Zin, El Dorado Kitchen and Syrah, together with more than 150 world-class wineries and countless artisan food purveyors gathered among the vines of the storied estate that was once home to the late actor Fred MacMurray.
Wine lovers and foodies alike were treated to endless examples of Sonoma’s bounty, from the Gloria Ferrer Bubble Lounge and Farmers Market to basket press demonstrations and sommelier-led AVA Tent tours — not to mention the unparalleled lineup of world-class food and wine.
For many, the highlight of the day was the Steel Chef Competition, which saw Sonoma’s culinary masters competing for the coveted title of Sonoma County’s Chef of Steel. After an exciting final round, this year’s winner was Ryan Fancher of Barndiva in Healdsburg.