What a weekend. We knew prior the 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend would be a fantastic event, but all who experienced any of the fabulous events were treated to something grand.
Kicking off with a bang and beginning with a new event this year, the Sonoma Starlight Supper Club at Francis Ford Coppola Winery set the tone for the weekend. Patron guests entered the grounds early, enjoying fantastic wines and an inside view of the winery before being seated on the back patio overlooking the vineyards. Mark Stark, chef/owner of Stark Reality Restaurants welcomed these guests and prepared a multi-course, Sonoma-inspired meal.
General admission guests lined the sidewalk, making their way to the pool deck area, adorned with lights, tables, candles, bountiful amounts of food, and some of Sonoma’s best wineries. Twenty wineries from all over Sonoma County set up tasting stations around the party area and enjoyed chatting about their wines with guests. The trio including Jeff Mall, Carlo Cavallo and Josh Silvers of Culinary Cuvee prepared the buffet style and delicious seasonal cuisine.
The blue moon and stars helped set the mood for the evening after the sun set below the Alexander Valley mountains just North of Healdsburg. Music group Pride & Joy provided the live tunes making the night complete. Belting out hit songs from our past and cherished classics, the dancing began when the music started, and didn’t stop until nights close.
Saturday, on a cool and foggy morning in Alexander Valley, guests lined the dirt road leading to MacMurray Ranch Winery for the 33rd Annual Taste of Sonoma event. Quickly selling out, guests experienced Wine Country at one of the most coveted and unique events of the year. Taste of Sonoma offered guests thousands of wines from over 170 wineries and impeccable food from over 60 local chefs. The sun quickly burned off the fog and turned the day into a spectacular event. Walking around the grounds of MacMurray Ranch guests could experience musical acts, listen to informative wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, tasting tables and so much more. Prominent wine regions were represented under giant tents, giving guests a taste of what each region brings to the table and differences in wine. Chatting with winemakers, owners, tasting staff and more, guests learned about the wineries and wine tasted, some even pairing with their executive chefs’ bites. If you attended the Taste of Sonoma event, you can enter to win a FREE CASE OF WINE here!
We won’t soon forget the Sonoma Shambala—the Indian themed party culminating the weekend! The 20th Annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction held at Chateau St. Jean Winery welcomed acclaimed guests to the winery-led tables under a great tent. Before settling into seats for wine, a meal and bidding, guests mingled on the lawn of Chateau St. Jean enjoying small bites from top caterers and restaurants, wine tasting, Indian body paintings and more. Most guests arrived adorned in cultural garb fitting the theme, and enjoyed performances throughout the auction by a professional dance group. Lots sold for various amounts throughout the afternoon, all contributing to the local charities supported by the weekend event. The Boys & Girls Clubs were ever-present in guests’ minds at the auction, with one high-school student telling her emotional, tear-filled story about how the Clubs have changed her life. Bidding started high, prompting one donor to raise her paddle to the mind-blowing amount of $50,000, with more contributing at the $25,000 level, $10,000 level and so on. The dazzling ladies of Magnum Force wowed the crowd with their dance routine and carrying magnum-size bottles to be auctioned at the end.
Guests experience first-hand, the world-class quality of Sonoma County wine and food all weekend, and all for a good cause. The mission remains for proceeds to benefit local charities supporting Sonoma County’s students, children, farm workers and people in need. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend raised over $1.6 million for Sonoma County charitable organizations, and was a hit event in Sonoma for 2012.