What’s New in the 2024 Sonoma County Food and Wine Scene

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What’s New in the 2024 Sonoma County Food and Wine Scene

By A.E. Cook January 4, 2024

One of the qualities you’ll most appreciate about Sonoma County, with its quiet byways and evocative sense of history, is that the place can transport you back in time. Yet don’t be fooled: Sonoma County is constantly changing. On your next trip, enjoy both its lasting charm and its ongoing evolution—starting with a good meal and a glass of Sonoma Pinot Noir.

In the listings below, check out the changes and additions you can expect in the Sonoma County restaurant, winery, and lodging scene in 2024. Then fold these ideas into your itinerary for your next excursion to the area.

Your Sonoma trip will be seamless in light of the recently renovated Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, which completed a $40 million renovation last fall. An improved flight schedule, generous terminal expansion, and added airline carriers will make your trip to and from Northern California a breeze. We’ll see you soon!

Recently Debuted

Sonoma County’s buzzing food and wine scene is better than ever, especially with the addition of these new hotspots. 

Sushi by Scratch
Photo courtesy of Sushi by Scratch

Sushi by Scratch

106 Matheson Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 579-7916

Founded by former “Top Chef” contestant Phillip Frankland Lee, along with Margarita Kallas-Lee, a pastry chef, Sushi by Scratch first launched in 2017 in Los Angeles. Later, the restaurant expanded to Montecito, earning a Michelin star and celebrity following. Scratch specializes in Omakase dining, which translates as “I leave it up to you” and implies a chef-curated tasting experience. At the Healdsburg location, guests are invited to partake of 17 courses of nigiri ($165), or “new wave” dishes like bone marrow nigiri and hamachi topped with sweet corn pudding, sourdough breadcrumbs, and housemade soy sauce.

Golden Bear Station

8445 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA 95452

With the success of their smash-hit restaurant Animo to their credit, restaurateurs Josh Smookler and Heidy He sought new horizons—even if only just across town. In contrast to Animo (a high-end concept combining Basque, Korean, and Jewish influences), Golden Bear Station is a casual American brasserie welcoming diners with a rustic chic menu of pizza, pasta, burgers, and more. Situated in the heart of Sonoma Valley, the restaurant is well located near a range of vineyards and tasting rooms, as well as Wine Country day hikes. Smookler calls the cuisine “approachable” and prices are easy on the wallet.

Extradimensional Wine Co. Yeah!

27 E. Napa Street, Suite E, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 682-9324

In the brief time since its opening, this welcoming space off the Sonoma Plaza has already been named one of the “5 Best New Tasting Rooms of 2023″ by the San Francisco Chronicle. With his previous wine label (Dirty & Rowdy Family Winery), Hardy Wallace built a devoted following by exploring Mourvèdre and lesser known varietals. For his latest undertaking, he teamed up with wife Kate Graham; the two offer single-vineyard Grenache, Carignane, Sémillon, thoughtful blends, and more. Billing their bottles as “spaceships that transport wine lovers,” the highly creative couple host events that have included multisensory tasting experiences, beach campouts, and funk concerts. Every sip will take you places.

Barlow Tasting Tour

6770 McKinley Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472, (707) 824-5600

Housed in a former apple processing plant in West Sonoma County, minutes from the Sonoma Coast, The Barlow is a wine and culinary haven where winemakers, distillers, farm-to-table food producers, artists, coffee roasters, and restaurateurs thrive. Recently, the facility began offering guests a behind-the-scenes look inside operations of some of its most popular tenants, including II Fusti (olive oil), Wm. Cofield (cheese), and Pax Winery (wine). Tours last 90 minutes and consist of seven stops.

T.O.W.N Dinner Series at Khom Loi
T.O.W.N Dinner Series at Khom Loi
T.O.W.N. Dinner Series Desserts
T.O.W.N. Dinner Series Desserts

T.O.W.N. Dinner Series

Coordinated and hosted by Art Murray of Flambeaux Winery, T.O.W.N. (short for Traveling Off-Season for Wine Night) is an innovative food, wine, and culture series taking place exclusively in the off season (November through March 2024). Pairing elite vintners with restaurants and cultural offerings too, events have featured Pax Winery, A. Rafanelli, Diavola, and other local favorites. Weekend package options include accommodations, so plan to make yourself at home here in Wine Country.

Marla Bakery
Photo courtesy of Marla Bakery

Marla Bakery

208 Davis Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, (707) 852-4098

After establishing themselves as a Sonoma community favorite by offering a drive-through window from their production facility in Windsor, Marla Bakery has found new (perhaps cozier) digs for a restaurant in the heart of Santa Rosa’s Historic Railroad Square. In addition to reliably delicious fresh-baked breads and pastries, the shop offers a seasonal meal program that has included such delights as fried chicken and matzo ball soup. Yum.

Coming Soon…

Brigitte Bistro (opening 2024)

Fans of French cuisine will soon find a feast in Rivertown: Acclaimed San Francisco Chef Nick Ronan is preparing to open an authentic French bistro on the outskirts of downtown Petaluma. Its location seems to be a charmed one, as the building once housed the iconic Three Cooks Cafe, and later, local favorite restaurant Wishbone. According to signage in the windows, Brigitte will offer “love food wine passion life people.” Bring it on, Nick!

Stella (opening July 2024)

If you’re already savvy to the community favorite Glen Ellen Star, you’ll be over the moon to learn that its award-winning Chef Ari Weiswasser has plans for a second restaurant in the center of Sonoma Valley. With an Italian menu and Nor Cal sensibilities, Stella will (like Star) feature an open kitchen, bar, and wood-fired grill. Its menu will be “leaning into its pasta game” while highlighting local farms; its wine list will offer the best of the region’s small production vintners.

Where to Stay

From chic renovations to exciting new openings, these hotels have much to offer for a perfect Sonoma getaway.

The Sandman Hotel
Photo courtesy of The Sandman Hotel

The Sandman

3421 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa CA 95403, (707) 293-2100

After much anticipation, the retro-style Sandman Hotel has completed its glow up with a four million dollar renovation. Look for upgrades to its 135 guestrooms, a new two-story lobby, and makeovers to the pool area. Other enhancements include new landscaping, fencing, exterior painting, and outdoor lighting. In select guestrooms, you’ll find seating areas with marble-topped café tables made by Christopher Naefke, plus Parisian-style chairs from Design Within Reach. Situated in the heart of Wine Country, these accommodations in the center of Santa Rosa are conveniently located to all the small towns, vineyards, and country backroads you’ll want to explore.

Healdsburg Bubble Bar
Photo courtesy of Healdsburg Bubble Bar

Healdsburg Bubble Bar and Cuvee House

134 North Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Opening February 2024

With a planned opening on Valentine’s Day 2024, the Bubble Bar promises to be a bright addition to an already vibrant town. Helmed by Sarah Quider and her sister, former East Coast restaurateur Samantha Tilley—the bar and inn will be located inside a circa 1905 Victorian house that’s been reimagined with chic, Parisian-flat flare. With hardwood floors, period furniture, mid-century fixtures, and a grand bay window, the space is both grand and welcoming. It’s also one of the few homes available for nightly rental in downtown Healdsburg, due to strict zoning laws. To delight the palate, sparkling wine tastings will be offered by the flight, glass, or bottle. Book your stay and a tasting well in advance.

The Cotati Hotel
Photo courtesy of The Cotati Hotel

The Cotati Hotel

7700 Old Redwood Highway, Suite A, Cotati, CA 94931
Opening August 2024

Until now, the sleepy town of Cotati—locally known for its dive bars and quirky accordion festival—has remained the only town in Sonoma County without a hotel. Yet changes are underway as this 153-room converted space on Old Redwood Highway takes shape. With a boardroom, lounge, kitchen, fitness room, pool, and courtyard, the Cotati Hotel will be an inviting option for Sonoma County travelers. Stay tuned for its opening in late summer of 2024.

Conclusion:

Sonoma County continues to be a dynamic destination for wine tasting, culinary exploration, and relaxation, as evidenced by the evolving landscape of tasting rooms, restaurants, and accommodations. Whether you’re indulging in a glass of local Chardonnay, savoring a meal at one of Sonoma’s newest restaurants, or living the good life at a newly renovated hotel, Sonoma County promises an enchanting mix of tradition and innovation for an unforgettable visit this new year.