Sonoma County is about more than the wines produced from the region’s rolling vineyards—it’s also about the inviting community that’s sprung up around those vineyards. Thanks to this sense of community, every month in Sonoma Valley boasts a long list of celebratory annual events that welcome locals and tourists alike. The first and often coldest (though only by California standards) month of the year is no exception.
January 13, 2017
MacArthur Place Hotel
29 East MacArthur St, Sonoma, CA
MacArthur Place is a 64-room hotel and spa located just blocks away from the historic Sonoma Plaza. This event celebrates another kind of liquor in the heart of wine country, pitting local bars and restaurants against one another to see whose briny cocktail can win various awards like “most creative” and “best use of the olive.” MacArthur Place’s Saddles Steakhouse will be decked out with ice sculptures, olives and more for the 16th installment of this annual event, which thankfully includes a wide variety of appetizers to accompany the cocktails.
Located right off the main Sonoma Plaza, you’ll be within a quick walking(or staggering) distance for post event dining options if you don’t fancy a (delicious) steak from Saddles.
January 14, 2017 – January 15, 2017
Various locations and times.
Wine Road is a collective of 197 wineries and 54 lodgings located throughout Northern Sonoma County, which sponsors programs and hosts major events. The 25th Annual Winter WINEland is a great opportunity to meet winemakers, taste limited production wines, new releases, or library wines. All participating wineries will highlight a vintage, varietal or vertical tasting for the weekend. Ticket price will include wine tasting at all of the participating wineries for the weekend.
For only $52, you can take a weekend-long tour through wine lover’s paradise, sampling distinct varietals at every one of the 100-plus participating wineries throughout Sonoma Valley.
These types of events are a perfect opportunity to hire transportation. Imagine touring multiple wineries through out the weekend in comfort, luxury and safety.
Jazz in the Afternoon
January 15, 2017
Keller Estate Winery
5875 Lakeville Highway, Petaluma, CA
The Keller Estate is a family-owned and –operated vineyard and winery located in the upcoming Petaluma Gap AVA. Typically a visit to the Keller Estate requires a tasting reservation, but the winery opens its doors to all for their Sunday brunch, a $22 event that includes your first glass of wine. There will be food vendors to keep you satiated and cool jazz courtesy of Dorian Bartley and The Dorian Mode to keep you entertained in between marveling at the estate’s panoramic views of the Petaluma River and its surrounding hills.
Take the time to walk around the property and view their many art installations, none more impressive than their colorful antique cars.
Crab & Chardonnay
January 28, 2017 – January 29, 2017
Chateau St. Jean Winery
8555 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood CA
Chateau St. Jean is a European-style winery and vineyard founded in 1973, located in Kenwood, CA producing a wide range of red, white, sparkling, and dessert wines. So many people turn out for their annual crab feed that the event was expanded to two seatings in one weekend, allowing twice as many people to enjoy this rich, winning combo of shellfish and chardonnay. Get acquainted with their acidic yet complex take on this popular varietal during a gut-busting two-hour meal in the winery’s tasting room.
It’s crab season in CA and there is NO better time to dig into this delicious crustacean. Crab feeds aren’t fancy, wear your California casual and prepare to don a bib!
January 28, 2017
Various locations, Bodega Bay
As many as 15 seaside restaurants provide up to 1,500 attendees with the most delectable seafood chowder they can manage for Bodega Bay’s annual Chowder Day. Each $10 ticket includes a two-ounce chowder tasting from every participating location. Squeeze in as many locations as you can to vote for the best chowder, but save time to visit Bodega Head for whale-watching alongside knowledgeable lecturers.
Walk along the docks of downtown Bodega Bay between tastings to enjoy local pours and larger seafood portions from restaurants like Gourmet au Bay.