Springtime Events to Enjoy in Wine Country

Panir is salted before being formed into a brick during the Farm to Table cheese making seminar during the Annual Artisan Cheese Festival. (photo by Crista Jeremiason)
Panir is salted before being formed into a brick during the Farm to Table cheese making seminar during the Annual Artisan Cheese Festival. (photo by Crista Jeremiason)

March 20-22
California’s Artisan Cheese Festival: Cheese is so much more than just a topping for a burger. Discover the diversity and excellence of California’s artisanal cheeses with three days of tastings, seminars, demonstrations, classes, tours and author appearances. Enjoy the best of cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk cheeses, and find out which go best with great wines and beers. $20-$135.
Sheraton Sonoma County, 745 Baywood Drive, Petaluma. 707-837-1928, artisancheesefestival.com

March 20-21
Pigs & Pinot: Dry Creek Kitchen chef Charlie Palmer is joined by a stellar cast of master sommeliers and celebrity chefs for his 10th annual, two-day celebration of Pinot Noir and pork at the Healdsburg Hotel. $125-$175.
Hotel Healdsburg, 25 Matheson St., Healdsburg, 707-922-5249, pigsandpinot.com

Richard Kasmier, owner/winemaker/cellar worker for the tiny KAZ Winery, dazzles his guest with a dance while pouring newer wines as part of the Savor Sonoma Valley weekend. (photo by John Burgess)
Richard Kasmier, owner/winemaker/cellar worker for the tiny KAZ Winery, dazzles his guest with a dance while pouring newer wines as part of the Savor Sonoma Valley weekend. (photo by John Burgess)

March 21-22
Savor Sonoma Valley: Meet winemakers, mingle with wine lovers, see original work by local artists and listen to live music when 17 Sonoma Valley wineries showcase 2014 vintage wines, straight from the barrel, and offer samples of new releases. Look forward to great wine and food pairings, too. 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. both days. Weekend pass $65, Sunday only $50.
866-794-9463, heartofsonomavalley.com

March 26-29
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival: See films on subjects that big-budget commercial studios seldom touch, when Sebastopol presents its eighth annual celebration of film with screenings at the Rialto Cinemas and other venues. Topics range from local to global. All-access pass $250; opening night $30; regular films and programs $10.
707-829-4797, sebastopolfilmfestival.org

Broadway and television star Audra McDonald returns to the Green Music Center on March 28. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)
Broadway and television star Audra McDonald returns to the Green Music Center on March 28. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

March 28
Audra McDonald: Stormy weather last December forced a postponement of the Broadway and TV star’s triumphant return to Weill Hall at Rohnert Park’s Green Music Center, but she’ll be onstage in March with show tunes, songs from classic movies, original songs and candid commentary. The winner of six Tony Awards and two Grammy Awards has some great stories to tell. Whether you know her from her four seasons of “Private Practice” or the live television version of “Sound of Music,” McDonald won’t disappoint. 8 p.m. $22.50-$115.
Weill Hall, Green Music Center on the Sonoma State University campus, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park, 866-955-6040, gmc.sonoma.edu

March 28
Battle of the Brews: The boom in craft beers has raised the profile of this 19th annual event in a region long known for its wine festivals. Sponsored by the Active 20-30 Club of Santa Rosa, the daylong celebration includes beer and food tastings and pairings, a professional brewers’ competition, the ’Wich Hunt showcase of specialty sandwiches by local chefs, and more. 1-8 p.m. $40-$95.
Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, 707-545-4200, battleofthebrews.com

April 11
Art Museum Opening Gala: The Sonoma County Museum opens its new art space in the former Conklin Bros. building with a tented party offering cocktails, music, dancing and its inaugural exhibit, “Andy Warhol to Kara Walker: Picturing the Iconic.” 8-11 p.m. $150 members, $200 nonmembers. The museum’s former home, the historic post office building down the block, will become the History Museum of Sonoma County.
425 Seventh St., Santa Rosa, 707-579-1500, sonomacountymuseum.org

The Annual Fisherman's Festival comes to Bodega Bay April 11 & 12. (photo by Beth Schlanker)
The Annual Fisherman’s Festival comes to Bodega Bay April 11 & 12. (photo by Beth Schlanker)

April 11-12
Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival: Built around the Sunday morning “Blessing of the Fleet” ceremony, the two-day celebration salutes those who reap the bounty of the sea, with food, craft booths, live music, specialty beers, wine from more than 25 Sonoma wineries and much more. Don’t miss the bathtub race and wooden boat challenge. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. Free.
Westside Regional Park, 2400 Westshore Road, Bodega Bay, bbfishfest.org

April 18-19
Apple Blossom Festival: Sebastopol celebrates its agricultural history and heritage with food, drink, crafts and entertainment. The 68th annual parade down Main Street on April 18 harkens to a simpler, gentler time. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. $10 general admission, $5 for ages 11-17 and 62 and older; age 10 and under free.
Ives Park, 7400 Willow St., and Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 High St., Sebastopol, 707-823-3032, sebastopol.org

April 24-26
Passport to Dry Creek Valley: More than 45 wineries throughout Dry Creek Valley open their doors on Saturday and Sunday to offer top-notch wines, gourmet food and live entertainment. New this year is the Prelude to Passport event on Friday, where guests can choose a vineyard tour and lunch or a winemaker dinner. 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $140 for two-day pass, $80 for Sunday only.
707-433-3031, drycreekvalley.org

The Cutest Chick contest at the Butter & Eggs Festival in Petaluma. (photo by John Burgess)
The Cutest Chick contest at the Butter & Eggs Festival in Petaluma. (photo by John Burgess)

April 25
Butter & Egg Days Parade & Festival: Celebrate Sonoma’s agricultural roots and Petaluma’s rich history at this 34th annual, all-day community festival. It runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the popular parade through downtown Petaluma starting at 11:30 a.m. Highlights include the Cutest Chick Contest for kids and the Cow Chip Throwing Contest. Free.
707-762-9348, petalumadowntown.com

April 25-26
April in Carneros: Spend two days celebrating Carneros, the region that bridges Sonoma and Napa counties, with 20 participating wineries, including three located at the Cornerstone Sonoma center in Sonoma. Enjoy food and wine pairings, live entertainment and barrel, reserve and vertical wine tastings. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. both days. $45-$50.
800-909-4352, carneroswineries.org

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