Sonoma Sparklers: The Best Sparkling Wine for Weddings

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Pricey Champagne is traditional, while buoyantly effervescent Prosecco is all the rage and far less inexpensive. Cava from Spain, cremant from Burgundy and Alsace, and New World bubblies from Oregon, New York, Australia, and New Zealand all add dimension to the sparkling wine scene. Yet a wedding in Sonoma calls for Sonoma sparkling wines, the […]

Top 100 Wines: Meet & Greet Martha McClellan

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Open for a little more than a year, Hamel Family Wines is one of Sonoma’s most stylish — and ambitious — wineries. Evidence of that ambition? Owners George and Pam Hamel brought in Martha McClellan, one of Napa Valley’s most accomplished winemakers, to work with their winemaker son, John B. Hamel II, and their estate-grown […]

Top 100 Wines: Joe Benziger

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Cinsault , Lagrein, Mourvedre, Tannat, Teroldego … not your everyday grape varieties in Sonoma, but they’re a big part of Joe Benziger’s life. As winemaker at Imagery Estate Winery, Benziger never met a wine grape he didn’t like. Sure, he produces more recognizable wines, too, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, […]

Virgin of Guadalupe Pilgrimage in Sonoma County

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Some 1,000 people will walk the 9 miles from Santa Rosa’s St. Rose Catholic Church to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Windsor at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 12, an act of devotion to one of Mexico’s most beloved religious figures. On what likely will be a chilly early morning, the pilgrims will carry […]

Christmas Bird Count at Sonoma Valley

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Across Sonoma VALLEY on Dec. 30, folks will be counting birds, and they won’t include partridges in pear trees. The California quail is far more likely to be spotted when the Sonoma Valley Christmas Bird Count sends out 25 or more teams to identify and count species, by sight and sound, as part of the […]

Top 100 Wines: Know Your Vintages

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2011 It was a cool, wet and challenging growing season in Sonoma, yet experienced viticulturists and winemakers combined to produce excellent wines. But there were a lot fewer of them: Grape yields were down some 40 percent from normal, as growers removed unripe and rot-affected clusters so that the vines could focus their energy on […]

Top 100 Wines: Meet & Greet David Ramey

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He’s produced wine at Simi, Matanzas Creek and Chalk Hill wineries, and Dominus and Rudd estates, all of which benefited from his experienced gained at the Moueix family’s famed Château Pétrus in Bordeaux, France. Yet David Ramey found his final winemaking home in Healdsburg, with Ramey Wine Cellars, where he produces spectacular Chardonnays from Russian […]