Taste of Sonoma Goes Virtual: 7 Reasons to Not Miss This Year’s Event

The event will feature a series of dates throughout September with at-home wine tastings, educational webinars, cooking classes and food pairings.

Taste of Sonoma has adapted its annual program of tastings and presentations by local chefs and vintners to an online format this year after the in-person event was canceled due to coronavirus restrictions.

The event, put on by Sonoma County Vintners, has planned a series of dates throughout September with at-home wine tastings, educational webinars, cooking classes and food pairings. Taste of Sonoma initially was scheduled for Sept. 5 at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens in Santa Rosa.

Here’s a look at seven virtual dates for Taste of Sonoma. Register ahead of time at tasteofsonoma.com, where you can also find more information about the event.

Wednesday, Sept. 2: Kendall-Jackson, with Winemaster Randy Ullom and Executive Chef Justin Wrangler, will present a farm-to-table wine and cooking class on Zoom at 4 p.m. For participants wanting to follow along with the wine pairings, Kendall-Jackson is selling a pack of three wines for $105 at kj.com/wine/sonoma-county-tasting-pack.

Randy Ullom, winemaster at Kendall-Jackson, will help kick off the Taste of Sonoma event this year. (C. Higley)

Friday, Sept. 4: “Sparkling Sonoma,” on Zoom at 4 p.m., will explore how sparkling wine is made and which varieties are produced in Sonoma County. Speakers will include Jen Walsh of La Crema, Chris Christensen of Bodkin Wines, Kathleen Inman of Inman Family Wines and Nicole Hitchcock of J Vineyards & Winery.

Wednesday, Sept. 9: Francis Ford Coppola Winery will host a virtual cooking and wine pairing at 4 p.m. with Sonoma County chefs Tim Bodell from RUSTIC, Dustin Valette from Valette Healdsburg and Mark Stark from Bravas Bar de Tapas. Each chef will demonstrate one course for a progressive dinner.

Friday, Sept. 11: In the “New Gen, Old Wine” webinar at 4 p.m., speakers will talk about the families of the Sonoma County wine community that have been participating in the business for several generations. Panelists will be Alan Ramey of Ramey Cellars, Nicole Bacigalupi of Bacigalupi Vineyards, Cecilia Enriquez of Enriquez Estate and Alexia Pellegrini of Pellegrini-Olivet Lane.

Wednesday, Sept. 16: Bricoleur Vineyards will present “Quarantine Kitchen” at 5:30 p.m. Executive Chef Shane McAnelly will host the virtual cooking class and demonstrate summer dishes.

Friday, Sept. 18: “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhoods” at 4 p.m. is a virtual tour, presented by The Press Democrat, of Russian River Valley neighborhoods and a look at the role each location plays in the production of pinot noir.

Friday, Sept. 25: In “Harvest Beyond the Grape” at 4 p.m., winery representatives will talk about the importance of biodiversity in Sonoma County, plus what seasonal produce they are pairing with their wines now.

Outside of webinars, the Taste of Sonoma website has a number of wine pairings and recipes from local restaurants to make at home, from a summer peach gazpacho to pan-seared halibut.

“We are thrilled to curate these exclusive programs to continue to show the world how our wine community and our essential culinary partners are unique,” said Michael Haney, executive director of Sonoma County Vintners.