Good food, good wine, good gosh, let’s dine — pandemic or not.
That’s the mantra of a handful of Sonoma County wineries that have found sumptuous ways to feed and water customers as tasting rooms remain closed and restaurants await word on when they can reopen for seated service.
Winery chefs have been preparing high-end takeout meals paired with wines and cook-at-home kits. Wineries have partnered with food purveyors to deliver gustatory relief to those cooped up at home. And vintners have been creative in showing the virtues of great wine enjoyed with great food, even when their tasting rooms are dark. Here are some of the most inventive offerings.
Bella Vineyards + Wine Caves
Buy three bottles and get baked goodies free; that’s the deal from this Dry Creek Valley winery. Co-owner Lynn Adams cooked up the idea of delivering free, freshly-made pies, cupcakes, cookies, tarts and ice cream from local makers to those who buy three bottles of Bella wine at a time online.
“When pie and wine show up on your doorstep, you can’t help but smile,” Adams said. Each week she offers a different treat and selection of wines. Go online by Wednesday to see the featured dessert and order the wines. Adams, husband Scott and daughter Lilia deliver on Friday or Saturday.
The May 29-30 delivery will be of Noble Folk Ice Cream & Pie Bar’s “Cookies + Cream” — warm chocolate chip cookies and a pint of house-made vanilla bean ice cream from Noble Folk partners Ozzie Jimenez and Christian Sullberg. Wine choices include Ru’s Farm Rosé of Pinot, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir growlers in glass jugs; 2017 Bella Maple Vineyard Zinfandel and 2018 Bella Late Harvest Zinfandel. The June 5-6 deliveries are of Noble Folk “Ice Cream Cones,” a quart of Oreo Cookie, Cornflake Maple or Salted Carmel ice cream and four just-baked waffle cones.
While the Bella wines aren’t specifically paired to the baked goods, rely on the late-harvest zin to complement chocolate treats. Even more satisfying: 20% of wine sales are donated to Corazon Healdsburg, a multi-service organization assisting local families in need.
9711 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-473-9171, bellawinery.com/Wine-Shop/Home-Delivery
Pizza + Pinot To Go
A single winery isn’t behind this event, but rather a multitude of them. Sonoma Valley’s weekly pizza party is back, though with a new venue, day of the week and pickup-only service. Previously held at The General’s Daughter on Tuesday evenings, P+P has moved to Ramekins Catering, Events, Culinary School+Inn this year, as General’s Daughter is being outfitted for Georgette, a restaurant by former “Top Chef” contestant Casey Thompson. This spring/summer, Friday is the evening for pizza, salad and dessert for two, with a bottle of pinot chosen by Sonoma’s Best Modern Mercantile and Wine Shop sommelier Todd Jolly. Order ahead ($45 plus tax), choose a pickup time and stop by Ramekins for Friday-night dinner. Same-day orders can be placed until 2 p.m.
“I rotate regions, producers, vineyards and styles,” Jolly said about his wine selections. “The wines featured are selected from around the world. However, there is an emphasis on Sonoma County. Our chef sends me the pizza recipe each week, and I prepare my (wine) selection. It’s a fun task to pair the different cheeses and toppings with either fruity or earth-driven pinot noirs.”
450 W. Spain Street, Sonoma, 707-933-0450, ramekins.com/pizza-and-pinot-to-go
Ram’s Gate Winery
Take note, Blue Apron and Hello Fresh fans. This Carneros winery has the meal kit for you.
“Ram’s Gate in Your Kitchen” is a food and wine dinner kit created by winery Executive Chef Stacey Combs and Director of Winemaking Joe Nielsen. Each week, the two-course kit, which serves two, is available for pickup or delivery. The $125-$150 cost includes two bottles of wine. Optional cheese boards and desserts can be ordered for an additional cost; cooking and assembly instructions are included. Complementary delivery is available in Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties.
A recent menu ($150 for two) featured Little Gem lettuce, fava beans, watermelon radish, crispy shallots and buttermilk chevre dressing as the starter and a main course of Italian pork sausage and fromage blanc gnocchi with baby kale, roasted tomato and fennel sauce. Nielsen matched his 2017 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and 2017 Bush Crispo Vineyard Pinot Noir to this fix-yourself feast.
28700 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 707-721-8700, ramsgatewinery.com
Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards & Winery
Mac and Leslie McQuown grow wine grapes organically in Sonoma’s Moon Mountain District. Their deep involvement in micro-grid technology and conservation is a whole other story, but know this: their wines (a sauvignon blanc and two Bordeaux-inspired reds at $50, $85 and $150, respectively) are amazingly good and their devotion to matching those wines with foods made from ingredients they grow themselves is fervent.
Club members have access to food- and wine-matching experiences at Stone Edge’s culinary base in downtown Sonoma, under the direction of chef John McReynolds. During the coronavirus shutdowns, Edge To Go was created for the rest of us to buy locally-sourced gourmet meals and complementary wines for pickup in Sonoma and devoured in our homes.
One five-course offering ($40 for one, with enough for leftovers) included pea soup with crème fraîche and croutons, a flatbread of ricotta, kale and leeks, a “Tacu-Tacu” main of cranberry beans, basmati rice, pickled red onions and chiles. Dessert was a lime bar with toasted coconut. Seafood paella and pork loin also have made menu appearances. Each meal, offered Wednesday through Saturday, comes with a recommendation for a suitable Stone Edge wine, purchased at an additional cost.
139 E. Napa Street, Sonoma, stoneedgefarm.com/edge-to-go