A 2500-square foot Wine Tasting Garden will debut May 11 at Santa Rosa’s seasonal Wednesday Night Market. Mixing of food, music, art and farmers, the popular downtown market runs from May through August and attracts nearly 100,000 people each year.
Plans include a 2500-square-foot enclosed area on E St. between Fourth and Fifth Street will offer tastings from six selected wineries each week. A $10 punch-ticket buys six one-third glass pours and wineries will sample between five and six wines each. Over-21 tasters are invited to relax at umbrella-covered tables within the new Wine Garden.
“This is about discovery and the tasting experience,” said board member Chris Denny of Santa Rosa creative agency, The Engine Is Red.
Of those already signed on to participate, Denny said that many are small or boutique wineries from Sonoma County, which will offer tasters a chance to sample wines they may not tried. Among them, Hook and Ladder, Peterson, St Rose , Simple Math Cellars, Martin Ray and D’Argenzio.
The tastings will not, however, be limited to Sonoma County wineries though they are given preference, according to Denny. Market organizers are still actively seeking applications and hope to have about 75 different wineries represented throughout the summer.
Aware of concerns about security and making the event remain friendly to families, organizers mapped out the project with the help of California Alcoholic Beverage Control, the city of Santa Rosa and local police. Wineries and tasters will be given clear guidelines for the tasting area, including a maximum of six one-third glass tastings for each person, not taking alcohol or glassware out of the secured area and security/age verification.
The addition of the wine garden is part of a number of changes and updates to the market since the addition of new market manager Janet Ciel and several new board members.