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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spring 2013 events in Sonoma County

Major events for March, April and May of 2013 in the Sonoma wine country.
A great time of year to visit!

Spring growth in the vineyards


1-3 and 8-10 Barrel Tasting. This event has gotten so big it takes two weekends and is still crowded. An open house of northern Sonoma County wineries. Some smaller ones that aren't normally open to the public show off their wines; other wineries just use this as an excuse to throw a big party. Some actually provide barrel samples and sell futures (the original intent of this event). It's Mardi Gras in Sonoma County. If you don't believe me then check out Healdsburg about 3 pm on Saturday afternoon. My advice: Make it a long weekend and start on Friday when it's much less crowded (but not all wineries participate on Friday). Info

16-17 Savor Sonoma Valley. Not to be outdone by the northern Sonoma County Barrel Tasting event Sonoma Valley has its own the weekend after. This one isn't all about drinking, but has food too, so the tickets are more expensive, but the crowd is a bit more subdued. Info

18-24 Sonoma County Restaurant Week. Fixed-price three course meals at some of the best restaurants you'll find anywhere. Info

22-23 Pigs and Pinot. Chefs and local Pinot Noir producers get together at Hotel Healdsburg. Info

22-24 Artisan Cheese Festival. The town of Petaluma is in the middle of a great cheese making area. Learn how to make cheese, cook with cheese, and cheese pairings. Bad place to be if you're lactose intolerant. Info

31  Easter Sunday. Many wineries will be closed. Call ahead to see who is open.


2-8 Tall Ships in Bodega Bay. Re-creations of old sailing ships available for boarding and cruises including a battle cruise. Info

Pick of the Vine. A benefit event with food, wine and music. Info

Battle of the Brews. People's choice beer competition at the fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. Info

10-14 Sonoma International Film Festival. "Break bread, lift a glass, see some flicks." Info

13  Taste of Olivet. Open house at nine Olivet Road wineries in the Russian River Valley just west of Santa Rosa.  Info

20-21 April in Carneros. An open house for over 20 wineries in the south end of Napa and Sonoma Counties--an area known for sparkling wine, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Info

20-21 Apple Blossom Festival in Sebastopol. The 67th annual parade and festival. Info

27-28 Passport to Dry Creek Valley. A pricey, but well-done, event at most Dry Creek wineries. Food, music, car shows, vineyard tours, etc. From the info on Manzanita Creek Winery, "Enjoy Tuscan style USDA prime New York steak grilled over hardwood paired with our 99 point Dry Creek Zinfandel." I'd love to!  Info

27 Butter and Eggs parade and festival in Petaluma. Celebrating the agricultural past. Info

27-28 Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival. The 40th annual, with everything from a boat parade to wine tasting. Info


5   Cinco de Mayo Festival and Tomale Cook-off. Music and tomales (bring your own tequila). Info

9-12 Bottle Rock Napa Valley festival. No, it's not in Sonoma County, but it's right next door and it sounds pretty cool with bands like Alabama Shakes, Black Keys, Blue Traveler, Flaming Lips, Primus, Wallflowers, and more. Tickets will go fast. There will, of course, be wine available. Info

18 Santa Rosa Rose Parade. The 119th parade and festival. Info

18-19 Taste Alexander Valley. A weekend in a beautiful area known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Over 30 wineries with food and wine pairings. Info

18-19 Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival at Sonoma Raceway (aka Sears Point, aka Infineon Raceway) celebrating 50 years of the Corvette. No, it's not wine-related, but you will be able to find a glass of wine somewhere. Lots of old, loud, smelly cars. It'll be awesome. Info

19  Amgen Bicycle Tour of California. The final stage is from San Francisco to Santa Rosa. Two things to note: (1) The Golden Gate Bridge will be closed early Sunday morning at the start of the race. (2) The route takes them through western Sonoma County to Santa Rosa where there will be road closures and a big crowd downtown for the finish. Info

25-27 Memorial Day Weekend. The first big weekend of the summer means lots of crowded tasting rooms in southern Sonoma County (closer to the SF Bay Area) and, of course, Napa will be a zoo! Late Saturday and Sunday afternoons will be the busiest--plan accordingly. My advice: Head for the more remote regions of western and northern Sonoma County.

Memorial weekend in Napa Valley     (just kidding)
Image from