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What’s new in Sonoma County

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Much like eco-friendly, green and sustainable, responsible travel has become a major buzzword in the tourism industry in recent years. By providing visitors with knowledge, resources, and incentives to offset their carbon emissions (beyond their carbon output), contributing to projects that enhance the destination (i.e. building a community garden), and spending tourism dollars in ways that support small or minority owned businesses, Sonoma County can say that it promotes regenerative practices and here’s just some of what you can expect to see if you’re visiting this Summer.

Recent accolades

  • For the third consecutive year, SingleThread, the Michelin three-star Healdsburg restaurant, has been included on the prestigious “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list, a curated collection of outstanding global dining experiences.
  • Barber Lee Spirits’ Bottled in Bond Rye Whiskey earned a Double Gold Award at the SF World Spirits Competition and might be up for Best in Class this year. Barber Lee Spirits is one of only 4 distilleries in California (and the only one in Sonoma County) that received a double gold medal for whiskey in the largest and most prestigious spirits competition in the world.
  • Based on a growing economy, access to parks and beaches, and an attractive, mild climate Travel + Leisure Magazine has named Santa Rosa as one of the “9 Best Places to Live in California”.

New hotels

Sea Ranch Lodge

The North Building at the Sea Ranch Lodge has been completely reimagined and now offers 17 new, intimate guest rooms for a quiet, Northern Sonoma County coastal escape. Following the complete restoration and revitalization of the Lodge’s public spaces in October 2021, the opening of The Sea Ranch Lodge guest rooms marks the final phase of its multi-million-dollar reimagination. San Francisco-based design collective NICOLEHOLLIS has concepted the new look for the guest rooms, creating an atmosphere of elevated simplicity that aligns with The Sea Ranch’s ethos: living lightly on the land.

The Spa at Dawn Ranch

After purchasing neighboring property Fern Grove Cottages and closing for a series of renovations, Dawn Ranch has reopened just in time for the summer season. Along with highly sought-after access to the Russian River, the property now boasts 81 accommodations, a new renovated South American-inspired restaurant and bar, a new full-service luxury spa with nature-inspired treatments, new luxury glamping tents are set to open in the coming weeks.

Timber Cove Resort

Celebrating its 60-year anniversary, Timber Cove Resort is the only Sonoma County hotel with unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean. Marking this major milestone, July 25-29, Timber Cove Resort will host a variety of 60th anniversary events including wine tastings and multi-course dinners, as well as fireside chats with guests Ninive Calegari, daughter of original Timber Cove owner, and architect Richard Clements Jr., and Mary Alinder, former assistant to Ansel Adams. Healdsburg’s homegrown chef Dustin Valette, owner of The Matheson and Valette is preparing a four-course anniversary dinner on July 29. Each course will be paired with wine from the Sonoma Coast’s Wayfarer Vineyard.

New restaurants

Goldfinch – Sebastopol

Goldfinch is a modern American bistro highlighting the comforts and spirit of Northern California cuisine featuring ingredients cooked on an open-wood fire that reflect the seasonal bounty of Sonoma County. New and Old-World wines are sourced to complement Goldfinch’s menu year-round, and thoughtfully crafted cocktails range from classic to contemporary. Goldfinch is committed to cooking with local, fresh foods that support Sonoma County farms, anglers, and purveyors such as Mycopia Mushrooms, Pink Barn Farm, Earthworker Farm, DMS Ranch, and the Joe Matos Cheese Factory.

19Ten Bar and Provisions – Santa Rosa

The owners of Windsor’s Kin and Healdsburg’s KinSmoke BBQ have opened an upscale casual restaurant in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square, turning the historic Jacobs building into a cocktail-focused eatery with pizza, sliders, and shared plates. Unlike their family-focused restaurants in Windsor and Healdsburg, 1910 Bar and Provisions will have late-night offerings and a full bar.

The Farmhouse Restaurant – Forestville

With years of experience in fine dining and prominent San Francisco Michelin-starred restaurants (Coi, Petite Crenn), The Farmhouse Restaurant has introduced Craig Wilmer as their new executive chef. Wilmer brings his version of avant-garde California-French cuisine to the Forestville location with a new menu that will feature seasonal and curated ingredients from Sonoma County.

Upcoming restaurant openings

Augie’s French Bistro – Santa Rosa

Downtown Santa Rosa will welcome a casual French bistro mid-summer, according to Sonoma County restaurateurs Mark and Terri Stark of Stark Reality Restaurants. The couple plans to serve classic bistro dishes like steak frites and mussels. Augie’s will become the eighth addition in the Stark’s portfolio of popular Sonoma County restaurants.

Kraken Kitchen – Santa Rosa

Chef Dino Moniodis (of Dino’s Greek Food and Zimi) is partnering with Three Disciples Brewing to open a gastropub at the Santa Rosa Plaza this summer.

Goodnight’s Prime Steaks + Spirits – Healdsburg

Another Foley Family Winery-owned property will open this summer. The much-anticipated steakhouse promises to be “a local pioneer in a new frontier of classic Western-styling dining experiences.” The restaurant will feature an adventurous cocktail program, a robust selection of bourbons, an expansive wine list, and the finest chops in the city.

Molti Amici – Healdsburg

Molti Amici, which loosely translates to “many friends” in Italian, is a place for friends and families to gather, share good food, and play a game of bocce ball on the back patio. Molti Amici’s menu features handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and more dishes that emphasize quality, simplicity, and reverence for local ingredients. The restaurant has a full bar with an evolving list of cocktails and regional beers and a wine list featuring Italian varietals. The Wes Anderson style and the warm hospitality at Molti Amici are meant to make guests feel like extended family.


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Upcoming events

Out in the Vineyard’s Gay Wine Weekend

Out in the Vineyard’s Gay Wine Weekend has made the move to the Russian River Valley and the Healdsburg wine region of Sonoma County, with all-new venues, wineries, restaurants, winemaker dinners, winery tours, pop-up bars, a drag queen brunch and auction, after parties, closing pool soiree, and the signature event, the Twilight T-Dance at Crema Winery Estate This year the T- Dance will feature live performances and more. The weekend of wine and celebration, benefits Face to Face, Sonoma County HIV/AIDS Network. July 14 – 16.

Wine Country Distillery Festival

The 4th Annual Wine Country Distillery Festival returns bringing together Sonoma County distilleries to celebrate their craft and share their spirits with locals and visitors alike. During the festival, attendees can sip and sample spirits from an array of local spirits producers, craft beverages, as well as small bites, a cocktail competition, a silent auction with live music adding to the entertainment of the afternoon. August 12.

Gravenstein Apple Fair 50th Anniversary

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Gravenstein Apple Fair, held at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol has a classic country fair appeal. Serious foodies will find plenty to do, from sampling fabulous local food, or tasting iconic craft microbrews and premium Sonoma County wines. Along with a running soundtrack of live music on two stages, the 2023 edition of the Apple Fair will offer the option to enjoy a VIP Lounge for cider and cheese pairings, specialty cocktails, and bites from local restaurants. The DIY Arena, meanwhile, showcases cheesemakers as well as Sonoma County chefs leading apple-inspired demos.  Last year, the Gravenstein Apple Fair earned the first-ever Green Resolution for events by Sonoma County Zero Waste, certifying the Apple Fair is 95% zero waste. August 13 – 14.

Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival

Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival brings excellent quality art, food, wines, and craft beers, as well as entertainment to coastal Sonoma County in Bodega Bay, California. Visitors can find a plethora of choices including BBQ oysters, crab cakes, seafood gumbos, key lime calamari, and vegetarian and meat options. The highlight of the festival is the Wine and Microbrew Beer Tasting where 30+ wineries and 20+ microbreweries pour their wines and beers. August 26 – 27.

Sonoma County Wine Auction

Named one of the top charitable wine auctions by Wine Spectator, the Sonoma County Wine Auction brings wine superstars, local celebrity chefs, and honored guests together to invest in the community. The auction is Sonoma County’s ultimate event, highlighted by exquisite wine and masterful cuisine. This year’s event features a Preview Party, Vintner Dinners, and a large auction. Events will be held at La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard. September 14 – 16.

Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival

Visitors can immerse themselves and revel in the most anticipated time of year, harvest. The wine community looks forward to hosting you at some of Sonoma Valley’s most historic and captivating locations, raising a glass alongside some of the most talented individuals in winemaking and winegrowing, and sharing in the excitement of another incredible Sonoma County vintage. September 29 – 30.

New in wine

Inman Family Wines

Inman Family Wines’ Winemaker and Owner Kathleen Inman is pleased to welcome guests to her Russian River Valley Olivet Grange estate vineyard for a new immersive “Sip and Stroll” tasting experience, which brings guests right into her regenerative and organically farmed vineyard as they sip wines made straight from the estate grapes. Kathleen leads guests through the details of her “eco-ethics” philosophy, which includes hand-tending the vines and cultivating a diverse ecosystem to craft wines that reflect the land on which they are grown. Kathleen has been a pioneer of organic and sustainable farming since her first vintage in 2002, taking steps to minimize the use of pesticides, cultivate a healthy environment that incorporates surrounding plant life and much more.

Jordan Winery

Jordan Winery has unveiled a picturesque new Honeybee art installation that uses soft pastel chalk on their concrete eggs. The use of concrete eggs as the canvas for the installation adds an interesting dimension to the project, as it facilitates a connection between the winery and bee population. The concrete eggs were introduced last year with the purpose of enhancing the purity of the Jordan Chardonnay fruit, and they will be used for the first time with the 2022 vintage. The concrete eggs provide a beautiful and unusual canvas to merge the worlds of art and winemaking, and to raise awareness of the significance of bees to Jordan Estate and beyond.

The Punchdown

The Punchdown Wine Bar + Bottle Shop has opened in the Barlow in Sebastopol. Lining the retail shelves are hundreds of natural wines from around the globe, including 100-plus bottles from Sonoma County producers and a broad selection from France, Italy, Australia, the country of Georgia and beyond. There is also a small selection of imported beer, as well as vermouth, sherry, and sake. A rotating selection of wines by the taste/glass and specialty wine flights are available for purchase at the bar, as well as a variety of tapas-style bites.



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