In just a few weeks, Taste Alexander Valley unfolds over the weekend of May 17-19, 2013, in Sonoma County’s majestic Alexander Valley. Festivities begin on Friday night with an outdoor gala at Trione Vineyards and Winery. On Saturday and Sunday, May 18-19, twenty eight wineries will open their vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms for guests to enjoy the latest releases of their world class wines alongside wine and food pairings, live entertainment, and special wine discounts. The wineries will be welcoming guests between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm each day.
Full details for the weekend, a map of participating wineries, and tickets are available here. Passes for both Saturday and Sunday are $65 in advance and $75 at the door. Sunday-Only tickets are available for $45 in advance and $55 at the door. There are also significantly reduced designated driver tickets available ($20 in advance for weekend, $15 in advance for Sunday only).
Some of our favorite wineries participating in the 2013 Taste Alexander Valley are deLorimier Winery, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Hawkes Wine, Medlock Ames, Stonestreet Winery, Stryker Sonoma, Stuhlmuller Vineyards, Trione Vineyards and Winery, and White Oak Vineyards and Winery.
The food offerings are plentiful and varied on May 18th and 19th. Depending on the winery, you can find Red Snapper Ceviche, Wild Salmon Cakes, Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Gumbo, BBQ Pork Ribs, Meatball on Orzo, Cavatelli with Duck and Mushroom Ragu, Grilled Leg of Lamb Medallions, and Braised Beef Cheeks with Truffle Polenta. Or, you can find a range of Sliders made with Pulled Pork, Roasted Pork, Pork Belly, and Beef Brisket. Options for dessert lovers include Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding, Port-Filled Chocolates, Maple Bacon Brownies, and Raspberry-Jalapeño Brownies with Salted Caramel. To see a complete list of participating wineries, and what’s happening at each location, please go here.
Taste Alexander Valley’s three-day wine and food extravaganza kicks off on Friday, May 17 with the Opening Celebration, an outdoor reception and gala at the historic “Old Stone Winery” at Trione Vineyards and Winery from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Adding to the festivities will be passed hors d’oeuvres and a variety of seasonally influenced small plates prepared by renowned chefs/restaurateurs Josh Silvers of Jackson’s Bar and Oven; Jeff Mall of Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar; and Carlo Cavallo of Sonoma-Meritage. Tickets for the Opening Celebration on Friday are $95 in advance only, and may be purchased here. There is also a full weekend pass available for the best value price of $150.
Here are just some of the dishes available on Friday evening: Parmesan Crisps with Roasted Vegetable Goat Cheese Mousse, Chilled Spring Pea Soup with Minted Crème Fraiche, Zinfandel Cured Ham on Biscuits with Peach Mustard, Kobe Beef Brisket Encrusted in Sonoma Mustard and Lavender, and Lemon Tarts with Whipped Crème Fraiche and Berries.
The Steve Pile Band will serenade Opening Celebration guests while they enjoy reserve and library wines from throughout Alexander Valley. The evening’s festivities also include a Silent Auction benefiting the Alexander Valley School, with auction lots featuring private tastings and lunches with winery owners, proprietors, and winemakers along with access to private properties not generally available to the public.
Taste Alexander Valley (celebrating its 16th year) is the major event produced each year by the Alexander Valley Winegrowers Association. The Valley is best known for the world-famous Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that thrive here, but the gravelly loam soils straddling the river also encourage Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot to flourish. Alexander Valley is also home to Zinfandel and Rhone varieties, including Syrah and Viognier.
If you want to read about our favorite wines and tastes from last year’s event, please go here. After Taste Alexander Valley, if you are looking for other recommendations you can go here to see our Favorite Tasting Rooms and Food Stops in Alexander Valley. Or, you can use the drop-down menus on the navigation bar near the top of this page to see some of our other wine country travel advice under “Favorites by Wine Region.”