Blaze a Trail: Signature Sonoma Valley

Signature Sonoma ValleyIf you’re looking to attend one of the newest premium wine events, the inaugural Signature Sonoma Valley takes place in two weeks and there are still tickets available.  This is your invitation to explore the vineyards and cellars of some of California’s most iconic winemakers and multi-generational winegrowers. There are three events to select from on April 7 and 8, or you can mix and match to create the experience you want.

This exclusive, two-day immersion into the lovely wines and welcoming community of Sonoma Valley features wineries such as Buena Vista Winery, Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards, Kistler Vineyards, Pangloss Cellars, Ram’s Gate Winery, Ravenswood Winery, Schug Carneros Estate Winery, Sojourn Cellars, The Donum Estate and Three Sticks Wines.

Sonoma Valley

Sonoma Valley

In southeastern Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley is the home of five different American Viticultural Areas (AVAs): Bennett Valley, Los Carneros, Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Mountain and Sonoma Valley. Vintners here craft premium wines ranging from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel thanks to the geographical diversity of steep mountains, rolling benchlands and fertile plains combined with local variations in climate.  Grapes were first planted in Sonoma Valley back in 1824 and there are now approximately 13,000 vineyard acres in the Valley.

Signature Sonoma Valley:  Prelude

The Signature Sonoma Valley festivities start in refined elegance with dinner at one of Sonoma Valley’s most historical settings: the spectacularly restored Buena Vista Winery. Founded in 1857, Buena Vista is California’s very first premium winery.  Jean-Charles Boisset, the winery’s proprietor will personally host guests starting at 6:00 pm.

Laurel Glen Vineyard

Laurel Glen Vineyard

A panel of sommeliers will hand-select a range of wines including rare and micro-production wines to ensure a special meal.  Featured wineries and growers that evening will include Buena Vista Winery (of course) as well as Amapola Creek Vineyards & Winery, Anaba Wines, Belden Barns, Dunstan Wines, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Idell Family Vineyards, La Rochelle Winery, Laurel Glen Vineyard and Petroni Vineyards.


Signature Sonoma Valley:  Immersion

Wine GrapesBetween 9:30 am and 2:30 pm on April 8, the Immersion experience at Signature Sonoma Valley starts your day with a vineyard tour guided by that vineyard’s experts.  Then, you’ll enjoy a facilitated tasting of wines made from grapes grown in the vineyard, produced by different vintners, as you listen to a discussion amongst the winemakers who crafted the wines. In fact, you actually have two vineyards to choose from:  Durell Vineyard or Kamen Estate Vineyard. After the tours, both groups will gather for a farm-to-table lunch at an agricultural preserve.

Durell Vineyard Three Sticks Wines PN

Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir

Option one for Immersion is Durell Vineyard in the southwestern hills of Sonoma Valley, where the ideal conditions for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes converge.  Rob Harris (head of vineyard operations) will be joined by Prema Behan (of Three Sticks Wines) and the duo will share their personal knowledge of the vineyard and what makes it so special. After the tour, the tasting panel will include Erich Bradley (Sojourn Cellars), Rob Harris (Durell Vineyard), Kenneth Juhasz (Auteur Wines), Jason Kesner (Kistler Vineyards), Ryan Prichard (Three Sticks Wines) and Margo Van Staavern (Chateau St. Jean).

Option two for Immersion is Kamen Estate Vineyards in the Moon Mountain District, known for its Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and its views of the San Francisco Bay.  Proprietor Robert Kamen will personally welcome guests along with winegrower Phil Coturri and winemaker Mark Herold.  The tasting panel will feature those three gentlemen as well as Master Sommelier Cristophe Tassan.

Schug Carneros Estate

Schug Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir

After the morning tours and tastings, it’s time for lunch.  With a 120-year tradition as a farm-to-table food destination, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel producer Beltane Ranch is a dynamic 105-acre agricultural preserve.  The Ranch’s reigning matriarch Alexa Wood, her children and winemaker Kevin Holt will welcome guests to their picturesque property. The featured vintners and growers at lunch will be Beltane Ranch, Canihan Family Cellars, Korbin Kameron, Landmark Vineyards, Sangiacomo Family Vineyards and Schug Carneros Estate.

The Immersion Farm Lunch by Estate Chef Lauren Kershner will include:

  • Artisan Cheeses with Savory Estate Jams and Chutneys
  • Marin Coast Oysters on the Half Shell
  • Terrine of Rabbit, housemade Beet-Balsamic Mustard, Garden Greens and Raspberries
  • Grilled Salmon with Asparagus and Maltaise Sauce
  • Duck Leg Confit with Warm Kale and Tahini Salad and Lemon-Brown Butter Sauce
  • Lebanese Rack of Lamb with Mujadara, Baby Carrots and Minted Yogurt


Signature Sonoma Valley:  Echelon

Envision yourself at an elegantly adorned table, making new friends as you enjoy spectacular food and wine. Now, picture that table being at a stunning winery featuring panoramic views of the Carneros Hills. Toss in a host, a Sonoma Valley wine luminary with a very special bottle of wine to share. That’s what the Echelon Dinner on April 8 offers you at Ram’s Gate Winery starting at 6:00 pm.

Donum Estate Pinot Noir

Donum Estate Pinot Noir

There will be 16 hosts at the dinner, each bringing something special from his or her collection.  Vintner hosts at the closing event for Signature Sonoma Valley include representatives from Auteur Wines, B Wise Vineyards, Dane CellarsGloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Sangiacomo Family VineyardsSojourn Cellars, Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards & Winery, The Donum Estate and Three Sticks Wines.


Signature Sonoma Valley: Tickets

To purchase tickets for some or all of these events, please go here. Prices for the separate events at Signature Sonoma Valley are:

  • Prelude (April 7, 6:00 pm) – $350 per person
  • Immersion (April 8, 9:30 am) – $175 per person
  • Echelon (April 8, 6:00 pm) – $350 per person

If you prefer, you can also purchase the Signature Package for $1,250 per person which will provide entrance into all three events: Prelude, Immersion and Echelon. Even better, this full experience package also includes Pure Luxury transportation to all events (from the host hotel, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa).


Signature Sonoma Valley:  Lodging

AAA Four DiamondIf you’re interested in lodging suggestions for attending Signature Sonoma Valley, you can follow this link.   Or, to make your weekend truly luxurious, you may want to consider these two options (both have received the Four Diamond Award from AAA and both appear to still have rooms available).

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa (Host Hotel) – This elegant Spanish Mission-style inn is blessed with a world-renowned 40,000 square foot spa and an 18-hole championship golf course. It is also one of the few luxury spa resorts in the country with its own source of thermal mineral water.  The hotel is offering special upgrades if you mention “Signature Sonoma Valley” when you call for reservations.  100 Boyes Boulevard, Sonoma  (800) 441-1414 

MacArthur Place – This lush 19th-century estate has been transformed into a luxurious inn and spa set among seven acres of spectacular gardens filled with original sculpture.  The Garden Spa offers over 40 different massage, facial and body treatments utilizing the flowers, herbs and plants found in the garden.  29 East MacArthur Street, Sonoma  (707) 933-3180 


SVVGA Logo2017 is the opening year for Signature Sonoma Valley, the newest premium wine experience from the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance (SVVGA).  Founded in 1992, the SVVGA is a collaboration of vintners and growers working together to promote awareness of the Sonoma Valley and its extraordinary wines and grapes, its incomparable climate, and its richly diverse terrain and terroir.


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