Grab your phone and put on your game face because it’s time to plan a trip to Sonoma County for the 2017 Wine & Food Affair on November 4th and 5th. Over 90 wineries are waiting for Foodies, Cooks, and Wine Lovers (or people who are all three) to come taste their wines, with each business preparing a special dish to sample along with the perfect wine. One of the many appeals of the Wine & Food Affair event is that every time you find a combination you like, you can buy the wine right there (possibly at a discount) and then go home and recreate the experience whenever you want.
The event’s website has the recipe for each winery’s featured dish you’ll be tasting that weekend. So, you could actually duplicate one or more of the pairings from the 2017 Wine & Food Affair experience the following weekend if you were so inclined. Or, you can let the wine age and then recreate a particular pairing at some point in the future. Food and wine pairing aficionados could also prepare their favorite dish from the weekend themselves and find their own best match with wines from their own cellar.
Last year, our favorite food and wine pairing was the Acorn Winery Sangiovese matched to Vegetable Rotini with Parmesan Cream Sauce. Our preferred combination involving white wine was the Chalk Hill Estate Estate Chardonnay and a Crushed Avocado, Grapefruit and Parsley Bruschetta. Collectively, our favorite wines last year included Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Charbono, Dolcetto, Grenache, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel.
This year? Dishes being prepared for guests at the 2017 Wine & Food Affair include Seafood Croquettes (Lauterbach Cellars), Wild Mushroom Risotto (Francis Ford Coppola Winery), Macaroni and Cheese (MacPhail Wines), Chicken Tamales (Stephen & Walker Winery), Braised Beef Short Ribs (Soda Rock Winery) and Indian Lamb Curry (Amista Vineyards). Once again, Wilson Winery is grilling their Famous Marinated Tri-Tip for visitors and if you’ve ever tried it before you know their Zinfandel, Garlic and Black Pepper marinade is just magical.
We know it will be difficult for you to select which wineries to stop at during this event (because visiting all of them ain’t gonna happen). Personally, we are consistently impressed by wines at Acorn Winery, Balletto Vineyards, Chalk Hill Estate, Fog Crest Vineyard, Longboard Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs, Sanglier Cellars, Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards and Stuhlmuller Vineyards.
For food pairings, you’ll find everything from Soups to Sliders to Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies at the 2017 Wine & Food Affair. In addition to the items mentioned above, some of the other dishes you can sample (and then find the recipe for) are:
- Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Chorizo and Balsamic Glaze (Holdredge Wines)
- Creamy Cauliflower Velouté with Crispy Shallots (Joseph Jewell Wines)
- Gorgonzola and Wild Mushroom Arancini (Portalupi Wine Co.)
- Mission Fig and Sweet Shallot Tart (Lancaster Estate)
- Matcha Pancakes with Caramelized Pink Lady Apples (Chalk Hill Estate)
- Bigeye Tuna Coconut Poke (DeLoach Vineyards)
- Fall Squash Pakoras with Plum Chutney (Jigar Wines)
- Butternut Squash Soup and Chardonnay Poached Pear Grilled Cheese (Kokomo Winery)
- Grilled Chicken Achiote (Fog Crest Vineyard)
- Three-Cheese Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms (Geyser Peak Winery)
- Lamb Shank Sliders with Black Cherry Mostarda (C. Donatiello Winery)
- Boeuf Bourguignon over Creamy Polenta (Balletto Vineyards)
- Tuscano Meatballs (Simi Winery)
- Shepherd’s Pie with Truffled Mashed Potatoes (Pezzi King Wines)
- Duck Confit Ravioli with Cremini Mushroom Sauce (Sanglier Cellars)
- Boeuf Daube Provençale (G&C Lurton Vineyards)
- NY Strip Sliders with Sweet Black Pepper Onions and Blue Cheese Sauce (Viszlay Vineyards)
When you’re ready to satisfy your sweet tooth, you may want to seek out (and explore the wine pairings suggested for) the Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies at Taft Street Winery, Cherry Cordial Crumb Bars at Korbel, Dark Chocolate-Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownies at Mill Creek Vineyards and Winery and Chocolate Cupcakes with Blackberry-Cream Cheese Frosting at Foppiano Vineyards.
Please follow these links for a complete list of participating wineries, a directory of the dishes that will be served that weekend, or to buy tickets for the 2017 Wine & Food Affair. On the list of dishes, Vegetarian and Gluten Free selections are labeled to also assist with your planning efforts. If you prefer more intimate wine tasting experiences you should know that (a) the entire event forbids buses and (b) some wineries have specifically requested groups no larger than 7.
We can confirm that the Wine & Food Affair event is a fun way to find new recipes to make at home, and while the level of difficulty may vary the recipes are reliable and do-able. Some of our favorite items from past years we have made ourselves are Apple Streusel Muffins, Ratatouille, Honey Harvest Tomato Bisque, Rigatoni Salsiccia and Roasted Pork Stew with Dried Plums, Sage and Fennel.
The 2017 Wine & Food Affair festivities take place between 11 am and 4 pm each day that weekend. Tickets are $80 per person for both days or $60 per person for Sunday participation only. Designated Driver tickets are just $30 per person for the whole weekend which allows the DD to enjoy the food and non-alcoholic beverages offered. Be forewarned that the Affair sells out each year so you should really go here soon to purchase tickets (but realize this event is for adults only so no one under 21 is allowed, including babies or children of any age).
The Wine Road is a travel resource made up of nearly 200 vintners and over 50 lodgings throughout the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys in Sonoma County. The association presents three major events each year: Winter WINEland in January; Barrel Tasting in March; and Wine & Food Affair in November. You can read more about the events, play with interactive maps of the region, and/or learn about local lodging options here to help you better plan this (or another future) trip to the region.