SF: 10 Haute Wine Country Happenings You Can’t Miss

Spring is here and that means festivals and events galore in California’s celebrated wine country. Here are nine haute wine country happenings taking place this spring in the Napa Valley and Sonoma County that you won’t want to miss.

aimee mann yountville live
Aimee Mann

Photo Credit: Courtesy Yountville Chamber of Commerce

Yountville Live
March 19-22, 2015
Yountville Live brings together the sophisticated worlds of premium musical entertainment, culinary excellence and award-winning wine, while highlighting the talent and bounty of Yountville through concerts, wine tastings, exclusive dinners, elegant parties, private winery tours and more. This one-of-a-kind festival features live performances by platinum-selling artists such as Colbie Caillat and Aimee Mann; signature dishes from some of Napa Valley’s premiere chefs and restaurants including Chef Michael Chiarello (Bottega Ristorante) and Chef Richard Reddington (Redd and Redd Wood) and more; and the winemaking talents of over 30 local wineries. Yountville Live is indeed the paramount epicurean and entertainment event.

california's artisan cheese festival_ricotta cheesePhoto Credit: Courtesy Artisan Cheese

9th Annual California’s Artisan Cheese Festival
March 20–22, 2015
The United States’ premier public artisan cheese event brings together artisan cheesemakers, chefs, brewers, sommeliers, winemakers and passionate guests for three days of touring, tasting and learning about artisan cheese. A terrific roster of experts, including Cowgirl Creamery’s Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, Louella Hill, Sacha Laurin and Soyoung Scanlan, lead seminars and workshops on Saturday.


siff_ambiance___09Photo Credit: Robert Redfield

18th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival
March 25-29, 2015
The 18th Sonoma International Film Festival is an intimate celebration of unforgettable cinema, world-class food and fine wine on Sonoma’s historic plaza. It features over 90 hand-selected films including independent features, documentaries, world cinema, shorts and a showcase of Spanish language films, all screened in intimate venues. Fashionistas won’t want to miss the Celebrity Cruises-sponsored screening of “Dior and I” (on March 26 & 28), an exclusive inside viewing of the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection. Directed by Frédéric Tcheng, the film is a colorful homage to the iconic brand’s past and the pressure-filled components of high fashion.

calistoga food and wine

Calistoga Food and Wine
April 24-25, 2015
Six-time Michelin Star-rated Solbar’s Executive Chef Brandon Sharp, the Calistoga Winegrowers, Chef Reylon Agustin, from Traci Des Jardins’ The Commissary San Francisco and Chef Bradley Borchardt, from Expanding Palates, will co-host this two-day fest, which has expanded from its inaugural edition a year ago. The two-day wine-lover’s pilgrimage opens with the second annual Grand Tasting event featuring world-class cuisine, regional wines and live music, on Friday, April 24, at Solage Calistoga. The festivities continue on Saturday, April 25 with four Winemaker Dinners hosted at various local Calistoga restaurants and wineries.

Vineyard to Vintner brunch 2014
Vineyard to Vintner brunch 2014

Photo Credit: Courtesy Stags Leap District

Stags Leap District Vineyard to Vintner
April 24-26, 2015
Enjoy a weekend of “back-stage” access to the District’s vintners, wineries and homes. Put on your finest cocktail chic attire as you kick-off the weekend Friday by choosing among four intimate multi-vintner hosted dinners prepared by celebrated chefs. Spend Saturday at your leisure at one of the 19 District-wide Open Houses. On Sunday, there’s a Neighborhood vintner brunch at Silverado Vineyards, with fare by Meadowood Resort.

Passport13Selects109Photo Credit: Courtesy Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley

Prelude to Passport
April 24
26th Annual Passport to Dry Creek Valley
April 25-26, 2015
Every April, Dry Creek Valley in Northern Sonoma County, anchored by the town of Healdsburg, is the place to be in Sonoma County. The county’s premiere wine and food event features:

  • New and rare wines to try from 45+ family-owned Dry Creek Valley wineries
  • Incredible cuisine prepared by some of Healdsburg’s most talented chefs & caterers
  • Unique “theme parties” at each winery, immersing guests in the Roaring 20s, frolic in the South of France, follow the Yellow Brick Road, and more imaginative scenes
  • Live entertainment amidst lush vineyard settings

New this year, the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley debut Prelude to Passport, on Friday, April 24, offering guests the chance to spend time with their favorite winemakers and learn about grape growing directly from the source. Prelude ticket-holders will enjoy intimate vineyard tour lunches and exclusive winemaker dinners featuring unique themes and premium wine and food pairings.

taste-of-the-valley-014Photo Credit: Courtesy Alexander Valley Winegrowers

18th Annual Taste Alexander Valley
May 15-17, 2015
Taste Alexander Valley is a three-day wine and food event showcasing the wine country lifestyle of Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. Taste Alexander Valley offers guests special access to more than 25 wineries, each showcasing their delicious wine, food pairings and special offers. This year, Alexander Valley Winegrowers hosts the inaugural Magnum Dinner & Barn Dance to kick off the 18th annual Taste Alexander Valley. Enjoy an evening under the stars featuring live music by Supermule, a walk-around wine tasting, hand-selected magnums served by local vintners, and a seated gourmet dinner featuring the cuisine of the most buzzed about new restaurant in the area, Valette, located in Healdsburg.

IMG_9345Photo Credit: Manali Sibthorpe for Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Raymond 2012 Generations Release
May 16th 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
You can always count on an over-the-top time at Raymond Vineyards and this is the winery’s most anticipated event of the year. Proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset, winemaker Stephanie Putnam and winegrower Eric Pooler will be on hand to orchestrate a day of celebration that features the 2012 Generations expertly paired with gourmet culinary selections. You’ll also enjoy a special library selection pulled from deep with Raymond’s cellars and will get to glimpse into the future with barrel samples of Generations Cabernet.


BottleRock 2014
BottleRock 2014

Photo Credit: Courtesy BottleRock

3rd Annual BottleRock Napa Valley
May 29-31, 2015
This widely-anticipated event at the Napa Valley Expo in Downtown Napa brings the world’s top touring artists on four different stages, while master sommeliers and celebrity chefs rub shoulders with guests in an intimate festival setting. Dozens of the region’s finest restaurateurs, vintners and brewers offer the best in food, wine, and craft brews, to create an authentic wine country experience for festival guests. This three-day music, food, wine and brew festival kicks off with Imagine Dragons, who released their newest album Smoke + Mirrors on February 17, on May 29, followed by Robert Plant on Saturday, May 30 and No Doubt, who will close out the event on Sunday, May 31.

Tinacci_140605_6690_smallPhoto Credit: Jason Tinacci/Courtesy Napa Valley Vintners

Auction Napa Valley
June 5-7, 2015
Auction Napa Valley takes place amid vineyard vistas, art-filled wineries and private homes and relaxed al fresco tables throughout the premier wine region. The combination of distinct winemaking and culinary expressions of Napa Valley’s renowned winemakers and chefs have helped Auction Napa Valley achieve acclaim as the world’s most celebrated must-attend charity wine event of the year. This year’s highlights include:

  • The Live Auction Celebration, the heart and soul of Auction Napa Valley, with Meadowood Napa Valley’s pastoral grounds as the backdrop for a casual, al fresco lunch created by Napa Valley’s own Chef Michael Chiarello. In the evening, guests will sit down to an elegant, under-the-stars dinner crafted by Pierre Gagnaire, one of the world’s most renowned three-Michelin-star chefs.
  • The Napa Valley Barrel Auction at the new and uniquely designed HALL St. Helena winery, where guests will taste and bid on coveted wines directly from the barrel and will explore the winery’s lush landscape where more than 100 wineries will pour current releases and dozens of the area’s acclaimed restaurants will offer edible treats.
  • Vintner Hosted Dinners in intimate settings
  • Vintner Welcome Parties at locations spanning the valley.
  • Open Houses at host wineries