A Wine and Food Affair

It was a day that started out with fog and rain in San Francisco and ended with hot beef stew and Merlot at White Oak Winery in the Alexander Valley. The 12th Annual Wine Road Wine & Food Affair brought together 90 wineries from around Sonoma’s Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valleys for a weekend of food and wine set amongst some of America’s most beautiful views.

For me, the sold out event would not have been possible without William of Simple Hedonisms and Beth from the Wine Road. I was allowed to attend the event for free as I was covering it for my blog, but for just $65 for the full weekend, you can get a ticket to eat and taste at as many of the 90 participating wineries as you can visit. AND you also get a hardcover cookbook that includes the recipes for each food tasting the wine pairing that goes with it.

The Wine & Food Affair has been the same weekend as the Foodbuzz Festival the last two years, and I would definitely recommend that Foodbuzz festival goers check this event out sometime during the weekend next year.

Golden Gate Bridge

Our check-in point for the event was Sheldon Wines in Santa Rosa’s Urban Winery Village, a complex comprised of Sheldon, Krutz Cellars, MJ Lords Wine Cellar, and D’Argenzio Winery. In the future it will house a micro-brewery, a bocce court, and lots of enclosed patio space.

Our first few tastes included:

Sheldon: Petite Sirah-Braised Short Ribs & Gremolata

Krutz Family Cellars: Gumbo

Sheldon Tasting Room

Sheldon Wine Sheldon Wine

We fell in love with Sheldon Wines which, just like the winemakers, were warm, hospitable, passionate, and spirited. Unusually more into whites this weekend, I became an instant fan of La Naris, an elegant blend of Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne. We only bought a few bottles at Sheldon, but once my job situation changes, I look forward to stocking up on La Naris as my go-to white.

The Sheldon/Krutz/MJ Lords tasting room also offered roasted, hand-ground coffee that was smooth, rich, and perfect without milk or sugar. I could have sipped on that coffee all day.

hand ground coffee

Our next stop, D’Argenzio, was serving what ended up being one of our favorites of the day,  Short Pasta with Wild Boar along with two different Pinot Noirs, a Zinfandel, and a Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition to the wines on the list, we also tried D’Argenzio’s Sangiovese and Amarone.

D'Argenzio Tasting Room D'Argenzio Tasting RoomD'Argenzio Wines

The Urban Winery Village is a short drive from San Francisco and a worthwhile stop as you head North on your Sonoma County travels.

Lynmar Estates

Our next stop was Lynmar Estates where we sipped Lynmar Russian River Valley Chardonnay with Ester Cook Heirloom Leek Panini with Estero Gold Cheese & Nightingale Bread.

The panini were oozing with salty, creamy cheese and sweet leeks in crunchy-on-the-outside bread. I was all about Chardonnay this weekend, and the Lynmar was one of my favorites.

image heirloom leek panini

Lynmar Estate


Lynmar Estate

A quick stop at Martin Ray Winery so the husband could have Pulled Pork Sliders with Cabernet Caramelized Onions.

Martin Ray Pork Sliders

Martin Ray tasting room

And so I could browse around the tasting room and store which, in addition to some great Cabs, offered some cute holiday gifts.

Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon cork stoppers

Russian River

Our travels took us through the beautiful winding roads of the Russian River Valley and to our next destination, C. Donatiello, where we received a warm welcome from both the staff and the fireplace.


duck tostada C. Donatiello's food provided by Chef Christopher Greenwald Bay Laurel Culinary

C. Donatiello was serving Duck & Shiitake Tinga Tostadas and pouring two different Pinot Noirs.

C. Donatiello

C. Donatiello fireplace

C. Donatiello’s wines left us wanting to come back for more, and their spectacular gardens guaranteed a return in spring when more is in bloom.

image C. Donatiello

Our day wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to Kokomo Winery for Risotto with Camembert & Wild Mushroom and Délice de Bourgogne with 2008 Peter’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay.

Kokomo Winery Kokomo
Pappapietro Winery Pappapietro Winery

Kokomo is in the same complex as several other wineries, and as a result, we decided to visit Papapietro Perry for Wild Mushroom Soup, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel.

Mietz Cellars

And because it was just across the lot, we made a stop at Family Wineries of Dry Creek for the spicy deliciousness of the Smoked Fennel Sausage with White Beans & Roasted Tomato and to browse through some of these old cookbooks.

Family Wineries

Family Wineries

Like the Urban Winery Village in Santa Rosa, the Family Wineries tasting room was a treasure trove of great wines and a place you could easily spend an afternoon.

With a little bit of energy left, we made our way to our final stop of the day, the beautiful grounds of White Oak Winery in the Alexander Valley. We tasted White Oak wines this summer in Newport, and it was a priority to visit the winery on this trip.

White Oak Winery

White Oak Winery

White Oak Winery

It certainly didn’t hurt that they were serving a peppery Hearty Beef Stew a la Jesse with an equally flavorful Merlot. I don’t normally eat beef, but the steamy aroma from the stew, paired with the wine, and the chilly, gray day outside were too tempting, and I gave in.

White Oak Winery

This post only scratches the surface of the Wine & Food Affair. As you can imagine, an event spread through a variety of appellations showcases diverse wines, food pairings, and landscape making this an event you could attend year after year without repeating a winery, unless of course you wanted to (and we do!).

Thanks so much to William and Beth and to all of the wineries for making us feel so welcome. On such a busy day for them, none of the locations ever felt crowded, rushed or impersonal, a true measure of event success.

Interested in another wine-related post? I am the guest blogger at Delicious Dishings today! Check it out!

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Tags: Food, food and wine pairings, Sonoma, wine

  1. Enrico’s avatar

    oh my wow – your pictures only get better!!! amazing post here.


  2. Justin’s avatar

    Nice post! I’ve never been out to wine country, but these last few posts have made me want to go so bad!


  3. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

    Beautiful pictures! The tastings sound delicious, especially the duck tostadas!


  4. Daisy’s avatar

    what a special event! you are so lucky to have attended. What is really catching my eye of all these phenominal snapshots is this:
    Cabernet Caramelized Onions. those sound awesome!!!


  5. Karena’s avatar

    I’m sad we missed each other! We didn’t finalize our winery plan until we got there and I didn’t think to get your number :( We ended up at C. Donatiello later in the afternoon and I LOVED their tostadas and the grounds! Kokomo (one of the few I remembered you mentioning) was on our list, but there was a crazy line by the time we got there. Ah well…next year!


    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      Next year we HAVE to meet up! I am definitely planning on going to Wine & Food Affair again, not sure about Foodbuzz Festival, but if I don’t go to that then we can do the whole weekend in Sonoma! :)


    2. Grace’s avatar

      I have been wanting to go to the Wine & Food Affair for years. This post makes it a definite I am going next year!


    3. Kare’s avatar

      Ahhhh, lovely! Sonoma is one of my favorite areas in the U.S. My guy and I spent a few days in the Dry Creek Valley a couple of Autumns ago and have been dying to go back ever since…


    4. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)’s avatar

      Excellent pics! Those pulled pork sliders look YUMMY!


    5. Elina’s avatar

      Oh man, I wish I stayed for this event. Maybe next year :)


    6. Jason Phelps’s avatar

      I would love to hear your notes on the wines and how they paired with the foods!



      1. traveleatlove’s avatar

        I was thinking of writing some separate posts to cover the tasting at each winery. I didn’t want to get too into detail or this post would have been 5 times as long!


      2. Eileen’s avatar

        I love food and wine tastings combined. There is always so much to see, taste, and learn. Thanks for sharing your experience!


      3. alicia’s avatar

        This sounds like a great event. I might have to go to foodbuzz festival next year and tack on this little adventure. A day of food and wine pairings sounds like heaven on earth.


      4. Judy’s avatar

        I was disappointed to miss the Sonoma event. It looks wonderful. We recently discovered Martin Ray and loved it. I would enjoy more posts on the specifics of the pairings.


      5. Terri’s avatar

        I hope to be able to visit wine country one day! You have some great ideas on where to go in Sonoma!


      6. Marcy’s avatar

        I am going to Sonoma for the first time in a few weeks and I greatly appreciate this post. I am glad you got the opportunity to attend this event. I am going to look for it in the future. It sounds like a wonderful deal.


        1. traveleatlove’s avatar

          Have fun in Sonoma! Please feel free to email me for recommendations, it is one of my favorite topics! :-)


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