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Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is the unofficial closer to the summer in Sonoma, though all of us who have been there after Labor Day know that the weather remains absolutely gorgeous, and there’s some sort of fun event happening all the time.

We didn’t purposely book our Healdsburg trip for Wine Country Weekend, but we ended up there at the same time and decided to take advantage of one of the many winemaker lunches happening in the county. On our first full day we headed to Healdsburg for lunch with Zazu Kitchen and Farm at Davis Family Vineyards

Davis Family Vineyards

Davis is right on the Russian River, not far from where we picked up our canoe trip, and their space is marked by a beautiful garden area and outdoor dining pavilion, perfect for a winemaker lunch.

It was a warm and humid day, and we were excited to try Davis Family Vineyards wine, so we were thrilled when we were welcomed with their  2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay.

Davis Family Vineyards Chardonnay

We fell in love with this wine in a sip. Apple pie and lemon notes presented themselves first and faded into a warm, caramel-y richness that comes from being aged in French oak. We had time to take our wine and wander the gardens before being seated, and I was pretty much in heaven.

Davis Family Vineyards Chardonnay

Davis Family Vineyards garden

Our chef for the day was from Zazu; we loved their old restaurant in Santa Rosa and they have taken off since, moving to The Barlow in Sebastapol.   Zazu is known for their snout to tail approach to food, and their meats are always exquisite.

winemakers lunch with Zazu

Lunch was served at long communal tables, and we had such a fun group of neighbors! By the end of lunch, we had exchanged business cards, along with lots of wine country stories. I love sharing food, wine, and laughs with good people!

winemaker lunch at Davis Family Vineyards

When we weren’t chatting, we were served some pretty incredible food and wine and warmth from both the winery and Zazu. It just kept coming!

image

{Macbryde Peach + Star Anise Pork Belly Salad}

Guy Davis

{Winemaker Guy Davis}

Somewhere during the meal, owner and winemaker Guy Davis stood up and talked a little bit about the winery, harvest, which had just started, and the lunch wines we were thoroughly enjoying.

Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

{Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir}

 

Davis Family wine

Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

{Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir}

image

{Liberty Duck Sausage, Bean + Farro Salad, Fennel Confit}

Davis Family Vineyards

fruit cobbler

{Plum + Blackberry Cobbler, Ginger Gelato}

The winery was beyond generous with the wines they shared with us, and I was so a bad blogger, so busy having fun that I didn’t photograph all of them. But I do remember them, especially their incredible Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and the Cuvee Luke, a blend of Marsanne, Rousanne, and Viognier. The Cuvee Luke is my kind of white wine; nice body and slightly heavy mouthfeel, floral notes leading into rich baked peach and pear notes with some minerals on the finish, a wine that stays with you for a long time. I did my best to sample and pour out some of the wines, but the Cuvee Luke, I definitely finished.

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend can be crowded at times, but we did not see that at all. Our choice of this lunch was perfect; it combined beautiful outdoor dining with delicious food from one of our favorite Sonoma County restaurants, and new-to-us wines that we loved. It was perfect.

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Tags: events, gardens, Healdsburg, Sonoma County, Travel, travel blog, vineyard, wine, wine blog, wine blogger, wine country, wine lunch, wine tasting, winemaker, winery

A food tour of wine country seemed like the perfect thing for a Wine Wednesday post! Just like I heard about River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips from The Wine Road, I received an introduction to Tammy from Savor Healdsburg Food Tours from them as well.  We woke up bright and early on Sunday morning of our Healdsburg stay and enjoyed another morning of coffee at our country cottage before heading into town for the food tour.

The Farm to Table Tour, which we were on, had five stops, all unique and filling us with good food and wine, so I am going to break it up into a couple of posts to make sure I can cover all the stops.

We met Tammy and the rest of our small group in the Healdsburg Plaza, a wonderful place to hang out, enjoy the gorgeous weather, and people watch.

After some background information on Healdsburg (one of the best places on earth, in my opinion), we headed to our first stop, The Wurst.

The Wurst, Healdsburg

The Wurst was opened by Detroit native Charles Bell, who brings some flavors and ingredients of the Midwest to California. And if you are in the mood for something hearty, fun, and flavorful, this is the spot.

Our tour grabbed a couple of outside tables; where else would you want to be when it is a perfect California summer day?! Our table was quickly filled with baskets of fries, dipping sauces, and the sausages that make The Wurst famous around town. Favorites included the sweet potato fries (perfectly soft and crunchy)  in beer mustard and the Harissa Hottie sausage (pork, beef apricot, Harissa spice, habanero chili, coriander). You know if there’s spice, I am on it! The Polish sausage was a close second; the flavors reminded me of Easter dinners with Eastern European family.

 

flavored ketchups

We loved The Wurst’s laid back feel and casual fare, and the service was warm and friendly. It was a great way to start the tour, and we left feeling a little full already!

The Wurst, Healdsburg

Luckily we had a short walk to get ready for our next stop, one of my new favorite spots, Healdsburg SHED. This large, open, and airy restaurant/café/shop is a food lover’s paradise and the perfect place to start your day in Healdsburg, especially if you have a wine country picnic in mind.

SHED Healdsbug

It has everything you could possibly want and is buzzing with energy, excitement, and great smells. One of their unique features is their fermentation bar, which serves up kombucha, kefir, and shrubs. I love fermented drinks of all sorts but especially love these healthy ones!

fermentation bar, SHED Healdsbug

SHED serves up two different wood fired pizzas daily, in addition to all sorts of other specialties.

SHED Healdsburg

 

SHED Healdsburg

There are meats and cheeses, prepared foods, garden supplies, cook books, flowers, and so much more. SHED also offers all sorts of classes on learning different things like canning, fermenting, and more. You could easily visit and spend a whole day (and a whole lot of money) at this beautiful spot. I am officially in love.

SHED Healdsburg

The highlight of our visit was of course getting to sample some of the culinary delights SHED has to offer. The heat outside didn’t stand a chance against this refreshing shrub, made with fresh fruit and vinegar. It was lightly sweet, tangy, and cool; the perfect drink for a summer day.

shrub

We also shared one of the pizzas of the day, a thin, perfect crust dotted with cheese, jalapeno and shishito peppers. The mezze plate of the day was a favorite of everyone, especially the big block of feta and the bright, earthy beet tzatziki. Every bite was delicious, and as we went along, the group chatted more. It’s always fun when you have a group that clicks, and we really enjoyed everyone along the journey.

SHED Healdsburg mezze platter

Both The Wurst and SHED are Healdsburg businesses that we would definitely revisit. I love food tours and the way that they give you a taste of a variety of places; they’re ideal for the beginning of a trip to help set the tone and plan for the rest of the time there. Or, like for us, they make it even more enticing to plan a trip back. . .

Stay tuned for the next stops on the Savor Healdsburg Food Tour, where we’ll taste local wine, chow down on tapas, and finish with a sweet cupcake treat!

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Tags: California. Sonoma County, food tours, Healdsburg, Savor Healdsburg Food Tours, Travel, travel blog, wine, wine blog, wine country

In moments of distraction, my mind keeps drifting back to a hot and sunny, absolutely perfect day spent floating down the Russian River in Healdsburg, California. When we were planning our last trip, I was in touch with Beth from The Wine Road, an incredibly helpful organization and site for wine country planning and events. (They do my favorite event, Wine & Food Affair, in November. I want to go back for it!) When I told Beth that we wanted to spend a ton of time outdoors, she suggested River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips, right on the edge of the Russian River in Healdsburg. A couple of emails later, and we were booked for a double canoe for the Saturday afternoon of our stay.

River's Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips

Our first impression of River’s Edge is that everything is SO organized, making the trip smooth and worry free. They had coolers, trash bags, cords for holding items in the canoe, even hair ties, available for us to borrow for the day; when you are not local it is always helpful to not have to go get everything separately! They also take your keys before you head out to the river, handy for them for keeping the parking lot organized, handy for you if your canoe happens to tip over!

We started our journey on a school bus ride out to a remote beach. Our driver was hilarious and had everyone laughing before we arrived. Once at the beach, we checked in, learned a little bit about the river, and then we were on our way.

River's Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips

River's Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips

We didn’t waste any time and started paddling right away. Pretty soon it was just us and the fish below as we enjoyed gorgeous blue skies and perfect Northern California scenery. Due to the drought in California, parts of the river were almost dry, and in those we got out and carried the canoe.

River's Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips

Russian River

Other parts of the river were deeper, but never much deeper than up to my waist or so. The current was slow, and so were we, truly taking the time to take it all in. There were some incredible houses along the way, all with stairs leading down to beaches, and I could easily imagine spending summer afternoons on the river and evenings at wine events. A girl can dream, right?

Russian River

About halfway through our journey, we pulled over and had a picnic on a secluded little beach. We brought Boont Amber Ale, waters, smoked salmon, hummus, cheese, crackers, chips, and salsa. It was the perfect light lunch before a little swimming to cool off from that magnificent California sun. I LOVED the dry heat we had for our entire trip.

Russian River

After we made our way to Veteran’s Beach in Healdsburg to drop off the canoe, we did a little more swimming and then headed back to River’s Edge to get our keys and head out. The trip even included a free ice cream at the end, a sweet and cold treat to end the perfect afternoon. The people at River’s Edge could not have been more welcoming, and their hospitality was what helped to make the day so special.

Many thanks to The Wine Road for all of their recommendations and to River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips for hosting our afternoon canoeing. We plan on coming back every time we are in Healdsburg!

For more on things to do and places to stay in Healdsburg:

Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza

Our Healdsburg Home

Wine Country Restaurants

September is also California Wine Month! The Wine Road has some specials happening. If you are in wine country, check them out!

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Tags: California, canoe, Healdsburg, kayak, outdoors, Russian River, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, swimming, Travel, vacation, wine country

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