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Labor Day weekend is an amazing time to visit Sonoma County. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend PR and social media was something I worked on this summer, for full disclosure, but blogging about it is not part of the job at all. I just happened to find Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Estate Vineyards so impressive, beautiful, and filled with delicious food and wine opportunities that I had to share.

As the name suggests Taste of Sonoma takes place at MacMurray Estate Vineyards, also often referred to as MacMurray Ranch, the former home of actor Fred MacMurray. And it is stunning. The property is only open to the public once a year, for this event, so that in itself makes it special. Since I was traveling with the media, I got to tour the house, and it was so charming and lovely that I may have to write a post about it.

Taste of Sonoma is truly that, a place where you can sample the wine and food of Sonoma County all in one place. Wine and food are organized in tents by appellation so you can visit your favorites and discover new ones, comparing and contrasting grapes and characteristics between AVAs.

Taste of Sonoma runs from 11:00 – 4:00, which is a good thing, because there is so much to see, do, taste, and learn. I was impressed at the number of seminars and experiences available in addition to the tasting tents, which could keep you occupied for the entire day on their own. It’s all incredibly organized, and the layout is spacious and aesthetically pleasing. You can’t go wrong with spending a day surrounded by vineyards and redwood trees

Below, you can take a trip through Taste of Sonoma with just a few of the hundreds of photos I captured on this beautiful day. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend happens every Labor Day weekend; start planning your travel now!


heirloom tomatoes Sonoma

Sonoma County Marketplace features some of the high quality ingredients Sonoma County chefs love, with the opportunity to taste and purchase on site.

Taste of Sonoma

Grape to Glass was one of the educational seminars that was a huge hit. Attendees learned about sustainable winegrowing and winemaking in Sonoma County and also got to taste fresh-from-the-vine grapes along with grapes in the glass as wine. Pretty neat!

chilled corn soup

Food samples were in serious abundance, and with the hot summer weather, chilled soups were popular. Corn soup and gazpacho (from Woodfour Brewing Company, which I will have a separate post on) were both popular choices, as was the pork belly served up by the Jimtown Store. What made the sampling at this event so fun were the suggested pairings in the tents; planners took the guesswork out so that tasters could maximize the deliciousness of the wine and food. What grows together goes together!

Woodfour Brewing Company
Jimtown Store  pork belly Peloton CateringTaste of Sonoma


Those who opted for the Grand Reserve tickets had access to Club Reserve, a quieter area set off to the side where winemakers were pouring some of their limited production wines, a rare treat and a space that was buzzing with conversation and tasting throughout the day.

Reserve tentpaella


The Main Stage at the event was devoted to some of the amazing chefs in Sonoma County including Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Culinary Chair Mark Stark owner of, among others, the beloved Willi’s Wine Bar, the must-visit Bravas, and soon-to-be-opened Bird & the Bottle, which I can’t wait to try on my next visit. The Paella Guy Chef Jose Castaneda was also one of the Sonoma Stars on Stage, in addition to having a tent where he was cooking massive pans of paella.



Taste of Sonoma

wine pairing with Kendall Jackson Pairing with the Pros by Kendall-Jackson showcased their great food and wine pairing program, one that I got to experience at their estate when I visited in June. The sensory garden at Kendall-Jackson is incredibly beautiful and alone a reason to visit. Taste of Sonoma offered a nice peek into the garden experience with an area devoted to the beautiful herbs, food, and flowers that is grown on the property.

food and wine pairings


Kendall Jackson Sensory Garden Kendall Jackson Garden


There was so much more to Taste of Sonoma than I could capture in one blog post. Guests were welcomed with a Gloria Ferrer Bubble Lounge featuring oysters and caviar. There were Wine Tours with Sommelier Stars, Wine Talks in the Wine Barn, and so much more, truly a splendid way for a wine and food lover to spend the day.

If you’re unfamiliar with Sonoma County, Taste of Sonoma would make a great first day of your visit, allowing you to check out 200 wineries at once and to decide which ones you want to make a visit to.  If you have any questions about the event or other events over Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, feel free to let me know!


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Tags: events, Food, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Travel, wine, wine country, wine tasting

Sun Sets on Summer

I have a very, very hard time saying goodbye to my favorite season. When everyone starts talking about boots and sweaters and pumpkin everything in August, I am almost outraged. I don’t want to rush those hot days, lush gardens, and long sunsets, not one bit. Summer for me is rarely a slow time at work; for me it’s often fall that slows down a bit, so I can’t even say I love summer for the pace. I just love everything else about it. As I mentioned in a recent post, this summer has been different. We spent far more time away than we have in the past, and far less time on boats, which was difficult, as boating is a favorite hobby, a place to relax, and a social outlet. Still, I think we did a good job of enjoying the season.

Even before summer officially started, we were eager to take advantage of the beauty of New England when it’s not covered in snow. We had the perfect coastal New England day in May, which set the tone for seeing as many sunsets and eating as many lobster rolls as possible.

Crane Beach Sunset

{Crane Beach sunset}

sunset over the Claddagh, Galway Ireland Despite a rainy forecast, Ireland put on quite the show for us when we visited, allowing us plenty of outdoor time and gorgeous sunsets like the above, over the Claddagh.

sun setting in Hull

We got to spend a lot of time with friends and saw sunsets in Hull during impromptu beach trips where swimming in dresses was the right thing to do on a perfect summer evening.

And there were sunsets over Boston, viewed from boats filled with our favorite people, good bubbly, and great food.

sunset over Boston

Rodney Strong Vineyards This summer also brought for me two separate trips to Sonoma County, where you can guarantee I watched the sun set over vineyards every chance I got.

In addition to sunsets, we took in plenty of other beautiful sights. Following an April visit to Mystic, Connecticut, we decided to visit again, this time meeting my family. Mystic is an ideal spot for family travel, with the aquarium, boat rides, and some fun shops.


Saltwater Farm Vineyard We took a quick trip to Saltwater Farm Vineyard to pick up more of their delicious wine and to check on the progress of the vines.

boating in Mystic

And we had a perfect day on the Argia, a beautiful sailing vessel out of Mystic, which the whole family loved. Dark skies at dock gave way to a beautiful Long Island Sound.

boating on Long Island Sound For the adults, it’s complete relaxation; you can even bring your favorite wine or beer along for the trip. Snacks and lemonade are provided, and guests can get in on the sailing, as my niece and nephew did in the photo below.

Argia, Mystic, CT We enjoyed shopping throughout Mystic, especially the kids’ section of Bank Square Books. I loved that these little ones still love books, despite all of the technology in their lives. Shopping for books was a nice, relaxing, and cool break from the hot summer day.

Mystic, CT family travel


In addition to travel, obsessing over sunsets, and family, my summer was, as always, focused on all things growing. I truly feel something magical when out in nature, and while my garden wasn’t perfect, it brought me peace and joy daily. Every weekend chance I got, I went to fields of flowers, beaches, or farms, feeling the energy of the earth coming through my feet, soaking up those moments where everything felt so vibrant.

squash blossom

summer in Westport, MA


I’m sad to see summer go but grateful that here in New England, local produce and beautiful weather stick around for a couple more months. New work projects, travel to Chicago and Myrtle Beach, and travel planning for a warm winter getaway will also help us get through the summer withdrawal.

Are you excited about the change of seasons or, like me, do you really mourn the loss of summer?


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Tags: beach, coastal living, family, favorite things, mystic, outdoors, Sonoma, summer, Travel, travel blogging, wine

I can’t write a post about wine tasting in Northern California without first sending my thoughts and prayers to everyone affected  by the devastating wildfire in Lake County. It’s hard to imagine the destruction, the fear, and the loss happening there, but it has also been amazing to see the community rally around those who have lost everything. If you’d like to help, you can visit this website for information. In the meantime, let’s hope that they get some much-needed rain.

Fog Crest Pinot Noir

My eight days in Sonoma were action-packed. For the most part, I was working for Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, but we also had a few days to ourselves for wine tasting and mostly soaking up sun. One place on my to-visit list for years was Fog Crest Vineyard. The theme of my trip was drinking beautiful wine in beautiful places, and Fog Crest was one on my list of sought after patios to taste on.

We visited on a scorching hot day, but it was that dry, California heat that feels so incredibly good to me. I swear my muscles felt looser, I felt more awake yet relaxed. I crave that sort of heat. Fog Crest, which is located atop the Laguna Santa Rosa, is worth the visit for the views alone. Never-ending mountain and valley vistas are the perfect backdrop as you taste some really delicious Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

Fog Crest Vineyard

While the chilled Chardonnay was perfect for the heat we enjoyed, my wine of the week is the 2012 Laguna West Pinot Noir. Fruity, bright, and with a mouthwatering acidity, this Pinot Noir is an excellent fall wine, making its way easily from a warm, blue sky day to chilly evening, paired with grilled chicken and veggies.

Another wonderful aspect of the Fog Crest experience was the tasting room staff. The woman who welcomed us, whose name I unfortunately didn’t get, was incredibly sweet and knowledgeable. She also gave me an amazing recipe for miso creamed kale. I can’t wait to make it.

Fog Crest Vineyard  vineyard

Fog Crest Vineyard is a must-visit on your next trip to Sonoma County. It’s in my top five for beautiful location and I would imagine is gorgeous any time of year. Can I go back now?

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Tags: Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, Travel, vineyard, wine, wine country, wine travel, Wine Wednesday, winery

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