There's no shortage of great food and wine in San Francisco, but there are also some hidden gems just across our three bridges. Mark your calendars for upcoming events from Sonoma Countyto Monterey. Queue up your playlist and roll down the windows—they are all well worth the drive.
Gary Danko wants you to come to this second annual extravaganza of Relais & Châteaux chefs. Need we say more? The lineup of culinary talent is formidable, including local favorite Justin Cogley and international chefs Annie Féolde (Italy), Diego Muñoz (Peru), Lanshu Chen (Taiwan), Olivier Roellinger (France), and Danko himself. Also meet top winemakers from around the world. Highlights of the weekend include an all-female chef team preparing international recipes with local ingredients; a Wild Mushroom Hunt & Lunch at the Santa Lucia Preserve; and the Dom Pérignon & Black River Caviar lunch. March 5 - 8, Monterey.
With all the wineries and eateries in Sonoma County, it's challenging to whittle down the perfect agenda. Leave it to the experts behind Kenwood Progressive Wine and Food, a walking (or riding) six-course, 18-wine progressive dinner at wineries including Paradise Ridge Winery, En Garde Winery, Muscardini Cellars, Pauli Ranch, B Wise Vineyard, Mayo Family Winery Reserve Room, and Deerfield Ranch Winery. Your gastronomical journey begins with a walking tour of the sleepy town before you climb aboard a private bus. Letting someone else make the plans never tasted so good. Thursdays March 5 - May 24: 11am - 5 pm. $99 per person. Kenwood.
The Vineyards to Villages (V2V) Trail features 10 boutique family-owned wineries in northern Sonoma County that have each designated a specialty “V2V Wine” in their tasting rooms. Once you've found your favorite and are ready to buy, 50-percent of proceeds go directly to clean water infrastructure projects at poverty-stricken schools in dry, rural western Kenya. As if you needed another incentive, know that you can scoot from winery to winery in an eco-friendly Tesla, thanks to a partnership with T3 Tours. March 1 and 8. Sonoma County.
With wineries spaced out along its winding roads, tasting in remote Amador Country can require significant treks between stops—or even a designated driver. Luckily, nearly 50 wineries from the region will come together at the Amador County Fairgrounds for a parade of more than 200 California wines.
And since tasting without eating is neither practical nor pleasurable, dig in to dishes cooked over an open flame, including spit-roasted pork and lamb, giant pans of paella, side of beef roasted on an iron cross, and traditional California barbecue. To bring the tasting experience home, there's also a marketplace stocked with olive oil, honey, chocolate, artisanal baked goods, cider, craft beer, and cheese. May 2. $75 advance/$85 at the door. Amador County.
More than 150,000 guests flock to this festival to visit wineries, sample wines, taste local beers, and chow down on food from the area. To give your palate and stomach a break, the gathering also includes arts and crafts, shopping, dining, and music. Unlike most wine events, this festival is family-friendly, with a Just For Kids Zone to keep the wee ones occupied. May 2 - 3. Livermore.