Crack open that calendar and make plans for these must-do eating and drinking events.
There’s something new for the 18th annual Taste Alexander Valley weekend, with this kick-off party Friday, May 15 from chef Dustin Valette of Healdsburg's newly opened Valette. Drink hand-poured magnum wines, nosh on sous vide lamb with glazed baby carrots, brown butter turnips, and Alexander Valley Farms kale, then dance the night away in the barn at the private Soul Cool Farm equestrian ranch in Geyserville ($150 advance purchase only). The party continues Saturday and Sunday May 16 & 17, with open houses and more food and music at 25-plus area wineries ($70 advance; $80 door). // May 15–17, across Alexander Valley
Valley Ford's Rocker Oysterfeller's Kitchen + Saloon whips up a crazy good time in the tiny coastal town, shucking endless briny-sweet raw oysters, rounded out with barbecue oysters, fried oyster po’ boys, barbecue brisket, red beans and rice, Lagunitas beers, local wines and—oh yeah—Hurricanes. The bands play on, too, grooving with zydeco, Dixie, farm rock, jazz, and gypsy rock for dancing all the day long ($20 advance; $25 door). // May 24, Valley Ford
Yes, the headliners include big name music acts such as No Doubt, Robert Plant, and Imagine Dragons. But the chefs have their own stage, showcasing talent and tasty edibles from more than 50 restaurants, such as La Toque, Morimoto, Redd, and Oenotri. Wines are high-end quaffers, as well, from sophisticates like Silver Oak Cellars, Schramsberg Vineyards and Hill Family Estate, while beer beckons from crafters including Lagunitas and Napa Smith (from $129). // May 29-31, Napa
The Dutton Ranch feast from Daniel Kedan and Marianna Gardenhire of Forestville’s beloved Backyard features ingredients all sourced from Sonoma County Farm Trails members. Things kick off with an artisanal cheese, beer, wine and cider reception, with supper followed by music and shaking it on the dance floor ($75). // May 30, Sebastopol
The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts morphs into one big, happy beer garden, stocked with the fine suds of 50-plus artisanal breweries, lots of pub food, and high energy music. Your $50 gets you a souvenir Beerfest glass which you can fill as much as you want with new, rare, and classic beers in mouth puckering sour to floral sweet flavors, as hop bombs or barrel-aged brews, and in one-of-a-kind seasonal recipes. // June 6, Santa Rosa
Let the experts at Relish Culinary work your young ones through a fun, educational kitchen boot camp ($299), where they can learn to chop, cook, set the table, serve, and—the unthinkable—even discover it’s a blast to do the dishes. Wine Country ingredients get made into delicious meals, and at the end of their four-day culinary immersion, the tiny campers (ages 8 to 12) cook a full repast for mom and dad. // July 13-16, Healdsburg