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Wine Country Blog: Innsights to the Wine Country

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FARMHOUSE FRIENDS AND WINE COUNTRY PARTNERS

  
  
  
Gary Farrell Winery

At the Farmhouse Inn we are lucky to work with some truly great partners that make every visit to the wine country an amazing experience.  From our Winery Partners to our Spa Team, and our favorite bicycle guide and transportation company, the Farmhouse Inn has cultivated some of the best relationships in Wine Country.  If you haven’t stayed with us yet or you have an upcoming reservation we hope that you get to meet some of these people and that you have the chance to indulge in the wonderful experiences we have to offer in Sonoma County.  We decided that it would be a good idea to tell you a little bit about each of them. And if you’re looking to book any of these experiences don’t hesitate to contact a Farmhouse Inn Concierge; we’re happy to share some of secrets of the wine country with you!

 

ROMANTIC VALENTINE'S DAY AT FARMHOUSE INN, SONOMA WINE COUNTRY

  
  
  

SONOMA WINE COUNTRY AND FARMHOUSE INN: IN THE NEWS (AGAIN)

  
  
  
best of Sonoma Wine country

 

We've been seeing Sonoma Wine Country featured in both the local and national press quite often lately.  Whether discussing wine destination regions, reviewing up and coming winemakers or focusing on sustainability practices, recent press mentioning Sonoma has inspired us to do a roundup just in case you missed something.

 

FARMHOUSE AND WINE COUNTRY CELEBRATING ALL THINGS ROMANTIC

  
  
  
Russian River Valley

 

If you haven’t checked your calendar since the New Year, than you may not have realized that Valentine’s Day is less than a month from now. Not to worry - if you haven’t started planning yet...because Farmhouse Inn is declaring the whole month of February as the Month of Romance.  Tell your significant other that you don't want to limit the celebration of your love to a single day- you want to celebrate all month long- then sneak in a little trip to the wine country.
NOW THAT'S ROMANTIC!

 


A BIG YEAR FOR SONOMA COUNTY AND FARMHOUSE INN

  
  
  
Sonoma Wine country

This is the time of year when we reflect on the trials and tribulations of the past year.  What a list! Sonoma County has been getting much noticed as a desired destination but nothing has topped the "#1 Wine Destination in the U.S." by TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards - Napa Valley was #2 in the U.S. (and Sonoma was voted second in the World- right behind Tuscany at #1- I guess we can live with that).  

 

SONOMA COUNTY AND FARMHOUSE INN- GREEN AND GETTING GREENER

  
  
  
Farmhouse Inn Tesla Test Drives

 

It is hard to live in the California wine country and not embrace farm-to-table cuisine. If a restaurant does not celebrate the bounty of our Sonoma County farms and farmers it does not last long in this area.  The focus of our chef and the restaurant menu on organic, sustainable, and local purveyors is often more expensive but as the diners continually tell us - it is so worth it. That is only one facet of our approach to becoming more environmentally friendly (and healthier and it tastes better too) and embracing all things green.

 

Recently Tesla Motors brought up two of their S sedans to offer test drives and we had a charging station installed just to be able to do that. What an exciting day that was!

 



NATIONAL HEIRLOOM EXPOSITION...RIGHT HERE IN SONOMA COUNTY

  
  
  
National Heirloom Exposition

The end of summer is the perfect time to explore Sonoma County. Living in California is definitely not hard to take-Sunny days, a little cooler evenings and all the flavors of summer harvest around us. It is harvest time in the wine country and the grapes are making their way on their magical journey from the vine to the bottle. This week the National Heirloom Exposition  (the World's Fair of Pure Food) is right here in Santa Rosa at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. It is the third year for the Expo and it just keeps getting bigger and better each year.  If you are in the area this Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday (and the words organic, sustainable, and biodynamic are in your vocabulary) I sincerely hope you can make it.


 




SONOMA WINE COUNTRY WEEKEND AND HARVEST TIME

  
  
  
Grapes ripening in Sonoma


It's September and harvest time in the wine country.  The weather is beautiful and as we head into Labor Day weekend in Sonoma Wine Country, there is no better time to come and share what this paradise on earth offers.  Harvest has arrived in the Russian River Valley; here at Farmhouse Inn our guests are getting the complete experience at our partner wineries.  Nearby neighbors Thomas George Estates and Gary Farrell Winery  are already receiving the earliest ripening grape varietals; Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay,and even some Pinot Noirs are coming in from the warmer areas of Russian River Valley.



It's a very busy time of year here in the wine country. The vines are heavy with fruit and the late night/early morning lights and rumble of grape trucks are a constant reminder that harvest time is upon us.

 
This weekend we celebrate one of California's most favorite wine regions with Sonoma Wine Country Weekend; the largest and most fun charitable event of the area.  



Our wine and food community invite you to indulge in the Sonoma County lifestyle of world class wine and fresh, local cuisine, all while raising funds that make a better future for our kids and our county. Produced in partnership by the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance and the Sonoma County Vintners the 2013 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend event features Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch, Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean, Sonoma Starlight at Francis Ford Coppola winery and many intimate and exclusive winery lunch and dinner parties at multiple locations throughout Sonoma County. The event benefits more  than 30 Sonoma County charities that help students, children, farm workers and  people in need.

There will be 200-plus wineries and chefs showcasing their talents at Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch.  You will see Farmhouse Restaurant Chef Steve Litke there serving his famous Octopus Brochettes. (No picture just yet but that is a link to the recipe). See you there!

 

The entire month of September is a month long celebration of the diversity and quality of California wines. Regions throughout the state are highlighted during California Wine Month.  Wineries are celebrating with more than 100 fun educational activities--from hands-on workshops and wine pairings to VIP tours, events, and special offers to allow visitors to experience the excitement of harvest firsthand. Did you know California's wine industry produces 90 percent of U.S. wine, attracts 21 million visitors annually, and generates 820,000 jobs nationwide (330,000 of which are in California)?  That is cause to celebrate! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last days of summer and harvest time in the Russian River Valley is a great time to visit and enjoy all Sonoma county has to offer. If you've never seen harvest in action, you've probably never felt the excitement as tractors and trucks bounce down vineyard roads and shouts from the crews picking grapes fill the foggy morning air. 

 

Harvest is the culmination a year of hard work (and a little praying).  All this to get that little grape into the bottle and into your glass...Here's a little video...The Life of a Grapevine to fill you in on the whole process.




We have some grapes growing on the fence out by the pool here at Farmhouse Inn...you are welcome to come by and harvest some yourself. They are just about ready.

We continue the celebration of harvest the first weekend in October with the Sonoma County Harvest Fair in Santa Rosa, complete with a Grape Stomp Competition.  (Maybe this video can help you with what to do with those grapes you stole off the fence.)

 

 

The Harvest Fair celebrates the local harvest featuring three full days of all-inclusive wine tasting with 150+ wineries, wine sales, food pairing, craft beer & cider tasting, marketplace, chef demonstrations and workshops, and of course, the World Championship Grape Stomp and much more.

Make plans to join us and taste the best of Sonoma County!

 


























BEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD - #38 FARMHOUSE INN, SONOMA COUNTY

  
  
  
World's Best Awards Travel & Leisure


How on Earth do things like this happen?  #38 on the Best Hotels in the World List and #3 Best Inn in the United States? We live and work here so we do know Farmhouse Inn is a very special place but pretty small in the grand scheme of things.  We just hide here in the middle of nowhere (but 10 minutes from everywhere) doing our thing; which much be pretty good because Travel & Leisure readers noticed and voted for us as being one of the best.




We know our guests love us but the questionaire from Travel & Leisure did take time and effort to fill out.  Thanks to all of you who voted for us and now that we are on the list we want to stay there.  So guess what...next year we are going to ask you to vote for us again!

 





A SNEAK PEAK FROM FARMHOUSE INN SERVER/WRITER ROB LOUGHRAN

  
  
  
Rob Loughran, Author


Farmhouse Inn Fiction
or Meat is Always on Our Menu 

   by   

Rob Loughran

      There’s a New Yorker cartoon where a bejeweled lady-about-town is on her cellphone in an upscale restaurant. The caption is, “You’ve got to get down here, Marge. The waiter is really a waiter.”

   
      It is a time-honored cliché that all waiters have day jobs. This is true at the Farmhouse Inn also. Your Farmhouse Restaurant server tonight, during the day, was either a winemaker (Sonoma Wine Country is full of them), a veterinarian’s assistant (our resident healer), a master gardener(few of those on staff too) , or even a published writer. 

                                   
                       
                  I'm the writer.

    Time-honored clichés also abound in the writing game, most prominently: Write what you know and, after working here for the last six years, I know the Farmhouse.  So, of course the restaurant—barely disguised as The Green Frog Cafe—has appeared in my last two novels.

                                                                                                                                                                   
From Tantric Zoo:

      Seven miles west of Santa Rosa, CA and two miles from the town of Forestville the Green Frog Café looked like a fresh-baked yellow-and-white layer cake someone had placed carefully in the middle of a redwood forest. “What an odd location,” thought Bud, “for a restaurant. No foot traffic. No discernible parking.” He maneuvered his car between two redwood trees and crunched through the leaf-litter to the front steps of the farmhouse-turned-restaurant. The white-trimmed, egg-yolk colored front door had a sign written in calligraphy:


     The Green Frog Café
     Vegetarian Cuisine
     HOURS 6:30 – 8:30 Weds – Sun
    
Reservations Required
All Misbehaved Children Will Be Given
a Double Espresso and a Puppy

  
      Bud smiled and knocked.

      No answer.

      He walked around the old, but adoringly maintained two-story farmhouse. A pea-gravel path led around the building through beds of veggies and herbs. Staked tomatoes looked wiry and wilted but held bright late season fruit: red, orange, yellow. Basil and rosemary; oregano and Italian parsley grew profusely, almost wild. Plants Bud didn’t recognize grew in raised beds and hung from baskets and window boxes. Bud weaved through the patchwork garden to the back of the restaurant and a concrete slab with multicolored recycling bins. He walked up three steps and knocked on a screendoor, “Hello?”

   
      No answer.

      Bud opened the door and heard muted country music and the “snick snick” of someone chopping on a cutting board. He walked past a dishwashing station and marveled at how immaculate and orderly the dishracks, glasses, and plates were stacked. He entered an impossibly small kitchen and saw that the “snick snick” came from a woman chopping zucchini. Years in a kitchen had taught Bud never to approach anyone with a knife from behind so he walked through the kitchen and waved his right hand to get her attention. She finished dissecting the zucchini and said, “Yes?”

 
      She wore faded blue jeans and dayglo green Adidas running shoes; a white tanktop and a black apron with red and green apple cores. Short, thick reddish-brown hair framed her face.

     “Delivery?” she asked.

     “Comically laconic, whenever possible,” said Bud.

            ________________________________


     The Farmhouse’s interior gets a bit more action in this year’s release Beautiful Lies

    “You’ll love this place,” said Darren.

    “But it’s a vegetarian joint,” said Colin.

    “It’s cool, we had our protein shakes. It’s time for some phyto-nutrients and roughage.” Darren bounded up the front steps of the aged yellow and white farmhouse-turned-restaurant. “Read that sign. It’s hilarious.”

    Colin leaned over and read, in halting English, “The Green Frog Café. Vegetarian Cuisine. Reservations required. All misbehaved children will be given a double espresso and a puppy. That’s funny shit, dude.”

    “The food is so freaking good.”

    “Let’s eat.”

    The boys devoured two salads each—one egg and escarole, the other pear and endive—then had two French onion soups, and two entrées each: polenta lasagna with roasted vegetables and a mushroom cassoulet for Colin; eggplant parmigiana and a spinach and cheese omelet for Darren. Both sipped iced green tea and were quiet, almost shyly reserved, throughout the leisurely and tasty lunch. Darren paid with his American Express card and scribbled in a twenty percent tip. Colin tucked two five-dollar bills beneath the signed charge receipt and said, “I’m sure you left her enough. I always tip extra big. Professional courtesy, you know.”

    Not in the least offended, Darren nodded.

    They were the last to leave the dining room which had been almost filled to capacity. The waitress—her flowered nametag read: Hilary—a nubile, fresh faced, local girl, approached the table and picked up the charge receipt. She pocketed the two fives before she noticed the other tip included in the American Express’ total. She nodded and smiled, then reiterated the question in English that the tractor driving cousin Ramon had articulated in Spanish, “I wonder if they’re gay?”

                _______________________________

   
Fiction is, at least by me, either made up or stolen. I stole the sign about puppies and espresso—I’ve seen it various places—and The Farmhouse restaurant will be strictly vegetarian only over Farmhouse chef, Steve Litke’s cold dead body (copy of meat centric menu here). And, ironically that’s how my next murder mystery begins: With a cold dead body....But not Steve’s, I need my night job.  


      ________________________________ 

Tantric Zoo ( a Bud Warhol Mystery) at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Tantric-Zoo-Warhol-Mystery-Mysteries/dp/1482611120/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373681047&sr=1-4 

 



























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