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SONOMA SUMMER: MUSIC, RIVER, FOOD, WINE, FESTIVALS...

 
Wine Country Summer


Summer in Sonoma is all about lazy days on the Russian River, music events all around the county,  festivals and more fun.   Sonoma has a lot to do year-round but we especially love the summer months. If you’re planning on visiting soon or are taking notes for next year, be sure to check out our guide to summer living in wine country: outdoor activities, local happenings and events, and farmers markets. We couldn't include everything here, so if you're curious about something we don't mention be sure to email us  at innkeep@farmhouseinn.com or via Facebook.



Summer in Sonoma County is fun- it's hard to fit it all in. Between the Sonoma Coast, the Russian River, our local parks, and Lake Sonoma we’re blessed with an abundance of outdoor activity options. Out on the Sonoma Coast we have Bodega Bay- an excellent spot to spend the day at the beach; be sure to grab a crab sandwich or some of the great clam chowder. Schoolhouse Beach in Bodega is one of our favorites but be sure to get there early- on really hot days locals flock to the beach (and our natural air conditioning) and parking can be an issue. Closer to the Farmhouse Inn and with a variety of activity options is the Russian River. You can kayak, paddle board, tube or just float down the river. Healdsburg and their Memorial Beach is a perfect choice for a river swim (they have the river dammed for swimming). We recommend contacting River’s Edge for your river activities or if you just want to park it than we suggest heading out to Sunset Beach in Guerneville. Another perk to living in Sonoma County are all the wonderful Regional and State parks. Between Goat Rock Beach in Jenner and Annadelle in Santa Rosa, Sonoma has some of the best hiking and mountain biking in the Bay Area. If you’re more of a walker give Riverfront Regional Park a try- just a five minute drive from the Farmhouse Inn. If boating is more your speed then head up to Lake Sonoma in Healdsburg. The lake is at the top of the Dry Creek Valley and a great spot to spend the day. You can rent patio boats for the day, as well as jet skis. We love the patio boats-  bring a picnic lunch with you and enjoy a day relaxing on the water.



Many of our guests are visiting Sonoma for our amazing wine and food but sometimes  need suggestions for evening activities. Summer hours and the extra daylight provide us with great options June through September.  A very popular evening activity during the summer months in Sonoma County is attending one of our many outdoor music concerts. They take place almost every day of the week but the big ones are in Healdsburg, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and Windsor. Every week there are new acts, mostly local Sonoma County and Bay Area musicians, and the accompanying food trucks make it a must-do if you’ll be visiting the area. We’re most excited about the upcoming Kay Marie show on June 10th in Healdsburg- check out some of her music by clicking here. Tied to many of the evening concerts are Farmer’s Markets. The summer in wine country is prime farmer’s market season- you can stroll through one on  Saturday morning in Healdsburg and find everything from local breads and cheeses to artichokes and peaches and even local meats. If you’re interested in enjoying the finished product at night than you have the best options to choose from, and during summer you have the added bonus of being able to dine al fresco. Our favorite outdoor dining options are Bravas Tapas and Barndiva in Healdsburg, SolBar in Calistoga, Corks in Forestville and Zazu or Woodfour at the Barlow in Sebastopol.




Every summer we have multitudes of events that range from wine and cheese festivals to summer concerts to balloon festivals. It all kicks off with BottleRock in Napa Valley this weekend- 3 days, 60 bands, numerous wineries and other vendors, it is a festival packed with things to do. The headliners at this year’s festival are Outkast. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing check out the Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival in Guerneville. Past performers have included Bozz Skaggs and B.B. King. This year’s lineup promises to deliver as well with Gary Clark Jr. headlining. The two day event includes a wine garden along with gourmet food vendors and other artisans. Just hang out on the beach; you will see the locals paddling their boats/canoes down to catch some tunes.









FARMHOUSE INN CONCIERGE: SONOMA SUMMER WINE PICKS

 
Summer in Sonoma

Locals living in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys associate spring time with the release of the newest vintages of white and rose wines. It is the time of year when we start making our summer plans and stocking our refrigerators for the coming months of picnicking near the Russian River and music on the square in Healdsburg. These delightful new releases always seem to perk us up out of our “winter” stupor. Whether your favorite is a Chardonnay or a Rose of Pinot Noir, we’ll go through the range of some of our favorites being released just in time for summer.


Let's start on the lighter end of the white wines,  with the Sauvignon Blancs from the area that we can’t resist. For Sauvignon Blanc we recommend you head up to Dry Creek Valley where the warmer climate, limited daytime coastal influence and combination of gravelly and sandy loam soils make it ideal for Sauvignon Blanc. Our favorites come from Preston and Quivira. Preston’s Sauvignon Blanc has the classic citrus qualities of grapefruit and lime with touches of green apple. Perfect with summer vegetables and of course a selection of your favorite cheeses! Quivira’s Sauvignon Blanc comes from their well-known Fig Tree Vineyard on their estate. Quivira’s Sauvignon Blanc tends to exude more of the tropical notes like pineapple and passion fruit. Always high in acid, the Quivira is a perfect match with veal piccata or a tangy chevre. Be sure to inquire about other white wines available at both Preston and Quivira- the Madame Preston and Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier blend from Quivira are also at the top of our list.


If you like a little more body on your white wines than consider this next category of unique whites. We’ll start with RYME Cellar’s Vermentino. RYME is a small artisan brand from former Farmhouse Inn Sommelier Megan Glaab and her husband Ryan. Ryan and Megan have varying opinions on what Vermentino should taste like so they decided to a His and a Hers. Don’t tell Ryan, but the Concierge team all votes for the Hers. Classic Vermentino tends to have a stony, saline minerality and both versions at RYME exude this. Vermentino can sometimes take on an orange hue (depending on skin-contact during fermentation) and therefore contains tannins making it more robust on the spectrum of white wines. We recommend most seafood dishes and the occasional pesto with your next glass. Another unique white wine coming out of the Russian River Valley is Wind Gap’s Trousseau Gris. With intense mineral aromas (think wet rocks) and pineapple, the Trousseau Gris is zesty and lively on the palate. This wine is one of our favorites with fresh oysters on the half shell. Both the RYME Vermentinos and Wind Gap Trousseau have large followings and quickly sell out every year, so be sure to place your order soon.


On to the king of white wines, Chardonnay.  Bold, full bodied, round, lush and unapologetically barrel-aged, California’s classic Chardonnays continue to be as popular today as they were 30 years ago. While some wineries are experimenting with non-barrel aging techniques, the predominant style still exudes aromas and flavors of butter, popcorn, vanilla, toast and baking spices. Of the Chardonnays that fall in this category we have 2 front runners: Gary Farrell’s Russian River Select and Red Car’s Sonoma Coast. Both wineries have tasting rooms in the Russian River Valley but purchase all their fruit from local growers- this allows them to select the best of the best each vintage. We’re huge fans of Evan Goldstein’s “Perfect Pairings” and his latest “Daring Pairings”. Both books provide pairing guidelines as well as fantastic recipes. We highly suggest referencing one of these books the time you open your favorite California Chardonnay.


To round up our spring list we’re finishing with what might be our favorite category, Rose. Pink, slightly effervescent and smelling of summertime, what’s not to like? Our go-to both in the Farmhouse Inn Restaurant and by the pool is County Line’s Rose of Pinot Noir. County Line is the second label of Radio Coteauowner/winemaker Eric Sussman. The County Line Rose is consistently one of our favorites every year- smelling of watermelon and strawberries, the Rose is extremely quaffable and affordable. No need to hesitate on opening this wine- the $20 price makes it a wine to be enjoyed whenever, wherever. We drink it with everything but if you’d like a little more sophisticated recommendation try it with a scallop sashimi or the perfect naked oyster. Last but not least is Farmhouse Winery Partner Inman Family’s Rose- beautiful, pale, delicate pink and crisp and refreshing, it is without a doubt a standout among the pink wines. With more structure, higher acids and supreme balance, this Rose makes us want to throw a summer dinner party in the vineyards right now. If you want to get fancy on your brunch guests try pairing this Rose with a scrambled egg and smoked salmon or a Quiche Lorraine.


We hope this Concierge Guide to Spring Releases was helpful and that you visit a few of the wineries mentioned on this list during your next vacation to wine country. If you won’t be visiting soon be sure to look for them in your local wine shop or on the wine list at your favorite restaurants. For more winery recommendations, itinerary suggestions and information on the area be sure to email your concierge soon. For more information on the latest happenings at Farmhouse be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.






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