What’s New in Sonoma County, California

The festive season brings a flurry of new wine tasting venues, taprooms, and restaurants to Sonoma County, adding to the region’s abundant mix of fine flavours and experiences. Here’s a quick overview of what’s new in Sonoma County.

Culture & History, Gastronomy

The festive season brings a flurry of new wine tasting venues, taprooms, and restaurants to Sonoma County, adding to the region’s abundant mix of fine flavours and experiences. Here’s a quick overview of what’s new in Sonoma County.

Robert Young Estate Winery adds luxury hospitality house

sonoma county
Robert Young Winery Tastin Rooms, photo by Wildly Simple Sonoma County

Enjoy fine wines and amazing views while learning about Alexander Valley winemaking history in the new serene, elegant, and welcoming Scion House at Robert Young Estate Winery in Geyserville, in northern Sonoma County. Honouring six generations of the Young family, as well as future generations to come, Scion House is located on the family’s favourite hilltop overlook, with stunning 360-degree vineyard views. The Young family was among the original settlers in Alexander Valley and has carried on the tradition of growing premium grapes for generations on their 350-acre private estate.

For another take on winemaking in California, read Mark Bibby Jackson’s Fine Tuning in Tri-Valley California.

Blending a contemporary design with rustic accents, the new hospitality centre offers a selection of open, private, indoor, and outdoor areas for seated tastings and wine experiences. Guests will be able to learn about the family’s 160-year history on the ranch while sampling small-lot Cabernet, Bordeaux blend, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot.

Shady Oak pours artesanal ales in new taproom

Sonoma County
Shady Oak Barrel House, Sonoma County

The sour and wild ales crafted by Shady Oak Barrel House are now available in the brewery’s first-ever taproom, located in Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.

Shady Oak is the passion of Steve Doty. After extensive experience home-brewing award-winning beers and designing beers for other breweries, he opened his own small-batch craft brewery focusing on farmhouse ales, sour beer, and barrel ageing.

Doty’s main emphasis is on beers made with the wild yeast, Brettanomyces, as well as other bacteria that bring acidity to a beer, creating a delightful and earthy funky bouquet. Well-behaved dogs are welcome in the taproom; humans must be 21 or older. Outside food welcome.

Butcher Crown Roadhouse features internationally inspired barbecue
Sonoma County
Butcher Crown Roadhouse

Latin American and African accents spice up the barbecue at the new Butcher Crown Roadhouse, a family-friendly countryside eatery in Petaluma, in southern Sonoma County.

The menu of contemporary comfort food by executive chef Christofer Gutierrez includes a variety of burgers, tacos, and sandwiches, plus platters like Piri Piri Chicken flavoured with the south eastern African chilli pepper, or El Tejano, with brisket smoked overnight, pumpkin mole, Jerusalem artichoke puree, pan di zucchero, roasted baby corn, and charred Negi onion. Dessert is ember-roasted apple with brown butter caramel, funnel cake, powdered sugar, and vanilla whipped cream.

In addition to craft beers on tap, and beer and cider in bottles and cans, the bar specialises in sangria, with the red wine and juices stocked with chunky apple, citrus, and other fruit.

Bollywood Bar & Clay Oven blends India with Wine Country

Sonoma County
Authentic Indian food at Bollywood

Enjoy authentic, ingredient-focused Indian cuisine with a modern twist at the new Bollywood Bar & Clay Oven in Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.

Inspired by the spirit of India and the best of Wine Country hospitality, this is a new venture by the Chandi Hospitality Group, which also owns Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Beer Baron, Stout Brothers Irish Pub and Restaurant, and the recently opened Mercato Pasta & Produce.

The farm-to-table menu by chef Niven Patel features contemporary interpretations of traditional Indian dishes. The spices come from a village in Gujarat, India, and as much fresh produce as possible is sourced from Sonoma County. The Smoked Lamb Shank is created in a six-day process in which the shank is brined, smoked, and braised until tender. The vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are marked on the menu.

In addition to beer and wine, the bar offers unique Indian-inspired artisanal cocktails that incorporate ingredients like raw turmeric, Buddha’s hand, makrut lime, and coconut milk.

Shop at Miracle Plum in Santa Rosa

Sonoma County
Miracle Plum, Sonoma County

Choose from a variety of produce and products at Miracle Plum, an artisanal neighbourhood market located in the historic Railroad Square in downtown Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.

The produce is always local and seasonal, the cheese selection changes literally every week, and the store makes its own seasonal and small-batch jams. Walk into this welcoming space that features highly curated pantry items, fresh staples from the dairy and farm, beautiful kitchen wares, cookbooks, magazines, and gift items like note cards, market baskets, a line of beauty products, beeswax candles, and more.

Miracle Plum is the brainchild, passion project, and longtime dream of Sallie Miller and Gwen Gunheim, who love the idea of being able to walk to a neighbourhood market and pick up a few choice ingredients for a simple dinner.

‘Victory’ gallops on Geyserville Sculpture Trail
Sonoma County
Geyserville Sculpture Trail Victory Horse

A 25-foot-tall statue of a galloping horse fashioned with reclaimed steel and redwood rears up proudly on the Geyserville Sculpture Trail, which features more than 25 outdoor works of art in northern Sonoma County.

Commissioned by the Geyserville Community Foundation, the massive, muscular sculpture was about three-quarters complete when the October 2017 wildfires hit Sonoma County, destroying sculptor Bryan Tedrick’s art studio. Thankfully, Tedrick had cleared the grass from around the in-progress horse and had regularly hosed it down, so the statue suffered only minimal damage.

Now christened “Victory,” the imposing statue stands in an open meadow at the southern end of the Geyserville Sculpture Trail, just off Highway 101. For several years Geyserville worked with the nearby town of Cloverdale to host a joint sculpture trail. By mutual agreement the two sculpture trails are now separate operations, but continue to collaborate and support each other.

Many of the pieces on the Geyserville Sculpture Trail, including Victory, are on permanent display, while others will be replaced periodically. They are all located along Geyserville Avenue. A list of the sculptures and a downloadable trail map are available here.

For a free visitors guide or information on hotels, wineries, events, spas, attractions, and dining in Sonoma County,

Visit www.sonomacounty.com or call 707-522-5800.

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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