Everyone loves finding the perfect pairing of wine and food. The Wine Road’s Wine & Food Affair dedicates an entire weekend to tasting one perfect pairing after another.
Wine & Food Affair 2017
This premier wine event takes place the weekend of November 4 & 5 along the Wine Road. An extraordinary two days with 100 Sonoma County wineries in Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys offering the perfect pairing of their wines and delicious small bites.
- Advanced tickets purchases are required, no tickets at the door.
- Tickets give you access to all the participating wineries.
- Tickets: $80pp for the weekend, $60pp Sunday only, $30 Designated Drivers
(+ sales tax and service fee)
- When you purchase your tickets, you select the winery where you’ll check in, so be sure to identify a couple of options by reviewing the program.
- Each winery can only check in 50 people, so the sooner you purchase your tickets, the more likely you’ll get your one of your choices. When I last looked, 12 wineries were already booked for check in.
- This event does sell out, so if what you read here intrigues you, don’t wait too long to buy your tickets.
- Ticket holders receive an event logo glass when they check in.
- All the recipes for the pairing will be available online the weekend of the event, and will remain online for you to refer back to again and again. The online recipe database is searchable by winery or lodging, category (appetizers, breakfast, dessert, main dish, etc.), main ingredient, wine pairing, vegetarian or gluten free, and year served. This is an amazing resource for foodies who also love wine.
- In addition to wine and food, every winery has water available so you can stay hydrated throughout the day! A very important tip for enjoying the day to its fullest.
Perfect Pairing Options
With 100 wineries to pick from there is a long list of appetizers, entrées, desserts, and more to pick from. A few years ago, at the request of attendees, the Wine Road started listing if a food option was vegetarian (VG) or gluten free (GF). This year 35 wineries are serving a gluten-free pairing, and 29 wineries are serving a vegetarian pairing. If you are a gluten-free vegetarian, you have seven options.
Here are a couple of the vegetarian pairings:
Matcha Pancakes with Caramelized Pink Lady Apples — Chalk Hill Winery
Pizza with Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella — D’Argenzio Winery
Three-Cheese Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms — Geyser Peak
Dark Chocolate-Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownies — Mill Creek Vineyards & Winery
Gorgonzola and Wild Mushroom Arrancini — Portalupi Winery
Mushroom Cannelloni with Wild Mushroom Marinara — Rued Winery
The gluten-free pairings look equally inviting. Here are a few:
Indian Lamb Curry — Amista Vineyards
Steve’s Brined BBQ’d Turkey — Blanchard Family Wines
Chocolate-Dipped Bacon — Clos du Bois
White Bean-Chicken Chili — Deux Amis
Roasted Pork Belly with Zinfandel Reduction & Mango-Pineapple Salsa — Harvest Moon
Hand-Rolled Volo Chocolate Truffles (GF & VG) — Truett Hurst Winery
Off the Beaten Path
It is easy to travel the main highways along the Wine Road, but you might miss some of the hidden gems that require taking the roads less traveled. Below are just a few wineries to consider, along with their food pairings.
ACORN Winery — Roasted Acorn Squash and Farro Ragout with optional Braised Pork topping
Just off of Old Redwood Highway south of Healdsburg, ACORN might have a long driveway to travel before reaching them, but it is worth the extra few minutes to visit this normally by-appointment only winery.
Christopher Creek Winery — Risotto Milanese (GF) and Vislay Vineyards — NY Strip Sliders with Sweet Black Pepper and Blue Cheese Sauce
These two wineries are both on Limerick Lane, and are neighbors to ACORN. Though close to Healdsburg, Limerick Lane is definitely a road less traveled, but worth the time to explore the wineries down this lane.
Merriam Vineyards —Cabernet Franc and Chocolate Pork Stew with Aerated Yams (GF) — is around the corner and down the road from Christopher Creek. Merriam specializes in Bordeaux varietals and blends, so if you like robust reds, then put this stop on your list.
Battaglini Estate Winery — Tri-Tip with Argentinean Chimichurri (GF)
Just outside of Santa Rosa on Piner Road on your way to Olivet Road, Battaglini is also normally by-appointment only, so Wine & Food Affair offers a chance to experience their charm and gracious hospitality without an appointment.
Occidental Road Cellars — Quinoa with Summer Squash, Local Mushrooms, Wild Arugula and Sweet Corn (VG & GF)
Though in the north end of Sebastopol, this tasting room is tucked back off Gravenstein Hwy just enough that many travelers miss it. Their estate-grown fruit produces some delicious wines worth seeking out.
Jigar — Fall Squash Pakoras with Plum Chutney (VG) and Joseph Jewell Wines — Creamy Cauliflower Velouté with Crispy Shallots (VG & GF) are neighboring tasting rooms in the small hamlet of Forestville. Not the first place you think of for wine, but now maybe you will. Both wineries produce stellar wines worth the stop.
Stuhlmuller Vineyards — Blue Cheese Burgers with Caramelized Onions
Off Alexander Valley Road, the trek down West Soda Rock Lane allows you to see the charm of sweeping vineyards and country houses. What awaits you at the end of your journey is delicious Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon to pair with the burgers.
Hot New Spot
It is always fun to check out the newest wineries to become members of the Wine Road. During Wine & Food Affair there are four new tasting rooms participating:
- Foley Sonoma, located in Alexander Valley, will be pairing their wines with Spiced Porchetta (GF).
- GC Lurton Vineyard Tasting Room is located in downtown Healdsburg. Try Boeuf Daube Provençale (GF) paired with their Bordeaux-style wines.
- Kelley & Young’s new downtown Cloverdale tasting room will open just in time for Wine & Food Affair. Enjoy Italian Meatball Sliders paired with their wines.
- Zialena will be serving Zia Lena’s Raviolis, a very special treat. Zialena is located just a minute east of Geyersville, just off Hwy 128.
So Many Choices
- If you don’t already have a ticket, look online at the Wine Road’s website to see the full list of participating wineries and the food they will be serving.
- Select a first and second choice winery to start your pairing journey, then go online and buy your ticket. (You need to pick more than one starting point in case your first choice winery has filled up their check-in quota.)
- After you have your tickets, review the program again and plan your path for each day. With 100 participating wineries, you’ll want to have a general plan, and then be flexible as the weekend unfolds.
- Most importantly, have fun and enjoy a weekend of perfect pairings.
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