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Tuesday, 01 December 2020 20:23

Ring in the Holidays in Sonoma Valley

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TASTE News Service, December 2, 220 – Sonoma Valley's holiday season officially kicked off with annual Lighting of the Plaza on Thanksgiving and continues through December with special holiday wine tastings,

New Year's Eve events and festive celebrations throughout the valley.

The traditional Lighting of the Plaza had a socially distanced spin for 2020. Instead of gathering at the Plaza, people joined the community event from the comfort of their own homes. The event brought together some of the area's best performances, leading up to the lighting of the giant palm tree in front of City Hall. Performers included Ballet Folklórico Quetzalén, Sonoma Conservatory of Dance, Loosely Covered Trio, Valley of the Moon Music Festival, Transcendence Theatre Company, Sonoma Arts Live Duet, Illegitimate AC/DC and Hula Mai.

Holiday Events

Lighted Tree at Sonoma Plaza Picmonkey

Cornerstone Sonoma celebrates the twelve days of Christmas, starting with the opening of Folktable on Dec. 4. The menu from Chef Casey Thompson celebrates the seasons of Sonoma Valley. The following evening, their 23-foot tall holiday tree will illuminate the property. The next ten days feature cheese and wine pairing classes, gingerbread classes, socially distanced Pilates classes, a Giving Tree for families in need and several opportunities for fun holiday photography, culminating with a Holiday Market on Dec. 12.

The Charles M. Schulz Museum is offering fun events to get children's creative juices flowing. The Museum is hosting two in-person classes for kids, a Gingerbread Doghouse Workshop on Dec. 12 and 13 and a Holiday Gift Making Workshop on Dec. 19. Little artists can create and decorate Snoopy's doghouse out of gingerbread and candy or get crafty making a variety of homemade gifts from sugar scrubs to picture frames. More information can be found on their website. Join the Peanuts crew for the virtual  Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! at 11:00 a.m. on Dec. 31. Enjoy a virtual Noon-year's eve celebration with Peanuts-themed crafts, special guest appearances, and a countdown to the Museum's annual Up-Down balloon drop at noon.

Transcendence Theatre Company is brightening the holiday season with "Broadway Holiday at the Drive-In." From the warmth and comfort of your own car, guests will enjoy a live and safe holiday sing-along, beautiful local wines with seasonal bites, in-car activities for the whole family and dazzling COVID-friendly entertainment, culminating in the highlight of the evening: a spectacular screening of "Broadway Holiday." You can catch the show Dec. 11, 12 and 13 at Sonoma Raceway.

Seasonal Spirits & Festive Tastings

Benzinger Family Winery and Imagery Estate Winery are offering their 45-minute Holiday Virtual Private Tasting with Jill Benzinger. From the comfort of your home, you can join Jill to taste three wines from your choice of winery. The wines will be shipped to your home prior to your tasting event. St. Francis Winery is offering several gift packs – with shipping included if you spend $100 or more. Their classic Sonoma Sampler includes six of their wines and the Port & Chocolate package pairs Sonoma County port with local, artisan chocolate.

Muscardini Cellars, in Kenwood is offering an "Explore Your Senses" gift set and virtual tasting kit. The experience allows tasters to really explore the tasting notes of each wine so they can better understand aroma, terroir, etc. The kit includes four signature wines, four customized sensory jars and a downloadable placement to host at home. Four wines are featured in this holiday edition: 2018 Pinot Grigio, 2018 Rosato di Sangiovese, 2016 Sangiovese, 2017 Barbera.

Enoteca Della Santina, the Plaza's Italian wine bar, will be hosting live music in their new outdoor parklet this holiday season. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays throughout December, guests can enjoy delightful wine (30 available by the glass) and delicious bites while listening to local musicians.

Hotel Updates

Some will celebrate the season at the storied Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. The handsome lobby, as per tradition, will be transformed with holiday finery including the enchanting 14' foot-tall Christmas tree tickling the center of the historic lobby ceiling. Guests and locals are invited to join the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 4 at 5:00 p.m. The 100-year old sycamore at the resort's main entrance will sparkle with thousands of lights, accompanied by live entertainment and complimentary hot cocoa and spiced cider. The Fairmont is also unveiling its signature Sparkle Suite, a luxurious holiday-themed Jack London Suite that has been transformed with holiday finery. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve meals will be served in accordance with Sonoma County's social distancing protocols.Check the resort's website for the season's special menus.

New Tours

Cannabis aficionados will appreciate the latest offering from Happy Travelers Tours, which combines British-style high tea with CBD. The High Tea experience includes a "sweet and savory" treat tower filled with three courses of CBD and non-infused bites and three CBD-infused loose-leaf teas, brewed tableside in a traditional tea service. The tour will come to you wherever you are staying in the Sonoma Valley that allows for social distancing.


Sonoma Valley chefs have provided some of their favorite recipes and suggested wine pairings for seasonal parties on the Sonoma Valley blog.

About Sonoma Valley, California

Located in the heart of Northern California wine country, Sonoma Valley is a 17-mile long area within Sonoma County, and which encompasses the city of Sonoma and the villages of Carneros, The Springs, Glen Ellen, and Kenwood. The birthplace of the state of California, as well as the state's wine industry, the year-round destination is home to more than 100 premium wineries, 85 percent of which are family owned. For more information, visit SonomaValley.com

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