Sonoma, CA (April 6, 2021) – As the country begins to cautiously reopen, there are signs of rejuvenation and renewal in the Sonoma Valley. Right now, visitors can get back to nature and experience the annual wildflower bloom throughout the area’s regional parks or visit vineyards where bud break marks the official start of the winegrape growing season. Museums, hotels, restaurants and wineries are celebrating spring – and are ready for new beginnings.
ARTS & CULTURE
The Charles M. Schulz Museum is now open, welcoming visitors back to enjoy not only the legendary cartoonist’s work but also to learn more about the art of cartoons. Current exhibits include Lucy! Fussbudget to Feminist, which traces Lucy Van Pelt’s empowering personality through original artwork and never-before-seen materials from the archives. The Museum is still showcasing Hidden Treasures: Unseen Originals from the Collection as an online exhibition.
The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is also open again, featuring Ed Ruscha: Travel Log, an exhibition of prints, books and photographs by the world-renowned American artist. Travel Log presents rarely seen black and white photographs from Ruscha’s trips between Los Angeles and Oklahoma in the 1960s as well as color lithographs from his “Word Paintings” series.
MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa announced its Artist-in-Residence partnership with Tappan Collective. The Los Angeles-based collective’s mission is to reinvent the way we collect and interact with art through exhibitions, partnerships and more. Macarthur Place x Tappan Collective’s program welcomes artists from around the country to live at the hotel to find inspiration to create and expand upon the hotel’s collection of hand-selected works of art. The hotel is also offering guests the opportunity to stay a while and learn a new skill while enjoying Sonoma Valley. Collage making, floral design and winemaking programs are available on an ongoing basis while art programs will rotate throughout the year.
Trashion Fashion is back! The Sonoma Community Center is hosting the 11th Annual Trashion Fashion Show – putting sustainability on the catwalk – to close out the Trashion Week. Outfits made from trash are turned into treasure during the runway show. Designers celebrate creative waste management and compete for cash prizes.
Chamber music is returning to the Sonoma Valley with the announcement of Valley of the Moon Music Festival’s 2021 season, “Love and Longing: Reaching Across the Distance.” A series of nine curated programs inspired by the fundamental human desire to connect, the Festival brings together artists and audiences across digital platforms and modified in-person live performances from July 17 to August 1. Reservations are available online.
Combining the arts with the outdoors, Sonoma Community Center is partnering with Jack London State Historic Park to offer a series of four one-day, in-person, socially-distanced art workshops within the park. Each workshop focuses on a different creative approach which is perfectly matched by the park’s natural beauty and historic setting and will be taught by local artists. The first offering, Wondrous Wildflowers, arrives at the peak of the spring blooming season, Saturday, May 1. Registration is online at www.sonomacommunitycenter.org.
Internationally recognized for spectacular collections of flowering Asian plants, the Sonoma Botanical Garden, which was almost lost to fire in 2017, offers a unique opportunity for environmental-education and appreciation of plant conservation both locally and globally. Formerly known as Quarryhill Botanical Garden, the recent name change allows the Garden to broaden its mission to interpret the native plants of California in addition to its historic focus on Asian flora. The name change coincides with the spring season, considered by many to be the Garden’s most beautiful, when many rare plants come into flower.
Outside of the Botanical Garden, spring is an incredible time to experience Sonoma Valley’s wildflowers in full bloom. The Sonoma County Regional Parks’ downloadable field guide helps visitors find the most colorful trails and meadows. Sonoma Valley Regional Park in Glen Ellen is a great place to see sky lupine, blue dicks, sun cups and California poppies – the state’s official flower.
Interested in learning more about Sonoma Valley’s flora and fauna? The Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau has created “A Field Guide to Sonoma Valley” that will help visitors and residents identify native plants, bird species and more to make hiking and exploring more interactive, educational and fun. The guide can be picked up at either Sonoma Valley Visitors Center – on the Plaza or at Viansa Winery.
Celebrate Earth Day with a vineyard hike at Three Sticks Wines’ historic Durell Vineyard. The behind-the-scenes tour, led by the Director of Vineyard Operations and the winery’s co-founder, the two-hour hike will introduce guests to the winery’s stewardship and regenerative farming practices. After the trek, hikers will be rewarded with a taste of the Durell terroir with a splash of both the 2015 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, pulled from their library, and an opportunity to see some adorable farm animals.
Sonoma Valley wineries are celebrating anniversaries, accolades and new openings this month. St. Francis Winery & Vineyard started on its Kenwood property in 1971. Fifty years later, it is one of the most respected family-owned producers of premium wine in the county. Visitors to the tasting room can experience the rich heritage through anniversary-themed tasting flights and estate pairings throughout the year. Down the road in Carneros, Schug Winery is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its first vintage. Schug is highlighting that rich history with its lot for the 2021 Sonoma County Barrel Auction, a library offering that reflects a new category for the event. “A Carneros Decade” includes two large formats of Schug’s 1995 and 2005 Carneros Pinot Noir wines made by Walter. The 5-liter bottles come in their original wooden cases and have been aging in Schug’s caves since bottling.
The Sangiacomo Family has been growing premium wine grapes in Sonoma since 1927 and sold them to other winemakers, creating some of the most famous single-vineyard bottlings in the valley. Today they farm 1,600 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. In recent years, they began bottling their own grapes, creating gorgeous wines and now visitors can sample their luxurious vintages at their new tasting room at the Sangiacomo Home Ranch. The tasting terrace offers breathtaking views of the family vineyard and a panoramic scene of gently rolling hills that border Carneros and southern Sonoma Valley.
On the Sonoma Plaza, the tasting room at Fulcrum Wines is now open seven days a week, where guests can taste their variety of Vineyard Designated Pinot Noirs and other limited production wines. Corner 103 recently won five medals at the 2021 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest and best-known wine competition in North America. Stop by the tasting room to sample the award-winning 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018 Primitivo, 2018 Malbec, 2017 Petite Sirah and 2018 Zinfandel.
EVENTS AND TOURS
Wednesdays are for drag racing at the Sonoma Raceway. The popular Sonoma Drags & Drift event is coming back to the Raceway this spring. Anyone with a driver’s license can compete (as long as it passes a simple technical inspection). If you make it to the final four in your class, you’ll receive a trophy.
Active Wine Adventures is launching two new private tours in April. The Elevated Hike & Wine Tour leads guests on secluded trails in peaceful areas with spectacular scenic views. After the hike, head to hidden wineries on back roads to taste exclusive, small-production wines. Hikes range from moderate to moderate-plus and are between 4.5 and six miles. The new Sonoma Wine Adventures tour provides a bespoke wine tasting itinerary for every guest.
Spring brings big news about The Lodge at Sonoma. The Raindance Spa at The Lodge is now open, offering a diverse menu of therapeutic services from skincare and facials to massage and body scrubs. Coming soon, The Lodge will unveil its multi-million-dollar renovation and rebrand as part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. The hotel has updated the lobby, guestrooms, cottages and exteriors, with a fresh new look that still feels like a wine country classic.
For more information on the variety of places to stay in Sonoma Valley, visit StaySonomaValley.com to see their collection of small inns, B&Bs and vacation rentals all in one easily searchable place.
The Taub Family Outpost opened last year, bringing a new energy to the historic Sonoma Plaza. This month, the Outpost’s speakeasy-style cocktail bar, The Beacon, is open and serving incredible craft cocktails, both originals and classics, in a setting that will truly transport you. Bar bites will be available as well. The Beacon will be open Friday through Sunday nights and is for guests 21 and older only. Reservations are available online.
Craving Sonoma Valley, but can’t make it the trip? The Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau has launched a new section of their website to showcase recipes – for food and cocktails – from the area’s best restaurants and spirit producers. Organized by season, it is now easier than ever to bring a taste of Sonoma Valley into the home kitchen (or bar) and get inspired to try the real thing on your next visit.
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, or follow us on Instagram at @sonoma_valley, and on Facebook at @ExperienceSonomaValley.
Note to editors: Photos of many of the businesses mentioned are available at https://sonomavalley.smugmug.com/. If you need something else, let us know and we will do our best to get it for you.