I’m a big fan of hanging out at vineyards and wineries. And my personal favorite spot for this, is Sonoma County.
Music, art, wine, and food events abound over the summer in wine country, but not all events are created equally. After a lot of years planning and executing wine events in Sonoma County (as a former winery hospitality manager) as well as attending them, I tend to look for something a little different when on the hunt for entertainment in wine country. I look beyond tasting rooms or barrel tastings (which can be done all year long), and fancy cheese and wine pairings. I look for opportunities to spend time at wineries in unique ways. Experiences versus simple consumption.
Fortunately for me (and for you!) wine country has a lot of really cool stuff going on this summer. Everything from outdoor movies in the vineyards against the backdrop of Sonoma Valley (unfortunately this series just ended for the summer) to Secret Wine Country Speakeasy Dinner Club Events (immersive dinner theater events held in secret locations- 1920’s attire encouraged)
Here are a few of my favorites happening this August:
Shakespeare Under the Stars at Buena Vista Winery Aug 10-21 What’s better than a summer outdoor theater experience? A summer outdoor theater experience on the beautiful grounds of one of California’s oldest wineries. With wine. This year makes the winery’s 36th season doing this event! Showing this season: Twelfth Night.
Broadway Under the Stars Jack London State Park (Glen Ellen) Aug 5-21 This awesome outdoor theater series has been happening for a few years now and brings Broadway stars and theater to the great outdoors in the lovely winery ruins area of Jack London State Park. Proceeds go to saving and preserving the historic Jack London State Park (which was in danger of being shut down a few years ago). Click here to go to their page and find tickets. You couldn’t get a better outdoor theater experience… the ambiance, as always, is casual and fun and being able to picnic and buy wines and refreshments before the show every night turns this into a great whole evening out in wine country.
Transcendence Theater’s Wine Country Speakeasy Dinner Club Nights Aug 17/18 ‘a scintillating blend of secrets, song, and dance’ this night of dinner and theater (an immersive experience) will be held in a super secret spot that will only be disclosed to ticket holders just before the event. The theme is 1920’s speakeasy…. costumes and period dress encouraged! This event literally combines so many things I love (wine, theme dress, theater and secrets!)
I’m so mad that I’ll be back in Spain and will miss this event. Please please write to me and tell me all about it, if you are lucky enough to get tickets and attend!
Gloria Ferrer Tapas on the Terrace w Live Spanish Music Each First Thursday of the month (June, July, and August) Gloria Ferrer features a different Spanish food specialty and live Spanish music out on their gorgeous porch overlooking the Valley. A glass of bubbly, Spanish tapas, and live music? Yes please! You really can’t beat this view and ambiance. I typically stay away from the bigger fancier wineries in Sonoma but Gloria Ferrer tends still to suck me in simply due to their location, their Spanish roots (which are shown in the myriad of Spain-influenced events they hold every year) and the fact that they make bubbly (my favorite bevvie anytime of year)!
Dutton-Goldfield Sommelier Saturday Vineyard Stroll, Tasting, and Brunch Aug 27th and September 24th Spend Saturday morning walking through the beautiful Dutton-Goldfield vineyards (in the Russian River area of Sonoma County) with their in-house sommelier, Nicole, learning about soil, terroir and winemaking processes. Then, follow her to a sit down tasting of DG wines and a vineyard brunch. Can’t think of a nicer way to spend a Saturday morning (especially since it typically stays a few degrees cooler over in Russian River than the rest of Sonoma County!).
More Events to Come! I’ll update this post with my favorite September events soon.
Note: there are many, many more events happening than I’ve covered here. These are just some of my favorite based on the combination of unique or high quality entertainment, location, and setting/scenery.