Last week, the Sonoma County Winegrowers, in partnership with Sonoma County Vintners, hosted 33 of America’s top wine buyers and sommeliers to Sonoma County for a three-day immersion in Sonoma County vineyards and wines.
Attendees represent some of the country’s most prestigious restaurants and hotels and are considered influencers in the wine trade. The group included beverage professionals from top restaurants and retailers, including NoMad restaurant and Gotham Wines in New York City; Terroni, Eveleigh, and Montage in Los Angeles, Lettuce Entertain You and Plum Market in Chicago, and San Francisco Bay Area’s Bay Grape (Oakland), Cost Plus World Market, Wine.com, and Parallel 37 at Ritz-Carlton. We also hosted a writer from SOMM Journal to cover the events.
In addition to tasting over 80 of Sonoma County’s finest wines during a series of master classes, panel discussions, other events and activities, attendees met over 50 Sonoma County winemakers and grape growers, which allowed them the opportunity to hear about the vineyard sites, sustainability farming practices, growing conditions, and winemaking practices firsthand. One of the major highlights of Sonoma Summit was a vineyard tour at the Mauritson Vineyard in Rockpile.
The program featured a comparative tasting of several Pinot Noirs sourced from the same vineyard to explain different winemaking approaches and their impact on the wine, as well as a double-blind tasting of Chardonnays to showcase the diversity of Sonoma County and help explain why this varietal thrives in almost all of the region’s AVA’s. Other master classes and seminars included a tasting and panel discussion on Zinfandel and another on Cabernet Sauvignon; and several food pairing exercises Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and other wines. Each seminar featured winegrowers and winemakers discussing their vineyard practices and winemaking techniques, and how they work together to create distinctive wines.