Brush Up on Your Sonoma Wine Varietals This Harvest Season

Among wine’s many great qualities is just that: there are so many qualities to choose from!

Each varietal comes with its very own flavor, texture, aroma, and nuance.

In advance of the height of harvest season, here are the varietals you can expect to see most often on wine lists in Sonoma.


Enjoy wines of all kinds this fall.

Pinot Noir

Thanks, Sideways.

The 2004 film famously caused a 16% increase in Pinot Noir sales in the western United States (while simultaneously causing Merlot sales to fall by 2%).

As far as what it is about this varietal that makes Miles Raymond love it so, it could be the noticeable cherry and cranberry flavors.

Or it could be the fact that it’s light and tart, but not sticky thanks to its low tannin quotient.

Or it could be that Pinot is just so notoriously finnicky.

It’s not an easy grape to grow, so when you experience a truly great Pinot, you can rest assured that the winemaker really knows their stuff.

Sauvignon Blanc

The predominant flavors of a Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc include green apple, lemongrass, and even hints of pineapple.

Admittedly Sauvignon Blanc is more sunny summer than cool fall, but it’s light, crisp, and refreshing no matter what the season.

Traditionally seafood is the go-to food pairing for Sauvignon Blanc, but theoretically white meats will do fine as well (hello, turkey!).


Merlot is a jack-of-all-trades.

Not too light, not too dark, and with medium acidity and tannins as well.

However, the final product of Merlot can vary greatly based on whether the climate is cool or hot.

Sonoma tends to verge on the cooler end of the climate spectrum, and so the resultant Merlot is drier, darker, and more full-bodied than average, with distinct flavors of raspberry and black currant.

No matter what the climate though, Merlot remains a versatile and delicious offering that pairs very well with food.


If Merlot is the jack-of-all-trades of reds, then Chardonnay takes the crown for whites.

A good watchword for Chardonnay is “malleable.”

Depending upon climate and process, Chardonnay can be transformed into a massive variety of flavors.

Most Chardonnay in Sonoma, however, tends to be made using unoaked barrels.

This makes it more tart and lemony than its oaked version, which produces a more buttery and smooth result.


Ahh, Syrah! The brooding member of the wine family, and a real up-and-comer in Sonoma.

It’s not quite in Pinot or Cabernet Sauvignon territory yet, but it’s up there.

If Sauvignon Blanc is sunny summer jig, Syrah is a tango in a dimly-lit lounge.

It bears all flavors ranging from mocha to pepper to blackberry, and is perhaps the darkest of all the popular red wine varietals.

An excellent choice if you’re feeling particularly dignified and elegant.


Zin holds a special place in the hearts of many Sonoma wine enthusiasts.

After all, the first Zinfandel vines in North America were planted in California, and California contains over half the total worldwide Zinfandel acreage.

As far as the wine itself goes, Zinfandel is a bit of a paradox.

It’s light and fruity (with all sorts of delightful berry flavors), but bold at the same time because of its moderate to high acidity and tannins.

It also has a very high alcohol by volume, with ABVs sometimes reaching as high as 16-17%, which certainly doesn’t hurt either…

Cabernet Sauvignon

Oh, Cabernet Sauvignon. The resilient. The survivor.

The reason for its ubiquity is often simply because it’s so hearty.

Unlike Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon will grow and thrive just about anywhere.

For flavor, expect black cherry and vanilla to shine often. Blackberry, licorice, and black pepper can also play a part.

Here’s to 2016 being an excellent year!

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The Harvest Season is Right Around the Corner


We have a very important question for all of you:

Where did July and August go?

Because from where we’re standing, they flew by in a blur of blue skies and sunny days.

It turns out that getting massages and lounging by the pool are quite the ways to pass the time.

Now, before we know it, we stand on the threshold of another one of our favorite times of the year.

The time when the trees turn all manner of painting-worthy hues, and all the grapes in the Northern Hemisphere get down to serious business with ripening.


The golden season is almost upon us.

Of course, we’re talking about harvest season.

Needless to say, it can be a busy time for winemakers.

Thankfully, Kenwood Inn and Spa is a strictly stress-free environment.

As we’re wont to say, leave your cares with us at the front desk, and feel free to not pick them up again on your way out.

To celebrate the upcoming season, we’ve prepared a special harvest package for guests looking to celebrate the season in style.

When you book the Celebrate Harvest in Wine Country package at Kenwood Inn and Spa in September or October, you’ll receive $100 off the Best Available Rate each night you stay.

Celebrate Crush in style and delight in sipping your way through the Valley of the Moon during one of the most exciting times of the year, then retreat to the Inn to relax in your luxurious guestroom or in our soaking pool and hot tubs.

We almost forgot. If you book your stay in October, we’ll include two $25 vouchers to The Spa and a bottle of Sonoma County wine as our harvest gift to you.

Cheers to the season of golden trees and golden wine!

And red too, of course.

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7 Unmissable Art Events in Sonoma This Summer


Sonoma contains a rich history and culture surrounding art in all its forms.

Wine Country has a particular way of inspiring the creative mind.

Whether it’s the calming wind rustling through the trees or the idyllic, pastoral valley setting rich with color and life, the landscape focuses creative energy like few other studios can.

From fabrics to traditional paintings to installations to sidewalk chalk, Sonoma County is awash with art to inspire the mind and invigorate the spirit.

Here are 7 art events coming up in Sonoma this summer that you can’t miss, courtesy of Sonoma County, CA:

SOFA Artwalk
August 11
Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6 and 7, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Interactive community of artists, businesses, and residents in downtown Santa Rosa. Enjoy art, music, and a unique, small community atmosphere.


Art by Lauri Luck

Friends of the Duck
August 13-14
Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 13 and 14, 12 to 4 p.m.
Laurie Luck Art Gallery

Enjoy art from 10 diverse artists at Lauri Luck Art Gallery. Oh, and there will be homemade Bumbleberry and Lemon Chess pie. Yum!

Art in the Redwoods Festival
August 13-14
Saturday, Aug. 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Gualala Arts Center

Live entertainment and artist booths, including vendor booths with jewelry, ceramics, wood, tiles, weavings, and more.


Fulton Crossing

Open Studios at Fulton Crossing
Aug. 19, Sept. 16
On the third Friday of each month, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Fulton Crossing

Open studios from Fulton Crossing tenants with a focus on functional art and furniture.

Frank Morbillo: New Works
July 16 -Aug. 20
Thursday through Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sculpturesite Gallery

See new sculptures by master metal worker Frank Morbillo at Sculpturesite Gallery in Glen Ellen’s Jack London Village.


Don & Era Farnsworth – Dharmakaya

In the Woods – By the River, an Exhibition of Contemporary Tapestries
July 8 – Aug. 25
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or by appointment.
Dallas A. Saunders Artisan Textiles

This exhibition features contemporary tapestries by internationally recognized artists, Donald and Era Farnsworth, April Gornik, Alan Magee, and Kiki Smith.

Reflections | Shadows
July 21 – Aug. 28
Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Healdsburg Center for the Arts

Juried exhibition of work by Sonoma County artists features the physical aesthetics and conceptual connotations of reflections and shadows.

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