March Is All About Food & Film

Am I still “new” if I have been the General Manager of Kenwood Inn and Spa for over four months now? Probably so, since I am new to Kenwood too! I relocated from Southern California in November, and in Los Angeles there is certainly something different to do every night of the week. By contrast, I have also lived in more remote areas of the country like Edwards, Colorado, where the activities options include skiing and… more skiing. As I get settled in my new surroundings I am always intrigued by what is happening in my own backyard; I like to get out and explore what the locals are doing in order to better assimilate myself into my new community.

I’ve found that Sonoma County is the perfect blend of just enough activity, but not too much to disrupt its serene atmosphere. I read an interesting excerpt from the Heart of Sonoma Valley website that captures that very feeling:

“Heart of Sonoma Valley is located in Northern Sonoma Valley. Dozens of wineries dot our hills and speckle our valley in and around the picturesque towns of Kenwood and Glen Ellen. For over 100 years, we have been producing world-class wines. Our history is rich, our wines are distinct with character, our roots run deep. We invite you for a glass of wine, a delicious meal, a walk through our gardens, a hike in our parks, a visit to our preserves… here you’ll find a bit of heaven in the place we call home.”

What better location is there to enjoy that glass of wine, a delicious meal, and a walk through the garden than our very own hotel? There aren’t many! However, while you are our guest we encourage you to explore some of the truly unique experiences Sonoma has to offer. During the month of March there are two spectacular events that all of us at Kenwood Inn and Spa look forward to, and recommend you take part in as well. We invite our guests to contact the concierge for tips on these experiences or for assistance purchasing tickets.


Join twenty wineries throughout Sonoma Valley this March for a Food & Wine Experience.

Join twenty wineries throughout Sonoma Valley this March for a Food & Wine Experience.

The 2015 Savor Sonoma Valley takes place on March 21st and 22nd. Wineries will be showcasing 2014 vintage wines straight from the barrels, sampling new releases, and offering award-winning wines paired perfectly with culinary creations prepared by local chefs and restaurants. Meet winemakers, mingle with wine lovers behind-the-scenes, peruse art from local artists and listen to live music. Experience the best that Sonoma Valley has to offer. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.


The Sonoma International Film Festival  features more than 90 hand-selected films.

The Sonoma International Film Festival features more than 90 hand-selected films.

If you have had your fill of great food and great wine, how about some great film? Now in its 18th year, the Sonoma International Film Festival (March 25 – 29, 2015) takes place in the heart of Northern California’s Wine Country and features more than 90 hand-selected films including independent features, documentaries, world cinema, shorts and a showcase of Spanish language films. All films are shown at intimate venues within walking distance of Sonoma’s historic plaza. The Festival is dedicated to promoting independent film, supporting filmmakers around the world and inspiring film lovers.

This unique five-day event offers world-class cuisine from local artisans and exceptional wine from Sonoma vintners. Renowned filmmakers, industry leaders and celebrities such as Bruce Willis, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams and Danny Glover have walked the festival red carpet and enjoyed its intimate ambiance. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

It is a pleasure to be living in such a beautiful part of the country with such unique experiences at our doorstep. I’d encourage you to try both stellar events if you are in the area…. maybe I will see you there!

Michael Collins

Posted in Kenwood Experiences, Life at Kenwood Tagged with: , ,

Six Wineries You Must Experience During Your Stay at Kenwood Inn and Spa

So many wineries, so little time.  Stunning Sonoma County sprawls 1,786 square miles, and is home to over 450 wineries with over 60,000 acres of planted vineyards. The area around the Kenwood Inn and Spa boasts some of the best!  We’ve narrowed down our picks for the top not-to-be-missed wineries offering unique experiences and vintners who constantly push the envelope.

For more than four decades, the wines of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards have reflected the finest mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County.  St. Francis Winery consistently produces luscious, elegant, fruit driven wines that best interpret the richness and distinct varietal characteristics of Sonoma’s unique, diverse terroir.

St. Francis Winery & Vineyard

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

Tastings at St. Francis Winery

Tastings at St. Francis Winery

Chateau St. Jean, with its gracious style, elegant architecture, inviting gardens and tasting rooms, is the quintessential Sonoma winery. The winemaking estate is located at the foot of Sugarloaf Ridge in the Sonoma Valley near Kenwood. Visitors to Chateau St. Jean enter a main courtyard surrounded by a lush garden. Inspiration for the garden was based on the classic estate gardens of the Mediterranean, as seen through the use of citrus-planted terracotta pots and the generous use of herbs and flowers. The winery has integrated existing site features and vistas into a landscape that is both relaxed and elegant to exemplify Sonoma wine country.

Chateau St. Jean 1 and 2

Chateau St. Jean

For over a century, five generations of the Kunde family have farmed an 1,850-acre estate in the heart of Sonoma Valley. Kunde’s winemaking mission is to carry on that tradition by crafting elegant, estate-grown, sustainably farmed wines with a real sense of place – beautifully balanced and expressive of their dramatic vineyard landscape.  Kunde’s breathtaking Mountain Top Tasting allows guests to sample the finest vintages at 1,400 feet, surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Kunde Estate. Overlook the Sonoma Valley, and onwards to the San Francisco Bay, as you taste wine in this truly one of a kind setting.

Kunde Family Estate

Kunde Family Estate

Deerfield Ranch Winery’s tasting room is set in the center of their 23,000 square feet wine cave, in the heart of the production facility. Guests walk through the crush pad, around the fermenting tanks, through beautiful Redwood portal doors, into the cave past hundreds of barrels full of wine to the center of the wine glass shaped cave and into the Grand Room. Guests sit comfortably in overstuffed couches and chairs, instead of standing at a crowded tasting bar, as they enjoy a flight of five wines.

Deerfield Ranch Winery

Deerfield Ranch Winery

Eight, same-generation family members manage every aspect of the grape-growing and winemaking endeavors at Benziger Family Winery.   At Benziger Family Winery, the wines have character and conscience – they’re not only great in the glass, they’re grown in a way that’s good for the environment, too.   Every wine in the portfolio carries a third-party certification of green farming practices. Whether the vineyard is certified sustainable, organic or biodynamic, it’s carefully tended with the most eco-responsible methods available – the best way to make distinctive, authentic wines. At Benziger Family Winery, guests explore the differences between sustainable, organic and biodynamic growing practices.

Benziger Family Winery

Benziger Family Winery

Hamel Family Wines strives to make a limited quantity of consistently great wines, primarily from Bordeaux varietals, and, more importantly, to have fun while doing so.  Hamel Family Wines values quality over quantity, enjoyment over tedium, and building for long-term lasting success over short-term quick hits, and endeavors to produce the highest quality wines from grapes grown on their Sonoma Valley estates.  Hamel Family Wines vineyards are farmed sustainably with organic and biodynamic practices, always seeking to be mindful of their role as responsible stewards of the land. The winery is nestled up against the Mayacamas Mountains, providing guests with dramatic views over the gently rolling vineyards.

Hamel 3 and 4

Hamel Family Wines

Contact our concierge to arrange exclusive winery visits to compliment your stay, or view our luxurious selection of guest room packages. Cheers!

Posted in Uncategorized

A Kenwood Thanksgiving


Sonoma vineyards

Hotel exterior

Thanksgiving at the Kenwood Inn and Spa was filled with romance and a celebration of the season.  Surrounded by stunning fall foliage and striking colors coming from the vineyards, our guests enjoyed a special prix-fixe dinner presented by Chef John Schaefer.



First, Chef presented a warm salad of Brussels sprouts, toasted local walnuts, Granny Smith apples, and fresh lemon, drizzled with Figone’s 20 year aged Balsamic vinegar which was followed by an indulgent risotto with a golden raisin verjus.


Warm Brussels sprouts Salad with toasted local walnuts, Granny Smith apples, fresh lemon, and drizzled with Figone’s 20 year aged Balsamic vinegar

with Black Truffle, Wild Chanterelle and Hen of the Woods mushrooms and a golden raisin verjus

Risotto with Black Truffle, Wild Chanterelle and Hen of the Woods mushrooms and a golden raisin verjus

The main course of “Turkey Two Ways” featured garlic, herb and lemon roasted turkey breast as well as a leg of turkey stuffed with pancetta, figs and chestnuts served with house made blood orange cranberry sauce, Japanese sweet potato purée, herb glazed sautéed KIS garden greens, and rich turkey gravy.

Turkey Two Ways

Turkey Two Ways

The meal closed with guests savoring pecan pie with Bulleit bourbon and Comice pear glaze, and pumpkin pie with vanilla bean Chantilly cream.

Pecan pie and pumpkin pie

Pecan pie and pumpkin pie


With Christmas less than a month away, it’s the perfect time to book your holiday getaway at  Kenwood Inn and Spa where Chef will once again delight your palate with Sonoma’s finest flavors of the season. We can’t wait! Follow this link for more info and to RSVP:

Fireside dining

Fireside dining

In the kitchen

In the kitchen

Posted in From the Kitchen

About Chelsea

Chelsea DeMennoBorn and raised in San Francisco, Chelsea gained her bubbly personality and confidence from her love of the arts.