Reasons Why “Olive” Sonoma

Most guests come to Sonoma Valley to experience wine country- but did you know that when we are not up to our elbows in juice we’re harvesting and pressing olives? There are many reasons “olive” Sonoma, and I wanted to share a few gems of the valley with you!

  1. B.R. Cohn Winery at Olive Hill Estate

    Olives in their pre-oil stage.

Home to over 450 Picholine Olive Trees dating back to the 1800s, the Olive Hill Estate Vineyards offer a picturesque location for the best of both worlds: tasting wine and olive oil. The olive tree name comes from the French word ‘Piccolo,” meaning small or petite. With its soil warmed by the natural hot springs below, this unique climate produces amazing fruit. After an olive oil tasting, top off your taste buds with some of B.R. Cohn’s Olive Hill Estate Wines, including their Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and their Cabernet Sauvignon Port! They have a quaint patio onsite perfect for enjoying a picnic alongside your vino.

  1. Figone’s California Olive Oil Company

    I loved the tasting room at Figone’s!

Recent transplants from Kenwood, you can now find Figone’s right in the heart of downtown Sonoma. There you can taste 12 olive oils and 8 balsamic vinegars on any given day. Treat yourself to the Fresh Olive Bar and some olive oil infused body products. On the weekend, you can indulge in their homemade mozzarella and cannoli’s.

But if that seems too far to travel, you can taste their product right here at Kenwood Inn and Spa! Try our Insalata Verde di Kenwood, featuring Figone’s 20 year aged balsamic.

Insider scoop: if you grow olives at home, you can take them to Figone’s and they will press them into oil for you at their Village Mill.

  1. The Olive Press

Winning 384 awards for their olive oil since 2001, The Olive Press is a destination not to be missed as the very first olive mill established in Sonoma. Its convenient location at the opening of wine country makes it an ideal first stop after a journey over the Golden Gate Bridge. Stop in to try their 2015 Gold Winner, Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which took home awards at the New York International Olive Oil Competition as well as the Central Coast Olive Oil Competition. The Olive Press shares a location with Jacuzzi Family Vineyards- making a great stop for tasting and more tasting. I suggest their 2012 Barbara, a crisp and vibrant red with lively berry flavors!

If you are a fan of exquisite olive oil, wine, and world class cuisine then Sonoma Valley is your vacation destination. As your concierge, I am here to make your stay in our valley magical and memorable- let me know how I can assist you on your next visit to us!



Posted in Kenwood Experiences, Life at Kenwood

Sipping and Savoring Through Sonoma

Chelsea wine tasting at Benziger Family Winery

Wine tasting at Benziger Family Winery

With 370 wineries, 72 varieties of wine grapes and 267,062 tons of grapes harvested per year, it may seem difficult to decide just which wineries to experience in Sonoma County.  We have the same thought often, and we live here! As a result, I have put together two new packages to make your vacation stress free. Let me use my wealth of knowledge of the area and wine to build the perfect day for any visitor, featuring wineries that really express and represent what our valley has to offer.

Hamel Family Wines in Sonoma Valley

The beautiful estate of Hamel Family Wines in Sonoma

Our new “Sipping Sonoma” package allows you to venture to three wineries, all with close proximity to the Kenwood Inn and Spa. I enjoy starting the day with a Pinot tasting at Benziger Family Winery, known for their smooth wines and sustainable growing efforts. All four of their estate vineyards are Demeter-certified Biodynamic, which is the highest level of organic farming. Located just five minutes from the Inn, this tasting allows you to develop your own opinion on Pinots as they are tasted side by side. Next, travel north to the barrel-filled caves of Deerfield Ranch Winery. Relax on their couches and enjoy an upgraded tasting of “clean wine.” Finish the day with an amazing adventure at Kunde Family Winery, where five generations of Kunde family have farmed. Ascend up 1,400 feet to the Mountain Top outdoor tasting area to enjoy sweeping views of the valley and even Kenwood Inn!

Sonoma Valley Tasting

Mountain Top tasting at Kunde Family Winery

If you’re more of a foodie, then you will enjoy our new “Savor Sonoma” package. Upon check in, we welcome you to enjoy a delicious local artisanal cheese plate for two, paired perfectly with a chilled bottle of Rosé from Hamel Family Wines. Begin your first day with us delighted in private tasting appointments at two of our valley’s most exclusive wineries, Hamel Family Wines and Hanzell Vineyards. You will not only learn about how wine is made, but you will taste estate wines, and explore the barrel-aging caves and vineyards of both properties. Return to your home at the Inn for your three-course dinner enjoyed inside or outside in front of the fireplace. You will sleep well in your guest room after an eventful day in the valley.

But perhaps you are looking for a fully customized experience; no problem! Email me your “Wine Country Whim” and I will make it happen!

We look forward to hosting you soon in Sonoma Wine Country!


Posted in Kenwood Experiences

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: , ,

About Chelsea

Chelsea DeMennoAs our in-house blogger, concierge and Sonoma guru, Chelsea helps create truly unique experiences...