The Fort Ross-Seaview AVA is a burgeoning wine region along Sonoma’s North Coast. Photo courtesy of Fort Ross-Seaview Winegrowers Association.
Copper pots and pans hang from the wall of the new Williams-Sonoma in Sonoma. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.
Chef Tyler Florence at the new Williams-Sonoma. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.
The showcase interior of the former Williams’ home in Sonoma. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.
Shone Farm in Forestville hosts a harvest celebration on Saturday October 11th. Photo courtesy of Shone Farm.
Eat and Drink to the Coast: Far from civilization and high above the fog line is the coastal Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticultural Area, or wine region. Homesteaded by hippies in the 1970s, the remote mountainous area, roughly between Healdsburg and Fort Ross, is home to one of the newest AVAs—and also one of the most up and coming. With just 27,500 vineyard acres and about 18 commercial vineyards, the cool coastal region has become a mecca for chardonnay and pinot noir. Among the top-tier wineries sourcing from this high-altitude AVA: Flowers, Martinelli, Pahlmeyer, Siduri, and Williams Selyem. Nope, not too shabby. So it’s worth the drive to the Fort Ross Historic State Park on Saturday October 18th for the 2014 Fort Ross-Seaview Wine and Harvest Festival.
On the docket: a wine tasting of recent vintages from local growers and winemakers and a luncheon featuring chefs John Ash, Barbara Hom (executive chef of Fort Ross Vineyard), Richard Whipple (executive chef of Sea Ranch Lodge), and Daniel Kedan and Marianna Gardenhire of ~BACKYARD RESTAURANT~ in Forestville. The Harvest Festival includes cheeses, apple cider, and baked goods from local growers, buggy rides, and Russian communal dances. The cost is $35 for wine tasting, $125 for the luncheon, and $20 for the festival. More details and tickets online.
Williams-Sonoma has finally come home to Sonoma: As we reported last week, nearly 60 years after its founding, entrepreneur Chuck Williams’ original ~WILLIAMS-SONOMA~ store has reopened just off the Sonoma town square. “We’re celebrating our roots and coming back home,” said Janet Hayes, president of the Williams-Sonoma brand. First opened in 1954 at 605 Broadway, the kitchenware store was among the first to bring French copper pots, Le Creuset bakeware, and high-end culinary tools to American home cooks. In fact, if you’ve ever used a KitchenAid stand mixer, Wüsthof knife, or poured cream from a little porcelain cow, you have Chuck to thank.
Ironically, since the store’s move to San Francisco in the late 1950s, there’s been no Williams-Sonoma in its namesake town—or anywhere in Sonoma County. In a stroke of luck, however, the original storefront (which had served as catering kitchen and frame shop among other things) came up for sale recently, and company officials knew they had to snap it up. Included in the sale was Williams’ home, which he shared with his mother for many years. After a massive renovation, the store has much of its original essence—from the original sign to Williams’ own collection of copper pans and French cooking molds—along with the crisp, luxe feel of the modern W-S vibe.
Food Network chef and Marin resident Tyler Florence was at the opening, and reminisced about his first meeting with Chuck in 2006. “I had a real connection when meeting Chuck at my own kitchen store. He brought the first copper and paella pans to home chefs. He brought all these new vehicles of expression,” said Florence. “What Steve Jobs did for computers, Williams did for cooking,” he added. We couldn’t have said it better.
The new store, at 605 Broadway, Sonoma, will be open daily from 9am to 6pm. A professional kitchen on-site will offer hour-long cooking classes that include:
- Chef-owner Duskie Estes of Zazu Kitchen & Farm - 10/14
- Chef and culinary instructor Jason Kupper - 10/20
- Chef Dustin Valette of Dry Creek Kitchen - 10/21
- Executive chef Todd Thompson of the Red Grape - 11/3
- St. Francis Winery Wine Pairing Dinner - 11/11
- Chef Cindy Pawlcyn of Mustards Grill - 12/12
Down on the Shone Farm: Santa Rosa Junior College’s ~SHONE FARM~ (a working farm used for agriculture, viniculture, and culinary students) celebrates fall with a festival that includes U-pick pumpkin and vegetable harvesting, apple pressing, wood milling, and hayrides on Saturday October 11th from 11am-3pm. It’s family-friendly old-timey fun with a rotten tomato slingshot, forest walks, and plenty of animal petting. The Nellie’s Oysters food truck will be on site, along with plenty of delish lunch options from the farm. 7450 Steve Olson Lane, Forestville. Free.