Two Fun Nights Ahead in Wine Country

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Scott Beattie and The Cucumber Collins; photo by Deirdre Bourdet.

Lots of fun events going on in wineland these days. On Wednesday February 23rd, ~SPOONBAR~, Classic & Vintage Spirits, and artisanal cocktail king Scott Beattie are hosting the Golden Barspoon cocktail competition in Healdsburg’s eco-chic h2hotel. Professional bartenders from Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties will be mixing up their best cocktail recipes using Classic & Vintage spirits in the Spoonbar lounge, competing for eternal glory and some kick-ass prizes from the sponsors. The hoi polloi can cheer them on whilst sipping $5 cocktails from Scott’s own repertoire of mind-bending beverages, and checking out samples of Classic & Vintage’s product line. The h2hotel is also offering a special $149 cocktail competition rate that night, to save you the DUI expense. 7pm-10pm. 219 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-433-7222.

For a totally different kind of outing, the first ever Big Gay Wine Train is set to ride the rails on Saturday March 12th, thanks to co-sponsors Napa Valley Wine Train and Out In The Vineyard. Gay vintners from Napa and Sonoma will take over the Wine Train for the night, schmoozing with guests and pouring their wines for the specially paired five-course dinner from chef Kelly McDonald. Think lobster cakes with blood orange beurre blanc, scallops and pork belly in tarragon truffle purée, lamb lollipops, filet mignon, foie gras, and more decadence along those lines.

The party starts at the Wine Train Station with bubbly from J Vineyards, then it’s all abjoard with Greg Bjornstad (Bjornstad Cellars), Mark Lyon (Sebastiani Vineyards), Philippe Langner (Hesperian Wines), and Jeff Durham and Joey Wolosz (Poem Cellars), who will be circulating among the cars answering questions and generally being fabulous. No word on whether the station’s piano bar will be open late that night, but I have my suspicions. Sparkling reception starts at 5:30pm; train leaves at 6:30pm. Make your reservations online at winetrain.com.