The Wine Guy ~ Greg Walter

Greg Walter Gregory S. Walter has been a Sonoma resident for nearly 20 years. Greg has been in wine and food publishing for nearly 30 years, 15 of which were spent as a senior editor and later president of Wine Spectator magazine. Today he writes the PinotReport newsletter and publishes books through his Carneros Press imprint


Two wine events you must attend

Posted on January 24, 2013 by Greg Walter

Get ready for a great month of wine events in February here in Sonoma. Two events in particular are really worth your time if you want to taste the best wines (and food) that our Valley has to offer.

VinOlivo: ‘best wine event in Sonoma

Created to celebrate two of our Valley’s great culinary riches, wine and olives, this event has grown into a full weekend of celebration. Produced by the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance and held over the Presidents’ Day weekend, VinOlivo showcases more than 60 wineries and 25 of top restaurateurs in a series of events and dinners.

The VinOlivo Grand Tasting, held on Friday, Feb. 15 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Lodge at Sonoma (1325 Broadway), is an incredible collection of valley wineries, restaurants and artisans offering their fare, and I think, the best wine event in Sonoma. There’s so much to taste including local olives at the Olive Bar and experience the Pommes Frites and Sparkling Wine Bar. Tickets for the Grand Tasting are $75 per person in advance.

Participating wineries for the Grand Tasting include Anaba Wines, Annadel Estate Winery, B.R. Cohn, B Wise Vineyards, Bartholomew Park Winery, Beltane Ranch, Benziger Family Winery, Buena Vista Winery, Canihan Family Wines, Chateau St. Jean, Clarbec Wines, Cline Cellars, Deerfield Ranch Winery, Enkidu Wines, Envolve Winery, Eric Ross Winery, GlenLyon Vineyards & Winery, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Haywood Estate, Idell Family Vineyards, Imagery Estate Winery, Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, Keating Wines, Kenwood Vineyards, Landmark Vineyards, Larson Family Winery, Lasseter Family Vineyards, Ledson Winery & Vineyards, Little Vineyards Family Winery, Loxton Cellars, MacLeod Family Vineyard, MacRostie Winery & Vineyards, Muscardini Cellars, Nicholson Ranch, Petroni Vineyards, R2 Wine Company, Ravenswood Winery, Schug Carneros Estate Winery, Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery, Sojourn Cellars, Spann Vineyards, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, Talisman Wines, Tin Barn Vineyards, Two Amigos Wines, Ty Caton Vineyards, Viansa Winery & Marketplace and Walt Wines.

Restaurants and artisans include Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar, Crisp Bake Shop, El Dorado Kitchen, HelloCello, Hopmonk Tavern, Meritage Martini Oyster Bar & Grill, Ramekins, The Epicurean Connection, The Girl & The Fig, The Red Grape, The Strudel Guy, The Vineyards Inn and Wild Thyme.

There is also a full slate of VinOlivo events over the weekend, from a tasting pass to visit wineries during the weekend to winery dinners and an online auction featuring unique Sonoma Valley winery and vacation experiences. For tickets and more information on the VinOlivo weekend, call 707.935.0803 or visit

Eighth Street wineries open their houses

One of the great collections of small-lot wineries in the North Coast is over in the industrial neighborhood on Eighth Street East south of Napa Road. These producers have formed a loose organization, dubbed Eighth Street Wineries, and have created a great open house event so that we can taste and explore some really terrific wines in the very cool environment where they are produced.

The annual open house this year is on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the main cluster of wineries at 21481 8th Street East. The tasting features 10 wineries—Anaba Wines, Enkidu Wines, MacRostie Vineyards & Winery, Parmelee-Hill, Patz & Hall, Stone Edge Farm, Talisman Wines, Three Sticks Wines, Tin Barn Vineyards, Ty Caton—all generally within walking distance of each other with food pairings as well.

Tickets are $40 in advance with a special $10 designated driver ticket also available. For more information, visit

As always, you can email me with questions at [email protected]

Greg Walter, a Sonoma resident for more than 20 years, has been in wine and food publishing for more than 30 years, 15 of which were spent as a senior editor and later president of Wine Spectator magazine. Today he writes the PinotReport newsletter ( and publishes books through his Carneros Press imprint (