This year's auction has a California beach party theme with the tagline "Endless Sonoma." In the spirit of the theme the growers and vintners will introduce the lots wearing surfer-style costumes. Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys in San Francisco and winner of "Top Chef Masters" will team up with Kendall-Jackson executive chef Justin Wangler to present the first course of the auction's meal (an oxtail, fingerling potato and truffle 'cappuccino,') and other regional chefs will prepare the rest of the menu. The menu will include Sonoma-sourced specialties like curried Gravenstein apple miniature grilled cheese sandwiches; eggplant caponata; steak Florentine; pomegranate and herb grill lamb loin; artisan cheeses, breads and more.
A partnership between Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Foundation and Sonoma County Vintners, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is the area's largest wine and food fundraiser, having jointly donated more than $10 million to local charities that support students, children, farm workers and people in need. Friday winemakers lunches are $85 a person, Friday specialty dinners are $175 and Friday winemaker dinners are $160. On Saturday, the Taste of Sonoma event is $150, the Grand Reserve tasting is $195, the Honorary Chair Dinner: St. Francis Winery is $175 and the Saturday winemaker dinners are $160 each. Tickets for the Sunday auction are $500, half of that is tax deductible.