All posts by christopher

Winemaker Galas in April, during the El Dorado Passport Weekends!

The Annual El Dorado Winery Association’s Passport Weekends includes two added adventures in taste, the Winemaker Galas!  Each of the Galas take place on the Passport weekend’s preceding Friday evenings, April 5th and 12th at Mercedes-Benz of El Dorado Hills from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Experience the great wine and food from this region in an intimate setting:  Guests will rub-shoulders with the winemakers themselves from C.G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery, Mediterranean VineyardsBumgarner WineryFenton Herriott Vineyards and many more of the region’s winemakers will be on hand as well pouring specially selected, rare and reserve wines from their cellars that are not generally available for the public.

Delicious food to pair from  top regional restaurants presenting hors d’ oeuvres to pair with the evening’s selection of wines.  Placerville’s Farm Table, and Heyday Café, plus El Dorado Hill’s C Knight’s Steakhouse, Milestone, and the new, Osteria Moto, to drop a few names.

A silent auction of limited hand-picked offerings and live music will cap the evening off.  Tickets are $85 per person for either of the two Friday events.  Purchase them HERE!!!

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Double Win in Best of Bohemian for 2019!

That’s right!  I won Best Sommelier for the 6th year running, but now add Best Wine List to that.  Have you tried out my award winning wine list at Gravenstein Grill yet?  Time to check it out and get some delicious food by the fabulous Chef Bob Simontacchi to pair!

THANK YOU for all your votes and support!  Hope to be seeing more of you at Gravenstein Grill soon.

Cheers! Christopher

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Let Fire & Vine heat up your Kitchen!

Hot off a delectable Fire & Vine evening:  A personal food and wine experience featuring Sonoma county locals Chef Pat Langst and myself, Sommelier Christopher Sawyer!

Host either one of Chef Pat’s specially crafted dinners or a “Wine & Cooking Boot Camp” to prep it yourself!  Either partnered perfectly with wines selected by your favorite Sommelier to accentuate the dining experience!  Perhaps these recent photos will entice you to schedule your event?

Please inquire through wine@sawyersomm.com for more details. 
Locally sourced ingredients.
Vegetarian and Gluten-Free options.
Some special diets can be accommodated.

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African American History Month meets the Wine Industry!

Many people enjoy their vino without knowing where or whom has contributed to their treasured tasting.  Well I think it is appropriate to point out some stellar wines to try during African American History Month both for educational and pleasurable purposes!  Please peruse this informative article that shares 31 Black Owned Wine Businesses to get started before February ends!

In the article you will find featured, as well as pictured above, Winemaker/Proprietor Mac McDonald of Sonoma County-based Vision Cellars (center).  With us is star sommelier Tonya Pitts of One Market restaurant in San Francisco (left), along with myself and fellow judges at the Annual KRSH FM Thanksgiving Wine Picks team last fall.

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Also included in the article is Brown Estate, their fabulous Zinfandel is made with fruit from the family’s high-elevation vineyard in the Vaca Mountains above Napa Valley.: Here is a special selfie with Coral Brown (bottom right), before our special Napa Valley Zinfandel Advocates & Producers seminar at the CIA at COPIA.

The top right photo features Football legend Charles Woodson, who launched his Napa-based Charles Woodson Wines with business partner Rick Ruiz in 2001.

Cheers! Christopher

AMAZING EVENING AT THE LEDSON CASTLE

Please welcome guest writer Steve Ledson in this wonderful recounting of the Judges Dinner for East Meets West Wine Challenge, which was graciously and deliciously hosted at the Ledson Castle.

Hosting Chris Sawyer and 35 amazing wine judges and wine writers from all over the United States.

As I approached the Castle from the south, the sun was just setting against Hood Mountain creating this amazing back drop for the Castle. The driveway lanterns were lit and the Castle just glowed with all its lights setting it off against the twilight of this majestic backdrop. What an amazing site.

Walking up the steps and into the entrance I could hear the chatter of everyone’s excitement of what this evening had to share for all of us. To my right was our Dining Room that Stacey and her staff including her incredible husband Sean had set up with black table cloths and napkins and a beautiful flower arrangement of red, white and blue in the center of each table. Every glass and piece of china was in perfect order. I stood and just stared for a moment. It was so rich and inviting. Probably one of the best dining room settings I’ve seen over the last 20 years.

Stacey shuttled me along into Winslow’s Bar where everyone was mingling, Jerry and Brendon were pouring behind the bar with their amazing smiles and incredible hospitality. It was easy to see how everyone was soaking up the attention and kindness of these two handsome gentlemen. I was extremely proud of them as I watched everyone’s enthusiasm as the night unfolded. Scott Eddinger and his lovely wife Audrey were seamlessly moving through our guests passing hors d’oeuvres while mingling and chatting as the guests arrived. Both perfectly dressed for the occasion. Chef Kendyl Bilenkij stole the night starting with her amazing pairing of pickled Shrimp in a Meyer Lemon sauce and Chicken Pate paired so perfectly with our Russian River Pinot Noir Reserve and our Mountain Terraces Viognier. It was quite impressive to watch these two as they offered up Chef Kendyl’s amazing appetizers’ with a very warm and nourishing smile making guests feel so welcome.

With a tap of the glass Chris Sawyer froze the crowd as he introduced me in a way that made me feel like a King. This man has a way of making every person feel important. Chris shared stories of some of the great times he and I have shared over the last 30 years bringing back very special moments during my life here in Sonoma County. There is nothing better than reminiscing great moments of your life.

As I spoke to our Guests it was important to me to recognize all of you here at Ledson. I explained we are just one big family and each and every one of us plays a very important role in the success and most importantly the image we have in the wine world today.

I was very proud to speak and represent all of us in front of some of the greatest wine judges and wine writers in the United States today. Thank all of you for your continued efforts and hard work that has lifted us to an image anyone should be very proud of.

Stacey announced that dinner was served so we slowing flowed into the Dining Room. Stacey and Sean along with Scott and Audrey, as well as Brendon seamlessly served us an incredible meal. The first course, a citrus salad paired with our Zina Hyde Russian River Sauvignon Blanc. The phenomenal entrees of Salmon and Filet Mignon were shared with our Mes Trois Amours, Bellisimo and the Sonoma Valley Estate Reserve Merlot. To finish the evening, Chef Kendyl prepared decadent chocolate cake served with fresh raspberries which we paired with our award winning Stagecoach Reserve and the Mountain Terraces Lex’s Cabernet Sauvignon.

With each course and each pairing, Chris and I introduced the wines as our Guests anxiously listened and graciously commended the entire setting and event. Hours passed by like swift moments in time. Each and every attendee was provided with the most impeccable wines, food and service. At the close of the evening every single person there made a point to come to me personally and thank me.

It just shows what can happen when you have a team of passionate people working together.

To sum it all up for the evening in short.  Incredible food, incredible service in and incredible atmosphere with and Amazing group of very talent People.

 I’m very proud to be a part of this amazing event, not only should all of you me proud for the incredible job you all did last night, each and every one of you who works here at Ledson should be proud of the image that was present last night to some very talent wine writers and wine judges traveling here from all over the United states.

A very special thanks to my Dear Friend Chris Sawyer for making this all happen.

March 2nd Vintner Dinner with Halleck Vineyard!

Join me at Gravenstein Grill for a very special evening featuring special guest Ross Halleck of Halleck Vineyard!

Chef Simontacchi has created a dish to go alongside some of Halleck Vineyard‘s finest wines – including the #1 Pinot Noir in the US from the 2019 SF Chronicle Wine Competition.

Check out the five course wine-paired menu below and call 707-634-6142 to make your reservations!

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Enter Your Wines NOW in East Meets West next week!

Happy New Year,  just getting back after a family loss and a slew of travel, including Miami, the Capital city and the lovely Sierra Foothills!

But next week I will be local and working my palate at the EAST MEETS WEST Wine Challenge: Two competitions in one and open to all domestic and internationally produced wines according to regional designations.

Follow this LINK to enter your wines ONLINE
( & to save $5 per wine)!
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Zinfandel Experience: January 17-19

Add this to the holiday wish list!  Dine, Learn, Enjoy, Taste with legends and emerging rock stars of Zinfandel. ZinEX is a three-day wine and food extravaganza attracting wine lovers from around the world. Experience the classic character of Zinfandel at four extraordinary events featuring a diverse selection of wines and styles. The weekend includes a Welcome event Dine-Around at One Market , Flights seminar, Winemakers Auction & Dinner, and Grand Tasting.

ZinEX 2019 features access to winemaker celebrities at three impressive venues, showcasing the talents of winemakers, chefs, and artisanal food purveyors. Your VIP package includes Heritage Club membership, tickets to each of these events and so much more.