Stopped by Paradise Ridge Winery for a work related errand, and just happened onto this spectacular virtual event, which also featured chef Duskie Estes, owner of Black Piglet Food Truck! WATCH IT HERE!!!
After long anticipation, given the recent easing of SIP restrictions, it is time to announce that Gravenstein Grill is reopening their Patio as well as beginning Take-Out for dining beginning Wednesday, June 3rd!
While the menu and hours will be slightly limited, they are making sure to bring back everyone’s favorite dishes ASAP! Chef Bob Simontacchi has been hard at work in the kitchen, working on fantastic seasonal dishes featuring ingredients from their amazing local farm partners. Be sure to select a little something from my sip-tacular wine list, and get a little preview here of the OPENING MENU!
New hours will be Wednesday-Sunday, 11:30am-8:30pm (with an hour break between 3pm-4pm), in hopes that if Sonoma County stays safe and continues to show positive signs of recovery, that hours and menu can be expanded as soon as it is safe to do so.
Reservations are highly recommended!
Gravenstein Grill is fortunate in that they have a large open patio where people can dine in the fresh air of West Sonoma County, at 8050 Bodega Ave, Sebastopol. They are also debuting online ordering beginning June 3rd, at www.gravensteingrill.com. You will be able to pre-pay, and pick up the food with minimal interaction.
Cheers & Bon Appetit! Christopher
Another episode of “The Varietal Show”, this one with Chef Jodie Rubin as we discuss good food, delicious wine and how the pandemic is affecting the industry. Enjoy our socially distanced chat on the patio at Gravenstein Grill!
As springtime quickly arrives we have a great way to enjoy the approaching change in seasons. Come to Gravenstein Grill, at 8050 Bodega Ave in Sebastopol, to try a different winery every week, in the Bartlett Bar from 5:30-7pm! Wine Wednesday is an excellent opportunity to enjoy a complementary tasting with a local wine producer.
Start your explorations on the last week of February with a triple winery feature from our next guest!
February 26: Donald Patz Wine Group
-Secret Door Winery
CANCELLED! No Wine Wednesday the next 2 weeks.
April 1 : Cancelled
Celebration postponed until Gravenstein Grill reopens!
Although it’s hard to believe: When Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami came to an end, everyone came out a winner. In the case of the Kansas City Chiefs, their dramatic 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers marked the team’s first Super Bowl win in 50 years. And, despite the disappointing loss to wine country locals, the game also capped off an amazing season for the 49ers: a young, talented team which made the miraculous transformation from a 4-12 record in 2018 to a 13-3 mark this past year, coupled with two convincing wins in the playoffs, which earned them the opportunity to compete for the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy on the 100-year anniversary of the NFL.
Beyond the players, the other big winners were the 49er Faithful, as well fans from the Chief’s Kingdom, and the over 6,000 members of the media attending the game on February 2, who also had special opportunities to explore the fabulous food and wine culture that has blossomed in the greater Miami area since the Niners won their last Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in 1995.
I am happy to say, I have been following the delicious wave of new culinary delights since I began judging the American Fine Wine Competition, which takes place every January at the Chaplin Center for Hospitality, on the campus of Florida International University in North Miami. To make this year more special, I got a taste of what 49er and Chiefs fans could expect with my fellow wine pals Charlie Arturola, Jacqueline Coleman, Peg San Felippo, Roberto Columbia, Wendy Rosano, Stu Nudelman, Henry Escobar and other judges attending the AFWC’s 13th Annual One Thousand Bottles: Sipping Through America, a special gathering held at the Chaplin Center on the FIU campus exactly two weeks before the kick-off of Super Bowl LIV.
In a nutshell: this fabulous event gives consumers, sommeliers, retailers, wine pros, and members of the media a rare opportunity to taste the top wines we judged earlier in the day, while sampling exquisite delicacies prepared by South Florida’s best restaurants and food purveyors, as well as newly released wines being poured by special guests from West Coast wineries. As an extra touch of class, proceeds from the get-together are donated to charity. And since 2007, AFWC has raised more than $1,000,000 for these local charities, including the Miami Dolphins’ admirable collaboration with the Tackle Cancer organization.
Standout bites at this year’s event included: a stunning array of fresh seafood delights from Krudo; a lobster sandwich on top of a purple Peruvian potato from The Blue at the Boca Resort; juicy, tender and smoky morsels from Nature’s Cut Organic & Grass Feed Beef, which raised in Uruguay and imported to Miami; and a very Pinot-friendly mushroom crudité from star Chef Stefano LaCava, who prepared the fantastic judges dinner the night before.
These and more tasty offerings provided by Cvltvra Restaurant, Ortanique, The Crepe Maker, Cooper’s Hawk, Nature’s Cut, Gatsby’s Joint, A Flair For Fudge and El Brazo Fuerte Bakery were also paired with delicious wines poured by our friends from DAOU Family Estates, Trujillo Wines, Hagafen Cellars, Kestrel Vintners, Staura Cellars, A. Torano Family Vineyards, Yount Ridge, Shadowbox Cellars and Bricoleur Vineyards during the event.
As the fun continued, I was able to savor more fine wines with Napa Valley vintners Chris and Shannon Hyde of Hyde Estate, Mike Henry from Acre Wine, FIU-grad Stephanie Honig of Honig Vineyards and Winery, as well as my other great pals Ali Nemo and Andy Du Vigneaud of Bee Hunter Wines of Anderson Valley. All this, while watching the 49ers punch their way to Super Bowl LIV with their convincing NFC Championship victory over the Green Bay Packers, which was broadcast on monitors in the Chaplin Center.
The following day, we judged the final rounds of the competition, which culminated with the sweepstakes round that matched the Best of Class wines in a head-to-head showdown in each category. Here are the big winners at the AFWC 2020:
- Sparkling Wine: Mumm Napa NV Brut Prestige, Napa Valley
- White Wine: Castello di Amarosa 2018 Gewurztraminer, Anderson Valley
- Red Wine: Papapietro Perry 2016 Pinot Noir, Pommard Clone, Russian River Valley
- Sweet Wine: Ferrante 2017 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Grand River Valley, OH
The full details on all the Double Gold, Gold and Silver medal winners will be listed on the American Fine Wine Competition website soon. Coming soon, look for my story about two special restaurants I visited during my visit to Miami in mid-January!
Happy New Year to all you wine connoisseurs out there! Here is an invitation to a try tasting something novel every Wednesday of 2020 as a most splendid resolution.
To get started trek on over to Gravenstein Grill in Sebastopol (8050 Bodega Ave) for a Wine Wednesday tasting! It is weekly in the Bartlett Bar from 5:30-7pm, an excellent opportunity to enjoy a free wine tasting with a local wine producer.
Warm up with these upcoming guest wineries this Winter!
January 22: Pedroncelli Winery
January 29: Bacigalupi Vineyards
February 5: Talisman Wines
February 12: Shane Wines
February 19: Miro Cellars
February 26: Donald Patz Wine Group
Top to Bottom: Pedroncelli on Jan 22; Shane Wines on Feb 12; Maritana Vineyard on Feb 26; Talisman (top two) on Feb 5; Miro Cellars on Feb 19 & Bacigalupi Vineyards on Jan 29!
Get your warm beverage, set at the desk and prepare to peruse the Sonoma County list of categories! I am hoping to retain my incumbency: I humbly request your vote as Best Sommelier.
If you need some reasons why to submit my name then maybe you need to have an Exclusive Sommelier Wine Tour, or private wine dinner with Fire & Vine, or just go to the Gravenstein Grill and sample from my wine list. Why not? Enjoy and happy voting!
Best Sommelier Christopher Sawyer
Best Restaurant & Wine List Gravenstein Grill
Here is my ENTIRE list of recommendations if you have the time!
Best Chef (Bob Simontacchi)
Best Outdoor Dining
Best Burger (featuring Sonoma Mountain Beef Company
& Willie Bird Turkeys)
Best Business Lunch
Best Wine & Food Experience
Best Romantic Dinner
Best Fried Chicken
Best Happy Hour
Taste world class Sonoma County Rhône style wines, including Syrahs, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Viognier, Marssanne, Roussane & more at the annual Rhône Rendezvous at Gravenstein Grill, hosted by myself, Sommelier Chris Sawyer! These small production wines are a passion of local winemakers who are bringing styles of one of the most interesting French wine regions home to the Bay Area. Come meet the winemakers themselves and find out more about these incredibly unique wines.
Get your TICKETS! Experience these wines!
ACORN Winery, Amapola Creek Winery, Benovia Winery, Cochon, CRUX Winery, Dane Cellars , Davis Family Vineyards, Donelan Family Wines, Enkidu Winery, Girl & The Fig, GlenLyon Winery, Jeff Cohn Cellars, Keller Estate, The Larsen Projekt, Lasseter Family Winery, Mengler Family Wines, Miner Family Winery, Muscardini Cellars, Odisea Wine Company, Onesta Wines , Scherrer Winery , Winery Sixteen 600, Trentadue Winery, Two Shepherds & more!
There will be live music, light hors d’oeuvres, and tastings with all wineries included with each ticket. This event is out on our Grove patio from 5:30pm-7:30pm. Don’t miss this once a year event!