Category Archives: Wine

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

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.

Dec 18th Dine&Donate at Gravenstein Grill!

Bring your big hearts and voracious appetites to help raise money for Ruby the Warrior Princess!  A brave little girl diagnosed last November with B-cell Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL).

Please join the Sebastopol and greater Sonoma Couunty communities at Gravenstein Grill (8050 Bodega Avenue, Sebastopol) on December 18th from 5-8pm in support of her family and medical care, or just make a donation directly at her Fundraiser Page.

Thanks for sharing your holiday spirit!

Cheers, Christopher

This Somm’s Best Wines for your Thanksgiving Table!

Some of you may have seen the Food Network article online about Sommelier recommendations for your turkey day feast, myself included.  However that was a much abbreviated version of what I had to say (of course)!  So here is my full answer to help you fill in those lonely decanters in your cabinet.  Enjoy & Happy Thanksgiving!!!

“Keeping in mind the enjoyment of the meal, Thanksgiving is a classic time to introduce wines with the various courses and dishes.  I recommend starting with crisp light white wines to complement the start of your meals. With seasonal salads  or creamy soups, try the Robert Mondavi 2017 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley ($23). Modeled after the elegant white wines made in Bordeaux region of France, this new release is made with 85% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Semillon. With aromatic aromas, the wine features lively flavors of a fresh peach, citrus, wild herbs and a smooth texture that can make the flavors in these starting dishes pop. Another Thanksgiving classic is the Gundlach Bundschu 2017 Dry Gewurztraminer, Sonoma Coast ($25). Celebrating their 160th Anniversary as the oldest family-owned winery in California, this new release from the Bundschu family features tangy flavors of ripe melon, grapefruit, white pepper, ginger and nutmeg that can pair with a wide range of starting dishes, including spicy soups and salads with zesty dressing.

Moving on to the yams, mashed potatoes, green bean salad, gravy, stuffing and white meats calls for something that can complement the various flavors on the dish. A easy choice would be a young, vibrant Pinot Noir with ripe red fruits, spice and a kiss of oak.  From the 2016 vintage that just hit the market, delicious examples include The Calling from Russian River Valley, Sanford from the Sta. Rita Hills of Santa Barbara County, and Penner-Ash from Oregon’s Willamette Valley ($28-$38). Beyond pairing nicely with fine cheeses, salads, cranberries and mushroom-based dishes, these Pinot Noir offerings are fabulous options to serve with turkey sandwiches on the days following Thanksgiving.

Of course, the main dish could range from deliciously brined or smoked turkey to savory pork or ham. Therefore, one needs a flexible varietal to suit these options. An easy solution to deal with the diverse flavors is to serve a medium to full-bodied Bordeaux style blend. Crafted with estate fruit from Paso Robles, the J. Lohr 2016 Los Osos Merlot ($15) is made with 85% Merlot and smaller portions of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The end result is a generous wine with deep, rich flavors of black cherry, plum, dark chocolate, baking spices, roasted nuts and smooth tannins that can complement each bite on the plate. For spicy and savory dishes, tangy sauces or heavier meats like dark turkey or ham, an admirable alternative would be the Dry Creek Vineyard 2016 Heritage Vines Zinfandel ($24). Honoring the old vine plantings in Dry Creek Valley and other special winegrowing regions in Sonoma County, this wine features lavish notes of blackberry, dark cherry, raspberry, black pepper, licorice and a long, graceful finish.”

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Pairings for the Senses

Come together on Sunday, December 2nd from 5:30-7:30pm, at our 3rd-annual Pairings event. Taste the fruits of Sonoma winemakers and chefs, see the art on view in the museum, and listen to live readings by our featured “Flight of Poets:” Julia Bouwsma, Joseph Rios, Sam Sax, and Melissa Stein.  I will be the featured Sommelier along with MCs with poets Tess Taylor and Hollie Hardy.

Featured wineries include Gloria Ferrer, Stone Edge Farm, Eco Terreno Wines, Dane Cellars, Once & Future, Garnet Wines, Belden Barns, and Winery Sixteen 600.

Featured Chefs include John McReynolds, EDGE at Stone Edge Farm, Sondra Bernstein & John Toulze, girl & the fig, Kyle Kuklewski, Ramekins, Ari Weiswasser, Glen Ellen Star, Sheana Davis, The Epicurean Connection and special visiting chef from Mei Prefecture, Japan, Takahisa Shirakawa, courtesy of Sonoma Cultural Exchange.

Get your TICKETS!

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Poets (clockwise from top left): Joseph Rios, Melissa Stein, Sam Sax, Julia Bouwsma