Home Crafted Wine Awards Dinner & Celebration

The winners of the 2014 Petaluma Pro-Am Homemade Wine Competition will have their wines presented in a featured pairing at a four course dinner in the 160 year old dining room on the 3rd floor of the IOOF Lodge #30 in Petaluma.


Christopher will discuss the wines professionally paired with a succulent dinner menu.  The money raised from this event will be used to benefit the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum and the Petaluma IOOF Building Renovation Fund.

There are only 80 tickets available for this unique Petaluma-themed Food & Wine pairing dinner.

BPT_buy_tickets_largePurchase your tickets today!

Premier Cruz tickets available now!

Join the Cabernet producers of the Santa Cruz Mountains for


Join in for an exclusive evening of Cabernet tasting with the 14 most distinguished Cabernet producers from the Santa Cruz Mountains at the Toll House Hotel in Los Gatos, CA. Cabernet lovers will sip, sample and enjoy an array of new releases and hard to find library wines while enjoying a strolling dinner by Three Degrees Restaurant.

Bid on exclusive auction lot library wines, magnums, private winemaker tours and new releases at our silent auction. Guest will also be able to dine on a wonderful menu.

Vintners in the Santa Cruz Mountains have been producing exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon’s since as early as the mid 1800’s. The Cabernets produced from the Santa Cruz Mountains have a distinct character and style that is original to this Mountainous region. In 1976 the Judgment of Paris wine tasting event helped to catapult Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignons onto the international stage when Monte Bello also known as Ridge Vineyards beat out classified Bordeaux estates like Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Montrose, Château Haut-Brion and Château Léoville-Las Cases in a blind tasting conducted by French wine experts.

Strolling Dinner & Tasting: 6-9pm
Short Rib Sliders
Pork Tenderloin Medallion & Fig Chutney
Roasted Rack of Lamb wrapped in Bacon
Smoked Chicken Canapé
Mushroom Bouchee
Risotto & Butternut Squash Croquette

Beauregard Vineyards, Burrell School Vineyards, Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards, Fernwood Cellars, House Family Vineyards, Kathryn Kennedy Vineyards, Left Bend Winery, Lexington, McCarthy Family Estate Vineyards, Mount Eden Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains Vineyard, Silver Mountain Vineyards, Woodside Vineyards

cruz flier


SawyerSomm #MovieBuzz: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Movies are back! With the change of the season, the anticipation of upcoming holidays and the countdown to Napa Valley Film Festival in November, it’s time to rekindle my seasonal film and wine pairings that will help make your relaxing time more special!

mittyWith that being said, on my flight back from Portugal last week, I had a chance to watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Originally, I was a hesitant to delve in because I loved the original film starring Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo (1947). But I’m happy to say that it didn’t take long for me to be charmed by this newer version starring Ben Stiller, Kristin Wiig, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, and Sean Penn.

Based on a short story by James Thurber, the film follows the trials and tribulations of Walter Mitty, the man behind the photo images used in Life Magazine, who has a crush on Cheryl Melhoff (Wiig), a woman he barely knows. Amidst his romantic day-dream fantasies about Cheryl, Walter finds himself in a true race against time to find the missing negative #25 which leads him to Greenland, Iceland, and the Himalayan Mountains. Each scene is fun, quirky, and Walter becomes a stronger man along the way.

Wine Pairing: Zepaltas 2012 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

Unlike the original movie, an underlying theme in the new film is focused on skateboarding, a skill Walter mastered when he was Zepaltas bottleyounger. In real life, Wisconsin-native Ryan Zepaltas did a similar thing when was a teen. But after ranking at the top of the sport with Tony Hawk and other great skateboarders of his era, Ryan followed his passion for wine to Sonoma County in 1998, where he went on to work for LaCrema Winery and spent a harvest at Villa Maria in New Zealand. Since then, Ryan has become the assistant winemaker for Adam and Dianna Lee at #SiduriWinery, as well as starting his own brand #ZepaltasWines.

A great example of Ryan’s style is the Zepaltas 2012 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley ($32), a sophisticated wine with lovely aromas of ripe red fruits, delicate rose petal, lavender, earth and spice. On the palate, the flavors explode with bright notes of raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, cherry cola, mineral, crushed allspice, and plenty of natural verve and enthusiasm all the way through the finish. And much like Walter, the wine gets stronger the more it’s exposed to new surroundings. In this case, fine stemware, more air via swirls, and the happy recipients enjoying this admirable gem from Russian River Valley while watching this clever and amusing film directed by Stiller.

Zepaltas Pinot label

#imdb #TheSecretLifeofWalterMitty #BenStiller #KristinWiig #SeanPenn #ZepaltasWines #SiduriWines #RussianRiverValley #RRV #PinotNoir #SonomaCounty #NVFF2014 #film #movies #DVD #wine.

#EatDrinkRock 2014

Need I say more? It's the way we rolled at #FoodNetworkinConcert 2014.
Need I say more? It’s the way we rolled at #FoodNetworkinConcert 2014.

It was a magical idea that became reality. Of course, I’m talking about Food Network in Concert, the ground-breaking concept that was put in play at the legendary Ravinia Festival site near Chicago on September 20th. Put on by Food Network Magazine, this one-day event was filled with star chefs from Food Network TV and Chicagoland; talented musicians like John Maher, Philip Phillips, Zane Carney and Twin Forks; and magnificent wines from around the globe, including the special Artisan Series wines provided by Freixenet USA, Foley Family Wines and Charles Krug Winery.

Below are some of the fun pictures to drive the point home. For more information, visit www.FoodNetworkinConcert.com and follow the Twitter stream #EatDrinkRock!

Talented young artist Zane Carney lays his heart on the line while singing a hot jazz-inspired track from his fabulous new album Amalgam.
Talented young artist Zane Carney lays his heart on the line while singing a hot jazz-inspired track from his fabulous new album Amalgam.
Fantastic Chef Lounge moments with "The Sandwich King" Jeff Mauro (pictured), Anne Burrell, Geoffrey Zakarian, Anne Guarnaschelli and many others.
Fantastic Chef Lounge moments with “The Sandwich King” Jeff Mauro (pictured), Anne Burrell, Geoffrey Zakarian, Anne Guarnaschelli and many others.
Eva Bertran, VP of FreixenetUSA, comments on the delicious sparkling wines featured in the Bubbles from Around the Globe seminar held in Martin Hall at Ravinia.
Eva Bertran, VP of FreixenetUSA, comments on the delicious sparkling wines featured in the Bubbles from Around the Globe seminar held in Martin Hall at Ravinia.
Feeling "Gravity" while listening to music headliner John Maher play his hit song live in front of 10,000 happy attendees.
Feeling “Gravity” while listening to music headliner John Mayer play his hit song live in front of 10,000 happy attendees.
Crunchy sensations via Chef Allen's Urban Pickles.
Crunchy sensations via Chef Allen’s Urban Pickles.
The fantastic lineup of wines featured in the Charles Krug seminar I did with Riana Mondavi.
The fantastic lineup of wines featured in the Charles Krug seminar I did with Riana Mondavi.


FNIC 2014

First Annual Petaluma PRO-AM Homemade Wine Competition

First Annual Petaluma PRO-AM Homemade Wine Competition will be held this Tuesday afternoon, September 30, 2014 under the auspices of “Sommelier to the Stars” Christopher Sawyer.

That evening Chris and several other noted wine experts will share their opinions with you – after you have tasted and scored the same wines. Compare your opinions with the experts!  Rare opportunity to taste Gold Medal Winning wines from the recent professional International Wine Channel TV Wine Competition by Gloria Ferrer, Kokomo Wines, St. Anne’s Crossing and Muscardini Cellars.

The Petaluma Museum Association and the Petaluma Chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows invite you to a World Class tasting of Homemade Wines at:
Petaluma Historical Library & Museum
Tuesday September 30th at 6 PM.
20 4th Street, Downtown Petaluma
Limited to 72 Ticket Sales Total
Tickets $20 at the Museum Door


Summertime Sparklers

No longer limited to pricey French Champagne, it’s easy to pair summertime meals with sparkling wine. Learn more about light, delicious styles that have blossomed in Spain, Italy and the U.S.


Owned and operated by the Ferrer family in northern Spain, Freixenet boasts over 100 years of expertise in producing sparkling wine or cava as it’s called in Spanish. This commitment to quality has Freixenet-CordonNegro-Brut-210x210made Freixenet the #1 sparkling wine producer in the world. The benchmark wine from the family estate near Barcelona is the Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut ($14). Crisp, clean, and well balanced, the bubbles in the frosted black bottle are made with the rare grape varietals of Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada to create an aromatic medium-bodied sparkler with bright fruity flavors of peach, apple, pear, fresh citrus, ginger and roasted almond. In the glass, it’s versatile and pairs well with most foods, especially small, spicy tapas plates. If you’re looking for a slightly sweeter taste, try the Freixenet Mia Moscato ($12). In Spanish, mia means “mine”. Crafted by Gloria Collell, the talented winemaker for the Ferrer family’s newer cava brand Segura Viudas, this young and sassy sparkler features a light golden hue, fragrant floral aroma, flavors of ripe tropical fruits, lime and a drizzle of raw honey. It’s perfect with fresh fruit or desserts made with custard, citrus, berries and light, flaky pastry crusts.


Known for its refreshing flavors, crisp acidity and tiny bubbles, Prosecco is made primarily with Glera, a native white grape widely grown on Italian hillsides and farmlands. Try the Voveti Prosecco ($19), a lovely wine with aromas of fresh citrus and spring flowers. Flavors expand with lively notes of ripe peach, apricot, tangerine and pear; serve with antipasti like prosciutto-wrapped melon, olives, toasted nuts and salumi or main dishes like Thai or Indian curry, shrimp kabobs and grilled chicken.


For those looking for a domestic alternative, try Gloria Ferrer NV Brut ($22) from Sonoma. Made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes picked at the beginning of harvest, this sparkling gem features flavors GF-Sonoma-Brut1of Bartlett pears, Fuji apple, citrus, almonds, vanilla, and a pleasant roasty-toasty note on the finish. For pairings, enjoy it with Dungeness crab cakes, fresh oysters or sushi; aioli or other citrus-based sauces; and main courses with prawns, chicken, turkey or duck. Its counterpart is the Gloria Ferrer NV Blanc de Noirs ($22), a blend of 92 percent Pinot Noir and 8 percent Chardonnay featuring a nice balance of red cherry, raspberry, cranberry, hibiscus, earth and great acidity. With layers of power and depth, it’s an ideal complement to fresh grilled salmon, Ahi tuna, wild mushroom, risotto and richer cheeses.

FNIC 2014

September 19, 2014 is Garnacha Day!

No matter if you call it Grenache or Garnacha, this Friday September 19th is your day to find out more about this prolific grape planted around the world.

Watch my video to find out what I will be talking about from Chicago at 11-1 Pacific Time/1-3 Central Time:  Special wines from the original home of the Garnacha grape.

To engage in the lively conversation visit SawyerSomm.com, Twitter @SawyerSommelier or my Sommelier Facebook page!

Turning Water into Wine with Marc Mondavi

Like chefs, winemakers enjoy interesting hobbies away from work. Marc Mondavi’s started with a girl he dated in high school, whose father taught him how to find water underground with something called the divining rod.

Divining RodSimple and efficient, the divining rod is a set of sticks that cross due to the power of kinetic energy when water is sensed below the surface of the soil. Also called water divining, water witching or dowsing, the origins of the craft are as mysterious as the practice itself. Written records of divining can easily be traced back to 14th century Germany, but even earlier mentions have been found dating back to the 5th century B.C. But, when done correctly, it works!

Marc uses his skills to find underground water sources for other wineries and land developers in Napa Valley and other parts of Northern California. “My goal is to aim high, talk low,” he says.

In addition to overseeing the vineyards farmed for his family’s Charles Krug and CK Mondavi wine brands, Marc started his own brand a few years ago, appropriately named The Divining Rod.

The latest release is The Divining Rod 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley ($18). Made with 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and smaller amounts of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot, the wine features alluring aromas of ripe dark berries, earth, sandalwood, tobacco and spice. Flavors are generous with notes of blackberry, black cherry, plum, cola, wild sage, vanilla and cedar; silky texture; and a long, dry finish.

“Some call the divining rods voodoo science or hocus-pocus,” says Marc, who earned the nickname “Water Witch” from his friends. “I call them our way of making divine wines with character, quality and a true sense of earth and water below the surface that helps us produce healthy vines and grapes with unique qualities and flavors.”

dv bookClick the book on the left to read Marc Mondavi’s children’s book “The Witch, the Water & the Wine” and learn about Marc Mondavi growing up as a water witch in the Napa Valley!

For more information about the The Divining Rod wines, visit www.thediviningrod.com. These wines and other brands from Charles Krug portfolio will be featured in the Artisan Series at Food Network IN Concert.

FNIC 2014