Put Occidental on the map: the tiny west county town now has its very own culinary gala, brought together by the brand new West Sonoma Coast Vintners organization.
With the inaugural West Of West Wine Festival being held August 5-7, the quaint coastal hamlet will morph into a showcase for wineries and growers on Sonoma’s coastline, featuring the area’s revered cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah.
From tastings of small production, limited release wines, seminars from notable winemakers, and a Whole Hog Feast at Occidental’s 130-year-old Union Hotel, it’s a weekend of WOW (West of West, get it?).
But what’s really most surprising about the event – and the organization – is that it never existed before. The West Sonoma Coast Vintners association focuses on farming wine grapes on the coastline of Sonoma County, including the remarkable growing areas of Annapolis, Fort Ross/Seaview, Occidental, Freestone, Green Valley and the Sebastopol Hills. There is a lot of history here, and plenty of wonderful wines.
So WOW will not only be an opportunity to have a good time in a beautiful setting, but a chance to explore the insider’s view of a largely undiscovered wine area. The weekend begins Friday, August 5 with winemaker dinners in the homes or wineries of such West Sonoma Coast talents as Failla, Freeman Winery, Freestone Vineyards, Littorai, Peay Vineyards and Red Car.
On Saturday, it’s on to seminars about wine and the area’s history, plus a Grand Tasting of more than 30 boutique producers (many with such small production that even the geekiest of wine geeks will be surprised to uncover them).
The day wraps up with a Whole Hog Feast at the Union Hotel, centered around locally-raised heritage pigs slow-cooked and carved by Zazu’s Duskie Estes and John Stewart.
For the Sunday finale, wineries will throw open their doors for barrel tastings.
Check back with Inside Sonoma for more details as the weekend draws near, but mark your calendar and plan your ticket purchases now. With such highly allocated wine production – and such a teeny, tiny town as the venue – attendance is limited.
- $125 – Welcome Dinners
- $175 – Three-Seminar Series
- $125 – West of West Grand Tasting and Sunday Open House Pass
- $150 – Whole Hog Feast & Live Music
- $375 – All-Access Saturday Pass and Sunday Open House Pass