Sponsored by Rodney Strong Vineyards
SONOMA COUNTY, CA, AUGUST 2015 – For three days, starting Friday, September 4, an elite group of 12 rising–star sommeliers will arrive in Sonoma County to serve as special guest, all-star wine guides at key events throughout this year’s Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. The 2015 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, presented by Visa Signature®, takes place over Labor Day weekend, Friday, September 4 through Sunday, September 6.
This year’s Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Sommelier Stars are:
- Hal Dearing with Harry’s Continental Kitchens, Longboat Key, FL
- Matt Dulle with St. Louis Club, St. Louis, MO
- Bill Elsey with Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Houston, TX
- Sean Ganthner with Rothmann’s Steakhouse, East Norwich, NY
- Brandon Kerne, with Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Houston, TX
- Sebastien Le Goff with Cactus Restaurants, Vancouver, BC
- Marissa Payne with InterContinental Hotels Group, San Francisco, CA
- Peter Vargas of Lost Tree Club, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
- Mariel Wega with a.kitchen + bar, Philadelphia, PA
- Stephen Weir, The Ritz-Carlton, Bal Harbour in North Miami, FL
- Tyler Wesslund of edison: food + drink lab, Tampa, FL
- Rania Zayyat of laV Restaurant & Wine Bar, Austin, TX
The weekend events kick-off for the sommelier participants on Friday September 4 at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel and Spa where they will vie for the title of Top Sommelier for the Weekend. The Sommelier Star Competition challenges participants to a blind tasting of Sonoma County wines, a food and Sonoma County wine pairing, presentation skills and service techniques. The winner of the competition will be showcased two days later in an early lot at the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood, California.
In addition to the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction, the Sommelier Star participants will also bring their discriminating palates to lead seminars, tours and blind tasting challenges at Sonoma Wine Country Weekend’s Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Estate Vineyards held on Saturday, September 5.
“Rodney Strong Vineyards connection and commitment to sommeliers and to the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Sommelier Stars program is stronger than ever. Sommeliers are our guides to wine enjoyment, offering wine selection advice and encouraging exploration,” says Carmen Castaldi, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Rodney Strong Vineyards. “We are proud to share Sonoma County with them as they share their talents with us and our guests during this wonderful weekend of events.”
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend brings together the wine industry and guests with the shared goal of raising funds to support youth and children for future success, safeguard the local environment and improve health and welfare of communities throughout Sonoma County. In 2014, over $3 million was raised for local charities and to-date over $16 million has been invested in Sonoma County’s future through more than 125 local organizations.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is co-produced by Sonoma County Vintners and Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers. To buy tickets and plan your Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, please visit www.SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com
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About Rodney Strong Vineyards
Rodney Strong Vineyards is dedicated to crafting world-class Sonoma County wines. Rodney Strong sustainably farms 14 estate vineyards and produces wines from Sonoma County’s finest appellations – Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill and Sonoma Coast. The winery was founded in 1959 by Sonoma County wine pioneer Rodney D. Strong as the 13th bonded winery in the county. It was purchased in 1989 by the Klein family, a third generation California farming family. The company aspires to conserve and protect the environment in all its
About 2015 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Sponsors and Beneficiaries
A partnership between Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance and Sonoma County Vintners, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is California’s premier wine, food and social event, held each year over Labor Day weekend. Sonoma Wine Country Weekends have raised more than $16 million for local charities supporting children, the environment and health. The 2015 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is presented by Visa Signature. For a full list of beneficiaries and sponsors, visit www.SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com.
About 2015 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Presenting Sponsor Visa Signature
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is presented by Visa Signature. Visa Signature offers account holders a range of benefits that provide special access and can save time and money. In addition to points, miles, cash back and other premium rewards offered by Visa Signature partners, account holders enjoy perks such as 24/7 complimentary concierge services, the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection and exclusive offers for fine wine and food, travel and sports and entertainment events. For more information on Visa and issuers offering Visa Signature, visit
The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance (SVVGA) is a non-profit organization serving over 500 members who share a mission to promote awareness of Sonoma Valley’s grapes, wine and history as the birthplace of the California wine industry. Sonoma Valley comprises five of the seventeen American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) of Sonoma County: Bennett Valley, Los Carneros, Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Mountain and Sonoma Valley. For more information, visit www.SonomaValleyWine.com.
Sonoma County Vintners (SCV), the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, is dedicated to raising awareness for one of the world’s premier wine regions, noted for its heritage of artisan winemaking and extraordinary quality. Founded in 1944, SCV represents over 250 wineries and affiliated businesses throughout the county. Learn more about SCV at www.SonomaWine.com.