Home Industry News Releases Sonoma Wine Country Weekend to Welcome 2016 Sonoma Sommelier Stars

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend to Welcome 2016 Sonoma Sommelier Stars


Sponsored by Rodney Strong Vineyards

Sonoma Wine Country WeekendSonoma County, CA – August 2016 – Fifteen wine professionals who have spent their sommelier careers reaching for the stars, will amplify the experience for Sonoma Wine Country Weekend attendees while they serve as guest all-star wine guides at key events throughout the three-day, charitable event set for Labor Day weekend (Friday, September 2 through Sunday, September 4, 2016).

Sponsored by Rodney Strong Vineyards, the 2016 Sonoma Sommelier Stars who have been honored by being selected from across the United States and Canada, are:

  • Benjamin Appleby, Abe & Louis Steak House, Boston, MA
  • Cassandra Brown, Hakkasan Restaurants, Las Vegas, NV
  • Mark Canak, The Metropolitan Club, Chicago, IL
  • Joy Cushing, Nick & Stefs, Los Angeles, CA
  • Seamus Dooley, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
  • Chuck Herrold, Dolce Pane e Vino, Rancho Santa Fe, CA
  • Leslie LaMont, Leña Brava, Chicago, IL
  • Steven McDonald, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Houston, TX
  • Patrick Olds, Louie’s Wine Dive, Clayton, MO / St. Louis, MO
  • Nadia Pavlevska, Darrens, Manhattan Beach, CA
  • Chris Reid, 101 Steak, Atlanta, GA
  • Christopher Sawyer, SawyerSomm Consulting, Petaluma, CA
  • Steve Steese, Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Denver, CO
  • Lindsay Thomas, Camerata at Paulie’s, Houston, TX
  • Tyler Wesslund, Edison: food + drink lab, Tampa, FL

The weekend kicks off for the sommelier participants on Friday September 2, at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel and Spa where they will vie for the title of Top Sommelier for the Weekend. The Sommelier Star Challenge tests participants in 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 featured on Sunday, September 4 in an early auction lot that will help raise essential funds for Sonoma County non-profits 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 use their astute palates to lead seminars, tours, and blind tasting challenges at Sonoma Wine Country Weekend’s Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Estate Vineyards set for Saturday, September 3.

“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,” said Carmen Castaldi, President of Rodney Strong Wine Estates. “We are proud to share Sonoma County with them as they share their talents with us and our guests, during this wonderful weekend of important fundraising events.”

Tickets are now available for the 2016 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, which takes place annually on Labor Day Weekend. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is the signature three-day celebration of Sonoma County’s wines, winegrowers chefs and the independent, generous spirit of this world-class wine country destination. To purchase tickets and plan your Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, visit SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com.

Facebook:       Facebook.com/winecountryweekend

Instagram:      @SonomaWineCountryWeekend

Twitter:           Twitter.com/SonomaWCW: @SonomaWCW

Hashtag:         #SonomaWineCountryWeekend

About 2016 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Sponsors and Beneficiaries

As Sonoma County’s leading annual wine fundraising event, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend brings the wine industry, chefs, and guests together to invest in our community by supporting youth and children for future success, preserving our environment, and improving health and welfare of our local communities.

A partnership between Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance and Sonoma County Vintners, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend takes place on Labor Day weekend each year and features Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Estate Vineyards®, Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean, Sonoma Starlight at Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and an assortment of intimate and exclusive winery lunch and dinner parties at multiple locations throughout Sonoma County.  To date, more than $20 million has been invested in Sonoma County’s future. For more information visit SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com.

About Rodney Strong Vineyards

Rodney Strong Vineyards is a family-owned company that farms 15 estate vineyards and crafts wines from Sonoma County’s finest appellations – Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, 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 by the Klein family, a third generation California farming family, in 1989. The company aspires to conserve and protect the environment in all its operations through sustainable practices, solar power, and fish-friendly farming. Rodney Strong Vineyards is located at 11455 Old Redwood Highway, off Highway 101 just south of the town of Healdsburg in Sonoma County. The winery is one hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Learn more at RodneyStrong.com

About the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance and Foundation

About the Sonoma County Vintners

Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to raising awareness of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier wine regions, noted for its heritage of artisan winemaking, distinct growing regions, and extraordinary quality. Founded in 1946, SCV represents more than 250 wineries and affiliated business throughout the county. Learn more about SCV at SonomaWine.com.

About 2016 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Presenting Sponsor Visa Signature® & Visa Infinite®

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is presented by Visa Signature and Visa Infinite. Visa Signature and Visa Infinite offer 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 VisaSignature.com.

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