Home #WHERETONEXT USA Sonoma County What’s New in May 2024

Sonoma County What’s New in May 2024

Springtime in Sonoma County feeds the senses and invites visitors to embrace the explosion of growth and vibrant energy that permeates our landscapes. Whether exploring the Pacific coastline, traversing valleys, or venturing through trails among the towering redwoods, Sonoma County offers diverse experiences to satisfy your preferences. Whether seeking rejuvenation at a wellness retreat or a world-renowned winery. Sonoma County ensures an immersive sensory journey.

New in Wine

Dane Cellars

Wine tasting takes on a unique twist inside a 120-year-old redwood wine tank turned into a stand-up bar at Dane Cellars in Glen Ellen. Owner and winemaker Bart Hansen leads the way with top-notch wines sourced from Sonoma Valley’s finest fruit, like Grenache and Mourvèdre from Rossi Ranch, Sauvignon Blanc from Beltane Ranch, and Zinfandel from Rancho Agua Caliente with wine tastings in “The Tank.”

New in Restaurants

Road Trip

Guerneville chef, restaurateur, and Food Network star Crista Luedtke has opened Road Trip, her newest restaurant featuring approachable, globally inspired eats (plus some of her nostalgic favorites). As seasons change and Luedtke visits new locales, she’ll bring back some culinary inspiration to the Road Trip menu.

Studio Barndiva

Barndiva recently made a daring and surprising shift by transitioning its intricate Michelin star-winning menu into an à la carte format. Additionally, the Healdsburg restaurant relocated its dining area to the larger space of the adjacent art gallery, reserving the original venue for exclusive private events. Throughout its tenure, Barndiva’s ownership has prioritized sourcing ingredients locally. This menu expansion into innovative realms enables the restaurant to incorporate produce from local farmers cultivating unique and diverse crops. Another draw to the new Barndiva Studio is the crafted artisanal cocktail menu from Beverage Director Scott Beattie.

Brigitte Bistro

Chef/owner Nick Ronan brings his passion for hearty bistro-style cuisine to life at Brigitte Bistro in Petaluma. Classic dishes like beef bourguignon and duck confit to delightful tableside beef tartare and steak frites reflect Ronan’s culinary love. The restaurant, nestled in the former Wishbone and 3 Cooks Cafe space, has been transformed with new bar seating and a chef’s counter overlooking the dining room. Brigitte Bistro is a warm neighborhood spot where friends and family gather over authentic French fare made with genuine love and passion, adding to Sonoma County’s culinary landscape.

The Wild Poppy Café

In the West County, Wild Poppy Cafe has opened with enticing offerings. Brunch and lunch aficionados are drawn to its doors with prepared fare crafted from locally sourced ingredients, including their own tofu. Chef/owner Martin Maigaard has also created an artisanal marketplace, a haven for connoisseurs seeking exquisite hard-to-find items ranging from Belgian linens to intricately crafted pottery and artwork. The ambiance comes alive at Wild Poppy on weekends with the sounds of live music, adding an extra layer of charm to the experience. Beyond the culinary delights, Wild Poppy embodies a sense of Sebastopol community spirit, embracing its surroundings of gastronomic delights and rich agricultural heritage.

Quinua Cocina Peruana

In the wake of a lease dispute in January, Juan Gutierrez, owner and chef of Quinua Cocina Peruana, faced the difficult choice of shuttering his unique Petaluma restaurant. Yet, from this setback emerged a new opportunity; Gutierrez secured a promising new Santa Rosa location for his acclaimed Peruvian culinary creations. Building upon the legacy of his past establishment, he has created a new menu steeped in authenticity, showcasing a variety of classic Peruvian fare using the finest Sonoma County ingredients.

New in Hotels

New Michelin Hotel Keys Recognizes Sonoma County Excellence

Michelin’s inaugural hotel selection in the United States signifies a significant achievement in travel. Among the 124 properties recognized with One, Two, or Three Michelin Hotel Keys, Sonoma County stands out, with five distinguished establishments securing a coveted position on the prestigious inaugural list. Leading with three Michelin Keys is SingleThread Inn, followed by Guerneville’s The Stavrand and Healdsburg’s The Madrona and Montage, awarded with two Michelin Keys. Completing the quintet of excellence in Sonoma County is the recently reopened Sea Ranch Lodge, earning one Michelin Key for its exceptional charm and appeal. Like the renowned Stars that highlight the finest culinary experiences in the Michelin Guide’s restaurant selection, the Michelin Keys spotlight accommodations in the Guide’s hotel selection that offer exceptional stays. This Keys set a new standard, evaluating each hotel experience on a broader scale beyond mere amenities.

New in Events and Experiences

Museum of Sonoma County – On Tap: Sonoma County Hops and the Beer Revolution

In 1977, New Albion Brewery kickstarted the modern microbrewery movement in the US by brewing beer in discarded dairy tanks in Sonoma County. Today, Sonoma County attracts beer enthusiasts with its abundance of microbreweries and exceptional craft brews. Why? Visitors and craft beer lovers can find answers at the Museum of Sonoma County’s (MOSC) latest exhibition, “On Tap: Sonoma County Hops & The Beer Revolution.” Discover the pioneering roots of microbreweries and the deep history of local hop cultivation dating back to the 19th century. Through this showcase, MOSC enlightens visitors about Sonoma County’s hop legacy and connection to the contemporary beer scene. The exhibition offers an immersive journey through Sonoma County’s brewing heritage with a functional hop harvester, brewing equipment demos, brewery artifacts, and a hop trellis.

Ribbit Exhibit at Sonoma Botanical Garden

The Ribbit Exhibit at Sonoma Botanical Garden (SBG) brings spring to life with 23 enchanting frog sculptures throughout the Garden. Crafted by artist Andy Cobb, each sculpture boasts its name and tale, adding whimsy to the surroundings. The sculptures inject charm into every corner, from Zenny’s tranquil meditation by the pond to Bentley and Tortuga’s stroll along the trail. Handcrafted from copper with a natural patina, these larger-than-life frogs can be spotted perched in trees, grooving to jazz tunes, or simply savoring a cup of coffee on a bench. Beyond admiring the art, SBG also extends its hours every Wednesday through October with special activities for all ages, including live acoustic music in the amphitheater, a chance to sip and stroll with varietals from local wine partners, lawn games, and other family-friendly activities. Visitors are encouraged to pack a picnic, and for the first time, the Garden welcomes well-behaved, leashed dogs during these special evening hours. Local wineries will be on hand to offer a free taste of local terroir, including the Garden’s vineyard partner, La Prenda Wines, as well as Highway 12 Winery, Bar None’s Canyon, and more.  

Rodney Strong Vineyards Winemaker Series

The Winemaker Series will present a session titled “Sustainability and Viticulture.” Led by Estate Vineyard Manager Alli Dericco and Grower Relations Manager Jason Saling, attendees will delve into the intricacies of maintaining a sustainable winery in Sonoma County in 2024. Discussions will center on vineyard practices and emphasize the organization’s dedication to land stewardship. Attendees gain insights into the forthcoming harvest while sampling a selection of estate wines and indulging in small bites. This session is a platform for expanding knowledge on contemporary viticultural best practices.

Wine & Sunsets at Paradise Ridge Winery

The Wine & Sunsets series returns to Paradise Ridge Winery on Wednesday evenings through October. This gathering attracts guests from both near and far who can enjoy the sun slowly setting in the western sky. Attendees can enjoy Paradise Ridge wines paired with offerings from rotating local gourmet food trucks and live musical performances. Beyond the Wine & Sunsets series, Paradise Ridge Winery nurtures a profound affinity for art, showcasing sculptures, and other installations throughout its grounds, further enhancing the estate’s unique ambiance and appeal.