Napa Sonoma — Winter 2015
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NEW EATS, NEW SIPS

— SEVEN RESTAURANTS, LOUNGES, AND TASTING ROOMS TO TRY IN WINE COUNTRY

Atlas Social, Napa

Welcome this global small-plates bistro to the downtown scene. Chef Nick Ritchie presents a culinary trip around the world, with delicious bites including farro porridge topped with farm eggs and wild mushrooms, a raw bar, and larger plates such as whole roasted fish. 1124 First St., (707) 258-2583, atlassocialnapa.com.

Hanson of Sonoma Organic Vodka, Sonoma

Imagine crisp, smooth, and crystal-clean 80-proof spirits, plain or naturally infused with ginger, mandarin, cucumber, boysenberry, or espresso. This family-owned company has been crafting exquisite small-batch vodka from organic grapes since 2012. A new distillery opens this spring in the Carneros Brewing Company facility for tastings from the handstamped and signed bottles. 22985 Burndale Rd., (707) 938-1880, hansonofsonoma.com.

MacPhail Family Wines, Sebastopol

The towering sculpture made of stacked Radio Flyer wagons will catch your eye; the magnificent The Flyer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir will capture your heart. Überwinemaker James MacPhail’s personal touch is everywhere at this artsy, industrial lounge in The Barlow culinary and arts center, from oversize photos of his Bernese mountain dog to the knowledgeable yet playful staff. 6761 McKinley St., (707) 824-8400, macphailwine.com.

Oso, Sonoma

Chef David Bush rose to acclaim at St. Francis Winery and Vineyards in Santa Rosa, and now he’s making a statement with his sleek, wood-trimmed tavern. Ingredients are exciting, and recipes are sophisticated, bringing delights including beef tartar, pork riblets, and short ribs to his frequently changing menu. 9 E. Napa St., (707) 931-6926, oso sonoma.com.

Tank Garage Winery, Calistoga

What’s not to adore about a 1930s gas station morphed into a hip tasting room, with a vintage Indian Chief motorcycle on display next to antique harmonicas and a 25-cent charm machine? Wines are collectables, tiny production one-offs that never repeat vintage to vintage. 1020 Foothill Blvd., (707) 942-8265, tankgaragewinery.com.

The Adobe, Sonoma

The tasting room is as special as owner Bill Price III’s Three Sticks wines. Set in a historic, renovated adobe home built in 1842, the appointment-only experience is warm and welcoming. The space showcases the casa’s roots with dramatic Mexican murals and artifacts, including an 1860s horse stirrup, spirit bottles, and tools. 143 W. Spain St., (707) 996-3328, threestickswines.com.

Hamel Family Wines, Sonoma

The estate house is a masterpiece of cantilever roofs supported by soaring glass wings, a rammed-earth wall, and a gleaming stone interior. The Reserve Experience includes a tasting in the library, small bites, and a tour of the winery plus 12,000 square feet of caves and vineyards. 15401 Sonoma Hwy.,(707) 996-5800, hamelfamilywines.com. —Carey Sweet

GET SCHOOLED!

— LEARN SOMETHING NEW AT ONE OF THESE CLASSES

De-Bitter Olives

Winter is peak olive harvest season, but the fruit is bitter, hard, and inedible when picked off the tree. Olive-curing expert Don Landis, aka “The Olive Guy,” shows you three ways to prepare olives so they’re ready to eat. $20 per person, various locations in Sonoma, donsolives.com.

Tame the Flame

Spend three hours (or three days) at the Mugnaini Wood-Fired Oven Cooking School in Healdsburg, and discover how to cook in a wood-burning oven. Light the fire, and grill up veggies, meat, fish, and baked bread, and then feast. One-day class is $145 per person, (888) 877-7206, mugnaini.com.

Get to the Root of the Matter

Learn all about composting, soba making, beekeeping, and more in two- and three-hour workshops offered at Shed. This winter, there’s also a biodynamic series that focuses on soil and composting. Workshop prices vary, 25 North St., Healdsburg, (707) 431-7433, healdsburgshed.com.

Be a Winemaker for a Day

At Conn Creek Winery’s Barrel Blending Experience, blend Cabernet and more sourced from major Napa Valley AVAs. Choose the wines with which to concoct a special blend, and then bottle it and take it home. $95 per person, 8711 Silverado Trail, Rutherford, (707) 963-9100, conncreek.com.

Cook Like a Wine Country Chef

Bring flavors from the chefs of The Girl and the Fig into your own kitchen. During hands-on cooking classes, prepare seasonal menus of braised meats, pasta or pizza, or charcuterie. Classes start at $65 per person, 21800 Schellville Rd., Ste. D, Sonoma, (707) 933-3667, figsuited.com.

Learn the Art of Sabering

T. Beller of Verve Napa Valley teaches you how to open champagne and sparkling wine bottles with a saber, a technique known as sabrage. She’ll guide you with safety tips so you can perform this cool party trick for friends. $30 per group, locations vary, (707) 253-2269, vervenapavalley.com.

Be Cheesy

Discover the art of home cheese-making from the experts at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. After a farm-fresh lunch, you’ll make your own ricotta, chévre, or mozzarella to take home. $160 per person, 14700 Hwy. 1, Point Reyes Station, (800) 591-6878, pointreyescheese.com.

Sharpen Your Culinary Skills

Enlist in boot camp at the Culinary Institute of America, and master farm-to-table cuisine, grilling, wine, vegetarian cuisine, or desserts. Camps start at $895 per person, 2555 Main St., St. Helena,(800) 888-7850, ciachef.edu. —Mary Orlin

NEW SPOTS TO SHOP

RETAILERS TO CHECK OUT WHILE YOU’RE IN TOWN.

Gourmet Treats
Napastäk Napa Valley
Napa

Napastäk, meaning “rabbit” in Armenian, opened in Oxbow Public Market last summer. In addition to selling ingredients from all over the world, this epicurean chefs’ shop recently launched an eponymous line of flavored balsamic vinegars (try the prickly pear) and a line of hand-crafted pastas made from scratch. Visit the shop, and you are likely to be offered free samples of these items and others: Proprietor Lusine Hartunian believes sampling is a critical part of the shopping experience, and in early 2015, Napastäk will start pouring its own labels of wine as well. 610 First St., Ste. 14, (707) 226-7300, napastak.net

Housewares Boutique
Mr. Trombly’s Table
Duncans Mills

After selling tea from the tiny Mr. Trombly’s Tea store for half a decade, Brian Trombly opened this outpost across the deck to sell housewares, dishes, and more. Look for kitchen utensils, cookie cutters, placemats, tablecloths, and breadboards. Also available are a variety of spices and condiments (olive oil, mustard, and vinegar) from local vendors such as Cazadero’s Best Dog Ranch and Sonoma Harvest. Trombly prides himself on sourcing as much as he can from area producers and strives to offer sustainably made goods, making the experience about as Sonoma County as you can get. 25171 Main St., (707) 865-9610, mrtromblystea.com.

Hand-Crafted Furniture
Urban Lumber Company
Healdsburg

Reclaimed wood is the star of the show at this narrow furniture shop just off the plaza in downtown Healdsburg. Owner Seth San Filippo developed his own six-foot-wide band saw for slicing and dicing giant tree trunks, and the resulting pieces are crafted into stark and stunningly beautiful tables, many of which feature at least one edge with the tree’s natural bends and folds. Nearly all of San Filippo’s wood is sustainably sourced from the Eugene, Oregon area, which keeps the gorgeous natural resource out of landfills. 328 Healdsburg Ave., (707) 756-5044, urbanlumber.co.

Candle Shop
Vineyard Tales
St. Helena

Most used wine bottles end up in the recycle bin. Thanks to Vineyard Tales, a new shop in downtown St. Helena, there’s another option: candles. Last fall, Felipe McAlister and Briston Sullivan opened a special chandlery that “upcycles” old bottles into candles. Customers can purchase premade candles or bring in their own empties to be cut and made on demand. Vineyard Tales’ candles are made with soy wax and eco-friendly wicks, and many of them are crafted to capture the scents of wine and the winemaking process, including yeast and oak barrel. 661 Main St., (707) 968-5086, vineyardtales.com. —Matt Villano
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