Trione Winery Hosts Annual Pig Roast Winemaker Dinner


Mark Trione has gone up to our Flatridge Ranch and harvested  the perfect wild hog to share! Enjoy wild and domestic pigs that were cooked in a La Caja China (think: cooking a pig in the ground like they do in Hawaii, only this is a huge stainless steel box, a much cleaner way of cooking it with similar taste results) by the chefs from Peloton Culinary & Catering. Feast on garden fresh delights to pair with this succulent pork while sipping on verticals (three different vintages) of Zinfandel as well as some barrel samples and other special release wines. This event is one not to miss! These chefs pull out all the stops – think about all of the fresh, seasonal veggies and fruits you love to eat during the summertime and that will be
on the table in a fancier way.

Seating is limited and this event will sell out. Reserve your seats today!!
$150 per person. Purchase your seats today!

This is a family-style dinner, plant based dieters can still come and enjoy with plenty of food to eat without the pork.

To purchase your tickets call Trione at 707.814.8100 or email 

Local Food, Wine, and Craft Beer Events in Sonoma County

Just because the rain won’t let up doesn’t mean that should keep you inside! There are so many great events coming up in April and May in Sonoma, here are a few you should put on your radar.

Dennis Housman sips on cold suds at a local beer event in Petaluma. (Tim Vallery)


St. Florian’s Brewery hosts Trivia Nights: The third Thursday of each month at the brewery in Windsor.

Cooperage is combining Yoga and Beer: get your workout in and then enjoy a nice cold one! Every Sunday in Santa Rosa.

Ping Pong Palooza: Palooza Gastropub hosts weekly Ping Pong Tournaments outside at 6:30 p.m. each Tuesday. Eat, drink, and play ping pong with friends and your whole family. All levels welcome. Prizes will be awarded. April 18th, 25th, and May 2nd from 6:30-8:30pm in Kenwood. There is no cost to play.

Damnation Returns to RRBC: The popular Belgian Strong Golden Ale from Russian River Brewery will once again make an appearance at the pub in Santa Rosa in April.

For more beer events in April visit Sonoma Magazine here. 

Passport to Dry Creek: Visit 45+ wineries around the beautiful Dry Creek Valley. Wineries will host vineyard tours, prelude lunches and dinners, and then the grand event is a two day wine event featuring the valley’s best wines paired with excellent food dishes created by local chefs. Visit Fritz Winery, Mill Creek, and Dry Creek Vineyards to try my favorite chefs food: Peloton Culinary & Catering. Tickets are still available, for more information or to purchase yours, click here. April 29th and 30th.


Ping Pong Palooza: Palooza Gastropub hosts weekly Ping Pong Tournaments outside at 6:30 p.m. each Tuesday. Eat, drink, and play ping pong with friends and your whole family. All levels welcome. Prizes will be awarded. May 2nd from 6:30-8:30pm in Kenwood. There is no cost to play.

Food + Wine Dinner Series: Trione Vineyards & Winery welcomes food and wine lovers to an intimate dinner series held on May 13th and 14th from 6-8:30pm. The winery features estate library wines and new releases paired with a farm-to-table menu prepared by local chefs of Peloton Culinary & Catering. This is a 3-4 course meal presented in a beautiful setting in the Old Stone Building overlooking the stunning vineyards of Alexander Valley. This is the perfect gift for mom, grandma, wife, or special person. The dinner is limited to 30 guests, the cost is $100 per person all inclusive. To purchase tickets please call the tasting room at 707.814.8100.

Santa Rosa Downtown Market: Visit the Wednesday night market for artisan food items, delicious street food, artwork, fun, and a wine and beer garden! May 3rd, 10th, and 17th – 5-8:30pm in downtown Santa Rosa on 4th Street. Note: 4th Street will be closed early, park on 3rd or 5th and walk over.

Good Ol’ Fashioned Guacamole Dip

No big bash is complete without a good guacamole dip! We all want to indulge but don’t necessarily want to pay the prince the next day after we have eaten EVERYTHING on the tables because all the sides and snacks just looked too good to pass up… this is great with healthy-style “chips: Serve with lettuce chips, carrots sticks, or celery instead of chips!

Use these healthy chips instead of salty tortillas to cut on calories, to save for more wine or craft beer!

Ingredients for Guacamole Dip( Photo by Jess Vallery)


  • 6 ripe avocados, peeled and cubed
  • 2 ripe but firm tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 small red onion, minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A dash of Cayenne Pepper


Soak the onions in the lime juice and set aside. Mix avocado up and mash with a fork, add in tomatoes, cilantro, and onions and lime juice and mix well so flavors blend. Add season, stir and serve.



Summertime is about being out in the beautiful outdoors with family and friends enjoying life. Life for me is all about great food, wine, craft beer, and family. There’s nothing better than being in the middle of a vineyard with stunning views soaking up the sun, sipping on something tasty. Being from here, some would think I’d want to get away to enjoy life, but really, life is so good right here in my backyard. I love the idea of hanging out at Trione {or any of the gorgeous wineries in Alexander Valley} enjoying a good, fresh picnic, playing bocce, and letting the day slip away. I’m excited that at Trione we are offering an incentive to keep people local, keep the money in our area… shop at any of these local cafe’s and grocery stores, bring your picnic to the winery, show us your receipt to receive a 10% discount on wine purchases that day!!

Here are the stores:

Big John’s Market

Geyserville Market

Oliver’s Market- Windsor

Jimtown Store

Geyserville Mud

The Dry Creek General Store 

I shop at these places regularly. I love the cold pressed coffee and breakfast sandwich at the Geyserville Mud. The freshly made burritos at the Geyserville Market are to die for. The Jim Town Store and Dry Creek General made killer sandwiches. The lines for these places can get a bit long so be patient, it’s worth it. And…Big John’s Market and Oliver’s have everything you could possibly want to add to any picnic. I love Oliver’s, I go all the time and they’re 2 minutes from my house, so naturally when they opened {just last month}, my life got a little bit better!

Here’s my perfect picnic:

Here is my perfect whole30 compliant picnic:

  • Salami
  • Butter lettuce leaves
  • Roasted red bell peppers & onions
  • Fresh cut baby bells, carrots, and cucumbers
  • Radishes
  • Castelvetrano olives
  • sliced avocado
  • Meyer lemon olive oil & balsamic {for dipping}
  • Roasted red pepper dip
  • strawberries & blackberries
  • tomatoe salad with olive oil
  • fresh fruit flavored water
  • sparkling water with fresh fruit cubes


Here is more info on Trione’s Summertime special. Enjoy the Summer!!

TomatoMania!! Is back at Trione!

Owner Scott Daigre of Tomatomania is headed back up North with over 300 tomato varieties! They’ll be at Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma Valley for one weekend and then head further North to Geyserville and will be at Trione Winery on April 30th.

Scott has been coming up North for years now and helping hundreds of folks find the best variety to plant in their gardens. He comes with a full crew to answer any questions you may have, T-shorts, and his AMAZING cookbook (see recipe featured here). I personally have made half of the recipes in here but one of my all time favorites is Sams tomato Sourdough. It’s so delicious!! For a list of places to buy the book online, click here.

You can count on detailed information from Scott when you buy. Write down your questions about planting and bring them with you. Scott lists his tips here too.


April 23-24: CornerStone Gardens: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,  23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma.

April 30: Trione Vineyards and Winery: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 19550 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville.


Trione Winery will also be having a fun event during Tomatomania for those who would like to partake in wine tasting: 2015 Rose of Pinot Noir release party from 1-4pm with a couple of small “brunch like bites” from Peloton Catering , a sample of Rose, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s $15 for the public and then they’re offering a 10% discount on wine purchases!!


Here’s to kicking off Spring in wine country!



What I like about Alexander Valley

Summer means warm weather, fresh produce and happy, vitamin-D-energized people all throughout the Alexander Valley. Let me share some great tasting experiences, perfect for the season, that go beyond the typical wine and food pairings usually associated with an American Viticultural Area.

For those of you who have followed along with my pairings, it is quite clear the genuine love I have for Geyserville. One of my staples there is Geyserville Mud. At Geyserville Mud, I was introduced to how coffee really should taste—with their specialty cold-pressed coffee made with Thanksgiving Coffee. The difference is that cold-pressed coffee takes much longer and the result is a concentrated amount of liquid that extracts the nutty, sweet notes of the coffee bean, allowing even those who regularly sweeten their coffee to take it black.

Hooked on this summer delight, I was excited to hear that now I can enjoy it with waffles on the weekends! The waffles are made in house and are served with either fresh strawberries or caramelized bananas. I personally prefer the caramelized bananas atop the waffles, alongside that cold pressed coffee to wash it down. The tables out front (if available) make for the ideal setting to people watch.

Is it noon yet? Somewhere it must be, so I like to pretend I’m in Italy and head to Diavola where it’s never too early to have a wonderful red house wine called Hawkes and produced by Alexander Valley winery especially for Diavola. I pair this “jug” Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend with Dino’s (the chef/owner) salami and cheese platter. Diavola uses the “cucina povera” practice in the kitchen; it is like a small village mentality—they use locally grown and produced ingredients, recipes that have proven to be well-mastered and delicious, and nothing is wasted. Locals and visitors alike flock to Diavola for this perfect palate-pleasing duo.


An Alexander Valley classic is the Jimtown Store. Centrally located in the heart of the beautiful valley, positioned next to several family owned wineries, it provides a 360-degree view of vineyards.

Jimtown has this incredibly moist chocolate-chip bread pudding that they top with a house-made dulce de leche whipped cream. I pair this tasty treat with a decanted Estate Grown Zinfandel from Starlite Vineyards. This combo is a wonderful treat after a long day: feet up, comfies on, under the stars on a warm summer eve—pure bliss.

Now my summer forays with Alexander Valley’s finest would be far from complete if I failed to mention the super-fabulous fact that there is now a pool in the area, at Coppola Winery. It can be quite difficult to make a reservation (they book up fast), but if by chance I am able to get a seat by their pool, I jump on it. For $20 I can be poolside in Alexander Valley and be treated like royalty. They have their poolside café for the appetite, but the way to go is cocktail service! I enjoy a traditional Tanqueray and tonic with a splash of bitters. The bitters add a bit of an herbal note, perfect with the juniper taste.

Wherever the journey takes us, the sure thing is this: senses will be pleased with tantalizing dishes and drinks, the people are friendly, the views spectacular and the pairings will be perfect.

I love Alexander Valley.


Article written for Sonoma Discoveries Magazine

Diavola Pizzeria and Salumeria on Urbanspoon

Seize the Day in Alexander Valley

It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy (especially when you are vacationing in the beautiful Alexander Valley). The activities are endless and on a single day you can pack in as many wonderful, sensory, fulfilling adventures as you would like! Submerged as I am in the local wine industry, I love the summertime because guests that come through the valley continue to introduce me to all kinds of new, cool day trips.

Whether you are a bride-to-be, a groom-to-be, honeymooning, visiting for the sake of visiting, or even passing through to another destination, Alexander Valley has the views, the food, bikes, canoes, kayaks, the river, the back-country roads, and wine tastings as well as places to stay after you’ve had as much fun as you can. (Is there such a thing)

The Hope-Merrill House is a quaint, old-school B&B that is sure to please those that want hospitable attention from the innkeeper/owners, good food and cozy rooms. The Geyserville Inn is another wonderful place to stay with views that are so absolutely stunning they are sure to take your breath away!

It’s a good thing the days are much longer in the summer because there is so much to see and do throughout Alexander Valley.

I always enjoy a bike ride to take in the views and I begin near Simi Winery at the north end of Healdsburg Avenue. I like to stop along the roads to record the beauty with some iPhone photos. In the early part of summer, the rusty railroad tracks with purple, white and orange flowers are the perfect setting for the envy shot (the one I post for my friends who are unable to enjoy it in person). Even when the grass turns brown in some spots, the rustic elegance shines through in the bright sunshine with the rough rust peeling from the tracks.

Fresh fruit is key to the Alexander Valley experience, and just past my photo stop is a small stand across from Alexander Valley Road where I like to pick up a few things to enjoy with a picnic lunch. I continue north, up Lytton Station Road to Geyserville Avenue; the vineyards are endless and the view of the mountain range in the distance is spectacular.

The road into Geyserville shows off new art: a bright pink stick-person, “Running Home,” aptly named because Geyserville/Alexander Valley feels like home to anyone! After a leisurely ride through the valley, I like to get my hands on a hearty turkey and cranberry sandwich from the Geyserville Mud. Pair that sandwich with the refreshing taste of the Mud’s famous cold-pressed coffee (take it black, you will be surprised at how naturally sweet the beans really are).

After a nice filling lunch and some fuel for the soul, I like to make a stop at one of my favorite Ma and Pop wine-tasting rooms: Route 128. Not only are owners Lorna and Pete two of the best people, but their Viognier is to die for and it will be the perfect accompaniment with my dinner later. But the ride is not yet over.

The journey deeper into the heart of Alexander Valley is phenomenal. Past the Grange Hall on the left are vineyards belonging to Rodney Strong. Their Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon (from this vineyard we are passing) is something to write home about. Moving along, I see the River Rock Casino and many beautiful private homes in the distance when finally I arrive at the driveway of one of my favorite stops: Stryker Sonoma.

I like this winery mostly because of the wine and the people, but to be honest, after riding through the valley, it’s the one hill I can cycle up without feeling like passing out, and I still get rewarded with a view from above. Cycling through the valley in the summer can be difficult, so it’s imperative to stop and say hello to friendly folks—plus, they do not mind if you stop in for the restroom or to see the view.

Heading home on Alexander Valley Road, I cross the bridge at the Alexander Valley campground. This is a popular spot for locals and visitors to take a dip or relax by the Russian River. The canoes below the bridge remind me of the fun of canoeing down the river and biking through the valley. Getaway Adventures offers a fun tour called the Pedal ‘N Paddle. River’s Edge Kayak & Canoe in Healdsburg is another local option where you can rent a fun water vessel for the afternoon, should you fancy creating your own experience.

Although I enjoy abiding by my own itinerary, I also recommend a guided tour to visitors because it is a more in-depth experience and a wonderful way to learn about the area from a professional. Getaway Adventures offers a “Sip ‘N Cycle” tour (among others), tailoring an ideal itinerary for each group or individual. Visit vineyards such as DeLormier and Robert Young with your tour guide, who helps to broaden the wine tasting experience. You can even enjoy a luxurious lunch.

Ride along the wine country roads like Red Winery Road, visiting some of the family owned wineries that Alexander Valley is known for. “Our philosophy is ‘Get away from it all,’ so wherever tour buses go, we head in the opposite direction as far and as fast as we can,” says company president Randy Johnson. Exclusive tours are available at wineries such as Skipstone, a hard to find, off-the-beaten-path estate making some of the most amazing Cabernet Sauvignon I have tasted—definitely worth a visit.

Getaway Adventures strives to create the perfect experience for their guests. All of the tours are supported with a van and a local guide for both safety and education, on the bike and off. “Our guides are the best in the business…we select, train and retain the best possible guides that act as a wine educator, Sherpa, concierge, chef, confidant—all wrapped into one,” explains Johnson. The company also offers services to ship the wines that you buy.

I know first-hand what they do for their guests and would recommend their services and experiences to anyone. It truly is one of the most fun ways to experience Alexander Valley!




Photos by Sarah Bradbury of the Sonoma West Times

Article written for the Sonoma Discoveries Magazine, Sonoma West Times

The Beauty that IS Sonoma County

The Beauty that is Sonoma County

My pal’s Jim and Katia of wine Questers came by for a visit last month. It’s always fun to see these guys and low and behold, I was off for a visit with my dear friend, Lorna of Route 128 Winery in Geyserville, when they came in! Lorna, so sweet and shy, I talked her into doing a little video interview with them. It’s so funny, we do that day in and day out behind the bar but when someone comes to you and say, “Hey, I’d like to film you talking about what makes Sonoma County so great….” you freeze up and suddenly all that information you have is out of your mind! Together, though, Lorna and I got through it! Cheers to a great day and to a great community; the gem of the wine country: Sonoma County.