This weekend marks the year's first big wine tasting event in Sonoma County, the annual Winter Wineland. Now in its 21st year, the event has grown to 138 wineries this year, out of the organization's 190 members of the Wine Road organization in Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys in northern Sonoma County.
The event is both Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 19 &20) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at participating wineries, and while advance tickets are no longer available anyone can show up at one of the wineries listed and purchase either a two-day ticket ($55) or a Sunday-only ticket ($45); designated drivers are $5. (Ticket prices are also subject to sales tax, now up to 8.5 percent in most parts of the county.)
You get a logo glass, of course, and opportunity to join in some of the diverse events the wineries put on for the weekend, from food pairings to tailgate parties.
The Wine Road has in the past done one of the nicest maps to Sonoma's wine country, and this year their online map planner is worth checking out. Just go to the Event Page and click on the "Maps" tab; you can select which wineries you want to visit and the web page will create a PDF or image of your route, and e-mail to you if you wish. Pretty sweet.
Healdsburg Nursery will be holding a free Rose Pruning Demonstration on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 10 a.m., rain or shine (and it looks like it will be shiny). The demonstration lasts about an hour and there is ample opportunity to ask questions. Refreshments will be provided, no registration required.
The Healdsburg Literary Guild continues its "third Sunday" salons at the Bean Affair, this Jan. 20 with poet, photographer, Alexander Valley rancher, and retired businessman Jim Miller. He will read from his second book of poems, Going Off the Pavement, starting at 1:30 p.m.
Relish Culinary Kitchen is having one of their regular Wild Mushroom Forays this weekend, Sunday, Jan. 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Trouble is it's full-up, so wait for the one on Feb. 23 (or sign up for it now.)
What is available at Relish is this Monday night's Chef's Table class, with Dry Creek Kitchen's Dustin Valette. We wrote about this series a couple weeks ago, and attendance has been great - there are only a couple places left in Monday's class, and if you are a hands-on foodie it's not to be missed.
If it's movies you want -- and with the Oscar hunt on big-time -- the dark horse for Best Picture opens at the Raven Film Center on Friday, "Silver Linings Playbook." It's received numerous nominations, including all four actor categories - and regardless of Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro, I hope the winner is Jacki Weaver, for her supporting role as the mom of the family.
Also new this weekend at the Raven is "Hyde Park on the Hudson," with Bill Murray as FDR. Continuing are "Lincoln" and "Zero Dark Thirty." Check this page for showtimes.
If you have an event, or know of one coming up, pluse add it to the Patch Events listings.