The Wine Country Online

July through September, 2000

    The on-line magazine is an outgrowth of and continuing update to the recently published Sonoma Picnic, a California Wine Country Travel Companion. Scroll on for highlights excerpted and updated from this handy little book!
The Fig Edition

    This summer's issue of our magazine of food and wine arts is dedicated to the cultivated fig tree (ficus carica). An ancient symbol of peace and prosperity, the fig represents all the sweetness and plenty of this season of long sunny California days.

    So it is with stories and recipes involving figs that we tempt you to enjoy Northern California's wine country in summer.

Take a summer drive to the sea with Vanessa Barrington and friends in "Jimtown to the Tomales Bayshore Picnic."

Shore Report

    By the end of June, the coast of Northern California is regularly enveloped in a thick, cool fog that may or may not persist into the afternoon. It is not uncommon to find oneself driving from a fiercely hot inland valley into a dense afternoon fog that hangs like a damp sponge over the beach. This is great if you are seeking relief from the heat. But if it's sun and sand you're after, we recommend you call our friends listed below for a weather report before you go.

    Lee Wilds from the Tides Wharf Fish Shop in Bodega Bay reports that commercial salmon season will run from the first of June through September. Local King salmon is caught ten to fifteen miles out and is available fresh on the docks most of the summer.

    Fresh halibut openings will be from mid-May through June.

    The end of August through September is the time to come to the docks for fresh albacore tuna.

    Surf fish should be in through the end of June; then start looking for smelt.

    Rock fish should be in all summer, weather permitting.

    Local clams can be taken if you have your fishing license. Abalone season runs April through June and August through November. You are required to have a fishing license and the abalone endorsement sticker.

    For up-to-date information on summer ocean fishing, or bird- and whale-watching trips, you might give our friends at Bodega Bay Sport Fishing Center a call at 707-875-3344.

    Call the good folks at our local surf shack for up-to-date shore conditions.

Bodega Bay Surf Shack

Hot links to Local Events:
Select! Sonoma County
Sonoma County Wineries Association

Summer Events by Month:
Please call the phone numbers listed for details

First fig leaf unfurled
Gives no hint of its mission
Such a plump delight!
"Summer Haiku" by Penelope
(Morning Haiku,
5:58 a.m. on KRCB 91.1 FM)


    A month of color and long, warm days.

"Nests," 4:30-8:30 p.m. through July 4. 48 artists celebrate the hatching of a new art event space. Rotation at Zizi, 334 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. 707-431-2209

Russian River Blues Festival
Gurneville, 707-869-9000

Russian River Rodeo
Gurneville, 707-869-9000
Parade and barbecue.

Art and Artisan Show
Sonoma Plaza, 707-996-1090

Ox Roast
Sonoma Plaza, 707-996-1090

Lazy Creek Winery, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County


    The heart of summer, a time when picnicking really pays off. Reservations are recommended for everything.

You might see the vineyard crews cutting fruit from the vines and tossing it onto the ground. This baffled us our first season in wine country. It's called thinning, and although seemingly wasteful, it's an essential movement to the farmer's dance, for it isn't the amount of fruit on the vine, but the quality of the fruit that counts. Thinning helps concentrate flavors in the remaining grapes.

Fourth of July Fireworks:

Healdsburg: 707-433-6935
Gurneville: 707-869-9000
Cloverdale: 707-894-4470
Bodega Bay: 707-875-3422
Sonoma Town: 707-996-1090

World Pillow Fighting Championships
Loads of fun in Plaza Park, Kenwood.

Healdsburg Harvest Century Bike Tour

Sonoma County Fair
Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa, 707-545-4200

Living History Day at Forst Ross State Historic Park

Sunday Concerts in the Plaza
Healdsburg, 707-433-6935

Sonoma County Showcase and Wine Auction
A wonderful, fun event to benefit the Boys and Girls Club.

Dragonfly Garden, Healdsburg


    The month of wait-and-see: Cellar crews are busy preparing tanks and barrels for the coming crush.

From Grape to Glass Tastings

Healdsburg Guitar Festival
Villa Chanticleer, 707-433-6935 or 800-648-9922

Street Dance on Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, 707-433-6935

Healdsburg Farmers Market Zucchini Festival

Accordion Festival
Cotati, 707-664-0444
Polka dance party in La Plaza Park.

Sunday Concerts in the Plaza
Healdsburg, 707-433-6935

Bodega Bay Seafood, Art and Wine Festival

Old Adobe Festival
Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
Petaluma, 707-762-4871
Square dancing and Native American dance.

Wine Country Film Festival
Sonoma, 707-996-2536

Time on Our Lands 2000: Sonoma Land Trust's day in the country, a fundraiser for land conservation. Features food and fun for all ages. Saturday, August 26, at Laufenburg Ranch in Knights Valley. Reservations required by August 19:

Pressing apples at Time on Our Lands '99
(Photo: Sonoma Land Trust)


    From late August to early October, experience the full-tilt excitement of the harvest. Norteño, Mariachi or Tejano music blasts from the boom boxes according to each crew's tastes. The pickers race with lugs of fruit held overhead to the bins where the foreman records the tally. Everyone's on the run. It's the focal point of our year.

Silver salmon season begins for offshore fishing and on the Russian River.

Harbor Seal Watch
At the mouth of the Russian River
Jenner, 707-875-3422

Russian River Jazz Festival
Gurneville, 707-869-9000

Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival
Downtown Sonoma, 707-996-2109
Blessing of the grapes in Sonoma Plaza.

Women's Weekend #2
Gurneville, 707-869-9000