The West Sonoma Coast Vintners association will host their 5th annual West of West (WOW) wine festival at The Barlow in Sebastopol, California. This 3 day event will run from Friday, July 31st through Sunday, August 2nd and is an especially unique (and in some cases ‘rare’ ) opportunity to taste the wines and meet many of the winemakers from this rugged wine growing area of west Sonoma County.
The Sonoma Coast American Viticultural Area (AVA) stretches the entire western boundary of Sonoma County from south of Petaluma all along the Pacific to the Mendocino coast. The AVA has over 2,000 vineyard acres and is known for its cool climate and high rainfall compared to other parts of Sonoma County. Of course the area along the Pacific, with twice the annual rainfall of its inland neighbors, can still be warm enough to ripen wine grapes as a result of most vineyards being located above the fog line. The West Sonoma Coast has distinguished itself by earning top honors around the world for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
It is the quality of these ultra premium cool climate grapes that has led to the effort to establish ‘sub-appellations’ for several micro-climates within the greater Sonoma Coast. Most recently, Fort Ross-Seaview received status as an AVA in 2012.
Those who attend will face a daunting challenge in identifying the ‘Best of the West’ at WOW, even the most experienced palate. The region is a virtual ‘Who’s Who” of ultra-premium Pinot and Chardonnay. Names like Ramey Wine Cellars, Littorai Wines, Hirsch Vineyard & Winery, Lynmar Estate, Benovia, Peay Vineyards, Crossbarn by Paul Hobbs, Flowers Vineyard & Winery, Small Vines, MacPhail Family Wines, Failla Wines and Siduri to name a few who are synonymous with Pinot Noir in particular. Newcomers (or in some cases newly recognized) keep adding to the variety of West Sonoma Coast wines. As they gain experience and add vintages, these names will certainly join the ‘Pantheon’ associated with this growing region. Noteworthy to this list are Furthermore Pinot Noir, Zepaltas and Senses Wines. If you have tasted any of these wines you know there is something very special about Sonoma Coast and especially the West Sonoma Coast.
The Festival includes a Friday night Welcome Dinner, educational seminars on Saturday and Sunday (including an excursion to iconic Taylor Lane) , lunches and grand tastings on Saturday and Sunday. Some are sold out so go to the website to see what is still available.
Meanwhile, The Barlow continues it fast rise as a destination attraction just one hour north of San Francisco. A variety of tasting rooms, restaurants and a distillery are highlights including MacPhail Family Wines tasting lounge a block from the festival site. Duskie Estes Zazu kitchen + farm and Woodfour Brewing offer cuisine at different ends of the spectrum. There is also a bakery, a community market and many, many more unique offerings which make The Barlow a complete destination.
WOW Wine Festival and The Barlow in Sebastopol are the place to be July 31 to August 2. See you there!
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