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SONOMA COUNTY: Sonoma Wine Country Weekend tix on sale

Tickets are on sale for the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend running Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 at various locations throughout the region.

Highlights include a Sonoma Starlight dinner at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 30, Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch in Healdsburg from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 31 and the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 1.

The weekend is produced by the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance in partnership with the Sonoma County Vintners. To reserve, call 855-939-7666 or go to www.sonomawinecountryweekend.com.

SANTA ROSA: Savory Spice to offer in-store demos

Savory Spice Shop in downtown Santa Rosa will give a series of in-store cooking demonstrations this summer with chef/instructor Jennifer Torrey.

All classes are held at 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sundays and cost $30, including recipes. Here is the schedule:

Learn how to preserve the fruit and vegetable harvest on Aug. 4 with a class on "Uncanny Preserves."

Put up "Pickles and Pears, and Relishes Rare" on Aug. 18, just in time for the bounty.

Make your own barbecue sauce on Sept. 15 with "Get a Little Sweet, Spicy and Saucy."

Get ready for the holiday rush with sweet "Holiday Gifts in a Jar" on Sept. 29.

In addition, cookbook author Gitika Baveja will give a demonstration on Indian Cuisine at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 11. Cost is $25. Her cookbook, "Indian Flavors to Savor," will be available for purchase.

To register for any of the demonstrations, call 284-1310 or stop by the store, 317 D St., Santa Rosa.

PETALUMA: Speakeasy hires Tafoya as new chef

Speakeasy, a late-night dining spot in Petaluma, has hired Patrick Tafoya, former chef/owner of P/30 in Sebastopol, as its new chef.

Tafoya has retooled the menu slightly, keeping many of the favorite dishes, including the Edamame Hummus, the Speakeasy Taco Trio, the Veggie Burger and the Lobster Mac & Cheese.

The new menu includes more small tapas dishes, including single servings of Jalape? Firecrackers and a smaller portion of Crispy Sweet & Spicy Pork Belly.

"It's a smaller portion for a smaller price," co-owner Roger Tschann said. "You can have more big pops of flavor and try more things."

Speakeasy is open for dinner from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly. 139 Petaluma Blvd. N. 776-4631.

SEBASTOPOL: Education programs at Dutton-Goldfield

Dutton-Goldfield Winery has added some new educational programs for those who want to learn about its single-vineyard pinot noirs and chardonnays.

The Classic Tasting, which features current release wines, is complimentary with wine purchase. Walk-ins welcome.

For the Seated Tasting, a host guides guests through a tasting of five limited-production wines while teaching about the vineyards and exploring the aromas using sensory jars. Cost is $25, or free with a $150 wine purchase. Reservations required.

For the Wine and Cheese Flight, guests are served four local artisan cheeses with four wines and education about the pairings. Cost is $30. Reservations required.

The Pinot and Picnic Flight includes a tasting of five, single-vineyard wines, plus a picnic lunch on the patio. Cost is $40.

The Green Valley Pass, in partnership with five other wineries in the area, offers barrel and library tastings, food pairing and tours. The pass is $120 for the tasting experience at the six wineries.

To reserve, email jessie@duttongoldfield.com. The winery is located at 3100 Gravenstein Hwy. N. 823-3887.

GLEN ELLEN: B.R. Cohn offers raw and barbecued oysters

B.R. Cohn Winery will offer raw and barbecued fresh oysters every weekend from noon to 5 p.m. through mid-October.

Michael Watchorn, founder of Hog Island Oyster Co., will be manning the oyster bar. The winery is located at 15000 Sonoma Highway 12. www.brcohn.com.

SEBASTOPOL: West of the West festival opens Friday

The West of the West Wine Festival uncorks Friday through Sunday in Sebastopol with dinners, seminars and various tastings.

Highlights include the Grand Tasting from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at The Barlow. Another Grand Tasting will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at The Barlow, 6770 McKinley Ave.

For tickets, go to www.westsonomacoast.com.

GLEN ELLEN: La Luz holds Out of Africa fundraiser

La Luz of Sonoma will hold its annual fundraiser, Noche Out of Africa, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Jack London Historic State Park.

The evening includes exotic African food, tribal music and other colorful performances. Flat shoes are recommended, and don't forget to pack a sweater for the cool evening.

Tickets are $175. www.laluzcenter.org. 2400 London Ranch Road.

NORTH BAY: Specialty innovation awards announced

The Specialty Food Association has announced its sofi (specialty outstanding food innovation) gold award winners for 2013, with several North Bay companies taking home awards.

One of the big winners was the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., which won gold for Best New Product of the Year for its Point Reyes Bay Blue Cheese, a mild blue with a salted-caramel finish.

The Point Reyes Farmstead's Toma, a semi-hard cow's milk cheese with a buttery flavor, won a gold for Best Cheese/Dairy Product.

"Winning two golds is just fantastic," said Bob Giacomini, who founded Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. in 2000 with his wife and four daughters on their dairy farm overlooking Tomales Bay.

Cypress Grove Chevre in Arcata won gold in the Classic category for its Humboldt Fog, a tangy goat cheese that has won many accolades over the years.

This year's 35 winners were selected from 1,885 entries submitted by members of the Specialty Food Association. Chef Marcus Samuelsson announced the sofi gold winners on July 1 at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.

For a complete list of winners, go to www.specialtyfood.com.

(Compiled by Staff Writer Diane Peterson, who can be reached at 521-5287 or diane.peterson@pressdemocrat.com, and Peg Melnik, who can be reached at 521-5310 or peg.melnik@ pressdemocrat.com.)