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<strong>SONOMA VALLEY</strong>

<strong>Crush festival starts Friday:</strong> The 2013 Sonoma Valley Crush festival will provide hands-on harvest experiences from Friday through Sunday, Sept. 27-29, at 17 wineries throughout the Sonoma Valley. For three days, wineries will offer activities such as grape sampling in the vineyards, crush pad tours, samples of fresh pressed juice and grapes picked fresh off the vine. The three-day pass is $35, or $10 for designated drivers. To reserve, go to <a href="http://www.heartofsonomavalley.com" target="_blank">www.heartofsonomavalley.com</a> or call 866-794-9463. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended.

<strong>SANTA ROSA</strong>

<strong>SRJC Culinary Cafe open for fall term:</strong> The Santa Rosa Junior College Culinary Cafe and Bakery is now open for the fall semester at 1670 Mendocino Ave., across from the main campus. Both the cafe and the bakery feature foods that have been planned, prepared and cooked by students. The Culinary Cafe serves a weekly menu of salads, soups, sandwiches, pizzas, entrees and desserts. It is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Reservations are recommended at 522-2796. Between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday through Friday, the bakery serves morning pastries and Bella Rosa coffee in the cafe's dining room. Breads, pastries and desserts for take-out can be purchased until 2 p.m. Tours of the new B. Robert Burdo Culinary Arts Center are conducted at 3 p.m. Tuesdays. To make a reservation, call 522-2800.

<strong>SANTA ROSA</strong>

<strong> Matanzas Creek Harvest Celebration:</strong> Matanzas Creek Winery will hold a Harvest Celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Bennett Valley winery. Held in the picnic grotto, the afternoon includes a toast to the harvest with Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, food pairings plus live music. Tickets are $25 per person. Wine Club members can pick up their September package at the event. Reservations are required: 521-7015 or wineclub@matanzascreek.com. The winery is located at 6097 Bennett Valley Road.

<strong>SONOMA</strong>

<strong> Local olive oils win Argentine awards:</strong> The Olive Press won three medal at the Olivinus 2013 competition in Argentina, taking home a Gran Prestige gold for its Blood Orange Olive Oil, a gold for its Koroneiki Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a gold for its Picual Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Only seven medals were awarded to North American olive oil producers during the international competition, which was held in the city of Mendoza. In 2013, the Olive Press earned a total of 29 medals in both international and domestic competitions and was recently voted one of the "10 Best Places to Buy EVOO in the World" by OliveOilTimes.com. Its award-winning oils are available at its two stores in Sonoma and Napa and at <a href="http://www.theolivepress.com" target="_blank">www.theolivepress.com</a>.

<strong>KENWOOD</strong>

<strong> Gotta pasta to pair with these wines?:</strong> Kenwood Vineyards invites amateur cooks to enter its Perfect Pasta Pairing Contest through Dec. 1. The original pasta dish must be paired with one of six Kenwood Vineyards Wines: sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon. Entries must include the name of the dish, an original pasta recipe, the specific wine pairing, an explanation of why the dish works with the wine and a photo of the dish to be used as a reference (not judged). Judges will critique the dishes for originality, taste appeal and wine pairing and select a winner for each wine . Each winner will receive a culinary gift basket valued at $150. The judges will also select a Grand Prize winner, who will be treated to three-day, two-night culinary experience for two at Kenwood Vineyards valued at $5,000. For complete rules and an online entry form, go to <a href="http://www.kenwoodvineyards.com/pastacontest" target="_blank">www.kenwoodvineyards.com/pastacontest</a>. All winners will be notified on Dec. 16.

<strong>SONOMA</strong>

<strong> Vintage Festival on the plaza:</strong> The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, the annual tradition of celebrating crush, is Friday through Sunday, Sept. 27-29. The event takes place in Sonoma from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the plaza and benefits many Sonoma Valley community projects and on-profits. The opening night gala is $85 per person. For more information, visit <a href="http://sonomavinfest.org/" target="_blank">sonomavinfest.org/</a>.

<strong>NAPA</strong>

<strong> Honey, flower shops new to Oxbow:</strong> The Oxbow Market in downtown Napa has welcomed two new tenants into kiosks located at the south end of the main market hall. Marshall's Farm Honey offers natural and organic gourmet honeys from the Bay Area that are raw, 100 percent pure, unheated, uncooked and unfiltered. <a href="http://www.marshallhoney.com" target="_blank">www.marshallhoney.com</a>. Monkey Flower Group specializes in locally grown flowers. <a href="http://www.themonkeyflowergroup.com" target="_blank">www.themonkeyflowergroup.com</a>. The Oxbow Market is located at 610 and 644 First St. in Napa and includes a diverse mixture of tenants, from food vendors and artisan cafes to an organic produce. outlet. <a href="http://www.oxbowpublicmarket.com" target="_blank">www.oxbowpublicmarket.com</a>.

<strong>SAN FRANCISCO</strong>

<strong> The James Beard Foundation's Taste America:</strong> "Local Flavor from Coast to Coast" tour will stop by in San Francisco this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 27-28. The festivities kick off Friday night with a benefit dinner at the St. Regis San Francisco Hotel hosted by Taste America All-Star Chef Wylie Dufresne. It also features a selection of West Coast winners and nominees for the James Beard Foundation awards, such as Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of Terra in St. Helena and Ame of San Francisco. Tickets are $275-$350. A retail event featuring chef demonstrations and tastings will be held at Sur La Table in Palo Alto on Saturday. In addition, the Taste America vehicle will visit various farmers markets in the Bay Area throughout the weekend. The five-weekend festival will make stops in 10 cities through Oct. 19. To reserve, go to <a href="http://www.jbftasteamerica.org" target="_blank">www.jbftasteamerica.org</a>.

<strong>FORT BRAGG</strong>

<strong> Hospital's Winesong raises $500,000:</strong> The live auction of Winesong 2013 raised more than $500,000 for the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation last month, with the "fund-a-need" lot for a new ambulance bringing in $116,000 alone. The three-day event included a tasting of Anderson Valley pinot noir at the Little River Inn, a private dinner created by Margaret Fox of Harvest Market, a wine and food tasting in the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens attended by 1,200 and a live auction and lunch designed by celebrity chef Bradley Ogden. Winesong is produced by the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to help the small, rural Mendocino Coast hospital provide the best possible medical care to residents and visitors to the coast. <a href="http://www.winesong.org" target="_blank">www.winesong.org</a>.

<strong>FORT BRAGG</strong>

<strong> All things abalone at Noyo Harbor event:</strong> Dive into some local seafood during the World Championship Abalone Cook-off from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at South Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg. The festival, sponsored by the Mendocino Area Parks Association, includes live music, a tasting of Mendocino wines and beer from the North Coast Brewing Co. Clam chowder, live music by the Bayou Swamis and the judging of the abalone dishes round out the afternoon. Entry to the festival is free, but tasting judges pay $65 for the chance to taste and judge this highly prized ocean delicacy. South Noyo Harbor is on South Harbor Drive. <a href="http://www.mendoparks.org" target="_blank">www.mendoparks.org</a>.

<em>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.</em>