<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>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> 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The winery is located at 6097 Bennett Valley Road.
<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> 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.