Dickens Dinners at Madrona Manor

Madrona Manor kicks off the first of its holiday Dickens Dinners at 6:30 p.m. Sunday with caroling by the Twelfth Night Singers and a five-course menu by Executive Chef Jesse Mallgren.

The dinners continue on Dec. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 with seatings at 6:30 p.m., plus an additional seating at 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Day.

Cost is $85-$125, depending on the date, with wine pairings extra. A Twelfth Night Singers CD will be for sale, with proceeds benefitting the Healdsburg Boys and Girls Club and the Healdsburg Food Pantry.

To reserve, call433-4231. 1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg. Diners who book a room on the night of their Dickens Dinner will get half off the usual room rate.


Take wine trail without leaving

The Santa Rosa Wine Trail, a collection of urban wineries and tasting rooms located within minutes of downtown Santa Rosa, will host a holiday tasting weekend from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 10 participating wineries.

"Eat, Sip and Be Merry" includes food trucks, live music and exclusive tours and activities at each winery. Passports with stamps from all 10 locations will be entered for a drawing to win prizes.

Cost is $25, or $35 at the door, which includes a wine glass and $10 in "wine bucks" to be used toward the purchase of wine. Designated driver tickets are $5.

To reserve, go to srwt.eventbrite.com. Participating wineries include Carol Shelton, D'Argenzio, Inspiration, Krutz Family Cellars, Old World, Paradise Ridge, Sheldon, Siduri/Novy (on Saturday only), Two Shepherds and the collective at Vinoteca.

The Fountaingrove Inn will offer a limited number of deluxe king rooms for $89 on Friday, Saturday or Sunday night as part of the weekend, which is co-sponsored by the Santa Rosa Convention & Visitors Bureau, the California Welcome Center and the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.


Olive ranch open house, food drive

McEvoy Ranch will hold its annual Holiday Open House from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Petaluma olive ranch.

Guests will enjoy live music and refreshments, including the just-bottled 2012 Olio Nuovo and the estate-produced preserves. Holiday shopping in the ranch's retail room will also be offered, with choices ranging from body products to cookbooks.

Guests are encouraged to participate in the ranch's Holiday Food Drive by bringing a nonperishable food donation for the local food bank.

Attendance is free, but an advanced reservation is required. To reserve, go to mcevoyranch.com and click on shop. 5935 Red Hill Road.


Amphora offers tempranillo pairing

An intriguing Wine Country pairing -- paella and tempranillo. Amphora Winery is hosting its first annual event to celebrate this duo on Dec. 8. That's when the winery officially releases its first 2009 tempranillo. In keeping with the authenticity of this Spanish varietal, the house-made paella will be plentiful.

The celebration is from noon to 3 p.m. and the fee is $25. Amphora Winery is at 4791 Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg. For more information, call 431-7767.


Ravenswood holds blending seminar

Are you up for a Wine Country adventure? Whether you're a rookie or a seasoned wine drinker, you can learn the art of winemaking at a Ravenswood Wine Blending Seminar during the month of December.

The seminar is offered Dec. 8, Dec. 15 and Dec. 22 at 11 a.m., and the fee is $50 per person. You'll be able to create and bottle a blend of zinfandel, petite sirah and carignane to take home and impress your friends.

Ravenswood Winery is at 18701 Gehricke Road in Sonoma. Reservations are required. For more information, call 933-2349.


Roast pig or duck, for the whole family

Chef Ari Weisswasser and his wife Erinn Benziger-Weisswasser are offering a special menu for parties of eight or more for the holidays.

The family-style feasts showcase a Wood Oven Suckling Roast Pig or a Whole-Roasted Christmas Duck/Goose. The meals, including side dishes and ice cream for dessert, cost $75 per person and require at least 72 hours notice.

The restaurant's winter menu, based upon the harvest of its partnering gardens, includes dishes made with seasonal vegetables such as beets, persimmons, sunchokes, Brussels sprouts and pumpkin.

The Glen Ellen Star will be closed on Mondays through February with the exception of Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

The Glen Ellen Star is located at 13648 Arnold Drive at Warm Springs Road in Glen Ellen. for reservations: 343-1384.


Pizza wagon makes stop at farm stand

Rosso Pizzeria will bring its mobile pizza oven to the Tierra Vegetables farm from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday to cook up pizzas, polenta, salads and side dishes by the barn.

Cost of the all-you-can-eat feast is $25 adults, $10 for kids under 10. If you want, you can bring shoes and coats to donate to local people in need.

The farm is located at 651 Airport Blvd. Reservations not required but appreciated: 837-8366.


Catalan flavors star at Ferrer Caves

Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards will hold a Catalan-inspired holiday lunch at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Sonoma winery.

Following a sparkling reception, there will be a private winery tour and lunch prepared by chef Chris Dressick of The Station in San Francisco, plus live music by Sol Flamenco.

Cost is $75. To reserve, go to www.gloriaferrer.com. The winery is located at 23555 Arnold Dr.


Farmstead Cheese cooks with beer

The Fork at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. will offer a special Cooking with Craft Brews class at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with "Homebrew Chef" Sean Paxton.

The menu includes local oysters with Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout mignonette, Root Vegetables with Russian River Temptation-Braised Turkey Pot Pie, Lamb Cheeks Braised in Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout and Beer Caramel Mousse with Spiced Red Rocket Ale Cake.

Cost is $120. To register, go to www.theforkatpointreyes.com or call 800-591-6878.