CREEK WEEK, SEPT. 16-24
Sonoma County: Volunteer to remove trash and debris from creeks in the Russian River watershed. Events are planned in Cotati, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Cloverdale, Windsor, Guerneville and on ocean beaches in Bodega Bay. Details are available at the Russian River watershed association website, rrwatershed.org.
COASTAL CLEANUPS, SEPT. 16
Sonoma County: Join volunteers in removing trash from beaches, rivers and creeks in the annual California Coastal Clean-Up, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Doran Beach, Steelhead Beach, Sunset Beach and Maxwell Farms regional parks and at Larsen Park in Sonoma County. Contact john Ryan at 707-565-3356. Visit parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov for locations.
OLD GROVE FESTIVAL, SEPT. 16
Guerneville: Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods’ 12th annual Old Grove Festival at the Armstrong Woods State Natural Reserve, 17000 Armstrong Woods Road 4:30 to 9 p.m. features Americana and bluegrass live music in the open air Redwood Forest Theater, beer, wine, and food. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Full details and reservations available at stewardscr.org. Call 707-869-2015.
PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT, SEPT. 16
Santa Rosa: Meet Marin County photographer Dave Strauss at a free opening reception and exhibit of his wildlife photography 3 to 5 p.m. at Heron Hall in the Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road. Light snacks and drinks provided. Strauss’ “Form and Color: It’s Wild Out There” will be on display through Jan. 3. Visit lagunadesantarosa.org for details.
WOMEN’S RETREAT, SEPT. 16-17
Santa Rosa: Explore the landscape of Pepperwood Preserve, 2130 Pepperwood Preserve Road, at the hilltop Dwight Center for Conservation Science and the Bechtel House retreat cabin Saturday 2 p.m. through 1 p.m. Sunday. The event includes a guided 1 to 3 mile hike with forest bathing, nature art activity, catered dinner, yoga class and catered brunch. Bring a tent or sleep in the Bechtel House. For ages 18 and up. $150 per person and $130 for Preserve members. Register at pepperwoodpreserve.org.
FAMILY HIKES, SEPT. 16
Santa Rosa: Learn about plants and animals and participate in a science project during a family hike at 1 or 3 p.m. at Spring Lake Regional Park, 393 Violetti Road. Meet at the Environmental Discovery Center. Parking $7 or free to Sonoma County Regional Parks members.Visit parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov.
SURFING LESSON, SEPT. 17
Bodega Bay: Get your first surfing lesson from an experienced surfer and lifeguard at Doran Beach Park, 201 Doran Beach Road 9 a.m to noon. Swimming experience, a wet suit and booties required. Wet suit and booties available for rent for $15. The surfing lesson is $10 and parking is $7. Registration required. Call 707 565-3080 or visit parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov.
GO FISHING, SEPT. 17
Santa Rosa: Introductory, family-friendly fresh water fishing class 2:30 to 4 p.m. at Spring Lake Regional Park. Bring your own gear or use a loaner pole. Meet at the boat dock at Violetti Road. $10, registration required at parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov. Parking $7.
SWIFT RETURN, SEPT. 21
Healdsburg: Celebrate the migratory stop of the Vaux swift. Bring a dish for a 5:30 p.m. potluck then caravan to a location where thousands of swifts return to their resting ground at twilight. Bring a lawn chair, binoculars, plates and utensils and dress for a chilly evening. Parking $7. Call 707-565-2041 for information or visit parks.sonomacounty.ca.org.
THIS WEEK’S BLIND TASTING
The Food-Friendliest Thanksgiving Red —-- Grenache
Donelan, 2014 Cuvee Moriah, Sonoma County Grenache, 14.6% alcohol, $50. ★★★★ What makes this a pitch- perfect Thanksgiving pick is that this Rhone red has tangy, high-toned fruit, coupled with savory spice and crisp acid. It has notes of pomegranate, red currant and cardamom. The Donelan has a round texture and finishes crisp, pairing well with a broad range of rich dishes. The wine is 84% grenache, with 16% mourvedre. Impressive.
Clos de Gilroy, Bonny Doon Vineyards, 2016 Grenache, 13.1%, $20. ★★★1/2: This is a bright grenache with generous fruit and snappy spice. Notes of raspberry, red currant, a hint of plum and cracked black pepper. This pick is spicier than some, so it works best with lean side dishes and turkey. The blend is 82% grenache and 18% syrah.
Tablas Creek, 2013 Grenache, 15.5%, $45. ★★★★: This grenache has black fruit aromas but its weighted to red on the palate. It has notes of wild strawberry and cherry, riding on crisp acid. It also has a hint of leather and chocolate in the mix. This wine is 100% grenache and its tangy fruit makes it a savvy Thanksgiving pick with dishes that are both lean and rich.
Quivira, 2014 Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County Grenache, 14.8%, $34. ★★★★: This is a pretty grenache that leads with full- throttle strawberry but has layered flavors —-- a hint of vanilla and white pepper. This is another example of 100% grenache, and its tangy fruit coupled with bright acid makes it a savvy Thanksgiving pick.
Unti, 2014 Dry Creek Valley Grenache, 14.5%, $35. ★★★★: This is a full-bodied grenache that’s both fresh and savory. It has great complexity, with layered flavors of raspberry, anise and pepper. This classic Rhone works well with a Thanksgiving feast, as well as solo because of its tasty infusion of syrah. The wine is 80% grenache, 14% syrah and 6% mourvedre. Striking.