SONOMA COUNTY: Harvest Awards Gala changes

Sonoma County Harvest Awards Gala will debut its new format Sept. 28, with the public invited this year. The gala also has a new location. It formerly was held at the Grace Pavilion of the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, but this year it will be at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for a gala wine and food reception, featuring award-winning wines and small-bite appetizers from the Harvest Fair’s professional competition. The awards ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. A formal dinner, provided by John Ash & Co., will follow at approximately 6:30 p.m.

The Harvest Awards Gala celebrates the region’s top winemakers, growers, microbrewers and culinary artists, while paying tribute to Sonoma County’s role as a leader in American agriculture. There will be plenty of suspense at the gala when organizers announce which wineries won this year’s coveted sweepstakes awards from the Harvest Fair’s Professional Wine Competition and which eateries will take home the top Restaurant Competition prizes.

In addition to honoring local pioneers for their wine and culinary excellence, the evening will celebrate Sonoma County’s agricultural leaders for their achievements. Honorees include: Healdsburg grape grower Al Cadd for Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture; David Stare, founder of Dry Creek Vineyards, for the Lifetime Contribution to the Sonoma County Wine Industry “Methuselah Award”; Carlos Chavez, co-owner of Safety Environmental Compliance Associates, for Friend of Sonoma County Agriculture; Lise Asimont of Francis Ford Coppola Winery for Outstanding Young Person in Agribusiness; and Cameron Mauritson of Mauritson Wines for the Outstanding Young Farmer award. Ticket prices for the public are $125 each and are available at harvestfair.org or at the Box Office, which is located at 1350 Bennett Valley Road in Santa Rosa. Cocktail attire is recommended. To find out more, call 545-4200.

GEYSERVILLE: A seafood feast at Trentadue

Seafood fanatics, here’s an indulgence you won’t be able to resist. Trentadue Winery is hosting a Lobster Feast on Saturday, Sept. 13. There will be food, music, entertainment, dancing, sunset gondola rides and award-winning wines. The event is from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., and tickets are $110 per person. The winery is at 19170 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville. For more information, visit trentadue.com.

SONOMA VALLEY: Join the excitement of the crush

Tickets are available for the three-day Sonoma Valley CRUSH event Sept. 26-28. Fifteen wineries throughout the Sonoma Valley will be offering a variety of harvest activities each day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They include grape sampling in the vineyards, crush pad tours, as well as tasting fresh-pressed juice. To purchase a $35 ticket, visit heartofsonomavalley.com or call 431-1137.

SANTA ROSA: Fountaingrove chef wins pairing crown

The winner of the Greenwood Ridge Vineyards tasting competition is from Santa Rosa. Paul Schroeder, executive chef at Fountaingrove Golf Club, won the contest, which had a new format this year.

The new Wine Pairing Championships replace Greenwood’s California Wine Tasting Championships, which owner Allan Green hosted at the winery for 30 years. Rather than competing against other tasters, participants taste their way through wine and food combinations designed by chefs and decide which pairing they like best.

At the first event, the 50 judges were members of the Greenwood Ridge wine club. Those judges chose Schroeder’s bay scallop ceviche as their favorite pairing with the 2013 Greenwood Ridge Sauvignon Blanc, and his duck confit with exotic mushroom paté garnered the most votes paired with the 2012 Pinot Noir. Schroeder is a three-time winner of the Iron Chef of Sonoma competition. His competitors at Greenwood Ridge were Kim Badenhop, French-trained chef/owner of the former Rendezvous Restaurant in Fort Bragg, and Philip Thomas, retired teacher and amateur chef from Boonville.

The winery is at 5501 Highway 128, Philo. For more information on Greenwood Ridge Vineyards or the Wine Pairing Championships, call 895-2002 or contact allan@greenwoodridge.com.

GLEN ELLEN: Farm festival set at Jack London Park

The Jack London Park Sustainability Farm Festival will be Oct. 5. The free, daylong festival will highlight Jack London’s legacy as a farming pioneer and connect with the innovators of today. It kicks off with the Autumn Farm Forum at 11 a.m., presented by Marcy Smothers and Clark Wolf. The festival will be at Jack London State Historic Park, 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. For more information, visit jacklondonpark.com or call 938-5216.

ST. HELENA: Sutter Home kicks off ‘Text for Hope’

Sutter Home Family Vineyards launched its “Text for Hope” program to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness. It will run through Dec. 31 and benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Participating consumers can text “HOPE” to 89800 for a chance to win a limited-edition pink Sutter Home for Hope jersey. For each text received, Sutter Home will make a $1 donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, up to $50,000.00.

The Sutter Home for Hope initiative was started when one of Sutter Home’s founding family members, Vera Trinchero Torres, was diagnosed with the disease in 2001. One of the first wine companies to make a commitment to breast cancer awareness, the Sutter Home for Hope program has helped raise nearly $1 million toward breast cancer research, treatment and education.

The Sutter Home Facebook page, which has more than 445,000 fans and Twitter pages, will go all-pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. The winery is at 277 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena. For more information, visit sutterhome.com/sutter-home-for-hope.com.

SONOMA COUNTY: Mauritson is top young farmer

The Sonoma County Harvest Fair has named Dry Creek Valley’s Cameron Mauritson as 2014 Outstanding Young Farmer. The sixth generation grape grower is 30-years old, younger than the 35-year old gnarled zinfandel vines outside the tasting room of his family’s winery. The Mauritson family has been growing grapes since 1868. Mauritson left the Dry Creek Valley temporarily to attend California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Wine Business and a Master of Science in Agriculture with a specialization in Crop Science. The Harvest Fair and members of the local wine industry will celebrate Mauritson, along with his fellow Harvest Fair award recipients, during a ceremony and dinner Sept. 28 at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. The 2014 Sonoma County Harvest Fair will be October 3-5 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. For more information, visit harvestfair.org or call (707) 545-4203.