Winery dinners and more in Sonoma County

Here’s a roundup of benefits, backyard and garden dinners coming up in Sonoma County.|

Santa Rosan wins “Split Decisions” contest

Santa Rosa resident Michael Pyland has been chosen as the winner of the Thomas’ “Split Decisions” Recipe Contest, which offers a $10,000 grand prize.

Thomas’ English Muffin celebrated National English Muffin Day on April 23 by inviting fans to create recipes for both sides of their English muffin. Pyland created a Sweet + Savory French Toast on one half and Loaded Buffalo Chicken on the other, and his entry was chosen out of 9,500 submissions.

“It was my first time ever doing a contest like this,” said Pyland, who works as an estimator for a roofing company. “My wife and I like Thomas’ English muffins. I go through phases, and every once in a while I want English muffins with breakfast.”

Pyland’s Sweet + Savory French Toast consists of a French toast English muffin battered with egg, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and rum flavoring, topped with a sausage patty, scrambled eggs and maple syrup.

His Loaded Buffalo Chicken has Buffalo chicken, ranch and artichoke bruschetta sauce topped with Italian cheese, blue cheese, crispy bacon and fresh chives.

“I’m a big fan of Buffalo chicken; it’s one of my favorite foods,” he said. “The little hints of blue cheese mixed with that Buffalo sauce, I just love it. ”

Pyland earned 14,000 votes out of the 65,000 votes cast for the top five finalists. For more information, go to


YWCA holds virtual Women, Wine, Chefs and Cheese benefit

YWCA of Sonoma County will hold a virtual Women, Wine, Chefs and Cheese Redux event at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 25 to help end domestic violence.

The Honorary Woman in Wine is Katie Jackson of the Jackson Family Wines, and Honorary Chef is Domenica Catelli of Catelli’s in Geyserville.

The live auction begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 18. To register and get a link to the event, go to and click on events.


Kendall-Jackson will bring back garden dinner series this summer

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens is bringing back its garden dinner series in a socially distanced manner this summer, on Saturday evenings from June through October.

The al fresco feasts are prepared by Kendall-Jackson’s talented team of gardeners and chefs: Master Culinary Gardener Tucker Taylor and chefs Justin Wangler and Tracey Shepos Cenami.

The farm-to-table dinners are going to look a bit different than in years past. Each party will be seated at a private table in the garden under the walnut trees or on the flagstone patio. The hospitality team will provide dinner service directly to each table. Guests are welcome to stroll the gardens before or after dinner, with social distancing in mind and face coverings in place.

Each dinner will feature a local producer and a cheesemaker or other specialty producer. Here is the upcoming schedule for 2021:

  • May 8 — Joe Valero Lamb and Bohemian Creamery
  • June 12 — Costarella Seafood and Chevoo Cheese
  • July 10 — Snake River Farms Beef and Valley Ford Creamery
  • Aug. 14 — Liberty Farms Duck and Dry Creek Peaches
  • Sept. 11 — Vegetarian Dinner Featuring Mycopia Mushrooms, the Estate Gardens and Nicasio Valley Cheese
  • Oct. 2 — Ward Ranch Beef and Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co.
  • Oct. 9 — Ward Ranch Beef and Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co.

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens is located at 5007 Fulton Road. Tickets are $195 per person. To reserve:


Muscardini Cellars launches backyard dinners

Muscardini Cellars will hold its first Summer Backyard Wine Dinner at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 29 at the Kenwood winery.

The dinner features a four-course meal from Chef Catherine Venturini of Olive & Vine Catering and Cuvée Wine Country Events paired with Muscardini's award-winning wines.

Cost is $125. To reserve: and click on events. 9380 Sonoma Highway. 707-933-9305.

Staff Writer Diane Peterson can be reached at 707-521-5287 or On Twitter @dianepete56.

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