Wine and sunsets: the perfect pairing at Paradise Ridge

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Unabashed romantics will be happy to know they can — yet again — pair their wine with sunsets at Paradise Ridge Winery.

The Santa Rosa winery will begin its Wine & Sunsets series on Wednesday evenings from June 19 until Sept. 18.

Paradise Ridge is making its comeback in stages after the 2017 firestorm that ripped through one of Sonoma County’s most beloved and scenic wineries on its slopes near the leveled Fountaingrove neighborhood.

The Wine & Sunset Tastings, starting at 5:30 p.m., will be held in a hillside amphitheater, which has expansive views of the vineyards and the Russian River Valley. Wines will be served by the glass or bottle and there will be gourmet food trucks along with live music. Two of the evenings are themed — Red, White & Bubbles on July 3 and Hot Havana Nights on August 21. (Tickets can be purchased at prwinery.com.)

Tasters at the events will be able to see the rebuild in progress. The tasting room and events center is under construction, with plans for a mid- November opening. Meanwhile plans for reconstructing the winery building are not yet complete.

“The plan is to use a prefab framework and materials which will be cost effective and also be more fire resistant,” explained co-vintner Sonia Byck-Barwick.

Paradise Ridge’s first post-fire sculpture exhibit, to be unveiled in October, will feature artists who were affected by the fires.

“We hope this exhibit will help tell the tale of the far-reaching effects the fire had on our community,” Byck-Barwick said.

As for Paradise Ridge, Byck-Barwick said, the wildfires caused considerable strain both financially and emotionally because the winery was severely underinsured.

“It’s limiting what we are able to rebuild,” she said. “The good news is that my parents nurtured an incredibly strong family and we’re working together to find the best path forward.

The hope is that when we reopen, we will have created a space that both the family and the community can enjoy.”

The Wine & Sunsets series will be a shorter run this year, with 14 evenings as opposed to 28.

But re-launching the program has Byck- Barwick optimistic Paradise Ridge, once again, will reel in romantics.

Paradise Ridge was named Best Tasting Room in California by USA Today in 2016.

“Being able to welcome people back for this well-loved community event means a lot,” Byck- Barwick said.

“This event means so much to so many people, not just us. It’s a wonderful step in our rebuild and return to ‘paradise.’ ”

In Napa Valley, Signorello Winery is also making significant changes after the wildfires ravaged its hospitality center.

Slated to open in spring 2021, it will be a 28,000-square-foot winery and caves. The winery will be contemporary, made of steel, glass and concrete.

Until it opens, the winery will continue to rely on its temporary tasting room. (Visit signorelloestate.com to peruse its offerings.)

“The fire has been a catalyst to creating a new world-class facility and hiring a new winemaking and viticultural team,” said vintner Ray Signorello.

“It has been a chance for me to take everything I’ve learned over the last 30 years and for me to build something for the next generation, my two daughters.”

Wine Writer Peg Melnik can be reached at peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5310.

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