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2018-2019 Milestones — Sonoma County, California

May 24, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

2018 Milestones

Gundlach Bundschu celebrates 160 years in business Gundlach Bundschu, the oldest family-owned and operated winery in California, celebrates its 160th anniversary in 2018. The sixth-generation winery is located just outside the town of Sonoma.

On March 12, 1858, Jacob Gundlach purchased 400 acres in Sonoma and named it Rhinefarm. After returning to Bavaria to marry his childhood sweetheart, Eva, they spent their honeymoon traveling through Europe and buying rootstock to plant in the new vineyard.

In 1875, Francisca Gundlach married Charles Bundschu and Rhinefarm was renamed Gundlach Bundschu Wine Company a few years after.

Known as an “estate driven” winery, Gundlach Bundschu produces wine mostly from grapes grown at the winery. The wines are available throughout the United States but not very easy to find.

Gun Bun prides itself on making serious wine without attitude. Festivities at the winery throughout 2018 will celebrate this milestone birthday. Cheers!

Jack London Park celebrates 55th anniversary of National Historic Landmark status In 1963, Jack London State Historic Park was designated a National Historic Landmark. But, it isn’t resting on its laurels. In the spring of 2018, the park will re-open a newly renovated, refreshed, and updated House of Happy Walls museum.

This nearly $1 million investment in the park will result in a new state-of-the-art museum and cultural center, improvements to the winery ruins, and other significant capital projects. This will enhance what visitors experience when they visit this spectacular 1,400-acre park.

Jack London, an internationally renowned writer, thinker, adventurer, social activist, and pioneering farmer, wrote some of his most famous works at his beloved Glen Ellen Beauty Ranch, which was his home until his death on Nov. 22, 1916. Of London’s 50 books and hundreds of essays, “Call of the Wild,” “White Fang,” and others have been translated into more than 70 languages.

Sonoma Raceway shifts into high gear for 50th anniversary Sonoma Raceway will kick off its 50th anniversary celebration in late 2018. Then-Sears Point Raceway held its first official event, an SCCA Enduro, on Dec. 1, 1968.

The 2.52-mile road racing course and quarter-mile drag strip were constructed on 720 acres. Over the past 50 years, the facility has developed into one of the country’s premier motorsports venues, hosting more than 340 days of on-track activity each year, including nationally-televised NASCAR, NHRA and IndyCar events.

American Graffiti turns 45 in 2018 In 2018, movie fans and classic car enthusiasts will celebrate the 45th anniversary of the release of the movie American Graffiti. It will also be the 13th annual Petaluma’s Salute to American Graffiti, a classic car show and cruise. The annual event is held on the same streets that George Lucas used to shoot his iconic file. The 2018 event dates are May 17, 18, and 19.

More than 400 enthusiasts show off their classic cars until 4 p.m., at which time they will cruise the boulevard, just like they did when they were in high school.

Cruisin’ the Boulevard, the all-volunteer non-profit that organizes the show, will be recreating a few scenes from the movie and filming it, making it into a short DVD.

Vehicle registration for the 2018 event starts on the first Monday in February, Feb. 5, and the registration forms can be downloaded at

Santa Rosa Downtown Wednesday Night Market celebrates 30th anniversary The Santa Rosa Downtown Wednesday Night Market will be celebrating its 30th year in 2018. The market sought to bring the community together to enjoy downtown Santa Rosa.

Each year from May through August, more than 150,000 people enjoy the market’s 100-plus vendors, live music, and the Craft Beer and Wine Garden. The market is a fun outdoor festival for all to attend as it reflects the diversity and trends of the local community. Special events include a health fair, bike expo, water smart expo, family night, and paint and sip nights.

30 years of art, community at Gallery One Petaluma Gallery One, established September 1988, will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2018.

Gallery One represents emerging nationally, and internationally recognized artists and artisans. The gallery appeals to discerning collectors nationwide. The diverse and eclectic collection includes fine art in all media — art glass, sculpture, painting — and fine crafts.

A silver anniversary for Glen Ellen Inn The Glen Ellen Inn ─ known for its Sonoma County-inspired food, romantic atmosphere, and large martini and wine selections — has a new look inside, outside, and on the menu — just in time for its 25th anniversary in 2018.

Executive chef and owner Chris Bertrand, with his wife, Karen, transformed the former 1940s Wine Country cottage into an eight-table destination restaurant in 1993. Now, it seats 90 inside, and 60 more outside. The cozy interior now boasts stone pony walls dividing the room, booth seating for intimate dining, new lighting and paint, and a small bar area with hand-hammered copper topped tables.

Outdoor changes include new lighting, awnings, and patio railings that let more light into the restaurant. Also, the restaurants hidden garden has been converted to a chef’s cutting garden, with basil, thyme, mint, parsley, tarragon, and other herbs, and grapes have been planted along the new back wall.

The new “all day” menu offers a juicy Kobe Burger, the restaurant’s signature Mussels & Garlic Fries, Wine Country Cioppino, and Dry-Aged Filet Mignon, which Bertrand ages himself in a wine barrel meat locker. Local farms dictate what is on the menu, as what is ripe in the fields is what makes it on the dinner plate at the Glen Ellen Inn.

Glen Ellen is becoming an up-and-coming Wine Country hot spot in the Sonoma Valley. Plus — who can say no to an ice cold, freshly shaken, Glen Ellen Inn martini after a long day of wine tasting?

Dutton-Goldfield celebrates 20th harvest Dutton-Goldfield Winery is celebrating its 20th harvest in 2018. The winery began with in 1998, when longtime colleagues and friends Steve Dutton and Dan Goldfield recognized a shared desire to craft wines that express the carefully chosen cool-climate vineyards.

A fifth-generation farmer, Steve grew up with his visionary father, Warren Dutton, who begun growing grapes in the western reaches of Russian River Valley in the mid-1960s, at a time when most people thought the area was too cool to grow fruit for quality still wine.

After graduating from Boston’s Brandeis University, Dan headed west, with a few detours for skiing and hiking along the way. Dan earned a master’s degree in enology from the University of California at Davis.

Dutton-Goldfield’s mission is to craft world-class wines that display the brightness of fruit, complexity, structure, and balance that are reflective of the winery’s cool coastal home.

10-year anniversary for Stark’s Steak & Seafood in 2018 Sonoma County husband and wife restaurateurs, Mark and Terri Stark, opened their fourth restaurant (of six), Stark’s Steak & Seafood, in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square in January 2008.

The couple launched the restaurant’s “Blues Buster Happy Hour” soon after, vowing to keep it going “until the Dow hit 10,000.” Ten years later, the classic steakhouse and lounge, along with its award winning happy hour, is still going strong.

The restaurant is in a landmark building in Santa Rosa’s Historic Railroad Square. Built in 1934, it’s the oldest freestanding, continuously operating restaurant in Santa Rosa. Private dining is also available in the private wine cellar for up to 14 guests, or a banquet room with private bar and chandeliered setting for up to 50 guests.

Stark’s features sustainable seafood, Certified Angus Beef® brand, prime and natural, in-house dry-aged beef, and American Kobe. All beef is hand selected by owner/executive chef Mark Stark and served à la carte. Guests may choose from an extensive list of local and international wines, many in half bottles. Full bar features signature and well cocktails and more than 60 whiskeys.

Lowell’s Restaurant turns 10 October 2017 will mark 10 years for the popular Lowell’s Restaurant in Sebastopol. And the celebrations will continue into 2018.

The restaurant name has recently changed from Peter Lowell’s to “Lowell’s,” as its been known to locals for years.

This western Sonoma County organic eatery features Italian-inspired dishes made with local, sustainably-produced ingredients, much of which are grown at their Two Belly Acres Farm in Sebastapol. Since opening, owners Lowell Sheldon and Natalie Goble has had a mission to provide high-quality cuisine, while paying attention to the surrounding environment and people.

The Barlow turns 5 in 2018 The Barlow will celebrate the fifth anniversary of its grand opening in the fall of 2018.

The Barlow is a unique Bay Area outdoor market in Sebastopol, California, featuring local food, wine, beer, spirits, and crafts made onsite by Sonoma County artisans. Artisans sell their goods to customers while the production process happens in real time, on site. This unique interactive transparency brings The Barlow to life and allows guests to see makers in action.

The sitewide organic edible landscaping and industrial-chic architecture are a nod to the rich agricultural history of The Barlow, which was an applesauce cannery in the early 20th century.

Stroll the dog-friendly open-air marketplace; attend a festive, family-friendly public event at The Barlow; or host a special occasion at The Barlow Event Venue.

Unbeaten Path Tours is celebrating 5 years In 2013, Unbeaten Path Tours began their first tour offerings along the northern Sonoma County coast.

Unique private tours provide guests with an incredible experience, a true connection to place, and the desire to return. Each tour covers a wide range of topics, from the architecture of the region to flora, fauna, history, geology, oceanography, and more.

Unbeaten Path Tours is offering Yoganature wellness “sanctu-stay” tour offerings. Owner and guide, Margaret Lindgren, is 500 hours certified in Kundalini yoga and offers a modern approach to this yogic practice. It provides guests the opportunity to gain a deeper connection from within for a more meaningful connection with nature.

 2019 Milestone

Soda Rock celebrates 150 years in 2019 The building that houses Soda Rock Winery is steeped in history and, if the mossy old stone walls could talk, there would be some colorful stories. The current stewards strive to honor what has transpired here over the past 150 years. Some of the wines pay tribute to Soda Rock’s past, such as the Wentworth Zinfandel for Fred Wentworth, the owner of the Alexander Valley store around 1870.

Soda Rock is the original site of the Alexander Valley general store and post office, and was once the central hub of activity for the valley. Historic records provide evidence of the first bonded winery on this property in 1880.

After years of neglect, this local landmark had fallen into serious disrepair. Ken and Diane Wilson, who purchased the property in 2000, recognized the property’s historic value and appreciated the architecture of the stone buildings and water tower. The long-term restoration plan has culminated in a site that retains its essential historic character while using recycled and green materials whenever possible.

But, at the end of the day, it’s about the wine. A visit to the tasting bar and lounge isn’t complete without experiencing the delicious current release wines. Try distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Primitivo, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier.

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