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Thursday, May 16, 2013
Out and About: Sonoma Highway Kenwood
By Stephanie Wright Hession
All photographs by Stephanie Wright Hession. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
The small, unincorporated town of Kenwood encompasses magnificent vistas of rolling, vineyard-covered hills. Located in the Sonoma Valley, also known as the Valley of the Moon, it's where family-owned wineries and olive oil companies welcome visitors who appreciate tasting rooms, vineyards, historic structures and gardens.
1. Kunde Family Estate
9825 Sonoma Highway: In 1904, German immigrant Louis Kunde established his winery here. Today, his descendants own and manage the sustainably farmed 1,850-acre estate. Its four tasting options include sampling a variety of estate-produced wines in the main tasting bar and a mountaintop tour and tasting. (707) 833-5501. www.kunde.com.
Kunde Family Estate
2. Figone's of California Olive Oil Co. store
9580 Sonoma Highway: Visitors sample certified-organic extra virgin olive oil. The flavored oils include Tuscan herb, Meyer lemon and porcini mushroom, all milled, blended and bottled at Figone's. (707) 282-9092.www.figoneoliveoil.com.
The 100-year-old olive tree at Fignone's.
3. Kenwood Plaza Park
200 Warm Springs Road: If you've packed a picnic, stop in at this little park, where trees provide shade for a cluster of picnic tables. Take the kids across the wooden bridge to romp on the tepee-shaped play structure. (707) 539-8092.www.bit.ly/11WwxWU.
Kenwood Plaza Park
4. Simon Levi Cellars
9380 Sonoma Highway: Step up to the horseshoe-shaped tasting bar at Simon Levi Cellars, located inside a one-room schoolhouse - the old Los Guilicos School - dating to the 1890s. Try Almondine, Framboise and Grand Cuvée, its three Pour La Vie sparkling wines. Or enjoy a glass on the front deck. (707) 833-5070. www.slcellars.com.
The deck and historic schoolhouse at Simon Levi Cellars
Simon Levi Cellars 5. VJB Vineyards and Cellars 60 Shaw Ave.: Dine on artisan cheeses, antipasti and panini sandwiches at umbrella-topped tables in the courtyard. On weekends, wood-fired pizza, rotisserie chicken and ribs are also served. In the tasting room, sip a glass of 2009 Estate Montepulciano and other Italian-style wines. (707) 833-2300.www.vjbcellars.com.
VJB Vineyards and Cellars
6. Chateau St. Jean
8555 Sonoma Highway: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and other varietals of grapes grow in the vineyards at Chateau St. Jean. Founded in 1973 around the former summer home of the Goff family, the winery features tastings on the patio, a charcuterie, picnic areas for customers and a Mediterranean garden. (707) 833-4134.www.chateaustjean.com.
Chateau St. Jean
Chateau St. Jean
At Chateau St. Jean, enjoy a glass of Pinot and a wood-fired pizza while listening to live music during its Pinot and Pizza Music Series. Noon-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, May 25-Sept. 2. $16-$20. www.bit.ly/a35iaM.