Healdsburg Joins Ranks of Upscale Wine & Food Events in Bay Area

In the past decade or so, the once-sleepy wine country town of Healdsburg has put its name on the map with a slew of award-winning restaurants, posh wineries and luxurious retailers. Now, it can add culinary and wine expedition host to the accolade list with the May debut of the Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience, a three-day celebration featuring food and wine stars of Sonoma County. 

Dustin Vallette, Matt Horn and Steve Dveris. © 2022 Marc Fiorito // Gamma Nine Photography

The inaugural event, which celebrated Healdsburg’s emergence as an epicurean destination and paid tribute to Sonoma County’s heritage as a model agricultural and sustainability center, included a host of activities — from special wine tastings and seminar discussions to dining experiences, celebrity chef demonstrations, and an expansive grand tasting.

Anthony Giglio (Food & Wine Magazine), Ray Isle, Gary Obligacion. © 2022 Marc Fiorito // Gamma Nine Photography

Amongst the 2,000 attendees were several standout local culinary panjandrums: Duskie Estes of Farm to Pantry, Douglas Keane of Healdsburg Bar & Grill, the talented culinary team at SingleThread Farms and Dustin Valette of The Matheson and Valette. Additional panache came from the presence of Food Network stars Maneet Chauhan and Tim Love, Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard and Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Steve Dveris. ©️ 2022 Hugo Galdones, Galdones Photography

The weekend featured two fundraisers which raised a combined $100,000 for the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation and the Future Farmers of America: a Saturday evening country music benefit concert with The Band Perry at Rodney Strong Vineyards and a Friday afternoon barbecue with award-winning BBQ Chef Matt Horn.

Liam Mayclem, Jenny Halse, Steve Dveris and Karmen Elwazir. © 2022 Marc Fiorito // Gamma Nine Photography

“Our goal with this festival is to highlight the vibrant culinary diversity, amazing wines and sustainable farming practices of Sonoma as it relates to the rest of the world,” said Steve Dveris, CEO of SD Media Productions, which produced the event. “We are thrilled to showcase the deep connection to agriculture at play throughout Sonoma County – the true makers behind the magic of the destination.”

Recording artist and harpist Lucinda Belle. ©️ 2022 Hugo Galdones, Galdones Photography

Participating wineries included Kendall-Jackson Estate and Gardens, Jordan Winery Estate, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Dutton Ranch, Stonestreet Estate Vineyards, and more.

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A freelance writer in Marin who writes about family, kids and parenting, Glass is the mother to one son, one dog and a hamster named Miss Geri. When she’s not writing, trekking up steep hills in Marin or driving her kid to sports practice, she and her family spend time in their tiny cabin in Lake Tahoe. She avidly supports the California Academy of Sciences, a world class science museum and research institution, and the Institute on Aging which provides much needed services to Bay Area seniors and disabled adults. Glass is obsessed with baking the perfect loaf of banana bread, something she makes so often she no longer needs to look at a recipe card.