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More Food&Wine to Celebrate with New Food Festivals

One of the best things about living in the food and wine capital of the west (that’s the North Bay, folks) is the array of opportunities to celebrate it. Parties, special events and full-out festivals abound, year-round.

Add two more to the list for 2011.

Flavor! Napa Valley all-star chefs

Flavor! Napa Valley – This ambitious, four-day food and wine festival is slated for Nov. 17-20, and will be held at the Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa and the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena.

It’s a significant undertaking, with some truly big name chefs involved, including Michael Chiarello, Thomas Keller, Jeffrey Jake, Christopher Kostow, Cindy Pawlcyn, Tyler Florence and Masaharu Morimoto.

Details of the specific activities are still in the works, but it can be anticipated there will be plenty of wine celebrations, seminars, and food tastings. And it’s all for a good culinary cause: to support programs and scholarships at the CIA’s Greystone Campus.

Ticket prices haven’t been announced yet, but sales start May 16.

Details: flavornapavalley.com.

Adding some WOW to the Sonoma Coast

West of West Wine Festival - Created by the newly-formed West Sonoma Coast Vintners, an association of wineries and growers on Sonoma’s coastline, this gala will be held Aug. 5-7 in Occidental. Not surprisingly, it sports a local theme, showcasing small-production Sonoma wines, with tastings, seminars, wine themed dinners, and a star-studded Whole Hog Feast at Occidental’s 130-year-old Union Hotel.

A good portion of the draw will be about the wines, for wineries and growers on Sonoma’s coastline who specialize in the area’s coveted cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. The area remains largely undiscovered, but actually covers some significant growing regions, such as Annapolis, Fort Ross/Seaview, Occidental, Freestone, Green Valley and the Sebastopol Hills. West of West (WOW), will give an insider’s sneak peek into some usually closed-the-public wineries, spanning Failla, Freeman Winery, Freestone Vineyards, Littorai, Peay Vineyards and Red Car. For the Friday, August 5 winemaker dinners, some of the talents will even open up their own homes.

The intimate insight continues on Saturday, for a line-up of seminars about wine and the area’s winemaking history. The proof is in the sipping, through a Grand Tasting of more than 30 boutique producers, in exclusive releases of limited production wines that rarely make it to the everyday table.

The fun continues that evening, with a Whole Hog Feast at the Union Hotel, centered around the succulent Sonoma-raised heritage pigs slow-cooked and hand-carved by Zazu’s Duskie Estes and John Stewart. Naturally, there will be remarkable wine pairings, and visits with the winemakers themselves, all in the charming setting of the historical property.

And there’s more – all day Sunday, wineries will open their doors for barrel tastings and a peek at Coastal wine futures.

Ticket prices range from $125 for the Welcome Dinners, to $375 for an all-access Saturday pass and Sunday Open House pass.

Details: westofwestwine.com.

Tip: These festivals are sure to be sold-out soon, so plan your ticket purchases now. If you’ll be traveling to the towns, Pure Luxury Transportation can make the trip a relaxing journey, with a private Town Car or limo.

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