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Snatch Up Your Savings on Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

There’s a reason that every event at the annual Sonoma Wine Country Weekend sells out so quickly. For the three non-stop days of food, wine and reveling at spectacular venues across Sonoma County, thousands of guests come from around the country and even around the world to celebrate winemaker dinners, lunches, winery barbecues, a grand tasting and an elaborate all-day auction party and feast.

Yet here’s a valuable tip. The event organizers have set aside something extra special, exclusively for Sonoma residents. A limited number of tickets have just gone on sale, destined only for Sonoma residents, and offered a full month before tickets are available to the general public. Even sweeter: the tickets can be snapped up for as much as 50 percent off regular price.

When SWCW takes place over this Labor Day weekend of August 21 through September 2, some 2,500 attendees will converge just for the Taste of Sonoma, an all-day picnic feast at Healdsburg’s MacMurray Ranch featuring nearly 100 top chefs presenting food and literally thousands of wines. The regular admission is $150, but for folks with a Sonoma zip code, a coveted ticket can be had for just $75.

At the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean, meanwhile, every seat is the best seat, at $500. But residents of Sonoma County can go to www.SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com and use the promotion code “LOCALS” and their Sonoma County zip code at checkout to get tickets for just $350.

“Last year our events completely sold out,” said Maureen Cottingham, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend co-executive director. “We recognize that some of the events on the schedule tend to sell out rather early. The chance to purchase tickets early is also a nice benefit for, and one way we can thank, the people in our community who support us year after year.”

Sonoma types need to purchase without delay, though, since only a limited number of tickets are being set aside, and a maximum of four specially priced tickets is allowed per address.

Regular tickets, which range from $85 to $500 per person, will be opened up to the public on June 1. Yet even if someone doesn’t have a Sonoma zip code, there’s still great deals to be had from presenting sponsor Visa Signature. Cardholders can get event perks and savings, including access to an exclusive ticket presale.

Whet your appetite for the 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend:

Friday, August 31

  • 12:30 p.m. – Winemaker Lunch Series at wineries across the County, $85/person
  • 6:30 p.m. – Sonoma Starlight Supper Club at Francis Ford Coppola Winery, $95/person or $175/person Patron
  • 6:00 p.m. – Winemaker Dinner Parties at wineries across the County, $150/person

Saturday, September 1

  • 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. – Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch, $150/person (General), $195/person (Grand Reserve)
  • 6:00 p.m. – Winemaker Dinner Parties
  • 6:00 p.m. – Chairman’s Dinner Party, $175/person

Sunday, September 2

  • 12:30 p.m. – Winery Barbecues at wineries throughout Sonoma County, $85/person
  • 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean, $500/person

For tickets: SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com.

Tip: While getting your tickets, be sure to think about how you’ll get to the event, too. With so many attendees, traffic and parking can sometimes be a challenge. Pure Luxury Transportation offers shuttles to the major events, and also provides stretch limousines, sedans, vans, buses, or limousine coaches. For more savings, you get a 15% discount when you use your Visa Signature card for your rental.

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