June is official Lavender month in Sonoma. The first hint is in the landscape – the tiny purple blooms with their distinctive perfume are popular plants in Wine Country, with their fine silver-gray stalks that can be left wild and bushy, or trimmed into manicured curves.
There are plenty of ways to celebrate the beauty. One of the most significant is the Sonoma Lavender Festival takes place June 23 and 24, when the Sonoma Lavender company opens its Santa Rosa barn/warehouse to the public for the only time each year. Customers can shop for every type of floral product imaginable, from lavender candles, to potpourri, lavender-stuffed toys, salt scrubs, lotions and even scented fleece booties.
At The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa, lavender body products are one of the most popular guest amenities. The hotel’s Raindance Spa is well-known for its lavender and grape seed spa treatments, and every hotel room is stocked with spa soaps and shampoos, too.
The Lavender Luxury spa treatment includes a lavender salt scrub, massage and warm body wrap, for the calming and relaxing influences of lavender flowers (it’s said that lavender oil also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits, and its fragrance aids sleep and relaxation).
The Raindance Spa products are made by Matanzas Creek Winery in Bennett Valley, which features one of the most breathtaking lavender gardens in California. Every June, the winery hosts as annual "Days of Wine and Lavender Festival," where hundreds of guests come for food, drink, arts and crafts and music, and to admire the more than 4,500 lavish lavender bushes in full bloom in the two-acre estate garden.
This year, the ceremony takes place June 30, from noon until 4 p.m., and an $85 ticket brings elaborate food stations from the winery’s estate chef Justin Wangler. Lavender is often included as an ingredient, too, such as a previous year’s lavender coconut rock shrimp ceviche, lavender roasted pork shoulder with creamy coleslaw, and chocolate-lavender infused Pot de Creme with summer berry salad.
Matanzas opens it lavender barn, as well, to show off its extensive collection of lavender products made by the estate artists, including soaps, lotions and potpourri.
Be sure to bring your reusable shopping bag – you won’t want to go home without more lavender to enjoy year-round.
Tip: In ancient times in the Mediterranean, lavender was a favorite of royalty. Treat yourself like royalty, too, and reserve a private town car or limo to attend the festivals or plan your spa getaway.