Notes from Durae:

It was such fun to participate in Sonoma Wine Country Weekend with the girl & the fig, and awe-inspiring to experience the best of what so many of Sonoma’s growers, producers, chefs and vintners had created.  What a pleasure to hear winemakers speak with such love and pride for their vines, this land, and the wines that have come from it.  So many of them have been working the land they do for generations and to share their very best efforts brings them obvious joy.

Even more gratifying is to know that a portion of the proceeds from wine country weekend, most significantly from the Sunday auction, will benefit local charities, environmental protection and sustainability efforts throughout the county, as well as literacy programs for children.

On that note, according to the Wine Institute of California, Sonoma County leads the pack in sustainability practices in winemaking.  More than 250 Sonoma County wineries and grape growers participate in the statewide Code of Sustainable Winegrowing practices, a voluntary self-assessment program designed to ensure proper care of the land.  It is worth noting that pesticide use in Sonoma County has declined every year since 1997, despite the fact that grape acreage has increased dramatically.  Well done, Sonoma!

To put such effort into your work, to be gratified with sharing the end result, and in the end being able to give back in a meaningful way, is a pleasure.

Samuel Johnson  said, “bounty always receives part of its value from the manner in which it is bestowed.”  So, kudos to Sondra and John and all of those who made Sonoma Wine Country Weekend a success!  I hope that you all enjoyed SWCW, this beautiful place we call home, and the food and wine that is made here.


Leading the way in Wine Country

story“Over the past two decades or so, Bernstein has nurtured a thriving food business anchored by her flagship Sonoma restaurant, The Girl & The Fig, known for its French-inspired country cuisine and wine list of mostly Rhone varietals.
She was named the honorary culinary chair for Sonoma Wine Country Weekend along with Phil Coturri, owner of Sonoma”s Enterprise Vineyards, is the honorary winegrower chair; the Gallo family with its E & J Gallo Winery arm in Healdsburg is the honorary vintner chair.” Click for the full article in the Press Democrat.

Heirloom Tomato Season is Here!

Heirloom Tomato & Watermelon Salad
Serves 6

For the vinaigrette:
1 medium yellow tomato, blanched, peeled & seeded
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T champagne vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and white pepper to taste

For the salad:
½ cup feta cheese
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 # seedless watermelon, rind removed, sliced into ½ x 2-inch rounds
2 # assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced into ½-inch pieces
2 T fresh oregano leaves, for garnish
Sea salt, for garnish

To prepare the vinaigrette:
Place the yellow tomato in a blender. On medium speed add the mustard and then the vinegar. Slowly add ½ cup of olive oil. Taste and season with salt and white pepper as needed and set aside.In a separate bowl, crumble the feta and mix it with 3 tablespoons olive oil.
To serve:
Divide the heirloom tomato slices and the watermelon slices equally between 6 plates. When plating, alternate the slices and garnish with a bit of feta. Drizzle the vinaigrette over each portion and garnish with the oregano leaves. Add a touch of sea salt to the salad if desired.