Al Minero leaving Sonoma Market
Probably to few people’s surprise, everyone’s current favorite grocery store manager, Al Minero, is leaving Sonoma Market on Saturday.
A couple of friends and I happened to have lunch Tuesday at the Swiss Hotel, and the charming Minero was there with three Nugget Market officials. They came over to our table and gave us the news. Minero introduced his replacement, Cody, who starts today, Friday, and comes from one of Nugget’s Marin County stores.
With his usual upbeat great smile and bubbly attitude, Minero said he is “going on sabbatical,” which might mean temporary leave. When I pressed him on that, he said, “Well, maybe I’m retiring. My wife retired and we are taking off for Hawaii and who knows where else.”
Bon voyage, Al!
Vintage Festival is here
And so is the Vintage Festival’s annual gala tonight, Friday, Sept. 22 with 40 wineries pouring and restaurants offering nibbles behind the Barracks and Toscano Hotel with music by Notorious. ($125)
Then in Sonoma Plaza on Saturday and Sunday you will find loads of live local music by good bands and great wines from nearly 40 local wineries. Food will be available from Barking Dog Roasters, Homegrown Bagels, Mary’s Pizza Shack, Maya, Saddles, Sonoma Cheese Factory, Sonoma Harvest, Sonoma Market, Supreme Sweets, and the classic Swiss Hotel, plus a “Wine and Spirits Garden.” Love the Grape Stomp on Saturday.
Rhône Room opens wide
For 20 years Sondra Bernstein has specialized in “rhône alone” wines and cheeses in her Girl and the Fig restaurants.
Last weekend she quietly opened her new cozy Rhône Room for a few hours and opened wide daily on Monday.
Part wine studio, part lounge, part working farm, the tasting room features 90 Rhône wines from the Girl and the Fig’s rhônes made for her in France, in addition to exclusive and
lesser known offerings from local rhône producers, as well as French varietals and blends from the Rhône region of France.
Bernstein’s refined rustic ambiance of warmth and sophistication throughout her establishments continues into the Rhône Room with an antique wood tasting, picture windows that showcase the Fig’s expansive culinary gardens outside, a lovely “au naturel” patio facing the farm, and a comfy booth strewn with brightly colored pillows. Leo, Mark and Alana host visitors in the Rhône Room daily.
Bernstein explained, “With the farm here, it just felt like a fun project; and since we are doing more with our own wines now, it made sense. I think of it as being a first stop for people coming to town so that we can help them plan their stay and greet them with a taste of Sonoma.”
In June, 2017, Bernstein received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhône Rangers for her dedication in the support and advancement of California rhônes.
Since the 1997 opening of the original Girl and the Fig restaurant in downtown Glen Ellen, Bernstein’s “figgy” endeavors have expanded to include two busy restaurants, a catering division, event venue, organic farm, and food truck.
The Rhône Room is located at the Sonoma Roadside property where one can also visit
Harvest Home and the Fat Pilgrim, 20816 Broadway, Sonoma. Rhône Room is open daily - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 935-2133. Therhoneroom.com.