Inside Sunset Magazine's grand opening at Cornerstone
After much anticipation, national home-and-garden magazine Sunset will unveil its new outdoor kitchens, test gardens and an Airstream Village this weekend at Cornerstone Sonoma.
This is the magazine’s first time hosting its annual “Celebration” event at its new “country house” in Wine Country. The two-day event includes celebrity chef demos (including MVP Warrior guard Steph Curry’s wife Alyesha); more than 50 home, garden and travel seminars; wine, beer and spirits tastings; shopping; and live music.
Throughout the weekend, in addition to the cooking demonstrations on Sunset test kitchen stages, food editors will cook campfire recipes from Sunset’s new “Camp Sunset” cookbook. Visitors will tour Sunset’s test gardens, which are divided into distinct “garden rooms”: a cocktail garden, a farm garden, a gathering space, a backyard orchard and a flower room. And scattered throughout the Cornerstone campus will be a caravan of Airstream and travel trailers, some reimagined as cocktail bars, retail shops and home layouts.
Julie Lennon, Sunset’s executive marketing director, manages the magazine’s operations at Cornerstone. She estimates upward of 5,000 visitors will stop by over the course of the weekend.
In anticipation of Sunset moving in, retail space at Cornerstone has been snapped up in recent months, including outposts of Chateau Sonoma, Nomad Chic and the Loop, as well as a new Prohibition Spirits tasting room opening this weekend.
Sarah Anderson’s French-style home décor store, Chateau Sonoma, left its West Napa Street location to open at Cornerstone Sonoma in November. High-end apparel, accessory and furniture shop Nomad Chic opened its doors the same week. The popular Plaza women’s clothing store, The Loop, opened its second Sonoma store at Cornerstone in March.
New this weekend, is a tasting room for Amy and Fred Groth’s Sonoma-based Prohibition Spirits. The Groths have been working around the clock to be ready in time. “We’re really excited to be able offer tastings and to share our brands with the public at such a great spot,” said Amy Groth.
But in all its blazing orange glory, the anchor tenant is now Sunset. The magazine was formerly based in Menlo Park; but last year moved its headquarters to Oakland’s Jack London Square, and this winter its gardens and kitchen to Sonoma.
Darius Anderson, lead owner of the 36-acre Cornerstone property since 2014 (and principal investor in Sonoma Media Investments, which owns the Index-Tribune), approached Sunset’s publishers last year when he heard they’d planned relocate. He thought Sonoma Wine Country would be an ideal location for a publication so focused on food, travel and home and garden.
In a win-win for both groups, Sunset now has a scenic location for editorial photo shoots, garden education programs, advertiser gatherings and its growing events business; and Cornerstone can leverage the iconic Sunset brand to lure more visitors and retailers to its property.
Sunset’s Lennon said, “Wine country is such a perfect fit with our indoor-outdoor living brand. We already feel so at home here and couldn’t be happier.”
After the throngs depart on Sunday, Sunset’s gardens and test kitchen will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m daily. An interactive garden app will offer self-guided tours. A storefront selling Sunset products is planned for the future.
Garden editor Johanna Silver and her team will work on Sunset’s new gardens year round. The outdoor kitchen and wine bar, finished just days ago, is where editors will test and photograph recipes for the magazine. The first stories featuring the Sonoma property will appear in the magazine in the fall.
“We’re also looking forward to offering educational seminars and dinners here all year long,” said Lennon. Sunset will unveil a full event calendar and schedule of classes that will begin in mid-summer.
While planned changes to the Cornerstone entrance, including new Sunset signage, are hung up in the county approval process, two giant new chairs, painted the orange of the magazine’s logo, now face the sunset, luring in the stream of cars heading north on Arnold Drive.
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