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The Spill: Music in the vines, vegan labels and more

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For Sonoma locals planning a staycation this summer, here are a few events that will make you glad you stayed back.

Benziger Family Winery Brings Friday Pizza Fun to Locals and Tourists Alike

From now until October, Benziger will be cooking up freshly made wood-fired pizza every Friday from noon to 4 p.m. Oak Avenue Catering will be doing the honors offering a variety of meat and vegetarian options. Individual pizzas are $15. Grab a glass of wine, or hell, why not an entire bottle, and join in on the Glen Ellen Friday Fun.

Sebastiani’s Friday Night Music Series Returns

In keeping with tradition, Sebastiani Winery celebrates the coming of summer with live music appearances from a variety of talented musicians. Jam sessions take place in its tasting room starting at 6 p.m. every Friday. While listening, wine by-the-glass or by-the- bottle is readily available for purchase.

For foodies, “Food Truck Friday” is held the last Friday of each month and showcases a mouth-watering selection of local gourmet food trucks selling casual delicacies to pair with select Sebastiani Wines. Dogs are welcome to this event.

Gundlach Bundschu Winery Presents Huichica Music Festival

For nearly a decade, the Huichica Music Festival has spruced things up by offering a refreshing take on the music-festival experience. Considered a front runner in a new breed of micro-festival, Huichica (pronounced wah-Chee-ka) believes that wine, food and music are best enjoyed by immersing in a stunning setting with an all-inclusive vibe. Partnered with Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Huichica presents a lineup of eclectic musical talent. One can expect psychedelic surf rock, indie and folk performances which pairs well with regional culinary talent and wines from Gundlach Bundschu’s vast array of wines.

Rumor has it, there are no bad seats at the “family and friends” boutique festival. Blankets are recommended. Presented by Eric D. Johnson, Jeff Bundschu and FolkYeah productions. Dates and times: June 8 and 9 from 2 p.m. to midnight.

Are Wines Considered Vegetarian, Vegan, or None of the Above?

Normally, when we make vegetarian or vegan choices, we think in terms of food; but what about wine? There are also dietary conditions to consider, as well.

Most wine consumers think a drink made from pressed grapes must be vegetarian. Think again. According to Wine Enthusiast magazine, animal derivatives can be found in your vino. Be on the look-out for vegan and vegetarian wines which producers will often advertise on their back labels.

Surprisingly, some wine-making techniques use animal-derived products. During the winemaking process, after the grapes are pressed and the juice settles, natural fermentation is slow. As the wine ferments further, residual solids drop to the bottom where sediment accumulates. The wine purifies during this slow, organic process. However, modern wine-making styles require speedier methods to compete in the market. Known as “fining,” animal products are often added, aiding the process faster.

So, which animal products are used in wine and which are considered vegan or vegetarian? Here are just a handful:

Egg Whites (vegetarian). Natural egg whites are added into red wines too heavy in harsh tannins. Once the egg whites are stirred in and sunk to the bottom, the astringent tannins are removed.

Casein (vegetarian). Casein is a protein found in milk. This ingredient removes an oxidative taint and provides white wines a crystal-clear clarity in color.

Gelatin (neither vegetarian nor vegan).

Isinglass (neither vegetarian nor vegan). Isinglass comes from the bladders of sturgeon and other fish. It also removes solids and saturated colors, giving white wines a shine.

Lastly, Chitosan (neither vegetarian nor vegan). This is a carbohydrate, stemming from the shells of crustaceans. Its iconic charge removes phenols and excess color from white wines.