Kathleen Hill: Three Fat Guys, West Wine Tours to share space

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Three Fat Guys, West Wine Tours to share space

Tony Moll of Three Fat Guys wines and Nicole and Garrett Sathre of West Wine Tours will move their offices to the small building next to Fat Pilgrim and Harvest Home on Broadway, which formerly housed the Rhone Room. Owner Sondra Bernstein gave Moll the keys last Friday, making all involved happy, including Craig Miller who owns the property and the two on-site home décor businesses.

Moll, husband of Red Grape manager Megan Morphy Moll, is a former professional football player who has invested time in real estate loan businesses, and dedicated himself a few months ago to pursuing, perfecting and promoting Three Fat Guys wines.

Bernstein’s Fig Farm, which supplies both the Girl & the Fig and the Fig Café & Wine Bar, will continue to thrive in the back of the property.

Moll and daughter Stella will add two hives of bees to the farm from their Stella’s Dad’s Bee Company – all to help bee development and pollination, as well as producing some extremely delicious local honey.

Nicole and Garrett Sathre own the burgeoning West Wine Tours that features what they describe as “hip” tours in re-constituted Volkswagen buses, stage Handmade Events – which are huge dinners they organize throughout the country where everyone wears white and pays to bring their own food and wine. They also hope to open West Burgers in Boyes Hot Springs in the next few weeks, as soon as some details are resolved with the county.

Tony Moll said that he is “super excited” to be going into this project with Garrett Sathre, who he describes as a “childhood friend.”

“We both grew up here,” said Moll. “It’s so great – Three Fat Guys next to Fat Pilgrim! And our chardonnay vineyard is virtually across the street.”

Garrett Sathre commented, “I am really excited. We want to make it into a cohesive store combining two ends of the food and wine spectrum, and we want to explore what we can do with food and wine nights. We’re just working on figuring out what we can do together in 1,000 square feet.”

Watch for a grand opening after they get organized.

International Women’s Day

A winemaker once said of winemaking, “You know, it’s not rocket science.” The way he said it led me to ask, “Are you a rocket scientist?” Of course the answer was “Yes.”

As with many fields, women have to be smarter and quicker than men in their fields. There are many women winemakers, growers, and restaurateurs who are scientists, artists, horticulturalists, doctors and lawyers.

We seem to have fewer women restaurateurs in Sonoma Valley than wine growers, winery owners and winemakers. Sondra Bernstein owns Girl & the Fig, Fig Café & Wine Bar, Fig Rig and Girl & the Fig Caters. Karen Taylor Waikiki owns El Molino Central and Primavera Tamales, and Elizabeth Payne and Sarah Pinkin have Frenchie Picnics and Provisions on Broadway.

Women who co-own and manage restaurants with their husbands include Karen Bertrand of Glen Ellen Inn, Erinn Weisswasser of Glen Ellen Star, Jen Demarest of Harvest Moon Café, Nicole Della Santina, and Carole Morphy and Megan Morphy Moll of the Red Grape.

Vineyard owners, winery owners and winemakers have different sorts of expenses and tribulations. Among women winemakers we have Cynthia Cosco of Possaggio Wines, Eileen Crane of Domaine Carneros, Anne Moller-Racke of Donum Estate, Bettina Sichel of Laurel Glen, Katie Madigan of St. Francis, and Margo Van Staaveren of Chateau St. Jean. Jamie Benziger is winemaker at Imagery Estate Winery with her dad, Joe Benziger. Katie Bundschu has her own label, Abbot’s Passage, and Amy Ludovissy serves as head winemaker at Viansa Sonoma.

Vicky Mulas, Pat Stornetta and Taylor Serres all grow grapes and have started to make their own wines as well. Kathryn Hall makes wine in Napa but has her Walt tasting room on First Street West, and Alexandra Romanini grows grapes on two parcels here in Sonoma.

Let’s salute them all. It’s not as easy as it looks.

Viva Viansa Festa Italiana!

Jon and Chris Sebastiani and the rest of the new team at Viansa Winery will host an Italian feast Saturday, March 9 featuring the food of Carlo Cavallo of B&V Whiskey Bar & Grille, soon to become Bisteca e Vino.

The experience will combine cooking demonstrations of each of five courses by Cavallo, followed by dining on each course paired with Viansa wines.

The menu starts with crostini with prosciutto, followed by antipasto of garlic prawns with baby artichoke and asparagus salad with blood orange dressing. Next comes Canaroli risotto with wild mushrooms with black truffle sauce, thin crêpes stuffed with handmade mozzarella and meat ragout, and chocolate ricotta cheesecake made from Cavallo’s grandmother’s recipe. $95 public, $80 wine club members. 6 to 9 p.m. 25200 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. Reserve at 800-995-4740 or viansaservice@viansa.com.

Les Pascals celebrates first year

Pascal and Pascale Merle, baker and manager of Les Pascals Patisserie in Glen Ellen, invite everyone to the bakery to help celebrate their first anniversary in Glen Ellen on Tuesday, March 12. Everyone will be given a free cup of coffee, with no purchase required. They would just like us to come in and celebrate with them.

While you are there, check out all of the baked French specialties from almond croissants to Napoleons, macarons, Madeleines, even gluten-free cookies, flan, French-style breads, and classic French baguette sandwiches filled with butter, ham and cheese. Takes me back to France. Free. 13798 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen.

Glen Ellen Inn back at full steam

Glen Ellen Inn, Oyster Grill & Martini Bar is now open six nights a week after a long haul recovering from the 2017 wildfires. Owners Karen and chef Christian Bertrand had to close everything to fix up the cottages along Calabasas Creek after the fires. So they decided to stay closed for a while and take time to remodel and update their restaurant as well. They plan to open seven nights in early spring.

They have just reopened the restaurant for full bar and dinner service Thursday through Tuesday.

The Bertrands’ motto is “California fresh, never fancy, always fun,” which is completely true. Christian gets fresh eggs and honey from their own chickens and bees. They always have soup, beet and kale salad, a Sonoma salad, and a Li’l Gem Wedge with tomato, bacon, beets, cucumber, radish and blue cheese dressing ($9 to $12).

Their oyster samplers range from a half dozen “raw, surfing atop frozen waves of Bloody Mary mignonette, a Dirty Dozen with horseradish crema or voodoo sauce,” or three crispy fried oysters with Meyer lemon cream ($12 to $35).

Then there is ginger calamari, a Say Cheese Plate, little fish tacos, Dungeness crab pot stickers, mini shrimp tostadas and garlic fries as appetizers ($9 to $18).

Main courses range from a French onion burger with gruyère cheese and garlic fries on handmade bun, a beef Bourguignon pot pie, roasted chicken tagine, mussels and garlic fries, lamb meatballs and curry spaghetti, pan seared salmon, New York steak with truffle fries and chanterelle cognac sauce, cioppino, sautéed prawns with coconut laced rice, and roasted veggies with curry sauce and spaghetti ($16 to $31). Open from 5 p.m. Full bar. 13670 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen. 996-6409. Glenelleninn.com.

Monte Rosso Winery coming down

Monte Rosso Winery is to be torn down by E. & J. Gallo Winery, which now owns the building built in 1886 by Jewish father and son winemakers, Emmanuel and William Goldstein, according to jweekly.com. A Gallo spokesman was quoted as saying, “The Monte Rosso winery building was severely damaged in the 2014 Napa earthquake. As a result the building has been deemed structurally unsafe.”

Rabbi Steve Finley of Congregation Shir Shalom in Sonoma was quoted in J Weekly as saying, “Not to acknowledge (that part of local Jewish history) is to wipe out our history. And that has been done enough.”

Louis Martini bought the Goldstein Ranch in 1938 and changed the name to Monte Rosso because of its red soil. Gallo bought the Martini name and properties in 2002.

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