Wine + Music are a perfect pairing in San Francisco

What two things go together better than wine and music?  Answer: not much.  Here is a short list of where you can experience both this summer in the Bay Area. Photo: Mountain Winery

SAN FRANCISCO, July 27, 2012 – What two things go together better than wine and music?  You can speak about them both in similar language: smooth, bubbly, dry, fruity, jammy, bold, earthy and zesty. 

And just as the number of bands and artists to listen to is seemingly endless, so is your choice in wine. The variety goes from locally grown and produced wine and bands here in California, to choices around the world in hot spots like New Zealand, France, Chile, Spain and Italy. 

And the regions around the world producing both are nearly countless.  For purposes of this article, Northern California will be the focus and the wines and music festivals you can try in and around San Francisco. 

San Francisco, Outside Lands Music Festival

Outside Lands Festival: the music line-up for Outside Lands this year is stacked with talent and musical variety in the festival.  In the same weekend you can see Foo Fighters, MSTRKRFT, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Metallica, Norah Jones, Stevie Wonder, Jack White, Skrillex, and Franz Ferdinand!

Then the wine line-up was released and was even more impressive. 

California wines are well represented, as they should be, with wines from Caymus, Gloria Ferrer, Ridge, J Lohr, Turley, Robert Sinskey, Simi and Darcie Kent.  Just in that group alone, you’ve got wineries and grapes from Napa, Sonoma, Livermore Valley, Paso Robles, Monterey and more. 

What a magnificent way to bring California wine country to you.  You are probably ready to drink some wine and listen to some music right now.  Now all you have to do is decide which wine to drink with which band. 

This is material for my next article for sure, and I have until August 10th to sort it out.  Stay tuned.

Rodney Strong Vineyards, Sonoma. Summer Concert Series. Image: S. Perkovich.

Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: this intimate concert series runs from June through early September and features some of the music industry’s living legends such as Al Green, Al Jarreau and Huey Lewis.  Here you can “picnic on the green” in their romantic outdoor picnic area, offering picturesque views of the surrounding Russian River Valley. 

Unless you’re a VIP, it’s first-come first-served here.  Pack a picnic, a few blankets, low lawn chairs and a few layers of clothing.  You never know if it’s going to be hot as hot gets, or cool as the sun begins to set in Sonoma.  No outside wine is allowed, but there will be plenty of delicious Rodney Strong wines to buy by the bottle and enjoy during the show. 

Tasting suggestions: ‘05 and ‘08 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, ‘06 and ‘08 Symmetry Red Meritage.  All these wines are smooth enough to go with any style of music.  Kick back, relax with your honey, and enjoy!

Livermore Valley, Wente Vineyards. Image: Wente

The Concerts at Wente Vineyards: this is the 26th season of concerts at Wente in Livermore Valley.  They’ve had loads of success for a bunch of reasons.  They combine the elegance of California dining and spectacular entertainment, paired with their luscious wines in a very romantic winery setting. 

Here they use the expression “Great music pairs with all wines.” And they couldn’t be more right! 

You will see everything from jazz to blues, to good old rock n’ roll.  And who might you be able to see perform while you sit down, eat dinner, and drink delicious Wente wines?  How about John Fogerty, Diana Krall or Steve Martin’s bluegrass comedy show?  If fancier sit down dinners isn’t your thing, then check out Wente’s Indie Music Front Porch Series

Music + wine pairing suggestions: any of the Wente Chardonnays (they’ve been making them for 100+ years, so they know their stuff).  These wines are smooth enough to pair with any sound.

Mountain Winery, patio dining. Image: Mountain Winery.

Mountain Winery Concert Series: runs through October 2012.  This gorgeous venue is the ideal location to pair wine with music.  With bands and musicians such as Sheryl Crow, Gladys Knight, Barenaked Ladies, Los Lonely Boys, Chris Isaak, Duran Duran, Seal, Buddy Guy, Gavin DeGraw and ZZ Top, there is a little something for everyone. 

You can come and just enjoy the show and wine, or come early for chateau deck or winery dining before the show.  Then mix those tunes with some of their premium wines, along with killer views and you’ve got yourself one fantastic evening.  

Music + wine pairing suggestions: smokey and jammy 2009 Syrah with Buddy Guy; super smooth 2008 Merlot with Chris Isaak and Gladys Knight; light and fruity 2009 Pinot Noir with Duran Duran; and lightly sweet and floral 2010 Riesling with Sheryl Crow. 

BR Cohn, Sonoma, Fall Music Festival. Image: BR Cohn, Pat Johnson Studios.

BR Cohn 26th Annual Fall Music Festival: October 5th – 8th at the winery in Sonoma. This charitable weekend kicks off with a charity auction dinner on Friday featuring the hottest chefs from Sonoma Valley.  The music festival continues Saturday and Sunday, featuring bands and musicians such as Buddy Guy, The Turtles, The Animals, and of course The Doobie Brothers. 

Then this action packed weekend wraps up with the celebrity golf classic on Monday.  The whole weekend benefits local Sonoma charities.  

Music + wine pairing suggestions: Cab, cab, cab!  The Cabernet Sauvignons are out of this world.  They will be the perfect wine to accompany the bold rock n’ roll line up.

Drinking & Listening to the Blues at Home: If you like all different genres of music and nearly every varietal of wine, then drinking some wine at home to your choice of music is perfect. 

How about starting off with the Blues?  The Blues come in all shapes and flavors, from intense and slow Mississippi blues, to explosive Chicago blues, to guitar heavy Texas blues.  You could make an argument for different wines with each of the different styles. 

Suggest beginning with Dan Aykroyd’s latest creation, it’s not a new Blues Brothers CD or radio show, but a lovely, well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon, and a snob-free Chardonnay.  Aykroyd added these new wines to his collection with a little help from Sonoma’s own DeLoach Vineyards

So throw on some vintage Charlie Musselwhite, open up a bottle of Dan Aykroyd Cab, and get down and dirty with the cab blues.  

Akroyd and Jean-Charles Boisset of DeLoach get to work. Image: Inside Sonoma.

Additional wonderful wine + music pairings can be found at:

  • Café Royale, Union Square, San Francisco: always something happening, check the calendar for details
  • Giordano Bros, North Beach, San Francisco: live music Tues. – Sat.
  • Silo’s, downtown Napa: music and wine nightly
  • VML Winery, Sonoma: live music & BBQ every Saturday
  • Yoshi’s, San Francisco and Oakland: music and wine nightly

Columnist Sherrie Perkovich offers an insider’s perspective of the very best San Francisco has to offer. Join her weekly to experience the best the City by the Bay has to offer - from parties to parks and everything in between. 

Sherrie is a San Francisco local that fancies herself an extroverted fine dining, wine drinking, know-it-all.  If it’s happening in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sherrie is in on it.  Follow her column, for the widest range of Out and About San Francisco treats.  

Read more of Sherrie’s work at Out And About San Francisco in the Communities at the Washington Times.  Follow Out and About on Twitter and on Facebook for even more inside scoop.  Follow her on Pinterest to follow the visual story.

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Sherrie Perkovich

Sherrie is a perky, music and wine-loving, Northern California local that seeks out and spreads the word about San Francisco experiences as well as unforgettable wine-related travel experiences.  She is CMO of The Grape Hunter USA, where they focus on helping artisan wineries and developing unique wine travel for consumers. Follow her on Twitter @BigNoseWino

Sherrie is a San Francisco local that fancies herself an extroverted fine dining, wine drinking, know-it-all.  If it’s happening near SF, Sherrie is in on it.  Follow her columns,  for the widest range of Out and About San Francisco ~ San Jose treats and Wine Country Weekly.  


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