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Warm Weather Entertaining: Sonoma Wine Tasting and Cooking Lesson

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Mirko -

(StatePoint) Welcome warm weather by gathering friends and family. If you are looking to create a memorable evening, consider entertaining guests at home with an instructional wine tasting and cooking lesson.

Wine Tasting

Keep it classic when buying wines for your tasting. Choose a winery that produces varietals that best showcase its wine region and can be enjoyed by every level of wine drinker.

One great choice is St. Francis Winery and Vineyards, a leader in producing top-quality, sustainable wines from mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County, CA.

Committed to producing the best wines possible while protecting the environment, St. Francis Winery has established eco-friendly farming practices to create luscious, fruit-driven wines that highlight the terroir of Sonoma County.

Select from a range of crisp whites such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay to juicy Merlot or spicy Zinfandel. If you are looking to treat your guests, try the 2014 Sonoma Valley Reserve Merlot (SRP $39.99), a lush wine with spicy aromas of berry, licorice and sage.

During the tasting, instruct guests to swirl, smell and sip wines. They will be able to pick out certain aromatics of soil and fruit of the region. “Clean air and water, rolling hills, diverse soils and sustainable vineyards are captured in the wines from Sonoma, giving your guests a sense of place while tasting,” explained Christopher W. Silva, CEO and president of St. Francis Winery and Vineyards.

Cook Together

After tasting wines, show off your hosting skills by leading a group cooking lesson. This is an entertaining way to test your guests’ skills in the kitchen. An easy group-friendly recipe is delicious Pizzettas (mini pizza rolls). Developed by the St. Francis Winery and Vineyards Culinary Team. This appetizer pairs perfectly with the Reserve Merlot.

Pizzettas (mini pizza rolls)

Ingredients: Serves 6

6 Italian sausages, cooked

1 package puff pastry

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup marinara sauce

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

On a floured board, roll out the puff pastry until 1/6 inch thick.

Wrap each sausage in a piece of the puff pastry.

Add a few drops of water to the egg. Seal the roll and brush the egg wash over each roll.

Spray a cookie rack with non-stick spray. Place rack on a cookie sheet.

Place the sausages on the rack and bake in oven for 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown.

Let the sausage cool to room temperature. Slice the sausage into rounds about 1/8 inch thick.

Arrange slices on a serving platter.

Place a dollop of the marinara on the sausage rounds and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Heat rounds in the oven until the cheese becomes soft.

Enjoy your special gathering this season by entertaining guests with interesting wines and delicious appetizers to match.

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