Although Wine County is best known for its grapes, it is also home to a variety of other crops. Olives are popular in the region and the season to harvest this bountiful fruit takes place during winter. From artisanal oils to side dishes that complement a harvest feast, cuisine using the finest oils find their way to tables throughout the region and beyond. It’s olive season in Sonoma County, so get out and enjoy the bounty of winter in Wine Country.
The largest celebration is the Sonoma Valley Olive Festival, which runs through January and February across Sonoma Valley. Enjoy such events as the Olive Odyssey, Olive Blessings, Martini Madness, Curing Workshops and more! The highlight of the festival is the Annual Feast of the Olive Dinner on January 30th at Sonoma’s Ramekins Culinary School, which will include 19 chefs, 5 courses, 3 menus, resulting in one fantastic feast. A complete listing of all the festival events can be found here.
If you’d like to experience more olive activities, here are a number of local establishments throughout Wine Country.
When you think of olives images of the picturesque McEvoy Ranch come to mind. Sitting on 550 acres in the rolling hills of west Marin County, McEvoy Ranch was once a dairy farm and now boasts 80 acres of organic olive trees making it one of the nation’s largest producers of certified-organic, estate-grown olive oil. You can visit by-appointment for group tastings and wine pairings or enjoy specialty farm tours to watch the pressing and learn about the process; they even have milling days, which include a community milling day where you BYOO (bring your own olives). Visit their website to learn more.
Benziger Family Winery
Benziger’s Olive Orchards comprise a large portion of their vast wine estate and contribute to the overall health of the entire property. The olive orchards coexist with a number of other plantings, such as wine, garden and other forms of agriculture in order to retain a balance of this productive land. Artisanal olive oils are produced and made available in their tasting room. Visit their website to learn more.
The Olive Press
The Olive Press was the very first olive mill in Sonoma, California and is now known as the most highly awarded olive oil producer in the nation. They are committed to producing the highest quality of olive oil along with an array of handmade artisanal products while serving the pressing needs of the local community. Learn more about The Olive Press here.
Figone’s California Olive Oil Co.
Although their olive orchards are located outside of Sonoma, the fruit is milled, blended and bottled on-site at a Sonoma Valley industrial mill. The Figone family has been in the olive business for over a century, having pioneered such techniques as “diversified farming” in the United States. Diversified farming is the inter-planting of rows of olive trees with rows of grapes. They offer year-round tasting as well as milling for local growers. Learn more about Figone’s California Olive Oil Company here.
Cheers to the winter harvest in Wine Country!
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