Lucky you, you live in Wine Country - so, spread the cheer. Find wine gift baskets and other holiday gifts created here in Sonoma, and add that personal touch to holiday gift giving. Here are the top picks of presents that yell out: "Cheers from Sonoma."
The Chardonnay Indulgence package from Matanzas Creek Winery pairs a bottle of their 2006 Sonoma Valley Chardonnay with a bag filled with delicious, locally-produced Chardonnay Brittle - made with the very same Chardonnay. ($40 + tax & shipping) 800.590.6464
2. Personally Signed Wine Bottles
A great bottle of wine is a work of art. So, why not get it signed by the artist? If you go to some of the smaller wineries, you can purchase a bottle and ask the winemaker to sign it as a special touch for your Wine Country gift. A good bet is Loxton Cellars
, 11466 Dunbar Road in Glen Ellen, (707) 935-7221.
Verjus, the “cooking juice,” is made from the semi-ripe ‘green’ wine grapes gathered during the viticulture practice of thinning the vines. Use it instead of vinegar or lemon juice in salad dressings, drizzle it on fresh seasonal fruit, or use it to deglaze pans or steam vegetables. This award-winning product can be shipped. (707)431-1382
Diversity is the beauty of the on-line web store at DaVero Farm in Healdsburg, where you can purchase anything from clothing and cosmetics to candles, food and wine. But don’t overlook their original product—olive oil--or the unique herb blends, jams and more made from products grown on the farm (Tangerine Jam and Lemon Curd are two favorites). Order by December 22 for Next-day Air delivery. 888-431-8008
Whether Snowy-white Clamshell, intensely golden Forest Nameko, or deep brown Velvet Pioppini, the beautiful and exotic fresh mushrooms grown at Gourmet Mushrooms in Sebastopol are a year-round treat. Both the cook and food-lover will love a wicker basket brimming with an assortment of these colorful fungi, available with or without a bottle of truffle oil. The baskets range from $69.50-$142.50 and are sent FedEx overnight—no shipping charges! (707) 823-1743
Where there's Wine Country, there's Wine Country Cuisine. And Clay Company of Santa Rosa makes all kinds of nice kitchen tools and trinkets for the chef, such as trivets and tempered glass cutting boards with Sonoma County scenes on them.
...or at least give the scent of summer and bring back those memories. Every June, there's a big Lavender Festival in Kenwood. The five-acre farm is in full bloom and it smells like heaven. The crop is then cut down and used for Sonoma Lavender products, such as massage oils and sachets and soaps. You can shop online or you can also find Sonoma Lavender gifts at Hampton Court, 631 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. 707-578-9416
8. Give the Gift of Good Health
When you give (local residents) a membership to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, the recipients receive a weekly box of healthy, fresh, organic produce grown at a local farm and delivered to their door or a nearby pick-up location. It's an especially ideal gift for grandparents to give their grown children and families. Sonoma County CSAs include: Laguna Farm
, Tierra Vegetables
, Canvas Ranch
and Orchard Farms
. (The programs range between $64 and $96 per month.)
Every Christmas is a Charlie Brown Christmas in Sonoma County. The Peanuts creator lived in Santa Rosa, where he is fondly remembered, and all sorts of events are held in his honor. In these parts, if folks want to show their civic pride, they wear a Peanuts t-shirt. And the Charles M. Shulz Museum store carries all kinds of apparel, accessories, stationary and much more.
The holiday season is all about caring for your fellow man and loving your neighbor. Fair trade products are all about making sure that growers and artisans are paid a fair living wage and that they work in safe, healthy conditions and use sustainable environmental practices. Coffee and tea are the biggest sellers among the many certified fair-trade products worldwide. And Sebastopol's Taylor Maid Farms carries some of the best. Packed in re-usable boxes and wrapped with a raffia ribbon and gift card, the box sets are great gifts for coffee and tea lovers. (Prices vary.)
The gift shop at The Sonoma County Museum features Christmas tree ornaments, jewelry, textiles, pottery, cards, toys and much more. 425 Seventh Street, Santa Rosa; Wednesdays to Sundays, 11am - 5pm; 707-579-1500
What do you get the guy who has everything? How about a tiny house? (And without all that space to clutter up, he might just decide that having everything isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.) The teeny houses created by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company of Sebastopol are not just a place to live—they’re a way of life. As creator Jay Shafer writes on his website: “The simple, slower lifestyle my homes have afforded is a luxury for which I am continually grateful.” (Houses starting at 65 square feet and $36,997. Or build it yourself for $16,000.)
Read about Tumbleweed in the San Francisco Chronicle.