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10 Eateries Winemakers Love


If you want to know where the locals eat, ask a winemaker since they usually love food (and beer) as much as their wine. And if you ask a winemaker who cares about sustainability, in most cases you’ll be sent to a eatery that also embraces sustainability and slow food. Here are their picks. Prepare to get hungry!

Winemaker’s Choice Award (our unscientific brand-new award) goes to Rosso Pizzeria and Wine Bar, Santa Rosa, CA. Our winemakers choose this place as their favorite more often than any other Sonoma eatery. Rosso pizza is inspired by the slow food movement of Italy and indigenous ingredients from local Sonoma County farmers. Selections include Tuscan wood-burning oven crisp, yeasty pizza, hand crafted meats and house made burrata.

Jason Haas of Tablas Creek likes Cass House, Cayucos, CA
“… makes some of the best food anywhere in the Central Coast, and the service is so warm that I always leave there feeling like I’ve had a hug.”

The Cass House restaurant features a daily changing, seasonally driven and locally sourced menu as well as an award winning wine list. The chef, Jensen Lorenzen, works closely with local farmers and foragers and has developed personal relationships with local winemakers.

Laura Mohseni of Riverbench Vineyard and Winery likes Full of Life Flatbread, Los Alamos, CA “Full of Life Flatbread makes amazing flatbreads using local ingredients.”

Not only is every Flatbread Pizza hand made in small batches on-site by artisan bakers, but the majority of the ingredients come from family owned and independent farmers, millers, and food artisans within a 400 mile radius of the restaurant who practice Earth-friendly, humane and sustainable, techniques.

Tyler Thomas of Donelan Family Wines likes Acquarello, San Francisco, CA
“… if I simply want to sit down, not make any decisions, get a terrific wine education, have wonderful food, and be taken care I go to Aquerello.”

Michelin star eatery, Aquarello, is a intimate Bay Area icon known for Chef Suzette Gresham-Tognetti’s ability to creatively reinvent traditional dishes from Italy in a lighter, more contemporary style. Not foucused on sustainability, per se, but serves fresh inventive food and supports Bay Area vendors like Teance, a local tea company from Berkeley, CA. (Note: Tyler also put in a vote for Rosso Pizzaria)

Charlie Barra of Barra of Mendocino and Girasole Vineyards likes Buckeye Roadhouse, Mill Valley, CA “The best Oysters Bingo you’ll ever experience!”

Open since 1937, as historic as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Buckeye Roadhouse’s executive chef Robert Price utilizes fresh local ingredients to create delicious traditional American cuisine with a Californian contemporary twist. What is Oysters Bingo anyhow?

Craig Becker of Somerston Wine Company likes Brix Restaurant, Napa, CA. “I frequent happy hour at Brix when everything is half off. I recommend the apple carpaccio salad and the corn and bacon pizza.”

The daily-changing, farm-to-table menu at Brix draws inspiration from the restaurant’s extensive gardens set in 16 prime Napa Valley acres. The restaurant makes of use of extensive on-site vegetable gardens, fruit and citrus orchards, extensive flowering gardens and vineyards.

Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard likes Manresa in Los Gatos, CA
“Within close range, it has to be Manresa.”

Executive Chef David Kinch makes use of biodynamicly grown vegetables that are grown exclusively for Manresa at Cynthia Sandberg’s Love Apple Farm in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. These veggies, grown exclusively for Manressa, are harvested in the morning for the evening menu. He quickly added: “In Santa Cruz, perhaps Tacos Moreno. One does not grab a bite at Manresa.”

Jasmine Hirsch of Hirsch Vineyards & Winery likes La Palma mexitessen and Humphrey Slocum Ice Cream. “[They] make for a perfect 1-2 in the Mission. Load up on carnitas and handmade fresh tortillas at La Palma, then go around the corner to Humphrey Slocum for a cone.” That basically sums it up.

Photo: Rosso Pizzeria

This post will be crossposted on VineCrowd.com