Geneva Anderson digs into art

Matanzas Creek Winery’s 15th Annual Days of Wine and Lavender kicks off this Saturday, June 25, 2011

Matanzas Creek Winery’s 15th Annual “Days of Wine and Lavender" is this Saturday, June 25, 2011. Photo: Matanzas Creek Winery

Ask any gardener around Sonoma County and you’ll find that lavender is an herb that is universally praised—its fragrance evokes a Zen-like calm and its deep purple hues are treasured in the garden and home.  And that luscious scent has spilled over into flavoring as well–culinary lavender has rapidly become a staple for Northern California gourmets.  This Saturday, at Matanzas Creek Winery’s 15th Annual Days of Wine and Lavender, you’ll get to stroll the winery’s breathtaking lavender garden in full fragrant bloom and sample all things lavender– from artisan breads dusted with lavender flour to lavender teas to Matanzas’ rejuvenating Estate Lavender  line.  This popular event always sells out early and draws a crowd of 400 from all over California for a leisurely and relaxing summer afternoon in the Bennett Valley hills.  Designed in 1991 by landscaper extraordinaire Robert Kourik, with 5,000 impeccably cultivated plants; this is the largest planting of lavender in northern, CA.  It’s surrounded by a border of exotic trees, shrubs and tall grasses and the overall impact is reminiscent of the enclosed secret gardens of classical Europe. 

There will be ample opportunity to taste delicacies featuring edible lavender prepared by Matanzas Creek chefs Justin Wanglerand Eric Frischkorn and their culinary team.  Justin Wangler assures me that there is a “subtle difference” between various culinary cultivars that fine palates can distinguish.  “Lavandula x Intermedia,” commonly named “Grosso,” is a strong and vigorous hybrid, grown on the Matanzas grounds that was developed in France in the early 18oo’s for its heightened oil content.  It yields a robust purple violet bloom and produces one of the highest quality culinary grade lavenders to be found and is favored by the culinary team.  

Delicacies on Saturday’s menu will be prepared with lavender salt rubs, highly concentrated lavender oil and dried lavender.   The menu (subject to change) includes: Lavender Coconut Ceviche, Lavender Poached Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce Crab Claws, Whole Roasted Lavender Chicken, Israeli Couscous with Oranges, Green Olives, Lavender and Mint, Kobe Beef Sandwiches with Lavender Red Wine Dijonaise, Sweet Potato Tots with Lavender Salt, Lavender

Chef Eric Frischkorn will be baking and serving his fabulous artisan breads this Saturday at Matanzas Creek Winery’s 15th Annual “Days of Wine and Lavender.” Photo: Geneva Anderson.

Cheesecake with Blueberries.  These dishes will also be served with complementary Matanzas Creek wines including Matanzas Creek 2010 Helena Bench Sauvignon Blanc from Knights Valley, 2010 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc and several library wines (well-aged older vintages).

Chef Eric Frischkorn will also be serving his popular homemade artisan breads featuring lavender.  Frischkorn has created a unique wild yeast starter dough from yeast collected on the vineyard’s grapes and Saturday’s sourdough bread will come from this starter.   

 Event Highlights Include:

  • The Tim Hockenberry Blues Band: They will get you movin’ and groovin’ under the oaks.
  • Photographer Marlene Smith:  a professional photographer who will take a portrait of you against the spectacular backdrop of the lavender fields to remember your day at Matanzas Creek Winery.
  • Marin French Cheese: Enjoy hand-crafted Artisan soft-ripened cheese paired with Matanzas Creek wines.
  • Desserts:  gourmet sweets paired with Matanzas’ new release of their dessert wine, Dénouement.
  • Bocce Ball Courts: Guests can try their hand at “Lavender Ball” in the Bocce Ball Courts by the Lavender Barn.
  • Open Air Jeep Tours:  tours to the neighboring Jackson Park Vineyards featuring a spectacular view of the lower winery, vineyards and gardens.
  • Local Artists: Sonoma County Artists who specialize in photographing or painting lavender fields and vineyards in Bennett Valley will have works on display. Chalk artist Robin Burgert will create a colored chalk artwork on the parking lot blacktop.
  • short complimentary hand and shoulder massages utilizing Estate Lavender products 
  • The Lavender Barn will be open with Estate Lavender culinary items, lotions, soaps, massage oils and much more available for purchase. And this is not your ordinary lavender spa line–of course, there’s a pure lavender scent from the finest essential oil.  Several lavender products have also been blended with ingredients like tangerine, neroli and rose to create modern invigorating scents.   There’s also a men’s line that features a handmade soap with a spicy earthy lavender-infused scent that’s worth stocking up on.  

On-going Lavender Education Series:  Matanzas Creek hopes to inspire wine and garden lovers with a series of quarterly educational seminars on growing and using lavender.  All classes are held at 9 a.m. and include a wine-tasting and lunch.  Cost is $75 per person, or $55 for 55 for Custom Crush wine club members.  Upcoming seminars:

Matanzas Creek Winery's Lavender Garden features some 5,000 plants. Terraced rows of the lavender cultivars "Grosso" and "Provence" line the entrance to the winery. Photo: courtesy Matanzas Creek Winery.

July 19, 2011 “Explore the Wonders of Honeybees”:  This seminar will delve into the busy life of the honeybee. Local natural honey purveyor Marshall’s Farm will join us for an in-depth look at beekeeping and a demonstration of how to make lavender-infused honey.   This is a hands-on course.

Sept. 20, 2011 “Cooking with Culinary Lavender”:   Matanzas Creek’s culinary team will teach attendees how to incorporate culinary lavender into every-day cooking.  This is a hands-on course.

Nov. 8, 2011 “Making Lavender Gifts for the Holiday”:  This workshop will show participants how to make a lavender sachet, holiday potpourri and a lavender rock salt warmer.  This is a hands-on course.

 Details: Saturday June 25th, noon to 4 p.m. Tickets: $75 General Public and $60 Custom Crush members.  Matanzas Creek Winery is located at 6097 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, CA  95404.  Phone: 800 590-6464

 The winery is known for its crisp sauvignon blancs, luxurious chardonnays and fruity, earthy merlots.  To learn more, visit .

June 22, 2011 Posted by | Food | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment