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Woman holding a glass of wine during Dry Creek Valley event.

Passport to Dry Creek Valley Event: April 26 to 28

By Published On: March 1st, 2024

Sip, Savor, and Explore.

A weekend-long experience, Passport to Dry Creek Valley features 30+ participating wineries. Guests will have the opportunity to sip their way through Dry Creek Valley and take in the beauty of one of the smallest yet most bountiful wine regions. Passport to Dry Creek Valley also offers exclusive access to award-winning restaurants and top-tier chefs through ‘Wine-derlust’ dinners and lunches, along with live entertainment and music.

We interview Lauren Fremont, Executive Director of Winegrowers for Dry Creek Valley to learn more.

Passport to Dry Creek Valley
Passport to Dry Creek Valley brings people together. Photo Courtesy: Prinsley Photography.

Share event highlights this year.

Lauren Fremont, Executive Director of Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley: This year, Passport to Dry Creek Valley has extended the experience to three days long (previously two) and has instituted new programming to bring variety to the weekend, adding some flair to your standard wine-tasting event.

Each day has a separate focus, with Friday spotlighting smaller wineries, and Saturday acting as an ‘open house.’ Sunday is broken up into three portions — a continuation of the open house for those who want a traditional experience; ‘Vines to Wines’ programming, which focuses on education through vineyard and cellar tours, meeting winemakers, etc.; and ‘Chords and Corks,’ which offers live entertainment for a micro-festival vibe.

Special tastings and gatherings at CAST Wines during Passport to Dry Creek Valley.
Special tastings and gatherings at CAST Wines during Passport to Dry Creek Valley. Photo Courtesy: Prinsley Photography.

How is this event immersive? 

Lauren Fremont: Dry Creek Valley’s 33rd annual Passport event intends to make this year’s event more immersive than ever, with a diverse catalog of activities, from private vineyard tours, barrel tasting, live entertainment, and exclusive dining experiences. Although good wine is the cornerstone of Passport to Dry Creek Valley, drinking is hardly the only activity to indulge in when visiting, and the event showcases the entirety of what the region has to offer.

Bud break in the vineyards of Dry Creek Valley.
Bud break in the vineyards of Dry Creek Valley. Photo Courtesy: Prinsley Photography.

What makes this event special?

Lauren Fremont: In a world of strict schedules and pre-planned trips, Passport to Dry Creek Valley is an outlier — in the best way. Passport to Dry Creek Valley is a reservationless experience, allowing guests to ‘create their own adventure,’ sipping at the wineries of their choice, for as long as they’d like. It fully embraces the laid-back nature that should accompany a winery weekend getaway.

Games galore at BACA during Passport to Dry Creek Valley.
Games galore at BACA during Passport to Dry Creek Valley. Photo Courtesy: Prinsley Photography.

Are there a lot of family-owned wineries participating?

Lauren Fremont: Over 30 multigenerational family-owned wineries will be participating in this year’s Passport to Dry Creek Valley event, a perfect showcase of some of the region’s longest-standing wineries. The amount of multigenerational family-owned wineries that call Dry Creek Valley home is a true testament to the area’s commitment to preserving the land, heritage, decades-old wineries, and the varietals they produce.

Kim Stare, President of participating winery Dry Creek Vineyard and daughter of David Stare, Founder of Dry Creek Vineyard and Pioneer who started the Dry Creek Valley AVA.
Kim Stare, President of participating winery Dry Creek Vineyard and daughter of David Stare, Founder of Dry Creek Vineyard and Pioneer who started the Dry Creek Valley AVA. Photo Courtesy: Prinsley Photography.

Does this event take you on a rich winemaking journey through history?

Lauren Fremont: From a winery that survived prohibition to new, trailblazing winemakers, Passport to Dry Creek Valley takes you through a timeline spanning 140+ years, showcasing the best legacy practices, as well as new innovative winemaking techniques. The event allows guests to visit Sonoma Wine County’s most historic wineries – Pedroncelli Winery, A. Rafanelli Winery, Dry Creek Vineyards, and Mauritson Wines, to name a few.

Julie Pedroncelli, President of Pedroncelli Winery, and her team. They will be celebrating their 97th harvest this year and are a long-time participating winery of Passport to Dry Creek Valley.
Julie Pedroncelli, President of Pedroncelli Winery, and her team. They will be celebrating their 97th harvest this year and are a long-time participating winery of Passport to Dry Creek Valley. Photo Courtesy: Pedroncelli Winery.

Do guests discover hidden wine gems during this event?

Lauren Fremont: ‘Hidden gems’ are plentiful at an event like Passport to Dry Creek Valley, with so many different wineries to visit, and varietals to taste. While the event is the perfect place to enjoy your tried-and-true favorites, it is also the ideal opportunity to discover something new and make new meaningful connections. For many, finding a new wine to love is a rare experience — and there’s no better place to do so than in Dry Creek Valley. 

Leah, Co-Owner of The Harris Gallery, serving up some amazing Chenin Blanc.
Leah, Co-Owner of The Harris Gallery, serving up some amazing Chenin Blanc. Photo Courtesy: Prinsley Photography.

What are the culinary offerings during the event?

Lauren Fremont: Coined ‘Wine-derlust,’ the gourmet dinner and lunch experiences allow guests to taste the cuisine of award-winning restaurants and chefs without having to purchase tickets to the Passport to Dry Creek Valley event, if desired.

The weekend offers a variety of different dining experiences, hosted at some of Dry Creek Valley’s best wineries — from a 50-person dinner at DaVero Farm & Winery with Naomi McLead of Field Day CA, a 10-person max, intimate 5-course lunch and wine pairing with Chef Shane McAnelley of Dry Creek Kitchen and Lambert Bridge Winery, to a 20-person dinner with Chef Heidi West inside the exclusive Van Z Vineyards barn. 

A perfectly paired culinary experience with Chef Shane Mcanelly of Dry Creek Kitchen.
A perfectly paired culinary experience with Chef Shane Mcanelly of Dry Creek Kitchen. Photo Courtesy: Melanie Ludlow.

Will music lovers be impressed with this event? 

Lauren Fremont: Passport to Dry Creek Valley is sure to appeal to the music aficionado. Aside from the vibe-setting live musical entertainment at the participating wineries, special experiences such as ‘Chords and Corks’ have been added to this year’s ‘line-up’ to promise a more immersive experience, and add variety to the weekend. There is a little bit of something for everyone.

From Nate Lopez performing his 8-string guitar at Breathless; Smoke & Mirrors playing classic rock covers at Kokomo; classical and jazz guitar by L.A. prodigy, Brett Rechtfertig at Michel-Schlumberger; to Max Vogel and his four-piece band kicking up their boots with country favorites at Selby.

Nick Foxer setting the ambiance at Passport to Dry Creek Valley with some piano tunes.
Nick Foxer setting the ambiance at Passport to Dry Creek Valley with some piano tunes. Photo Courtesy: Prinsley Photography.

What are a few things you wish people knew about this event?

Lauren Fremont: All wineries participating in Passport to Dry Creek Valley are considered ‘sustainable’ — some take it a step further and are organic, biodynamic, and/or regenerative.

80% of Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley’s revenue comes from this annual event weekend, allowing the nonprofit to continue to support their wineries and preserve the land.

10% of this year’s “Win-derlust” lunch and dinner revenue will go to the Dry Creek Valley scholarship. 

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