One of only five wineries in the state to also possess a restaurant license, the Russian River Vineyards did for two years boast chef Greg Hallihan's Stella's Cafe on its property. Stella's closed last summer as the property prepared to sell, Hallihan concentrating on his western Sonoma County steakhouse, Elmo's, in the interim. Now Hallihan and new winery co-owner Art "the Pasta King" Ibleto prepare to reopen the house as Corks at Russian River Vineyards on Friday, Jan. 16, just in time for Winter Wineland. Hallihan will helm the kitchen with his California-centric cuisine Thursday&–Sunday while Ibleto will reign on Wednesday nights with a $10 pasta buffet. Look for an opening weekend four-course prix fixe special for just $29.95. 5700 Hwy. 116 N., Forestville. 707.887.3344.
Speaking of Winter Wineland, slated this year for Saturday&–Sunday Jan. 17&–18, the event is in its 17th year and has some 112 wineries participating this month, including many that are normally appointment-only. Many of the wineries are pairing their wines with food, and this is always a merry weekend. The WineRoad.com website lists each of the wineries, whether they accept large groups or not and what special they may have planned for the day. No children under 12 are allowed, including babes-in-arms, and no dogs, please. 10am to 4pm. $30&–$40; designated drivers, $10.
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