It’s that time of year in Sonoma Valley. Trees turn to lollipops, fence posts become candy canes, buildings seem born of gingerbread, and the streets are lined with colored frosting and jellybeans.
Yes, it’s time for the 10th Annual Sonoma Valley Gingerbread House Contest.
What started as a friendly rivalry between local vintners, has evolved into a not-so-serious, but definitely determined, competition. There are a couple of ways you can get in on the fun, and possibly win a case of Sonoma Valley wine.
Option 1: Visit the wineries, see their sweet masterpieces, and vote in person. This is the most fun way. Votes cast at the wineries will be entered into one of two drawings to win a cases of wine.
Option 2: Vote for your favorite by clicking here. Once you register and vote, you’re automatically entered in the second sweepstakes for another case of Sonoma Valley wine.
Benziger joins the 2015 competition with a “Sweet-Treats Tasting Room” replica made by wine club member, Matt Knudsen and his daughter Gabby. www.benziger.com
The defending champion, B.R. Cohn’s entry showcases their deep Sonoma roots by featuring their historic 140-year-old Picholine olive grove and 40-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard. www.brcohn.com
BRYTER’s 2015 entry proudly represents their very first vintage of 2007 “Inspired” Cabernet Sauvignon, their flagship wine. www.bryter.com
Established in 1857, few wineries have roots as deep as Buena Vista’s. Fittingly, their 2015 Gingerbread entry is a replica of the winery as it was in 1857. www.buenavistawinery.com
Entitled “Confectionary Kingdom,” Chateau St. Jean’s 2015 entry was built in part with the assistance of children from the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley. www.chateaustjean.com
The Hamel Family’s gingerbread creation is a confectionary expression of the deep roots that support their winemaking philosophy. (Guests are welcome to stop by to view Hamel’s entry, however, tastings are offered by appointment only). www.hamelfamilywines.com
“The Label Parthenon” features edible replicas of 15 Artist series wine labels from the past 15 years. The culinary artists behind their entry are “IMAGERY groupies” from Dallas, Texas. www.imagerywinery.com
Created by CA Institute of Art Graduate Chef Linda Rodriguez, Larson Family Winery’s whimsical entry is a tribute to the four-legged friends who have helped work and serve their farm since the late 1800’s. www.larsonfamilywinery.com
One of Sonoma Valley’s oldest wineries, Madrone Vineyard Estate’s gingerbread house is a celebration of the deep roots behind its small lot wines. The winery still crafts wine from its historical vineyards which date back to the 1800’s. www.madronevineyardsestate.com
This Kenwood winery’s entry features an “edible painting” in a gilded frame hung above the fireplace. The painting is of the historic 19th century schoolhouse that houses the tasting room. www.muscardinicellars.com
If you plan on visiting to view and vote for your favorite creation, be sure to download this handy guide to all the contest participants. And happy Gingerbread House Hunting.
Photography by Michael Woolsey