BEST BUD + BEST BEV: A lot of people have strong opinions about what makes a home, but a great kitchen, whether it is small or large, spare or well-appointed, is probably near the top of the list. And what raises a kitchen's value? Well, we'd say the people who are in it, and tasty food, too, but we'll add two things that probably aren't very controversial: A sweet pooch lounging on the floor near the refrigerator (usually fully in the way of all foot traffic) and a really nice bottle of wine or two to cook with. Without them a kitchen isn't a kitchen for many, but the funny thing is is one doesn't see them paired together outside of the home a lot. Nope, dogs don't drink wine, and yep, they occasionally serve as mascots on various labels. But a tasting where you can show with your pup? They're rare enough that they are worthy of note. So we're noting now that the annual Saracina Earth Day Dog Hike is set to ramble around the Hopland-based winery on Saturday, April 20. Picnicking, tannin talk, sipping, and stretching a leg with dog in nature is on the bill. Oh, and that bill? Thirty bucks. You'll want to reserve in advance, too.
MORE WINE HAPPENINGS: We know that harvest time is the right time for all sorts of major wine events, but we'd put April-May as a close second to the September-October wine nexus. Taste Alexander Valley rolls on May 18 and 19, and includes some 30 wineries in the Cab-famous region. (To be fair, the northern-tip-of-Sonoma-County area does a lot of grapes right.) A general admission is $65. Here's your map of the Russian River-close participants.