Thanks to some seriously deranged laws, most wineries in Wine Country are not allowed to serve real food. Hence, the stale crackers and sweaty cheese that constitutes most “food and wine pairings.” It makes little sense considering that wine is most often enjoyed as part of a meal. Thankfully, if there’s a will, there’s a way–and these wineries have found a way to bring their food and wine together under one roof.
When industry veteran Jeff O’Neill built Ram’s Gate, which opened late last fall, he had more in mind than simply a tasting room to showcase his Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. He wanted to create the perfect tasting experience, one in which food plays a central role (just as it does in life). While there are many rooms in this spacious Howard Backen-designed wonderland, the kitchen is at the center. A large community table surrounded by shelves of cookbooks (O’Neill has over 300) serves not only as a place to enjoy Chef Jason Rose’s “ego-less, wine forward cooking,” as he describes it, but also as a classroom. In February, O’Neill hosted Ryan Farr from 4505 Meats for a butchery demonstration, during which Farr talked about how the pig was raised, what it ate, and why certain meat is healthier than other meat.