If your dream vacation includes all the finer things in life, there is no better destination than Healdsburg, California. The town is located in Northern Sonoma County, granting visitors proximity to some of the world’s finest wineries including Rodney Strong Vineyards, Bella Vineyard, and more. No trip to Healdsburg would be complete without sampling the world class cuisine offered at award winning restaurants like Chalkboard and Valette.
The Rodney Strong Concert Series has been a trendsetter for wine and music events in the region since its inception nearly three decades ago. The family friendly event will take place on August 27 and September 9, at the Rodney Strong Vineyards in Healdsburg. Visitors will have the opportunity to soak in the lush landscape of the Russian River Valley while listening to great music performed by Chris Botti (August 27) and Kool & The Gang (September 9). Before the show begins, patrons can sample and buy a variety of the vineyard’s award winning wines and taste foods from some of the top culinary establishments in Healdsburg. While the event doesn’t support a direct charity, The Rodney Strong Vineyards is directly involved in the community, supporting schools and a variety of arts programs. We got the chance to interview Christopher O’Gorman, Director of Communications for Rodney Strong Wine Estates, to learn more about this wine and music fusion.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
CO: This summer is the 27th year of the Rodney Strong Concert Series. They are the brainchild of Rodney Strong Vineyards proprietor Tom Klein, who began the series to share his love of listening to jazz music in the vineyard, sharing great wine, food, and music among friends.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
CO: About 5,000-6,000 attend each year.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
CO: All of the above! The great thing about Sonoma County, and Northern California in general, is the diversity and friendliness of the crowd. Everyone is welcome.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
CO: The intimate setting among the vineyards of the Russian River Valley is perhaps the most beautiful in all of the wine country. When you add to that a lineup of world class music, award winning Rodney Strong Vineyards wine, and local Sonoma County food, you create memories that will last a lifetime.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event?
CO: For the July shows, the gates open at 5:00 pm, just as the afternoon heat is subsiding. There is an hour to explore our new Rodney Strong Terrace with a wide selection of our award winning wines, concert green, and dining options. The show starts at 6:00 pm. For August and September shows, gates open at 4:00 pm and show starts at 5:00 pm.
RAL: What will attendees find for dining options?
CO: We feature award winning local purveyors and food trucks. There is something for everyone, including ice cream for the kids.
RAL: Tell me about the atmosphere.
CO: Along with the world class artists and fantastic wines, the setting is an integral part of the experience. Imagine sitting next to a vineyard as the sun is starting to set, listening to your favorite band with your friends, enjoying a bottle of wine together!
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
CO: There is a breadth of accommodations available in Sonoma County including luxury hotels in Healdsburg, boutique B&B’s along the Russian River, and campgrounds along the coast.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
CO: Although in recent years Healdsburg has exploded in popularity, the Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series has been a big draw for local hotels, restaurants, and more for the past 27 years.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
CO: Not specifically, but Rodney Strong Vineyards believes very passionately about philanthropy and giving back to the community. We support local schools, the arts, childhood reading programs, and much more.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
CO: Attending a Rodney Strong Summer Concert is one of the quintessential wine country experiences. It’s perfect for a special occasion, or just for a wonderful evening out with close friends. The relaxed atmosphere of a Sonoma County summer evening with wine, food, music, and friends is what life’s all about.