Guy Fieri’s Sonoma Ties

To most of the world, Guy Fieri is one of the biggest success stories to come out of the Next Food Network Star competition and the current host of five television shows, but to Sonoma, he is a resident and restaurateur.

Guy Fieri (‘Fee-eddy’) called was born and raised in Sonoma. He called it home before he ever stepped foot on the stage of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, shared recipes on Guy’s Big Bite, played up the parking lot food on Tailgate Warriors, gave away money on Minute to Win It, or competed against Rachael Ray’s team on Celebrity Cookoff.

The Fieri family, which includes wife Lori and sons Hunter and Ryder, has a home in Sonoma. Guy Fieri even built a house next door to his for his parents and his nephew. (his sister passed away in 2011 after a long battle with melanoma). He even stays in the area for family getaways as he also has a cabin up north that requires a boat to reach it. It’s a place to relax and recharge in since there’s no electricity and no phones are allowed.  

“It would certainly make life easier to live in San Francisco, LA or New York considering how much I travel,” admits Fieri, “but the convenience isn’t worth taking my family away from this.”

It’s not all play for Fieri when he’s in Sonoma. Together with business partner Steve Gruber, he has opened three locations of Johnny Garlic’s Restaurant and one Tex Wasabi’s, a combination of California sushi and Southern barbecue.
When asked if he was planning to build more in the area, he responded, “I have three restaurants in Sonoma County. It’s a great environment for restaurants, but I don’t want to overdo it.”

Fieri believes that Sonoma doesn’t get enough credit for its food, “NorCal is recognized for Napa – which is an amazing place – but Sonoma County has its own style. People need to come and check it out. From independent restaurants to the quaint towns – it’s got it going on.”

An Actor’s Legacy Continues at Raymond Burr Vineyards

He was known on television as Ironside and Perry Mason, but Raymond Burr’s love of life went well beyond the small screen. His love of wine and a deep friendship brought him to Sonoma, where his wine and legacy live on today.

Raymond Burr met Robert Benevides in the 1950s when they were both actors on Perry Mason. Benevides would go on to produce the Ironside series and the friendship of the duo would bring them to own an island in Fiji and, eventually, a winery in Sonoma in the Northern California area where Benevides had grown up.

The duo continued their professional and personal partnership for over 30 years. Unfortunately, Raymond Burr would never see the fruits (pardon the pun) of his namesake winery. The place was originally to be named A Quinta dos Dos Amigos, which translates to “The Farm of Two Friends,” but Benevides wanted it to be named after his closest friend.

Memories of Burr are all over the winery in Dry Creek Valley, from photos of him to TV Guide covers to actual awards. Robert Benevides remains on the property and runs the winery as well as the tasting room. He keeps the product line to a minimum, focusing on quality over quantity. In addition to the vineyards, the property has also been home to orchards, a favorite flower of both Burr and Benevides.

The winery produces cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and cabernet franc. There is also a Port wine that is made from Portuguese varietals that are estate grown. Their chardonnays, which have earned gold ribbons, taste a bit different than the usual California ones, heavier on the butter than the fruit. The grounds are beautiful and guests are encouraged to do their tasting outside on the picnic benches.

The Raymond Burr Vineyard is getting ready for the Gala Release Party of the new Bordeaux-style blend Quartet. The party for the latest dedication to the legacy for Raymond Burr will take place on April 14th.  Visit the winery’s website for more details on the event.