Rhone Rangers To Honor Sondra Bernstein With Lifetime Achievement Award

Posted on July 22, 2016

Rhone Rangers to Recognize Celebrity Chef and Author—the first Restaurateur to Win this Honor—at June 9–10 San Francisco Events.

Feb. 1, 2017 (Paso Robles, CA) | The Rhone Rangers organization will present its fifth annual Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday, June 9, 2017. Celebrity Chef and Author Sondra Bernstein of the pioneering Sonoma restaurant the girl & the fig will be recognized for her significant contributions to the American Rhone wine movement, which she has helped champion for over 20 years.

“Sondra is a true pioneer,” said Rhone Rangers board member Stuart Montgomery, who also chairs the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Program. “Normally we give this award to winemakers or sommeliers, but this is the first time we’ve given this honor to a chef or restaurateur. Her passion for educating wine lovers about these sometimes overlooked but incredibly versatile wines is undeniable, and she was doing it decades before Rhones became trendy. She has catered all our winemaker dinners, which have all sold out, so she has been a big contributing factor to our success.”

The Rhone community is kicking off the 2017 celebration at its new event, Rhone and Relax on February 2 at Suite D in Sonoma, Bernstein’s special event space. This casual event invites Rhone fans and winemakers alike to enjoy tasty bites and a wide selection of Rhone wines in Sonoma wine country.

Since founding her landmark wine country eatery, she has earned high marks from the likes of Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast for her reasonably priced wine list focused on Rhone varietals, primarily from California and some from Washington, Oregon, Spain and Australia.

“Rhone varietal cultivation in has increased tremendously in California and there are some incredible wines,” said Bernstein in a recent trade article. “We enjoy sharing our passion and knowledge, knowing that the Rhones are very food friendly wines. Our menu has a lot of variety that parallels the wine list, so it really just takes a willing guest and a patient, intuitive server to guide them towards a good choice. Not everyone,” she cautions, “becomes a fan especially if they are looking for a heavy over-oaked white wine, but we give it our best shot.”

Sondra believes the dining experience should continue after your time at the restaurant. She wants her guests to be able to expand their knowledge and appreciation of Rhones, which have become an integral part of the American winemaker’s palette and oenophile’s palates. She wants clients to take home a tangible piece of their experience from the girl & the fig and a memory of their visit to wine country. December 2011brought the release of Sondra's celebration of Sonoma's bounty-Plats du Jour-a coffee-table style book featuring full page color photos and intimate stories of local food purveyors along with over 100 wine-friendly recipes as a follow up to the first the girl & the fig Cookbook, published by Simon & Schuster in 2004.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Bernstein on Friday, June 9, 2017 at the Rhone Rangers Annual Winemaker Dinner at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio, San Francisco. The dinner is part of a two-day Annual Celebration of American Rhone Wines. Fans can bid on what is expected to be one of the most coveted Rhone Rangers live auction items – a catered party by Bernstein’s brand new fig rig to cater your next party. The live auction benefits the Rhone Ranger's Scholarship Program. With a starting bid of $5,000, the prize includes a visit by the
mobile fig rig to the winner’s choice of location, and includes a choice from five special menus for 50 people. The pop up party can take place in Sonoma County, Napa County and the San Francisco Bay Area. Winners may request areas outside of these regions for an additional $500 to cover travel expenses.

Tickets can be purchased for just the dinner, or a full weekend pass that includes Saturday’s seminar followed by the trade/media, VIP and Grand Tasting, which will feature over 60 wineries. Presale ticket savings are available for special savings. To purchase tickets or obtain additional information, visit www.rhonerangers.org.

About the Rhone Rangers 

The Rhone Rangers are a group of roughly 150 wineries dedicated to making wines from the 22 grape varieties originally made famous in France’s Rhone Valley. These varieties range from the better-known Syrah and Viognier to the up-and-coming Grenache, Mourvèdre and Roussanne, to obscure (but delicious) grapes like Counoise and Picpoul. To learn more, visit www.rhonerangers.org.