With 90 miles of prime Pacific coastline rich in fresh seafood
and a unique climate that lends itself to an abundance of wineries and breweries, Visit Mendocino County proudly announces the 19th year of celebrating the county’s favorite seafood delicacy, the Dungeness crab!
The countywide festival, named one of America’s Top 10 Seafood and Wine Festivals by Coastal Living, is an opportunity for Mendocino locals and travelers alike to enjoy fresh Pacific seafood, including the county’s famed Dungeness crab and award-winning Mendocino County wine and beer while exploring the wintry bounty of this coastal escape. www.visitmendocino.com/event/crab-wine-beer-festival.
The festival offers visitors the opportunity to indulge in dozens of crab-themed specials throughout the county, including seafood dinners at gourmet restaurants, crabby overnight packages at cozy inns, crab and wine pairings at local wineries, and adventurous crabbing excursions at sea. With something to please everyone from the crustacean-loving foodie to the romantic getaway-seeking couple, attendees’ cravings for crab, wine, beer and entertainment are sure to be satiated.
The festival’s signature events benefit Mendocino Coast Clinics, a nonprofit health clinic established in 1994 that strives to build a healthy community by providing quality patient-centered health care to more than half of Mendocino Coast residents. For more information about Mendocino Coast Clinics or its fundraising events, please visit www.mccinc.org.
All You Can Eat Cioppino Dinner – Friday, January 26; three seatings at 4:00, 6:00 & 8:00 p.m., $40/adult; $15/kids 12-6; under 6 on us!
A Crab, Wine and Beer tradition, the annual Cioppino Dinner is held on Friday, January 26 at the Historic Pentecost Hall in Fort Bragg. Guests don their bibs and get cracking as giant cioppino pots brimming with seafood, shellfish, and Dungeness crab are brought family-style to the table for feasting. Mendocino County wines, North Coast Brewing Company beer, locally roasted Thanksgiving Coffee, and Café Beaujolais bread for dipping complement the festive occasion. Historic Pentecost Hall, 822 Stewart St, Fort Bragg;707.961.3463.
Crab Cake Cook-Off & Wine Competition – Saturday, January 27; 12:00-3:00 p.m., Circle of Claws Reserved Seating $150; general admission $85.
The Big White Tent at the corner of Main and Spruce streets in Fort Bragg comes alive as chefs vie for the Crabby Cook-Off Awards! Creative crab cakes are crafted by top Mendocino County chefs and paired with wines from over 20 wineries in Mendocino County. The competition gets fierce as attendees sample a multitude of unique crab cakes and have the opportunity to see how their top choices match up with the judges’ picks by nominating their favorite chef and winery for the People’s Choice Awards. The event also features silent and live auctions for acclaimed Mendocino County wines, exquisite destinations and one-of-a-kind gifts. Corner of Main & Spruce, Fort Bragg; 707.961.3463.
COUNTYWIDE SEAFOOD CELEBRATIONS
Special events will be offered throughout Mendocino County including seafood dinners at gourmet restaurants, overnight packages at cozy inns, seafood and wine pairings at local wineries and adventurous excursions at sea. The short list includes:
The Bewildered Pig & Goldeneye Winemaker Dinner – January 20: 6:30 p.m., Goldeneye club members $150/person (up to 2 guests); non-members $200/person.
Chef Janelle Weaver is known for her extraordinary talents in the kitchen, weaving foraged and local ingredients to create dishes that tease and tempt the palate. For the Festival, Chef Weaver pairs crab in each of the dinner’s four courses with Goldeneye Winery’s vineyard designate Migration and Goldeneye wines. 1810 Hwy 128, Philo; www.thebewilderedpig.com;707.895.2088.
Blue Collar Winemaker Dinner – January 23: 5:00 p.m., $18.
Fine dining for the proletariat at Cucina Verona in Fort Bragg. Chef Joe Harris creates a four-course dinner with crab at every turn, paired with Navarro Vineyards fine wines at only $6 per glass. Treat the family and friends to a night on the town and satisfy the crustacean craving! 124 E Laurel St, Ft Bragg; 707.964.6844; www.cucinaverona.com.
Barrel Tasting 101 – January 20 and 21: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., $20/person for advance tickets ($30 day of the event).
The finest barrel tasting event of the year finds guests traveling up Highway 101 to Hopland, Ukiah and Redwood Valley to toast the season with complimentary tastings straight from the barrel at 17 area wineries, seafood-inspired food pairings, and a commemorative wine glass to keep the party going.
All Aboard . . . the Skunk Train for Crab and Crémant! – January 21 & 28: 11:00 a.m., $66/adult; $56/child (ages 2-12); $10/infant or dog (excl. tax).
A Mendocino County visit isn’t complete without a ride on the historic Skunk Train. And it’s even better when the ride is paired with a delectable crab chowder lunch and Scharffenberger Crémant sparkling wine! Trains depart from both Willits and Fort Bragg Depots. Regardless of departure point, views from the restored rail cars make for a delightful trip back in time with sights practically unchanged from the late 1800s. Foot of Laurel St, Fort Bragg & 299 E Commercial St., Willits; 707.964.6371; www.skunktrain.com.
Goats and Crab . . . at Pennyroyal Farm – January 21: 12:30 p.m., $65/person (excl. tax).
Get your goat on at the farm where every goat has a name! Chef Izzy will take the freshest farm produce, eggs, and farmstead cheeses and highlight them with locally caught Dungeness crab to create a brunch with brio. An extra $10 buys a meet and greet with the goats and opportunity to dig into cheesemaking 101. 14960 Hwy 128, Boonville; 707.895.2410; www.pennyroyalfarm.com.
Watch for Whales & Go Fish! – Inquire for times and pricing.
Join Captain Tim on the Sea Hawk at All Aboard Adventures for a fishing or whale-watching trip to see the gentle giants of the ocean. Guests set sail on the high seas for a two-hour jaunt. The Sea Hawk is Coast Guard Certified for 30 passengers and hosts up to three trips per day. Crabbing trip is four-plus hours with catch up to 10 crabs per person. 32410 N Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg; www.allaboardadventures.com;707.964.1881.
COZY UP AFTER CHOWING DOWN
As the festival draws hungry travelers from near and far, cozy accommodations throughout Mendocino County beckon the seafood-inclined guest.
- Brewery Gulch Inn offers a “Get Your Crab On” special with 15 percent off midweek rates when staying two or more nights. The inn also offers a cooked-to-order breakfast and a light dinner buffet with local Mendocino County wines and beers included in the room rate.
- Book a two-night stay at the Point Arena Lighthouse and enjoy a third night free!
- Little River Inn invites guests to “Sleep with the Crabs” with their Crab Tour Package that includes two night’s accommodations, a half-day crabbing escape from Fort Bragg’s Noyo Harbor, dinner and breakfast for two and a bottle of Mendocino County wine.
- It’s no holds barred where crab is concerned at Dennen’s Victorian Farmhouse on Jan. 27. From 5:30-7:00 p.m., inn guests will enjoy complimentary Navarro wine paired with the innkeeper’s famous “pull out the stops” crab and other seafood hors d’oeuvres.
Mendocino County welcomes nearly 1.8 million visitors annually who explore its 90 miles of prime Pacific coastline, 90+ wineries and 10 diverse AVAs (earning the highest percentage of organic and biodynamic vineyards in the United States), 24 state/national parklands and 450+ unique accommodations. Straddling scenic Highways 1 and 101, “The Redwood Corridor,” the County delivers an ideal vortex of waves, wines and redwoods laced with historic villages and outback adventures. Located 114 mi./184 km. north of San Francisco, the region’s gateway airports are San Francisco International (SFO), Oakland International (OAK), Sacramento International Airport (SMF), and Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS). Visit Mendocino County is a non-profit destination marketing organization designed to enhance the economic vitality of the community by increasing tourism revenue. For more information, go towww.visitmendocino.com.