By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The kick-off party for the Amgen Tour of California will be held at Sonoma-Cutrer Winery in Windsor, a venue that is meant to show off Sonoma County as wine country.

“It will be first time the gala will be in a winery,” said Raissa de la Rosa, Santa Rosa economic development specialist who is in charge of the local organizing effort, referring to the parties held by previous host cities. “It has always been in hotel ballrooms and tents in parking lots and in convention center. This totally will be unique in that regard.”

Santa Rosa has the coveted position of being the overall start for the tour, after having hosted it for six of the tour’s seven years as a stage finish and stage start.

The event is 5 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, May 11, two days before the Sunday, May 13, start of the eight-day tour.

The 116-mile first stage starts and finishes in downtown Santa Rosa, with a loop through Windsor and then a long route that takes the riders through Occidental and Cazadero, over Fort Ross Road to the coast, south on the coast to Coleman Valley Road, and then over to Occidental and then back to Santa Rosa.

It is also notable the route through Windsor will take riders past the Sonoma-Cutrer Winery where the party is being held.

The Friday night party includes the introduction of the riders for the 16 to 18 teams that will participate, dinner on the terrace, music by D.J. Eko and an auction of wine and cycling items.

Tickets for the party are $200 and are limited to 500. Information and tickets are at www.santarosa2012.com/soiree.

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or bob.norberg@
pressdemocrat.com.