Sonoma Valley wines are in the limelight and they have a savvy stage – the new tasting room at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa that just opened this month. The Big 3 Wine Bar, open daily from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., offers tastes, flights and bottles from over 60 neighboring wineries.

So drink up Shriners – locals and tourists alike.

“For us it’s about creating a place where locals can go, as well as give tourists a place where they can experience Sonoma before they go out and taste everything else in Wine Country. Hopefully this will help them plan their trip,” according to Joe Taber of the Fairmont.

Here’s the skinny on the sip: There are flights of three two-ounce pours from $10 to $19 and has 15 different options of wine by the glass from $7 to $20. There’s also 35 bottlings of Sonoma Valley wines and Taber said the bar hopes to represent as many wines from the region as possible. “There’s no cap.”

Why the “local” fuss? The resort wants to appeal to its most potent guest in this economic downturn – the drive-by-tourist. Michelle Heston, another spokesperson from the Fairmont, said the resort’s primary market the regional traveler who hails from San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Sacramento, etc. “People still want to travel, but instead of going to Hawaii or Europe, they’re staying local ... business has slowed for everyone but we seem to be fairing better than some comparative.”

A tasting room for the drive-by-tourist. Not a bad idea.