Winter Wineland, Northern Sonoma County – Day Two was very fortunate to receive two complementary tickets to the 2011 Winter Wineland Weekend.  This is a weekend in which over 140 wineries in the Russian River Region, from Santa Rosa through Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, Healdsburg and Dry Creek Valley get together to let wine lovers experience the different wineries.  The theme this year was “Education and Art”.  Some of the wineries are not normally open to the public, some by are by appointment only but on this weekend all the participants are open and ready to receive you.  More wineries than not offered food to be sampled with their wines.  Larry and I went through the map and listing and tried to locate wineries that we either haven’t been to or haven’t been to in a long time.

Day 2 – Sunday January 16 – We had slept over at our son and daughter-in-laws house in Santa Rosa, so we were able to get a later start.  We left about 10:30 and headed way up north to Silver Oak Winery up in Geyserville.

Silver Oak Winery – It seemed like a good idea to go way up north to start out the day and then go south from there.  When you arrive at Silver Oak Winery you walk through their stone foyer where there is a beautiful fountain.  They were pouring the first of two Cabernets there by the fountain.  We enjoyed the view, went into one of their barrel rooms where they were pouring the other wine.  In there they were also serving a mushroom cake and had information on sustainable farming.


                           Silver Oak Barrel Room                                                              Silver Oak Foyer with Fountain

Geyser Peak – We went to Geyser Peak one because it was on our way south from Silver Oak, but more because we were familiar with their Sauvignon Blanc.  They were a bit crowded in their tasting room.  We sampled some of their wines but they weren’t pouring the Sauvignon Blanc.  So we left rather quickly and were disappointed.


                               Geyser Peak Winery                                                                       Geyser Peak Winery                                    

Frick Winery – We had heard about Frick Winery but had never been.  It’s a very cute house like building with a front garden, a fire pit and a picnic table.  We went inside and just so happen to have Bill Frick the owner and winemaker pour for us.  He makes Rhone varietals and blends.  We did a vertical tasting of their Syrah from ’03 to ’08.  That was fun.  People were roasting hot dogs and making s’mores out in front using the fire pit.


                                        Frick Winery                                                    Roasting Hot Dogs and S’mores at Frick Winery

Kachina Vineyards – To get to this winery you have to go up their very, very long driveway.  This driveway takes you way up into the woods.  Once you are at the winery it is very quiet and private.  They make Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and a Zinfandel Port.  They were pouring in their barrel room.  They are only open by appointment normally.  They have some nice picnic tables outside to take in the view.  Sonoma Chocolatiers were there passing out truffles made with their Zin Port.


             Kachina Vineyards Barrel Room and Winery                                       Views from Kachina’s Vineyards Deck

Maurtison Winery – This winery is in its 6th generation of wine making.  They own 230 acres throughout the Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys.  When we got there they were having the main tasting in their barrel room.  But first you walked into their tasting room and there they poured a white wine.  Then as you walked into the back they had it decorated with tiny white lights all over the stacked barrels.  They were pouring both bottled wines and wines from the barrel.  They had their vineyard manager sitting at a location ready to talk about different soil samples from Rockpile Vineyard.  They make estate Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.  From the Rockpile vineyard they do a Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, Syrah, Malbec and some blends.


                               Mauritson Winery                                                                     Mauritson Winery Barrel Room

Armida Winery – When we arrived we lucked out and found a parking space near the tasting room.  It was crowded.  They had a football theme and had TV’s in different locations with the playoff games going.  We were hungry and so we went and got a plate of    sausage and smoked turkey.  We grabbed some wine and sat out on their beautiful deck, which overlooks their bocce ball court and lake.  They make Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Barbera, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and they are famous for their PoiZin.  Their winemaker was barrel tasting hisChardonnay and Zinfandel.  That was fun to try.


                        Armida Winery Tasting Room                                            Armida Winery Football Celebration and View

Michael Bernard – This is a new tasting room.  It just opened late summer 2010.  They have a very beautiful copper counter inside.  Their tasting room isn’t large but it wasn’t crowded feeling either.  They have a very nice deck with tables and chairs over looking their vineyards.  They make a sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and a blended wine. 


                            Michael Bernard                                                                  Michael Bernard Tasting Room

Hudson Street Wineries – We drove into the town of Healdsburg.  Just a few blocks off the square is the Hudson Street Wineries.  Here they host five different wineries.  It is just a tasting room in a small warehouse building.  They had plenty of parking across the street.  The wineries they pour there are Bluenose Wines, Rocking Z Vineyards, Sadler-Wells Wines, Teira Wines and Willowbrook Cellars.  The staff was nice.  They were service a French onion soup, very tasty.


                                                                                    Hudson Street Wineries Tasting Room

Longboard Vineyards – A few blocks from Hudson Street Wineries heading back towards the center of town we ran into Longboard Vineyards.  As you enter this winery you see about a dozen different longboard surfboards hanging from the ceiling.  They make a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Pinot Noir.  We got there near the end of the day so they were all out of the food they had been serving.  We had some troubles getting the staff to pour wine for us.  It is a nice tasting room and I would like to go back when it isn’t so crowded. 


                Longboard Vineyards Tasting Room                                                  Longboard Vineyards Tasting Room

Hauck Cellars – This tasting room is just a few doors down from the Healdsburg Square.  Parking is more challenging but worth the effort.  Both the owners Greg and Jennifer were pouring the wines.  We sampled their Sauvignon Blanc, Rose’ of Syrah, Zinfandel, and Meritage (which was on sale).  They also make a Petite Sirah and a Cabernet.  This was a very nice tasting room with items for sale.  They had a large counter and room to stand.


                                Hauck Cellars                                                                          Hauck Cellars Tasting Room

Selby – Just a few doors away from Hauck Cellars.  When we arrived their tasting room was packed.  But, they noticed us and we able to serve us wine.  The crowd there seemed to be having a good time and didn’t want to wander away.  They offer Sauvignon Blanc, Rose of Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Zinfandel.  They had their ’06 Chardonnay on sale, which we bought a case of for our son’s wedding this summer.


                                                                                    Selby Tasting Room

This day of wine tasting ended about 4:30.  We were pretty tired again.  Larry spit out all of his tasting so he was able to drive us around safely.  I however, just took little sips all day long.  We got back to the house and made some nachos to have before dinner.  We then had a nice birthday dinner for our son Brandon once he got home.  We enjoyed some more wine with dinner including a very good Windy Oaks Pinot Noir to go with the steaks.  We slept over that night as we were going to be watching Elli the next day so Kim could go to work.  The weekend was a huge success.  We went to 20 wineries in the two days.  Next trip up there will be the first weekend in March for the Barrel Tasting Weekend.  That is always fun.  We will have to go and explore more wineries that we’ve never been to.  Until then, Cheers!

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