It’s been a while since our trip to California Wine Country but the experience has stayed in our minds; the memories still fresh. We last wrote about Napa, which was the first area we had a chance to explore. We began our next day with the plan to explore Sonoma.
As with our Napa adventure, we had to seriously narrow down our plan to visit just a few places. Looking at our massive list we had no idea where to begin. Thankfully we had some help in the way of a local connection who pointed us in the right direction.
Recommendations and plan in hand, we started by heading to the northern most point we planned on visiting, Healdsburg. Once we got off the highway we were immediately driving through farm country and vineyards were everywhere we looked. The weather was beautiful and the scenery was breathtaking.
Our first stop was Mazzocco Winery, known for their Zinfandels, located up on a hillside. We entered the quiet tasting room where we were greeted and offered our first taste of their portfolio immediately. No pretense here at Mazzocco; just plain and simple wine tasting. And taste we did! After going through several of their wines we decided to purchase our favorite (2011 Seaton Zinfandel) and head on down the road.
Next up was the Hawley Tasting room in downtown Healdsburg. The Hawley Tasting room was a small warm space filled with artwork and woodwork created by various Hawley family members. We learned this from Dana Hawley, the winemaker’s wife and local artist, who walked us through the tasting and the history of Hawley wines. It was a truly unique and lovely experience. Again, we narrowed our purchase down to our favorite (Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah) and left to wander the town a bit.
After visiting some of the local antique stores and markets we got back in the car and drove to Iron Horse Vineyards in Sebastopol. Getting to the actual tasting room was challenging. Off the beaten path would be an understatement. However, after driving up the single lane, bumpy, dirt road and arriving at the top, we could truly appreciate that it was worth the trek. Looking out across the rolling hills and into the valley covered with vineyards was awe inspiring.
Iron Horse is known for their sparkling wines and we were lucky enough to be there on a day when they had The Oyster Girls on hand, a traveling oyster bar serving freshly shucked oysters. Oysters and sparkling wine = perfect day!
At the end of the day we convinced ourselves that we needed to move to Sebastopol, buy a farm, raise goats and grow our own vines. Who knows? Maybe one day we will…