Anderson Valley’s Seebass Vineyards’ Old Vine Zin Rocks!


Take the road less travelled…toss in miles of hairpin, white knuckled, high-banked turns, for a most scenic drive over the  Highway 128 pass to Anderson Valley, gateway to the towering Mendocino County redwoods and pristine coastal access.

Ahhhhh…. when I reached the top of the summit, I was spellbound by the beauty of the ruggedness and the color of the deep red soil against the vibrant vines and dense dark redwoods.

My destination was Boonville, population 1,035, home of the Boontling folk language (Scottish Gaelic, Irish with some Pomoan and Spanish), and the Seebass Vineyards’ tasting room.

For history buffs, Boonville was founded in 1862 by John Burgots whose claim to fame was building the Boonville Hotel, which still proudly stands.  A general store and post office also co-existed in the tiny western town.  Remnants of the original town are still evident driving down Highway 128.


Much more modern that the Boonville Hotel, is the quaint Seebass Vineyards’ tasting room right across the street.   Fashioned after an early 1900’s parlor room, complete with a dark wood vintage bar, guests are invited to belly up to the bar and sample the estate wines.   Continue reading

The Wine Carriage ~ A Perfect Marriage Of Horses & Wine!


Nothing could be finer than being carried through the vines by two handsome, two ton  Belgian Draft horses with owner Bret LeRolland of The Wine Carriage leading the way.   The starting point for the wine tour adventure begins at the historical Alexander Valley Vineyards in northern Sonoma County off Highway 128.


Alexander Valley Vineyards‘ tasting room has a rustic old west country store feel, complete with a covered wooden porch.  Memorabilia of rancher Cyrus Alexander and his wife Rufina adorn the walls.  IMG_9360

Estate varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot,  Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Gerwurtztraminer.





Freshly picked bunches of grapes sit on the counter, free for the tasting.


Bret’s love for his horses, Willie and Django, is evident the moment you meet the team.  Guests are encouraged to approach the magnificent duo who calmly stand for pats and photos.  Gourmet snacks of locally sourced nuts and cheese are handed out as we take our seats.  Time to leave your cares far behind as guests board the horse-drawn carriage from Alexander Valley Vineyards.

IMG_9402Clip clop…. clip clop…. clip clop…. The Wine Carriage smoothly transports up to 10 guests through the heart of the vineyards over a 5 mile course, close enough to reach out and grab a bunch of grapes, which we actually did! Continue reading

Russian River Valley’s Iron Horse Vineyards ~ Where Rustic Meets Bubbly


Looking for an adventure in wine tasting in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley?  Trek up the narrow winding dirt road to Iron Horse Vineyards for a million dollar view and stellar sparkling wine.


Family owned and operated by Barry and Audrey Sterling,  Iron Horse Vineyards, was  named after a railroad stop, which crossed the property in the 1890s.   The site was rediscovered in the 1970s by wine pioneer Rodney Strong, who planted 55 acres of Chardonnay and 55 acres of Pinot Noir.  The first estate vintage premiered in 1979.  Today, three generations of family reside on the property, overseeing the vineyards and wine production.

IMG_8396Standing tall over the massive 300 acre property is the trademark iron horse sculpture which was actually part of a weathervane that was unearthed on the property during construction of the winery.  A true buried treasure!

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Joseph Phelps Vineyards’ Insignia Tasting Surpasses Expectations!


Joseph Phelps, founder of Joseph Phelps Vineyards, professes a life-long love affair with Burgundian varietals.   Years of searching for the ideal soil and climate conditions to pursue his dream of crafting Burgundian-style wines, brought Phelps to Freestone,  located in the Sonoma Coast AVA, only six miles from the Pacific Ocean.


Originally the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes were sourced from St. Helena, Yountville and Carneros in the Napa Valley, near the original Joseph Phelps Vineyards.    By 1999, Phelps planted over 100 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Freestone area and constructed the Joseph Phelps, Freestone Vineyards Guest Center to showcase both the Sonoma Coast and the Napa Valley varietals.


Almost impossible to miss, the fire engine red building points the way to the Joseph Phelps, Freestone Vineyards Guest Center,  situated on two and a half acres at the intersection of Bodega Highway and Bohemian Highway.   Continue reading

Andrew Murrary Vineyards Is Riding High In The Rhone Zone!


Foxen Canyon’s Andrew Murray Vineyards is fresh and alive with small lot Syrahs and enticing Rhône blends.  Formerly Curtiss Winery, Andrew Murray has leased the vineyards  from long-time family friends, the Firestone family, and has tastefully remodeled the tasting room, making it a must-stop along the wine trail.

14770070654_9655c336c1_mAndrew Murray Vineyards‘ focus will remain on Rhône varieties, with an emphasis on Syrah, Mourvèdre, Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne.DSC_2990-240x159

“Come see what we can do in this new home with expanded winemaking capacity, and access to additional Estate Grown vineyards.”

Andrew Murray, Winemaker

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Moshin Vineyards Is “Pinot Heaven” ~ Russian River Valley’s Little Gem!


Calling all Pinot-philes… Time to experience a “range of motion” at Moshin Vineyards on the westside of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley.  Specializing in small lot, hand-crafted wines, there are always several interesting Pinot Noir wines to taste on any given day.

IMG_8385Upon arrival, a towering spectacled iron clad hummingbird greets visitors outside the eclectic tasting room.

Local Artisan’s wares are exhibited in the tasting room with special artist receptions hosted throughout the year.   IMG_8391

Besides a fabulous line up of Pinot Noir wine, Moshin Vineyards also showcases Vin Gris, Pinot Gris, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.  Other estate varietals include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Merlot.  Continue reading

Santa Ynez Valley’s Sunstone Winery ~ C’est Tres Magique!


Reminiscent of a Provencal manor in Southern France,  Sunstone Winery features one of the grandest tasting rooms in the Santa Ynez Valley.

The south-facing vineyards sway in the breeze along the Santa Ynez River, creating an ideal microclimate for producing high quality Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.  French varietals planted on the 28 acre estate include Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.


Founders Fred and Linda Rice had a grandiose vision for Sunstone Winery, scouring reclamation yards in Marseille and Provence for artifacts and furnishings for the 8.500 square foot villa.

sunstone_winery_kitchen“Reclaimed materials, such as French limestone, hand-formed roof tiles, a fireplace from the Bordeaux region of France, enormous hand-hewn pine beams from Queen Victoria’s lavender factory, a prison cell door from Normandy constructed during Napoleon’s reign, and a thousand-year old limestone kitchen sink were all incorporated into their dream building.”

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