Arriving at Hop Kiln Winery in Russian River, I was awestruck. Upon closer look, a brass California Registered Historical Landmark plaque (No. 893) read, “This structure served the important hop industry of California’s north coast region, once the major hop-growing area in the west. Built in 1905 by a crew of Italian stonemasons, it represents the finest existing example of its type, consisting of three stone kilns for drying hops, a wooden cooler, and a two-story press for bailing hops for shipment”.
Prior to the Walters Ranch Hop Kiln, the 250-acre property was known as Sweet Water Springs, which originally served as a stagecoach stop. Visiting the Hop Kiln homestead is like stepping back in time to the early 1900s. There’s a stately, but weathered, plantation house complete with a covered veranda and a few abandoned outbuildings all which overlook a scenic pond and the vineyards in the distance. [Read more…]