In my last Rich Life Travels post, I told you all about the Dry Creek Inn in Healdsburg. My husband and I spent a lovely weekend there recently. When we weren’t enjoying the inn, we were out taking long drives through wine country, sipping delicious wine and eating tasty food.
Today I’d like to share some of the highlights from our weekend, starting with our private tasting at Dry Creek Vineyard.
Dry Creek Vineyard, a few miles west of Healdsburg, is a special place for many reasons (including many firsts!):
~ It was the first new winery established after prohibition in the Dry Creek Valley.
~ Dry Creek Vineyard founder, David Stare, was the first to plant Sauvignon Blanc grapes in this appellation.
~ Dry Creek Vineyard was the first winery to introduce Sonoma County Fume Blanc.
~ And the first to label a wine with Dry Creek Valley Appellation.
~ Dry Creek Vineyard has been family-owned and operated since 1972 (truly a rarity around here these days).
~ A woman is now at the helm of Dry Creek Vineyards. Kim Wallace, daughter of David Stare, took over as President in 2013.
~ Dry Creek Vineyards is a beautiful and serene propoerty with lush lawns, tall Redwood trees, gardens and of course, vineyards.
Bill and I arrived for our tasting a few minutes early so we could get reacquainted with the property. It had been awhile since we last visited Dry Creek Vineyard.
The winery has a spacious lawn with plenty of room for picnics.
And if a picnic table is not your thing, there are cozy tables for two – or more – as well.
A bocce court, lots of ivy-covered buildings, roses and a Secret Garden seating area are also found on the winery’s property.
Once we got settled in the tasting room, we were given a taste of Dry Chenin Blanc. I love light bodied white wines and this one was right up my alley, especially at under $10 a bottle.
Note the sailboat on the label. All of the labels and logos at Dry Creek Vineyard have a sailing theme, a nod to the family’s passion for the sport.
Bill, our tour guide and wine expert, led us through the tasting room to a display case where dozens of family photos and wine bottles from as far back as 1973 are kept for visitors to see. It was interesting to see how the wine labels have transformed over the years.
Once Bill gave us an overview of the Dry Creek Vineyard history, we moved on to do more wine tasting.
Bill told us that these enormous oak casks from France are taken apart before they are loaded on the ship, then reassembled, piece-by-piece, at the winery. And the coopers themselves – the craftsmen who make the casks – come to the winery to put the casks back together. Isn’t that quite the undertaking?
Bill had our tasting ready for us – complete with almonds, water and dried fruit – and we got to “work” tasting several of Dry Creek Vineyard’s best wines. Not typically a Zinfandel fan, I loved their Wallace Ranch Zinfandel and brought a bottle home to enjoy.
After our tasting, we walked around the property once more. It was a cloudy day, as you can see, with spurts of short but dramatic showers. Dry Creek Valley was full of color that day.
Whatever that grass is, I just want to run my fingers through it! Doesn’t it look soft and lush?
Adjacent to Dry Creek Valley appellation is the Alexander Valley appellation, which is east of Healdsburg.
We had an appointment at Roth Estate Winery which is located at the southern end of the Alexander Valley. It would be our first time visiting this winery, which is part of the Foley Family Wines that also include Chalk Hill, Lancaster, and Sebastiani wines.
This eye-catching building makes quite a statement as you drive up the long driveway.
I love the architecture of this winery and the pops of red here and there. I knew this would be a fun visit – first because dogs are allowed.
And second because they have loads of games for guests to play! Giant Jenga blocks are found throughout the patio area and there are several Corn Hole games with bean bags at the ready.
Inside the newly built tasting room is lovely and inviting. And it includes a table in the corner with a giant-sized Scrabble game. Though the Scrabble board was tempting, we wanted to sit outside on such a beautiful and sunny fall day.
A friendly and knowledgeable young woman poured us several wines to taste while we relaxed on the patio. It was wonderful!
Bill happened to look out into a pasture and spotted a group of buffalo walking by, including a baby buffalo. The Foley family keeps a heard of buffalo on the property! I am so glad Bill has his camera ready to go when that baby walked by.
After our tasting, we were taken into the new 10,000 square-foot cave at Roth Estate Winery to have a look around. Completed earlier this year, this wine cave is one of the most elegant and stylish wine caves I have visited…and I have been in many. The room with the cozy seating area (top right photo) is so chic! Wouldn’t it be perfect for an intimate party?
During our weekend in Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys we didn’t just taste wine, we also ate great food and took leisurely drives down country roads. We ordered sandwiches at the old Dry Creek General Store, a popular stop on Dry Creek Road. We ate our sandwiches in the Adirondack chairs in front of The Bar with Daisy and Coco and watched the people, cars and bicycles go by.
We also treated ourselves to tasty pizza in Geyserville at Diavola, had cold martinis for happy hour at Ralph’s in Healdsburg and enjoyed a pre-dinner drink one night at the bar at Dry Creek Kitchen before heading over to Baci Cafe and Wine Bar for a delicious Italian dinner.
There are no shortage of scenes worth photographing. It was hard to narrow down my favorites to share with you!
Yellow was the color of the weekend!
There were plenty of reds and orange shades too. We stopped off at a vineyard in Alexander Valley to take some photos. You may remember the starling murmuration I posted on Thanksgiving Day. It was taken in this vineyard.
I loved seeing this farm right before the rain.
Then we caught a rainbow stretching over a palm tree in a vineyard. Lucky us!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our Weekend in Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys!
Make it a rich day!
Disclosure: Our tastings at Dry Creek Vineyard and Roth Estate Winery were both complimentary. All opinions expressed here are, as always, my own.