First, a quick thanks to the many wineries, marketing people, social networking gurus and fun consumers who attended last night’s Facebook Wine Meetup. It was inspiring to meet so many (50+) movers and shakers in this great industry. I look forward to this event continuing to grow and evolve, as well as rotate locations.
I’d also like to thank the rapidly growing readership by both consumers and industry, of Simple Hedonisms. It’s been a challenge with my very busy normal work life and 12 hour days, heavy travel, to produce articles, so its been very rewarding to me to see record hits of over 8000 per article. Small time compared to some wine blog giants, but for a 3 month old blog, and heavily local following, I’ll take it. I hope you will sign up for email updates, and follow regularly.
It was quite tough to pick where to spend my two days this weekend. I did use my own planning suggestions. One of my goals this event was to spend more time visiting the Alexander Valley participating wineries, as I don’t visit here enough. Thus Sunday is dedicated to mostly that, leaving me only one day for other 3 appellations. After a week of late nights and shortage of sleep, I don’t feel like engaging in a marathon race, so I am taking a more leisurely pace. As much as I’d prefer to bounce around my personal favorites, I am also trying to increase my first time visits.
I want to state that no negative connotation is meant if your winery isn’t mentioned. Yes, I have had negative experiences at some wineries – I will never publicly discuss those, and those are few enough that they don’t impact much. I got a few emails on yesterday’s recommendations with questions about why I recommended less in certain geographies, or specific wineries. Not being mentioned isn’t a slight to anyone; I have visited many of the 160 Wine Road wineries, but certainly I haven’t visited them all. Also remember that there are wineries not participating; I love Dutton-Goldfield, A. Rafanelli, and Iron Horse, as 3 examples, but they aren’t participating. If you’d like to network, discuss some blog coverage, contact me, I love to meet winery owners, winemakers.
Kendall-Jackson Wine Center – this expansive property is host of the annual Heirloom Tomato Festival, (don’t miss!) and few miles from my house. I will be focusing on their Highland Estates vineyard specific offerings, and check out what the buzz is about.
Windsor Oaks- my first visit to this location, that is only open 18 days a year.
Amista - I really enjoyed my first with owner Vicky Farrow at last night’s meetup, and our shared background of Technology industry marketing. She cinched the deal by sharing that this weekend only, for limited purchase and tasting, is their offer of a sparkling rose syrah. The only bubbles being poured Dry Creek Valley? Additionally each bottle purchased, $1 will be donated to Haiti relief fund.
Unti - I have keep hearing about Unti from wine friends, had their wines, time to see what the buzz is about.
Preston – One of the oldest supporters of Winter Wineland, and I love Lou’s Rhone varietals. I am also curious to see how the cats respond to the crowds.
Frick – Open weekends only, I enjoy their old world style wines, and making my first visit to the winery.
Ridge – another place I have yet to stop at. They were nice enough to support the Meetup, and are also raising funds for Haiti relief with a special tasting. They were were picked for the United Airlines ’3 Perfect Days in Sonoma’ so need to check it out!
I have lots of favorites in Dry Creek, I hope to have some time to drop in on some of my recommendations.
Hanna – My first visit to their Alexander Valley location.
Stryker Sonoma – time to hang out with Brian Shapiro, a great up and coming wine peep, and I have to try the 2005 Rockpile Merlot.
Trione - I wouldn’t escape alive if I came through Geyserville and didn’t stop in with Jess, the Future Mayor of Geyserville. And I love Hog Island oysters and Sauvignon blanc.
I also hope to drop by White Oak, Route 128 and Locals for the first time (say hi to Eric of Eric Ross Winery if you go), as well as Terroirs tasting room, but it’s Sunday – we will see what time I get out the door!
Michel-Schlumberger – overdue for a re-visit, and Simple Hedonisms part time editor Deb is making her debut pouring appearance, with a blog article to follow, so will be ending the day here. (I am aware this isn’t in Alexander Valley.)
Please have a great, fun, safe weekend. Only a few months away is the 32nd Annual Barrel Tasting Wine Road event. I plan a series of articles, and some winery spotlights during this 2 weekend special tasting event.
Life in Sonoma County is heavenly – cheers!