Posts Tagged ‘North Sonoma Wine Road’

Wine Road Barrel Tasting – First Friday 2012 (by Tracy Logan)

A post by Tracy Logan, Wine Road.

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@ Rafanelli- by Marta Hayden. Particularly popular BT spot.

I hit the Wine Road with Chicago journalist Jerry Nunn for a whirlwind day- do not attempt! Remember, Jerry and I are professionals! (I have always wanted to say that….)

Jerry and Tracy at Bella Villa Messina by Jerry Messina

I pick Jerry up at his lodging, the lovely Bella Villa Messina, and off we go!

First stop: Dave Coffaro WineryDave & Pat: experienced and knowledgeable King & Queen of Barrel Tasting:

Jerry Nunn, left, and Dave Coffaro Himself….

The Coffaro BT Setup – The Big Picture. Lots to sample- great Futures opportunities!

The Specific, Little Picture.

Next stop, Pedroncelli Winery , where we meet up with Ed and Julie Pedroncelli St. John- along Wine Road, it is all about owners, winemakers, proprietors- THE folks here for you, the visitor:

Winter vines….

Pedroncelli TR.

Jerry Nunn, left, and Julie Pedroncelli St. John.

I learned @ the Barrel, that Julie and Ed are Underdog Experts, entertaining us mightily, though Jerry was too young to remember….Polly Purebred rules with Julie- she thought it would be an excellent Little Sister Name….

Voiced by Wally Cox.

From left, Underdog, Polly Purebred and Jerry Nunn in the Barrel Room at Pedroncelli.

Romantic Pedroncelli: When you have their wines with your dinner, the bottle will be empty before you know it….

Next stop, downtown Geyserville:

Route 128 and Lorna Opatz:

Route 128 sparkling in the winter sun!

Jerry and Lorna!

Off down Geyserville Avenue south to The Meeker Winery where we are greeted by Charlie Meeker:

Charlie Meeker and Jerry….

Heading now to Mercury Wines ….

Grady and Brad Beard- Mercury Wines!

Next up, W2 Williamson Wines:

Jerry Nunn at the TR Bar at W2

Those wacky Williamsons- ALWAYS pairing their delicious wines with food!

Now it is time to drive out 128 over to Jimtown for lunch with Carrie Brown:

Carrie Brown and Jerry Nunn.

What a

great lunch….I LOVE the Olive and Brie on the sourdough….

Next, Starlite Vineyards all set for BT with their amazing viognier and zinfandel, and statue by Peter Crompton:

Wow- right there in the vineyards….

Starlite TR.

We drive through the Alexander Valley, through Chalk Hill and over to the RRV to Joseph Swan and Rod Berglund, another Wine Road King of BT:

Designs by Lynn Swan Berglund....a Queen of BT.

Designs by Lynn Swan Berglund….a Queen of BT.

Jerry and Rod.

Volunteer womanning the barrels at Joseph Swan.

Rod is always ready to offer up visuals to

explain exactly what is going on with the wines- here a soil display, totally geeky, totally endearing- Jerry and I learned a great deal….

Rod and Lynn are ready for BT: give us a place to BE THE SPITTING IMAGE!

Jerry and Rod- BT!!

Wow- lots of professional ground covered! We head back to Healdsburg and Bella Villa Messina- Jerry had an incredibly early flight out of SFO- so, off we go to dinner early at Scopa:

Amazing; completely delicious with wonderful ambiance!

Scopa- exquisite food, wine, service, atmosphere: amazingly delicious!


Lots of ground covered- great Friday #1 #WRBT 34th Annual- where were you in ’78? (Please excuse, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucaswhere were you in ’62?)

Here’s looking at you, kids.


Here are some amazing non-winter blossom shots I took today:

Ornamental Cherry tree on Matheson Street in Hburg- ready to pop since last Sunday!

The hounds of spring are definitely on winter’s traces- but let it pass, let it pass.


Barrel Tasting Weekend Feature Winery Sales on Bottled Wine

Yes, Barrel Tasting is all about futures, but many wineries are offering sales on finished wines as well. Take this list with you and stock up!


Russian River Valley

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  • 20% off mixed cases. 30% for wine club.

Desmond buy generic viagra Wines

  • Wine: Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 3 pack Vertical, 2007, 2008, 2009 (2007 Library)
  • Retail Price: $121.00
  • Special Pricing: $89.00


Not “participating” the second weekend but will be pouring barrel samples in our tasting room.

  • Wine: Foppiano Vineyards 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley
  • Retail Price: $18
  • Bottle and/or Case Promotion discount: 30% off during Barrel Tasting Weekends: $12.60 per bottle or $151.20 per case

Kendall-Jackson Wine Center

  • Wine: 2007 Jackson Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley and 2006 Highland Estates Trace Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley
  • Retail Price: $40 and $70
  • Bottle and/or Case Promotion discount: Single bottle 20% off (25% Wine Club) Case Sales 30% off, 35% wine club

Sheldon Winery

  • 15% Off any purchase of 4 bottles or more. (An additional 5% off for Sippy Wine Club Members)
  • 25% Off a 4-pack of the 2003 Sheldon Tawny Port (Still in barrel, we will bottle/label/wax dip for you to take with you). One time offer, only two barrels made. The Future is now!!

Windsor Oaks Vineyards & Winery

Futures made easy! Mix & match any of our 6 futures – 6+ bottles. 25% off. Plus, buy any futures and get 25% off any current release wines.

  • Wine: Reserve Chardonnay 3 vintage 2007-2009 Vertical Box Set with Lobster Bisque Recipe.
  • Retail: $125
  • Special: $89 Only 60 sets available. This wine & food pairing is featured in our Reserve room all weekend.
  • 2009 “Vin Gris” Rose of Pinot Noir
  • Retail price $19
  • Case Special $175 (25% discount), Half Case $99 (15% discount)

Hop Kiln

  • Proprietary blend Big Red for $150 a case. White wine blend Thousand Flowers for $120. per case. 40% savings on both!


Alexander Valley

J. Rickards

  • Wine: 2008 Zinfandel, Ancestor Selections
  • Retail Price: $22
  • Discount: 30% off (40% off for our Wine Club), no minimum
  • Wine: 2010 Kizmet, White Bordeaux Blend
  • Retail Price: $18
  • Discount: 30% off (40% off for our Wine Club), no minimum

Sausal Winery

  • Wine: 2008 Private Reserve Zinfandel, 100% Estate Zinfandel from 95 year-old vines
  • Retail Price: $24.00/$288.00
  • Promotion: viagra buy 25% OFF full case purchases only


  • Bottle Discounts on all wines: 2-5 bottles are 10% OFF, 6-11 bottles are 15% OFF
  • Case Discounts: Full or mixed 20% OFF

White Oak

  • Wine: 2006 Napa Valley Merlot and 2006 Napa Valley Syrah (91 points Wine Enthusiast) – OK to mix & match!
  • Retail Price: $26/bottle or $312/case
  • Bottle and/or Case Promotion discount:
    • 1 bottle – $16.00 (your savings – $8.00!)
    • 6 botttles – $60.00 (your savings – $84.00!)
    • 1 case – $99.00 (your savings – ($189!)
    • Wine Club Pricing– Join for FREE @
      • 1 bottle – $10 ( your savings – $16.00!)
      • 6 bottles – $48.00 (your savings – $108!)
      • 12 bottles = $72.00 (your savings – $240!)

Dry Creek Valley

Amista Vineyards

  • Wine: 2005 Estate Syrah, Morningsong Vineyards
  • Retail Price: $30.00
  • Bottle and/or Case Promotion discount: Single bottle $5 off, Case Sales 30% off, 50% cases for Wine Club members


  • Wine: 2010 PoiZin
  • Retail Price: $300/case
  • Case promotion: $198/case



Hawkes Winery

  • Wine: 2010 Red Winery Vineyard Cabernet, 2010 Stone Vineyard Cabernet, & 2010 Pyramid Vineyard Cabernet
  • Retail Price: $70
  • Bottle and/or Case Promotion discount: 20% discount for non-wine club members (50% discount for wine club members) with 4-bottle minimum purchase, 12-bottle maximum purchase

Manzanita Creek Winery

  • Wine: 2010 Foothill Vineyard Chardonnay
  • Retail Price: $22.00
  • Bottle and/or Case Promotion discount: Single bottle 25% off (30% Wine Club)
  • Wine: 2007 Alfonso Old Vine Zinfandel, Russian River Valley
  • Retail Price: $28.00
  • Promotion: Single bottle 50% off (55% Wine Club)
  • Wine: 2008 Melange, Red Table Blend (Merlot, Zinfandel & Syrah)
  • Retail Price: $33.00
  • Promotion: Single bottle 50% off (55% Wine Club)


Have a GREAT Weekend. Be safe, spit or dump, support your local producer with purchases, and if on Twitter, use Hashtag #WRBT when you Tweet & Check in on Foursquare.



Related Articles

Guest post: Two More Routes for the Barrel Tasting, plus North Coast Events for March 9 – 15

Thoughts from Wine Road Barrel Tasting Weekend One. Share Your Thoughts & Win Tickets to Weekend Two.

Wine Road Barrel Tasting – The Premier Wine Buying Event of The Season. Learn, Share and Win Tickets! (4 winners!)

Barrel Tasting Insights – What am I Tasting & Do I Get Splinters? What should I buy?

My thoughts on Wine Road Barrel Tasting. Tell us yours and win tickets.

Observations of Wine Road Barrel Tasting Week One; Suggestions & Ticket Contest for Week Two


Wine Road Barrel Tasting – The Premier Wine Buying Event of The Season. Learn, Share and Win Tickets! (4 winners!)

Barrel Tasting – an event in North Sonoma rich in history. In fact this is the 34th anniversary.

I look forward with great anticipation to the six days of Barrel Tasting

, across two weekends, as do many of the 20,000+ attendees, many of whom fly in from all over the country to taste and stock up on wine, both bottled and futures.

At the end of this article is a chance to win a pair of tickets – 4 winners – so read on!


Barrel Tasting Is For Serious Wine Lovers

I have written numerous articles about Barrel Tasting over the last 3 years, and will admit I am a staunch advocate.

It’s an event that can garner complaints from some locals, jaded hospitality staff, and the occasional cheap Media sensationalism title to get a reader, but the reality is it’s a serious wine tasting & buying event for many, not a party.

The few stories that are bound to happen when 20,000 people go wine tasting, shouldn’t be overshadowed by the people who drive & fly in, from all corners of the US to taste & buy wine. Lets focus on those.


Toss Away Your Stereotypes & Get Some Perspective

Last year, I wrote two articles with dozens of people posting their positive comments on this event, and many who wrote to me as well. Generally, other than inter-industry chatter, consumers are quiet on blogs, but in this case over 40 came out to say something.

Everyone has a bad story about this event, but sadly what’s not shared enough are the many great ones, which last years comments highlighted for me, including one reader who wrote me, asking I not stereotype ” ALL buses as bad.” She was part of a group that every year rents a bus and drives several hours North, and everyone on the bus are serious tasters, all of whom leave with cases of wine. I stood corrected, and perhaps lost a regular reader.

These letters and comments made me realize just how many people really enjoy this event, with comments like:

“I LOVE Barrel Tasting, it’s a chance to get together with friends, who have varied experience with wine”


“This was our third year barrel tasting and we pretty much have it down to a science with strategic routes for Friday and Saturday, while Sunday is more relaxed meandering around downtown Healdsburg.”


“I had an excellent experience during weekend one of Barrel Tasting. The future wines were fun to try and then comparing them to a finished product was an experience that led to the purchase of so many cases of wine that my hybrid was doing a wheelie on the drive home to Berkeley!”


“Barrel tasting has become an annual event for my friends and I. In fact, we collectively have several wine club memberships as a result of Wine Road events.”


“I haven’t missed Barrel Tasting in years. I started going when I was a student at SSU. I got so hooked on the event that I decided to invite my cousins and make a weekend out of it. We use it as a bonding weekend to try fabulous new wines and taste old favorites. I love Barrel Tasting because it brings wine lovers together for one reason. I always come away with new stories, great memories, and a great new wine collection. I never leave a winery empty-handed and often come home with cases. I have also purchased futures and especially love going back when they are ready to try my favorites again!”

Just a small selection of the 40+ comments received.


Stop The Whining About Wine-ing

I love the wine business and wineries, but some it seems are never happy. “Its been dead for weeks.” “This event had no traffic.” “Oh my GOD, There were TOO MANY people.”

So which is it? It’s interesting for me to observe, often first hand, wineries that make a huge success, year over year, of the Wine Road’s three events, including this one, and those that decline every year, and bitch & moan in the process.

Having worked closely with some, (and been on the other side of the barrel) its all about attitude, preparation, and outlook. Is every person who comes into your tasting room an opportunity to join your wine club, or just some pain in the ass who drank too much that is in buy viagra without rx your way until 5 pm comes? You decide. I can tell you those who view it the former, always lead in sales results.

I have written repeatedly about the importance of the tasting room experience and its impact on wine sales. It’s as important (if not more important) than the quality of the wine. The winery with a great hospitality experience and mediocre wine will outsell the winery with the reverse, every time.

Locals, yes Healdsburg can be a bit crazy Saturday afternoon I know. Our hotels, shops, and restaurants are also all full. If you can’t

appreciate what this does for our tax base and smile just a bit, consider it a great weekend to get out of town.


What Barrel Tasting IS:

  • A chance to taste some great wines.
  • A chance to learn about wine that isn’t done yet, and the wine making process.
  • A chance to buy great wine and save some dollars, both in futures and finished wine sales.

I have more detailed information and suggestions in articles: My thoughts on Wine Road Barrel Tasting and Barrel Tasting Insights – What am I Tasting & Do I Get Splinters? What should I buy?

As always, I suggest you print out the Wine Road program, and make a plan. Some wineries participate early on Friday, this is an EXCELLENT opportunity for more attention and less traffic. Some wineries also only participate the first weekend.


What To Bring:

  • The program guide, with your plan:
  • A cooler to put your wine purchases in. Yes its going to be 70 degrees. Bring a cooler. Heat kills wine.
  • Some food items. Since much of Dry Creek and Russian River is sparse in dining options, bring a picnic, a blanket and take a meal break. Or make your plan around dining somewhere in Geyserville, Healdsburg, or Santa Rosa. This is a day to be enjoyed, stop and smell the roses and eat lunch – its will enhance your day and experience. Its not a contest to see how many wineries you can visit.
  • Common sense. If you hate crowds and/or want to visit popular wineries, make your plan accordingly. Go to less busy areas like Geyserville & Russian River during peak times, and hit Dry Creek, Healdsburg, and popular wineries on Friday, first thing Saturday or Sunday morning.

Ok, Can I Win Tickets Already?

This Thursday Mar 1st, at 6 p.m. we will draw 4 pairs of winners for the Second weekend (March 9-11).

To win one of two ways (enter both!)

(1) Tell me in comments any one of the following:

  • Have you attended Barrel Tasting before, and what is your favorite part of the event? OR
  • Have you ever purchased futures before? Where? OR
  • If you won tickets, what winery do you want to go to most, and why? (Please make sure the winery you pick is participating, the list is here.




(2) Sign up for Simple Hedonisms email updates in the top right corner.

Its secure, private, and simply emails you when we have new articles. Nothing else. (Important – you will receive a confirmation email to complete your subscription, you must finish that step to be eligible.)


I look forward to hearing your thoughts and giving away some tickets! See you on the Wine Road – Heaven Condensed!


Related Articles

Barrel Tasting Insights – What am I Tasting & Do I Get Splinters? What should I buy?

My thoughts on Wine Road Barrel Tasting. Tell us yours and win tickets.

Observations of Wine Road Barrel Tasting Week One; Suggestions & Ticket Contest for Week Two


Tracy's Wine Road Lodging: Vine Hill Inn

Post by Tracy Logan

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Vine Hill Inn, an award-winning and beautifully restored @ 1897 Victorian farmhouse, my canadian pharmacy online not only delivers romantic accommodations, but also brings it with great breakfast, lovely grounds, cool pool, vineyard views and a small menagerie including Boots the Inn Cat, pet chickens, goat and mini-horse.

The warm and helpful concierge/innkeeper/proprietor/chief cook, Kathy, will make your stay memorable and assist with dinner reservations, touring and visiting local wineries, spas and attractions.

Breakfast, with a bit of advance notice, can not only accommodate special dietary needs, but can also be served at a time that works best for the guest. Weddings- and other special events- for up to 125 guests- can be done here, employing the porches, grassy garden areas and back by the pool, all bordered by vineyards and softly undulating landscapes.

Vine Hill Inn Wonder Mini-Horse.
Swimming, sunning, relaxing, rejuvenating.
Gardens and old-fashioned porch for sitting, reading, chatting.


four differently-themed rooms have private baths and either a private or shared porch. Though in a country setting, Vine Hill Inn is convenient to wineries, restaurants, the charming, distinctive little town of Sebastopol, and the Pacific Ocean.

View from the Inn- VERY Russian River Valley AVA characteristic.

Check out nearby:

Dutton Estate Winery

Red Car


Merry Edwards

Graton Ridge Cellars

Here’s looking at you, kids.



Nov 5 & 6 is the North Sonoma Wine Road "Wine & Food Affair" a Simple Hedonisms Favorite.

The Wine Road Wine & Food Affair is one of my favorite events in the County and of the year. It features over 100 wineries from Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley offering their great wines, paired with some of the very best food to be found, from some of Sonoma Counties best chef's and caterers.

Oh and pssst, listen close. TICKET SALES END TODAY. No exceptions!

The Cookbook Alone is Worth It

Admission includes this years stunning 308 page cookbook. I love this event viagra online sales so much I have sought out and bought almost all of the years bound copies in existence – and what an evolution over 13 years. Gorgeous full bottle shots, amazing recipes, of course paired with wine.

Each winery has two pages.  On the left is a bottle shot (each one shot just for this cookbook)  and some background on the origin of the recipe. This one from Mounts Family Winery, a personal favorite in Dry Creek, describes Lana Mounts family heritage and tie in to the dish, created by Jude Affronti, of Affronti Restaurant.

What is also amazing to me is how much this book has evolved. An early fan of the Wine Road, in the stint I left the Bay area for brief sojourns in Seattle, Denver, and Baja Mexico, I acquired used copies of previous years on to keep me company.  Shown here side by side is the 2011 308 page cookbook, compared to the softbound, black & white, 160 page bound version from 2000. (Which is when I had started working for a Petaluma startup known as Calix.)

No Ticket Sales At the Door

Tickets are $70 in advance AND include this $35 cookbook. Even without the cookbook, $35 a day for the best of this regions food and wine is the least expensive, high quality entertainment you'll find. Try getting a bottle of wine and a good dinner for two for much less than that!

Ticket sales end this Monday Oct 31st. , if they don't sell out prior. (Which many years they do – so don't wait!)

There is also a Sunday only option for $50. Are

you a foodie more than a wine-o? DD tickets are $30.


1. Make A Plan.

Every year when I write about this event, I have the same primary suggestion plan. (See Don’t Miss! The Wine Road’s 11th Annual Wine & Food Affair. (tips inside))

This event is one to savor and enjoy, not racing around guzzling wine. As of this time, the downloadable guide is not yet available (I will add when it is) but you can go to , click “Program”  and look at the pairings each winery is offering – this event is as much about choosing the food as it is the wine!

2. Map Your Route Around Traffic Times, Patterns

Some areas and wineries get VERY BUSY. Others that are new, or off the beaten track will be more manageable. Saturday afternoon is typically the busiest, especially in downtown Healdsburg and Dry Creek Valley. Consider saving those for Sunday, or doing first thing in the day. Many Russian River Valley wineries (downloadable map) , because they are more spread out, don't get quite as heavily traffic.

Seek out some new wineries you haven't been to before. Also remember not all Wine Road wineries participate, so it's a good idea to again check the list of participating wineries.

3. Dump or Spit

This concept is as much about being able to properly appreciate the wines, as it is being responsible. After tasting at 2 wineries, if you have swallowed everything poured, you will have consumed enough alcohol to limit your sensory abilities. Essentially you have migrated from wine tasting and appreciation to drinking. And hey, if you have a DD and thats your thing, power to you., but for those of you looking to expand your wine appreciation consider this: Dump a wine in your glass you don't love, or try the experience of spitting – the standard 16 oz plastic disposable cup is the standard weapon, and some wineries will have these out. Taste like a Pro, and you may get some special pours to boot.

4. Support Your Local Artisans: Take Home Some Wine

Yes you did pay for these tickets – but most of that money supports the event, and perhaps some of the food costs. These wineries, the vast majority of whom are very small family businesses, make money one way: WHEN YOU BUY WINE.

Buy a few less Starbuck's lattes and/or that grocery store mass produced wine  – if you like a wine you taste, buy a bottle. It will help you appreciate and remember the event, and you show your support for a local business and artisan, as well as have something great to take home.  (ps put a cooler in the car – we often have nice weather for this event, always better to throw it one.)

Come Back Next Wednesday for Wine Sales Incentives Articles

Some of the wineries will offer sales incentives this weekend  on new releases, other inventory for single bottles, case purchases, and more. I will publish a list of special promo's sorted by region. This has been a popular article in the past as its a great chance to stock up – holidays are coming! Come back next Wednesday for this list AND a special announcement.

Follow the WineRoad on Facebook & Twitter, and “Live Broadcasts” via Twitter Hashtag

The Wine Road Executive Director is one of the best I know in Winery Social Media, and will keep you well informed. Follow the Wine Road on Facebook and on Twitter . To follow Tweets during the event follow Hashtag #WAFA11 or click here.

See you on the Wine Road – Heaven Condensed! (Love that old slogan!)

Related Articles

Don’t Miss! The Wine Road’s 11th Annual Wine & Food Affair. (tips inside)

The North Sonoma Wine Road launches their iPhone App: Review & User Tutorial


My thoughts on Wine Road Barrel Tasting. Tell us yours and win tickets.

This weekend (this Friday actually at select wineries) kicks of the first of two weekends of Wine Road Barrel Tasting.

19,000 advance tickets have been sold (a new record), so clearly the event is growing in popularity. If for some reason you didn’t purchase (shame on you) or would like tickets for a second weekend, at the end of the article you can read how to very easily win a pair! (Jump ahead if you are impatient.)

Barrel Tasting Explained

I will provide a short overview here. For more detail, you can read my previous article Barrel Tasting Insights – What am I Tasting & Do I Get Splinters? What should I buy?

More and more  wineries and consumers are warming to the idea of Barrel Tasting.

This is basically the concept of buying futures. How far in future can vary, but most wineries are tasting stuff that will be bottled this year and in your hands no later than fall. The consumer’s reward: – big discount, ranging from 20-40% plus. The winery’s benefit – cash flow. Cash is king, and I know small wineries who work on such a tight budget they sometimes are counting pennies to be able to bottle or label, and this become a key part of generating capital. Others have completely integrated it into their business model and have a large following.

What Barrel Tasting Isn’t

A drunk-fest. Each year the Wine Road has made progress towards this goal. Wineries and serious consumers alike are fed up with drunks rolling off a bus after pounding drinks, acting like idiots and worse. This has decreased dramatically over the years – the welcome is worn thin. These people aren’t buying wine generally, and are not a loss. Expect less than warm welcomes at more venues, and being denied service. If that’s your goal, go to Happy Hour. I will spot you a drink. Unfortunately these people aren’t likely reading a wine blog but just putting the widespread sentiment out there.

My Two Cents on Barrel Tasting

Whether you are interested in saving money via futures, or just a fun educational weekend tasting, Barrel Tasting is an excellent weekend to taste, learn and explore. You don’t even have to Barrel Taste if don’t want to. All wineries are pouring finished wine, some new releases. For $30 at the door for two days, its a great opportunity. I encourage those new to wine to try a few barrel samples, but remember, as the detailed article explains, this is unfinished wine. Try 1-2 and then perhaps focus your experience on learning and tasting regular wines.

For those a bit more exposed to tasting wine, try barrel samples. Where you can, compare them to the currently bottled finished wine, if offered. (Not always possible.) This is an excellent way to see how much a wine can change.

Again its important to remember, even if going to be bottled shortly, wines, especially reds will be bottled aged for 3-12+ months before release, and will continue to evolve. I watched consumers struggle with this at a recently blending seminar, when they were frustrated they couldn’t blend 3 varietals from barrel to compare to the finished wine that had a year in bottle. It won’t.

If you aren’t very experienced with futures, buying something that will not be bottled by summer maybe risky. The wine could change a lot.

If its a wine release you have had over multiple years, like it, buy it regularly, and the barrel sample tastes good, this is probably a good investment, saving money for a wine you’ll buy anyway.

The future I always buy is a varietal (grape) not common here (a surprise I know), I have loved the last 3 releases, and the winery aggressively discounts the future, 5% over industry. Unless the vintage had some significant  change, this is a no brainer repeat for me. It also assures me I get sufficient quantity of a wine I really like, before it sells out.

Ok, How Do I Win Tickets Already?

EASY! And thanks for sticking through. There are TWO ways to win – read carefully, you can do BOTH!

Answer any of these:

1. Tell us what you like about Barrel Tasting. Do you buy futures ever? Why or Why Not? We will draw 2 pairs of tickets from answers.

2. Subscribe to Simple Hedonisms via Email. Receive new articles one time a day (max, usually less) so you never miss one. All email is secure and never used or shared. We will draw a winner from all subscribers. If you can not attend, we will send a Wine Road cookbook or alternate item.  NOTE! you must confirm your subscription to be eligible – you will receive a confirmation email immediately, you must open and click. Unconfirmed subscribers are not eligible.

Drawing is 330 pm Thursday!

Come Back for Our Regular Sales Incentives Article

As we do for all Wine Road events, Simple Hedonisms will run an article highlighting special sales of finished wines, as a supplement to Barrel Tasting. This is very handy to print out, and stock up, saving a few extra dollars to boot. Watch for it!


Cheers and thank you for reading Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog ! We are delighted and honored by continued growth – February was another record month with over 6700 readers and 250,000 hits!

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Evolve Your Wine Road Barrel Tasting Experience with the March 5th Riedel Seminar. (Special discount code for readers only)

I regularly comment on the outstanding job the Wine Road of Northern Sonoma does organizing and promoting its 3 key events for member AVAs (regions) Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley & Sonoma Coast. Apparently others do as well as membership is now burgeoning at 200 and still growing.

The Wine Road continues to evolve its annual 3 events to be more than just wine tasting or a weekend party, and into a full appreciation of food pairings, education and art.

Barrel Tasting

March  4-5th and 13-14th is the 33rd Annual Barrel Tasting. I intend to publish a few additional articles on barrel tasting and the event, but for now last year’s blog  Barrel Tasting Insights – What am I Tasting & Do I Get Splinters? What should I buy? should get you by and is still pertinent.

The event spans two weekends, and at $20 in advance (each weekend)  is about the biggest value a wine tasting bracelet event has to offer. Printable program guide can be downloaded here. FYI – Advance ticket sales end next Monday.

Riedel Wine Tasting Seminar – Saturday March 5th  – Special Discount Code only found here

If you haven’t attended one of these, they are pretty amazing. Check out Katherine Parker’s recent experience at one in her recent article.  For you naysayers on stemware making a difference – I highly encourage you to try.

The February issue of Wine Business Monthly (not available online yet), editor Cyril Penn kicks off an article by Sommelier Chris Sawyer that does an in depth analysis on stemware and wine sensory evaluation. He shares he too was a skeptic until attending one of these.

The seminar is  a unique and fascinating wine and glass tasting, and will demonstrate the relationship between the shape of a glass and our perception and enjoyment of wines. Try this mind-blowing experience that will change your wine life!

Tickets are normally $90 which includes a Barrel Tasting ticket, the seminar, and the four Vinum glasses  – valued at  $116.

Simple Hedonism readers can use code HEDONISMS (exactly like that, in capital) to save $20, making the seminar, glasses and a weekend ticket only $70.

This seminar is limited to 100 people and only 30 tickets are left – if you are interested, do not procrastinate!

More Barrel Tasting Articles to Come – Requests Welcome

We will be publishing several more articles on the event. If you have any questions or topics of interest, post them in comments and thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog  – cheers!cialis discount prices

Highlights of This Weekend’s Wine Road “Winter Wineland”

This weekend in Northern Sonoma is the 19th annual Winter Wineland on the Wine Road, Northern Sonoma County. As I wrote last month, this event has an extra special place in my heart, as it was the final trigger to convert me from monthly visitor  to avid resident of Sonoma County.

140 Wineries in the 30 miles radius of Russian River, Dry Creek, Alexander Valley, and Healdsburg will participate. Advance ticket sales ended yesterday, but at $55 for two days, its one of the best values in entertainment around. (There is also a Sunday only option for $45. DD are $5.)

Wine ~ Art ~ Education

Never content with status quo, the Wine Road crew has expanded the focus of the event; each winery will have a unique focus on something related to Art or Education as well, enhancing your weekend experience.

Tips to Maximize Your Weekend

Last year I wrote an in depth article on advice for getting the most out of your weekend. The premise remains; with SO much to do, take a few moments to make a plan.

You can download this years detailed program here. Take a few minutes, pick out things of interest, and combine them with wines you enjoy; pick a few of your favorites wineries as well as venture out new.

Interesting Picks

I got together with an industry friend to see what stood out in the guide. I will confess in advance the Wine Geek in me, dominates over the Art side. Some wineries will have more specifics of what they are offering, than maybe in the guide, but we had to base it on what information was provided.

Benovia Winery 3339 Hartman Road Santa Rosa – Learn all about barrels, how they are made from Sequin Moreau of France.

Camellia Cellars 57 Front Street Healdsburg – Featuring folk art by Kathy Joseph and Chris Lewand. Recycled broken china and pottery, called “Pique Assiette”, are made into both useful and whimsical items, many with a wine theme. the artists will be present, working & available to answer questions on technique.

Clos du Bois Wines 19410 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville – Live Music, plus  offering a video education demonstration on Barrel Production,Winemaking and Wine Cave excavation!!

David Coffaro Vineyard & Winery 7485 Dry Creek Rd, Geyserville –  Art Exhibit with Andrea Cleall. Andrea is known for her use of vibrant color and will show her lush Sonoma County landscapes.  Also a  Tasting Seminar with Matt Wilson. Can you taste the difference? Showcasing the 2009 Petite Sirah in two formats. Taste the version that was bottled in August of 2010 and then compare it to the same wine that remains in French oak barrels for additional aging.

Dutton-Goldfield Winery 3100 Gravenstein Hwy. N Sebastopol –  Local artist, Bonnie Soule Karlsen, will be showcasing her representational and abstract artwork inspired by Sonoma County. We offer a designated sensory area where wine tasters can broaden their scope of understanding aromatics, soils, and different aspects of grape growing and winemaking.

Frick Winery 23072 Walling Road, Geyserville – The warm campfire will be roasting hot dogs and smores. Inside the small tasting cottage view walls covered with art by Judith Gannon. Winter is Syrah time with six vintages of Frick Estate Syrah being featured 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008. Three new releases of Syrah. Learn about THE winter vineyard job of pruning with demonstrations of head pruning techniques.

Hauck Cellars 223 Center Street, Healdsburg – Sensory Experience: each aromatic component of their wines (cherry,chocolate, etc) will be isolated in a separate glass. After testing the aromas in isolation, you’ll be better able to identify the bouquet of each wine.

Inspiration Vineyards and Winery 3360 Coffey Lane, Suite E, Santa Rosa – Hosting long time glass artist Diana Jameson whose love for color and the Sonoma County landscape are the Inspiration for her fused glass creations; many of which are functional pieces. Also be offering an exercise in training your nose to some common wine components.

Inman Family Wines 3900 Piner Road, Santa Rosa – For Winter Wineland the Inmans will unveil a new display highlighting the history of the Olivet Grange Vineyard and the families who have farmed and made wine at the property.

Kendall-Jackson – Healdsburg 337 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg – Develop your wine vocabulary and ability to identify aromas in wine. Visit and learn more about the “aroma wheel” while discovering the subtle differences in wine aromas & bouquets. It’s an opportunity to smell wines to determine the primary characteristics found in a particular wine.

Kendall-Jackson Wine Center 5007 Fulton Road, Fulton  – Visit the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center and meet their Wine Educators, learn the difference between wine aged in new oak barrels and wine aged in neutral oak barrels.

Kokomo Winery 4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg – Turn your attention to Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. Join them for a unique tasting and cheese pairing highlighting just how different clones of Pinot Noir can be! Featuring two Pinot Noirs from the same vintage, vineyard and winemaker but from two unique clones – isolating the variable to the clone. The tasting starts with the lighter, more delicate 2A clone that shows the elegant Burgundian side of  the varietal, then moves to the Pommard clone which is more intense in flavor and highlights the richer side. Both wines are from Peters Vineyard in southwest Sebastopol and are grown by Kokomo partner Randy Peters. This eye opening experience will show you just how different clones of the same varietal can be!

Merriam Vineyards 11650 Los Amigos Road Healdsburg – The Wonderful World of Water! The clear choice: Learn about the importance of their environmentally sustainable water reclamation program, one of the few constructed wetlands in Sonoma County. Become mesmerized by a kinetic water sculpture, created by world famous Sonoma County artist Ned Kahn. Water scenes photographed by local artist Lance Keuhne will be on display and offered for sale. To warm you, a  cassoulet with duck confit will be paired with award winning Bordeaux varietals…

Mill Creek Vineyards & Winery 1401 Westside Road, Healdsburg – Can you REALLY read a wine label? Come learn the “code” and discover all the secrets a wine label holds.

Mounts Family Winery 3901 Wine Creek Road, Healdsburg –  Live  Music, and Snuggle up to a warm fire.  Winemaker David Mounts will be pouring  award-winning Petite Sirah, Zinfandel & Grenache to name a few! Learn about the unique & complex soils we have throughout our ranch from Richard Mounts, vineyard owner and 63 year old resistant of Dry Creek Valley.

Old World Winery 850 River Road, Fulton – New Wine Road member will be pouring all of  their current releases along with a couple of library selections of perfectly aged Zinfandel. They will be giving tours of the facility and discussing how wine was made 100 years ago,which is how they strive to make it today. See actual working demonstrations of a bottle corker that is ~100 years old!

Silver Oak Cellars 24625 Chianti Road, Geyserville – Meet Brad Petersen, our Alexander Valley Vineyard Manager to discuss the evolution of our farming practices since 1972, grapes sustainably grown for generations to come.

Thumbprint Cellars 102 Matheson Street, Healdsburg; – Ready, Set, Mac Off! Join Thumbprint for their Second Annual Mac Off on Saturday. Enjoy local chef creations of extreme Mac-N-Cheese and  wine.

Vintage Wine Estates 308 B Center Street, Healdsburg – Pairing local artisan cheeses with our Sparkling,  Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel wines.  Learn tips for creating great wine and cheese pairings on your own.

Free Ticket Contest!

Simple Hedonisms will be giving away 3 pairs of Tickets to this weekend’s event: The first two will be from (verified) email subscribers (secure, confidential) top right, and the 3rd pair  for a trivia contest I will announce tomorrow.

Come Back Thursday for Part 2 – Featured Winery Sales Incentives

While visiting your favorite wineries, and visiting new, remember these small artisans sell wine for a living, remember your visit with a bottle or 12 to enjoy later. This Thursday, Simple Hedonisms will publish some of the special sales some of the Winter Wineland participants are offering, but look around for specials and stock up on memories – wine is as much an experience as a beverage!


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