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Help me narrow my winery choices!

Oklahoma City...
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Help me narrow my winery choices!

We will be in the Healdsburg area for 4 days, this weekend. My list keeps growing of places to visit. Please help me narrow down my choices. We really like Pinot Noir, Cabs & Syrahs. I like small places, scenery isn't as important. Our favorite tasting last spring was Siduri & Novy and in Sonoma, Tin Barn, both are in an industrial park.

Day 1

Unti

Perry Papapietro

Yoakim Bridge

Zichichi Family

Preston

Bella

Gustafson Family

Day 2

Toad Hollow

Everett Ridge

Porter Creek

Rodney Strong

MacMurry

Arista

Hop Kiln

Day 3

Paradise Ridge

Siduri & Novy

Carol Shelton

Martinelli

DeLoach

Pellegrini

Balletto

Hanna

Day 4 (Sonoma)

Sojurn

Other places by Sonoma square?

at Tin Barn, Anaba, Robodelo last Spring

Is it worth going to some tasting rooms? Locals, Family Wineries of Dry Creek Valley, any others?

Thanks so much, we will be staying on West Dry Creek Road, so there are many to stop & visit to and from our lodging.

united states
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1. Re: Help me narrow my winery choices!

WOW!!! your list is extensive! Good for you.

The ones that we have in common are Pappapietro Perry, Unti, Yoakim Bridge, Bella, Zichichi.

We are most interested in Zinfandel and Cabs, so I'm not much help on the Pinots but I see you have Sojurn and can't help but wonder if you read and were influenced by hawkeye's post regarding them. :)

We have been to Preston and it was a lukewarm experience for us, but in that same complex ( Family Wineries on Dry Creek Rd) , along with Pappapietro's is Kokomo which I recommend highly.

At the end of Dry Creek Rd is Sbragia which has come highly recommended to me from about 6 different sources, not all from TA or other forums, so they are on my Must See's.

I really like Rodney Strong, even though it is a large producer, they have some reserve wines that are very good and worth trying. If you can get there early that is best as they are on the tour bus circuit and it can get really busy very quickly.

In Sonoma Valley, since you are syrah fans, you really need to stop in at Chris Loxton's in Glen Ellen. While in that neighborhood, you might enjoy Imagery just for the uniqueness of the wines they produce. In Sonoma town proper, we like Charles Creek. I understand that there are several new tasting rooms around the square in the last couple of years, but don't really know about them. Charles Creek makes 2 wines we really like- the Muy Bonito and the La Bamba chocolate-infused port.

We love Paradise Ridge- either venue is nice but the big place outside Santa Rosa has fabulous views of the valley and if you are up there at sunset you are really in for a treat.

Carol Shelton's place is apparently in an industrial park, and that may be a turn off for some. We had tried her wine on several occasions and never cared for it until this last Harvest Fair when we had the Bacchus and the Maple Vineyard Zin. I think its quite expensive compared to others that I like as well or better, but she does have some things worth trying.

As far as your groupings, They make sense to me...but the map is at the other end of the house and anybody who has read my posts knows that if the map isn't handy I can make big goofs on winery locations. ;) Your 3rd day looks like a bit of a stretch considering that you have 8 for that day and they are pretty spread out. Not sure what I would pare out of it though-

perhaps the Siduri/Novy since you have been there already.

sounds like fun! Please do write after the trip and tell us about your experiences.

Cheers!

Oklahoma City...
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2. Re: Help me narrow my winery choices!

Thanks otherfootloose, read some of your postings today! Yes, need to pair down, no more than 3-4 a day. Can't afford to visit any more! Just too many, so I thought I would get other opinions to help narrow choices! Thanks!

united states
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3. Re: Help me narrow my winery choices!

2 things you can look into for cost cutting...Visa Signature program which offers free tastings and discounts on purchases at wineries enrolled with the program ( If you hold a Visa Signature card you are eligible) and the Ticket to the Wine Road program which offers discounts on quite a few Dry Creek, Russian River and Alex. Valley area wineries. Coupons of some type are often available at the lodging sites and of course the visitor centers all have them as well. Especially in Dry Creek we found there to be a real spirit of cooperation among the wineries and when we asked for suggestions in the tasting rooms we were often given coupons for places they suggested to us.

You do have quite a few appointment stops planned, and I think that those take a bit longer since they are more personalized. I know that my opthamologist was recently visiting at Unti and they were there 2 1/2 hours! :) Had a blast and insists that its a must see!

As you are Cab folks, I note this morning that you don't have Raymond Burr on there. I was under the idea that Cab folks really need to see that one.

Oh, and by the way,, I said last night that we have been to Preston, and once again I was thinking of Petersen which is in the Family Wineries complex on Dry Creek Rd, so nix on that commentary from last night.

On day 2, you could take out Hop Kiln and visit the tasting room in Sonoma Valley on day 4 instead ( actually in town I think- it was just getting ready to open in October) unless its the buildings you are interested in. Also, where is Mac Murray? Its not on my map and the only one I know is on the coast. That would be WAAAY out of the way .

If I were going to pare out from day 3, I would choose Balletto and Hanna because they are the furthest out from the rest of the group. Or, if those are important, then I'd take out the ones in Santa Rosa and put Paradise Ridge on the day for Sonoma and go to the Kenwood tasting room. That would leave you with everything in the Green Valley area for the day.

OR...you can do like me and have this great list all set and then get there and make about half the list and stop on impulse at places you think look interesting and totally tank all the planning after the second day. :)!

Healdsburg, CA
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4. Re: Help me narrow my winery choices!

otherfootloose- I think you may have Preston confused with Peterson. Peterson is in the family wineries complex with Papapietro Perry. Preston is over between Bella and ZIchichi. I actually haven't tasted at Preston, but we have lots of guests really enjoy both the wines, and the facility because they do have the farm that they supply the winery with.

For the Pinots, I would definitely include Porter Creek and Arista, those are two of my favorites on Westside Road. I also really like the Pinot and Syrah at Kokomo, which is actually in the Dry Creek Valley, in the family wineries next to Papapietro Perry.

ZIchichi and Bella are great! Prepare to spend some time at Gustafson; it's a private appointment and we've had guests spend a good majority of their day there.

Otherwise, otherfootloose had great recommendations!

Innkeeper Mandie

Honor Mansion

Healdsburg, CA
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5. Re: Help me narrow my winery choices!

Sorry otherfootloose, just saw your paragraph about preston vs peterson!

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6. Re: Help me narrow my winery choices!

We did wine tasting in Santa Rosa a few days ago at Paradise Ridge, definitely keep that one on the list. We also loved our tasting at Benovia, we did the barrel tasting, you may have to make an appontment at this one. They produce some excellent Pinot Noir there. Matanzas Creek is another great one in Santa Rosa. We had excellent meals at Willi's Wine Bar and John Ash while in Santa Rosa.

Enjoy your time in the wine country! :)

london
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7. Re: Help me narrow my winery choices!

I can definitely recommend Preston if you like Syrah and other Rhone varietals. We had a great tasting there last year and the setting is very scenic too. Loxtons in Glen Ellen is probably our favourite tasting anywhere, ever. And we've tasted a lot of wine all over the world! Chatting with Chris Loxton was one of the highlights of our trip to California. Enjoy your trip. I'm envious.

Oklahoma City...
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8. Re: Help me narrow my winery choices!

thanks for all the suggestions! I am getting so excited! I like the ideas of moving a couple to the sonoma area, since i was a little short on places in that area.

otherfootloose - LOL with the comment about all the planning then just doing whatever & throwing the plans aside! That sounds like me! But at least i am prepared this time, last spring I was just confused, but it was still great!

innkeeper mandie - do you know anything about the robert ferguson observatory? thinking of going to the public viewing on Saturday night. We haven't done anything like that before.

I will post my plan, then my trip report, cant wait, I will be there in 3 days! Hope some of the rain goes away!

united states
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9. Re: Help me narrow my winery choices!

That's ok Mandie- I was off, again, and am glad that you caught my error...just happy that I caught it too! :)

#1- I will be very interested to hear if you get to the Observatory- that sounds like such a cool thing to do! Too bad we missed the "super moon" the other night...

nelnel, isn't Chris Loxton the best? I just love visitng there, too. It would be easy to spend a couple of hours there if he's not too busy.

Healdsburg, CA
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10. Re: Help me narrow my winery choices!

I'm sorry to say I actually know very little about the observatory, so I would be interested to hear how it was if you end up going! It looks like an awesome program.

Innkeeper Mandie