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Sonoma Wine Barrel Tasting

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Sonoma Wine Barrel Tasting

I am heading out to the wine barrel tasting event in March 2011. I am not too familiar with Sonoma so was wondering if anyone had any recommendations on the best winery to start at??or wineries to go to in Russian River Valley?

Fremont, California
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1. Re: Sonoma Wine Barrel Tasting

Its a fun event and assume you already have your tickets - last day for advance ticketing is February 28, 2011 at 9:00 p.m.


If you are not familiar with Sonoma, its best to concentrate on an area for barrel tasting. Do one area one day; the other the next if you are doing both days of the week-end.

Check the map to see what wineries are close to one another.


You may for example want to concentrate on barrel tasting on Dry Creek Road and West Dry Creek Road on day one. Since this is barrel tasting (future tasting), you get the first taste of new wine - i.e. that is what barrel tasting is - so if a winery had a great wine 2 years ago, they may or may not have the best barrel tasting wine. Years change - best wineries of the year often change too.

However, if you do have a favorite Sonoma winery or more, you may want to include them in the list of "must go to.". For instance, if you like for example Rodney Strong, include them in the list. This is just an example so insert your favorite winery name.

If no favorite wines already, pick another area to enjoy the wineries the next day - and enjoy the wineries in that area and also seeing a different area.

Barrel tasting takes a bit of time - and sometimes wineries are crowded. So pace yourselves based on expecting crowds - and be surprised when there are not. It is one of the reasons why they now have 2 week-ends to try to thin out the crowds some. Its good to take some deli goods or picnic lunch with you - as there are places you can picnic while enjoying the day.

What wine is best - it all depends on one's pallette; what one likes in a winery or not - so its really a personal decision. Since you are new to the region, just go with the expectation of having a great day - stop where you'd like. But if everyone is amazingly enthused, you might want to consider buying future release when the barrel wine is bottled.

Most of the wineries have excellent wine - but season issues can cause variations. So - its a delightful experience to see what you will find.

Have a wonderful time.

Edited: 2:31 pm, February 16, 2011
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2. Re: Sonoma Wine Barrel Tasting

With over 130 wineries participating in March Barrel Tasting weekends, the "best one" to begin at can only be determined by your personal preferences! But you may want to map out your route based upon ease and proximity in order to maximize your time each day. You would make sense to begin with a winery that's quite close to where you'll be based at. If you don't already have a Wine Road map, pick one up ASAP, preferably no later than the day before you head out for barrel tasting. (You can also access the map online, but it's not quite as readable). Plot out your route ahead of time so you won't end up doing a lot of back-tracking--or getting lost. There's a helpful link within the Barrel Tasting site that lists the wineries by area, so you'll be able to see which ones are in the Russian River Valley: maps.wineroad.com/docs/BT_Map2011_backV.pdf

As you know, when you pre-purchase your ticket you must designate which winery you'll start at. Each participating winery is allocated a set number of ticket packets, so don't delay in purchasing. Just showing up at the door can be risky.

Edited: 5:05 pm, February 16, 2011
Healdsburg, CA
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3. Re: Sonoma Wine Barrel Tasting

You'll defnitely want to pick up a Wine Road map to help plan out your days. There are Russian River wineries participating, and some of those that I enjoy for their Pinot Noirs are Thomas Geogre, Woodenhead and Porter Creek. Not participating, but in this area, is Arista whom I really enjoy, and is a beautiful winery.

For your second day, in the Dry Creek Valley you'll find more Zinfandels, and in the Alexander Valley, more Cabernet's, so that may help you narrow it down.

Do you have a wine preference?

Innkeeper Mandie

Honor Mansion

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4. Re: Sonoma Wine Barrel Tasting

I wish I could go this year, it's one of my favorite events! I'd choose the winery closest to where I was staying for the start winery. Get started early! Have fun :)

5. Re: Sonoma Wine Barrel Tasting

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