Last week was all about the very unique Patrick Amiot sculptures sprinkled around Sebastopol...this week a bit more elegant with a lovely Sonoma County Sculpture garden at one of our favorite wine country hangouts.
Paradise Ridge Winery has a very interesting sculpture garden but even better they are perched up on the hill above Santa Rosa with a view over the city that is just amazing. In summertime (May through October) their Wines and Sunsets is just the place to be on Wednesday evening. Pick up a picnic and head up to catch the amazing western sky with a bottle of wine available for purchase after 6 pm on those evenings. A few things this week brought our focus to Paradise Ridge.
One- Joe got a new black lab puppy (yet to be named- see the Farmhouse Inn Facebook page for the scoop on that). He and Catherine are good friends with Sonia and Dan Barwick over at Paradise and they had some wonderful puppies available. Sonia is an old friend of Cath's (and part owner at the winery) and Dan is her husband and the winemaker.
Joe's new Puppy (maybe "Cookie")
And second, of course it is Barrel Tasting weekend and Paradise Ridge is a top choice for a visit...Sip & savor the amazing wines made in “Paradise”.
From the Paradise events page:
"Sample outstanding wines from the barrel including the First Ever - 2011 Estate Pinot Noir, 2011 “The Convict” Zinfandel, Branham Rockpile Vineyard and the 2010 Cabernet Franc, Rockpile Vineyard. Meet winemaker Dan Barwick and discover what makes these wines so superb. Delight in Annette’s “Savory French Onion Soup with Toasted Gruyere Medallions”, prepared by Preferred Sonoma Catering.
Take home “Futures To Go” of the newest bottling of the ever popular 2011 Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Grandview Vineyard. Special pricing will be offered."
Here's a few images from "Marijke's Grove" (Marijke was Sonia's mom and is no longer with us) and some sculptures from a previous exhibit. The current exhibit is called "Finale" and you need to go up to see it- take your camera.
Even though I was thinking about Paradise because of the puppy Tracy at Wineroad beat me to it with her terrific post about Paradise in her blog this week. You can see more images that Tracy took this week for her "Wine Time with Tracy" blog all about Paradise Ridge and environs. She did take some photos of the current exhibit.
Back to Barrel Tasting- Paradise Ridge is only one of the 144 wineries participating for this 34th Annual event.
A few years ago the event just got too big so they split it between the first two weekends in March. March weather can be a little unpredictable but this weekend promises to be perfect (that California weather again). If you don't have your ticket they are available at the door ($40/person) and covers the whole weekend.
The event takes a little strategizing- there is just no way you can do justice to more than a few wineries in one day. I usually pick a specific area that does not require too much traveling and focus on 5-6 wineries in that close knit area. Last time I went with some friends to the Chalk Hill area as I don't get out that way too often and some new ones had opened up that I had not previously visited. Discovered a couple of new treasures out that way! Of course, there are always a couple of favorites that I just stop in to say "Hi".
Some wineries may have some snacks or small bites to tide you over but this is really more of an educational event and a chance to buy futures at a discount. So it is a good idea to plan a stop for lunch or pack a picnic. Also, make sure to stock your car with water. I find I last much better is I drink a bottle of water per winery I visit. Keep hydrated and don't drink and drive. But enjoy the day- best way is to either hire transport or have a designated driver.
So wonderful plan for the weekend- We are going to concentrate on the growing area just south of the Farmhouse towards Sebastopol. First stop - Battaglini Estate east towards Santa Rosa and maybe a stop at Inman Family Wines then work our way back.
There is what looks like a fun new winery with a sense of humor at Claypool Vineyards. They are tasting both their Purple Pachyderm Pinot
and their Pink Platypus Pinot Rose...sounds like a fun place. I think they might be in Sheldon Wines old space in the railcar at the station. Worth a stop to check out their "Fancy booze for semi-fancy folks" and see if they live up to their label. (Aren't you sometimes attracted to a winery just because they poke a little fun at the industry?)
Harvest Moon is always worth a stop- Randy is usually behind the counter and often they will have some snacks and sometimes live music. Deloach is down that way as is Dutton Estate but must pace ourselves. Maybe a stop at Underwood or Willowood for a light lunch. Then-
Possibly run by Martin Ray out on Laguna and stop by Red Car in Graton and definitely a stop at to see Rod at Joseph Swan right here in Forestville.
Seems like enough for one day...we still have another day on Sunday to work on in case we fade. Or even another whole weekend next weekend. See you on the wine road!
P.S. There are quite a few wineries that don't participate in the event. Give us a call at Farmhouse and we can give you a list if you want to avoid the crowds. Out our direction a couple of really nice stops would be Merry Edwards and Iron Horse Vineyards.