In Sonoma’s Alexander Valley, sandwiched between posh Healdsburg and pastoral Cloverdale, you’ll find quaint Geyserville. Known for bed-and-breakfasts, a few charming restaurants, and an annual holiday tractor parade, Geyserville is also becoming a hot wine country destination. Located on the Russian River, Geyserville shares similar terroir and geography with the Russian River Valley AVA but generally focuses on wines more akin to Dry Creek and Sonoma Valley, which feature Zinfandel and bold reds, respectively. While you’ve likely heard of Coppola and Silver Oak Cellars, which have homes in Geyserville, we’re betting you’ve yet to discover these five must-visit spots.
Winery: Pech Merle Winery
What to try: cabernet franc
Why it’s great: Pech Merle has received 105 awards in 5 vintages for their wines, but perhaps more acclaim for their 15-acre meadow property, expansive views, and playfully romantic attitude. Owners Bruce and Cheryl Lawton are still in the process of building caves and even the winery itself, but that means you still have the opportunity to tell all you friends you “knew them when...”
Winery: Robert Young Estate Winery
What to try: Area 27 chardonnay
Why it’s great: Depending on whom you ask, the Young family has been farming the same land in Alexander Valley for either five or six generations. Either way, the point is that they know their stuff. The winery uses solar energy and environmentally friendly farming techniques, and also has a dog-friendly patio if you want to bring a furry friend.
Winery: Starlite Vineyards
What to try: zinfandel
Why it’s great: Known for being down-to-earth and generous hosts, the Starlite team makes only three wines. The kind of place people are hoping to find when they search out wine country the way it used to be, Starlite keeps it simple and fun. But they still take their zinfandel, viognier, and cabernet sauvignon varietals seriously. If you want to try the wines before you visit the vineyards, they are one of very few wineries that actually offer free shipping.
Winery: Skipstone Ranch
What to try: Oliver’s Blend
Why it’s great: Not always an easy place to visit, Skipstone takes visitors by appointment only, or sends people all the way to Ma(i)sonry in Napa Valley to try their limited production and sought-after wines. However, if you plan in advance, it’s definitely worth visiting the organic ranch, where they have olive orchards, a culinary garden, farm animals, and, of course, vineyards and collectable wines.
What to try: La Storia zinfandel
Why it’s great: The Trentadue family left their farm in Sunnyvale in 1959 and moved to Sonoma. By 1962 they were planting and replanting vines, and for the last 54 years they have been making acclaimed wines. Today they have tasting experiences that range from bellying up to the bar at your convenience to prearranged tractor rides through the vineyards. This is definitely a family-friendly winery.
Source: San Francisco Magazine