My husband and I were invited by our good friends to attend a winter wine tasting event in Healdsburg this month. The WINEland event was fantastic because you pay a flat fee and drive to various participating vineyards to try their wines. You take local roads and explore the area on your own. Some of the vineyards have food and music, so you can linger at the vineyard before going on to the next. Healdsburg is about a two-hour drive for us so we made a weekend getaway out of this event.
Healdsburg is so quaint and beautiful! I want to go back to downtown Healdsburg for shopping and to try a few of the restaurants. We quickly stopped in Healdsburg Bar and Grill for an appetizer. I recommend their truffle fries, if you are into that sort of thing, and grab a table on their lovely patio. I wished we had made the time to eat at Spoonbar, but that is on my list for places to try next trip.
We went to five vineyards including Christopher Creek Winery, Truett Hurst Winery, Ferrari-Carano, Bella Vineyards, and finished at A.Rafanelli Winery. Of all the wines, my favorite stop was Bella Vineyards. We started at Christopher Creek, which had lovely bold reds and they served Tri-tip steak to pair with their wines. This was the most gracious of all the vineyards, they spent a lot of time with us explaining the history of their vineyard, their grapes, and soil issues. Truett Hurst had a lovely patio, which would be the perfect place to take a group on a beautiful day. The vineyard is located on a creek making a nice picnic area. Ferrari-Carano was like a cave and had little food tasting stations for us to pair with their wines. Bella Winery was a party! They had the local paella man prepare a feast and live music. Also, they paired a dark chocolate salted peanut butter candy with their red dessert wine. While the wine was nice, the chocolate was a new level of naughtiness. Had they sold it on the spot, I would have purchased a few boxes of those treats. We finished our day at A. Rafanelli, where we met their winemaker and tasted two of their popular Cabernets.
My favorite wines of the day were: 2010 Christopher Creek Meritage, 2011 Bella Zinfandel, 2010 Bella Petite Sirah, and 2010 A. Rafanelli Cabernet Sauvignon.
I would recommend this event to all my friends and hope to return next January for another adventure.
A few photos from Bella.
Left: Each tasting area had beautiful hydrangea flowers displayed.
Right: Paella is served. My husband, Mark, walking around with his WINEland glass.