We prefer Sonoma over Napa because you get world-class wine without the frou-frou pomposity. Also, because Jeff and Ross know some of the winemakers and belong to a few wine clubs, we enjoyed some "special treatment". We met the winemaker at Stryker who took us in the back to view and taste the wine being fermented. It had just been harvested a few days earlier.
|Fermenting grapes ready for punchdown|
The fermenting grapes need to be "punched down" a few times each day to mix the grapes into the juice. We tried our hand at punching down using a stainless steel tool. It was surprising how the cap was so hard and resistant - it took a lot of effort to get the tool through the cap. It was lots of fun for a few minutes but I imagine that punching down would get old if you did it 4 times a day!
We tasted the raw juice - it was sweet and yeasty. Not bad but very raw.
|Barrels at Stryker|
|Jeff, Mandy and Denise enjoying a picnic at Wilson Winery|
|Vineyards at Wilson|
|Sparkling wine in the Bubble Room at J|
Healdsburg is a nice small town with a cool town square. We sampled 2 great restaurants just off the square (Chalkboard and Bravas de Tapas) and enjoyed fantastic meals with our Healdsburg hosts Ross and Mary. The town has a California/European flair and is totally wine and food-focused. Definitely a place to put on your bucket list.