Dry Creek Valley

IMG_3246-SmDry Creek Valley has so many gifts to offer that maps, restaurants, hotels & wineries are provided by many excellent regional groups, including Dry Creek Winegrowers, The Wine Road, and Sonoma Vintners. I wanted to share some of my personal winery and tasting room experiences as well as general information on the wineries open to the public within this wonderful valley. Sonoma County is largely a county of family farmers and Dry Creek Valley is no exception. In many locations you will find family members in the winery or tasting room proudly sharing their wares. If you would like your favorite Dry Creek winery added to my bucket list for review, please let me know in the comments below. I am always looking to find and share a new wine experiences. Follow me on Twitter @jolenespatter or Instagram@jolenespatter to see the winery I am currently visiting.  Additional information is available on annual events, such as A Wine & Food Affair, Winter Wineland, Barrel TastingPassport to Dry Creek Valley, and Taste of Sonoma.  These events are updated regularly as are the wineries.

Dry Creek Valley is rightfully acclaimed for a number of varietals, but this intimate valley has been kind to Zinfandel.  Nearly 2,400 acres of Zinfandel are farmed in Dry Creek Valley and it is one of the densest concentrations of Old Vine Zinfandel in the world.  Dry Creek Valley, long noted for its fertile landscape became one of the first California wine regions to be recognized as an official American Viticultural Area (AVA) with almost 10,000 acres under vine and approximately 50 wineries. Long, warm days allow the fruit to fully ripen with coastal cooling in the evening to enable the grapes to mature slowly while retaining their acidity. These are the perfect growing conditions for Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux, and Rhone varietals that are food-friendly and appeal to consumers and sommeliers alike.   Come find your new favorite wine / winery and share it with all of us that love this valley.

Finally, I would be remiss without mentioning Dry Creek’s sister AVA Rockpile, which has no wineries and less than 200 acres under vine, but grows some fabulous grapes for its neighbor wineries in Dry Creek Valley.  Look for this AVA designation on many lables.

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Vicky and Mike Farrow with winery guests

AMISTA VINEYARDS – Vicky & Mike Farrow, Proprietors; Ashley Herzberg, winemaker
Vicky and Mike are gracious hosts at their DCV Winery and feature events that show off local artisans, like artist Carole Watanabe who displays some of her artwork in their tasting room. Group and Vertical tasting are available.  This is one of the only DCV wineries to feature sparkling wine (both Blanc de Blanc and Syrah), but they also produce Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Rhone varietals, and Cabernet (from DCV and Rockpile AVAs).
3320 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-431-9200 email tr@amistavineyards.com

Aglianico

Rick with his award winning Aglianico

AMPHORA WINERY – Rick Hutchinson, owner and winemaker
Rick pursues art and wine with an intense fervor and a smile. He produces DCV classics like Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, but considers variety the spice of life so produces some twenty different varietals! Most are red and bottled as varietals. Also a couple of blends and a Port when the vintage cooperates. He showed off the newest varietal on a visit this summer – Aglianico which had just won a Double Gold Medal at San Francisco International Wine Competition, 2014
4791 Dry Creek Road #6, Healdsburg CA 94558
Telephone 707-431-7767

ARMIDA WINERY – Steve and Bruce Cousins, proprietors; Brandon Lapides, winemaker
Armida produces vineyard designated wines from many of the top vineyards including Maple Vineyards Zinfandel and Maple Vineyards Tina’s Block, Durell Vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Parmelee-Hill Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, Castelli Knight Ranch Pinot Noir, Gold Mine Ranch Zinfandel, and Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir. Gap’s Crown Vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will be added to their offerings next year. Never without a sense of humor they also produce poizin…the wine to die for! Nice tasting room, geared for 20-something audience.
2201 Westside Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-433-2222 email tastingroom@armida.com

bella_caveBELLA VINEYARDS AND WINE CAVES – Lynn and Scott Adams, proprietors; Joe Healy, winemaker; Michael Dashe, consulting winemaker
Bella has achieved quiet success and a passionate word-of-mouth following, even though its wines can be difficult to find in the general market and its location is at the north end of West Dry Creek Road.  Its cult-like following of zinfandel and Rhône-varietal enthusiasts speaks highly of their winery events. Cool wine caves on a blistering summer day make for a great tasting room with an old vine zinfandel. Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Top 100 Wineries of 2013.
9711 W. Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-473-9171

Cast Event Center

CAST WINES  Jack Seifrick and John Miller, founding partners; Mikael (Mike) Gulyash, winemaker
One of DCV’s newest wineries whose name Cast was conceived over a bottle of wine at sunset sitting on the site of their soon to be tasting room and mesmerized by the stunning surroundings – a spell that could not have been ‘cast’ anywhere else but Dry Creek Valley. Releasing its second vintage this year, the wines include sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah.  Small food pairings and shopping are available with a large event center breaking ground next year. Start your day at this end of the valley with their sparkling wine.
8500 Dry Creek Rd, Geyserville, CA 95441
Telephone (707) 431-1225

IMG_1891CHATEAU DIANA – Corey and Dawn Manning (brother and sister) owners; Dawne Sacchetti, winemaker
Signature wine brands include 1221, Jawbreaker, Black Oak, Chateau Diana, Pleasure Party, She Razz, Mind Bender, Candy Babee, and Zombie Zin. The DCV Tasting Room was the Press Democrat’s Readers Choice for Best Tasting Room 2014.  It is picturesque and offers the exclusive “707” wines representing the best of their estate as well as pizza, food and wine pairings, and wine slushies. Nice picnic area in back. Balcony, wine bar and private room for wine tasting.  They regularly re-decorate their tasting room for current holidays and events – always ready for a fun occasion like drinking Zombie Zin while watching The Walking Dead.
6195 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-433-6992

COLLIER FALLS VINEYARDS – Barry Collier with sons Adam and Josh, owners; Marco DiGiulio, winemaker
The name comes from the waterfall below their Zinfandel vineyards. Susan Collier (ALS deceased 2007) had a passion for agriculture and wine, her appreciation of nature, and her infectious love of life, people and Sonoma County are represented in every bottle of Collier Falls Wine. 100% of the profits from Syrah du Soleil are donated to ALS research. Barry founded the Family Wineries Dry Creek Cooperative Tasting Room.  For Tasting Room information see Family Wineries below.
4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 888-433-6555 x 1

Davero WineryDAVERO FARMS & WINERY – Ridgely Evers & Colleen McGlynn owners and farmers; Dan Fitzgerald, consulting winemaker; Evan LaNouette, assistant winemaker
Davero is truly a farm as well as a winery embracing biodynamic principals it produce Italian varietal wines, olive oils, and jams.  Their love for what they do, and their passion for quality, are infectious. You can taste in their DCV tasting room or schedule an intimate, guided tasting in the wonderful Willow Circle, or a tasting and walking tour of the amazing biodynamic Home Farm.
766 Westside Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-431-8000

DASHE CELLARS Michael and Anne Dashe owners & winemakers
By using cooler-climate fruit, low-yielding vines, native-yeast fermentations, and minimal handling, Dashe Cellars makes distinctive, sensuous wines from vineyards in Sonoma County and beyond.  They share the Family Wineries Dry Creek Cooperative Tasting Room. For Tasting Room information see Family Wineries below.
4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 888-433-6555 x1

IMG_1925DRY CREEK VINEYARD – David Stare, founder; Don Wallace & Kim Stare, partners; Tim Bell, winemaker
Dry Creek Vineyard, the first new winery established in DCV after Prohibition, paved the way for a renaissance of winemaking and viticulture in DCV. The second generation is still aiming to produce highest quality wines and a great experience for visitors.  You can enjoy a guided tour of our historic family winery, explore the fine art of Meritage blending, taste through an educational tour of favorite varietals, or play bocce ball in the garden.  Picnic areas are available.
3770 Lambert Bridge Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-433-1000

DSCN3596Family Wineries Dry Creek Cooperative Tasting Room
First and only cooperative tasting room in the Dry Creek Valley with six locally and family-owned wineries. Participating wineries include Collier Falls Vineyards, Dashe Cellars, Forth Vineyards, Lago di Merlo Vineyards and Winery and Vineyards, Mietz Cellars and Philip Staley Vineyards and Winery. For additional information on the wineries, see individual listings on this page. Hours 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM Daily Mar-Dec (Closed Tue/Wed in Jan/Feb) $10 Refundable Tasting Fee upon Wine Purchase allows you to choose from more than 30 wines
4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 888-433-6555 x1 

Ferrari CaranoFERRARI-CARANO VINEYARDS & WINERY – Don and Rhonda Carano owners; Sarah Quider, executive winemaker and Rebecka Deike, assistant winemaker
Ferrari-Carano is known for its award-winning wines as well as its stunning winery and grounds. The five acres of gardens surrounding Villa Fiore, Ferrari-Carano’s Hospitality Wine Center, are Italian/French parterre in style with classic, geometric shapes that form the architectural backbone of this garden. The Enclosed Garden at the front of the Estate Winery has a more park-like setting; relaxed in design with an emphasis on color and texture, and featuring a mixture of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Tastings are available at the Villa Fiore Wine Bar overlooking spectacular fountain and vineyards or at the Enoteca Wine Bar in the dramatic underground cellar.
8761 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-433-6700

Forchini WineryFORCHINI VINEYARDS & WINERY – Jim & Anita Forchini, owners; Jim Forchini, winemaker
Winegrape growers in Sonoma County since 1971, the Forchini’s began creating estate wines in 1996 (425 cases).  A small family owned and operated winery committed to making distinctive wines from their historic vineyards in the Dry Creek and Russian River Valley AVAs. Jim is a big proponent of co-fermenting grape varietals together rather than blending completed component wines after fermentation because he believes this results in more complexity in flavors & structure. Picnic on the patio available.
5141 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-431-8886

Fritz patio pictureFRITZ UNDERGROUND WINERY – Jay Arthur Fritz, founder; Clayton (Clay) Fritz, owner; Brad Longton, winemaker
Built into the side of a picturesque hill atop the northernmost section of DCV near downtown Cloverdale,  his monumental Gaudi-style masterpiece represents a viticultural passion for sustainability, quality, and tradition.  Daily wine tasting is available for Estate DCV Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Malbec, but on weekends, be sure to book a tour of our wine cave and underground winery facility and learn about gravity-flow winemaking. Naturally cool temperatures are ideal for wine making and cellaring.
24691 Dutcher Creek Road, Cloverdale CA 95425
Telephone 707-894-3389

Geyser Peak Winery_New Tasting Room 22March2014GEYSER PEAK WINERY– Accolade Wines owner; Ondine Chattan, winemaker
One of California’s oldest wineries, Geyser Peak Winery (founded 1880 by Augustus Quitzow, a pioneer in Alexander Valley winemaking) has recently moved from its historic Alexander Valley home into DCV appellation near the intersection of Westside Rd and Highway 101. Geyser Peak’s vineyards are still largely located in the Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley. Geyser Peak has garnered some prestigious awards in winemaking, including Winery of the Year and Winemaker of the Year honors. Winemaking is fruit-forward, food-friendly, and approachable.
2306 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone707-857-2500

Eric - SmKOKOMO WINERY Erik Miller, owner & winemaker
Timber Crest Farms is a 120 acre east benchland vineyard in DCV and home to Kokomo Winery named after the owner’s home town in Indiana. Kokomo concentrates on small production, single-vineyard wines. Started in 2004 with the production of a single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Kokomo Winery focuses their terroir-driven philosophy on Sonoma County and its distinct appellations. Kokomo views wine as the sixth food group and produces “food friendly” wine meant to complement Sonoma County cuisine.
4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-433-0205

LAGO DI MERLO VINEYARDS & WINERY – Harry Merlo Sr. &
Harry Merlo Jr., owners & winemaker

Harry Merlo Sr. began at the age of five crushing grapes with his feet below the railroad tracks in the Italian section of Stirling City, California. His Father, Giuseppe Merlo, an Italian immigrant, was considered the wine steward of the High Sierra lumber town. Family interest in winemaking led his son, Harry Jr., to study viticulture and enology at California State University, Fresno. Following graduation, Harry Jr. ultimately became Manager of Lago di Merlo Vineyards & Winery at the Merlo Ranch in Sonoma County. For Wine tasting see Family Wineries Dry Creek Cooperative Tasting Room information above.
4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 888-433-6555 x 1

Martorana Front SignMARTORANA FAMILY WINERY – Gio Martorana, owner & winemaker
The Martorana Family has been growing grapes for 30+ years and producing wines since 2005. They have a family history of Italian wine making from the Piedmonte and Sicily regions. The current generation is committed to organic farming practices and are Certified Organic winegrape growers. Martorana Family Winery Tasting Room embraces the simplicity of life and the ability to enjoy a moment in time with family and friends.  You can take a self-guided tour of the vineyard and ranch or schedule a guided one.  Mortorana produces olive oil as well as cabernet, merlot, zinfandel, chardonnay, and rose wines.
5956 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-433-1909

DSCN3352MAURITSON FAMILY WINERY – Thomas Mauritson & family, owners; Clay Mauritson winemaker, Emma Kudritzki
associate winemaker

A wide expanse of 35-year old gnarled zinfandel vines outside the DCV tasting room alludes to the Mauritson family history of farming. Since 1868 the Mauritsons have been growing winegrapes in DCV and great-great-great grandfather S.P. Hallengren was a grape growing pioneer in the Rockpile appellation.  Family farming includes vineyards in Alexander Valley as well as DCV and Rockpile AVAs.  When Clay Mauritson returned from college he added winemaking to the family winegrowing operations, opening the DCV Tasting Room in 2004. Tasting room hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, with winery and vineyard tours available by appointment. The Mauritson Family and Chef Charlie Palmer (Dry Creek Kitchen) host Project Zin annually to support  Down Syndrome Association North Bay at Hotel Healdsburg.
2859 Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg CA 95448 
Telephone 707-431-0804

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Nancy and Alexa Mietz

MIETZ CELLARS – Keith and Nancy Mietz, owners; Keith Mietz winemaker, Alexa Mietz assistant winemaker
Mietz Cellars is a small winery located on Limerick Lane just south of Healdsburg. They make a variety of wines living out their approach to winemaking which lies in the axiom, “Wines are made in the vineyard.” Wine Club members can barrel taste at their Limerick Lane facility during Barrel Tasting Weekend otherwise tasting is available at the Family Wineries Dry Creek Cooperative Tasting Room in DCV on the old Timber Crest Farm property.  For additionally tasting room information see above for the Family Wineries Cooperative.
4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 888.433.6555 x 1

DSCN3628PAPAPIETRO PERRY WINERY Ben & Yolanda Papapietro and Bruce & Renae Perry, owners; Ben Papapietro, winemaker
Pappietro Perry’s toolkit for success contained a garage, good friends, some old equipment, great enthusiasm, a burning passion for wine and a lot of humor. With those tools, some incredible Sonoma County grapes and the love and patience of our family and friends, they have built Papapietro Perry Winery, one vintage at a time. After almost 30 years of winemaking, they still practice a minimalist approach producing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel.  Tasting Room is open daily, but I recommend a seated tasting of five wines, including their single vineyard Pinot Noirs. James Laube (Wine Spectator) named them one of the Top 20 Pinot Noir producers in Sonoma County and the San Francisco Chronicle picked Papapietro Perry as one of the top tasting rooms in Northern California.
4791 Dry Creek Rd. – Bld. #4, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-433-0422

Pedroncelli familyPEDRONCELLI WINERY – Pedroncelli family, owners; John Pedroncelli, winemaker
In 1927 Giovanni Pedroncelli purchases 90 acres of hillside land west of Geyerserville of which 25 acres are planted mostly to Zinfandel. During Prohibition, a former winery building is in use as a barn. Prohibition is repealed and Giovanni Pedroncelli applies for licensing to begin wine production for the upcoming harvest. In 2007 they celebrated 80 years of winemaking and members of the fourth generation work in the vineyard as well as the tasting room including grandsons Mitch Blakeley and Steve Trentadue. The tasting room is the heart of the winery the staff (often a family member) will let you know the ins and outs at Pedroncelli and the history of the family. Drink in the view of estate vineyards while sipping a current or library release, picnic or play Bocce-it’s up to you.
1220 Canyon Road, Geyserville CA 95441
Telephone 800-836-3894

Quivira WineryQUIVIRA VINEYARDS & WINERY Pete and Terri Kight, owners; Hugh Chappelle, winemaker
Pete has rallied the Quivira team around a strong sense of purpose. The collective Quivira family shares an entrepreneurial spirit and mutual understanding of how a sustainable, holistic approach to growing grapes can yield truly distinctive wines like from the regional stand-out Zinfandel to the unusual Grenache. Quivira specializes in small-lot wines from varietals specifically matched to the soils, seasonal strength of sun, and coastal influenced nights that accentuate the unique characteristics that flow from the vine directly to the wine. The quality of our wines is an honest reflection of our commitment to this land, Biodynamic agriculture and our dedication to artisan winemaking.  The gorgeous winery offers sweeping views of DCV, beautifully landscaped and shaded tasting areas and a one-acre estate garden, where you are welcome to wander and explore. Check out the recipes on their website.
4900 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-431-8333

RidgeRIDGE VINEYARDS / LYTTON SPRINGS Paul Draper Ceo & winemaker; Eric Baugher, Monte Bello VP Winemaking; and John Olney, VP Lytton Springs VP Winemaking
Ridge’s classic 125-year-old Monte Bello vineyard, abandoned after Prohibition, has now-sixty-year-old cabernet vines, replanted in the late 1940s. In1964 Ridge made its first zinfandel from 80 year-old vines. In 1966 a zinfandel from vines that are now 130 years-old – and have made it every year since. 1972 the first Lytton Springs zinfandel from vines planted in 1902 consistently producing the high quality, complex wines. Farming these vineyards sustainably, Ridge carries the soil, the microclimate, and everything affecting the site into the wine. Today, the three vineyards provide 75% of the fruit Ridge uses, and the vineyards will soon be organically certified.  Ridge has tasting rooms in both their Monte Bello location (Santa Cruz Mountains) and DCV. I would highly recommend the Library Tasting or the Estate Tour and Tasting – both require reservations.
650 Lytton Springs Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-433-7721

DSCN3591SBRAGIA FAMILY VINEYARDS Sbragia family, owners; Ed and Adam Sbragia (father and son) winemakers
The family vineyards are Gino Sbragia’s legacy to Ed Sbragia and his sons Adam and Kevin. The family is likely to be on-site as Ed’s son, Adam, makes the wines with him and Kevin works in the cellar during harvest. Adam’s wife, Kathy, runs hospitality, and myEd’s wife, Jane, and daughter, Gina, are often found helping out in the tasting room. Ed is a consultant for Beringer after serving 32 years as Winemaster. He works with 49-er great Joe Montana on a Cabernet called Montagia. The tasting room offers a variety of shopping delights and balcony picnic areas reveal fabulous views of DCV. Standard tasting or seated terrace tasting of current and library wines are available.
9990 Dry Creek Road, Geyserville CA 95441
Telephone 707-473-2992

Trattore WineryTRATTORE WINES Tim Bucher, owner; Kerry Damskey, winemaker
Translated from the Italian word for tractor, “Trattore” felt like the suitable name for the 40 acres of steep rolling hillsides in DCV planted in vineyards and olive trees. Trattore Farms is a tribute to the craftsmanship and enduring tradition of an iconic old red tractor brought over from Europe and is seen both on the Trattore wine label and working among the vines on our property today. It’s also where a commitment to rich farming traditions in the vineyard and attention to detail in the cellar come together to produce Trattore’s collection of wines and olive oils (Dry Creek Valley Olive Oils). The tasting room is open daily from 11:00am-4:30pm and located on the Timbercrest Farms property. A new tasting room is scheduled to open in 2015 (7878 Dry Creek Road).
4791 Dry Creek Road #9, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-431-7200

Truett Hurst WineryTRUETT HURST WINERY Truett-Hurst, Inc. is publicly traded (THST); Virginia Lambrix, winemaker
Truett Hurst sources fruit from the best hillside, old vine vineyards in Dry Creek. The style of wine, be it spicy and bold, or fruit driven and elegant, is dictated by the vineyard. In the spirit of Italian winegrowers Truett Hurst selected a Primitivo clone for bright, vibrant fruit characters and two selections of Petite Sirah to add color and structure to their estate wines. Paul Dolan (a pioneer of sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines), Heath Hurst, Phil Hurst, and Sylvia Hurst formed a partnership in the Dry Creek Valley. Their vision: create world class wines using biodynamic farming principles. To complete that vision, Mark De Meulanaere and Virginia Lambrix were brought in. Five acres of garden and a vibrant tasting room made of eco-friendly materials are just some of the things that make the tasting room unique. Open 10 – 5 daily
5610 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-433-9545

West Wines TruckWEST WINES Bengt Akerlind & Katarina Bonde, owners and winemakers; Duff Bevill, vineyard manager
Taste wines under West Wines’ chandelier or outside at the picnic tables mere steps away from the vineyard and they can arrange for a boxed lunch, a tour of the vineyards, barrel room or a private tasting. Vineyard hikes by appointment include a walk the vineyard and discussion on how wine gets from vine to bottle and sustainable methods. Wear comfortable, closed toe shoes. Walk finishes with wine tasting in the tasting room. Open: Mon-Friday 12-4 pm and Sat-Sunday 11am-5pm.
1000 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
Telephone 707-433-2066

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