Into the Valley
The top five stops along the Wine Road
Ah, wine country and its endless vineyards. But with hundreds of wineries, it’s hard to choose where to stop. Luckily, the new Wine Road concierge service maps out gems in the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River valleys and helps you customize an itinerary. Check out our must-see list.
The working waterwheel, built from felled redwood, at Mill Creek is a nod to the mills from the turn of the 20th century. Today, the Kreck family produces a variety of estate wines from grapes grown on the property in Dry Creek Valley. Ask to taste their crisp, best-selling Sauvignon Blanc.
Mill Creek Vineyards & Winery, 1401 Westside Rd., Healdsburg
Come for the wines, stay for the views. At Hanna in Alexander Valley, you’ll see miles of rolling hills and grapevines, a beautiful blend of green and gold in the summertime. Savor the scenery while sipping the 2012 Pinot Noir, a light and juicy wine that’s like plum jam on a croissant.
Hanna Winery & Vineyards, 9280 Highway 128, Healdsburg
There’s not a bad wine on the list at VML Winery, where Virginia Marie Lambrix calls the shots. Taste the 2013 Russian River Sauvignon Blanc with hints of lavender and lemon verbena; the 2013 rosé of Pinot Noir that pairs nicely with soft, buttery cheeses; and the silky-smooth 2012 Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir. Stroll through the on-site garden to spot fields of fragrant lavender and an abundance of apricot trees.
VML Winery, 4035 Westside Rd., Healdsburg
A Step Back in Time
Housed in a historical stone-clad building, Simi Winery has been in operation since 1876. Take a tour of the grounds and see an old handwritten $58 invoice for Alfred Hitchcock, who said of his purchase, “This port is far too good for most people.” The 2010 Landslide Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($40) is a good-value Bordeaux blend with dense blackberry and cherry notes.
Simi Winery, 16275 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg
At Martorana, the emphasis is on organic and sustainable farming practices. The winemaking family has even built a living roof on top of their tasting room, which is teeming with wildflowers and outfitted with a wooden swing (yes, you can actually hang out up there). The 2009 Dry Creek Zinfandel has an earthy aroma with hints of cedar and lush fruit on the palate. Sip while playing a game of bocce by the creek.
Martorana Family Winery, 5956 W. Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg