8 Great Tasting Stops in Alexander Valley, CA

  • Share
Share with your friends







Submit

Viticulture in the Alexander Valley began in the 1840’s with Cyrus Alexander, a pioneering farmer who planted the region’s first vineyards, and declared the land “the best and brightest in the world.” Modern-day farmers and winemakers recognize its star-quality, too. The largest and warmest appellation in Sonoma County, Alexander Valley AVA stretches from Healdsburg to Cloverdale, with the Russian River meandering through, and it’s often compared to France’s famous Bordeaux region. Like Bordeaux, high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon is king, but you’ll also find award-winning chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and other bold reds in wineries throughout the valley. From small, family-owned producers to state-of-the-art tasting rooms, here are eight great winery stops to experience the best of Alexander Valley.

1
Wineries / Geyserville

deLorimier Winery

Part of Sonoma County’s Wilson Artisan Winery family, deLorimier offers the full package: picturesque vineyards, a relaxing outdoor tasting patio, great wine, and even lodging. Focusing on single designate cabernet sauvignon from their Alexander Valley vineyards, you’ll also find an old vine chardonnay, primitivo, and sangiovese. For an unforgettable group tasting experience, book a customized tour, where you’ll visit more of the Wilson Family vineyards and discover what makes each of their wineries unique.

Insider Tip

Check the winery’s website for the full line-up of the live music and gourmet food carts offered on select weekends through summer.

Details
2
Wineries / Healdsburg

Hanna Winery Alexander Valley

It’s their sauvignon blanc that put Hanna Winery on the map and continues to shine on restaurant menus across the country, but it’s their Healdsburg tasting room experiences that will make the most lasting impression. Whether it’s a platter of local cheeses on the veranda, a lively game of petanque alongside the vines, or a picnic under their big Oak tree, Hanna reminds you that their wines pair well with just about everything. The 360 degree views of Alexander Valley vineyards surrounding their tasting room make a nice pairing, too.

Insider Tip

Ask for the Saint Macaire, a single varietal bottling from their 2015 vintage (and the only one of its kind in the United States) of a rare Bordeaux cultivar thought to be lost with the phylloxera blight of the 1880s.

Details
3
Wineries / Healdsburg

Hawkes Wine

The Hawkes family has been growing grapes for over four decades. Overseeing every stage of the process from vine to barrel to bottle, they currently farm over 85 acres of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and chardonnay, with a focus on a very small production of intensely flavored fruit for their 100% estate-grown wine. Just a 10-minute drive from downtown Healdsburg, next to the Jimtown store, their tasting room is open daily.

Insider Tip

Hawkes winery has a second tasting room just off the plaza in downtown Sonoma open Thursday thru Monday.

Details
4
Wineries / Healdsburg

Medlock Ames Winery

For an introduction to Medlock Ames’s organically-farmed wine offerings, visit their tasting room at the site of the historic Alexander Valley Store and Bar, just 14 miles from downtown Healdsburg. To dig deeper into their story and sustainable farming practices, book a tasting experience at their Bell Mountain Ranch, where you’ll stroll the vineyards, see their winery and cellar, and sit down to a seated tasting of their estate wines paired with seasonal bites from their gardens.

Insider Tip

To make a day of it at their Bell Mountain Ranch property, reserve a picnic in the vineyard. You bring the food and friends, they’ll provide blankets, tables, epic views, and, of course, the wine.

Details
5
Wineries / Geyserville

Robert Young Estate Winery

For six generations, the Young family has farmed their 470-acre estate. Their intimate knowledge of the land is evident within one taste of their exceptional wines. Most well known for their chardonnay, made with their namesake Robert Young clone, the winery also produces cabernet sauvignon and single-lot Bordeaux bottlings of malbec, petit verdot, merlot, and cabernet franc, all made with 100% estate-grown fruit. Sample a flight of current releases in their cozy barn tasting room or tour their wine cave for a more in-depth experience.

Insider Tip

The winery’s new luxury tasting space, The Scion House, is set to open summer 2018 and will offer an elevated experience to match the quality of their Alexander Valley wines.

Details
6
Wineries / Geyserville

Silver Oak Cellars

“In pursuit of exceptional Cabernet,” Oakville-based Silver Oak winery opened their new Healdsburg location in April 2018. Reflective of the company’s progressive approach to winemaking, the state-of-the-art facility has over 2,500 solar panels, an extensive water recycling program, and plans to match its flagship Napa winery with LEED Platinum certification. Celebrating what their land does best, the modern, open-air design of their new tasting room and panoramic vineyard views keep guests in tune with their singular focus: Alexander Valley estate cabernet sauvignon.

Insider Tip

The Silver Tour and Taste, featuring a guided walk through the new facility and vineyards, includes a visit to the impressive wine library stocked with every Silver Oak vintage since they started in 1972.

Details
7
Wineries / Healdsburg

Stuhlmuller Vineyards

While it’s less than 10 miles from Healdsburg, it’s easy to miss “the ranch at the end of the road.” To skip this gem of a winery would be overlooking a local family who helped put Alexander Valley wines on the map. Farmers first, the Stuhlmuller’s story began as grape growers producing some of the finest fruit in the valley on land originally farmed by Cyrus Alexander. Realizing the quality of wines being made with their vineyards’ extraordinary grapes, the Stuhlmullers began producing wines of their own, earning the dual reputation of world-class growers and producers with their prized chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and estate zinfandel.

Insider Tip

Dogs are welcome, as are picnics, so stop by the Jimtown store for sandwiches and make yourself at home on their tasting patio alongside the vineyards.

Details
8
Wineries / Geyserville

Zialena Winery

Specializing in zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon, this 4th-generation, Italian winemaking family focuses on staying true to their heritage, offering small-production wines made with integrity and exceptional fruit. Located in Geyserville, their state-of-the-art tasting room sits on the same 120 acre property their family has farmed for over a century. They offer tastings and tours of their modern winery daily.

Insider Tip

To learn more about how they grow their grapes and produce their delicious wines, follow Zialena on Facebook and watch their Friday in the Field video series.

Details

Susan Williams

Susan Williams is a blogger, baker, stylist and recipe developer based in Sonoma, California. Whether its wine, cheese or fluffy layers of cake, she's a firm believer that every day should be celebrated and savored, preferably with friends. When she’s not busy in the kitchen assembling tiers for her garden-inspired wedding cake business, Cake Bloom, she's usually at the farmers market looking for something new to inspire her next creation. Follow her in the kitchen @cakebloom and in the vineyards @sonoma_williams.