Thursday, September 23, 2021 11:55 AM
Our big hopes for our visit to the Sonoma Valley this year did not come to pass. Between the surge in Covid cases everywhere and the fact that the wineries have all gone to reservations (with very HIGH tasting fees that are, in some cases not applied to what you buy) we ended up not visiting many places. Plus, there were other disappointments as we went along.
We had never stayed at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds before, and because I wanted to go down to Sebastiani Winery, we pulled in to the Fairgrounds RV park for 2 nights. It looks like it has taken a turn towards long term residents with no enforcement of rules to keep sites clean, etc. It could be a nice park, but I don’t know if we will stop again, primarily because it is expensive for a short term stay.
So we started with Sebastiani Winery, one of our first wineries when we started getting ‘into’ wines. I had had some of their Barbera wine in 1976 and fell in love with that red varietal and Sebastiani. So as you can imagine, I was rather put out when we got there and found out that they had NO Barbera left unless you were wine club members and were waiting for the new bottling in a few weeks. Yes, some of the other wines we tried were very, very good, but still left us with a sour taste in our mouth. In fact, we have found that with more and more wineries that unless you are members of their wine club they give you a cold shoulder. Wonder how they think they are going to get people who come in to join their wine clubs? Hmmt mm
So after that disappointment we moved northward to the Cloverdale are and into a site for 10 days over Labor Day. At this point we are pretty full of wine - but could wedge a few more bottles in. One day we decided to try both deLormier and Soda Rock, both part of the Wilson Group. I have always loved deLormier because of the wonderful Primitivo Wines and Soda Rock has always had very nice Carbernet Franc. Plus we were really interested in seeing how Soda Rock had fared since their tasting room and other structures burned to the ground during one of the fires that have swept through the areas in recent years. Again, they wanted tasting fees in advance, and since there were two of us, even though we share a tasting, they wanted to charge for two tastings. After I sent an email to their corporate headquarters, I was given the go ahead to go and they would let the wineries know we were coming. Turns out, they never let them know, but there weren’t a line of people waiting to taste so they sat us outside at deLormier and then proceeded to tell me that all of my favorites were sold out. We got a couple bottles, but again I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.
Luckily Soda Rock quickly removed that taste with being warm, hospitable and we had a WONDERFUL time. And ended up buying 6 bottles before we left. They were even willing to open a bottle of Petit Verdot for Dave to taste (yes, we got a couple of those) without blinking an eye. They are doing tastings in an old barn that is on the property that they had been using for wedding receptions, etc., before the fire. And it was encouraging to see that it appears they are going to rebuild the original tasting room that had a very “Western” feel to it.
The final winery that we visited was Foppiano, which is always our go to place for wines. We only got a couple of wines to bring in the coach with us, but did order a case to be sent after we get back to Mesa. They have a new Red Table Wine called 1896, in honor of this being their 125 year in business. It is so very good and we know our friends who had enjoyed the Lot 96 wine will also love this.
After a week in the Cloverdale area, we moved on over to Duncans Mills for a week. We had been thinking of doing some more wine tasting but decided that we had enough wine for the month and just enjoyed some cooler weather (actually had rain over one night) and drove down the coast to the Tides Restaurant in Bodega Bay for a late lunch one afternoon.
We have pictures of the wineries, etc., located at the Sonoma Valley page of the 2021 Photos. Hope you enjoy.
Next - last stay on the Coast before heading for Mesa for the winter.