Sonoma County has many claims to fame not least of which is its wine. This past week I visited two wineries with friends in Healdsburg; a sleepy but adorable little town in the North Bay. While some of my memory of the day is a bit fuzzy ( because you know, drinking) the overall experience was great! Also, who doesn’t love wine?
Our Friends Sean and Alex are members at Preston Farm and Winery and Williamson Winery and because they are members we got to go wine tasting for FREE! (Free is one of my favorite words.)
We started our day off at Preston Farm and Winery. Family owned and extremely tucked away, this little winery is located along Dry Creek. The day we went was a rainy one which was honestly amazing. You should visit this place for the drive alone. It’s so gorgeous. The day sky was grey, the tree’s we’re green and as we drove through the valley in Healdsburg rainbows arched across the sky… If it sounds fucking majestic that’s because it was.
We arrived at Preston parked in the parking lot and proceeded into this picturesque courtyard lined by vine covered pergolas and dotted with lemon trees. The wine tasting was lovely! We tried about 6 wines and then walked around the grounds. Their tasting room is really cute. It leans into the farm theme real hard and I love it.
If you walk around the corner from the tasting room there’s an adorable farm store that sells vegetables and eggs and meat all raised on the farm. It’s incredibly charming. You are also welcome to bring a pick-nick and sit out in the beautiful gardens with clucking chickens and wildflowers around. There is a very cute general store stocked with all sorts of delicatessens on the route there. I recommend if you decide to make a day of tasting you stop, grab snacks and then head to Preston to do your tasting!
After departure from Preston, we headed down into the quaint downtown Healdsburg area. If you have the time this area is worth a stroll. It’s adorable shops and lovely green space make it an enjoyable afternoon. There are a number of high caliber restaurants and bars dotting its adorable streets. One of which is the Williamson Winery Tasting room.
Williamson’s tasting room is the quintessential California wine country experience. They pair their wines with cheeses, mustard, and other small bites.
The Winery as I understand it was started as a passion project by the owner who made his fortune in the tech industry and then went on to pursue his lifelong dream of being a winemaker… And I dare say he’s done a pretty fantastic job of it.
Every taste of wine is enhanced by delicious nibbles of cheese or chocolate that create a symphony in your mouth! They sell wine, cheese, mustard and spices at their tasting rooms and their staff is EXTREMELY knowledgeable and fun. I learned things about wines that I didn’t know before and I learned about the industry as well. For example, did you know that a Cabernet wine only needs to be 75% Cab to be considered a Cabernet? This means if a winemaker has an excess of one type of red crop they will almost always mix in another type of grape to make the Cab go further?! I tried my only ever pure Cabernet at Williamson and I LOVED it. When normally I am not big on Cab. Who knew! I just have very discerning taste buds (LOL).
It should also be noted that Williamson’s tastings are always free. The hope is that you buy some of their products but it’s not mandatory. We ended up buying some mustard because it was REALLY tasty! It was flavored with beets and horse radish!
If you’re coming from out of town and are looking for a great wine tasting spot that’s off the touristy path Healdsburg is a GREAT option. You get the Sonoma/ Napa experience without the over saturation of other people cramping your tasting style!
Are you a red, white or rose’ person?! Drop a comment below.