Insider’s 4-Day Sonoma/Napa Wine Tour | 2009

June 14-17, 2009

$1,375 per person based on double occupancy.  $375 single occupancy up-charge.

Our favorite bus driver Eric will pick everyone up at the Oakland airport Sunday morning.Peter Thompson of Andrew Geoffrey will pour a three-year vertical (’03, ’04 and ’05) of his amazing Cabs. 

We’ll meet him at the base of Diamond Mountain and view his vineyard from afar as there’s no way a bus can navigate the steep windy road to the top. Lynmar is putting together a tasting of their incredible reserve Pinots and Chardonnays from Russian River along with a garden tour and light lunch.

We’ll walk the vineyards with winemaker Mike Branson of Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate and then have dinner in the winery’s great room prepared by our own chefs. Three amazing nights at Hotel Healdsburg right on the square in Healdsburg.

We’ll tour Palmaz, an 18-story, completely underground, architectural wonder of winery and then sample a three-year vertical of their $100 Cabs.

Steve Reynolds of Reynolds Family Winery will drive us around his vineyards in restored Swiss Army all terrain vehicles and then serve us lunch along with his amazing wines.

Craig MacLean will host a tour of caves under construction in the mountains of Soda Canyon.  Last time we were there they were just getting ready to punch through to the other side of the mountain where you’ll be able to see all the way to San Francisco, and Craig said with any luck that part of the drilling will be done by the time our group comes up.  Naturally he’ll also be serving a nice selection of his wines, too.

We’ll visit Rudd Winery and enjoy a spectacular dinner three stories underground in their extensive caves prepared by our chefs along with their high-end wines.

Siduri is putting on a special Pinot blending class.  Ever wonder what clone 777, 828, Pisoni and Pommard taste like?  You’ll have the opportunity to taste all four (all from the 2007 vintage from Santa Lucia Highland’s famed Rosella’s Vienyard) separately, create your own blend, and then taste the winemaker’s final blend.

Like to cook?  We’ll be making homemade sausage with the Seghesio’s.  LOTS of homemade sausage!  So much that we won’t be able to eat it all and they’re going to freeze it and package it up for everyone to take home.  Uncle Ed Seghesio will also make his mushroom risotto so we’ll grill off some of the sausage to enjoy with that while drinking their premium Zinfandels and Sangiovese.

Clay Mauritson will lead a rigorous hike through the famous Rockpile Vineyards.  (Wear good hiking shoes!)  They’re at the top of the Sonoma Mountains looking down on beautiful Lake Sonoma.  As we hike through each vineyard block (Jack’s Cabin, Cemetery, Rockpile Ridge, etc.) he’ll serve a vineyard designate Zinfandel from the corresponding block so you can get a true sense of each block’s distinct terroir.

Tuesday night dinner will be in a private carriage house and gardens at Hotel Healdsburg.  The dinner will be an elaborate multi-course affair prepared by the chefs at Dry Creek Kitchen.  Everyone needs to bring a special bottle or two to share this night.  Just before dinner each person will get up and say a few words about their special bottle(s) and then we’ll pour everyone small tasting pours with the dinner.  It should be a great opportunity to sample LOTS of great wines!

We’ll visit Saracina, home of the original Fetzer Sundial Vineyard (remember drinking Sundial Chard back in the last ’70?s?!), and now home of John Fetzer’s new winery.

The final stop will be at Ceago, John’s bother Jim’s huge biodynamic facility located on 160 acres on water’s edge at Clear Lake in Lake County.  Jim Fetzer will personally host the tour and then afterwards you’ll have some leisure time to enjoy an authentic Mexican feast with tortillas made to order by their vineyard staff and our own chefs grilling carne asada.

The bus will drop everyone off at the Oakland airport for the flight back home.