Imagine you are parking your car on a dirt road, surrounded by towering redwoods. You step out, breathing in the country air. The breeze brings wafts of citrusy fragrances. You smile, taking in the enchanting sight of stretches after stretches of refreshing grapevines. Welcome to Anderson Valley nestled in Mendocino County, best known for its exceptional Anderson Valley wineries, and also called ‘Wine Country.’
Whether you are a seasoned critic or a curious visitor, Anderson Valley wineries are a delight to all wine enthusiasts. The tradition of Anderson valley wineries was born out of a sparkling wine facility in the 1980s. It was owned by a French champagne house, Louise Roederer. They put the place in the international spotlight.
Very soon, wine tasting rooms and vineyards were sprouting all over the valley. It gained an AVA (American Viticultural Area) status by 1983. Today it produces some of the world’s finest, including pinot noir, pinot gris, premium quality sparkling wine, and a sweet, lemony Chardonnays. Let’s look at some of the best Anderson Valley wineries that you must put on your itinerary!
Top 9 Anderson Valley Wineries To Visit
1. Pennyroyal Farm
Perched in the heart of Boonville, Pennyroyal farm has a rustic appeal. Pennyroyal farm has a winery as well as a creamery. Their tasting rooms have both the aroma of fresh cheese and aged wine. You may choose to stay back over the weekend and take the Farmstead Experiences tour.
Their vineyard prides itself on sustainable farming practices and traditional wine-making methods. The Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are good options for wine tasting.
Also, while you’re in town, you might want to pay a visit to Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Anderson Valley Brewing Company is known for its classic beers, including barrel-aged craft beer. Exclusive, seasonal releases are offered in the Tap Room. A chat with the locals and a guided tour of the brewhouse will really make you feel like you are turning into an expert!
2. Handley Cellars
Handley Cellars is one of the small family-owned Anderson Valley wineries on the Holmes Ranch, in Anderson Valley’s “Deep End.” Their tasting room is located on Highway 128, 6 miles down northwest of Philo. You will need an appointment to visit the tasting room. You might also enjoy an outdoor picnic in their garden courtyard.
If you stop back for a filling brunch, do try their roast cornish hens with mushroom sauce, and of course, a glass of rich wine besides. Their store offers a long list of varieties, including your classic Pinot Noirs and Pinot Blancs. The Gewurztraminer and the Water Tower Chardonnay come highly recommended!
3. Roederer Estate
Flaunting a rich tradition dating back to the 1980s, the Roederer Estate is best known for premium quality sparkling wines. It is one of the French family-owned Anderson Valley wineries businesses started by seasoned winemakers and farmers. Roederer Estate prides itself on a fine understanding of the art of winemaking.
If you are an enthusiastic wine connoisseur, you could join the Roederer Estate Wine Club. It is a privilege to be a part of this exclusive club. Members get invited to events, free access to wine tastings, and taste special or seasonal releases of wines.
They are also very particular about their farming practices. They ensure sustainability by making organic compost, reusing water, and removing weeds by grazing sheep. They have been awarded the Fish Friendly Certificate for protecting the Navarro river water from wine sediment.
4. Goldeneye Winery
Goldeneye winery gets its name from its location. It is situated on a pathway in Anderson Valley from where goldeneye ducks migrate. They call themselves the pearly gates of Pinot Noir. Well, they are not wrong. In 2019, Goldeneye winery featured on the cover page of the October Pinot Noir Issue of the Wine Spectator.
Goldeneye winery was started by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn. They had made a name for themselves through the Napa Valley wines they made in the Duckhorn vineyard. They realized that the climate in Anderson Valley was just perfect for tending to a vineyard. That is how Goldeneye winery was born.
They host a lot of wine tastings and ceremonies physically and virtually too. They have a wine club for which you can sign up for free. They have a lot of innovative events like a yoga morning with brunch and wine and virtual wine tasting.
5. Husch Vineyards
Husch Vineyards is one of the oldest small family-run Anderson Valley wineries. They pride themselves on careful scrutiny of the wine-making process and friendly customer service. They also have special recipes of dips, sauces, and desserts to go with their wine.
Their vineyard sprawls down toward the Navarro river. It is located on the Nunn ranch, which the family bought in 1967. Back then, it was ideal for growing apples and grains. The region was basically called Apple Country. They started making wine in 1971.
6. Toulouse Vineyards
Handcrafted wine, organic farming practices, and dog-friendly spaces are the special features of Toulouse Vineyards. Toulouse Vineyards is named after the Toulouse goose, a large domestic goose found in Southwestern France. They sport a logo based on this bird and have even fashioned their bottle caps to look like the head of a goose.
They have a lovely wine club, which they adorably refer to as the ‘Gaggle,’ as in a flock of geese. They even have fun names for their wines. They are named Goslin (a young goose), Gander (a male goose), or Golden Goose based on size.
And if you want a membership, they make you click on this icon shaped like a golden egg on their website. I know enough with the goose jargon! They host a wine club party in spring and fall and an annual Pinot Noir festival. It is the most fun place among Anderson Valley wineries!
7. Navarro Vineyards and Winery
The Navarro Vineyards tasting room does not require you to make reservations before visiting. So if you are in the mood to make one last impulsive stop before you are ready to leave this paradise, this is it! They have been at it since 1971, making wines and cheeses that taste like magic.
They offer not just cheese and wine tastings but also smoked meat and delicious farm recipes. You may request a wine tour around the place. They don’t have regular tours, but they might just arrange one for a small group.
Navarro Vineyards is best known for its white wines, which they refer to as bottled sunshine. Chardonnay, Gewurtweiser, and Pinot Gris are some of the best they have to offer.
8. The Madrones
Local fruit, hand-crafted wines, small batches, and friendly conversations are the defining features of this winery. They have four boutique wineries and tasting rooms, each one independently owned and operated. The people here are very passionate about their craft and will be more than happy to answer your questions.
9. Lula Cellars
Lula Cellars is a relatively recent addition to the list of Anderson Valley wineries. They’ve got an enthusiastic team of winemakers, managers, hosts, and interns. They specialize in diverse wines, especially the local favorite, Pinot Noir.
Places to Stay at Anderson Valley
If you plan to stay in Anderson Valley and take your time to explore, you might want to find a place where to crash for a couple of nights. There are quite a few inns and farmhouses in Boonville and Philo. There are classic places like Mendocino Hotel and Mendocino Farmhouse, among others, in Mendocino County.
Places to Eat at Anderson Valley
While most Anderson Valley wineries and vineyards offer complimentary brunches and snacks, you might want to try restaurants and cafes that serve local specialties. Cafe Beaujolais is one of them. It is a classic Victorian farmhouse with an old-fashioned brickery. They serve heavenly wood-fired pizzas and a wholesome cobb salad.
Then there’s Albion River Inn, which offers a breathtaking view of the ocean as you enjoy your meal. It is the perfect place for capturing memories in your camera. Staring at waves after waves of surf crashing on the beach as you breathe in the delicious aroma of your seafood and a glass of wine to go with… the best meal in the world? I think so!
Or, you could check out Maccallum House, a restaurant at Mendocino Luxury Inn and Restaurant. As long as you don’t mind spending a little more than usual on your meals, this is a fine dining option. The ambiance is lovely, and there are outdoor dining options.
Sitting cross-legged at a garden table, you can glance through a mouthwatering menu, including exotic dishes like oysters and assorted cheeses. And of course, you cannot dine in the wine region without having a bottle of sparkling wine by your food or knocking some drinks at the bar.
So whether you are a seasoned wine connoisseur or an enthusiastic tourist, Anderson valley wineries have something to offer for everyone. So if you are planning something for the next weekend, Anderson valley should definitely be on your list of destinations!
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