Winter Along the Wine Road
WINTER ALONG WINE ROAD
Photos by Marta Hayden
Came off of Winter Wineland into some spectacular, driving, much-needed rain, which cooperatevely held off, more or less, until WW was done- and then it hit, trees down, power out, Russian River UP, as high as it has been in quite some years. This was a record year for WW- more tickets purchased in advance than ever before in all these 18 years- 5400- so most likely we had well over 6000 attendees. Wow! Smooth sailing and positive experiences for our guests, wineries and lodgings- and for me and Beth, too- no fires!
Quiet time along Wine Road now, weather is wet, cold, gray, but some sun, too. Plants show heavy evidence of the hard frosts of last December, but daffodils and paper whites are up- looks like acacia and other flowering trees are starting to get a wee bit ready to bloom. Vineyards are sleeping, but mustard is up, perhaps waiting to see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow. Valentine’s Day, the holiday oasis in the gloom of winter, is approaching- many of our wineries and lodgings plan specials and events around that three day President’s Day Weekend. This is a great time to plan a romantic getaway to visit us- cozy up to your sweetie by a roaring fireplace, sip and savor wine and dream.
Barrel Tasting, the first two weekends in March, including the Fridays, too, at many participants, has already gone up on sale on our website and is taking off, too: http://www.wineroad.com/annualevents/3 . This year most guests are purchasing advance tickets online – and we are trying to spread out our guests to all of the participating wineries to avoid any clogs or slow-downs at check in- you will see when you click over to the event page. Tickets purchased in advance save you money and help us better stage the event. This is the 32nd annual BT- amazingly long-lived, popular, and traditional, memory-laden- many guests have been coming to it since they turned 21 and many new guests call to ask just what in the world IS Barrel Tasting? (Beth put it well: “Barrel Tasting is EXACTLY what it sounds like.”) It is definitely our largest Event with the most guests- a few years back we had 35,000 attend over the two weekends- we are excited to see what this year will bring.
What could be cooler than heading into the cellar to taste evolving, not-quite finished, incipient wine thieved directly out of the barrel- truly Tasting & Purchasing The Future! Pricing on Futures is a great deal and it allows you to make sure that you get your share of wines that will sell out before even being bottled. Then you get to come back for another visit in 6 – 18 months to pick up your bottled, finished wine (or it can often be shipped to you). This year we have just about 123 wineries participating- a record-breaking number. Come on Friday (if you do, make sure that the winery you have chosen for check in is participating on Friday) and make a whole weekend of it- stay with one of our lodging members and check out our great restaurants!