Back in the ‘burg
Back in the ‘burg today, first stop is with Tom and Brenda Hearn at Belle de Jour Inn- they are featured in this current Summer Wine Road Video on Wine Road Homepage- Their Inn is located right across the street from Simi Winery-
A lovely, restful spot so beautifully kept by Brenda and Tom for the past 25 years, the Belle de Jour Inn is incredibly romantic and private- the Carriage House is one of my favorite accommodations- I would like to live there! Brenda and I discuss innkeeper inside info- like drying sheets, folding sheets, turning over rooms (she and Tom work as the perfect team)- I knew them back in 1982 when I was the innkeeper at the Grape Leaf Inn. The Inn is very close to the happenings in Healdsburg, but far enough away that it feels like a step into the quiet countryside. This place is choice!
Wending south along Wine Road, back to town and Hawley Winery I go- quickly there. I am meeting with Paul Hawley (he and his brother, Austin, are also in the aforementioned Wine Road Summer Video) and Meghan Logan- we share a last name, but she is Irish and I am Scottish-go figure- do not tell Braveheart Mel Gibson!
The bar and back bar are particularly well-done- pieces of barrels and woven barrel staves, designed and executed by the family, surrounded by warm walls covered in incredible artwork by matriarch (these Latin descriptors make these folks sound older than their years) Dana Hawley. I remember patriarch/winemaker John Hawley from my years at K-J. In addition to visiting the tasting room in town, guests can make an appointment for a personal tour and taste out at the winery site in Dry Creek Valley.
North again along Wine Road, I am heading over to meet with Peter Lenz and Pat Lenz, owners of the Duchamp Hotel and Duchamp Winery & SlaughterhouseSpace- we are meeting at the Winery/Slaughterhouse Space. I am greeted by their dog, Roxy, and Peter, who I met many years ago on a personal tour of his hotel, artfully renovated cottages around a lap pool two blocks off the Healdsburg Plaza. Peaceful, serene, oh-so-nicely done!
This is my first visit to the winery and Slaughterhouse Space- Pat is an artist, and her touches and pieces abound in the vineyards, on the lawns, by the pool and in the incredible re-do and re-use of the Van Der Boon Slaughterhouse, extant as just that until fairly recently. Like something out of THE JUNGLE, the sadness and purpose of that old building still infuse the feel of the place, but now it is a pure space for art- and wine. Upon entering that building my breath was truly taken away- a serious feel of past death now utilized for the living.
Next stop, the lovely renovated and/or completely new Best Western Dry Creek Inn where I am meeting with Innkeeper/Owner extraordinaire, Aaron Krug. Aaron has a lovely property here- very close to the downtown Plaza, great pool, grounds, delicious breakfast, wedding and meeting site @ the Krug Event Center, concierge staff- all that you can wish for! Romantic rooms and ambiance, reminiscent of a Tuscan village. Aaron is a dedicated supporter of all things Wine Road!
Off to La Crema’s Tasting Room just off the downtown square to meet with Annette Powell, Wine Club & Hospitality Supervisor for the TR and Winery - the Winery is only open for visits during specific special Events while the TR is open daily.
La Crema, best known perhaps for their Russian River Valley pinot noir, is aces, too, in chardonnay. The Tasting Room is just steps off the Healdsburg Plaza- young, happy, eager, knowledgeable staff.
Heading north again, this time to Bella Villa Messina and Jerry Messina: this is the spectacular Villa visible from Highway 101- with llamas (llamae?)- built on the remains of the historic 1892 Simi Winery reservoir. Jerry notes that from his terrace you can see bits of all three of our AVA’s: Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys- 500,000 acres visible- as well as Mount St. Helena, off in the distance.
Jerry brings Southern Hospitality with Italian Charm and Romance- #1 on Trip Advisor for Healdsburg Lodgings– incredibly comfy with wine, cheese, hors d’oeuvres, breakfast, concierges right there in Jerry and Harold- wow- what a way to end the day along the Wine Road-
More soon– Wine Time TR