Gustafson Family Winery
Watch for the driveway to Gustafson Family Winery- gorgeous and spectacular in the clouds on Skaggs Spring Road.
The drive north out Dry Creek Road is always pleasing to me and, I realize, also spectacular. The valley floor in wintertime deshabille is lovely, the wineries even more visible without the usual cloaking of greenery. Coming to Warm Spring Dam at Lake Sonoma, the huge earthen structure makes me admire even more the Army Corps of Engineers who built it. Just about 6.5 miles from the dam, out Skaggs Springs Road is an amazing visual treat and winery- the furthest northern Wine Road member- Gustafson Family Winery. As I drove out Skaggs Springs Road the altitude was high enough that I had icy road conditions; scrub pine showed me my elevation was increasing. Finding the driveway, I was completely awe-struck at the view. Pulling into the winery/residence parking area, Rampage, the famous winery dog, casually tossed me his ball, showing me that with enough time, even I could take this place in stride….
Just as I first saw it on my way to Sea Ranch some years back, the story goes that realtor/landscape architect Dan Gustafson saw the former 1800 foot elevation sheep ranch on his journey to the coast, fell in love with it, planted 20 acres to grapes, embraced the “flying pig” population, and built a warm, welcoming residence and winery to house his dream of winemaking, putting to use his love of landscape architecture and green viticulture interests. High above the clouds, this amazing site produces delicious wines and welcomes and fetes its wine club members. Winemaking and hospitality show off the brother-sister team of Emmett and Kaitlin Reed who comprise the whole staff; this is a small, attention to detail winery. You are likely to meet the Gustafsons, too, on site one weekend or so each month, for certain. Open Saturdays, during special events and by appointment.
Heading out Dry Creek Road, as you approach the Dam, watch for this enforced, surprising turn to the left.
Warm Spring Dam, running salmon, Dry Creek; if the dam breaks, Healdsburg will be under 6 feet of water…head to Gustafson….
Just to confound the average person, Skaggs Springs Road is AKA (Also Known As) Stewart’s Point Road; no worries- easy to navigate! Do you like acronyms? How’s about FYSA? (For Your Situational Awareness….)
OMG- I am a total sucker for Smokey….
Pay a bit of attention, and don’t head down Rockpile Road, and you should be fine.
Dual identity- very James Bondish: Skaggs Springs Road…or is it Stewart’s Point?…YES!
The winding road up….
Do pay some heed to all these sounds and furies….Go Left Young Man (Woman)!
Lake Sonoma looking north from the Outlook.
View west towards Gustafson….
Higher altitudes, different topogrophy and vegetation.
Scrub pines indicate the higher elevation- “scrub” indicates a lower class of pine? Ditto “Scrub Jay” and “Scrub Oak”…hmmm. Who knew….
Right turn into the Gustafson driveway…entrance seems like floating on Cloud 9.
Ancient madrone tree at the top of the hill; breathtaking! A Sonoma County Heritage Tree.
Now that is what I call a real TREE. It also lends its name to the vineyard below it….
Wow! Am I in the right place? So unexpected- a former sheep ranch converted to vineyards, a view and WOW!
Rampage the Wonder Winery Dog welcomes me! He casually tosses me his ball and continues to do so during my whole visit. Gustafson is VERY dog friendly.
View east towards Lake Sonoma.
Estate olive trees…plantings planned to fall within the former clearings already made by the sheep ranchers….
Gustafson private residence, but used for special events and picnicking on the deck; winery and tasting room back to the left….Can a lousy shot be taken here? It seems not possible!
Let’s go on a brief Walk-About to see the property- Wine Club Party Area, incipient Wedding Site, amazing vistas, warm TR:
Decks for picnicking….
View from the picnicking friendly deck….
Clever Jenga-Like Barrel Room under the house….
Here’s looking at you, kids.