Play & Shop: Wine Walk Healdsburg is a great source of inspiration to put together your own tour. From more than thirty wineries, here’s what we chose:
Before hitting the streets radiating from the Plaza, we stopped just south of town at Old Roma Station across from the Russian River. (It’s actually only a 1/2 mile walk from downtown.) Dating from the early 1900s, the buildings first housed the French-American Wine Company, then Roma Wine Company until prohibition. Now find boutique wineries with plenty of outdoor space to linger over a glass.
Hudson Street Wineries showcases five small lot wineries. They all have stand-out wines. Among some favorite Zinfandels: The Kelley & Young 2011 Alexander Valley and the Shippey Vineyards 2008 “Rocking Z” Family Reserve.
Just around the corner, Front Street Wineries encompasses several tasting rooms including Skewis, producing single vineyard Pinot Noirs from various Northern California appellations. Don’t miss the Wiley Vineyard, Mendocino County and the Salzgeber-Chan Vineyard, Russian River – both 2012s.
Next door, J. Keverson Winery and Hart’s Desire Wines share a space. Be sure to try: 2012 Starkey’s Court Zinfandel Widlow Ranch, Dry Creek Valley (from J. Keverson) and the 2008 Hart’s Desire Pinot Noir Rockin’ H Ranch, Sonoma Coast.
Once downtown, we parked the car and walked to other tasting rooms. First up was Portalupi Wine where the owners are equally passionate about their Italian heritage as their wines. Inspired by their “nonna,” the Vaso di Marina (red and white blends) is bottled in milk jugs, reminiscent of her early days in Italy, when “nonna” put her wine in milk bottles. Also, be sure and try the 2013 Barbera, Shake Ridge, Amador County.
Hawley is a fun space to taste wine and enjoy some of the owner’s artwork. The small lot wines celebrate the grapes they grow in Dry Creek as well as those sourced from elsewhere in Sonoma County. Taste the 2010 Estate Meritage from Dry Creek among other varietals.
Along the Wine Walk, save time to enjoy fashion and home décor shops, bakeries, cafes and bookstores. Discover an interesting selection of artisan goods made locally and globally. Later, grab one of the complimentary bikes from the hotel and go for a ride. And if you’re visiting on the right day, the Healdsburg Farmers Market will be in full swing, kicking the season off this Saturday, May 2, 2015.
OTHER ESSENTIALS: Upcoming Events: The Great Russian River Race (May 2); Taste Alexander Valley (May 15-17); Antique Fair (May 24, 707-431-3325); Healdsburg Jazz Festival (May 29-June 7)
Healdsburg Visitors Bureau; Sonoma County Tourism Board
PATTY BURNESS can be found @pattygb