Shall we do a weekend in Napa? Swirl, swirl, swish, swish…taste expensive? Not to knock Napa, but if you’re looking for a wine tasting experience in Northern California minus steep tasting fees, pricy hotels and hoards of tourists, it’s time to head north. And I mean more north than Healdsburg and Sonoma. While back in my childhood hometown of Ukiah, CA for the holidays, my brothers, husband and I drove 45 minutes away to Philo and Booneville in Anderson Valley. Where’s Booneville you ask? I’ll show you below.
It’s time for a quick escape to the beauty of Northern California’s wine country 110 miles from San Francisco and world’s apart from city life. Especially if you’ve ‘done‘ Napa time after time, Anderson Valley should be on your Cali bucket list to visit, sip wine, beer and bubbly while taking a deep breath of fresh air.
First Stop – Roederer Estate (Tasting fee – $6 comp’d with purchase that day). Located in Philo, California Roederer Estate, was founded in 1982 by Jean-Claude Rouzaud (president of Champagne Louis Roederer.) The tasting room overlooks a landscape of vineyards, redwood forests and a layer of fog in the distance from the coast. Roederer Estate is my FAVORITE sparkling wine under $30!
Anderson Valley Dress Code – Leave the Louboutins at home. It’s ultra casual up in these parts, but the wineries and tasting rooms are still gorgeous with a Nor-cal charm and visitors from around the world. Dress how you like for a weekend in wine country, and blue jeans are good to go. For a Wine Country Style Guide – definitely follow Adrienne of ‘The Rich Life in Wine Country‘
Family pic at Roederer with my brothers Drew & Paul (who’s finally 21 and can do a little tasting himself)
PS – If you want an in-depth tour of Anderson Valley with more details for a full weekend – check out this ’15 article by the Wall Street Journal ‘Uncorking the Perfect Long Weekend in California’s Anderson Valley.’
Husch Husch… (Tasting Fee – $0) We went to the family-owned Husch Vineyards tasting room just around the corner from Roederer Estate. It reminded me of a cozy secret cottage in a fairytale. We bought a couple bottles and headed back down the road to Lemon Market for fresh deli sandwiches, kettle chips, and our appetites for a picnic at the Anderson Valley Brewing Co. just down the road.
Anderson Valley Brewing Co. – (Tasting Fee – $10 for 5 beers of your choice). You can’t miss the AVBC Tap Room in Booneville. This town is rich in history with a tiny population and it’s own language – Boontling (read more on Wikipedia if you’re curious). The brewery has a Boontling word of the day on the menu in the tap room. Vocab word that week: ‘dehigged’ meaning ‘without money, feeling broke.’
Nor-Cal Insider Tip*- You could definitely do Anderson Valley as a long day trip from the Bay Area, but I recommend spending the weekend venturing to the Mendocino Coast about 35 miles from Booneville. There is also a new restaurant in Philo I’ve heard from locals is tasty called The Bewildered Pig open Thurs-Sun for dinner.
<DETAILS by DALE> shades – Quay Australia 64 MM Aviator glasses in gold/brown / jeans (old) – Zara / suede jacket (recent) – Zara / sweater (last seen here at the Mendocino Coast) – Old Navy / boots – H&M / handbag – Louis Vuitton tote / red purse accessory – from Zurich airport
Budget Bonus – We spent about $40 each the whole day including tastings at 3 locations, lunch, and buying a couple bottles to take home. Yay! *Traffic is also much lighter in Anderson Valley compared to Napa if you’re looking for a rural getaway in wine country. Have you been to Anderson Valley before or wine tasting lately?