Healdsburg, California is turning out to be the best wine vacation destination I’ve had on my travels. Healdsburg and the Alexander Valley is known for their red wines- my kind of place! We did some research on the porch while drinking wine (of course!) the night before and opted to explore the Alexander Valley along Highway 128.
First up was Field Stone Winery which ended up being my favorite stop of the day. We arrived around opening at noon on a Monday and were not surprisingly the first customers of the day. And we were just in time, a party of 14 was going to show up shortly. The wine cave/tasting room/hobbit house was dark and cool on this 95 degree day.
View from the hobbit window:
Our wine guide for the day Wayne was hilarious and quite the talker. He has a niece that lives in Baltimore so there was a lot to discuss. We tried all sorts of delicious wine made from the famous Alexander Valley grapes.
Look at that fancy wine aerator- thingy!
We were able to try 6 different wines (and a little bit pick and choose since we aren’t big white wine fans). I think it helped that we were the only people here.
Rebekah went home with a cab and I left with the Marion’s Block Syrah. We both enjoyed this stop a a lot.
We walked around the grounds a bit a took a look a the views- it really does look like Italy around here!
Grapes on the vine:
Alexander Valley Vineyards on our Highway 128 trek was stop #2. This is a fairly popular brand you can find in a lot of normal wine/grocery/liquor stores. Visitors had the option of tasting all the “normal” wines for free or $10 for the upgraded tastings of more exclusive wines. Rebekah and I quickly opted to share an upgraded tasting because we were there to try new wines not the normal grocery store finds.
We liked a few options and opted to buy a bottle of Zinfandel to split later. Overall, the wines were good but it was really commercial and impersonal so I’d skip this stop in the future.
Stop #3 was a good one and had the best backstory. At the Robert Young Estate Winery our wine guide for the tasting was a member of the vineyard’s fourth generation. Him and his cousins are the latest to work on wine making and business end of things.
Also I hate Chardonnay normally but they had a really good one! The reds were better but nothing spoke to me enough to buy a bottle (plus, they were a bit more expensive).
Outside the wine tasting room was a cute little picnic area so Rebekah and I set up our snack spread of the best grapes ever, strawberries, crackers, cheese, and hummus.
Always eat before wine tasting and bring lots of snacks and water! Otherwise, all the wine starts tasting the same. Three wineries are about all I can handle in one day, even if you split tastings, or skip them- it just starts to get old.
We opted to go back to Healdsburg and do some shopping and wandering. We didn’t buy anything but there are some cute stores on the Healdsburg Square.
We received a few recommendations from shop owners and wine guides to try Bravas happy hour. It was only a block and a half away from our VRBO rental and each drink and small plate is $4.20 (haha, California- you are funny!).
I’m not sure how we managed to snag one of the few tables during the busy happy hour but we did- it probably helped that it was a Monday.
The amazing cava sangria for both of us. We saw another table order them and immediately decided we needed one for ourselves.
The patatas bravas with garlic aioli and the flatbread of the day were freaking delicious! And only $4.20.
Because I’m on vacation and can do what I want, the night ended early and I read my book on the back porch for a while eventually going inside when the sun went down. My favorite low-key evening.
Reader Question: Your favorite sangria: is it red, white, or sparkling?