Sunday, February 05, 2006

Beautiful Day In Wine Country

Yesterday I took a family to the Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys for a day of winetasting. What a gorgeous day it was. I've always said the most beautiful days are between winter storms, and yesterday proved that to be true. After our abundant rain, the hillsides are a lush green and the yellow mustard is blossoming in the vineyards. With the nearly cloudless blue sky and temperature in the 60s, it was a perfect day to visit wine country.

My guests visited seven wineries, tying the Blue Heron the record for most wineries visited in an eight-hour tour. Yet the day was not rushed. Being a Saturday, we visited one of my favorite small wineries. Deux Amis (two friends) is the perfect example of a great boutique winery. Winemaker Phyllis Zouzounis and co-owner Jim Penpraze produce about 1,500 cases of luscious, full-bodied Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. The winery and tasting room fit into a small warehouse at 1960 Dry Creek Road, outside of Healdsburg. When you stop by, not only will you get to taste great wine, but you'll always get to meet at least one of the owners. Yesterday, my guests met both Phyllis and Jim, tasted four great wines for free, and learned about winemaking as Phyllis topped off the barrels. Deux Amis is usually open on Saturday afternoons. If you want to visit at another time, call (707) 431-7945 to make an appointment.

If you would like to take a custom, private tour to visit Deux Amis and other wonderful boutique wineries, call me at (866) 326-4237 or e-mail me by clicking here.


Anonymous said...

I am looking to visit most of California's Sparkling Wines vineyards. How can I get a list of these and how many days should I set aside? I am thinking of starting around Orange County and moving up to San Francisco.
Chicago, Il

Rick said...

I am not aware of any comprehensive list of wineries that produce sparkling wine. In Northern California some of the best are Iron Horse and J in the Russian River Valley; Gloria Ferrer and Domaine Carneros in Los Carneros; Schramsberg, Cliff Lede (S. Anderson), Frank Family, Mumm, and Domaine Carneros in the Napa Valley; and Roederer and Scharffenberger in the Anderson Valley. If you would like my help in planning your vacation, please e-mail me at