5 Spots for Your Next Tasting Trip From picnic tables, olive oil tasting to a wine-themed casino, put these spots on your next tasting trip. BY TOURING & TASTING
Photos courtesy of the appropriate properties.
“ Pepper Bridge Winery was the first gravity flow winery and first winery to receive sustainability certification in the state of Washington.”
Sometimes you just want to try something new. Along the West Coast are innumerable places to stop and stay, but these five stand out. Make your must-stop list and start checking these off. Here's why:
More than a century ago, the stunning red barn that is now home to ArborBrook Vineyards was built into the southern flank of Yamhill County’s Chehalem Mountain range. When Dave and Mary Hansen discovered it in 1999, it was part of a 30-acre farm with the characteristics Dave, who was intent on making wine, sought for a vineyard. For Mary, who longed to have her horses nearby, it was an ideal home for them too.
Sixteen years later, the barn houses a tasting room and cold storage wine room with boarding for the horses out back. The winery is a popular spot, not just for its beauty but also for the wines that continually earn high acclaim. ArborBrook specializes in estate-grown Pinot Noir and also crafts Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and a Sauternes-style Sémillon dessert wine.
A visit to the tasting room is relaxing and fun. When things get busy at the main tasting bar, the former horse stalls become tasting stations.
Known for elegant, balanced wines handcrafted from grapes grown in its three Walla Walla estate vineyards, Pepper Bridge Winery was the first gravity flow winery and first winery to receive sustainability certification in the state of Washington.
With a focus on small lot, single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and the Bordeaux-style blend, Trine, Pepper Bridge wines consistently receive high acclaim. Across the board, they are lauded for their classic Walla Walla characteristics.
Pepper Bridge Winery has two tasting rooms. The Walla Walla tasting room sits on a beautiful ridge overlooking Pepper Bridge Vineyard and the Blue Mountains in the distance. Its appealing wraparound deck and landscaped lawn entice many guests to select a glass of their favorite wine to enjoy while they drink in the view. The second tasting room, located in Woodinville, provides Seattle-area wine lovers a taste of Walla Walla and is the site of many private events.
Nestled among 20 acres of estate vineyards and inviting picnic grounds dotted with ancient oaks, stands an architectural showpiece designed and built by fifth generation Sonoma as “the Castle,” Ledson Winery & Vineyards has become a destination estate with plenty of options to make any wine country experience unforgettable.
The Ledons are on of the oldest farming families in the valley with more than 150 years of tradition. Approximatley 90 percent of Ledson wine is produced from meticulously farmed estate-grown grapes, resulting in a superior wine portfolio with something to delight the palate of every guest. The winery’s broad range of varietals include Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Barbera, Mourvèdre, Primitivo, Grenache, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé, and Madera Port. Ledson consistently produces highly coveted, small-lot wines that showcase Sonoma County at its absolute best.
Ledson Winery & Vineyards also has a dedicated wine concierge to assist wine enthusiasts as they plan their visit to Sonoma County. The Ledson’s impeccable service means every detail is carefully coordinated and tailored to each individual palate. With a winery Castle, a boutique hotel, and an inspired restaurant, Ledson Winery & Vineyards offers an experience like no other. To gain a full appreciation for Sonoma County, visitors should plan to visit the iconic Ledson Winery Castle and dine and stay at Ledson’s Zina Lounge restaurant and vintage-style boutique hotel on the historic Sonoma Plaza.
Founded by Paul and Kellye Manuel, Chacewater Winery & Olive Mill produces premium wine and olive oils. Working with their three sons and a small, dedicated staff, Paul and Kellye have marked steady success since they released their first wine in 2011. The very next summer, the winery won the prestigious 2012 California State Fair Golden Winery of the Year award, setting the tone for many subsequent awards for both wines and olive oils.
Solid teamwork has been integral to Chacewater’s success. In both the cellar and olive mill, Paul and Kellye hired two knowledgeable, seasoned veterans. Winemaker Mark Burch brought his 31 years of winemaking experience to craft exceptional wines reflecting the Lake County terroir, and Founding Mill Master Emilio De La Cruz installed Chacewater’s Pieralisi cold press mill and planted 3,000 olive trees to produce Chacewater’s award-winning extra virgin oils.
Chacewater’s world-class quality continues to garner national press and major wine and olive oil competition attention. Most recently, the 2013 Chacewater Zinfandel was awarded 93 points by Wine Enthusiast. Recognition for Chacewater’s olive oils include Best of Class at the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition for the Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a very rare Gold Medal at the New York International Olive Oil Competition for its Allegra.
Owned and operated by the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California, Twin Pine Casino & Hotel offers wine tourists the fun and luxury of a premier casino, hotel, and restaurant—nearly halfway between the wineries of the northern Napa Valley and Lake County. Said to be the only wine-themed casino destination in the United States, Twin Pine attracts discerning guests who like to blend their love of casino life and wine.
Twin Pine dedicates 25,000 square feet of space to the latest slot machines and blackjack, pai gow, three-card poker, and live poker. Guests can relax at the new poker bar and enjoy a cocktail while playing their favorite bartop video poker machines. Texas Hold’em tournaments are held three days a week and other tournaments fill the calendar all year.
Next to the casino floor, the Grapevine Bar & Lounge offers delicious bar bites, regional wines, and a large selection of beer and spirits. Guests enjoy free live weekend entertainment and five high-definition television sets. The wine-themed Manzanita Restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and wine-paired menu selections nightly. Each month, to showcase the wines of the region, Twin Pine selects a different Winery of the Month. The program includes a “meet and greet” wine tasting and a prix fixe wine pairing dinner prepared by the Manzanita’s chefs.
When it comes to accommodations, the only standard at Twin Pine is deluxe. Both king and double queen deluxe rooms provide 550 square feet of living space with sumptuous décor, 50-inch plasma screen televisions, and mini-refrigerators. Luxury suites are double the size, featuring 1,100 square feet of space with the same amenities and more.
22223 Hwy 29 at Rancheria Rd.
Middletown, CA 95461