This marks the halfway point of our time away from home! About six weeks ago we set out on this awesome trip and it feels like the time has just flown by. We decided to pamper ourselves a little bit for a day or two in Sonoma wine country. We found an amazing B&B in Healdsburg, CA, which is a new center for the Russian River Valley wineries. The Camellia Inn
was an huge and yet adorable Victorian house with about nine guest rooms. We arrived just before the daily evening wine tasting provided by our host Lucy and her husband. It was seriously one of the best B&Bs that we've stayed in. The rooms had bottled water, wine glasses, fresh flowers, chocolates, a fireplace, and the most comfortable sheets you've ever slept on. They even sell the sheets in the office because so many people have fallen in love with them. We had a lot of fun meeting some of the other guests and got a great dinner recommendation for a place called Zin
, where the food was great but the staff never smiled.
Photos from the Camellia Inn website
The next morning after our awesome breakfast we headed out to bike Dry Creek Road that winds through the vineyards and wineries. The map showed it to be about six miles to the end of the road, so we figured that it would be a fairly easy ride with some stops for tastings along the way. It ended up being a total of about 20 miles
, when we measured out the distance online! But it was still gorgeous and fun and a beautiful day for biking.
Our first stop was the Michel-Schlumberger
winery which is a little more off the beaten path. It's an organic and sustainable winery and one of the first of it's kind. We had heard that the winery tour was great and we arrived just in time for the morning tour. Our tour guide Francesco was awesome. We were able to walk through the grapevines and taste some of the cabernet grapes and then see how the grapes are processed, fermented, oaked, and blended. We learned a ton and then had a tasting at the end. We loved the Pinot Gris, Le Bon Cochon Zin, and their Maison Rouge (their take on a "house red"). We hopped back on the bikes and headed over to the Truett-Hurst
winery. Truett-Hurst is also organic and biodynamic, but their vineyards and winery are not on the same property. They had a lovely garden outside the tasting room. We bought two bottles there, the Burning Man Petit Sirah and the Rattler Zinfandel.
Our next stop was meant to be for FOOD. It was about 3pm and we hadn't eaten since our 8:30am breakfast back at the inn. We were told that the Family Winery bloc had a food truck and/or restaurant so we headed that way. No such luck on the food! Apparently he is only there on weekends. Boo! But there was more wine, so that was good. We stopped first at Papapietro-Perry
, a small winery that focuses on Pinot Noir almost exclusively. It was neat to taste 5 different pinots from different vineyards and compare the taste. Across the way was the Kokomo
winery, started by two Purdue alums. When we told the woman presenting the tasting that Tom was also an alum, she went back and found one of their seasonal workers who was also an alum and also works for Binny's in Chicago! He was out for the harvest season to learn more about winemaking firsthand, since he oversees all the wine sales in the Binny's stores. He gave us a private tour of the facility and introduced us to the owners. It was a very cool experience.
At this point we were famished, a little drunk, and carrying two bottles of wine in our backpack. And we still had about 5 miles of biking ahead of us before we got back to the inn. We managed to find a little general store with some great deli choices and wolfed down some food in preparation for the trip back. Let me tell you that a suddenly full stomach + a day of drinking red wine + high intensity pedaling = a somewhat nauseous Lisa. But, we made it back in one piece, rested for a little bit and then headed down towards San Francisco, where we stayed with the Tripps in Mill Valley. We had a great meal with them and their awesome kids, drank a lot more wine, and relaxed in the hot tub.
Not bad for 36 hours in wine country!