August 15, 2019

Guerneville:Wine tasting along Westside Road in the Russian River Valley; things to do


101 North

Wine tasting along Westside Road in the Russian River Valley

The Russian River Valley AVA is known for producing great Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.  You can hop along Westside Road, a back road that begins in Forestville just off River Road and runs into Healdsburg.  It permits tasting at a variety of small wineries that still express great passion for their profession.  And though they are set along the Russian River, they don’t rush things here.  

Jersey Tom Wine Country Tours  (775) 901-0508.  Tom can arrange the perfect wine tasting tour for you.  He provides background during the ride, then waits in his van as the designated driver for you and your group.  



Thomas George Estates  8075 Westside Rd., in Healdsburg, (707) 431-8031.  Tasting $50+.  

tasting room at Thomas George Estates in Healdsburg, California
tasting room at Thomas George Estates in Healdsburg, California

Originally owned in the 1970s by area wine pioneer and legend Davis Bynum, this winery was taken over in 2008 by Thomas George Estates.  Bynum converted a 1920s hop kiln into the current modern winery building.  The basic Reserve Tasting takes place in a cave and includes five single-vineyard estate wines paired with food.  A special Wine Safari tour ($175/person) includes a bottle of wine and a ride up to the Baker Ridge Vineyard for a picnic with a view.  My favorites here are a light, summery 2015 Chardonnay Baker Ridge Estate Single Vineyard ($45) and a small production 2015 Pinot Noir Baker Ridge Estate Single Vineyard Backbone Block ($85).  Renovated 1920s houses on the property have been converted into guest rental accommodations.  

cave entrance at Thomas George Estates in Healdsburg, California
cave entrance at Thomas George Estates in Healdsburg, California


vineyards at Thomas George Estates in Healdsburg, California
vineyards at Thomas George Estates in Healdsburg, California


al fresco tasting at Thomas George Estates in Healdsburg, California
al fresco tasting at Thomas George Estates in Healdsburg, California



Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery  10701 Westside Rd., in Healdsburg, (707) 473-2900. Tasting $35+; reservations required.  

tasting set up at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery in Healdsburg, California
tasting set up at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery in Healdsburg, California

A pioneer in this valley, this winery began production in 1982.  The current winery was built in 2000.  Perched atop a knoll, the tasting room has a lovely forest view and an assortment of areas to relax and enjoy the wines, including an outside deck.  Many of the wines are limited production.  The guided Elevation Tasting samples four wines paired with artisan cheeses.  Another tasting includes five wines matched with cheeses as well as a tour, and yet another tasting zeros in on six Pinot Noirs paired with small bites.  My favorites here are the fresh, citrusy 2015 Rochioli Vineyard Chardonnay ($60) and the delicious 2015 Rochioli-Allen Vineyards Pinot Noir ($80).  

tasting set up at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery in Healdsburg, California
tasting set up at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery in Healdsburg, California


blogger Carole Terwilliger Meyers tasting at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery in Healdsburg, California
blogger Carole Terwilliger Meyers tasting at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery in Healdsburg, California



Moshin Vineyards  10295 Westside Rd., in Healdsburg, (707) 433-5499.  Tasting $20, waived with wine purchase. 

tasting counter at Moshin Vineyards in Healdsburg, California
tasting counter at Moshin Vineyards in Healdsburg, California

I am told that the winemaker here “is quite simply obsessed with grapes.  He gets dazzled by them.”  So with a gravity-flow winery built on four levels, he bends to the wishes of his Pinot Noir grapes that they not be overworked here and gravity pushes production.  Two Pinots I tried were particularly delicious:  a 2014 Calliope Vineyard, Russian River was a tasty stew of fruits and spices; and a 2014 Whole Cluster, Sonoma County was so delicious I exclaimed, “Oh!” on my first sip.  A 2012 Zinfandel, Carreras, Vineyard, Dry Creek was also very good and is reputed to stand up well to a burger.  The tasting room is cozy, decorated with art, and seems to have a sub-theme of hummingbirds.  It also has a very big fake toad that made me jump when someone unexpectedly set it down beside me.  

2014 Pinot Noir at Moshin Vineyards in Healdsburg, California
2014 Pinot Noir at Moshin Vineyards in Healdsburg, California


fake toad at Moshin Vineyards in Healdsburg, California
fake toad at Moshin Vineyards in Healdsburg, California



Porter Creek Vineyards  8735 Westside Rd., in Healdsburg, (707) 433-6321.  Tasting daily 10:30am-4:30pm. 

tasting at Porter Creek Vineyards in Healdsburg, California
tasting at Porter Creek Vineyards in Healdsburg, California

The focus here is on organic, single-vineyard designate wines, and grape varietals from Burgundy and Rhone.  Located at the southern end of Westside Road, with a view of the Russian River and redwood groves, the simple tasting room is inside a  historic structure built with handmade redwood beams and decorated with local art.  



Introduction to Russian River Region.

More things to do in Guerneville.

August 13, 2019

Sebastopol: Mom's Apple Pie; restaurant review


101 North

Mom's Apple Pie  4550 Hwy. 116 N./near Hwy. 12, (707) 823-8330. Daily 10-6; $. 


sign outside Mom's Apple Pie in Sebastopol, California
sign outside Mom's Apple Pie in Sebastopol, California


interior of Mom's Apple Pie in Sebastopol, California
interior of Mom's Apple Pie in Sebastopol, California


menu at Mom's Apple Pie in Sebastopol, California
menu at Mom's Apple Pie in Sebastopol, California


pie case at Mom's Apple Pie in Sebastopol, California
pie case at Mom's Apple Pie in Sebastopol, California


slice of apple pie stabbed with a fork at Mom's Apple Pie in Sebastopol, California
slice of apple pie stabbed with a fork at Mom's Apple Pie in Sebastopol, California


Located beside an 8-acre apple orchard, this cheery bakery is always worth a stop. Pies are made by hand and include not just the famous apple but banana cream, peach, raspberry, pecan and more—all available in several sizes to take home as well. Tasty soup and sandwiches are also on the menu. By the way, Mom still owns this place, and her apple pie is almost as good as my own Mom’s (click here for that recipe).

Mom's Apple Pie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


More things to do in Sebastopol.

More things to do in nearby Forestville.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers