One of the things I like most about going to the Wine Bloggers Conferences is how much I learn at these events. During the 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference I had the opportunity to discover a hidden gem in my own backyard. That gem, Olivet Road is situated in the Russian River Valley area of Sonoma and is the little-known secret that I came across thanks to the Wine Road.
The Wine Road is an association of wineries and lodgings in the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River areas of Sonoma. Over 40 years ago, when the association began, there were only nine wineries participating. That number has since grown to almost 200 wineries and over 50 lodging establishments. For consumers, they provide a variety of services, including a complimentary concierge service where you can input what types of wine you enjoy and what your budget is, and they will pair you up with wineries and lodging that fit your criteria. We were lucky enough to have Beth Costa, the Executive Director of the Wine Road as our guide.
There are about a dozen wineries on or near Olivet Road. During my tour with the Wine Road myself and a few other bloggers had a chance to visit three of these, Battaglini Estate Winery, Tara Bella Winery & Vineyards, and Harvest Moon Winery. Our first stop was Battaglini Estate Winery run by Giuseppe J. Battaglini, the nicest man you will ever meet and his wife Lucia, who is equally delightful. Battaglini only produces a few varietals, Chardonnay, Petite Syrah, and Zinfandel. Their Rosato is actually a blend of their Chardonnay and Zinfandel, which I have never seen before. I liked the Rosato so much I picked up a bottle to take home.
After enjoying a delicious lunch from Willow Wood Market Cafe, which I highly recommend, we also stopped at the tasting room for Paul Mathew Vineyards. They are located just down the street from the Willow Would Market Cafe in Graton. Although they focus primarily on Pinot Noir, Paul Mathew also produces a Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and Syrah. Their backyard is perfect for having a glass of wine and relaxing.
The next stop was Tara Bella Winery and Vineyard. Tara Bella only produces one varietal — Cabernet Sauvignon — but they produce it from two clones and in four different styles. I was only able to try three of these styles since the Rosé was sold out. We started with their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from clone #4 (the Mendoza clone), then had their Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from clone #7 (the Wente clone). We ended on their port-style Cabernet Sauvignon, incidentally called Portal. The Portal is exclusively made from the Estate Clone 7 grapes and celebrates twenty years of wine making at Tara Bella.
We closed the day at Harvest Moon Winery, which is run by Randy Pitts. Randy and Harvest Moon Winery do focus on Zinfandel, but also have an absolutely stunning sparkling Gewürztraminer. Randy was gracious enough to open up a 2002 Zinfandel from his first vintage. I enjoyed my visit at Harvest Moon Winery so much that I went back the next month to celebrate my mom's birthday during The Lights of Olivet Holiday Open House. For that event they had special discounts, clam chowder, chocolate, and crafts.
Check out the photos in the gallery below. Also, this weekend I'll be adding additional posts and photos of the 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference.