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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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March 6, 2011

Happenings On The Wine Road

Every year during the first two weekends in March, the Barrel Tasting event of the year occurs in the Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley areas of Sonoma County.


A. Rafanelli Cellar
















We had 145 wineries to choose from for this event.  You can spread out your visits over the two days your ticket covers, but I am only going for the one day. 

If you've never been barrel tasting, the reason behind it at an event like this is, you have the chance to taste wines before they're bottled, meet the winemakers and have the opportunity to buy 'futures' {at a great discount} of the wine which will be bottled 6-18 months from now.

We began our day with some high expectations......we were going to try and visit five wineries.  I was designated driver, so I only tasted a little tiny bit and snapped a ton of photos. 

Our first stop was Dutton Estate Winery.  My friend, Kellie is having a taste and talking to the Winemaker, Terry.













We also had the chance to talk with Tracy Dutton {on left}, one of the owners who is super friendly and totally answered all our questions and even mapped out some other wineries she recommended for us. 

Tracy Dutton & Jeannie
















Our good friend, Deb works at Dutton, so it was fun hanging out with her for a while while she was pouring.


I bought.  What can I say, I love Dutton Estate wine.

Dutton Estate Wines

















Our next stop was quite a distance from where we started but well worth it because wine is only offered for purchase at A. Rafanelli Winery at events like this or by appointment. 

I bought again.

We talked with Dave Rafanelli, owner and his daughter, Shelley, winemaker.  Kellie and Shelley used to rope together so they had lots of catching up to do.

The first photo, above is taken at Rafanelli as well.

Kellie, Shelley Rafanelli-Fehlman & Dave Rafanelli

















Okay, our last winery.  Armida. We only made it to three!  Kellie had never been to this winery and it's a must do if only for the entertainment factor and people watching.














The Armida Winery party has three tasting rooms for this event.  Kellie and Jody ready to enter 'Hell' tasting area.

Armida Winery 'Hell' Entrance





















This is where all the red wines are presented.  And the feel of the room is very much like a Halloween party, fog machine, strobe lights and all.

Armida Winery 'Hell' Tasting Room















I like taking photos without the flash on so it gives a sense of the feel at the time, in my opinion anyway.














Here's one with the flash on....you don't see the red glow or the fog that was in the room and the photo is just blah.


Armida Winery 'Hell' Tasting Room

























We then headed over to the 'Heaven' tasting room where the white wines are served from the barrel by an angel.

Armida Winery 'Heaven' Tasting Room
















Armida Wine 'Poizin'



















The view from Armida.  Rain is on its way.














After our three stops we headed into the town of Healdsburg for a snack.  I found some Sao Jorge Portuguese cheese....you know that cheese I LOVE with the nutty flavor, at the little market/deli so we bought some crackers and red pepper jelly and had the perfect snack to end a perfect day.





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