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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, 2014

Barrel Tasting along the Wine Road

It's the beginning of March, there's been a break in our rainy weather and it's the second weekend of Barrel Tasting in the Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys, which means great wines, good food and picnicking and phenomenal people watching.  Unfortunately, I am unable to attend this year's event but I thought you might like to, or at least take a peak into what it's all about. Tickets are still available at the door.....

The following photos are from Barrel Tasting 2012, when it was an unseasonably warm 70 plus degrees outside.  A beautiful and memorable day.....


Our journey along the Wine Road began at Dutton Estate, where my friend, Debbie, was pouring....

We sampled some delicious wines right out of the barrel.....which will only get better with age.
We collected our samples directly from Terry, the wine maker.

Dutton wines were paired with very moist pulled pork and corn good.

There were 130 wineries participating in Barrel Tasting weekend this year.  We managed to visit four of them.  A. Rafanelli, in Healdsburg, was our second stop.

Rafanelli wines are not sold retail, only restaurants and on special wine event weekends....Barrel Tasting weekend is my opportunity to stock up on a few bottles.

There's is always a line to enter the tasting room at Rafenelli, but the people pleasers that they are, always have someone pouring down the line while you're waiting.......

Hello Big Bold Zin......

After our 15 minute wait to enter the tasting room, we were not disappointed.....we tasted, bought and tasted a little more.

 All the wineries have beautiful scenery with everything beginning to bloom which = great photos, but not so great for allergies.....but I didn't least not til later...

We were on a mission.  We knew what wineries we wanted to hit, a list of top priorities.  Third stop, Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves.....

Bella has beautiful grounds that include a picnic area with shaded tables under majestic trees, a country shabby chic tasting room, and cool, dark wine caves...........

a fabulous pairing of bacon and grits with their wines.  

Bacon, I was in heaven.

We spent at least an hour at Bella, I don't think any of us wanted to leave. 

But we did.....finally.

On to Armida, our last stop of the day. 

For me, Armida is more about visual stimulation.   Armida has beautiful picnic grounds as well.  You can sit on their lawn, overlooking the pond and share a bottle of wine while eating from the picnic basket you've brought along.

For more info and a map to wineries participating in Barrel Tasting, click  on


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