free wine tasting in Russian River?
Maps and websites don't seem to say what tasting fees are at Russian River area wineries, or if anybody is still free.
Does anybody know, or know of a directory that includes that information?
SFGate.com's Wine section (web version of SF Chronicle Wine section) has a "Wine Country Guide" search section near the top of the front page (right side): www.sfgate.com/wine
This "Wine Country Guide" allows you to narrow your search by selecting "Special Features" from a drop-down list, one of which is "Complimentary Tastings." The other drop-down list is for "Locations," but unfortunately Russian River is not among the specific areas on that list. I guess it would be under "Other Sonoma County."
Note that the search results give very brief descriptions for each winery, but click on the wineries' names for more details.
Actually, a lot of Sonoma County is free. Maybe not Sonoma Valley, but I haven't been through there in a while.
Alderbrook, at the north end of RRV, charges, as does J Wine (but at least you get food there). Westside Road is mostly free I believe. Rochioli may be charging. South of River Road, I think Lynmar charges, but not sure who else.
the first two weekends in March are the barrel tasting event where it is just $10 to taste at all RRV wineries all weekend
SFeater, I usually go during events like that, so I haven't learned what it's like during regular times, but I need to play tour guide for some people coming during the week. I agree that the wine road events are really fun.
Full disclosure: I work for the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, so your post caught my eye (I was looking for SF restaurants...)
Here's some good info:
The Map Store in Windsor has a cool interactive wine map. I don't know if it shows if tastings are free or not: http://www.themapstore.com/thewinemap/
Barrel Tasting is all of March, and a lot of the fun is in the Russian River area:
A few freebies in the RR area (on or near Westside Road) are:
Korbel Champagne Cellars
Porter Creek Vineyards
Davis Bynum Winery
Hop Kiln Winery
As a general note, Sonoma County has many free tasting rooms, or rooms that will apply a small tasting fee to the purchase of their wine.
And, shameless plug, if you want more info about things to see and do up here, please check out our website: www.sonomacounty.com.
Now, I need to find some places to go eat in the City....