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Mar 14, 2007 11:13 AM

Best Dry Creek Valley Wineries

What are your favorite wineries to visit in the Dry Creek Valley/Healdsburg area? Looking for some good Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Viognier. I also prefer small wineries that aren't touristy or anything, but great wine and/or a beautiful place to drink wine are the top priorities!

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  1. For Pinot Noir, try Gary Farrell.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Husky

      Truly great Pinot. Also excellent Zin and Sauvignon Blanc. But they are not in Dry Creek.

      They're in the Russian River Valley.

      1. re: zin1953

        My bad. Speaking of Zinfandel and Dry Creek Valley, has anyone ever had any luck extracting more than one bottle from the Zin Nazi (Rafanelli)? On both of my visits there, they have only let me buy one bottle!

        1. re: Husky

          You can buy a case through their futures program. We've done it for years - their product is consistent.

    2. Preston makes a Viognier

      1. There are recent threads discussing this, including in the context of the recent barrel tasting event. Lots of good info.

        1. Hit Moshin and Arista for Pinot...Russian River Valley but close enough and a nice drive.

          I love Wilson, Unti and Nalle for Zin. Beautiful view at Wilson. You usually need an appt for Unti. No frills "tasting room" but buy it and drink somewhere else.

          1. I agree Unti makes great wine and is well worth a stop. Good values.

            Bella has a fabulous setting, very good zin (and syrah), but a little pricey. All the way at the top of West Dry Creek Road, past Preston. (Preston also has picnic area and great bread, but I've never found their wine worth buying).

            For Pinot, South of Healdsburg offers a clump of tasting rooms for Davis Family, Holdredge, Sapphire Hill and others. All 3 make nice RRV pinot, and all have very nice, approachable winemakers who are happy to talk wine. Sapphire Hill makes Viognier I believe, and they all make nice zins too. Not much of a setting, but there are picnic tables also. Grab some stuff from Oakville Grocery, and it's about half a mile down.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Bryan Gros

              Duh! I can't believe I forgot Bella. Awesome zins and a very pretty stop. They usually do tasing in the cave as well as the regular tasting room on the weekends, which is cool.

              Thanks for the pinot recs above. I haven't been to any of those.

              1. re: fine wino

                At the risk of spoiling all the good feelings, my wife and I came away with a pretty negative reaction to Bella when we visited right around crush time last September. The natural setting is lovely, but the whole experience was cheesy. They had a schmaltzy musician singing and playing an electric keyboard on their lawn. The staff relentlessly pushed the wine club and merchandise, shuttling us from station to station in conveyor-belt fashion. You know, when you walk into a wine cave, you kind of want it to be... cave-like. The Bella staff was cranking lousy music on a boom-box in the cave, and the gift shop with all manner of corny trinkets was right there at the cave entrance - ruining the whole idea of wine tasting in a cave, for us anyway. To our taste, the Bella wine was simply not as good as similarly priced and even lower priced offerings from other area producers. But maybe we're too snobby - all the other people there seemed to be enjoying themselves in a Bella-trance. You decide.

                1. re: Cheese Please

                  Three of us stopped at Bella the first Sunday of the barrel tasting event a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it was a bit hokey in the cave but it actually was fun, the food sampling from Zin was great, and all of us loved their (pretty expensive) Zins.