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Healdsburg Tasting Rooms - and any itinerary advice

Heading to Healdsburg in January and staying 3 nights. One of the afternoons we'd like to check out the tasting rooms in Healdsburg and I'm looking for any tips on the best producers who have tasting rooms.

I'm familiar with Edmeades late harvest Zin and Seghesio's Zin but don't have a lot of interest in going to either. I enjoy Pinot's such as Merry Edwards (already on itinerary for different day) and the SO prefers full bodied reds of almost any sort so honestly we're flexible - just looking for less commercial producers we can't find in Arizona who put out quality wines.

Also, in case anyone has any advice on my itinerary I'll list that as well:

Friday:
- Arrive in Oakland @ 8am and pick up rental car
- Drive to Napa
- Lunch TBD - haven't researched too much yet, maybe Bistro Jeanty
- Visit Silver Oak, Smith Madrone, and most likely Pride
- Drive to Healdsburg, staying at Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza
- Dinner at Madrona Manor

Saturday:
- Hire DD service to drive rental car all day - go to 5 wineries or so around Healdsburg
- Bear Republic Brewery? Casual dinner since we'll be tired and tipsy

Sunday:
- Drive to 2-3 more wineries on our own
- Spend afternoon in the town of Healdsburg going to tasting rooms
- Dinner at Scopa

Monday:
- If we're up for it drive back through Napa and go to 2-3 more wineries and then get 6 pm flight from Oakland. If not we'll drive to the city and spend the day there.

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  1. I question Silver Oak as a choice - setting aside the fact that many find their wine mediocre (some still love their wine so it's kind of a wash in that aspect) - I'm pretty sure it should be wildly available in Arizona.

    Smith Madrone is the opposite of fruit forward. Their riesling is great. Their cab/chardonnay it really depends on your palate. The experience is fun and they have a great view.

    These threads should help with other winery picks. Come back once you have some specific ideas, and we'll help whittle it down.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/861205
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/862292
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/862196

    11 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      I'm specifically looking for advice on the 20 or so tasting rooms within Healdsburg, not full wineries as I'm doing my own research from the many threads on that. Sorry if I didn't make that clear enough in the post. Sunday afternoon we would like to just walk around the Plaza and surrounding areas and check out tasting rooms. I can't seem to find many posts on the tasting rooms specifically - most threads are asking for winery suggestions.

      I know a lot of my itinerary is up in the air but I figured I might as well post it to see if I'm way off base on anything. And Silver Oak isn't my choice - my boyfriend is dead set on going there and the trip is technically for his birthday so Silver Oak it is...

      1. re: PHXeater

        Ah! In Healdsburg there is:

        Capture (appt only)
        Arnot Roberts (appt only)
        Williamson - If I recollect correctly, the only one on this list that is right off the square.
        Davis Family
        Holdredge
        Seghesio

        La Crema makes good pinots (many of their wines are widely distributed though some are not). They are also off the square.

        1. re: goldangl95

          In the same complex as Holdredge is Skewis. Beautiful pinot noir if that is what you like.

            1. re: goldangl95

              Thanks for the ideas! I guess this map I've been referring to isn't very thorough since many places you've mentioned aren't even listed as tasting rooms in Healdsburg. Which is actually good since I'll have my fill of commercial at Silver Oak. http://sonoma.com/visitorsinfo/Sonoma...

              1. re: PHXeater

                Yea. It's a rather incomplete map. It has some good options on it - but it is missing a lot too.

                1. re: goldangl95

                  I found a slightly better map if anyone else comes across this thread, still looks to be incomplete but I guess that's to be expected due to the sheer quantity of tasting rooms and wineries.

                  http://www.winecountrythisweek.com/si...

                  1. re: PHXeater

                    Note -in my opinion, that winery map is much better, but I would also note that I almost universally avoid the wineries that have stars on that map.

                    1. re: PHXeater

                      Try these maps: much more specific.
                      http://www.wineroad.com/maps/

                      I'd do a bit more searching, were I you, before I'd settle on wineries to visit.

                  2. re: PHXeater

                    there are two tasting rooms in the Healdsburg area where you can try wines from multiple wineries including some beyond northern Calif, if it's variety you seek. JCB tasting room is on Center St. in Healdsburg directly across from the central plaza ; the B is for Boisset, a French family with wineries both in France (incl. Burgundy) and the U.S. Jesse, the sommelier there, is quite a pleasant chap to talk with. if you fancy sparkling wines, he has some very nice ones ; premier cru and grand cru Burgundies too. In Geyserville, right on Geyserville Ave. in the middle of town, Locals tasting room features multiple independent wineries and you can taste as many as you can mouth out of the 60-70 they'll have available to try. with that big selection, they're still a small, simple tasting room, nothing like some of the facilities in the big wineries.

          1. I'm going to give you a quick idea of what you have in store for you on your first day...

            By the time you pick up your rental car, you won't be on the freeway until 9:30ish, arriving in Napa between 10:30 and 11:00. Then another half-hour to Yountville for 11:30 lunch. Bistro Jeanty is a great choice.

            Silver Oak is a decent choice because it is in the 'hood, but if you decide on Smith Madrone or Pride, you have another half-hour drive up (at least) valley and up a mountain.

            THEN you have your drive to Healdsburg. If you go from the top of Spring Mountain, it is beautiful but windy roads through Windor to Healdsburg - probably an hour-and-a-half, if you are lucky. If you go back down through Napa, Carneros, and Sonoma, than two hours.

            If you are set on coming to Napa, I definitely wouldn't do it twice (Friday and Monday). That is a LOT of driving back-and-forth between two locations that are not very close to one another. And if you have a 6:00 flight on Monday, you would have to leave Napa by 2:30 at the absolute latest to avoid Oakland traffic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CarrieWas218

              Thanks Carrie for the itinerary feedback. I was worried Friday would be too much driving but was also hoping I was wrong. I think Friday we'll have to skip Pride mountain and just stay on the valley floor to make things easier and on Monday skip Napa and just spend the day in SF (not a bad alternative!).

              Thanks everyone else for the great feedback as well, I love the SF board! Once my itinerary is more decided I'll start a new thread with more detailed questions.