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Follow The Olivet Road

Straight from the Barrel at Tara Bella.
Straight from the Barrel at Tara Bella.

Chalk up another one for the wineries along Olivet Road. If you love fine wine and the quintessential wine country experience, well then, you can’t do better than to get yourself to Olivet Road, just west of Santa Rosa. Along a one mile stretch of pleasant country road you will find a splendid condensation of California’s premium wine country. Scattered along Olivet Road, between Guerneville Road and River Road, in the Russian River appellation, are nine wineries, ranging from the largest, DeLoach, operated by a smallish family owned corporation to Tara Bella, the smallest with only six acres under cultivation.

The First Bud-break of Spring

Why go here? For one thing, you will find no buss loads of people disgorging their dozens of tourists. The tasting rooms, are just that, tasting rooms. Sure, some of them may have a few wine related items for sale besides their superb wines, their main business is displaying their wines, talking to you about their wines, and how they are made. Often the tasting rooms are in the aging sheds. You are surrounded by row upon row of barrels, wherein the wine is taking it’s beauty sleep before being bottled. The air is heavy with the rich, musky smell of fermentation. You know you are in the presence of fine things to come.

In many cases you will actually have the opportunity to talk to the winemakers themselves. Now just how cool is that? AND, when I say these are small family owned wineries; that is exactly what I mean, in fact you are made to feel that you are part of their family.

“The Taste of Olivet Road,” is an annual event every spring, and is a last chance the winemakers have to relax and have a good time with their patrons before the intensive work of the season begins.

Yesterday was a glorious spring day, as only Sonoma County can offer; the country side is green, the first bud-break is happening in the vineyards, lambs and kids gamboling in the fields. As I drove from winery to winery, both car windows were wide open and the Met broadcast of the opera could its own with any rappers boom-box. Spring is here! The vines are budding and last year’s crush is snoozing in the barrels. If you’re looking for something splendid, yet gentle to do, you couldn’t go wrong while in Sonoma County with a visit to Olivet road.

And, a suggestion for the ladies; leave the stiletto heals at home. Some of these small wineries have gravel pathways and boy do you look foolish trying to navigate them after a few glasses of wine ... just saying...

You can read more of my work at The Questing Feast
and you can listen to me every Mondays on KGGV-The Bridge 95.1 FM
or streaming worldwide at KGGV

Two Shows:

“Live From The Bridge” – live interviews and music with local musicians – noon to 12:50
“The Questing Feast: - chat about food & wine plus interviews with people in the food & wine world – 1:10 to 2:00 p.m.

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