If you’re wondering why The Barlow in Sebastopol smells like popcorn, and its streets warble with the sounds of bagpipes, the answer is this: winemaker Greg La Follette has come to town, and opened a tasting room.
Yes, he’s better known for his small-lot, single vineyard wines, but he’s a bit of a showman, too, as evidenced in his grand opening celebrations earlier this month.
For a preview of the new space, he hosted a “Popcorn With Pinot Terroir Tour” where he paired his wines with different flavors of popcorn while exploring the various vineyard sites in the La Follette portfolio. That meant guests got to explore tastes like black truffle salted popcorn alongside La Follette DuNah Pinot Noir, for nice results since, as the winemaker notes, the DuNah boasts darker notes of shiitake mushroom, sandalwood and sassafras balanced with red cherry and pomegranate fruit.
La Follette is quite the artist with bagpipes, too, so he serenaded guests with rousing tunes as he showed off the space, which is, incidentally, one of the very first new businesses to open in the 220,000-square-foot culinary and art center at Sebastopol Avenue/Hwy. 12 and Morris Street.
The micro-boutique winery in Healdsburg has made terrific Pinot Noir and Chardonnay since the brand was founded in 2010, but until now, sales have focused online.
This will be the only place where visitors can catch the latest release of the Lorenzo Vineyard Chardonnay or compare the van der Kamp and DuNah Pinots side by side.
Details: La Follette Wines, 180 Morris St. (in The Barlow), Sebastopol, 707-827-4933, www.lafollettewines.com. Open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.