Can you see into the future? Or can you simply recognize a great wine when you taste it, even when the wine is young, and still in the barrel?
If so, then the annual Sonoma Barrel Tasting event is for you, running over two weekends from February 28 to March 2 and again from March 7 to March 9, 2014. In this 36th annual extravaganza, nearly 150 wineries across northern Sonoma County will open their doors and cellars, allowing you to taste the nascent wines.
The idea is that after you’ve found your favorite flavors, you can purchase the wines, in a process called “futures.” The barrel blends are sold at a discount on the pretty sure bet that once they mature, they’ll be wonderful. In a few years, after the wines finish and age, you return to collect your treasures.
To save even more, tasting tickets purchased by 9 p.m. on Feb. 24 cost $10 less.
While such futures purchases may seem like a gamble, consider the caliber of the wineries, and it’s clear that this is a wise investment. Quivira Vineyards & Winery in Healdsburg will be showcasing their 2012 Petite Sirah, for example, while Sheldon Wines of Santa Rosa will preview their 2013 Ceja Farms Grenache plus an extra-special offering of 2003 Port al’ of Hope.
Attendees can talk to the winemakers, and glean some of their knowledge, plus who knows, perhaps a few insider tips here and there. As you sample and savor, you’ll explore the beauty that is the “Wine Road” region of Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys, accessing the inner workings of wineries that many people won’t otherwise see.
Please note that the barrel weekends are all about the wine. Unlike other winery open houses, there will be no food served, so plan accordingly. Great picnic options include Kozlowski Farms in Forestville, the Jimtown Store in Alexander Valley/Healdsburg, Dry Creek General Store in Healdsburg, and Community Market in Sebastopol.
And remember, waiting for your futures is thirsty business. So buy some bottles of wines as you go, to enjoy now.
Details: Daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person per weekend, $40 for Sunday only, and $5 for a designated driver. Hurry – tickets purchased by 9 p.m. on Feb. 24 are $40 per person per weekend. Call 800-723-6336 or purchase online at wineroad.com.
Tip: Barrel tasting does not match well with driving. So leave the roadwork to Pure Luxury Transportation.