We’re really fortunate to live so close to the wine country, it’s a short drive from Oakland and a fun one because you get to drive on bridges, see the Bay in all its glory, see the farms outside in the country and of course vineyards. I recently took a quick weekend trip to Healdsburg in Sonoma county to take a tour of the gorgeous vineyard at Copain Wines and learn a little bit about their process of wine making. My wine knowledge is decent, it isn’t an encyclopedia but I can get by in a general wine conversation. I’m good at pairing but when it comes to the more nuanced intricacies of how it is made, my knowledge is okay. Copain was a great opportunity to learn more about wine making, from steel to oak barrels, to the grapes they use and grow, how the grapes are grown (especially in this drought), how humidity and CO2 levels must be controlled during fermentation, and so much more. The vineyard has a breathtaking view of rolling hills covered with grape vines and tall pine trees and the vineyard’s tasting room is lined with rows of lavender on which bees and butterflies fly. You can schedule a wine tasting early on, I think a lot of places in Sonoma require reservations now to make sure everyone can get a great experience.
If you haven’t visited Healdsburg or need an excuse to go again, I also highly recommend adding Shed to your list! This was my first time and it’s a beautiful store full of potential props and kitchen stuff, they mill a lot of their own grain and they were nice enough to give me a demo of how they make their various grades of corn for grits, flour, etc. We also got try some of the food they prepared at Copain, their shrubs were spot on in their flavor combinations such as this deep red pluot and basil infused which had me go back for seconds, thirds and more. The Shed also won the James Beard Award for best restaurant design in 2014 and you can see why!