A Lifestyle blog based in Sonoma County, in the heart of Wine Country. Amber is an outspoken voice for local activism, local wine tourism, and more.

Experience Alexander Valley 2019

My Preview of the Experience Alexander Valley has been sponsored by Alexander Valley Winegrowers 

Have you heard of the annual Experience Alexander Valley weekend extravaganza? If not - do not worry; this year will mark it's second annual event. Last year I participated by visiting the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and learned how to make handmade oven-baked pizzas!

This year everything was stepped up a notch - by participating in the exclusive preview of the Experience Alexander Valley in April, for the actual event taking place the weekend of the 22nd & 23rd in June. I was able to get a "taste" of what is being offered this year. And let me tell you - this is an Experience you won't want to miss!

Photography: a mix between my own, and Eric Michael Perez, courtesy of Alexander Valley Winegrowers.

What Experience Alexander Valley is:
Experience Alexander Valley is a wonderful opportunity to experience what makes the region so unique, and fun! Comprising of 31 wine growers and 82 winegrowers, the Alexander Valley AVA of Sonoma County has a lot to offer. Each experience is limited to 20 guests, hence creating an intimate experience for both yourself and the wineries and the winegrowers you'll be interacting with.

Experience Alexander Valley is all about learning, tasting, and exploring what makes this area of Northern California unique. You'll learn about the history, hear of family traditions, get to ask one-on-one questions, and experience the Valley in such a way that you'll feel as though you had the entire place to yourselves, and your group. For your unique experiences, you’ll find everything from blending seminars with winemakers to ravioli making, to brunch and bocce in the vineyards.

Our first stop of our tour was at the beautiful Trione Vineyards & Winery. We were immediately greeted with sparkling glasses of Brut, and escorted out to the bocce ball courts, and outdoor picnic and tasting area. A lovely wine tasting was hosted outside (which included their Russian River Pinot), paired with a charcuterie board, as well as a quick lesson in wine blending. After, a short lesson in bocce etiquette followed, after which we divvied ourselves up into teams and played! Long story short: my team won! 😂

To sign up for the Bountiful Charcuterie, Bites, and Bocce in the Vineyards with Trione Winery, click here.

Next we were shuttled (courtesy of Four 54 Tours) to Hawkes Wine where we took in the spectacular views, and received a first hand experience at barrel making! I personally never knew just how much elbow grease went in to creating a single barrel. The process known as cooperage, is an ancient skill. To make the wood pliable, and to be able to bend it in a curved shape, a small fire is lit from within, and the heat allows the barrel-maker to set it. Depending on how long the fire burns, also determines some of the flavor notes in the wine!

Interested in this Experience? Register for your Saturday Morning Barrel Making Demonstration with Hawkes Wine here. 

Our final stop of the Preview was at Robert Young Estates Winery. Our tour started with a tractor side through the property, over to their on-site caves and cellars. I was personally beyond elated when I discovered that they have a llama on the property. I love llamas!

During our tour we learned that Robert Young was the first to plant Cabernet Sauvingnon in the Alexander Valley AVA. It was fun to hear the stories of strong willed sons and grandsons who carried on both tradition and also forged new paths within the winery.

This wisteria stole the show!
After our tour, we dined on location at the Scion House. Complete with individual wine pairings for our four course meal, we were also treated to the experience of having our meal cooked and prepared by local restaurateur and celebrity Chef, Domenica Catelli (local readers will recognize the name, as yes, it is the same Catelli of Catelli's in Geyserville). Domenica Catelli is incredibly talented in what she does - she even prepared an incredible mushroom lasagna for us vegetarian guests. She is also incredibly humble - for someone who has cooked for Oprah, you would never know! She is so down to earth.

Tractor ride!

Ready to have a weekend Experience of your own? Follow the link below to schedule your Alexander Valley Experience. Continue reading below to learn how to make your weekend an all out luxury one to remember, with luxury accommodations and private driving services.

Each of these Experiences were out of this world. Each one was so unique in it's offering! To see a full list of Experiences available, and to schedule your own, please visit the Alexander Valley Experience events page

Enjoying the beautiful garden pathways at Honor Mansion

If you're traveling from out of town, or would simply love a luxurious stay-cation experience, I highly recommend the Honor Mansion in Healdsburg. As part of our preview for this year's Experience, our group was hosted at the Mansion. I was absolutely smitten from the moment I set foot on the property: large rooms with soft bed linens, private outdoor spa bathtubs, plush robes, Happy Hour with local winery pours, social hours, and a freshly made gourmet breakfast complete with mimosas, there is so very much to love about Honor Mansion! They also have a pool, and beautifully manicured gardens - be sure to set aside time to wander and explore the property.

Taking in the views, wines, and charcuterie at Hawkes

Responsible wine tasting requires a a designated driver. Put yourself in the safe hands of Four 54 Tours, and sit back and relax, while their knowledgeable drivers take the wheel.  Four 54 Tours will safely transport you from one winery to another, allowing you and your fellow guests to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. Plus as an added (and very important) bonus, they have snacks!

Want to see more? Head over to my Instagram page, and view my Highlight titled "Ex. Alexander V".

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A Mused Blog | A Northern California Sonoma County Blog