Taste Route 116 Winery Experiences
Family-owned wineries creating captivating experiences, from the vineyard to your glass! Learn the fine details of winemaking, vineyard management, blind tastings and much more.
Choose ONE winery experience 10 am -12 pm then enjoy complimentary tastings at all other wineries!
The Art of Blending
Join HANNA’s Winemaker, Jeff Hinchliffe for a fascinating course on blending Bordeaux varietals, using Hanna’s estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and the almost extinct St. Macaire. With 20 years of experience blending high scoring wines, Jeff is eager to share his passion and expertise. You’ll learn the mechanics of blending discrete lots and discover the magic that comes from creating a whole greater than the sum of its parts. We’ll blind taste four uniquely crafted blends, test our assumptions, and collaborate on choosing the winning blend.
Barrel tasting and so much more, join us for a quick journey from grape to glass. Take a brief look behind the scenes and take a walk on the wild side starting with a quiet peek at the vineyard as it sleeps and then onward to the inner workings of a small family winery and what it takes to turn water into wine. A quick and informative monologue outlining the process and why we love what we do. Then steal away to the “fountain of youth” with a thief where our young wines will be sampled directly from the barrel and you get a glimpse into the future. We will conclude with some tasty bites along with select current release wines to fully understand the rewards of our efforts. Cellars and the outdoors can be quite chilly so please come prepared, and our warm hospitality will leave you smiling.
Taft Street Winery
Taft Street Winery has been producing Chardonnays since our garage days in the late ’70s. We know this grape well and want to share our knowledge and experience with you! Come learn about Chardonnay production with us. We will start with a brief history of the grape then dive into a cellar tour where we will explain the different methods of Chard productions. Stainless steel vs Oak aged? New oak vs neutral oak? Why are some Chardonnays buttery and creamy and others lean and crisp? How do the vineyard locations differ? We will show and TASTE you on it all! Complete the morning by tasting our finished Chardonnays and other new releases in the Tasting Room.
Char Vale Winery
Have You Dreamed About Owning and Running a Small Vineyard or Winery? Do You Wonder What it Takes to Create Delicious Wine for Guests to Sip Overlooking a Vineyard?
Come spend a morning with us and Char Vale will take you behind the scenes into the workings of our small family vineyard and winery, located in the Green Valley of the Russian River Valley. You will learn about: the estate grown Pinot Noir in our vineyard; the stages of grape development; crop yield; and how we plan for harvest. In the winery, you will: explore the stages of wine production; learn about developing our different styles of Pinot Noir; and hear about the allocation of the wine produced. There will be plenty of time for questions and answers. Your visit will finish with a discussion about our tasting room, while sampling Char Vale wines in the tasting room, overlooking the vineyard. This will include a vertical tasting of several years of Char Vale estate wine. Participants will also receive a special discount on Char Vale wines purchased that day. We look forward to meeting you.
Harvest Moon Estate & Winery
Making Sparkling Wine Using Méthode Champenoise
How does méthode champenoise differ from other methods for making sparkling wines? What special equipment is required? Why is making sparkling wine more time-consuming than making still wine? Winegrower/maker Randy Pitts will answer these and all your questions regarding making sparkling wine using méthode champenoise. Randy began making sparkling wine in 2003, and in 2013 purchased all the necessary equipment to make Harvest Moon’s sparkling wines in-house.
Blend your own 2018 RRV Chardonnay with owner Alex Bowman
Owner and Winemaker Alex Bowman will be teaching the group about fermenting and aging wine on French and American Oak barrels as well as the different nuances of neutral vs. new oak. Everyone in the group will be able to do their own blending of our 2018 Russian River Valley Chardonnay.
Russian River Vineyards
Getting to know the Vines of Russian River Vineyards!
Group of 20-30 people
A day amongst the vines, guest will enjoy sipping wine, pruning grapes and understanding what it take to farm in Russian River Valley. Winemaker and Vineyard manager led education session about how and why we prune Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Guest will taste Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in our Estate Vineyards, as winemaker Gio Balistreri & Vineyard manager Felix Zaragoza demonstrate Russian River Vineyards, vineyard management practices and will answer any questions the guest have.
Join us in our quaint Forestville tasting room for an intimate discussion and sampling with our winemaker, Josh Bartels. He will focus on the various Pinot Noir clonal selections from Sonoma County, with a special focus on the Russian River Valley. As a part of the experience, you’ll get to taste several types of clones from around the region. Among the topics discussed will be farming, winemaking, and the many different styles that makeup California Pinots. This is your chance to spend some time with a hands-on winemaker from a boutique winery making world-class Pinot Noir!
Hook & Ladder Winery
We invite you to join our winemaking team at Hook and Ladder Winery, to experience the wonder of creating a unique wine.
Hook and Ladder Winery and its pioneering proprietors, the De Loach family, have been defining wine in the Russian River Valley for over four decades! Blends have always been a favorite of the family; they have passed this passion on to winemaker Jason De Loach.
Jason has crafted one of the most well-known and well-rounded blends in Sonoma County, known as “The Tillerman,” for over a decade. This is your chance to learn and experiment in creating your own blend with the amazing “juice” from the cellars of Hook & Ladder Winery. Learn the techniques and qualities that create a great blend from an amazing crew that has fun doing it!
Occidental Road Cellars
Learn about Pinot Noir and Chardonnay Winegrowing
Join us for a tour of our beautiful Horseshoe Bend Vineyard by Richard Prather, our owner, vineyard manager and winemaker. We are a 4th generation farming family producing apples and cherries before premium wine grapes. Richard is a dynamic speaker and has a lot of passion about what he’s doing in the vineyard. Our vineyard is located between both the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast Appellations in West Sebastopol, near the town of Occidental. This region is renowned for producing some of the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. During the tour get up close and personal to learn what makes the grapes from this region so special. Come see the breathtaking views while you learn about climate, soil, rootstocks and clones, as well as vineyard management practices. Great wine is truly grown in the vineyard!
The tour will meet at the Vineyard site located at 13799 Occidental Road, Sebastopol. Following the tour, guests will be invited back to the Tasting Room to sample wines and appetizers. Rain may change the venue.
“From bean to bar to vino”: Artisan chocolate making class hosted by Sonoma’s premier chocolatiers, Jeff & Susan Mall (VOLO CHOCOLATES in Healdsburg)
Jeff will be bringing in his equipment and cocoa from exotic locales including Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Madagascar and other countries. He will show you his artisan skills and how to make your own chocolate truffles and bars at home. Following the class/demonstration by Jeff Mall, wife Susan will take our participants on a chocolate wine pairing featuring Equality Wines library portfolio. This is one class where eating your mistakes is a pleasurable thing!
Wine Label Painting at Wine Guerrilla
Wine Guerrilla will be hosting a paint your own wine label experience at our tasting room in Forestville! The label painting class will be taught by the amazing art instructors from Painted Cellars and is held in a stress-free and fun group setting. An art instructor guides you step-by-step replicating the featured label image. Come create a wine label of your own that you will keep forever!
Italian Varietals and Blending
Join our Winemaker, John Harley, for an introduction to Italian varietals. You will taste and blend multiple Italian varietals grown right here in California. This blending experience will focus on using varietals as natural tools in place of adding acid, tannin, colors, etc. You will blend your own bottle to take home! Small bites will be provided.
We believe that great wines start with the vine
“Our vines are like our family, we want to care for and nurture them as such.” – John Balletto
Work alongside the Balletto family, a third generation farming company in Sonoma County. to learn about the importance of pruning, our farming philosophy, techniques and how pruning can directly affect grape yield, flavor and most importantly, complement the Russian River Valley terroir.
Tête à Tête
Compare and the surprising similarities and unique differences of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from two exceptional wine regions of the world. The Tête à Tête tasting pairs DeLoach Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from the Russian River Valley with Red and White Burgundies from the Côte De Nuits and Côte De Beaune, in the heart of France.
Learn About the History, Origin, and Purpose of Oak
This Seminar will be hosted by Dutton’s wine making consultant, Robert Donnell. He will talk about the history, origins, and purpose of oak barrels. He will touch on the evolution, regions, forests, “New World”, sourcing, cooperage, business and commerce, why and how Dutton Estate chooses our oak and how we intergrade in the wines and aging, adjusts and alternative and value. And lastly Sustainability-Oak Sourcing and then we will do a tasting of some of our barrels using different oaking techniques.