Winding riverside roads lead to great stops for Pinot Noir
1 | Rodney Strong Vineyards
A dancer in his early life, Rodney Strong was a shaping force in Sonoma winemaking, advocating vineyard designation and other practices that are now a matter of course.
11455 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg; 707/431-1533;
2 | J Vineyards & Winery
For the sake of making sparkling wine, Judy Jordan, daughter of Tom Jordan, spun a winery off the house of Jordan, and called it…J. The bubbles have been joined by very good still Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and food pairings in the tasting room.
11447 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg; 888/594-6326;
3 | Roshambo Winery
Roshambo hits the “cool” spot in all of us. Owner Naomi Johnson Brilliant recently built a new solar-powered tasting room for her eclectic fans.
2450 Westside Road, Healdsburg; 888/525-9463;
4 | Davis Bynum Winery
There’s a dark woodsiness about the setting at Davis Bynum. The winery has an innovative permaculture garden, built on a multifaceted, sustainable growing system, and the Pinots, from various Russian River vineyards, are invariably interesting.
8075 Westside Road, Healdsburg; 800/826-1073;
5 | Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery
The tasting bar is perched above the wildest part of the valley, where evergreens and oaks ring vineyard-wrapped knolls. This is a Pinot house, so come to compare.
10701 Westside Road, Healdsburg; 707/473-2900;
6 | Hartford Family Winery
This grand-scale château houses some equally showy wines. Compare high-end single-vineyard Russian River Pinots with ones from other regions.
8075 Martinelli Road, Forestville; 707/887-1756;
7 | Iron Horse Ranch and Vineyards
Sidle up to the tasting planks slung across barrels out in front of the corral, grab a flute of bubbles, and revel in the view. Iron Horse makes refined but expressive sparkling wines from the exciting Green Valley AVA, but its still wines are stealing attention.
9786 Ross Station Road, Sebastopol; 707/887-1507;
8 | De Loach Vineyards
Long known for making a host of different wines, De Loach is now owned by a French winemaking family, which is focusing on improving its Pinot, Chard, and Zin.
1791 Olivet Road, Santa Rosa; 707/526-9111;
9 | Marimar Estate
Marimar Torres has tucked a gracious Spanish bodega among her vineyards in a remote corner of Green Valley, and is making lovely Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
11400 Graton Road, Sebastopol; 707/823-4365;
10 | Dutton-Goldfield Winery
Partners Steve Dutton (grower) and Dan Goldfield (winemaker) have been producing ever-more-striking Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in recent years.
5700 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa; 707/568-2455;