Our final day is a short one, with half of our group leaving after our first stop to make their flights. Adler Fels Winery in Sonoma was our first stop; perched on a mountain top, it had beautiful views of the valley below. After a quick breakfast at the viewpoint, we separated into two groups – one for tasting and another for a tour of the winery.
Adler Fels makes a good amount of wine for us aside from the Adler Fels Line. Some labels include Abbeyville, Kitchen Sink and Buffalo Grove, to name a few. Not all the wine is made here on the property since the winery is very small. They have much larger production facility off-site that is used to produce the majority of their labels. Adler Fels is unique; they don’t own a single vine! It’s really amazing how they have developed so many great relationships with growers over the years that have allowed them to access to great grapes, which in turn delivers to us great value-for-the-money wines! We had a chance to meet with Harry Parducci Jr., the winemaker for Adler Fels, as we tasted through his latest releases.
Sadly, half of our group headed off to the San Francisco airport while my group went to the town of Sonoma to visit with the folks from Anaba Wines for our last tasting and education of the trip. We walked into the winery and were surprised with a very fun exercise – we got to blend our own wine! There were four stations set up where we had Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre barrel samples to work with. Proprietor John Sweazey was on hand to get us started. Not only did we get to blend our own wine but we also had to come up with a name for it and tasting notes to help sell it. In the end, there were four winners – two tied for one of the categories. TONS of fun for the last stop!
I’m so sad our trip over; I wish it could keep on going but unfortunately, we have to get back to our stores. A week that saw over 40 wineries, tasted over 350 wines and met countless wonderful, hospitable and passionate people in the wine business – there are many, many highlights.
Each stop we encountered different personalities, different views on winemaking, and “secrets of the trade” that will all be shared with you in our stores throughout the next few years. I’m sure they’re already up in some locations but be sure to keep an eye out for pictures of the teams from each winery. For me, the trip was a very educational one, with the best memories of times spent with passionate owners and winemakers and gaining a deeper understanding their unique and distinctive wines.