If you've been searching for a different kind of wine tasting event where you get to fully immerse yourself in what the region has to offer and experience much-loved wineries in a whole new way, Experience Alexander Valley is for you.
Alexander Valley Winegrowers invited me and a few of my fave blogger babes for an exclusive preview of their signature event, Experience Alexander Valley, this past weekend and I loved every second of it.
Experience Alexander Valley is a weekend-long wine festival where guests attend two in-depth experiences each day – Each experience is limited to twenty people, and you’ll find everything from blending seminars with winemakers and ravioli making, to brunch and bocce in the vineyards.
Chris Ferris of Four 54 Tours drove us around in style and safely transported us to each stop for the day. If you need a tour driver while wine tasting in Northern California wine country, Chris is your guy!
Our day began at Trione Winery where we were greeted with a glass of their Sparkling Brut from Russian River Valley. Trione Winery is a family owned and operated winery that farms five ranches within Sonoma County and we were so lucky to be hosted by Denise Trione during our visit.
For Experience Alexander Valley, Trione Winery is sharing their "Bountiful Charcuterie, Bites, and Bocce in the Vineyards" experience. Denise took us through an educational barrel tasting of the Pinot Noir clones that make up their Russian River Valley Pinot Noir - We got the opportunity to sample 115, 667, 777, UCD 37, and Pommard clone, I appreciated comparing the differences between the various clones side-by-side.
After tasting, we experimented with creating our own signature blend, which is where I learned that I have absolutely no future as a winemaker and decided it would be best to leave the winemaking to the pros in the future!
Our time at Trione concluded with a bocce tournament in the vineyards - Isabel and I lost to Shana and Amber, but still had a blast playing and most importantly, didn't spill our wine.
The next stop took us to Hawkes Wines' Red Winery Vineyard, perched on a picturesque hillside, with an absolutely spectacular view overlooking Alexander Valley. There was a beautiful cheese and charcuterie board awaiting us to snack on while sipping Hawkes Home Chardonnay. I seriously need lessons from the talented individual who made this board because it was the most impressive one I'd ever seen!
Hawkes is hosting two different experiences for you to choose from when attending Experience Alexander Valley - The first option is a "Prime Steak and Single Vineyard Cabernet Tasting" and the second is a barrel making demonstration.
Master Cooper, Yann Guiguen, is originally from France and has been building wine barrels for over 25 years. He shared each step that goes into crafting them and this experience was such a highlight for me because I had never seen this before! Yann even let some of the girls try their hand at barrel making and we were mesmerized by the entire process, but realized that it's way more difficult than it looks.
In addition to the Chardonnay, Hawkes poured their Pyramid Cabernet Sauvignon and Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for us, which is a blend of their three estate vineyards. I'm such a big fan of Cabernet from Alexander Valley and these two wines were delicious.
Our last stop of the day took us to Robert Young Estate Winery - Since 1858, six generations of the Young family have farmed their land and they were the very first family to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in Alexander Valley. Family history is a huge part of the winery's story and it was wonderful to learn more about each family member's contributions to this special place.
We hopped on the tractor-led gondola driven by Robbie Young for a vineyard and cave tour. For Experience Alexander Valley, Robert Young Estate Winery will be hosting guests for their Legacy Experience, which includes barrel tasting in the caves with their winemaker and cheese tasting from local cheese producer, William Cofield Cheesemakers. This winery has such impressive caves dug into the hillside where they store wine barrels and host club member events.
After the tour, we returned to Robert Young's gorgeous, new Scion House to eat a beautiful dinner cooked by Domenica Catelli, of Catelli's in Geyserville. Domenica is a local restaurateur, author, and celebrity chef that has cooked for Oprah and the Obamas!
She created a delicious four course meal, perfectly paired with Robert Young's wines. The eight layer white lasagna with Duncan's shiitakes and Alexander Valley asparagus was to die for! I'm still dreaming about it.
Huge thank you to Alexander Valley Winegrowers for this incredible day exploring Alexander Valley wine country! This year's Experience Alexander Valley takes place on Saturday, June 22nd and Sunday, June 23rd and tickets are officially on sale now - You can browse the variety of experiences and purchase tickets here.